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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, August 18, 2022

Slight Cooling | County Workers | 11 Candidates | Antone Lemos | Skunk Schooled | Blackberry Festival | Mechanics Class | Quong Kids | Haschak Take | Shipwreck Survivors | Yesterday's Comments | Bunyan Returns | Steele Release | Hilda Lyons | Ed Notes | Tippett Statement | Silas Coombs | Elusive Link | Reno Example | Yesterday's Catch | Dead Fish | Jay Frankston | Book Readers | California Lightning | Oakland Camp | Crazy Juice | Freeloading Bums | Hey McCloud | Complicated Geometry | Ukraine | Corinthian Helmets | Sir Trumpalot | The Life

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ISOLATED SHOWERS AND A FEW THUNDERSTORMS will be possible across portions of Trinity County this morning into the afternoon. Dry weather will then return to the region during late week. Otherwise, another day of hot interior temperatures will give way to slightly cooler conditions during the weekend. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 106°, Boonville 105°, Covelo 103°, Yorkville 102°, Fort Bragg 67°

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COUNTY WORKERS once again packed the Board of Supervisors Meeting to demand action to address the skyrocketing cost of living. We listed a number of sources in the budget that can be used to support staff. (SEIU 1021 presser)

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The County Elections Office has certified to the sufficiency of nomination papers for 11 candidates to fill three vacant four-year seats and one vacant two-year seat on the Fort Bragg City Council this November. The candidates are: 

Four-Year Term: Richard Garcia, Jason Godeke, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Richard Mohr, Blanca E. Pena, Lindy Peters (Incumbent), Marcia Rafanan (Incumbent), Michelle Roberts, Scott Taubold. 

Two-Year Term: Tess Albin-Smith (Incumbent), Alberto Aldaco 

Incumbent Jessica Morsell-Haye will not be seeking reelection.

Information on the 11 candidates will be posted to the City’s official website on this page:

The last day to register to vote in the November 2022 election is October 24, 2022. You can register to vote online with the Secretary of State, or in person at the Post Office and the Mendocino County Registrar of Voters office in Ukiah. Mail-in Voter Registration Application forms are also available at the Fort Bragg City Clerk’s office at City Hall and the Fort Bragg Public Library. Sample Ballots will begin to be mailed out on September 29, 2022. 

The election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

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Antone B. Lemos, 1898

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TO: Michael Hart, CEO
Sierra Railroad Company
1222 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95618

Re: Public Utilities Commission’s Response to Mendocino Railway’s Request

Dear Mr. Hart,

This letter is in response to your July 26, 2022 e-mail to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (Commission) General Counsel, Christine Hammond.

In your July 26, 2022 e-mail, you request a letter from the Commission stating that Mendocino Railway is a regulated public utility railroad. Your request is similar to one received from Robert Jason Pinoli, General Manager of Mendocino Railway on October 31, 2018.

On December 7, 2018, the Commission responded in writing to Mr. Pinoli, stating that Mendocino Railway is a Class III railroad. Based on Mendocino Railway’s representations to the Commission, the Commission considers Mendocino Railway’s rail operations largely un-changed since that time.

This letter confirms that Mendocino Railway is a Commission-regulated railroad. The Commission’s website lists Mendocino Railway’s status as a Class III Commission-regulated railroad. While Mendocino Railway is a Commission-regulated railroad, it is not a public utility within the meaning of the California Constitution, the California Public Utilities Code, and the Commission’s orders.

The status of Mendocino Railway has previously been determined by the Commission. In 1997, the California Western Railroad (CWRR) - which was the company operating the excursion service commonly known as the “Skunk Train” at the time - applied to the Commission for status to reduce its commuter passenger services. In the course of this proceeding, the Commission determined that CWRR did not constitute a public utility to the extent it provides excursion rail service, which constituted 90% of its overall business. (D.98-01-050 (January 21, 1998) 1998 Cal. PUC LEXIS 189 [“In providing excursion passenger service, CWRR does not function as a public utility.”].)

The Commission found that, while CWRR was not a public utility, it was still subject to Commission regulation regarding the safety of CWRR’s rail operations. D.98-01-050, Conclusion of Law 3. CWRR agreed with these findings and did not challenge the Commission’s determination that it was not a public utility.

It is my understanding that Mendocino Railway later purchased the CWRR in a bankruptcy proceeding and has continued to provide excursion train service on the Skunk Train. The Commission is not aware of any changes to the excursion services provided by Mendocino Railway that would cause a change to its 1998 determination that Mendocino Railway is a regulated railroad but not a public utility. As such, the 1998 determination is still the applicable law with regard to Mendocino Railway’s status. While some California railroads do constitute public utilities, “railroads” and “public utilities” are not synonymous under the Public Utilities Code. The Public Utilities Code gives the Commission authority to regulate the safety of rail operations in California, regardless of a railroads status as a public utility. (See, e.g., Pub. Util. Code, § 309.7 [The Commission “shall be responsible for inspection, surveillance, and investigation of the rights-of-way, facilities, equipment, and operations of railroads and public mass transit guideways, and for enforcing state and federal laws, regulations, orders, and directives relating to transportation of persons or commodities, or both, of any nature or description by rail”]; Pub. Util. Code, § 765.5 (“provid[ing] that the commission takes all appropriate action necessary to ensure the safe operation of railroads in this state.”].)

