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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, July 21, 2022

Summer Days | Meadow Fire | Five Deaths | River Redwoods | DSL Update | Big Data | Chief Reception | Annie Oakley | AV Village | Housing Zoom | Gas Profits | Night Out | Nomination Time | Property Tax | Farm Report | Redwood Stump | GJ on B | Last Illusion | Ed Notes | Carjacker Guilty | Police Reports | COMMET Busts | Officially Begun | Yesterday's Catch | Consoling BoJo | Regulating Neonicotinoids | Free Assange | Reform Debate | Orwell Shocked | Military Rebranding | Jerry Lee | Ukraine | Nature Reclaimed

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BENIGN SUMMER WEATHER continues with robust coastal stratus and slightly above normal temperatures in the interior. Slight cooling is expected this weekend with a bit more sun along the coast. (NWS)

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MEADOW FIRE reported 80% contained as of 7pm yesterday.

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FIVE MENDOCINO COUNTY RESIDENTS RECENTLY PASSED AWAY with COVID-19 during May and June 2022. Our thoughts are with their families and friends.

Death #127: Male, 84 years old, from the greater Ukiah area.

#128: Male, 67 years old, from the North Coast area.

#129: Female, 89 years old, from the greater Ukiah area.

#130: Male, 89 years old, from the greater Ukiah area.

#131: Female, 69 years old, from the greater Ukiah area.

COVID-19 is still active across the globe, but we do have the tools to decrease risk of a bad infection. Vaccines and boosters for everyone ages 5 and older, as well as masking and social distancing in crowded areas are the best tools for preventing COVID-19.

If you get COVID, talk with your provider immediately about oral treatments to reduce the risk of serious infection and hospitalization. If you have questions about boosters or vaccines in general, speak with your doctor, or call Public Health at 707-472-2759. To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at:

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Navarro River Redwoods

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First off, for MCN DSL customers there’s good news. MCN is in the process of migrating you to using DSL Extreme’s offerings in the area. All of you DSL customers will have to make some “mode” changes to your setup - MCN should be working with you to get them you and running. 

That is unless you disconnected your landline service these last three weeks. If you have, then you become a new connection and MCN is still working on how it’s going to handle those. Same for you Sonic DSL customers. Apparently, Sonic extended its DSL service two weeks to help close the gap. Best thing is to reach out to MCN and let them know you would like to switch to them. 

If you contact MCN and still suffer from the DSL drought, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can help. 

— Jim Gagnon, Comptche Broadband Committee, 

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The City of Fort Bragg is hosting a reception for new Police Chief Neil Cervenka, this coming Monday, July 25, 2022 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. All members of the public are invited to attend. This will be an opportunity to meet our new Chief and enjoy some refreshments. The event will be held primarily outdoors in the Gazebo at Town Hall, with additional space located indoors. 

Chief Cervenka has just relocated to Fort Bragg with his family, who will be attending the reception. Kellie and Neil have two children, a daughter Samantha, 23, who is finishing her degree in Legal Studies, and a son Alex, 19, currently attending Northwest Lineman College. 

“It is an incredible honor to be trusted to serve the Fort Bragg community as your Chief of Police,” Neil says. The Mayor and all the members of the Fort Bragg City Council hope our residents will get to know the new Chief and welcome him and his family into the community. 

We hope to see you there! 

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Annie Oakley, 1880

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We currently have a record 61 members (47 memberships) and 45 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand!

Happy Birthday to our wonderful members and volunteers: Kathy Cox, Ellen Fontaine, Gregory Sims, Paul Soderman, Elizabeth Wyant (don't see your name? send me your birthdate)
Free TV: The Village has a 32” Panasonic LCD flat screen television with remote to give to any member for free. It is a Panasonic model TC32LX14 includes remote and instruction booklet. It is not a smart TV. It has two HDMI inputs plus the std. array of RCA Jack plugs. It is a Cable ready TV. Contact Philip if you interested: (707) 895-3595 or cell (707) 972-5620

List of Events:

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The Point Arena City Council will hold a Study Session focused on addressing our community's housing needs on Tuesday, July 26th via Zoom as part of the regular City Council meeting which starts at 6:00 PM. We hope you will attend to hear from our consultant team and to share your thoughts about improving the affordability, supply, and quality of housing options available in Point Arena. You can join by using the Zoom link:

You can learn more about the City's ongoing effort to tackle the housing crises on our webpage. To get up to speed on how this process will play out over the coming months, please check out our project timeline. This is a unique opportunity to reshape the City's future in a concrete way (no pun intended!) and we look forward to working with you to make that happen. 

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On Tuesday, August 2, the Fort Bragg Police Department will host our annual National Night Out at Bainbridge Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August.

The Fort Bragg National Night Out event will feature free food and beverages, activities for kids, bounce houses, free giveaways, and an opportunity to meet with your neighbors and your Police Department staff.

Organizations desiring to host a booth at the event notify Officer Zavala via e-mail at The Police Department is additionally seeking volunteers for setup, breakdown, and assisting with the event activities. Interested parties should reach out to Officer Zavala at the above e-mail address.

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The candidate nomination period opened this week for various local school, municipal and special district offices scheduled to be on the ballot on Nov. 8. Candidates residing in Mendocino County who are interested in running for a position must file nomination papers between July 18 and Aug. 12 in order to have their names placed on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - June 2022

Hi friends…

We’re having a very good year so far. The farm’s diversity and soil play a part and so does the weather, which is basically luck, and then there are the unknowns. A number of perennials have taken the year off from fruiting (a normal occurrence), eg. apricots, thundercloud plums, and a few apples and pears, but overall there is an abundance of fruit on most of the trees and berries, eg. pears, apples, kiwi, hazelnuts, walnuts, quince and green gage plum, blackberries, and marionberries, and all of our varieties of trees and shrubs have grown dramatically. This year’s damp, sometimes wet, weather late into the spring helped everything growing on the farm and it’s been a number of years since our annuals - tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, okra, summer squash, and melons - have looked so exuberant.

Now having such bounty is great, but not the hard part. Keeping the bugs, rodents, birds, and wild animals from eating it all is a challenge and was a driver in our decision to build a commercial kitchen, since food that’s been critter damaged doesn’t sell fresh but is perfect for canning. That said, we still have to protect the crops. Many rows are covered with shade cloth against the hottest days, trees are bird netted, (Cam and Juan created a welded rebar and chicken wired two-part movable screen against birds when the tree is too large to net), and live traps are used for pack rats, rats, possums, raccoon and sometimes bobcats who come for chickens. Mouse traps are in constant use. Lately a family of very cute rats has been decimating our crop of hazelnuts before they’re even ripe. So far we’ve trapped and taken elsewhere 6 of the family. Unfortunately there could be 6 more and our crop has already been halved.

There is also the difficulty of harvesting and processing the pounds of fresh food being hauled into the kitchen on a daily basis from now until the beginning of November (weather depending). Damaged fruit of any kind needs to be separated from the perfect because off-gassing from the wounds can damage other foods in the walk-in. All berries need to be rinsed, some deseeded, and either put in a labeled container then frozen or, in the case of strawberries, need to be hulled then frozen. Cucumbers and cornichons are put in a bucket of cold water with ice and canned within a few days.

I’ve only described a bit of some of the process and it sounds like work doesn’t it? It is. But the joy in having a community of folks who like each other, self motivate, know the jobs and divvy them up based on time and ability, but mostly who work as a well-oiled machine, makes it all worthwhile as well as having an abundance of good food to eat and sell, and a gorgeous healthy environment. The main pinch point, the kitchen, is now taken care of by a great team which is keeping up with the harvesting, and producing visually stunning and diverse jars of freshly canned produce every week.

