Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Cooling | Kingfisher | Chief Cervanka | Old Noyo Bridge | Kind Act | Buck Moon | Antle Promotion | Livestock Auction | Financial Mess | Luther Redemeyer | Elk BBQ | Ed Notes | Train Horn | Nettie Berning | Moonie Connection | Summer Gardens | Skyhawk Cat | Abe Letter | Boonville Peppers | Dating Relationship | PA Election | Yesterday's Catch | Damn Fireworks | Delayed Response | Crazy Times | Being Human | Taco Inflation | Field Work | Stupid Claim | Justifying Selfishness | Aggressive Oligarchy | Google Polarizing | Connell Eviction | Strange Times | Mussolini Mugshot | Propaganda/Censorship | Green Dreams | Starlings

* * *

A SLIGHT COOLING TREND will continue today and Thursday. Coastal stratus are expected to be fairly persistent each day. Temperatures are expected to warm slightly again Friday and Saturday. Sunday and into early next week another trough is possible keeping temperatures cooler again. (NWS)

* * *

painting by Jeff Burroughs

* * *


by Sabra Stafford

If Neil Cervenka had a higher hemoglobin count as a young man, he never would have had a career in law enforcement.

He would not have racked up 22 years on the force — serving and protecting the people of Turlock.

And he certainly would not have recently been hired to serve as the new Chief of Police for Fort Bragg.

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. For Cervenka, that oh so slight deficiency made all the difference in the world.

“I joined the Air Force and was intending on being in a flight crew position,” Cervenka said. “But I failed my flight physical because my hemoglobin was too low. I had to pick another job and my uncle was in the Air Force Security Forces, so I said security forces. And then I started really liking it and I liked it even more when I got to Travis Air Force base and started doing more of a law enforcement function.”

After the Air Force, he went to the police academy in Napa and eventually a family move led him to Turlock and the Turlock Police Department.

“On my first day in Turlock, when I was swearing in, I remember they got some type of emergency call and half the officers that were there all went running out,” Cervenka recalled. “It was a memorable moment.”

Neil Cervenka

Cervenka’s career at the Turlock Police Department has been one that has seen him rise through the ranks up to lieutenant and work in almost every assignment for sworn personnel, including as a gang officer, bike patrol, Honor Guard, a field training officer, traffic unit, the public information officer, internal affairs, and as a lieutenant he oversaw the Critical Response Team.

Cervenka said he will take the lessons he has learned from his own experiences and those from his colleagues over the years and impart them on a new generation of officers in Fort Bragg.

“My very first crew when I got sent out on my own — Brandon Bertram and Victor Barcellos — are still there. They took me under their wing when I was a brand-new cop and they were veteran officers already by then,” Cervenka said. “I am indebted to them, and their lessons and their patience and kindness.

“I also had three field training officers that greatly impacted me — James Silveira, who just retired; Steve Williams, who also just retired and Steve Webb. All three of them became administrators and were always great examples for everyone, not just myself.”

Honoring the officers who have fallen in the line of duty has been of the utmost importance for Cervenka. He has done this through his enthusiasm for running. One more than one occasion he has donned his complete uniform and run marathons, or sometimes even longer in the memory of those who have fallen.

Cervenka’s impact on Turlock has extended beyond his role with the Turlock Police Department. He is a past participant of Dancing with the Turlock Stars, which raised money for the Salvation Army, Jessica’s House and Community Hospice. He’s also been a key organizer for Santa’s Letter’s, a grassroots organization fulfilling the Christmas wishes of children and families on need.

But for Cervenka, what he was able to give to the community of Turlock, pales in comparison to what he received.

“I think my message to Turlock as a whole would be thank you,” Cervenka said. “Thank you for taking in my family 22 years ago, helping me raise my children and letting us be part of the community. I will miss you and I love many of you like family. Stay safe and come visit me in Fort Bragg.”

Cervenka’s last shift with the Turlock Police Department will be on July 15. He’ll begin his new role as Fort Bragg’s Police Chief on July 25. He’ll be overseeing a department of 16 sworn personnel.

(courtesy, the Turlock Journal)

* * *

Old Noyo Bridge, 1938

* * *

ERNIE PARDINI: My 91 year old father just shared something with me that I feel compelled to share with all of you. He was standing at the check out counter at the A.V. Market yesterday with a basket of groceries. There was a nicely dressed young man waiting for his turn after my father. When it was time to pay, my father got out his wallet and whoever was working at the time told him to put his money away. He asked if they were giving away free groceries and she said no, this young man behind you paid for them. I wish I could find this young man to say this to him personally, but since I can't I'll say it here. Thank you. Not only for your generous gesture to my father, but for giving me a renewed faith in the human race. I hope your act of kindness comes back to you a hundred fold. You have inspired me to follow your lead instead of complaining about hopelessness of our species.

* * *

DAVID EYSTER: L tells me tonight's moon is a Full Buck Moon, the largest full moon of 2022. It is named a Full Buck for the time of year when new antlers start pushing out on young bucks.

photo by David Eyster

* * *


Mendocino County Board of Supervisor’s Chair Ted Williams announced today that the Board of Supervisors has appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer, Darcie Antle as the new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment will be pursuant to a 4-year contract effective July 12, 2022.