The Commission also works in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration as federally certified inspectors to ensure the implementation of railroad safety laws and regulations. (49 C.F.R. § 212.1, et seq.) The Commission also recognizes the regulatory authority of the Surface Transportation Board pursuant to 49 United States Code section 10501, et seq.

The Commission’s jurisdiction is limited to safety oversight over Mendocino Railway’s rail operations, to ensure that Mendocino Railway is operating its rail vehicles safely and in compliance with the law. The Commission does not regulate other aspects of Mendocino Railway’s operations, such as fare prices or schedules, and the Commission’s authority would not pre-empt, for example, generally applicable land-use or environmental rules or regulations as such rules or regulations relate to non-railroad operations.

In addition, your July 26, 2022, e-mail recounts your difficulty with having Commission staff state that Mendocino Railway is a public utility, and also states that at a recent conference that included other California short-line railroads, “[o]ne of the government officials present simply suggested that we throw the next CPUC inspector off the property saying we are not regulated and not subject to his authority.”

As explained above, Mendocino Railway is a Commission-regulated railroad, but not a public utility within the meaning of the California Constitution, the California Public Utilities Code, and the Commission’s orders. As a Commission-regulated railroad, the Commission is authorized to access railroad property for inspections, as part of the Commission’s obligation to ensure the safe operation of all railroads in California. (Pub. Util. Code, § 309.7.)

It is essential that Mendocino Railway have a complete understanding of its obligations as a Commission-regulated railroad, which includes allowing Commission inspectors access to its property. If Mendocino Railway were to throw Commission inspectors off of its property as your e-mail suggests, or otherwise impede or prevent Commission inspectors from accessing Mendocino Railway’s property, this would constitute a blatant violation of the Public Utilities Code, punishable by fines or other penalties. Further, obstructing a public officer from carrying out their duties is a crime, as is threatening a public employee to refrain from carrying out the performance of their duties. (Pen. Code §§ 71; 148, subd. (a)(1).)

Ensuring the safety and integrity of Commission inspectors is of paramount importance. Any act of obstructing or attempting to remove Commission inspectors from railroad property will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We hope this letter answers your inquiry as the Commission continues to exercise its regulatory mission to ensure safe operations of Sierra Railroad and its related entities.


Jonathan C. Koltz

Assistant General Counsel

Legal Division, Public Utilities Commission

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Dear Anderson Valley Community

You have days in your life that are real keepers. Today, I got a keeper… David Ballantine, David Para, and Kira Brennan, accompanied a cohort of students who went to an Auto Mechanics class at Mendocino College. I sat in the classroom with a bunch of students of varying grades, as young as 9th grade, and saw them receive a message from a college professor. Our students in this community don't have access to state-of-the-art facilities. Part of my job as Superintendent is to make sure they get these opportunities. I am so proud of the students. Some of them will really struggle to get through this difficult class, but they are all in. I am proud of the staff that stepped up today for making it happen. High school isn't about just doing what is expected. It's about taking the stretch. Today a bunch of my kids really stretched. I'm also really proud of the parents that required their students to go to a college-level school class instead of participating in a sports event. Sports are wonderful and incredible. But missing one day of practice to get a three-unit college class is far more imperative. I applaud those folks.

So proud of these kids and their families.

Take care,

Louise Simson


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Loyal and Bill Quong, Fort Bragg, 1940

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The County Budget has been the center of most discussions. People have asked me many questions. Are we really as broke as reported? How did this happen when we were supposedly flush with reserves? Why can’t the County hire more staff or at least pay the current staff decently? How did we end up with a $7 million deficit for the health care plan? What is happening with the combined Treasurer/Tax Collector/Auditor Controller position? What is the Board of Supervisors doing about this mess?

The County has had historic windfalls in the past year. We had $9 million from CARES funds, American Rescue Plan Act funds of $16.8 million, PG&E settlement money of $22.6 million. We were able to cover costs during the Covid epidemic, fund many projects that have been needed for recovery from the devastating fires and better prepare for future events.

According to the money people, the budget is bleak. There is little spare money. Reserves can’t be used for ongoing costs. While sales taxes, property taxes, and Transient Occupancy Taxes went up slightly, cannabis taxes went down by over $3 million. Basically, costs have increased and revenues are flat.

Since I got on the Board, the Board was intentional in trying to get County workers up to market rate with comparable counties. This was a three-year process. We did get most positions close to the market rate for salaries and when adding in benefits, our County employees were comparable. Yet with inflation as high as it has been and unemployment levels at their lowest in 50 years, it is difficult to attract employees for all positions in the County. Whether it is a planner, jailer, road worker, or Human Resources director, the qualified applicants are hard to come by. We certainly don’t want to lose any of the employees we have.

The County’s health plan is self-funded. Costs rise due to the experiences and expenses of our employees. Medical costs in Mendocino County are high. The health plan had deficits of $3.6 and $4.0 million dollars in the last two years. This was not fully reported until a few months ago.

The combined positions of Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector (ACTTC) was not recommended by the people in those offices. I voted against it but the BOS passed it. So the question is how do we make it work now that that is the plan. The Board appointed Chamise Cubbison to the position since she was elected in the June election though normally she wouldn’t take charge until January. There have been staffing issues, problems with technology, loss of institutional knowledge, and lack of time for a complete review of how to structure the combined offices. What I don’t want to see is greater costs, another level of administration, and loss of accountability and oversight.

