DO YOU WANT OUT? A friend said he’d listened to a Bay Area talk show as serial callers said they would like to emigrate. I say, “Here’s your hat and what’s your hurry?” Couldn’t get me outta here with dynamite. Leave the greatest show on earth? For where? The frozen north? And depart without a fight? I’m hoping to remain agile enough to at least volunteer as a sandbag on the barricades when the fascisti make their move in ‘24.
SPEAKING of the fascists, their “intellectuals” — Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson etc. — are flocking to Hungary where another fat guy, this one with brains, Viktor Orban, is giving lessons on how to take over America like he took over Hungary. Read all about it in the current New Yorker as our Trumpers, inspired by Orban, move to capture our public institutions, everything from school boards to city and county election offices.
HISTORICALLY, the European fascists have always made their moves in chaotic times like these, promising to restore order. And now that we’ve got plenty of chaos, and millions of fascist-minded dupes here in Liberty Land…
AT THOSE SPIFFY new gas pumps on deep South State Street, Ukiah, a guy was filling up when a bedraggled woman walked up and demanded, “Are you the bastard who stole my kid? A guy’s driving around town grabbing kids and throwing them in the trunk of his car.” The accosted fuel customer calmly replied, “As you can see, ma’am, I don’t have a trunk on my pick-up.” At which a clerk emerged from the adjacent store and shooed her away, explaining, “She’s always around here. We keep chasing her off, but she always comes back.”
SO OFTEN do we encounter disturbed persons these days, that many of us, of necessity because there are so many of them out there, have become adept at calming strategies. You don’t have to be an old timer to remember a time when aberrant behavior of the public type wasn’t permitted. Of course, we had a functioning state hospital system where the deranged were humanely housed and cared for, some of them even regaining themselves.
HEADQUARTERED IN UKIAH, the County of Mendo harbors what the helping professionals grandly describe as a “Continuum of Care” through whose 30-plus agencies enormous sums of public money are annually sluiced, while average citizens wonder, “Well, gosh, with all these highly trained, professionally compassionate people offering a continuum of care, how come so many of the obviously uncared for are wandering up and down State Street at all hours?”
FOX NEWS' HYSTERIC Tucker Carlson has blamed the Highland Park mass shooting on women.
“AUTHORITIES in their lives, mostly women, never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege. You are male, you are privileged. Imagine that, and try and imagine an unhealthier, unhappier life than that. So a lot of young men in America are going nuts,” Carlson said.
I THOUGHT it was white males who had all the privilege but, as a liberal, and if I remember my communism accurately, social class noses out race — just barely — as the Big, Basic Decider.
The class structure, which we are not taught in school in this supposedly class-less society goes like this, with most people in the working-class as defined as the people who work regular hours for wages. Then there's the middleclass, presently disappearing, who also work for slightly higher wages. Both of these classes are, as we're often told as if it's God's will, a pay check away from homelessness. Above them, is a much smaller upper middleclass of the highly educated professional classes — managers, judges, medical doctors, lawyer, etc. — who identify with the ruling class and run the social-economic system for the truly rich, that small minority of people who have lots and lots of money and fund the two beholden political parties. Above them are the oligarchs, about 500 of them in the United States, who also fund the two political parties. The two top classes of the super-rich run the rest of us like the Spaniards run the bulls at Pamplona, a fact of American life that doesn't seem to be widely known, as demonstrated in the following two anecdotes.
WITHOUT MENTIONING his name, but a guy widely associated with dead canines, called up the other day to talk about an epistolary exchange he'd just had with a mutual acquaintance. Dead Canine described his adversary as “One of them green Marxist communists, way out there on the left.” In living fact, the adversary is a tame liberal Democrat of the ubiquitous Mendo type. (cf the Board of Supervisors, active Democrats, KZYX, public ed staff, the Superior Court, and every lawyer in the county except Al Kubanis.)
ANOTHER CALLER told me a very interesting story, at the end of which he asked, “You aren't one of those liberal Marxist communist-socialists, are you?” I laughed and replied, “Yeah, I'm in that mix for sure.” Long pause, then he said he'd let me know if he wanted me to write up his tale of woe, which I assured him I wouldn't but… In broad outline with no names, here's what happened.