The labels are created and printed by us and affixed to the jars with a glue stick. It’s definitely not the efficient way to go. But preprinted stick-on labels bought in bulk would curtail creativity and are the enemy of diversity and creativity, and creativity, though difficult and time consuming, is the meaning of life.

I have to go pick berries.

Continue to take care and stay healthy, and here’s wishing you a good summer, too.

Yours, Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Krieg

Petit Teton Farm, Yorkville

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Burned Redwood Stump, Navarro

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by Mark Scaramella

In our February article entitled “The Betrayal of Measure B,” we quoted from the Measure B language:

“Mendocino County is committed to improving residents’ lives and the public’s safety by strategically evaluating and enhancing resources for mental health treatment.” Measure B would “Provide for the necessary infrastructure to support and stabilize individuals with behavioral health conditions, including addiction and neurological disorders.”

Notice that it specifically said, “including addiction…”

And, “Conduct an independent annual audit and develop a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the ‘Mental Health Treatment Act’.”

(This was listed separately from the requirement to create the Oversight Committee, which was required to “review the independent annual audit of expenditures and the performance management plan for compliance with the Specific Purpose of this ordinance.”

“For a period of five (5) years a maximum of 75% of the revenue deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund may be used for facilities, with not less than 25% dedicated to services and treatment; thereafter 100% of all revenue deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund shall be used for ongoing operations, services and treatment.”

The proponents, led by then-Sheriff Tom Allman, concluded, “Vote YES on Measure B to save taxpayer dollars by providing early treatment of mental illness and drug addiction, breaking the cycle of homelessness and re-incarceration.”

Measure B was passed into law by an overwhelming majority back in 2017, most voters having naively assumed that the County would at least try to honor the spirit of the measure. 

So it’s an unamusing understatement that the recent Grand Jury dismisses four years of near total inaction on Measure B by beginning, “After a slow start…”

Ya think?

The Grand Jury then proceeds to unapologetically slather some (false) sweet syrup on the County: “The funds generated under the Mendocino County Mental Health Treatment Act, known as the Measure B Ordinance No. 4387 (Measure B) have made considerable contributions to mental health services available in Mendocino County.”

“Consideration contributions”? Not even close. Only a tiny fraction of Measure B funds have gone to increase mental health services available in Mendocino County” — the crisis van, incorrectly named in the Grand Jury’s Measure B report as MOPS (Mobile Outreach and Prevention Services), the name of the non-crisis unit that preceded Measure B but ended when the woman running it retired. It is now called the “Mobile Crisis Response” unit. It was eventually re-funded as a crisis unit, but even that took years to roll out.

The Grand Jury also mischaracterizes the crisis unit’s function by saying that it “provides a mental health technician to accompany patrol officers on calls regarding mentally ill persons in crisis.”

Actually, our review of the crisis unit’s call list shows that most of the crisis unit’s calls are for NON-mentally ill people who are having a temporary crisis of one kind or another. Very few are assessed as “mentally ill.”

Out of upwards of $30 million in Measure B revenue, only a few hundred thousand grudging dollars have been allocated to the crisis unit which only exists because Sheriff Kendall pushed for it. Less than 1% of Measure B revenues have gone to actual “mental health services,” the rest has been spent on a grossly overpriced $5 million “Crisis Residential Treatment facility,” and a minimally used training facility in Redwood Valley. Around $20 million has been ear-marked for the Whitmore Lane nursing home demolition and rebuild into a Psychiatric Health Facility.

With that bit of upside down thinking, it’s hard to take the Grand Jury’s latest Measure B assessment seriously, even when they cautiously dip their toes into some legitimate problems.

For example, the Grand Jury correctly notes that, “very little attention has been devoted to substance abuse treatments.”

Actually, no attention at all. 

The Grand Jury also observed that “The B Committee, meeting only two hours monthly, had difficulty reaching consensus on recommendations.”

What a stupid sentence! Nobody required them to “reach consensus.” A simple majority would have sufficed. In fact, nobody involved even came up with any recommendations to vote on, recommendations which could have been submitted by the committee members if they’d taken their roles seriously.

Then the Grand Jury returns to County propaganda asserting that “The GJ received testimony that significant progress on Measure B projects occurred in May 2020 when the BHD was given responsibility for the implementation of projects.”

“Progress” in this case was wasting of $5 million on a $1 million house that was never mentioned in the Measure B language and which only occurred because the state Mental Health bureaucracy gave Mendo a strict deadline. Even so, the “services” which are being provided in that house are not paid for by Measure B funds.

The Grand Jury also states that “The County contracted with consultants Nacht & Lewis who conducted a study that determined the existing building should be demolished and rebuilt.”

No such study has been delivered, no such conclusions have been reached. The study is supposed to be available soon. Significant parts of the Whitmore Lane facility may not need to be “demolished.” (Although we’re pretty sure they’ll figure out a way to spend the entire $20 million either way.)

The Grand Jury states that “Available funds have limited the new PHF to a 16-bed facility.”

The reverse is true. Behavioral Health Director Dr. Jenine Miller has made it clear that a 16-bed facility is the minimum size required in order to maximize government reimbursements — it is NOT a limit. In fact, Mendo’s PHF wouldn’t need more than eight beds for Mendo patients; the rest is to be rented out to other counties.

The Grand Jury notes that “The Kemper Report recommended 25 percent of Measure B funds, $750 thousand annually, be devoted to Substance Use Disorder Treatment (SUDT). Despite this recommendation, no funds have been dedicated to addiction treatment.”

The actual Kemper language is more definitive: “Of the revenue generated in the first five years, up to 75% of the revenue may be used for facilities and not less than 25% must be dedicated to services and treatment.” (Emphasis in original.)

Kemper is correct; the Grand Jury softened the Kemper language from “must be” to “recommended.”

Nevertheless, the Grand Jury concludes: “There has been no direct funding for SUDT as recommended in the Measure B Ordinance and the Kemper Report. The GJ determined this to be a serious oversight.”

The Grand Jury doesn’t bother to explain this “oversight.” Substance abuse and related homelessness services are not reimbursable and would therefore take money out of the Measure B pot that the CEO and Dr. Miller prefer to waste on facilities.

The Grand Jury applies more sweet syrup: “Several pilot programs, such as MOPS, are proving to be successful.”

Actually, only the mobile crisis unit (not “MOPS”) is “proving to be successful.” The other “pilot programs” that the Grand Jury doesn’t even bother to name — “Crisis Assessment and Psychiatric Hospitalization Aftercare,” and “Community Education, Awareness and Support” — are too vague and generic to measure.

Still, with all its misrepresentations and misstatements, the Grand Jury does at least unambiguously conclude that “the BOS fund SUDT programs as required by Measure B Ordinance No. 4387,” belatedly using the word “required.”

However, despite this “requirement,” there’s little chance that it will be met. Former CEO Carmel Angelo made sure that nearly all of the Measure B money was wired for her grossly overpriced facilities projects (remember the $50,000 kitchen analogy?) before she retired in March. Even with CEO Angelo gone, there’s not much chance that anybody’s gonna change that.

And if the Grand Jury is going to inaccurately soft-pedal their findings, that small chance goes down to zero.

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WHERE O WHERE did the crimson lady go? Which crimson lady are we talking about? In Mendocino County? How many professionally crimson ladies could we be talking about? We’re specifically talking about the professionally purple one who complained about former Ukiah policeman Kevin Murray right down to a detailed description of his reproductive organ, which promptly won her her biggest payday ever (presumably), a gift of public money from the City of Ukiah to the tune of a quarter mil or so.