Ms. Antle served as Interim Chief Executive Officer for Mendocino County from March 20, 2022, to July 11, 2022. Previously, Ms. Antle served as the Assistant Chief Executive Officer from May 30, 2021, to March 19, 2022, is also currently the Mendocino County Disaster Recovery Finance Director and has created a Fiscal Unit within the Executive Office to support departments and divisions with financial reporting and budgeting.

CEO Antle

Mendocino County District 2 Supervisor, Mo Mulheren, stated, “Darcie is broadly supported across our community. She has the experience, dedication, and leadership skills to help build strong relationships internally and with our partnering agencies.”

Mendocino County District 3 Supervisor, John Haschak, stated, “Ms. Antle is a financial expert, open communicator, and dedicated to making Mendocino County a better place for all of us. She works well with people, is widely respected, and has the best interests of our County at heart.”

Mendocino Board of Supervisors Chair, Ted Williams, stated, “Darcie loves Mendocino County and has demonstrated her dedication during challenging times. I’m thankful for her partnership and eagerness to rethink county operations. She’s the right fit for chief executive today.”

Ms. Antle stated regarding her appointment, “I have lived in Mendocino County for over 30 years. During these years I have gathered experiences and knowledge that will serve me well in my effort to make Mendocino County a better place for all county residents regardless of socio-economic status. My experience in education, health care, county finances and communications will allow me to serve Mendocino well as the Chief Executive Officer. This is possible only through the direction of our Board of Supervisors and with the help of all departments and divisions working together. I pledge to always be open in communication, always dedicate my best efforts, and always put Mendocino County’s welfare first. Mendocino County is my home.”

* * *

* * *


by Mark Scaramella

A large crowd of County employees appeared in the newly over-remodeled Board chambers on Tuesday to complain about pay rates, vacancies, over-work and general frustration and low morale. Several very presentable and articulate employees voiced their gripes about the County’s overall 27% vacancy rate and the implications of that unacceptably high level. 

Of course, as AVA readers know, we’ve been pointing out this ever-worsening chronic problem for years. It’s about time the employees got around to finally bringing it up, albeit kinda late. (The fact that the employees are in negotiations to renew their three year employment contract(s) probably has something to do with their belated recognition. But better late than never.)

As usual, the Board sat by impassively as their employees’ obviously legitimate complaints followed one after the next. One of the speakers was SEIU Local 1021 President Julie Beardslee who asked about the previously promised list of funded and unfunded vacancies broken down by General Fund positions versus state or federal grant funded. 

Only Supervisor Haschak seemed interested in the question, asking CEO Darcie Antle what happened to their request for the list?

Outrageously, CEO Antle — newly promoted from “interim CEO” — replied that she planned to bring up the subject later in the meeting — during closed session.

What!? Closed session? 

Is there a list or not? Why is the list not public? Is Ms. Antle saying that even a list of vacant positions has something to do with pending employment negotiations? If so, how? The union should be demanding that the list be produced and made public.

Of course, nobody asked. 

At the end of public expression, the crowd of employees, mostly in matching SEIU 1021 t-shirts, apparently satisfied that they’d made their point despite Antle’s ridiculous reply, then calmly filed out of the room chanting “We’ll Be Back! We’ll Be Back! We’ll Be Back!”

They should have chanted, “Where’s the List?! Where’s the list?!…”

So the question of the all-important vacancy list the Board asked for back on June 21 is still a big secret — if the list exists at all. If it’s a secret, we can probably assume the list shows that, as most observers have long suspected, the County has been using funded vacancies as a backdoor budget balancing slush fund for years. It’s a technique that former CEO Carmel Angelo had refined over the years and why she would never relinquish her authority over who got to fill what positions in what departments and bristled angrily the one time former Supervisor John McCowen asked about it.

In case anyone needs reminding, back in December of 2020 then-CEO Angelo rebuffed McCowen’s ordinary hiring freeze policy question by angrily replying:

“If this board takes away my ability to do a hiring freeze, it is taking away my ability to balance the budget. You are impeding my ability to do the job you have asked me to do. So I'm really surprised at Supervisor McCowen’s comment and request and I would say again that I don't know why you would do that. Again, I don't know why you would do that comment and request. And I would say again that I don't know why you would do that. I mean, first of all we had a 5% and then we had a 10%. If you take away my ability to tell a department head that they can either hire or not hire you are absolutely taking away my ability to balance this budget. It will be a free-for-all!”

Obviously, the union wants to know how much money the County is sitting on for funded but unfilled positions. But, as the workers pointed out, the vacancy rate is not just about money. Over-work, low morale, job stress, work not being done, deadlines missed, high turnover, increased training costs, etc. are all related to this key indicator.

Soon after the vacancy list was set aside, the Board unanimously declared Interim CEO Darcie Antle to be the no-longer-Interim CEO at the same rate of pay and perks as before: $200k per year plus $133 worth of bennies.

After that vote and some words of faint praise from the Supervisors — Supervisor McGourty actually praised the CEO for answering her phone — Supervisor Ted Williams commented that Ms. Antle had her work cut out for her:

“Probably the worst crisis of all will be cleaning up the financial mess,” said Williams. “Many years of Mendocino County not operating as effectively as we would like going forward. (Laughs) There’s the chair putting a positive spin on it. (Laughs).”