I am proposing that we have a special Board meeting to work out these issues of communication and differing books. If we all aren’t on the same page, then we have real problems and the public deserves better. The Board needs to sit down with the Executive Office staff and ACTTC to figure out where we are financially, how we got here, and what is the path forward.

Thank you again for your confidence in me and please reach out to me at or 707-972-4214.

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SS Noyo shipwreck survivors landing at Point Arena, 1935

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STRAIGHT TALK: Longtime County staff Tracy Wright calls-out the BOS and CEO: “…All we ask is for you to give us a fair shake and stop dodging a bullet, stop hiding behind not knowing. If you don’t know, shame on you! Because she (pointing at CEO Antle) should be giving you the answers to any questions you have. If we were all sitting here listening to citizens of this county complaining about us not doing our job, you guys would be all over us. And she’s not doing her job. You need to get on her. That’s the final line.”

Good advice, well-said, bluntly-put, and face-to-face. Get your act together, supervisors and CEO. Treat County staff with respect and negotiate fairly and honestly. The job vacancy issue in County employment is a shameful situation. The real work of the County – serving the public – cannot be done without sufficient staff. Show us some leadership. Do your job and make this right.

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GEORGE DORNER: Ms Wright’s accusation should have come years earlier, and been aimed at the recently departed county CEO.

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DUNBAR: True for sure, George, it’s been years in the making. I watched for years as a County staffer as Carmel Angelo tore-down some of the County’s services, like Mental Health. She also degraded County working conditions in general and engaged in some degree of union-busting. She was, put bluntly, a nasty leader, and the BOS just let it happen. And here we are now…Lots of rebuilding needs to be done.

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LEW CHICHESTER: That code enforcement will be providing information in the CEO report regarding “notices of violation” and liens is encouraging. Out here in Covelo there are a number of abandoned grow sites, some of them previously abated by the sheriff, others just recently vacated No current activity, with the remains of hoop houses, plastic sheeting and old travel trailers. One would hope that code enforcement would begin contacting the owners of these blighted landscapes and seriously encourage some cleanup. Free dump days in Covelo next week. After the “notices of violation” and liens, can we get some effective enforcement such as fines, judgements, condemnation and forfeiture?

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TWO DAYS BEFORE ALLEGEDLY CAUSING THE DEATH OF AN INFANT, Edward Steele Was Released Early From A Jail Stint To Attend Rehab

32-year-old Edward “Two Feathers” Steele sits in the Mendocino County Jail accused of abandoning two children alongside a Ukiah railroad, simply setting them down on the ground radiating heat from the blazing sun. The one-year-old would die that day, August 3, 2022. The two-year-old would be hospitalized. 

Court papers reveal that just two days before allegedly casting these children aside Steele had stood alongside Public Defender Mary LeClair at the Mendocino County Superior Court. LeClair would recommend to Judge Carly Dolan that Steele serve the rest of his then jail term in the care of the Ukiah Recovery Center, also known as the Ford Street Project. Deputy District Attorney Ivan Abrams did not object to the proposition. On August 1, Steele left the Mendocino County jail and was subsequently relinquished into the custody of the residential program on Ukiah’s Ford Street.…

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Miss Hilda Johnson Lyons, 1897

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YOU CAN READ UP on the Kenny Rogers' case here, but he's known around the County Courthouse as the “Immaculate Conviction” because there was zero evidence that he was responsible for the crime that put him away, and he certainly wasn't responsible for the incompetent lawyers who took his money but provided no defense. Anyway, Rogers, once of Westport, presently of San Quentin, is looking for an attorney who will represent him, because a new law, P.C. 1170.03 qualifies him to argue that he is not a danger to society and should at last be freed. Rogers, pushing 70, has been locked up for 14 years for a crime he did not commit and was not responsible for. I doubt that DA Eyster, a reasonable man (mostly) would oppose Rogers' release, but he needs a lawyer to appear in Mendo Superior Court to make his appeal. Come on, legal eagles. A single appearance on a wronged man's behalf? Surely…

MY STONER FRIENDS get mad at me when I say stuff like, “I've never known a committed toker who wan't at least ten degrees off. A lot of them are like functioning drunks, stumbling through life's minefield but not eluding most major explosions.” For a fact, I've known a depressing number of Mendo kids, and so have you, who were premature potheads who, as youngsters, were bright and happy and ambitious and optimistic only to become schizo, lethargic basket cases by their early twenties, and that was true even when marijuana wasn't nearly as potent as it is now. 

AND HERE we are in a society coming apart every which way with some 48% of Americans having tried the love drug with 16% regularly at it, at least according to a Gallup poll of more than 1,000 people, both figures radical under-counts, I'd suppose. (Assuming there are 260 million adults in the US, 16% would be about 42 million potential adult customers, minimum then add teenagers…) Researchers say cannabis-infused gummies in brightly colored cartoon packaging are designed to appeal to youngsters and should face the same kinds of regulation as tobacco and alcohol. Next-generation oils, vapes, dabs and drinks with high concentrations of THC, the main psychoactive in cannabis, are more akin to hard drugs than 1960s hippie weed. A Columbia University study says cannabis use is “much more common” in states that have legalized the drug and warn of a “potential explosion” of use among both adults and children.

THE AFFECTION SHOWERED on Liz Cheney by love-struck Libs seems to have gone to her reactionary head. In her startlingly delusional concession speech Tuesday, after having been slam-dunked by an even wackier Wyoming Republican, Liz placed herself in the company of Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant! Lunacy runs in her family, of course, but still… (Pssst, Liz. They only love you because you took on the Orange Monster. The Libs won't love you in the morning. Count on it.)