(I REMEMBER when Bill Clinton was threatened by Monica Lewinsky that she could and would describe his repro device if she had to, causing much speculation on how the courts would go about getting the president of the United States to submit to a short arm inspection. Similarly, I wonder how the Superior Court of Mendocino County would go about getting Murray to self-incriminate? Murray’s defense? If a lady is in the penis business, so to speak, how can she be sure that Murray’s errant organ was the uninvited one?) 

OF COURSE the other prostitute, er, her attorney, undoubtedly took a big whack of that lavish Ukiah payoff after threatening the City to pay now or pay a lot more if we drag you into court, assuming of course we can find Seldom Seen Sage Sangiacomo, Ukiah’s phantom manager, to subpoena him. Ukiah paid up, and paid up long before the sordid case against Murray was heard. (Nostalgics will remember when public officials were as careful with public money as if it were their own, but Ukiah (and the Mendo supervisors) pay out big sums of your money all the time without so much as a backward glance. 

DA EYSTER told us that the felony case against Murray collapsed because after she got her money, the Jezebel of Motel 6, disappeared. But we’re also told she’s living in Arizona and still in the penis stress relief business, and if there are people who know where she is how about a subpoena, given that all this was billed as a major felony case? 

LARRY BENSKY reports from central Berkeley that almost all species of birds that once lived there are gone. “When I first moved here in 1979 there were Bluejays, hummingbirds, Robins, swallows, crows, and hawks. Now all but the crows are gone. So are hundreds of trees, once regularly replaced by a full crew of City arborists and maintenance crews. All gone now, as are their planting and maintenance activities. Berkeley’s privatization has meant crews which occasionally and haphazardly trim trees and occasionally and haphazardly cut them down. Without notice or consultation with residents. Every day on my very limited walks I feed a limited variety of small birds who now nest in rooftops, not trees. But we have more and more rooftops unsuitable for bird nests. And residents don’t have to worry about birds flying into their apartments. We regularly welcomed a few every year, who left the way they came, through windows. New high rise student ghettos don’t have windows that open. So much for nature. So much for Berkeley as refuge from urbanism and its soulless structures and environment.” 

SAME HERE IN BOONVILLE. We have plenty of crows and ravens, fewer birds of other species. I see hummingbirds regularly, an occasional blue jay, but that's it. I suspect the grape industry's heavy use of pesticides and herbicides up here, but in the Bay Area it's all crows, seagulls and pigeons. No sooner had I written that when a bird took off from my bird bath that was none of the above, and way too fast for me to get to my binocs to ID it. The entire natural world is off, as we're informed every day. I noticed years ago that my roses were frying in the bud unless I put them in partial shade. It seemed to me the air was thinner somehow, but checking with much more knowledgeable gardeners, especially my friend Lucille Estes, she said I must be doing something wrong, which I immediately conceded was a strong likelihood. I think the entire situation we find ourselves in is sad, and like every other grandparent I worry that my heirs and assignees will be stepping into a violent, depleted chaos.

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A MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JURY returned from its efficient deliberations Wednesday morning to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty.

Defendant Harlan Nelson Hawk Williams, age 27, of Covelo, was found guilty by jury of felony carjacking, said offense having occurred in February of this year.


The jury also found true a sentencing enhancement alleging that defendant Williams was armed with a firearm during the commission of the carjacking

After the jury was excused, a bifurcated court trial was held where the trial judge found true another sentencing enhancement alleging that the defendant has previously been convicted of a Strike offense in the Mendocino County Superior Court in 2013.

The trial judge further found as true several aggravating circumstances, including that the defendant has numerous prior convictions, has served a prior prison term, and was on a form of parole when he committed the carjacking.

The defendant’s sentencing hearing is now scheduled for August 16th at 3:00 pm in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse.

The case has been referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study of the defendant and a sentencing recommendation.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying today’s jury verdict were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Round Valley Tribal Police Department.

The law enforcement agencies that provided evidence supporting the trial judge’s findings on the aggravating circumstances were the Mendocino County Probation Department and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

The attorney who presented the People’s evidence to the jury was Senior Deputy District Attorney Luke Oakley.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the three-day trial and will preside over the sentencing hearing on August 16th.

(DA presser)

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On Thursday, July 15, 2022 at 3:27 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a report of a male subject acting erratically and possibly trying to break into a trailer in the 1400 block of Lovers Lane in Ukiah.

Shortly after Deputies arrived in the area, they located and detained Lorenzo Cruz, 33, of Ukiah, who Deputies were familiar with from previous law enforcement contacts. 

Lorenzo Cruz

A records check of Cruz through Sheriff's Office Dispatch revealed he was on formal county probation with probation terms including "Obey all Laws", "Search and Seizure," and "No Drugs."

During a search of Cruz' person, suspected methamphetamine and a methamphetamine smoking pipe were located.

Cruz was arrested for Felony Violation of Probation, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Cruz was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was be held on a No Bail status.



On Wednesday, July 14, 2022 at approximately 9:16 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies became aware of a recently issued felony arrest warrant (DUI causing injury) for Michael Hugo, 22, of Ukiah.

Michael Hugo

Deputies responded to the 1500 block of Despina Drive (Ukiah, California) where they located Hugo at his residence. A records check confirmed the existence of the outstanding Mendocino County felony warrant for his arrest.

Hugo was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

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During the week of July 11, 2022 through July 15, 2022, the County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET) served several search warrants on multiple illegal cannabis cultivation sites throughout Mendocino County.

  • 30000 block of Shimmins Ridge Road in Willits.
  • 50000 block of Barnes Lane in Covelo.
  • Area near Hargus Road and North Highway 101 in Laytonville
  • 50000 block of North Highway 101 in Laytonville.
  • 70000 block of Dobie Lane in Covelo.

All locations where search warrants were served were cannabis cultivation sites without state or local permits to cultivate and COMMET was provided assistance by the following agencies: Mendocino Major Crimes Narcotics Task Force (MMCTF); California Department of Justice C.A.M.P Team; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; California Department of Cannabis Control; California State Parks Police; California Division of Water Rights; US Forest Service; Lake County Sheriff's Office; Butte County Sheriff's Office; US Drug Enforcement Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ukiah Police Department (UPD).

In all, 165,219 cannabis plants were eradicated with 5,946 pounds of processed cannabis being seized. There were 59 separate environmental crimes identified by Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientists who assisted in the investigations. There were a total of 12 firearms seized, 3 of which were personally manufactured firearms (Ghost guns) and 2 were classified by the State of California as "Assault weapons."

There were people detained at various locations during the investigations into the cultivation sites, and several of them were from outside the United States. These included such countries as Mexico, Spain, Isreal, France, and Argentina.

An addition to the search warrants, COMMET assisted the Round Valley Consolidated Indian Tribes with a cultivation site on tribal land where persons established an illegal cultivation site after having trespassed onto tribal lands. An additional 1,740 cannabis plants were eradicated at this cultivation site.

These cases are still under active investigation and no further information is available for release at this time.

Anyone with information about operations of illegally cultivated marijuana coupled with environmental crimes are encouraged to the contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.

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Warmest spiritual greetings,

Please appreciate the fact that due to a financial contribution today from a well known coastal conservation group in Maine (salt water), the formation of spiritually focused direct action groups, for the purpose of destroying the demonic and returning this world to righteousness, has now officially begun! Unless you are beyond reach, you certainly by now understand that I am willing to leave the homeless shelter in Ukiah, California and go forth, and I am seeking others to take action with. Earth First!...We'll Save the Other Planets Later.

