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SEASONABLE WEATHER for late August is expected during the next seven days, with warm temperatures occurring across the interior, and humid cool marine dominated weather expected along the coast. (NWS)
RENEE LEE, AV SENIOR CENTER:
Wow! The BBQ Saturday night exceeded our expectations! Thanks for all the love from our amazing community for your support for AV Senior Center! Far too many to thank but special thanks to AVSC board members, AVSC staff, AV Lions Club, Jeff Moss & Cruise Control, D'Ann Wallace and all of the local individuals and businesses that donated to the raffle and silent auction. Ya’ll rock!
Great turn out, even with the heat! So many pitched in. Very lovely afternoon.
by Mike Geniella
A disgraced former Ukiah police sergeant faces sentencing Wednesday this week in a sweetheart plea deal that has raised eyebrows in the courthouse and the possibility of a public protest outside.
Three felony sex offenses were suddenly dropped by Mendocino County prosecutors despite the independent claims of two women, supported by the contentions of a third in a pending civil lawsuit against Kevin Patrick Murray.
As it is Murray now faces only two years’ probation in a case that could have landed him several years in prison and forced him to register as a sex offender had he gone to trial and been convicted.
Murray’s case is just one of several high-profile police misconduct cases that have rocked Mendocino County law enforcement circles and have resulted in settlements costing taxpayers $1.5 million to date. More claims are pending.
An outside investigation meanwhile drags on into a woman’s assault allegation against Noble Waidelich, the former chief of the Ukiah Police Department. For two months now Sonoma County Sheriff’s investigators have been looking into a complaint that Waidelich assaulted the unidentified victim at her home.
“Investigations take time,” said Sonoma spokesman Juan Valencia last week.
Besides the pending criminal investigation, Waidelich also faces a 2017 civil lawsuit in Mendocino County Superior Court filed by a former county probation officer Amanda Carley who alleges she was financially and physically abused by him when she was his domestic partner. Trial is set for Sept. 26.
In addition, Ukiah city officials announced in March the city had paid the family of a mentally ill man $211,000 to settle claims that a squad of Ukiah cops tasered a naked Oscar Magdaleno during a South State Street confrontation in 2021, knocked him to the ground, and then repeatedly punched him.
Just this past Friday, the District Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against a man who suffered facial fractures and a broken nose when he was struck by two Ukiah police officers during a scuffle in the front yard of his Ukiah home after they attempted to arrest him for misdemeanor DUI.
The prosecution fell apart after Sgt. Ron Donohue and Officer Eric Rodello exercised their Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination during testimony in Arturo Valdes’ preliminary hearing. Deputy District Attorney Heidi Larson, who also handled the criminal case involving Murray, dropped the charges “in the interest of justice” after police officers refused to testify about specifics of their actions, as they had claimed in their initial police reports.
The largest civil settlement yet for police misconduct — $1 million — involves Murray. The city of Ukiah agreed to pay Christopher Rasku $1,050,000 to settle a civil lawsuit he filed after being beaten by Murray, who had responded to a neighborhood disturbance and encountered Rasku. Rasku suffered extensive injuries, including broken ribs, a punctured lung, and nerve damage. The lawsuit also asserted Murray wrote a falsified police report claiming Rasku started the encounter.
Murray, who was promoted to police sergeant even as rumors swirled around him for a decade within the department about his behavior, was dismissed from the department after he was accused in November 2020 of robbing and sexually assaulting a woman he first encountered on a traffic stop.
She contended that Murray followed her to an Ukiah hotel, stole the key card to her room, and then went back after work and demanded sex. He reportedly held a pistol in his hand while demanding she sexually stimulate him.
While the Murray criminal case was pending, the city settled the woman’s claim for $250,000.
When a Lake County woman who was a friend of the Murray family read of the alleged motel assault, she called police and told them that in 2014 Murray had twice come to her home and forced her to orally copulate him.
The Murray criminal cases including the felony sex charges originally were filed separately but the cases were combined by the District Attorney’s Office, and formally restated in court documents as recently as late February.
Between then and July 7, however, prosecution efforts against Murray collapsed for still unexplained reasons.
All felony sex charges were dismissed against Murray. Instead, he was allowed to enter “no contest” pleas to a felony charge of intimidating a witness – the woman in the motel room – and a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge related to a person identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe,” but believed to be the woman in Lake County.