CAN YOU IMAGINE facing the Nazis with the present leadership? The Republicans, considered only by their visuals, look together but, as we know, are dangerously out of touch with reality. The Democrats look nuts and are also woefully unprepared to address the rolling catastrophes engulfing us, although there's some good stuff in Poor Old Joe's recent legislation. But they all look daffy and incapable. Schiff, for instance. He's omni-present on Party media — NPR; MSNBC; CNN etc. But gimmee a show of hands, doesn't he look like the kid who took names for the teacher when she was out of the room? Neener-Neener Schiff has been the go-to guy driving every false Get Trump scheme the Clinton Democrats have come up with, from the Steele Dossier and Russia Gate to the fruitless Jan 6 hearings, but he's not even close as a plausible leader. 

THE PLOT THINS. A guy called yesterday identifying himself as the brother of the mystery man who had the driver of his Rolls Royce sedan back into a parking space at the Redwood Drive two weeks ago. Odd tableau in itself — black Rolls sedan backing in get-away style to parking no one else ever backs into — and then three guys in dark suits, gun bulges in their suit jackets, take up wary positions at the vehicle as one of them enters the Drive-In for some take out. The caller said his brother is a very wealthy resident of the Mendocino Coast, an ava reader (!) who legitimately needs professional bodyguards. “No, he's not a criminal,” the purported brother said, “but he needs full-time security.” Hell, don't we all.

DEB SILVA COMMENTS: “The #3 Catch of the Day [August 16, 2022], Devon Fishback, has a Louis Vuitton logo neck tattoo. WTF?”

WTF indeed, and good catch, Deb. We didn't know Louis Vuitton from Big Mac, and we'd really like to hear from this guy why he has permanently inscribed himself with a commercial advertisement.

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Chuck Hathaway: It’s Jade Tippett all the way. He’s my choice. Heck I’d vote for him for president.

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John Redding: Announcing his candidacy for the Board of Directors of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District, Jade Tippett posted his candidate statement and accompanying comments on the MCN Announce List. Most of which was plagiarized from the work of others. He presents ideas and proposals as if they are the product of his own thinking and does not acknowledge that he is drawing heavily upon the work and information produced by the current Board. A more ethical announcement would acknowledge the ongoing work of the current Board and pledge to continue those efforts.

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Silas Warren Coombs, 1875

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Re: Local Mendocino Coast Inn tackling Homelessness in the Best Way!

From: "Scott Connolly" <>

Well, third time's the charm (I hope) they opened up the wrong video.  Here is the correct one:

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MICHAEL JAMISON: "Re 4f Economic Resiliency Fund

Not mentioned by the presenter today at the BOS mtg is the Russian River corridor. Realistic projections foresee that the current land use designation for this land adjacent to the river will soon face disastrous climate change impacts. Wine grapes will soon be only viable along thin strips of coastal land. The main suggestive model for us is Reno and what it has done along the Truckee River corridor. Aligned with the river is the developing Great Redwood Trail. I think current venues like Rivino can become like a concert/show venue rivalling Konocti Harbor Inn. (Rivino is 5th district BTW). In Reno we see that at the downtown island park, Wingfield. Also, kayak and rec stores, coffeehouses, restaurants, and parks follow the course of the Truckee River."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 17, 2022

Arens, Azbill, Bookout

CARMEN ARENS, Ukiah. Under influence.

FOLEY AZBILL, Covelo. Robbery, controlled substance, no license.


Casillas, Gonzalez, Kasperkiewicz

ERIBERTO CASILLAS-GARCIA, Fresno/Ukiah. Marijuana sales, conspiracy.

JUAN GONZALEZ, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Domestic battery, vandalism.

ANDREW KASPERKIEWICZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Krebs, Madrigal, Mattiuzzo

JONATHAN KREBS, Fort Bragg. Burglary. 

REYNA MADRIGAL, Fresno/Ukiah. Marijuana sales, conspiracy.

AMY MATTIUZZO, Ukiah. Domestic battery. 

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FISH KILL: Dead fish islands about the size of three football fields. That's how some residents of Lake County are describing the unprecedented numbers of dead fish appearing on the shores of Clear Lake.

Find out why it's happening and if it's safe to go in:

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by Marco McClean

Back even before the paper version of Memo, in the final two years of the Harry Blythe era of the Mendocino Commentary and Peddler, when Carol Root had moved away but Judy Brown was still doing the artwork and layout, and then Marsha bought the paper and drove it into a tree, something I printed gave Jay Frankston the impression that I, whose grandparents on my bio-father's side were Jews who escaped Germany just in time, was an anti-semite. He wrote some things about it. Of course I printed what he wrote. He was angry that I, as editor, didn't bother to tell off writers who he disagreed with. He wrote, "Without even comment. Without even comment!" Then during Memo, after Issue No. 8 (of 76 total), where the cover I chose was a photograph of the 1916 Alberta women's hockey team all athletic in fluffy swastika sweaters (the symbol is thousands of years old and found all over the world, sometimes whirling one way, sometimes the other, always meaning good things until well after 1916), Jay cornered me in the Mendocino post office, thrust his tiny but fierce self up at me, thumping at his own solar plexus with the stiffened fingers of one hand, and he growl/scream/whined, "Theaw is PAIN, heah, Mah-co! PAIIIINNN!" (One thump for each word, then five thumps for PAIIIINNN.) Kids are growing up now with no experience of being screamed in the face from less than a foot away; they're missing out.