Craig Louis Stehr

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 20, 2022

Caldwell, Dugger, Galvan, Gimple

CODY CALDWELL, Willits. Domestic battery.

JESSE DUGGER, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

VINCENT GALVAN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-under influence, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

DAKOTA GIMPLE, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

Godinez, Hessings, Hughes, Martin

JUAN GODINEZ-MARTIN, Potter Valley. DUI, no license.

CALEB HESSINGS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

WHITNEY HUGHES, Ukiah. Arson during state of emergency.

JENNIFER MARTIN, Covelo. Parole violation.

Mendoza, Reboca, Rich


DANIEL REBOCA, Ukiah. DUI, hit&run with injury or fatality.

STEVEN RICH, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Silva, Thomason, Thomson

SHANDRA SILVA, Lakeport/Willits. Failure to appear.

JARED THOMASON, Covelo. Failure to appear.

MATTHEW THOMSON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, loitering, more than an ounce of pot.

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by Rachel Becker

Widely used insecticides that harm bees and songbirds would face far-reaching restrictions in California under regulations proposed by the state’s pesticide agency.

The new limits would be among the nation’s most extensive for agricultural use of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides used to kill plant-damaging pests like aphids. The highly potent pesticides have been shown to harm bees, birds and other creatures.

Aimed at protecting bees that pollinate crops, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s proposed rules would restrict four closely-related neonicotinoid chemicals: imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran. 

Unveiled in February, the rules would limit when and how much can be applied, depending on the specific chemical, the crop and, in some cases, the presence of honeybees or other pollinators. California’s pesticide regulators are still evaluating public feedback and there is no specific timeframe for finalizing the proposal. 

Neonicotinoids are the most popular insecticides in the world — although not in California, according to the state pesticide agency. 

More than a decade in the making, California’s reevaluation of neonicotinoids began in 2009, after the agency received a report from pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience that “showed potentially harmful effects of imidacloprid to pollinators.” A 2014 law set a series of deadlines for reevaluating their risks and adopting “any control measures necessary to protect pollinator health.”

In addition, a bill in the Legislature would ban use of neonicotinoids in homes, yards and other outdoor non-agricultural settings, starting in 2024. A variety of consumer products are registered for use in California, such as BioAdvanced All-in-One Rose and Flower Care Liquid Concentrate, which contains imidacloprid. 

The bill trails other states, including New Jersey and Maine, that have already banned outdoor uses in gardens and residential areas. New Jersey’s ban extends to commercial landscapes, like golf courses, too. 

The European Union banned several neonicotinoids for all outdoor uses because of the risks to bees. And other states already have some restrictions on agricultural use, largely by allowing the chemicals to be bought or used only by those with specific training. Rhode Island has also barred neonicotinoids when crops are blooming. 

If finalized, California’s proposal to restrict agricultural use could “significantly impact when and how” neonicotinoid products can be used in the nation’s No. 1 agricultural state, according to an analysis by the California Department of Food and Agriculture

“This is critical,” said Karen Morrison, acting chief deputy director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. “Pollinators play a very important role in the ecosystem at large as well as for crops and being able to produce food in the state.” 

California regulators anticipate the rule would reduce neonicotinoids applied to plants and soil by 45%. Seeds coated in neonicotinoids — a major use of the chemicals — would not be restricted.

California growers say the restrictions could hamstring their power to protect crops and could ultimately lead to worse outcomes for pollinators. 

Limiting the use of neonicotinoids could force the citrus industry, for instance, to use other pesticides that are “not necessarily what the state of California wants” and could require “multiple sprays, something that may pose more risk to bees,” said Casey Creamer, president and CEO of California Citrus Mutual, a trade association of citrus growers. 

Almonds, cherries, citrus, cotton, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes and walnuts are major crops expected to be highly affected by the restrictions. These crops make up about half of the state’s agricultural exports and two-thirds of the acreage treated with neonicotinoids from 2017 to 2019. Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Monterey and San Joaquin top the list of counties where the most neonicotinoids were applied.

Some replacement chemicals may be more toxic to pests’ natural enemies — worsening infestations, the California agriculture department warned in its analysis. 

Such alternatives like pyrethroids, for instance, are also “very toxic to bees, in that they hit the bee, the bee dies. If they're in the spray, they all die,” said Robert Van Steenwyk, a cooperative extension specialist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the authors of the report. “So, that isn’t a great alternative.” 

The regulation contains some exceptions to allow neonicotinoids for invasive pests like the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads citrus greening disease.

Though the California agriculture department does not anticipate any crop losses, its experts do expect an increase in costs because of the price of replacement pesticides. 

The eight highly affected crops collectively earned nearly $19 billion in revenue in 2019, according to the assessment by the California agriculture department. Had the regulations been in place, costs to the growers would have ranged between $13.3 million in 2017 to $12.1 million in 2019. 

Representatives of pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience raised several concerns about the proposal in a letter to the pesticide agency, including that it “is not grounded in science.” In addition, the proposed pesticide application rates “are not efficacious and therefore will not provide control of target pests” on some crops, the company said.

Birds, bees and aquatic life

Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of pesticides that hit the market in the 1990s, billed as being less harmful to mammals and other vertebrates.

Inspired by the toxicity of nicotine, neonicotinoids coat crop seeds, are sprayed on plants and drench the soil in fields. The chemicals suffuse the plant and its pollen and nectar, attacking the central nervous systems of insects.

As their use has climbed, so too have studies revealing that they threaten birds, bees, aquatic creatures. Potential human health risks remain under investigation. 

Wild bees living and foraging near crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated seeds showed large population die-offs in a study funded by pesticide manufacturers.

Honey bees are reared and managed for their honey production and ability to pollinate crops, among other services. Research shows the insecticides kill worker bees, reduce immunity of the hive and leave colonies without their queens.

The insecticides also decimate zooplankton and therefore the fish that feed on them. Birds stop eating, and delay migration. In an assessment of three of the chemicals, the US Environmental Protection Agency found they are likely to harm between 67% and 79% of federally endangered or threatened species and between 56% and 83% of their critical habitats. 

Part of the problem is that the chemicals don’t stay put. They “can move from treated plants to pollinators and from plants to pests to natural enemies,” wrote entomology professors Steve Frank at North Carolina State University and John Tooker of The Pennsylvania State University in the journal PNAS in 2020. “We believe that neonicotinoids pose broader risks to biodiversity and food webs than previously recognized.” 

The chemicals are turning up in groundwater and surface water, including 93% of water samples pulled from creeks, rivers, and runoff in Southern California and 97% of samples drawn from agricultural stretches of the Central Coast and Southern California. 

Jacob Cecala learned that neonicotinoids are far more toxic to bees than he anticipated during his graduate research at the University of California, Riverside. 

A month after he treated native plants from a California nursery with the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, following the label instructions exactly, Cecala discovered that all his bees were dying — their little bodies still on the flowers. 

His goal had been to study the non-fatal effects of the pesticide on a species of bee used for pollinating alfalfa crops. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do? How am I going to complete my dissertation?’” Cecala said. 

It took him another year — and cutting down the amount of pesticide by two-thirds — to find out that although more bees survived, the survivors still stopped foraging for food as much and their reproduction dropped drastically. 

“Bees are insects — they're just as susceptible to these compounds as an aphid or some other insect pest would be,” said Cecala, who is now a postdoctoral scientist at the University of California, Davis. “That's where the problem lies.”

‘Some very concerning gaps remain’

Though environmental advocates applaud state pesticide regulators for the proposed restrictions, they say they’re too limited in scope to address the risks that neonicotinoids pose. 