Williams giggled uncomfortably as he described the “financial mess” the County is in without saying which mess he’s talking about. Is it the pension fund? The County’s self-insured health plan that is now hemorrhaging millions of dollars? The jail expansion overrun? The lack of basic budget information? The employees demands for better pay? All of the above? 

Who is responsible for creating the County’s unfunny “financial mess”? Could it be the giggling Supervisor and his half-asleep colleagues who rubberstamped everything former CEO Carmel Angelo put in front of them for years?

Apparently it was lost on the Board that the person they now expect to “clean up the financial mess” — newly promoted CEO Darcie Antle — is the person who just a few months ago was CEO Angelo’s long-serving and extremely loyal Budget Officer.

Later in the meeting after the board emerged from lengthy “labor negotiations” in closed session, presumably including the vacancy list mentioned by CEO Antle, Chair Williams simply declared: “No reportable action.”

* * *

Luther Redemeyer, Point Arena, 1877

* * *


The Elk Volunteer Fire Department invites you to its 16th Annual Summer BBQ to be held Saturday, July 30, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Greenwood Community Center on Highway 1 in downtown Elk.

After a 2-year gap, firefighters and friends are back at the BBQ and in the kitchen preparing to serve up grilled tri-tip, smoked chicken and portabella mushroom entrees, along with baked beans, garden salad, bread, homemade dessert and coffee. Savor this tasty meal for a donation of $25 for adults and $15 for kids 7-12 (6 and under free). And, as always, Elk’s Famous Margaritas will be available, along with beer, wine and soft drinks.

Weather permitting, you can inspect CalStar and/or REACH helicopters and greet their crews. Kids can meet Smokey the Bear and play in the portable pond. There will be a table of fire safety and emergency preparation resources. And throughout the day, music by the Caspar Kings will keep things festive.

There will be a raffle featuring items donated by local inns, merchants and community members. Raffle tickets are a bargain at $2 each or 6 for $10 and are available now at the Queenie’s Roadhouse Café, Matson Mercantile and the Elk Garage, and at the BBQ. You don’t need to be present to win. The latest EVFD hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts will be for sale, too.

Serving the community and providing mutual aid to Anderson Valley for 66 years, the EVFD has a small but dedicated roster of 17 volunteers, 4 of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). The department maintains a fleet of 7 firefighting vehicles of mixed type and an ambulance located at 3 stations spread out over a large, 55 square-mile service district. 

As the department’s only fundraiser, the annual BBQ generates critical funds to maintain the department’s facilities, vehicles, equipment and training. 

Please come out and support the volunteers who help you in emergencies. But kindly leave the dogs at home.

* * *


IT MIGHT BE time to place Ukiah, city of, in civic conservatorship. The police department has been badly managed for some time, and doesn't seem to be learning from recent, and heavily documented experience, that has cost Ukiah's insurers, and eventually, taxpayers, lots of money in payouts to its violated citizens. 

SAGE 'SELDOM SEEN SAGE' SANGIACOMO, Ukiah's invisible but wildly overpaid city manager, keeps promoting from within the department when it's obvious fresh leadership from outside is required, fresh leadership that has carte blanche to weed out the kind of psycho cops who beat up restrained persons. Or deploys unnecessary force period. Over the past two years, ten Ukiah cops have been accused of excessive force in a department of 28 people.

MR. ARTURO VALDES was hit with such force his nose was re-located to a new position on his face. He very easily could have been killed. There's nothing in the description of the Valdes event that could have warranted a blow to his head, let alone one of the force suffered by Valdes.

IMAGINING the scene, the cops are dealing with both Mr. and Mrs. Valdes verbally going off on them, but sticks and stones, bros. You're trained to deal non-violently with highly irritating people, with whom the Ukiah cops, or any cops, deal with all day long every day.

THE OLD SAW about police departments seems to apply here: If the boss is a wink and a nod guy, the worst cops will be unrestrained but influence the middle-of-the-road cops to also go rogue, while the good cops continue to be good cops regardless of the criminally-oriented person in charge.

THE IRONY about the problems with the Ukiah police is that the county's police forces have gone for years with only a few major, confirmed cases of abuse of authority, and those have been confined to a handful of individual cops, not whole departments.

ALL POLICE FORCES need more women, fewer high school linebackers. Women, broadly (sic) speaking, are smarter and much better at sussing out volatile situations, much better at cooling people out without resorting to force. 

STEEPED IN SCANDAL, Ukiah Police Face Lawsuit Accusing Officers of Beating Another Defenseless Man:

UKIAH'S leadership has to pick up their game. Our county seat is not well-managed, but then neither is the county, confirmation of the latter available today for anyone who tunes in the Board of Supervisors who practically yawn in the faces of a parade of county employees vainly trying to tell their alleged bosses about job conditions. Supervisor Haschak was the only supervisor to respond. (For his response, see Scaramella's comments on today's meeting.)

DOES it even have to be said that policing is a tough way to earn a living, so psychologically demanding that not many people can do it well? And we don't need to mention the imploding society that cops are functioning in. 