(This sort of thing goes with the territory, or rather did before everyone got the internet. In the same post office, maybe a year or two after the PAIN thing, a densely-formatted middle-aged woman with dyed-black hair saw me bringing in papers to mail and latched on. That issue or the one before, I had published a letter someone wrote who mildly sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians. She said it was crazy. I said, "I print everything sent to the paper." She said, with venom, "Then you gonna print trash? From CRAZY PEOPLE!")

And awhile after that, another couple of years, I was standing in line to go into the new (I still think of it as new) Mendo High gym to see a performance of Taiko drummers all the way from Japan with their drums from the size of a hat to the size of a garden shed. Jay cut into the line near me and had something to tell me, but he didn't want to tell it to "Mah-co the editow", he wanted to tell it to "Mah-co the man.” I said, "What is it?" He said, "Theaw is a thing called off-the-weckod. Do you know the concept of off-the-weckod? I don't want it to show up in youw Memo." (Drawn-out contempt in that last word.) I said, "Jay, if you wanta tell me something, tell me. If you don't wanta tell me, then don't." He didn't.

Years after that, Jay came to me in the lobby of a theater show I was about to record, and, referring to something he heard on my radio show on KMFB, that he assumed I'd understand this was about, but I had no idea what it was, he said, "I am a wacist!" Just so there's no confusion: he was saying that he was a wacist, not me. And he wasn't asking, he was telling. He continued, "You have no soul! Black people have moh soul that you will evew have!" My mother was in town; she'd just moved here, so this would be maybe 2004 or 2005. She was in the lobby, right there. I said, "Jay Frankston, this is my mother, Evelina," and all of a sudden he was calm and sweet and he stood there talking with her until it was time to go in.

All this time he was giving me books he wrote. He had me come over to his house and help him with his computer a few times. Monique gave me soup and maybe a sandwich. (One time borscht and sour cream. One time Campbell's chicken noodle soup, plop, in the pan.) Jay showed me art he'd collected and pictures of his family, and he'd talk about his project to teach the Holocaust in schools. Some of his books he gave me in text files, on a floppy disk, so I could read them all in serial form on the radio, and I did that. There's one long one about a trip he took to Bali and the people he met there, the customs, friends he made, ceremonies, drugs. One book is about quitting his lawyer gig on the East Coast and, in his forties? fifties? hitchhiking all across the U.S. with his wife Monique, waiting on the side of the road for hours, smoking weed with hippies in a van who picked them up, eventually traveling to settle in Mendocino after going back east. My favorite book of his, that I've read on the air over the course of months at least three times, on KMFB and then KMEC and KNYO, was El Sereno; it's about the entire modern history of Spain from the early 1900s through the 1970s. The main character kept the keys to all the houses and gates in a whole district of Madrid and walked around in the dark every night of his adult life letting people into their houses when they clapped for him, keeping the peace like a guardian, and participating in the anti-fascist movement and war and tumult of the times, winning some, losing some, making friends and losing them to fascist bombs and guns and police torture and prison, and finally dying, very old, with no-one left alive who even knew his name, and the local official is standing there with a heavy iron ring of hundreds of unmarked keys and not the faintest idea how to proceed. Maybe I should do that one again.

He wrote a novella about his and Monique's experiences leading up to and during World War Two. There are fat poetry books, and very thin books with just a story or two in them. One is about a person who appears in a forest with no memory, finds his way to a village where he is taken for the fulfillment of a prophecy but feels stifled, oppressed. He escapes, is pursued, and dies in the forest, then wakes up with no memory, somehow renewed, and it starts all over again. Jay wrote and printed and stapled together dozens and dozens of different books, maybe a hundred, and sold them by mail and through the local bookstore. Max the Piano Player, when reminded of working with Jay on one of his musical plays, would always make that face you make when you you're poised to start bitching about somebody but you stop yourself, because what for, all this time later? I got the impression they didn't get along, and it was something that happened during that play.

In the course of Jay's life he had several major surgical procedures performed on his heart and the various tubes and wires running into and out of it. In his late old age, last year, he wrote to the listserv about being lonely, just sitting in a chair waiting to die. I read about this on the radio and a few people told me they went there to visit, so that's good. I think there might be something wrong with me in the way of relations with other people. I felt bad that he was lonely, and there were times when I was driving past the Y of the road and could have easily gone there again, turn right instead of left and go for one minute, but I didn't want to, so I didn't go. Maybe later, next time, you know?

It's always and never next time. Now there is no more loneliness for him, as they say.

Really, I'm going to dig out El Sereno and read that on the radio again.

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LIGHTNING IS EXTREMELY RARE IN THE BAY AREA. But Here’s Why It Can Be So Dangerous When It Strikes

While thunderstorms ignite a small number of wildfires in California, these blazes have been some of the most destructive

by Jack Lee

When a lightning bolt rips across the sky, it releases enough energy to heat the air to a scorching 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit — about five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

As this superheated air explodes outward, it produces a booming clap of thunder. The sizzling heat can also ignite trees and brush to produce destructive and deadly flames.

Some of California’s largest wildfires have been sparked by lightning. Two years ago, hundreds of bolts hit the ground along the Coast Range in Northern California, igniting what would become California’s first-ever gigafire – the August Complex – which burned more than 1 million acres across six different counties.