"As is often the case, California is leading the way with the first state regulatory system for neonics in the nation,” said Daniel Raichel, acting director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s pollinator initiative. “It’s an important first step — especially in regards to pollinator protection — but some very concerning gaps remain.”

California does not address, for instance, crop seeds coated with neonicotinoids, which permeate the plant as it grows but also seep into water, soil and other plants. Coated seeds “may introduce a significant contribution of pesticide mass that remains unreported” in California, state officials said in a November workshop. 

But the state doesn’t regulate treated seeds as pesticides and found that the seeds don’t pose a significant risk to pollinators, Morrison said, although she added, “this is an area that we’re actively looking at.”

Environmentalists also raised concerns that the proposal is primarily aimed at reducing risk to carefully tended hives of honeybees — not its native bee species and other pollinators. 

But state officials said even though their assessment analyzed the risks to honeybees, the rules would protect wild bees, too.

The proposal bars spraying plants and drenching soil with neonicotinoids when crops that are attractive to bees are blooming, and sets a cap for seasonal application. It also establishes crop-specific restrictions on application rates and timing that, for crops moderately attractive to bees, only apply when hives of honey bees or other managed pollinators are on the field.

“Honey bees are actually pretty odd as far as bees go,” Cecala said. They make honey, for one thing, and live in hives. The consequences of pesticide exposure can be much more drastic for California’s solitary bees. If a solitary mother bee “gets exposed to a pesticide and she is not able to reproduce, that essentially ends her entire genetic line,” Cecala said. 

Legislators are considering closing one gap environmental groups have identified in California’s draft regulation: non-agricultural use of the pesticides, including in gardens and commercial landscapes like golf courses. These account for 15 to 20% of known neonicotinoid use in California, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

The bill, which contains exceptions for veterinary use and indoor pest control, is set to be triaged by the Senate Appropriations Committee in August, when it decides which bills will survive and which will die. 

Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a Democrat from San Ramon and author of the bill, said other states have already taken the lead on banning the use of these chemicals in households and neighborhoods. 

“We're not leading the way,” she said. “We’ve got to get our act together!”


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The first in an exchange between two writers on the progressive San Francisco DA's fall from grace and what it reflects about broader national debates over crime.

Editor’s note from Glenn Greenwald:

One of the issues on which I have long focused — both as a journalist and, prior to that, as a lawyer — is the extraordinary rates of incarceration in the U.S. For years, the U.S. has imprisoned more of its citizens than any other country on the planet — both in absolute numbers (despite having a population far smaller than China and India) but also proportionally. An oft-cited statistic tells much of that story: roughly 25% of the world's prisoners are located on American soil, even though the U.S. has only 5% of the world's population.

The causes of these unique incarceration rates are varied and complex. In 2008, working in conjunction with the CATO Institute, I traveled to Portugal to research and produce the first-ever comprehensive report on the results of that country's 2001 law which decriminalized the possession of all drugs (trafficking remains a crime). The data demonstrating its success was so clear and overwhelming that even the political parties and factions which originally opposed its enactment had come to support it. But even if that success could be replicated in the U.S. — and I believe it could be, albeit with some greater difficulty — that would not come close to moving the U.S. into alignment with the rest of the world regarding incarceration rates.

The issue of crime and incarceration policy in the U.S. has always been hotly debated in American politics, but, for a variety of reasons, has received even greater attention over the last several years. In 2019, the Trump administration worked with numerous advocacy groups including the ACLU to engineer bipartisan enactment of the First Step Act, one of the most significant criminal justice reforms laws in years. That law — which applies only to the federal justice system — “allows thousands of people to earn an earlier release from prison and could cut many more prison sentences in the future.” Given that most prisoners are in the state system, that law will have only a modest effect on incarceration rates, yet was intended to serve as a model for providing greater sentencing discretion to judges and ensuring that prisoners are motivated to engage in good behavior and to rehabilitate by offering early release.

Another more controversial response to these strikingly high rates of incarceration has been to elect so-called “criminal justice reform” prosecutors in large liberal cities. These prosecutors vow to rely less on lengthy prison terms, particularly for non-violent crimes, and more on polices of rehabilitation and “root cause” solutions, particularly for drug addiction. But high rates of violent crimes and growing perceptions of a lack of public security have made these reform prosecutors the target of public ire, culminating in the failed attempt to thwart Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner's reelection last May, followed by the successful recall vote that removed from office San Francisco's DA Chesa Boudin in June of this year.

Whatever one's views are on these debates, it is hard to contest that America's exceptionally high rates of incarceration reflect multiple policy, social, and cultural failures. A healthy society does not imprison millions of its citizens. The question of why this is happening, and what the proper responses are, are far more vexing. Just as we aired a debate over Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner's reelection campaign last year, we asked two advocates on each side of this question to engage in an ongoing exchange about whether the fault lies with excessive punitive approaches to crimes or whether leniency is to blame. The following is an exchange between two writers, Ben Spielberg and Leighton Woodhouse, in the first of what will be a continued debate published here on Outside Voices between the two on the subject of San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin’s recent recall and what it reflects more broadly on the issue of crime policies.

Ben Spielberg is a progressive writer and activist who has lived for years in the Bay Area. Leighton Woodhouse is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who lives in Oakland, CA. Initially a supporter of Boudin, (he even produced a campaign ad for the former district attorney), Leighton grew to be a sharp critic of the San Francisco DA during his tenure, ultimately advocating for his recall and reporting on what he called Boudin's “legacy of failure." Woodhouse also recently worked with California gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger, whose unsuccessful campaign to unseat California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) highlighted critiques of Boudin and reform polices generally. Spielberg opposed the recall of Boudin, and has written for this publication in defense of Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and other district attorneys with similar progressive projects. 

As is true of all “Outside Voices” contributions, our publishing of these articles does not signify my agreement with all or even any of what any writer expresses. It instead only reflects my assessment that this exchange will enable readers to form their own views in a more informed and less propagandized manner. We hope you find the first portion of the debate to be illuminating. As the debate continues, we will post the responses of each for as long as the debate remains illuminating.…

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A new defense bill crammed with political pork smashes records, but you likely didn't hear the news, because War is Good again

by Matt Taibbi

Fifteen years ago, as the Bush years waned and political division began skyrocketing, one thing everyone agreed on was that “earmarks” were bad. A trifecta of scandals involving prison-bound congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Republican super-lobbyist (and future Kevin Spacey role) Jack Abramoff, and a $320 million “bridge to nowhere” exposed an intricate system of legalized payoffs both parties scrambled to oppose.

Earmarks, those handy appropriations tools congressfolk used to slip million-dollar favors into the budget, had been ballooning in number for over a decade and looked so bad upon reveal, “corruption and ethics” became the top issue in the 2006 midterms. The Cunningham affair was the worst, featuring a congressman who wrote a “menu” of bribe services (he should have consulted Stringer Bell for legal advice there) and handed out tens of millions in dubious deals to a defense contractor named Mitchell Wade. The San Diego Tribune reporter who broke that story explained:

In return, the contractor showered the congressman with gifts — helping him finance a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, a condo overlooking the nation’s capital, exclusive use of a yacht on the Potomac, antiques, private-jet travel and prostitutes.

Fast forward to last week. As January 6th hearings, a presidential fist-bump, and a Kardashian spawn’s gender reveal gobbled attention, the House quietly passed a monster $839 billion defense package. It was “the definition of a bipartisan bill,” chirped Alabama’s Mike Rogers, as 180 Democrats and 149 Republicans joined to smash by tens of billions previous records for military spending. With this already underreported story, just one news outlet, Roll Call, described a “first of its kind” report published by the Department of Defense Comptroller’s office, which revealed at least $58 billion of “congressional additions” above Joe Biden’s budget request.