HE WORKS a night shift that gets him home around 3am. One night he arrives at home to find his truck trashed and several of his windows busted out. Inside, his house is also a ransacked mass of destruction and a black man is asleep on his couch. He wakes the black man up. The intruder jumps up and attacks the homeowner, hitting him hard enough to briefly knock him out. The homeowner, still stunned, but fighting for his life, produces a gun and shoots the black man several times in the stomach. The black man is hauled off to Adventist Hospital where he soon recovers enough to be charged with many varieties of felonies which, after processing him through the Mendo legal system, amount to a few months in the county jail and probation. The homeowner is out more than $30,000 with no hope of ever seeing a penny of restitution. The victim of this travesty understandably suspects the local legal apparatus of extreme political correctness in letting the black lunatic slide. The loon is not certifiably nuts but was under the influence of whatever the night he randomly destroyed his victim's property, and might well have also destroyed the victim if the victim hadn't been armed. The perp had simply wandered in off the street. If he'd landed in a home whose occupants were less able to defend themselves…
FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCILMAN LINDY PETERS has a solution to the juror shortage problem: “Trouble getting jurors to show-up? Here’s an idea. Since Mendocino County has policies in place to reduce the carbon footprint, let’s follow their own policy. Instead of 30-40 people from the coast driving over to Ukiah in their individual vehicles to show-up for jury pool selection (sometimes 2-3 days in a row), why not do this? Get a county van. Get the judge, two attorneys and the clerk recorder together and just drive one vehicle over to the coast? We could go through jury selection right here at the 10 mile courtroom and nobody would begrudgingly have to drive 116 miles during a 3 hour round-trip on a curvy, dangerous road. Makes total sense. Maybe too much sense for County officials. I suggested this from the jury box during jury selection last time and was immediately dismissed. Other coastal folks in the crowded room were buzzing as I made my way to the exit.”
LEW CHICHESTER of Covelo agreed: “Lindy Peters has the local court problem sorted out. We used to have a “Justice Court” in Covelo, probably in other places as well. A judge, court reporter, assistant DA and a public defender would show up from Ukiah and take care of the local legal business. Maybe once a month. We even had jury trials. And a lot fewer faces on the lawman’s log for “failure to appear.” This was a much more efficient and fair system for us out here, but all that went away quite a while ago. All centralized in Ukiah now but it seems like it’s not working out all that well as time goes by. Bring back the local courts.”
AGREE TOTALLY with both Lindy Peters and Lew Chichester in their suggestions to make the courts more responsive to the public they allegedly serve. In living fact it’s the reverse; we serve the nine of them.
IT WOULD be laughable if the present, wildly inconvenient (except for them) Ukiah-based court system didn't cause the general public so much inconvenience and travel time, never more onerous than right now with fuel prices at extortionate levels.
GIVEN THEIR LORDLY SALARIES, one would think the Superior Court would come to us. Nope, they're wed to the annual thousands of us coming to the 9 of them and, dooming us to their convenience forever, with no vote, they're deep in the process of erecting a brand new County Courthouse in Ukiah just for themselves at the foot of West Perkins. The structure will house no other county offices.
AND SINCE the 9 Mendo judges — more judges proportionately than any comparable population in the state — are totally unaccountable and seldom opposed for re-election — there ain't a damn thing we can do about present arrangements.
THE LAST TIME I appeared for jury duty, the legal hacks, including the judge, all chuckled as the judge said, “You're dismissed, Mr. Anderson.” That was probably thirty years ago, and I've chucked my jury summons ever since. And with the Superior Court now unable to muster juries, which is their own fault, I encourage all of you to similarly ignore summonses until local courts are re-established, improbable as that is.
IF YOU try to communicate with one of their majesties, your letter comes back stamped, “No ex parte communications.”
I WON'T FORGET an irritable little judicial fellow from Covelo named Combest who had the drop-fall nerve to complain that he had to drive on occasion from his home in Covelo to preside at the justice court in Point Arena, making it sound as if he'd just been sentenced to the Gulag salt mines. You want to talk about entitlement, let's start with the Mendocino County court system, an ongoing insult to the people of this county.