This month, strikes from thunderstorms ignited the Six Rivers Lightning Complex burning in Humboldt and Trinity counties. It’s the second-largest blaze to ignite this year.

While acreage isn’t all that matters when it comes to measuring a fire’s impact, lightning has an outsize effect in kicking off fires that spread unchecked in hard-to-reach areas.

And yet, in California, lightning is exceptionally rare.

“Coastal California is one of the areas on Earth with the least amount of lightning,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and The Nature Conservancy.

Lightning along the coast near Little Sur River in Big Sur, Calif. on August 16, 2020. (Kodiak Greenwood, Special To The Chronicle)

But rare thunderstorms in California have large effects. While lightning-initiated wildfires make up a relatively small percentage of fires in the state and nationwide, they account for a large percentage of the acres burned, said Christopher Schultz, a meteorologist with NASA’s Short-Term Prediction and Research Transition Center.

Lightning strikes ignited about 15% of all wildfires in Northern California from 2001 through 2021, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center. But these blazes accounted for about 50% of the total area burned by wildfires in the region during that time. The numbers tell a similar story nationwide.

Thunderstorms and lightning typically strike across the continental U.S. during the summer, when the sun heats up air that hovers near the ground.…

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photoessay by David Bacon

Seven years ago people began setting up what became Oakland's largest and oldest encampment under a freeway maze by a train yard, as the city's housing crisis grew increasingly serious.  Some folks drove RVs and trailers into the huge space next to an old railroad trestle, used decades ago to move boxcars between the port and army base and the main rail yard.  Other home seekers set up tents or even more informal housing.  One enterprising individual even built a room up under the trestle ties twenty feet off the ground.  In an environment a camp resident compared to the wild west, it  provided safety and some peace during the night.…

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To make any difference, the city and county must look toward the business of homelessness. As long as there are free services available, a certain number of people will choose living in a tent and having someone else run their life for them over doing what is difficult, working for a living. The people who run things are very comfortable with homeless bums laying around under foot all over the city. Catholic Services and other ngo organizations feed and clothe them and they are reimbursed by local and federal money. The offal of homelessness, trash, human waste and all of the incredible crap these bums accumulate is always cleaned up by Santa Rosa. When you and I go to the dump it is $35 for a small amount of trash. Bums get it for free. Nothing will change until the city says NO. It is a clear cut “Them or Us” situation. So someone will sue the city? OK, we are already spending millions of dollar enabling these freeloaders. Kick them out, show them the door, adios huevon. What the city is doing now is an invitation to continue being a drug addled freeloader.

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What’s the difference between Mick Jagger and a Scottish farmer?

Mick says, “Hey, you, Get offa my cloud.”

The Farmer says, “Hey McCloud, get offa my ewe.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned people in Crimea and other heavily occupied areas of Ukraine not to go near Russian military installations as Ukraine appears to step up up its counteroffensive against Russian forces.

“Every day and every night we see new reports of explosions on territory that is temporarily taken by the occupiers. And I am asking now all our people in Crimea, in other regions in the south of Ukraine, in occupied areas of Donbas and Kharkiv region to be very careful,” Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app during an evening address.

The warning comes amid an increasing number of reports of attacks and explosions on Russian military facilities. Yesterday, a Russian base was attacked in northern Crimea, an incident that Russia said was an act of “sabotage.”

Ukraine has not openly said it was behind a spate of recent attacks but they are seen as part of the country’s growing counteroffensive against Russian forces occupying their territory, particularly in the southern Ukraine in Crimea and nearby Kherson.

In other news, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will travel to Lviv in Ukraine on Thursday to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Zelenskyy.

The three are expected to discuss the ongoing Black Sea Initiative to export grains from Ukraine. Guterres will also meet with Zelenskyy to discuss the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Ukrainian Emergency Ministry conduct nuclear catastrophe exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia 

Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry conducts a nuclear catastrophe exercise in Zaporizhzhia in case of a potential accident at the city’s nuclear power plant.

Ukraine remains deeply scarred by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear catastrophe when a Soviet-era reactor exploded and spewed radiation into the atmosphere in the country’s north. 

Russian forces took over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant a few days after the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Corinthian Helmets, Greek WW1 Memorial

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by Maureen Dowd

It was inevitable that the Scofflaw and the Law would clash.

Still, it is one of the most bizarre loop de loops in Donald Trump’s dark, crazy reign over Republicans that he turned a party that was pro-law and order and anti-Evil Empire into a party that trashes the FBI and embraces Vladimir Putin.

It is the greatest con of the century’s greatest con man: hijacking his own party.

The Republicans are echoing “unhinged leftists from 1968,” Tom Nichols, the Atlantic writer, noted Friday on “Morning Joe.” “’The FBI is the enemy, the FBI is the Gestapo, the FBI is the enemy within.’”

President George H.W. Bush resigned his National Rifle Association life membership when the NRA, just before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, sent out a fundraising letter, calling federal agents “jackbooted thugs.”

“Your broadside against federal agents,” Bush wrote, “deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country.”

Now, the idea that federal agents are “jackbooted thugs” is a GOP mantra.

At a demented Republican news conference Friday on the Hill, Rep. Elise Stefanik laced into the FBI leadership “that protected Hillary Clinton, James Comey and continues to protect Hunter Biden” and “that perpetrated the false Russia hoax for years.”