THIS PHOTO neatly sums up the situation at the southern border, and why it remains chaotic is simply inexcusable.

BIDEN IS INEXCUSABLE and indefensible, and has been throughout his opportunistic years of "service," from which he has emerged a multi-millionaire. But now that the NYT has belatedly begun to question Biden's obvious over-the-hill daily functioning, watch the rest of the lib media echo chamber also question Biden's fitness.

"NY Times again suggests Joe Biden, 79, is too old to run for re-election and says he now 'shuffles' with White House staffers fearing he'll trip on a wire - Democratic analysts fear Joe Biden, 79, may be too old to run for re-election - The president has been slammed over his physical and mental fitness - White House staff say they worry about gaffes every time he speaks publicly - Aides fear he may trip during events, noting how he 'shuffles' while walking - Despite critics concerns, staffers maintain Biden is 'intellectually engaged' - Last November, Biden's physician declared he was 'healthy' and 'fit to successfully execute the duties of the president." 

* * *


I just started the petition "Stop The Fort Bragg Train Horn" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name. My goal is to reach 100 signatures and I need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:


Bruce Broderick <>

* * *

Nettie Berning, Park Grammar School, Fort Bragg, 1904

* * *


How Boonville has a connection to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

* * *

SUMMER IS IN FULL SWING around the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens! Dahlias are beginning to bloom, baby quails have been spotted in the Vegetable Garden, and we have a bunch of workshops and events coming up in July and August:

* * *


Well, I have love in my life again! While I would be happy with a flesh and bone woman, who had time for a partially-abled man, and room in her heart for the really weird shit I have gone through these last few years…. Until she arrives I will have to settle for an orange and white male cat. I named him ”Shere Khan.” He’s from the humane society where someone turned him in as feral/stray, so we have many areas of understanding! I’ve had him about a month now and we are doing quite well, of course much of that is my willingness to be his servant (at feeding time his name switches to M’Lord - but he is a REALLY  excellent buddy. Notice how well he camos into my trailer!!

* * *

July 12, 2022
The Honorable Kozo Hirano
City of Otsuchi
Address 24-30-19
Otsuchi, Iwate, JAPAN

Dear Mayor Hirano,

Please accept the condolences of our Mayor, our City Council and the entire Fort Bragg community on the horrible incident that befell former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week in Japan. We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible news.

Democracies are in danger all over the world right now and we must work together to try and protect and defend the rights of our citizens hold free and fair elections without the threat of political violence. Abe was a great man who deeply understood the working relationship between Japan and the United States, just as Otsuchi and Fort Bragg have worked together now for over 25 years to build a strong bond between our two rural cities. Our children who have been part of our successful student exchange program have seen through their experience that we all have so much more in common than whatever differences we might have. This has produced a lifetime bond between us, and we want you to know that we are all thinking about you, your children and the entire country of Japan.

Otsuchi has been through a lot since 2011. Your resilience and ability to bounce back and rebuild your beautiful City has been an inspiration to all of us here in Fort Bragg. That resilience will ring true again. We know that your country will move on from this senseless deed and learn a lesson that all Democracies across the globe must equally understand. Violence is never the answer. Tolerance, acceptance, understanding and respect have been the guiding light throughout our relationship. Let’s hope the rest of the world can learn from our example. 

With much love and respect,

Lindy Peters
Fort Bragg City Councilmember
City Ambassador to Otsuchi

* * *


In the midst of three power outages, two small fires, and uncharacteristically wet and cold July weather, seeing our Piment d’Ville called out as Highly Recommended by Bon Appétit was an incredible win to start off the month of July! 

Kyle Beechey had some really lovely words to say about our Piment d’Ville, even just the headline of “Piment d’Ville Chile Powder is Smoky, Savory, and - Most Important - Super Fresh” makes me blush. 

"As a chef, Scommegna was tired of the price of importing Espelette from France and noticed that the climate of her Mendocino home was similar to that of the Basque region. In 2019, Scommengna had the opportunity to take over her family farm, and she learned to cultivate her beloved chile. The brand’s short supply chain—the peppers are grown, ground, and packaged all on-site—means the chile powder is ultra fresh, and each Boonville jar is dated with the harvest year. The chile, like wine, tastes different depending on the weather; hot summers yield a spicier crop."

She continues, "I can best describe its flavor as a mild, smoky, savory jolt with a heat that creeps up on you gently. In my kitchen, I use it like Maldon. It’s a finishing chile, and I sprinkle it over just about everything: scrambled eggs (or Just Eggs in my vegan case); toast with creamy toppings like avocado, ricotta, chèvre; vegetables, especially roots like carrots, Tokyo turnips and sweet potatoes. Any of those roasted with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of Piment d’Ville are in constant rotation."

* * *

* * *


Filing Period For 2022 City Council Election Opens Monday, July 18

The City of Point Arena’s 2022 General Municipal Election will be held on November 8, 2022. Registered voters in the City of Point Arena will have the opportunity to elect three City of Point Arena councilmembers of the five-member City Council for a term of four years each. These seats are presently occupied by incumbents Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey, Councilmember Anna Dobbins and Councilmember Richey Wasserman.