As former Senate aide and defense budget analyst Winslow Wheeler puts it, these “additions” are “not (all) earmarks under either the House’s or Senate’s shriveled definition of them, but they are all earmarks… under the classic understanding.” What’s in those requests? As Roll Call’s Donnelly explains, the $58 billion included “money to respond to disasters and the war in Ukraine,” but also:

Billions of dollars in weapons the military did not seek, such as more than $4 billion worth of unrequested warships, many of them built by the constituents of senior appropriators.

This felt like Duke Cunningham days, back with a vengeance. The $58 billion revealed by the Department of Defense only pertained to “congressional increases” larger than $20 million. I asked the DoD to ask if they also counted smaller appropriations. So far, they’ve declined to comment, but according to several sources (and Roll Call), the actual amount of “additions” is almost surely far higher than $58 billion.

Both the triumphant return of the earmark and the enormous defense hike should have been big stories. To put $58 billion (at least) in defense “increases” in context, the amount of overall federal earmarks in 2006, the infamous year that prompted so much outrage, was said to be $26 billion. Meanwhile Biden’s one-year arms increase exceeds the pace of Donald Trump’s infamous $200 billion collective defense hike between 2017-2019. These are major surges past the levels of both pork and weapons spending that had progressives roaring for “change,” yet there’s almost zero outcry now. Why?

It feels like just the latest echo in a prolonged, very successful re-marketing effort. In 2008, disdain for the “War on Terror” propelled Barack Obama past Hillary Clinton, and failures in Afghanistan and other factors after Obama’s election soon led to the ultimate Beltway horror, i.e. proposed budget cuts. A Reuters story from early 2011 details the misery gripping the Pentagon after Obama suggested cutting $78 billion:

The proposed cuts, unveiled at a somber Pentagon briefing on Thursday, follow increased White House and congressional scrutiny of military spending, which has doubled in real terms since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

From that point, however, the U.S. embarked upon what geopolitical analyst Christopher Mott calls the “millennial rebrand of the neoconservative project,” and the Pentagon’s fortunes rose anew. In the Obama years, think-tankers, pundits, and other actors began to push inverted, left-friendly versions of Bush’s rejected military utopianism, this time focusing on using force to achieve social justice aims abroad. It worked, brilliantly.

In an entertaining and provocative paper for The Institute for Peace and Democracy called, “The Coming Confluence Between Social Justice and Neoconservatism,” Mott details how from the Puritans through McKinley and Wilson and the Cold War and especially through the presidency of George W. Bush, Americans viewed foreign policy not in terms of clashes of idiosyncratic regional interests, but as grand battles of good and evil. This was part of a worldview that placed “universalist narratives at the center of the human story,” narratives that needed tweaking for each era.

Progressives after 9/11 rightly mocked missionary ideas emanating from Washington about America protectively spreading “benevolent hegemony” and defeating a KAOS-like “Axis of Evil” (read: unconnected antagonist regimes) so long as they were pushed by hated neocons like Bill Kristol and David Frum. The new messianism was high comedy. First, the new president had just finished refuting the ideas for which he soon became famous. Pre-2000 Bush not only said it wasn’t the job of the U.S. to be the “world’s policeman,” he snapped in a debate with Al Gore, “I mean, are we going to have some kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.”

Then 9/11 happened and Bush took what for him was a familiar psychological step of absolute religious conversion, proclaiming he was “ending tyranny in our world” and backing his talk up with actions so over-the-top in their half-coherence that the rest of the world began to view America itself as a hilarious but terrifying satire:

No matter how crazy, politicians never heard pushback when making no sense, be it Don Rumsfeld pleading for vigilance against “the ones we don’t know we don’t know,” or Bush imploring, “the more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react,” or Ari Fleischer’s classic, “9/11 should be a vivid reminder to everyone about how vulnerable our country is, and that’s why we need to win in Iraq.” The idea that ranges of really unconnected things were connected was never challenged, even after notes of Rumsfeld’s about sweeping up “things related and not” revealed false connections as an intentional strategy. One university study on the media showed even the most loaded terminology was virtually never questioned, with one journalist saying it would have been like “pissing on it” to write, “The so-called ‘War on Terror.’”

When Bush stepped down, all this madness seemed over. Instead, the rebrand commenced. “It kind of took off about 10 years ago, with Kony 2012,” Mott says, citing the mega-viral social media campaign prompted by a YouTube film produced by a group called Invisible Children. Kony 2012 is a brilliant piece of low-budget filmmaking that documented the journey of a boy named Jacob to escape the clutches of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. It targeted progressives and quoted activists who directed millions to send letters to government leaders, who’d be so overwhelmed that it would “[become] in the national interest for the United States to respond”:

After Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and Rihanna shared it, Kony 2012 rose from 66,000 to an incredible 100 million views. This happened just as we were learning the Obama administration was expanding a military footprint in Central Africa, even sending troops secretly to take on Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Though that effort never turned into a full-blown conflict, Obama had by then also adopted the UN’s R2P or “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, which directed the use of multilateral force to prevent “atrocity” events like ethnic cleansing. R2P became grounds for a NATO intervention in Libya.

“Libya was a shift moment,” says Mott. “We decided to have a new war, but it was now explicitly and pretty much entirely underwritten on humanitarian pretext.”

After Donald Trump’s election, “democracy promotion” abroad became intertwined with a Unified Field Theory of regressive political evil. Interventions more and more were framed as humanitarian. In the course of fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan or using sanctions to confront antiblackness in Cuba or taking on Russian reaction everywhere, we replaced Bush’s language of utopian conquest with new, SJW-friendly terminology.

The “risk of inaction” had long been a conservative trope, an example being Dick Cheney’s “one percent doctrine,” under which you must act if you think there’s even a one percent chance that al-Qaeda will acquire a nuclear weapon. Now, you’re likely to hear the moral peril of doing nothing described from the other side, in terms of the “normalization” of someone like Bashar al-Assad (or Alex Jones, for that matter). Instead of the “enemies of freedom” threatening “the very idea of a civilized society,” we’re urged to rescue “democracy itself” by “confronting autocracies abroad.” Even with the cornerstone media deceptions from the two eras, we switched out one absurd hunt for nonexistent connections (WMDs) for another (Russiagate).

Everything is related. The school shooting in Uvalde? It “undermines the U.S. in the eyes of both its allies and its adversaries, damaging its ability to provide leadership on human rights and increasing its vulnerability to enemy propaganda,” wrote a not-at-all-insane NBC News. Or take a New York Times guest essay of a few days ago, “Putin Thinks He’s Winning.” It argues that one of Putin’s grand objectives is to create a “new world order,” replacing a confrontational “bad West” with a more compliant “good West,” with aid from a global coterie of like-minded evil-merchants:

In Mr. Putin’s thinking… the bad West is declining and doomed while the good West is slowly challenging the status quo with a raft of nationally oriented leaders, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary, Marine Le Pen in France and even Donald Trump in the United States.

This is the exact same ideas as the Axis of Evil, not altered even a little. It’s “we’ll pick these random countries that probably don’t actually have all that much going on between them, but because we don’t like them, we’ll say that they’re part of like a secret cabal,” as Mott puts it. In fact, take Frum’s famed “Axis” speech and rewrite it (you could do it with Frum’s help now, too, hilariously) in the language of upper-class intersectional theory and you get an even sillier, faux-left version of “things related and not,” in which all bad things from Putin to incels to fake news to ableism are one and anyone, even the scions of inherited wealth, can be victims of their Creeping Evil.