It was a surprising turn of events in a case that DA Eyster, a pugnacious prosecutor who relishes his office’s victories in the courtroom, had only a few months before publicly declared was going to trial.
Given Eyster’s propensity to take time to write his own press releases, the lack of any explanation in the high-profile Murray case is glaring. Two formal requests to Eyster and Larson for specific answers to questions about why the sex and drug charges were dropped remain unanswered.
The fact that Murray has had a top-rated criminal defense law firm at his side helps explain the outcome.
Murray is represented by Andrian, Gallenson & Gaskell, a Santa Rosa firm with a reputation for attacking prosecution efforts “from pretrial motions through trial.” Attorney Gallenson in particular boasts on the firm’s website that his efforts have caused “many serious cases including sexual assault, murder, and drug cases” to be dismissed prior to trial.
Chris Andrian, the firm’s senior partner, is a senior criminal defense attorney with a long and celebrated history in the courtroom. He is widely known in the highest legal circles in Northern California, including federal courts in San Francisco. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman, who accepted Murray’s plea agreement, moved in the same circles before she left her defense career and ran for office.
Murray’s case, and the other local police misconduct complaints, are seemingly part of an emerging national debate about police behavior, and whether some heavy-handed cops locally and statewide are escaping punishment and at what cost to the public.
In 2020, for example, a research team at Bowling Green State University in Ohio found that approximately 1,600 officers across the United States were arrested for sex related crimes during a 10-year period ending in 2014, and that their examination of that data suggested “…police sexual violence is a problem involving more than a few ‘bad apples’ and that the phenomenon of police sexual violence may be a cultural norm within many state and local law enforcement jurisdictions.”
The Bowling Green findings were accepted for presentation at the annual Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in San Antonio, which was later canceled because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ohio researchers also found that cases of sex-related police misconduct are sometimes seen as “hidden offenses” that are likely to go unreported, and “hence, difficult to document and study.” The research team found that many victims may not report instances of police sexual misconduct to authorities because they feel humiliated, or they may fear retaliation. Victims, said the research team, may also encounter barriers to filing complaints since that process can be “unnecessarily difficult and/or intimidating.”
In 2020 the California Law Review at the University of California Berkeley’s Law School concluded a published study on police sexual misconduct with the observation: “Finally, the role of the blue wall in police department masculine culture must be addressed. Because of the blue wall, offending police officers are often protected from any consequences.”
Sebastopol attorney Izaak Schwaiger won the $1 million settlement on behalf of the Ukiah man beaten by Murray. Schwaiger said recently he did not know the specifics of the sexual abuse claims again the former police sergeant, but he knows of Murray’s history of misconduct.
“He is a bad apple,” said Schwaiger.
Murray’s alleged sexual misconduct is laid bare in documents on file with the Mendocino County Superior Court.
The Ukiah motel assault allegedly started with a traffic stop by Murray.
“During the stop defendant engaged S.Y. (the victim with the first name of Stephanie) in conversation. He then drove her and the vehicle to the back of the Super 8 motel. Defendant asked S.Y. what room she was in, and she gave him another room number. A short while later defendant knocked on S.Y.’s door and asked why she lied about the room number. He entered and removed her room key and said he would return at the end of his shift. In the early morning hours defendant returned to the room and opened the lock. S.Y. had barricaded the door to keep him out. Defendant forced his way in. He then disrobed and told S.Y. to touch his penis. S.Y. complied against her will. S.Y. called 911 later in the morning and reported the incident.”
After reading an online account of that incident, a Lake County woman contacted authorities and told them that Murray sexually assaulted twice in 2014. He forced her to orally copulate him. The last time Murray allegedly left in such a hurry that he left his police weapon behind.
There is a third known sexual assault claim against Murray, this one detailed in a pending civil lawsuit filed by a former Ukiah police officer. Now a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy, the woman contends that Murray assaulted her in 2012 while both were attending an out-of-town training session.
In her civil lawsuit, the woman’s experience is described:
“The training was held at a remote location, which required Plaintiff and the other training officers to stay in a hotel. On the first evening of the training, Plaintiff met with a few other officers to play card games in one of the officer’s hotel rooms. Plaintiff and the other officers, including Murray, played cards and drank alcohol. Eventually, Plaintiff left the gathering to return to her hotel room for the night. Once Plaintiff stepped into the elevator, Murray stuck his hand in the door and insisted on escorting Plaintiff to her room. When Plaintiff and Murray arrived at Plaintiff s room, Murray asked to come inside under the guise that he wanted to offer Plaintiff advice, since he was a senior officer, and she was still on probation. Plaintiff reluctantly agreed. After Murray and Plaintiff talked for a little while longer, Plaintiff told Murray that he should leave.