THE PRESENT COURT ORGANIZATION was a scam in several parts. New courthouses were established in Fort Bragg and Willits, accompanied by lordly announcements that Coasties would have their matters heard in Fort Bragg; the mountain people of the North and East county would only have to haul themselves to Willits. And then everything was moved to Ukiah.
LAYTONVILLE AND COVELO once had their own courts, of course, as did Point Arena and Boonville. And there were justice courts in Willits, Fort Bragg and Ukiah to handle the everyday misdemeanors. The assumption was that local courts made sense for our far flung population spread over a vast area.
WAY BACK, murder trials were held in the communities where the murders occurred, and the defendant truly got a jury of his peers.
THE COURTHOUSE in Willits had to have been the ugliest public structure ever erected in Mendocino County until, that is, the new County Courthouse on Perkins that no one, except the judges, wants.
THE WILLITS Courthouse was soon abandoned as a court when the building began to fall apart, and the judges used that excuse to move Willits court ops to Ukiah.
DITTO for the Fort Bragg Courthouse. Sold as a great convenience to the people of the Mendocino Coast who would no longer have to wipe out an entire day (or days) traveling back and forth to Ukiah, the Fort Bragg apparatus would handle everything out of Fort Bragg.
WHAT HAPPENED? Lots of stuff, especially sensitive matters that made the judge nervous, went to Ukiah for no reason other than the convenience of a handful of highly paid “public servants.” Which is the legal system foisted off on us to this day, unaccountable, immutable.
A READER WRITES; The outrage about former Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray’s minimum punishment plea deal is of course justified. Given the charges, Murray should have done time in prison. However wrong-headed the deal sounds, nobody ever said DA Eyster was irrational. I suspect that Murray’s defense team threatened a defense that would have put the Ukiah Police Department and the victims and witnesses on trial. Would Andrian have called former UPD Chief Justin Wyatt to testify? It’s also possible that there were witness/victim and evidence problems with at least some of the charges. With the plea deal, we’ll probably never know. What did the UPD know and/or not do about Murray before his misbehavior became public? If one of the victims is a “prostitute” it’s possible that the DA didn’t want to put her on the stand or that she herself was reluctant. We’re owed an explanation, but I don’t think we’ll get one.
RAT? YOU'RE SMELLING A RAT? We all are on this one. Former Ukiah police officer Kevin Murray, originally charged with seven felonies and a misdemeanor, emerged yesterday from the suspiciously generous superior courtroom of Judge Carly Dolan, Judge Ann Moorman (?) presiding, with a deal that will get him probation. Murray pled no contest to one felony and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dismissed. He, the Ukiah Police Department and the City of Ukiah, still face civil charges brought by another former Ukiah officer, Isabel Siderakis, who alleges she was sexually harassed by Murray with her superiors in the department doing nothing to protect her.
MURRAY had done a couple of months in the County Jail for violating the terms of his bail while he awaited trial on these now implausibly downsized charges. He will be back for formal sentencing on his depleted basket of felonies, which includes more possible jail time, as we pause here for hollow laughter. Judge Moorman said she wasn't inclined to add more jail time.
THE DEAL Murray pled to gets him off, a deal worked out with DA Eyster, presumably, the judge, presumably, and five out-of-town lawyers. Murray is now only facing a few years probation. Mendo being Mendo, a dangerous former police officer has managed to parlay serious felonies into probation.
THE FORMER COP'S FELONIES included forced sex at gun point, while in uniform, with a Ukiah prostitute, and a sexual assault on another woman not a prostitute. The City of Ukiah, prior to yesterday's magical day in court for the defendant, had already paid the prostitute more than $200,000 for her encounter with Murray before the matter arrived in the magnanimous Mendo superior court. Prior to the big pay day for the presumed prostitute, the City of Ukiah had previously paid big time in federal court for a prior episode where Murray gratuitously bullrushed a Ukiah man, resulting in permanent injury to the guy.
FORMER SGT MURRAY is a resident of Lake County. He has been represented by a team of five — shades of OJ! — expensive out-of-town attorneys, including the regionally famous Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney Chris Andrian. One has to wonder who's paying for Murray's expensive defense? Is the City of Ukiah again picking up the tab for its troubled police department?