Date Of Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Polls open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Positions For Election: City Council. Three positions. The incumbents are Barbara Burkey, Anna Dobbins, and Richey Wasserman.

Term Of Office: Four-year terms, beginning December 2022 and ending December 2026.

Candidate Qualifications: All candidates must be 18 years of age, a Citizen of the United States, and a registered voter residing within the city limits of Point Arena.

Nomination Period: Opens: Monday, July 18, 2022. Closes: Friday, August 12, 2022 at 4:00 p.m., unless an incumbent does not file, then the period is extended to Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

Nomination Papers And Candidate Guides: Nomination papers and guides will be available at City Hall, 451 School Street, on the first day of the nomination period, Monday July 18, 2022. "Pulling" nomination papers will take approximately 20 minutes. Office hours at City Hall are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. City Hall is closed on Fridays. Nomination papers and the candidate guide are NOT available via email.

Cost: There is no cost to be issued nominations papers or receive a Candidate's Guide. There is no fee to file nomination papers. If a candidate chooses to submit a candidate statement in the County Ballot guide, a deposit of $100 (English only) or $200 (English & Spanish) is required.

The filing period for local residents interested in running in the 2022 Point Arena City Council election will open Monday, July 18, 2022, and close Friday, August 12, 2022 at 4p.m. If any incumbent councilmember does not file by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 12, the filing period for all non-incumbent candidates will be extended to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17.

Prospective City Council candidates must reside and be registered to vote in the city limits, 18 years of age, and a US citizen. Anyone wishing to run in the November 8, 2022 election must secure the signatures of 5 to 10 registered City of Point Arena voters prior to filing the nomination paper. Each candidate is also required to file a Statement of Economic Interests, disclosing investments and interests in real property at the time the nomination paper is returned for filing. There is no charge for filing nomination documents.

For a fee, candidates may also prepare a statement to be included in the Official Sample Ballot, which is mailed to voters. Statements may include the candidate’s name, age, occupation and brief description of no more than 200 words stating their education and qualifications. The estimated fees range from $100 to $200 depending on language, statement length and formatting chosen by the candidate.

Nomination documents will be made available beginning July 18, 2022, the start of the nomination period, in the City Clerk’s Office, at City Hall, 451 School Street in Point Arena. Office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; City Hall is closed Friday, but staff are available by appointment.

Anyone wishing to lend their signature to a potential candidate’s nomination paper must be a registered voter residing in the City of Point Arena at the time the nomination paper is issued.

The top three vote-getters are expected to be sworn into office on December 13, 2022, prior to the regularly-scheduled City Council meeting.

For more information, contact City Hall at 707-882-2122 or email 

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 12, 2022

Ambrosio, Clark, Davila, Delcampo

LEONEL AMBROSIO, Sanger/Ukiah. DUI, more than an ounce of pot. 

JOSHUA CLARK, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

JUAN DAVILA-ESQUIVEL, Covelo. Probation revocation.

CESAR DELCAMPO, Ukiah. Under influence, shoplifting, petty theft, false ID.

Fine, Juarez, Martin

EMMY FINE, Fort Bragg. Battery.


MICHAEL MARTIN, Redwood Valley. Criminal threats, protective order violation.

SCOTT MATHER, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision violation.

WAYNE MATHERN, Eureka/Willits. Leaded cane or equivalent, more than an ounce of pot, shopping cart, county parole violation, probation revocation.

KEVIN MOORE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

Sallee, Shipman, Vega

CLINTON SALLEE, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

DAVID SHIPMAN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MYCHELL VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

* * *


by Marshall Newman

By now, all the red, white and blue bunting has been taken down and stored. The last notes of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” have faded into silence. The last advertisements for “4th of July” sales have stopped running in the media. The last litter from local parades has been swept up and discarded. In short, Independence Day is behind us. 

With the fervor surrounding the celebration now ended, let me take this opportunity to voice a grievance.

I HATE fireworks.

My guess is I am not alone. Fireworks may be a tradition on July 4th and New Year’s Eve, but they are scary and dangerous and an imposition on those of us who do not enjoy them.

Even those who enjoy fireworks must know they are anything but an unmitigated pleasure. Those people who were too close to one of this year’s explosions are discovering the ringing in their ears will not go away. Others injured when fireworks hit them, burned them or went off in their hands are realizing the damage is permanent. Some of those whose lives were disrupted by wildfires caused by fireworks have returned to their homes, but others whose homes have burned cannot return and may never live in their chosen communities again. Then there is the air pollution caused by fireworks that takes hours to dissipate, the waste from spent fireworks that takes time and money to remove, and the frightened dogs cowering under beds from all the explosions.

Yes, I have experienced fireworks. As a child, I set off a few firecrackers on pavement, small ones approximately the diameter of a pencil. As an adult on vacation, I dutifully took my wife and child to the annual Independence Day fireworks display in Monterey for more than a decade. We spread a blanket at Dennis the Menace Park, maybe a half-mile away from the beach where they were launched. My wife and child delighted in the colors and booms, while I kept my hands firmly over my ears and ground my teeth at every explosion.