Murray then grabbed Plaintiff’s hand and began caressing her breasts. Plaintiff tried to remove his hands, but she was unsuccessful. Murray then aggressively shoved his hands up Plaintiff s shirt and continued fondling her breasts. He demanded that Plaintiff just give [him] a goodnight kiss. During this assault, Murray continuously reminded and threatened Plaintiff that she is still on probation, she doesn’t have family nearby, that her daughter depends on her having this job, and that nobody at the department will believe her.
Murray then started pulling Plaintiff toward the bedroom. Frightened of what Murray would do to her, Plaintiff ran to the bathroom and locked him out. When Plaintiff opened the door a few moments later, Murray was standing in front of her, naked, with an erect penis. Still frightened, Plaintiff slammed the bathroom door and locked it again. Plaintiff was so scared to leave the safety of the bathroom that she slept on the bathroom floor. After some time, Plaintiff heard snoring and opened the door to find Murray asleep on her bed, still completely naked. Plaintiff immediately left the room. Plaintiff was shaken up from Murray’s conduct the following day at training.
When Plaintiff’s fellow officers asked her what was wrong, Murray moved closely behind Plaintiff and whispered in her ear, “You’re fine. Nothing happened, and no one will believe you.”
Waidelich was police chief when Murray’s case surfaced, and he was fired. Waidelich, a local cop who rose through the department’s ranks, was promoted in 2021 amid hopes of city officials that he would lead the department out of disarray. Instead, he too abruptly left following an assault accusation first lodged with Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall. The sheriff immediately asked for an outside investigation because of his department’s close working relationship with the Ukiah Police Department.
Since then, little is known about the alleged incident. City officials said Waidelich violated department policies and his dismissal was warranted without knowing the results of the Sonoma probe.
Currently, the Ukiah Police Department is under the command of veteran Capt. Cedric Cook, who is attempting to restore stability to a police agency that was once considered a model in Mendocino County law enforcement circles.
“We are going to keeping doing our jobs,” said Cook soon after taking over the troubled department.
JOT IT DOWN
Terry Sites AVA page one article last week resonated deeply with this half century resident of the Valley.
The whole history of Anderson Valley post-native people is waves of immigrants from the earliest Illinois Germans, the mid-westerners, Italians, Finns, Arkies, hippies, retirees, winery people, Mexicans, etc., is what makes this place such a diverse, interesting place to live. And, yes, each of us and our reason(s) for moving here are part of that history. I know for some of us it’s hard to move our recollections onto paper, but I say just relax, have a cup of coffee or a beer, and pretend you’re telling your neighbor next door your story. Try it.
And in the longer run, very important, you will be contributing to our collective history, of Anderson Valley, of rural California, of America. Your grandchildren interested in their roots will appreciate it. And so will professional historians who will find your memories one day in an archive somewhere, maybe the AVA’s, maybe the Historical Society’s, maybe in the family attic.
So thank you, Terry Sites, for your proposal, “start jotting down what you remember about your beginnings here and submit it to this paper….” I know the AVA’s editors, along with its readers, will appreciate it.
MCSO: NO OFFICIAL CAUSE YET DETERMINED IN TODDLER’S DEATH
by Justine Frederiksen
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has not yet released an official cause of death for a toddler found dead near the railroad tracks in Ukiah earlier this month, and spokesman Capt. Greg Van Patten said it could take up to 60 days before a conclusion is reached.
Van Patten said the amount of time needed will depend on the “tissue and blood analysis that could be needed,” following an autopsy on the 1-year-old found Aug. 3 near Brush Street, just outside the northern border of the Ukiah city limits.
According to the MCSO, the deceased boy and his 2-year-old brother had been in the care of Edward “Two Feathers” Steele before they were found abandoned, and Steele has since been charged with three felonies related to the discovery of the children, including murder in the second-degree.
According to the complaint filed in Mendocino County Superior Court, Steele is accused of “willfully
and unlawfully with malice aforethought kill child, to wit, K.A, age year of age.” When asked Thursday if he could expand on why Steele was charged with acting with malice, Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said he was not inclined to discuss the facts of the case prior to Steele’s next court date.