“From a horrific war in Ukraine, to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela’s life!” said Britain’s Prince Harry to the UN Monday. If you thought the Team America years were weird, how does being lectured on the “struggle” by a British royal rate? Harry thinks a fifty year-old American anti-abortion movement and a faraway European territorial war are not only connected, but involve forces linked against Nelson Mandela. Isn’t that every bit as batty as the X=Y=Z logic of Ari Fleischer, or the Fox hosts who thought lesbian professors were in league with the terrorists? It’s the same manic sorting of everything into giant piles of Good and Bad from the Bush years, only delivered in a more pretentious and ridiculous package.

If you questioned the size of the defense budget in 1956, the answer would be, “Are you some kind of commie?” Today, “the shoe is kind of on the other foot,” says Mott. “In the Cold War, it was the leftists at home you had to keep an eye on. Now, it’s the reactionaries.” In a global struggle, a cigar can never be just a cigar, and there’s no such thing as just a defense budget. There’s only the question, “Whose side are you on?” That’s why the same people who howled fifteen years ago scarcely noticed last week’s Pentagon orgy. They’re driving the crazy train this time, and it’s busy work.

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Who is the baddest rock & roller of them all, well it is the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis, baby!!! Click this link to hear the "Killer" tell the Hells Angels Motorcycle gang where they can "go." 

Background: On his 1977 Tour through Germany many members of the Biker-Gang 'Hells Angels' visited Jerry Lee's shows. While they were enthusiastically celebrating Jerry Lee's Rock'n'Roll songs they continuously would start to boo during the Country Songs. After several days of having to deal with this kind of behavior The Killer had enough and showed them petty Biker Boys who's the Boss. First he told them off and later had a special improvised song just for them! The Killer sure was on fire that night. By the way: Whether it was Country or Gospel. After this rant even the self proclaimed tough Bikers remained silent!

Nashville, Tennessee, January 18, 1958

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Russia continues to make minimal gains in its Donbas offensive, with Ukrainian forces holding the line. 

On 19 July 2022, the authorities in Russian-occupied Kherson reported that the Antonovskiy Bridge over the Dnieper River had been struck by Ukrainian forces. Social media posts showed apparent battle damage to the bridge’s roadway. 

It is highly likely that the bridge remains usable – but it is a key vulnerability for Russian Forces. It is one of only two road crossing points over the Dnieper by which Russia can supply or withdraw its forces in the territory it has occupied west of the river. 

This area includes the city of Kherson, which is politically and symbolically important for Russia. The lower reaches of the Dnieper present a natural barrier, with the waterway typically around 1000m wide. Control of Dnieper crossings is likely to become a key factor in the outcome of fighting in the region. 


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  1. George Hollister July 21, 2022

    LARRY BENSKY reports from central Berkeley

    In Comptche this year we have lots of birds. I assume Berkeley has lots too, but Larry isn’t looking in the right places, or isn’t looking. Crows are easy to see because they are big and like people’s garbage that is right where people are, and in the street. The presence of birds is dependent, primarily, on their food supply. I suspect there are many tons of bird seed put out for birds in Berkeley, and that seed does get eaten. How about bird nesting boxes? My guess is Berkeley likely has thousands.

    I say this because I keep hearing anecdotal reports, as mine are, of no birds from people who don’t seem to be paying very close attention.

    • Kathy Janes July 21, 2022

      I’m sure Larry is paying attention, but perhaps he doesn’t get out as much as he used to. Our house is in the same block and I still hear a mockingbird whenever I go there. And the vegetable garden attracts lots of little brown birds, perhaps not songbirds but they chirp a lot. The neighborhood cat population has increased somewhat – perhaps that has affected the bird population.

      • George Hollister July 21, 2022

        It would surprise me if there wasn’t a large English Sparrow population in Berkeley. Maybe in the millions, and Starlings as well. These birds successfully compete directly with domestic birds, and most people view them as just another bird.

      • Stephen Rosenthal July 21, 2022

        That’s right, blame the cats. An old and very tired scapegoating.

    • Bruce Anderson July 21, 2022

      I pay close attention to birds, George, and I’m telling you it’s almost all crows out there. Occasionally I’ll see the little brown birds Ms. Janes describes, but there seems to be an avian imbalance, which makes sense given that everything else in the natural world is out of balance.

      • George Hollister July 21, 2022

        Was it ever in balance? Like maybe never. Boonville also has a large English Sparrow population. I see lots of them when I go to the fair. Those “little brown birds” might be that. Personally, when English Sparrows show up here, they are shot, or their nests, with eggs or young, removed. Checkout and see what those “little brown birds” are. The males are very distinctive. English Sparrows are found where people are, and they are very adaptive to a wide range of human environments. in very different climates.

      • Marshall Newman July 21, 2022

        Oddly, LOTS of birds in the Sunset District of San Francisco this year. A real mixture of species, too.

      • Alethea Patton July 21, 2022

        Perhaps the Valley birds have moved up into the hills. We have lots of birds and butterflies up here on Signal Ridge. I was lucky enough to have a Western Tanager land on our deck one morning recently. Also lots of Spotted Towhees, Hermit Thrushes, Robins, Hummingbirds, Western Screech Owls, Hawks, Ravens, Vultures & Blue Grouse. Lots of Pigeons too. A few months ago, a vulture flew low over the house with a songbird riding on it’s wing.

  2. Marmon July 21, 2022


    “What a stupid sentence! Nobody required them to “reach consensus.” A simple majority would have sufficed.”

    If I recall, John McCowen and the rest of the board of supes at the time, wanted a consensus from the Measure b committee on any recommendation. Accepting a simple majority would put too much political pressure on them.


  3. Marmon July 21, 2022


    Joe Biden has tested possitive for Covid. He appears to be only suffering with mild symptoms. Hopefully he won’t experience “Covid Brain Fog”.


    • Harvey Reading July 21, 2022

      He already has a serious case of “brain fog”. Too many years of taking his orders from bankers.

      • Marmon July 21, 2022

        Kamala appeared to be in good spirits today


        • Harvey Reading July 21, 2022

          I would be, too, in a job that pays good money for doing nothing!

  4. k h July 21, 2022

    I couldn’t stand to listen to President Trump’s voice but I always attempted to read transcripts of his various media interviews. I found them literally, incomprehensible. The bits of his speeches and “rallies” that went viral often seemed like nonsense speech.

    In light of that, it’s been interesting noting the way conservatives have worked to spread the idea that President Biden is suffering from senility.

    Personally I don’t think either guy was/is senile. Trump is mad like a rabid animal. Biden has been gaffe-prone for decades. They both have problems but neither one is really showing signs of the deep cognitive decline you see in, for example, Senator Feinstein.

    Anyway, I came across this newsletter today and found it interesting. It’s from an Atlantic writer and it concerns the way conservative media magnifies and distorts President Biden’s gaffes.

    There’s also more about this subject in this twitter thread:

  5. John Sakowicz July 21, 2022

    To the Editor:

    In Mark Scaramella’s excellent piece, “Grand Jury Aims at Measure B Again. Misses Badly”, the people of Mendocino County should also note that the grand jury report was released by none other than Kathy Wylie, perennial foreman of the county grand jury. As foreman, Ms. Wylie also served as chief apologist and sycophant for recently retired Carmel “Boss” Angelo. Investigations were killed or derailed by Wylie. Reports were watered down, or sugar coated, by Wylie.

    This is same Kathy Wylie who set up false Facebook pages purporting to be the official pages for each of the county’s five supervisor districts. She was the administrator for each of those pages.

    In truth, the county’s five districts do not have official pages.