THE ONLY POSSIBLE mitigation in the Murray matter is his obvious crank addiction. He apparently functioned more or less normally prior to getting into the white powders, a felony amount of which was once found in his police locker, which Murray explained by saying he was storing it for “evidence.”
WHERE was the DA on this one? Or his top assistant, Mr. Trigg? Heidi Larson, one foot out the door to retirement, was in charge of Murray's prosecution? Did DA Eyster sign off on this rancid deal?
PORTER DINEHART'S COMMENT on the Murray matter represents the consensus opinion on the Murray case: “This is just outrageous! So he won’t be a registered sex offender even though the crimes he committed point to him being a predator. He pleads to lower level crimes so the DA gets a win! Where is the justice in this? This is not a victimless criminal! Putting him on probation with one of his peers, that’s great. He hid one of his weapons when he was ordered to turn them ALL over yet this is what he is offered! Seems like Special Treatment for this ex-Ukiah cop!"
(PROSTITUTES in Ukiah? I get the feeling we're not rural anymore. My sources tell me that Bay Area and Sacramento pimps regularly bring their captives to our depressing county seat to service local degenerates. I wonder if it has occurred to Ukiah law enforcement that this sort of thing usually doesn't fly in small town communities.)
READER D.W. BRILEY WRITES: So, please clarify, the BOS is suggesting a 1/4% sales tax that will go into the general fund? Not dedicated specific to Fire/Emergency services? Correct? GENERAL FUND where it can be used for anything, correct?
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES: Correct. We'll grant that they probably mean to do it too. But experience tell us that they've been stingy with their legal obligation to fund emergency services in the unincorporated areas. They made no attempt to honor Measure AJ, they hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to Coastal Valley EMS and say that it's for emergency services, they talk about needing an allocation formula when one already exists (as if Fire Departments are going to waste the money — they should talk). It was pulling teeth to get a the small fraction of Prop 172 money. And if the budget is as bad as they say it is (and we're not so sure), they can say that their own budget needs are a higher priority than the fire services at some future time. I would trust them more if they at least included a provision/resolution requiring a 5-0 vote of the Board to allocate the 1/4 cent revenues to anything but the local fire services or fire safe council. I support a fire tax for fire and emergency services (especially nowadays), but since the Board has not exercised much fiscal oversight on some conspicuous spendthrift projects (CRT, Jail expansion, Whitmore Lane to name a couple), it's very hard to trust them with this one. In fact, when the tax was first discussed, Supervisor Haschak himself noted that the Board hasn't demonstrated an ability to implement such measures in the past.
AMONG THE SEVERAL AD HOC committees “recommended” for “disbandment” — recommended by whom? they don’t say — on Tuesday at the Supervisors next Board meeting is the one from June of 2021 “to develop criteria for greater mental health services outcomes.” This ad hoc was made up of Supervisors Williams and Mulheren. What they did is unknown. No reports or recommendations were made, even though at the time Williams said he agreed with our suggestion that reporting the number of release plans and repeat 5150s would be a good indicator (as suggested by former County mental health staffer Beverly Bennett). According to the Board’s rules of procedure for ad hoc committees: “Status reports from ad hoc committees shall be made to the Board at each regular meeting.” We are not aware of any such “status reports,” nor of any final report on which to base the “disbandment.”
Among the ad hoc committees to continue is: “Formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to work on the CEO/CAO Ordinance development.” Another one with no regular status reports. The Board has casually mentioned a “hybrid” model with some Department heads reporting directly to the Board, but nothing specific. And no consideration has been given to returning the badly understaffed Clerk of the Board position to directly reporting to the Board. (Mark Scaramella)
AFTER NEARLY A DECADE of silence as 4th District Supervisor, Dan Gjerde, seemingly scared mute during the long and disastrous reign of CEO Mommy Dearest, has emerged from his cryonic chamber uncharacteristically combative. We were surprised and pleased at his aggressively correct denunciation of Potter Valley's cheap water gentry, and surprised again by his snippy but incorrect exchange with Fort Bragg councilman, Lindy Peters:
Gjerde: Hello, Council Member Peters. Do you know the judge who dismissed you is an employee of the State of California? Do you know all of the Courts in Mendocino County are operated by the State of California, not the County of Mendocino? If so, why do you address these comments to the County of Mendocino each time you tell this story? …As to the suggestion, yes, why can’t the State Superior Court conduct jury selection with some jurists attending in-person at the State’s Superior Court in Ukiah and with others attending in-person at the State’s Superior Court in Fort Bragg? The State Superior Court officials do have experience participating in Zoom meetings, after all.