“All of those facts will be presented during the preliminary hearing,” said Eyster, adding that a time and date for that hearing had not yet been set.
Steele has also been charged with two counts of felony child endangerment, as the DA alleges the defendant “did willfully and unlawfully, under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm and death, cause and permit (both K.A., 1, and U.A., 2) to suffer and to be inflicted with unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering.”
When asked if the manner of the toddler K.A.’s death had been determined, Eyster again declined to discuss facts of the criminal case.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
LEAVE 'EM UP
The local media has published a couple of articles encouraging people who feed wild birds to take down their bird feeders due to avian flu. People should know that there is a different opinion about this among local and national birding groups. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Native Songbird Care and Conservation and others do not recommend removal of wild bird feeders unless there is poultry nearby (poultry are more susceptible to infection). Songbirds are unlikely to get avian flu. Tarps can be put over a chicken pen to keep any possible contaminated droppings away from the chickens. Enjoy your birds.
POLICING THE POLICE: A Review Of The Multiple Cases Involving The Ukiah Police Department
A married couple claiming brutality at the hands of the Ukiah Police Department is no longer being prosecuted by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office.…
SURGERY SEDATION & DEAD HENS
by Debra Keipp
I went into Adventist, Ukiah, a week ago last Tuesday — and stayed four days. If you know anyone needing gut surgery I so recommend Portuguese, Dr. Aroujo of Adventist, Ukiah. He came with good recommendations. I plan on taking him some Portuguese treats from Wendy's Disco Ranch when I go in for follow-up next week.
I vaguely remember swearing like a sailor as they carted me to my room after surgery. Screaming for pain meds as anesthesia wore off, they deposited me in a room right next to the nurse's station.
After gut surgery, it’s important to percolate, so the nurses kept trying to get me up to walk down the hallway, but I told them to lock me down in my room, because the guy across the hallway had COVID. I shut my door, kept it shut and stayed in my room for four days, doing my best not to catch COVID.
I hadn't had a colonoscopy. Ever. Almost a fatal error.
Post-op, I came home Saturday mid-day to find two hens dead from what turned out to be Javier Echavarria’s big cane corso mastiff chicken killing dog, which he lets roam the neighborhood freely. I had reset my game camera before leaving. I had had trouble with bears this spring, and no one would be home during my hospitalization.
The dog has grown to like chasing my hens around until he catches and kills. The cane corso won’t respond to, “Go home!!”, but circles me, scarily, as he stalks my birds. He’s been found at my place at least half a dozen times. The owners only responded once when asked to come retrieve the dog. I had to call Animal Control for intervention before that happened, though.
An officer called Echavarria's ex-wife to have her retrieve their dog, finally. I’m down four free-range hens in the last month. Only four remain. Javier owned a previous cane corso mastiff, which he left with his ex-wife and kids when they divorced. That dog bit me twice in one incident, leaving me bruised for a few weeks on my upper arm near the shoulder. As our old Valley Vet, Doc Chaulk would say, “These people aren’t your friends if they can’t take care of their dangerous animals!”
Then a couple of months later, after the owners didn’t do anything about the dog when it bit me, it mauled their 16 year old daughter after pinning her to the ground. This from the family dog.
At that point, Animal Control had the 8-10 y.o. cranky dog dispatched and euthanized. A couple of days ago, after having had time to check the camera, I sent pics to Animal Control, and will be retrieving my .22 rifle out of storage in preparation for the dog’s next visit. I’m tired of such irresponsibility from dog owners.
Mark Scaramella is right: Chickens are a racket. You spend much more money raising them and feeding them until egg-laying age, than you’d pay buying a dozen eggs at the store. As long as I have to pour money into chickens as they grow, instead of raising white egg layers, I purchased Easter Eggers, and (what’s left of) my hens, lay olive green, and pink eggs. I had just purchased two rarer blue egg layer chicks (called Lavenders), which were safely locked away when the chicken killing dog struck during my hospitalization.
It was a major bummer coming home to death with feathers scattered everywhere. If it were wildlife taking them, there’d only be one pile of feathers before the fox, wildcat or whatever, expediently caught and carried the hen off to eat it. With that dog, he chases clumsily (I think it’s just a young dog), leaving feathers scattered everywhere as he chases chickens.