    I reported this deception to the Hon. Jeanine B. Nadel, the judge who oversees the grand jury –and who also owes her judgeship to Carmel Angelo — and, not surprisingly, heard nothing.

    Then I reported the deception to Facebook and the pages were removed. Ms. Wylie had been using the pages to disseminate false news, conduct false voter polls, and to anonymously attack her many critics. As administrator for those pages, Ms. Wylie also silenced critics by blocking them from her pages or censoring their content.

    Ultimately, a few alternative district pages were created by honest, well-meaning citizens. These are true community pages. No one is censored. No one is blocked. These pages celebrate free speech.

    So, who is Kathy Wylie?

    I think I’m beginning to put the pieces together.

    Kathy Wylie, perennial foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury, may be the realtor fronting for the Skunk’s Train’s acquisition of the 320+ acre Georgia Pacific mill site for only $1.5 million. If she, in fact, represented either party in the Georgia Pacific-Skunk Train transaction, we have a smoking gun. Kathy Wylie should have made a full disclosure.

    Here’s my working theory:

    Carmel Angelo, perhaps advised by Mike Sweeney, who now lives in New Zealand, put the deal together.

    Cathy Wylie brokered the Skunk Train deal as a realtor, then suppressed grand jury investigations into the deal.

    Judge Jeanine Nadel rubberstamped all the necessary permits, easements, variances, and approvals, or otherwise gave backroom legal advice.

    What do we know for sure?

    What we know for sure is that Ms. Wylie is definitely pro-development and pro-tourism.

    We also know there is the direct connection between Georgia Pacific stockholders (Koch Brothers) and Mendocino Railway.

    From looking at the State of California corporate filings of all the known associated corporations to Sierra Railroad, the executives of those companies get shuffled around regularly. As an example, as of this year, Robert Pinoli is no longer CEO of Mendocino Railway…Mike Hart is the current CEO and Pinoli is only a director. But yet, his business address is the same as Sierra Railroad. This type of shuffling is continuous, so there is never a responsible party for accountability.

    We also know it is more likely than not that Koch’s sold the millsite property to themselves using their corporate spiderweb…if for no other reason than to tangle things up in court for another 10 or 20 years.

    We also know California Western Railway was sold in bankruptcy as stated and that sale can be overturned with the proper diligence. With Mendocino Railways lack of responsible action since the acquisition the properties, it would seem to be the clearest path forward to ending this takeover of our community. More research is needed though as well as finding an attorney or group of attorneys that would take it on.

    And we know Sierra Northern Railway is a sister corporation to Mendocino Railway and an active participant in the takeover of our community. They have been used as a cover to purchase certain properties that are of value to Sierra Railroad and related entities…the most significant being a property out by Sherwood Road, directly over the collapsed tunnel that was purchased last year from Mendocino Land Trust.

    As I said earlier, Mike Hart is now CEO of Mendocino Railway. Meanwhile, Chris Hart has moved his family to Fort Bragg to be closer to the action. He is heavily involved with Sierra Energy and the FastOx gasification process …the Mike Sweeney connection. Mike’s dream was to burn the Bay Areas’s trash right here in Mendocino County and FastOx is the next generation of waste gasification. FastOx gasification uses heat, steam and oxygen to break down waste at the molecular level. Organic materials turn into an energy-dense syngas. Inorganics melt into a non-leaching stone and metals. Waste turns into tar-free syngas suitable for conversion into high-value salable end products with no waste by-products created.

    However, I’m not certain FastOx is something that Mendocino Railway really wants to bring to Fort Bragg. It may be more false news, more corporate misdirection. If we look at what Mendocino Railway is currently doing, it all revolves around the tourist industry. I don’t think burning trash and tourism can coexist. Buying up properties as they come up in estate sales and before they hit the market to turn them into expensive getaways seems more their speed. While at the same time keeping the millsite in perpetual court battles to avoid the necessary cleanup that Koch has left. California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has already stated that they aren’t letting GP and Koch off the hook no matter who owns the property, so it is to Koch’s advantage to keep the legal battles going perpetually. Besides, with the $1.5 million acquisition, by Sierra, Koch gets to claim a $50 million loss on their taxes from the forced eminent domain proceeding. Both sides benefit from it. The 70 acres of Pudding Creek watershed has no toxic implications and Sierra is already moving forward to “carnivalize” that area.

    Finally, we know Kathy Wylie is a snake. She needs close scrutiny and certainly shouldn’t be in charge of determining what cases come before the grand jury. Just the fact that she is a real estate broker puts her in conflict.

    Here’s Ms. Wylie’s realtor license info:

    Name: Katharine Dawn Wylie
    License Number: 01058901
    License Type: Real Estate Broker
    License Status Licensed: Active
    License Effective Date: 17 September 2016
    Address: PO Box 441, Albion, California 95410-0441

    John Sakowicz

    • Bruce Anderson July 21, 2022

      Sako doesn’t mention that Ms. Wylie bounced him off the GJ. I don’t recall why. Additionally, Sako probably thinks his invocation of Mike Sweeney will be certain to get his blast at Ms. W into print, although Sweeney’s link to RR matters ranges from tenuous to non-existent. The whole of the letter would take a research team a week to substantiate.

      • Bruce Anderson July 21, 2022

        I forwarded Sako’s letter to Kathy Wylie, who responded “LOL.” Not even an exclamation mark.

        • Marmon July 21, 2022

          Plausible deniability

          “the ability of people, typically senior officials in a formal or informal chain of command, to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by members of their organizational hierarchy.”


  6. Mike J July 21, 2022

    “Then I reported the deception to Facebook and the pages were removed. Ms. Wylie had been using the pages to disseminate false news, conduct false voter polls, and to anonymously attack her many critics. As administrator for those pages, Ms. Wylie also silenced critics by blocking them from her pages or censoring their content.

    Ultimately, a few alternative district pages were created by honest, well-meaning citizens. These are true community pages. No one is censored. No one is blocked. These pages celebrate free speech.”

    I just checked. She has at least the 5th and 3rd District groups still with no alternatives found, and she paused district 2 in February. District 1 is administered by someone else.

    Regular readers of the AVA likely know what commenting voices here have credibility issues, or worse. The AVA editors are very kind to give an outlet for the voices of the mentally ill and prison inmates (and of course even UFO nuts!).

    • Marmon July 21, 2022

      clean up on isle 5


      • Mike J July 21, 2022

        I’m not really following Mendo politics all that much these days but that District 5 group seems okay, not a mess or significantly suppressive of voices. What we’re dealing with here is probably yet another triggering of outrage over a freaking mirage, this one an illusory image of a corrupt, covering up real estate agent engaged in conflicts of interest. One needs initial facts to develop a hypothesis, or as it’s put here, “a working theory”. And then begin the dig for more clarifying facts from that point.

        He recently mentioned giving info on Mendo law enforcement to authorities in DC. Oddly, he never shared that info re local wrongdoing with the 2 editors here. Who probably know how to handle such info professionally (journalism standards)….and whatever their perspectival quirks, handle in an ethical manner.

    • Harvey Reading July 21, 2022

      Naturally enough for the commenter, it left out holier-than-thou types.

  7. GrandJury July 21, 2022

    Apparently John Sac didn’t remain on the Grand Jury long enough to even learn how it works. Once again, his asinine claim that the GJ foreperson alone determines which cases to investigate reveals his ignorance on the subject. The foreperson is one vote of 19 on that determination.
    Chris Philbrick

  8. Marmon July 21, 2022


    CNN’s Van Jones says the economy has gotten “worse” for Black Americans since Biden took office.

    “The rising gas prices, food prices have really walloped the Black community”


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