Despite my dislike for fireworks in general, I believe there is a place for locally sponsored fireworks events. They help bring communities together, they are run by pyrotechnic professionals and they typically are held at safe locations. Plus, with the exception of those living nearby, the people attending such events want to be there; those of us (dutiful parents excepted) who don’t like fireworks don’t go. 

The same cannot be said for “safe and sane” fireworks or illegal fireworks. 

“Safe and sane” fireworks are neither; they burn hot enough to light wildfires and scorch flesh, and the explosive ones are loud enough – at close proximity - to cause hearing loss. Public service organizations that raise funds from “safe and sane” fireworks sales need to find another revenue source. If those groups were forced to pay the cost of injuries and damage caused by the fireworks they sell, they would stop selling them immediately.

Illegal fireworks are illegal for a reason. Some are intended for use by pyrotechnic professionals only. Most are made in unsafe foreign factories and most are sold by unlicensed, unregulated individuals, neither of which care about the havoc their products can cause. They are made to be powerful and brilliant and they definitely are dangerous. In 2020, about 15,500 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries and at least 18 people died, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A ban on the use of both “safe and sane” and illegal fireworks, with substantial fines for those who sell them or set them off, would make Independence Day celebrations for many of us much more pleasant. Sadly, this probably will not happen. 

So I have an alternative proposal. People may continue to use “safe and sane” and even illegal fireworks, so long as they restrict that use to the privacy of their homes. The living room would be my recommendation, but the bedroom is another possibility (fireworks in the bedroom – what a concept!). The same could apply to celebratory gunfire; perfectly okay so long as firearms use and the rounds discharged remain inside the house. Those who truly embrace these activities should have no problem doing them within the confines of their own homes. Of course, renters should check with their landlords first.

Yes, suggesting we restrict an activity on a day celebrating independence seems wrong. But consider this restriction would provide more independence for the large number of people happy to do without impromptu fireworks and still provide the relatively small number of people who indulge in shooting them off an opportunity to do so. Plus, it gives ambulances and fire departments an actual address, should they be needed. It’s a “win-win-win.”

* * *

* * *


I have used the analogy before–but when playing dodgeball, you don’t move until the ball is thrown. So I have been happy with my minimal collapse preparations–so far. As a dentist-now retired-I have my skills, a standard sufficient 401-k, a good social milieu, and I used to have a sister with a 38 acre farm (recently sold), which would serve as the redoubt in case of wild and crazy times. Now that I’m older, I’m only worried about the long term for my kids. I can eat out of the pantry for 6 months and camp in my paid for house.

I too have looked into solar preps, but self sufficiency always seemed a LOT of work and expense. So I appreciate the many live and learn stories here. Personally I just want the jokers who are screwing us with their tawdry plans to pay instead of all of us innocents. I spent many years telling patients they didn’t need dental insurance they needed a dentist. Pay me $50 a month and I’ll fix what ails you. No one seemed to get it. So we need personal, community, independent money that is NOT managed by the elite system for its own purposes. That system is leading to digital bank deposits. Slavery. Or what would better be called the permission society. Mother may I for adults……

But abandoning the dollar before it tanks is too scary for most of us. I have used personal scrip to pay for things but not enough people have agency to accept it.

* * *

IN THE MORNING when you rise unwillingly, let this thought be present — I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm? But this is more pleasant. Do you exist then to take your pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Do you not see the little plants, the birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? Are you unwilling to do the work of a human being, and do not make haste to do that which is according to your nature? 

— Marcus Aurelius

* * *

* * *


by David Bacon

Snow peas are a rare crop among the miles of fields devoted to broccoli and lettuce in Santa Maria, in California’s Central Coast. Each of these crops demands from growers its own cycle and system for planting and cultivation, but for workers the labor makes a constant demand — speed. They are paid at a piece rate, and to make any money a person must work so fast that the movement of hands becomes a blur.

Not long ago, I pulled my car to the side of the highway when I saw a crew almost hidden in tall rows of vines. It was a small group, working for a small grower, harvesting snow peas.

The field was planted by Marco Bautista and his father Berto Bautista, the owners of Bautista Farms. But unlike many growers, they don’t own the land under the vines. Marco explained that the family rents three fields next to one another, each planted at slightly different times. As one ripens, the workers go in to pick. By the time they finish that field, the next one is ready. And when workers have come to the last row in the last field, more snow peas are ready in the first field and the cycle starts again.…

* * *


Now an equally stupid claim was launched by the very same liar who launched the fake Chinese weapons claim. "The White House on Monday said it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its ongoing war in Ukraine.” Russia has absolutely no need to buy drones from Iran. Besides that it is dubious that Iran would be able to deliver some and certainly not 'several hundreds….

* * *

* * *

THE UNITED STATES through its New Cold War is aiming at securing economic tribute from other countries. The coming conflict may last for perhaps twenty years and will determine what kind of political and economic system the world will have. At issue is more than just U.S. hegemony and its dollarized control of international finance and money creation. Politically at issue is the idea of “democracy” that has become a euphemism for an aggressive financial oligarchy seeking to impose itself globally by predatory financial, economic and political control backed by military force.