In hospital, it sounded like I was Dr. Aroujo’s record holder for the week. I had an almost record one dozen+ polyps, plus one big monster right at the colon that was pre-cancerous (adenomatous). Now that the bandages are off, I can see where and what. They pulled my intestines out through two incisions above and below my navel, without disturbing my perfect innie belly button. (Not that that matters in my old age!) Dr. Aroujo cut out the meandering monster polyp (2"+ w/a wide base that meandered along the wall of the tubal intestine). Following, was a four day hospitalization.
Since about 2010 I’ve been fighting heart problems. I still had no diagnosis for the cause. My beats per minute continually bounced up to 190/minute, and would flutter like a hummingbird for hours. Then I’d start blacking out as my heart would stop entirely for 3, 6, and 9 seconds at a time (per heart monitor they glued to my chest for about a month). Dr. Drew Colfax, whom I saw often in the ER, was even stumped, and he's a sharp doc.
After struggling for at least a decade, taking their drugs, surgeries, and mega-interventions per the AMA, Doctors had given me meds to make my poor heart go faster when it was too slow, and slower when it was 190bpm. My poor heart did everything they asked of it, by doing BOTH!!! So, a coupla months before surgery, I quit all the heart meds.
After getting the results back from the heart monitor they had taped to my chest for about a month, my cardiologist called me in to give me the dire results, recommending pacemaker installation AND a third heart surgery. He said my heart would stay in afib for three hours at a time, and stop entirely for longer periods than my clotting time (which is 8 seconds), exposing myself to a much higher risk of stroke due to clotted blood. I chose the pacemaker install first. After the afib cure via pacemaker, however, no need for the third heart surgery!
After about half a dozen ER visits, in June I made an appointment with Dr. Chang-Sing in Santa Rosa. He's an internationally known electrocardiologist working with heart ablation. I read about his work in Consumer Reports back in 2009 when I lived in Humboldt County. I had rewired a couple of cabins I owned on the Eel River next to the Drive-Through Tree, and my electrician also suffered from afib. He told me about Chang-Sing. I had my first afib surgery in 2014 at St. Helena Heart Institute, which stopped the afib for a few years until afb raised its ugly head again. Nagged me. It's the reason I eventually sold my horse, sadly. I couldn’t walk AND breathe at the same time.
The appointment with Chang-Sing was supposed to be a zoom appointment, but his secretary is a thick-false-eyelash-wearing incompetent who forgot to mention “zoom”. As the old expression goes – about silk purse/sows ear, I can’t think of anything looking more ridiculously unprofessional, and in plain bad taste, than dressing like a hooker with long false fingernails, false eyelashes, or false hair extensions to work at a medical office or when working in food service. Not antiseptic, I don’t even want to think about culturing what’s stuck under those false fingernails! Presenting themselves as some sort of clown show, I hit the roof. At 197 bpm, I lost my temper on them in the order of my oldest sister, Susan, the scary psychopath. I don't pull out Susan the psychopath often, but when I do, it's usually for good reason: To get results in dire situations.
Chang-Sing's office tried to chew me out for losing my cool, but at almost 200 bpm, I wasn’t having any of it. They finally called the security guard, and told me he’d transport me to the ER via his little golf cart. Before the security guard escorted me over to ER, their office manager told me she was going to put a letter in my chart about the unacceptable way I was acting. I told them I’d trump their threat of a letter in my file, so go right ahead. I was there for nothing more than to finally get a diagnosis on my decade-long medical condition. I’d BEEN patient already. No more.
Dr. Dahr, an amusing East Indian character, was sent to do what he called, damage control, and give me a diagnosis. He did just that. He took over the case and sure-nuf diagnosed me with “Sick Sinus Syndrome”.
My heart’s sinus node, which regulates heart beats, quit; deader than disco. After a four-day hospitalization, Dr. Dahr installed a pacemaker, a fine Swiss time piece by Med-tronic. I used to work in pathology, so have seen a few weighty pacemakers come through as specimens. Their batteries wear off in 5-10 years when the entire unit has to be replaced. Now, they’re digital. With a wave of a wand over pacemaker site, the stats roll in with useful data.
I woke up during the pacemaker installation procedure from sedation wearing off. That was scarier than even my psycho sister Susan! Imagine waking up to someone pushing into your chest while laying flat on your back, unknowingly waking up from being drugged. They gave me conscious sedation, instead of analgesia. Why, I don't know, except it's cheaper by not having to pay for an anesthesiologist to be on board.