Trump expects that kind of obeisance. Peter Baker and Susan Glasser report in their new book, “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” that Trump told his chief of staff John Kelly that he wished his generals were as loyal as Hitler’s were.

It’s Pavlovian now. Republicans don’t even hesitate before protecting Trump, even though he’s being investigated for possibly violating the Espionage Act.

His casual attitude toward classified material is nothing new. New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti wrote that “officials who gave him classified briefings occasionally withheld some sensitive details from him” because they saw him as a security risk.

The lord of Mar-a-Lago assumes that whether he’s in or out of office, all top-secret papers are his, to tweet, wave around, declassify or deploy as political weapons. He didn’t think he would appear as a traitor — the word he used to describe Edward Snowden — when he stashed classified material in his Florida Xanadu, with its approximately 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms.

As an autocrat at heart, Trump simply conflates himself with the republic. That’s why he probably never thought he was committing sedition Jan. 6 when he egged on the mob to overthrow the government he was running. Part of that mob was Ricky Shiffer, who was killed by the police Thursday after he attacked an Ohio FBI office after Trump denounced the agency’s raid.

Trump is also an expert at projection. As Baker wrote in the New York Times, “Throughout his four years in the White House, Trump tried to turn the nation’s law enforcement apparatus into an instrument of political power to carry out his wishes.” Now, he is accusing the FBI of being a political weapon for his successor.

This egomaniac is desecrating our democracy, tearing the country apart for his own benefit. Fundraising emails ranting about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago should be headlined: “Let’s Ruin America So We Can Make Some Money Off It!” (Actually, Rupert Murdoch could use that as a chyron.)

The utterly spoiled Fifth Avenue brat accustomed to living in gilt palaces and cheating his way to success portrays himself as the world’s biggest victim. By degrading law enforcement and undermining government, he perpetuates his dark vision that no one’s legit and everyone’s out to get him, allowing him to lie and cheat with ease.

One of the more delicious aspects of this is that Merrick Garland, the man Mitch McConnell kept off the Supreme Court, is now the one who could bring Trump to justice.

Trump is always whining that someone else should be in trouble, not him. On Friday, he put out a baseless claim, “President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!”

Hussein?? Word is???

Even after so many years of this poisonous folly, I remain amazed that the Republicans viciously smeared by Trump on his way up, like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, now back up his smears.

I hate to be the one to break it to him. But, Donald, you are not the republic. You are the one destroying the republic. You are bad for America. Word is, lots!

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  1. Bernie Norvell August 18, 2022

    Letter to the Skunk, The CPUC not the Coastal Commission.

    • AVA News Service Post author | August 18, 2022


      • Bernie Norvell August 18, 2022

        I do what I can

    • Jacob August 18, 2022

      This letter is interesting. What would be nice is for the City of Fort Bragg to provide a community update concerning the Mill Site and the associated litigation with the Skunk Train. There is a lot of chatter but not a lot of clarity.

  2. Marmon August 18, 2022

    Maureen Dowd, really?


    • Jimmy August 18, 2022

      Yes James, Really. This is really how bad Trump is for the Nation. Keep supporting him and his destruction of the USA, “Patriot”

  3. George Hollister August 18, 2022

    “THE AFFECTION SHOWERED on Liz Cheney by love-struck Libs seems to have gone to her reactionary head. In her startlingly delusional concession speech Tuesday, after having been slam-dunked by an even wackier Wyoming Republican, Liz placed herself in the company of Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant!”

    Before we start comparing ourselves to Civil War figures we need to define what we are all fighting about, besides partisan politics. Otherwise comparisons today of the Civil War era, and current happenings with Donald Trump are a stretch. There was a clear national issue of slavery during the. Civil War. What is the clear national issue today? Abortion? Saving the planet? The homeless? The military industrial complex? Trump’s big mouth?

    • Michael Koepf August 18, 2022

      “What is the clear national issue today?” Gentleman George.
      Answer: The rise of the toiling class verses the sniffy know-it-alls.

      • George Hollister August 18, 2022

        The toiling class has switched to the Republican Party. But who are the sniffy know-it-alls?

        • Marmon August 18, 2022

          How close are you to a mirror George?


    • Eli Maddock August 18, 2022

      1percenters vs the 99ers could be thrown into this mix
      Just a reminder to those that believe a “billionaire” (azh@#e ripoff, big mouth, orange, con-artist) is their hope and savior … drumpth is not working for the working class, middle class, or really anybody else for that mater. Just out for himself.
      Now I’m not defending the other guys and gals either! But as to civil war, I can only hope for a better future world for my kid and his peers. That’s something, I believe, worth fighting for

  4. Stanley Kelley August 18, 2022

    Where is Carmen Angelo?

    • Michael Koepf August 18, 2022

      Strolling about at Marine World, double dipping with a smile.

    • George Dorner August 18, 2022

      At last report, in San Diego with another flossy job to supplement her measly civil servant’s pension.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal August 18, 2022

    While reading the CPUC’s Legal Division Assistant General Counsel’s response to the Skunk mafia, I couldn’t help but think what Mendocino’s County Counsel’s response would have been. I’m quite certain it would have paled in comparison, or even been farmed out to some expensive San Francisco law firm. Yet the BOS found the money to give said County Counsel a generous and most undeserving raise.

  6. Stephen Rosenthal August 18, 2022

    Boonville is extremely fortunate to have Ms. Simson as it’s School Superintendent. She gets it!