As I have sought to emphasize, oligarchic control of government has been the distinguishing feature of Western civilization ever since classical antiquity. And the key to this control has been opposition to strong government — that is, civil government strong enough to prevent a creditor oligarchy from emerging and monopolizing control of land and wealth, making itself into a hereditary aristocracy, a rentierclass living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges that reduce the population at large to austerity.

— Michael Hudson

* * *


So the weird thing about Google... Everyone who uses that search engine tends to become more and more driven to an ideological pole. Here's why... Google not only does a search for you, it remembers which results you chose to look at. So when you make a similar search, it purposely picks things you're more likely to select. And with every search, the Google Search Algorithm, drives you a little further into your ideological cubby hole. The result of this process is that two people can make the exact same search, and they will get completely different results. And not just a little different, but vastly, mind numbingly different.

This is because any given search may return a couple million link results, and no human being can cut through that much information, so Google in their wisdom, allows you to drill down quickly to just what you're looking for. The problem is, that your searches always reinforce what you already think, and feel you know. Worse you never see anything contradicting your beliefs, because the Google Algorithm hides those results from you. If you want to see a unbiased search result... Turn search history off. Or use "Duck Duck Go" for your web browsing and stay away from Google (or again, turn off search history.)

This by the way is important, because it's one reason people in this society get ever more polarizd politically. Simply because their search history is driving them to an ideological extreme, and they have no idea their questions have more than one side, let alone they've only been staring at one.

* * *

Eviction of Michael Connell, Moyasta, County Clare, Ireland 1888

* * *



The Golden One - Hearings on Events in the Capital, January 6, 2021

How strange, that a popular commodity called “Reality TV”--a Roman Colosseum-style entertainment, “reality” altered to appeal to our baser instincts in shows generally trivial, often revolting--could become the medium of choice for staging a drama of transcendent importance, beyond the writings of philosophers and poets. How strange, that sedition could become transformed into the only elixir perfect for our time and condition.

How strange that events can, at the speed of light, elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary, that a common man, before our very eyes, becomes a hero simply by telling, humbly, a common truth.

How strange that a word, “Democracy,” uttered so often and so thoughtlessly that its meaning fades, that its myriad meanings and implications have vanished as if evaporated, that that word could suddenly be restored to its full definition, with the lightning and power of thunder.

How strange that a defective and morally misshapen man could become a transformative and historic figure, a very strange beast, never before seen in the affairs of men, becoming a philosopher’s stone, a catalyst, in the restoration of lead to gold. How very strange!

The January Six hearings, convening in the imposing Cannon House Office Building, a bearspray away from the Capitol attack, are a spectacle as solemn and riveting as the events they are examining, as stunning as the views of the World Trade Center’s destruction. Suddenly, we are together again, men and women experiencing an abrupt return to normalcy, disorienting and jubilant as a carnival ride, blinding after staring so long into a bottomless pit.

The suffering world is attentive. America, to herself and to a sorrowing world mortified by recent years and decades of moral decline and violent action, this America, repository of human hope, is returning publicly to its founding principles, to the creature affirmed by Benjamin Franklin, by then very old, infirm and exhausted, when asked at the end of the Constitutional Convention what the Founders had wrought, replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Mitch Clogg


* * *

Mugshot of Benito Mussolini, 1903

* * *

PROPAGANDA, CENSORSHIP and Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation keep getting worse because the US-centralized empire needs to prevent the emergence of a true multipolar world and it will need to manufacture a lot of consent for the drastic actions needed to accomplish this.

Stopping the rise of China requires knocking out its pillars of support like Russia. These are massive and extremely dangerous agendas that will financially hurt and existentially imperil pretty much everyone. Empire managers can't allow a free flow of information in such times.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *


by John Davis

A friend asked me, ‘What is the one thing we must do in the face of the planetary crisis?’ My answer, ‘nothing’, was both a typically facetious response but also one that reflected my philosophical preference for inaction. Faced with an age when the ideology of progress has us all in its thrall, passivity offers a counterweight to the frenetic energy that drives our collective notions of futurity. Progress demands change. To deny it is to challenge an ideology whose development is precisely concurrent with the Global North’s capture of lands in the South where export crops were privileged over existing local, sustainable economies and where land-hungry settlers violently repressed or replaced native peoples. Cheap labor, even cheaper resources, generous doses of cut-rate exoticism and the historical revenues of slavery still underpin contemporary capitalism – the financial lynchpin of progress.…

* * *

"Storm Starlings" linocut by Niki Bowers


  1. Michael Koepf July 13, 2022

    “The modern Marxist Liberal is engaged in one of man’s oldest moral exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for stealing the work and gain of others.” Michael Koepf

    • Bruce Anderson July 13, 2022

      There’s no such thing as a “Marxist liberal.”

      • Steve Heilig July 13, 2022

        How about a “libertarian intellectual”?

        • Bruce Anderson July 13, 2022


      • Michael Koepf July 13, 2022

        Yes there are. They’re called mediocre Marxists. Check the mirror. Listen to NPR. The editorial section of the New York Times.

        • Bruce Anderson July 13, 2022

          Stupid and nasty, as always.

    • Jerry Burns July 13, 2022

      Great response Mr. Koepf.