The OR nurse warned me that my arms and legs would be strapped to the gurney, because due to the conscious sedation, patients sometimes come awake and try to strangle the doctor while he's in the act of pacemaker installation. As Dr. Dahr was bent over me, giving me what looked like chest compressions, or was vigorously pushing pacemaker into place, I came to from the robust pushing and shoving into my chest. I looked up and tried to grab Dr. Dahr, whose mask was sideways on his face, exposing a huge struggling grimace as he tried to push with both hands into my chest. When I tried to grab him, I must have been fighting like Ali, cuz the bruising left on my forearms was from my elbow to the end of my thumbs: Green, lasting weeks.
It was at that point they hit me with another dose of Oxy w fentanyl to further knock me out. That was at old St. Joseph’s down in Santa Rosa. Surgery successful, same-day discharge was just a few hours later, after the drugs wore off.
As evidenced by my waking during pacemaker installation, everyone responds differently to drugs. Therefore, hospital discharge won’t let you drive home after, and will only release patients to an awaiting ride. So, before leaving the room, I summoned an Uber, which picked me up in front of the hospital, and drove me to my car in the parking garage, where he deposited me so I could drive home. After I returned home to rest, I noticed that the afib was still present for a couple of days before it finally quit.
When I went for follow-up a few weeks later, my cardiologist stroked a digital Med-Tronic wand over my pacemaker and determined that my AFIB WENT AWAY! Presto! Fini! Sure enough, only 3% afib since installation (3% when it took a few days after surgery to stop afib finally, because heart was so used to it), and for some miracle, the pacemaker stopped the afib flutter in my heart altogether.
My cardiologist says to take it when you can get it. He called the afib fix via pacemaker, a miracle.
I had quit drinking years ago, and have lost my taste for pot, so now, more fruits and veggies and less meat. At least I can walk now without running out of breath.
"I've been cheating the Fates right from the start.
The night I was born Ma, Pa, and big sister Cal played cutthroat pinochle by lantern light in the log house of my youth. Ma held a winning hand when the labor pains hit, wouldn't lay down her cards 'til she made her bid."
Thus begins the life of the narrator of my novel OUTLAW FORD, a comic adventure covering two decades as the Old west bucks its way into the 20th Century.
My latest non-fiction work, MENDOCINO HISTORY EXPOSED, contains a tie-in. The tale of my family's shooting horse is depicted with historical accuracy and footnotes as part of the Frost-Coates feud chapter in MENDOCINO HISTORY EXPOSED. In OUTLAW FORD, the slightly fictionalized shooting horse incident serves as a catalyst to inner angst that bedevils the central character throughout the novel.
Both books can be found at the fabulous independent bookstore at the corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino.
If you can't make it in person, Gallery Bookshop can be reached at 707-937-2665. Books can also be ordered through their easy to navigate website: gallerybookshop.com
The narrator of OUTLAW FORD would want you to know, there's a special deal if you order both books: Buy Two, Get Two!
All polls STRONGLY indicate that I am the candidate that Democrats LEAST want to run against, by far, hence the politically motivated Raid on Mar-a- Lago – Which has backfired, big time! I beat them twice, did much better the second time (many millions more votes than the first!), and may just have to do it again. Our Country is going to Hell!— Donald J. Trump via Truth Social
BETCHA, DON. Betcha the Democrat shot-callers are praying you're the candidate, because even whatever lame-o wuss the Democrats put up will give you a go and maybe even beat you. The Republican the Democrats are truly afraid of is DeSantis, a shoo-in if he gets the nod and the guy the major fascisti like the Koch Bros are already shoveling tons of money to.
MOST people know that Big Pharma represents a criminal conspiracy against the health and welfare of Americans. Mark Cuban, a billionaire, has done a major service to beat back the age old drug gouging of the pharmaceutical monopolies by introducing an on-line drug store that sells prescription drugs at cost plus one dollar handling and five bucks for shipping. He isn't making a dime off this literal life-saving enterprise. Cuban's Cost-Plus Drug Company has already saved the lives of innumerable diabetics, to name one huge group of sufferers whose meds force many of them to choose between food and the insulin that keeps them alive.