Peters: Yes I know all of that. Don’t be condescending to me, Dan. You are above that I thought. So go ahead. Keep defending the system you’ve sadly become part of.
Gjerde: I’m not defending the outdated jury selection process of the State’s Superior Courts. I’m simply curious why each time you tell the story you take aim at the County of Mendocino, which does not manage the Superior Courts.
Peters: This is from the State statutes governing jury selection:
“The prospective juror must travel an excessive distance. Unless otherwise established by statute or local rule, an excessive distance is reasonable travel time that exceeds one-and-one-half hours from the prospective juror’s home to the court.”
Note it says “unless otherwise established by statute or LOCAL RULE.” Has the Board of Supervisors, any of them, looked into changing this absurd process we have of jury selection here? It actually takes an hour and a half for most cautious drivers to even get to Ukiah. Maybe try to override the State they always blame for this debacle with a more fair and just method of handling coastal residents who might otherwise serve?
SUB-LEASE BLUES: I subleased my old Oakland apartment to someone who didn’t pay the last month’s rent and said to put the cleaning deposit towards the rent then asked to stay an extra week… and didn’t pay - then when they left they left the place a mess and with a broken window. But honestly I’m glad the girl is gone and out of my life. She’s the worst person I’ve had to deal with in a while. Rio supposedly works in harm reduction and her then boyfriend Ezra who also lived there works at a dispensary in San Francisco. What losers to screw over a single mom who gave them a great price on a rent controlled apartment. When I asked them to help pay for the extra 11 days at the apartment and the broken window they ghosted me. Stay classy, assholes. (C.A.)
MARILYN DAVIN: On supposed post-abortion “guilt” – just have to respond. Seven or 8 years ago right before I quit my board position of the very large local Democrats Club in a huff, I was at our monthly lunch. Ten woke women and one man (an unequal membership common to many such clubs) were discussing abortion politics over shrimp and avocado salads. One board member, a lifelong Democrat born and raised in the woke empire of SF, announced loudly and passionately that every woman who has an abortion suffers guilt and related angst for the rest of her life. (And this was a progressive Democrat!) Let it go, I told myself, though in this case I just couldn’t. I put my fork down, looked up, and told the group that the myth of abortion/guilt was complete and utter bullshit. I knew this because I had had a safe and legal abortion myself at 6 weeks the year after Roe, and I was even married. But I had just started my junior year and just couldn’t have dealt with a baby given my heavy load at Berkeley, though giving you my reason is purely voluntary and should not matter. We accept all manner of accidents as the price of being human, yet persist, as a nation, in condemning the accidentally pregnant. A fetus is no more a baby than the egg you ate for breakfast is a chick. And there will always be individuals racked with guilt about many things: the wrong spouse, the wrong major, getting divorced – you name it. So of course there is certainly a tiny minority of women who regret their abortions. You’ll probably see a few of them on Fox News.
JUAN MARICHAL EMBRACES WILLIE MAYS after Mays hit a home run to win the game for Marichal. Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal pitched to a 16 inning 0-0 tie prior to Mays' home run, July 2, 1963. Couldn't happen today, what with pitch count metrics and relief pitchers every six innings. The old game was better, much better. Believe it or not, outfielders could catch fly balls, and guys stole home, there were no batting gloves and all the other gear the modern weightlifters require.
STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: The photo of Marichal and Mays and the blurb that accompanies it reminds me why, after lifelong fandom and serious almost daily participation when I was younger, I’ve given up on the game of baseball. For those who don’t know, Spahn and Marichal both pitched the entire 16 innings, each recording well over 200 pitches. Willie Mays used to play every inning of every All-Star Game, and he played in 24 of them.