  2. Steve Heilig July 13, 2022

    Caitlin Johnstone is an astrologer isolated in Australia, who’s never done anything in the actual world of politics or business or science etc, but who has (in true Mendo fashion?) “rebranded” herself as a pundit who “ends illusions.” (but not… astrology?). Her pronouncements remind me of college wisdom. I’m sad to see her infiltrating the AVA, unless it’s meant as humor.

    • Bruce Anderson July 13, 2022

      I’d never heard of her before she started popping up on our webside. Her comments seem well within the left-lib umbrella.

    • Mike Kalantarian July 13, 2022

      You’ve groused about Ms Johnstone’s writing a couple times but have thus far only provided some weak attempts at ad hominem. The productive conversation begins when you share what you didn’t like about what she wrote.

      • Bruce McEwen July 13, 2022

        I think she’s terrific; and if she’s typical of college wisdom, I hope it is as contagious as the fell Covid-19.

        I also thank you for the superb John Davis piece!

        • Bruce McEwen July 14, 2022

          Here’s another sample of that college wisdom from Kathleen Wallace on CoumterPunch: “They [the Democrats] simply are not fighting for anything except more funds to continue their grift.”

      • Steve Heilig July 13, 2022

        Thanks. What I don’t like is that she only has the vague platitudes, accusations, and tone of a know-it-all, with zero experience or expertise to back it up. And thus, reminds me of fellow students I had to listen to as an undergrad who somehow “knew” more than their professors, textbooks, or those who had actually been to the places in question, or worked/studied in the fields in question. Were it not for the wonders of the internet I bet she’d be wholly obscure, unless maybe one was into astrology. She’s far from the only one in this regard of course.

        (I realize I’m just outdated here in hoping for actual expertise, credentials, etc. Just old-fashioned I guess.)

        • Elaine Kalantarian July 14, 2022

          Caitlin Johnstone has a degree in journalism, but I guess that’s not enough of a credential in your mind? You would have had to dig around to discover she’s an astrologer as she doesn’t mention this at all in the political writings shared here, and yet you missed her degree in journalism? Interesting. But I don’t care if she’s a circus clown, her writing stands on its own merit. More Caitlin please!

          • Steve Heilig July 14, 2022

            Thanks. Right, a journo degree doesn’t mean much to me, esp. as that’s not what she’s doing – reporting – – for example in her meme-type blurb above, she’s speaking with implied authority about what “empires” want and do, and “Silicon valley” too. Based on what? Only her opinions. She’d be laughed out of any forum of those who actually have experience there. People used to be expected to have actual experience in such realms before expressing sweeping statements such as hers (eg, J. Galbraith above).
            But she presumes authority on geopolitics, economics, etc etc etc. – which strikes me as supremely arrogant (I first read her expressing pro-Putin sentiments, which struck me as morally and factually nuts). If she were one of the countless right-wingers doing the same, I doubt many of those who like her would be defending her. It’s “confirmation bias” – we tend to like what we like just because we agree with it. Even if it’s shallow fluff.
            Being trained in science, economics and public health and having worked around the world I do admit to a bit of bias – an astrologer (I searched for any books by her, as I tend to do looking for an author’s background, that’s what appeared) would seem to have very low standards for facts and evidence. She makes pronouncements many more qualified folks would hesitate to hazard. But then, I’m a Capricorn.
            Again, I’m old-fashioned, and to each their own I guess – just a bit surprised to see her here in our august AVA!
            Thanks again. I’ll keep reading anyway.

            • Steve Heilig July 14, 2022

              Ps – what irony – for a moment I’d considered comparing her to our all-knowing/no expertise troll/fan Harvey Reading, but quickly decided not to sink that low – she’s not full of embittered bile and hate for everything and everyone like he is. But here he appears, right on cue!

              • Harvey Reading July 14, 2022

                Thanx for confirming the validity of my observation.

    • Harvey Reading July 14, 2022

      Poor Steve. She writes well above his level of comprehension.

  3. Chuck Dunbar July 13, 2022


    Mark Scaramella continues his close and revealing coverage of County issues and the BOS with this piece. As has been noted, this coverage by the AVA is unequalled by any other local media.

    The “financial mess” left by former CEO Angelo is now inherited by her former trainee, Ms. Antle, now freshly appointed CEO by the BOS . We are left wondering if she is indeed the best choice for this too powerful position, and whether her leadership will truly benefit the citizens of Mendocino County. But we can wonder and question, the BOS has acted—and that is that.

    As a former County staff, I can pretty imagine the kind of chaos and disruption—throughout workplace units at all County sites— that is caused by a 27%% rate of staff vacancy. This is a serious, persistent issue that at base means poorer direct services to citizens throughout the County. It’s another issue that is now on CEO Antle’s plate. What is her plan to fix it?

    • Chuck Dunbar July 13, 2022

      I’ll add one thing: At least CEO Antle is a local woman. That can be a very positive asset, and I hope in her case it is, and that she truly cares about the people in the communities she serves

  4. Ralph Witherell July 13, 2022

    If Niki Bowers is selling prints of “storm starlings” please have her get in touch.


    • AVA News Service Post author | July 13, 2022

      Her website ( says that particular print is sold out, but there are many others still in stock.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.