CUBAN is not advertising. His break-through service is spreading by word of mouth. Which is the way I heard about Cost Plus Drug Company via my son-in-law as he described prices to my brother-in-law. Metaformin is a diabetes drug sold by the crooks at $564.47. Cost Plus Drug's price is $46.20. A drug called Imatinib goes for $2502.50 at your basic corporate drug store. On-line at Cost Plus Drug it goes for $14.40, to give you one of the more spectacular rip-offs some trapped soul has paid for the chemical compound he needs to go on living.
IF COST PLUS DRUG CO. keeps on keeping on, it will break Big Pharma, or at least force them into radically lowering their prices. https://costplusdrugs.com/
THE EDITOR of this fine publication is only on one drug — Advil PM. Knocks me out promptly at 9pm. I stay away from the medical profession except for occasional cortisone shots to my knees. My wariness of the profession seems to be a family legacy. Me dear old Mum was a registered nurse, arriving at her golden years with a burning hatred for the profession only an insider could possibly muster. "They're all drunks and drug addicts," she'd say of doctors, almost all male in her day, and memorably told a young neurologist who saw her just before she died, "I've never seen a doctor. Why do you think I'm still alive?" She also was a dedicated union person. "The week us nurses went union, my pay doubled from $300 a month to $600. You think the doctors were for us? Hah!"
AMONG MY WORST FEARS, right up there with spending eternity with nothing but NPR and Scott Simon for company, is suddenly conking out at the Boonville Post Office and getting hauled over the hill to find myself at the mercy of the vegetarian cultists at Adventist. "Gitchy-goo, you bastard. We've got you now!" If you find me non-responsive but breathing, get me to the Catholics at St. Mary's Emergency, Stanyan Street, San Francisco. I'll pay half your gas fill-up.
SERIOUSLY, this is the first presser I've seen from Little Mikey McGuire that's actually relevant to the lives of real people. He's correctly come out against AB 257, a law proposed in the California Legislature, which would establish new regulations for counter-service restaurants where customers pay first, then eat. It completely changes how and if many local restaurants can continue in business. AB 257 creates a misleadingly named “Fast Food Sector Council” of 13 unelected political appointees to set wages, benefits and working conditions for all counter-service restaurants whose brands have more than 30 locations nationwide, even though most counter-service restaurants are individually owned and operated by community members.
THE MAJOR DISAGREES: From what I read I think McGuire’s wrong on this one. It applies only to larger chain franchises and exempts most locally owned restaurants, which seems like a good thing. It might make things better for workers, too, but that’s not entirely clear from my brief reading on it such as: vox.com/policy-and-politics/2022/8/15/23296481/fast-food-ab257-california-sectoral-labor-unions
WHEN IT COMES TO WATER, YOU NEED THE FACTS
by Jim Shields
Without a doubt most County residents know little if anything about something called the Mendocino County Water Agency (MCWA or “Water Agency”).
It was originally formed in 1987, with the Board of Supervisors sitting as its governing board. Its responsibilities included such things as researching new sources of water supply, reviewing additional surface storage options, and working on watershed improvement projects.
Around 2008 when the County was faced with another budget crisis, the Water Agency was quasi-tombstoned until 2021 when the Supes voted to take a look at possibly resurrecting it. To that end, the BOS OK’d a $307,000 consultant-driven process that occurred in the spring of this year to study the feasibility of raising up the nearly defunct Agency.
In my opinion, the same effort could have been performed, but without the same price tag, by a BOS-appointed committee modeled on the Well Extraction/Water Hauling Ordinance Committee that recently delivered a tentatively approved set of rules now under review by the Planning Commission. But reliance on consultants and the resulting taxpayer expenditures are topics for another day.
A special Board of Supervisors Standing Committee, the Public Health, Safety, and Resources Committee, held a meeting this Monday, Aug. 15. I attended via Zoom and made the following recommendations to its two members, Supervisors John Haschak and Glenn McGourty, regarding the proposed resurrection of the County’s long-dormant Water Agency.
Here’s what I recommended:
As a member of the former Water Agency Steering Committee, convened under the auspices of GEI Consultants, Inc., I would like to take the opportunity to share a few ideas and recommendations with you on water related issues as they pertain to the status of the Mendocino County Water Agency.
For the past year, the County has been discussing the issue of resurrecting or re-establishing a functioning Water Agency that will better serve and represent the multiple water interests on a county-wide basis.
One of the major impediments to meeting that goal is that what County officials don’t know about basic water-related information and data far exceeds what they do know.
It would be extremely difficult at this time to move forward with structural, organizational, governing, and financial plans for a Water Agency when so little is known about rudimentary but essential water-related information and data.