Baseball has become the most boring sport imaginable and not worthy of a minute of my time. To some extent analytics is to blame. But greed (owners and players), catering to a generation of limited attention span Smart Phone addicts and a clueless Commissioner who clearly doesn’t understand or love the game have all contributed to its demise.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 It really frustrates me to see Americans spending $7.5 billion on 4th of July food, $1.5 billion on consumer fireworks, and $1.4 billion on alcohol. When I look around and see all these fake “patriots” pretending to give a crap about the nation flying flags and acting like bad asses I roll my eyes. Where is their garden? How much debt do they have? How truly independent are they from a system that wants them dead? Can Americans wake the heck up and get to work reducing consumption (yikes!) growing food instead of their guts, and living with purpose? We are deluded in thinking we can squander our time and resources and still party on like nothing bad is happening.
 I had just finished watching George M. Cohan’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and switched over to the news. Six dead, 24 injured in a parade shooting near Chicago. With all due respect to Mr. Cohan, it’s not “over there” but over here, the continuing decay and dissolution of a once great America. The fireworks apparently came from the barrel of a rifle, and the bullets shattered and splattered bodies into a flood of red blood as American flags waved, with their red stripes now representing America’s flowing rivers of corpse-filled crimson.
 This brief, decidedly non-commercial interruption brought to you on behalf of ripe summertime tomatoes, reason enough to set aside all petty grievances in favor of one of the true delights in god’s universe.
 Our last civil war was fought partly by Southern men who could march and fight for months on a diet of cornpone and something else called “hardtack”. They were used to being cheerful and having morale while living and fighting under very miserable conditions. What they had as a soldier’s diet probably wasn’t too different from our forthcoming diet of bugs. I don’t see our spoiled and self-indulgent population having the balls for a real civil war. What will probably happen instead is a sudden mass freakout of crying, hysteria, and mass suicides after it all goes south so to speak. The masculinized women will be leading the way, believing that acting like children, making noise, having tantrums, or demonstrating will bring back the mass motoring, residential climate control, Walmart shopping for China junk etc. It won’t happen.
 Remember a few years ago when swarms of locusts headed from Saudi Arabia to India and the Chinese sent India millions of ducks? I remember because someone said “Wait! The Chinese have an army of ducks? Shouldn’t we build up our duck army?” I never heard the outcome, but I have to assume that the ducks prevailed and the crisis was averted.
 And some wonder why Ukiah is going to Hell in a handbasket. They give $200k to a guy walking around naked in front of businesses in broad daylight on LSD and now reward one of their finest with a free pass to go screw up again! At least they got an In n Out burger now!
 I promised not to read COVID stories any more, but some gatherings are taking place that are apparently still unsafe.
According to the recent US COVID Stats, only about a third of Americans are fully vaccinated, and vaccine refusers are 5 times more likely to get COVID.
The choice is obvious, to me, but I have largely stayed home for 2&1/2 years, retired completely as has my partner, and I basically just started going to the grocery store with my spouse again, and she wears mask and gloves…
Even Biden and Newsom tested positive, as did Nancy Pelosi, Fauci and ad infinitum…
The Virus will mutate to a less lethal form, but it isn’t going to go away, and our lives are immutably altered, while the economy crumbles, Trumpflation rages and the stupid fucking Russians are bombing, shooting missiles at civilians, and destroying life in Europe for everyone else…
At home, the population should be frightened to go out, since random shootings have become popular, and, because someone might steal your catalytic converter…
So, go and hide, and get solar panels, a heat pump and Tesla Powerwalls, plus stock up on your emergency supplies, water and fuel for your generator etc, because the summer hasn’t even started, and the world is beginning to look more dangerous again…
“Climate Change” not because of pollution, it’s because of overpopulation, and, there is no housing shortage, just a bunch of rich-ass baby boomers buying all the houses to hold as investments, presumably so that their descendants will have more assets to sell to pay the ridiculous cost of long-term care and medical expenses for their “about to expire” parents…
And no, if I get a call for extended warranty, I will block the number, and I won’t even answer the fucking phone, next time…