    • Bruce Anderson August 18, 2022

      I’ll second that. She’s a marvel, best thing that’s happened to the Boonville schools in years.

    • George Hollister August 18, 2022

      I would agree, in spite of the hyperbolic descriptions of her take on things. But I will take that vs. not hearing anything. The fact that students who are interested in the trades are given an avenue to pursue their interest is a good thing, and should be done in all schools.

  7. Marilyn Davin August 18, 2022

    On Liz Cheney: Cheney did what is almost never done these days. She publicly stood up to the Mafia Don ruling her party knowing that he would almost certainly destroy her – as he destroyed 8 out of 10 mainstream Republicans running for reelection who voted to impeach him. Can you imagine lock-step Democrats (or mainstream Republicans, for that matter) taking this stance?
    Courage under these circumstances demands attention; there is no greater threat to political hopefuls than to refuse to toe the line, especially when the de facto leader is a psychotic crazy with an unquenchable appetite for revenge, served hot to anyone who opposes him. When was the last time you heard an elected major-party congressional candidate openly oppose the leadership of his or her OWN party boss? Never, right? BTW, I’ve never missed an election and never voted for a Republican.

    • Marshall Newman August 18, 2022

      Liz Cheney, by her words and deeds, honored the Constitution and the principles on which the United States of America were founded. In doing so against the will of the Republican Party, she showed great courage.

    • George Hollister August 18, 2022

      I go with Liz is delusional. Was Trump ever in a position to takeover the government? Not remotely so. Was he ever in a position to change the election result? No, to that as well. Is Trump widely popular? Not by what we saw in the last election, and who he was running against. What exactly did Trump do that was unconstitutional? He shot his mouth off and had a temper tantrum, yes, but that is not unconstitutional. Where is Liz Cheney’s respect for the voter majority? Does she think that without her, the voter majority in the next election would not know to vote for someone other than Trump? And lastly, does Liz think that her actions will decrease the likelihood of Trump becoming the next president? From what I can see her actions have increased Trump’s popularity, and influence. But Trump still has no chance of ever becoming the next US President, despite what Liz Cheney says about him.

      • Bruce McEwen August 18, 2022

        You are the delusional one, George, if you think “those who toil” have gone to the Republican Party; you are delusional to think the rabble of dunces who support Trump aren’t just as lazy and complacent as he his — look at James Marmon, who hasn’t had a job since the county shitcanned him. Look at the shiftless layabouts who went to the Capital on 1/6; Reagan was right, they won’t do any physical work, which is why we need more immigrants. And the point you overlook is that now this wishy-washy Harriet Hageman will lose the long-held Republican seat to the Democrat, Lynette Gray Bull*. Cheney will run for president or accept one of the many lucrative offers the MSM will no doubt be tempting her with.

        *she is from the Wind River concentration camp, where the Arapaho were relocated when pioneers saw how nice their home, Boulder, Colorado, was, and decided to take for their own sweet selves, much the way you and your people exterminated the Pomo and relocated ‘em to Covelo so you could keep Comptche for yourself.

        • George Hollister August 18, 2022

          I have been listening to the “dunces who support Trump” for many years, they are the working class. Their unrepresented views on trade, immigration, and foreign policy were Trump’s core policy positions. BTW, Trump did not take these views to get in front of a parade, like professional politicians do, but because he believes in them. I doubt he looked at any polling, either, and was likely surprised at the support he got from people who otherwise might have supported Bernie Sanders.

          From looking at Comptche history, no Indians were relocated anywhere, and the only extermination that might have occurred was from epidemics long before the first European settlers squatted here in the 1850s. At that time, Pomos traveled to Comptche from points East to Clear Lake to harvest tan oak acorns. There were no permanent Indian settlements in Comptche then, though Comptche was named after a Pomo Chief.

          • Bruce McEwen August 18, 2022

            Sorry, didn’t mean to come down like Harvey the Heavy on you, what I meant to say is some of the Institutions that are splitting apart and crumbling were never all that profitable and fair for everyone, at their best.

            • Bruce McEwen August 18, 2022

              As to your finer points on Trump I will concede he is being made a brutal Example of; but on the other hand it’s about time it happened to a rich man, and Trump’s the most flagrant offender I can think of for setting a prescident.

              • Marshall Newman August 18, 2022

                Let me get some clarity here. None of you would tolerate cheating or lying from your significant others. Or from your children. Or from your friends. Why do you tolerate it from Donald Trump, whether before, during or after his Presidency? Why do you tolerate it, indeed laud it, from him?

                • Bruce McEwen August 18, 2022

                  I was trying to be flexible and not offend, but no, He would scream foul false dog if I were on his jury; me too, if he were on mine. What I mean is hey, how does it feel? To borrow a line from Highway 61 &c.

  8. Chuck Dunbar August 18, 2022


    Thank you, Marco McClean, for this fascinating remembrance of your times through the years with this gentleman. It must have taken some time for you to remember it all and write it up. Worth it.

  9. Craig Stehr August 18, 2022

    Spent the afternoon at the Ukiah Brewing Company enjoying the Noyo Harbor brand beer, enhanced by a shot of Red Breast 12 yr. old Irish Whiskey. Reality, moment to moment! ;-))

  10. lindyj August 18, 2022

    Regarding the Clear Lake fish die off; as a kid in the late 50’s I have not so fond memories of water skiing on the lake through huge floating pods of dead fish. That was the reason we started going to Lake Berryessa instead. Global warming???

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