It’s a fact that the County of Mendocino does not own a single water right to a single drop of water.
Neither does the County produce a single drop of potable water or untreated water.
Water production is overseen and managed by local government-public water utility professionals who are experts in water-related matters.
They are the most valuable resource the County has available to rely and depend on for their expertise and professional insights and assistance in developing both water policies and solutions to major problems during these difficult times.
One starting point that most stakeholders would agree is fundamental is that the Water Agency should be a clearinghouse of information.
A second, and equally foundational objective for the Water Agency, would be its role to assist County water districts and municipal water departments with preparing grant applications for capital and operational projects.
These are tasks that can be and should be put into action immediately.
Information Collection & Collation
All you need to start this process is an informational request letter to water districts and municipal water departments and you’re off and running.
As the information is being collected, it would also be collated into a computerized filing system consisting of main folder for each water district, with nested folders for the info and data,
The collection and collation work would be done by both the current MDOT employee assigned on a pert-time basis to the Water Agency, along with volunteer assistance from water districts and municipal water departments.
Here are examples of some of the information to be collected and collated:
SWRCB Operating Permit & Conditions, Water Sources (ground or surface), Water Source Assessments, Investigations, Studies, and Reports On Water Sources, WTP and Distribution Operational Manuals, Preliminary Engineering Reports, CEQA and NEPA Reports, Division of Water Rights Reports, Storage Types and Capacities, Annual and Monthly SWRCB Reports, Annual DWR Reports, Prop 218 Rate Studies, Schedule of Water Rates, Service Charges, and Fees, Well Driller Logs, Well Sounding Logs, Water Conservation Plans and Ordinances, Mutual Assistance Agreements, LAFCO Municipal Service Reviews, Annual Audit and Management Reports.
Capital and Operational Projects
Another task to be performed would be to request all water districts and municipal water departments to provide a prioritized list of at least three capital and operational projects.
The prioritized project lists would be reviewed and ranked by a five-member Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), with each member appointed by the respective District Supervisor. The TAC would forward its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
Needless to say, it’s all the more imperative we get started immediately on “Water Information Collection and Collation”, and “Capital and Operational Projects” given Gov. Newsom’s just announced multi-billion dollar plan for water supply, storage, groundwater sustainability, etc.,
Thank you for your consideration of these matters.
* * *
Both Supervisor Haschak and Supervisor McGourty agreed with the recommendations. One of the goals with the collection and collation of all the water-related data that’s in the possession of all the water districts and city water departments, is to map out the entire County detailing water sources, water production and consumption totals, storage capacities, populations served, etc.
This is the very kind of critical information needed but now lacking that will allow us as a county to intelligently formulate plans and create workable public policies addressing water resources and drought.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That.” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 21, 2022
RILEY ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Battery with serious injury, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
CARMEN ARENS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TIFFANY BAIRRINEHART, Delray Beach, Florida/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, resisting, failure to appear.
JUAN CANUL, Fort Bragg. DUI, resisting.
KELLY HENDRIKS, Point Arena. Burglary, grand theft.
CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN-BRADY, Fort Bragg. DUI, child endangerment.
CHRISTINA MELTON, Laytonville. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run.
STEPHANIE WEISE, Fort Bragg. DUI.
BAN NON-HOSTED RENTALS
Non-hosted rentals do nothing for preserving the cohesion of a residential community, the holy grail of fine cities. People who come and go do not add to community integrity. They use the exiting community, all to provide extra income for operators who do not even live there ("City puts cap on vacation rentals," Aug. 11).
Tourists have plenty of opportunity to fill Santa Rosa's coffers. They are not going to stop coming to Wine Country because they cannot find a non-hosted rental in an established community neighborhood. City leaders need to credibly listen to people who live in these communities, rather than service the operators who profit this way, at the expense of residents who make Santa Rosa their home.
Non-hosted rentals have no place in our residential communities. Phase them out starting now, and only allow hosted rentals. Non-hosted operators like these will find another golden egg to exploit.
DOG’S LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
(Note: The following message was discovered three days ago, partially slipped under the edge of the rug where the dog’s bed used to be. It required a great deal of editing on my part because, frankly, her spelling was terrible and handwriting atrocious. Just sayin’ is all.)
Being of sound mind, faltering body and fading spirits I, full name KATRINA PUPPY CAPRIOLO THE DOG, assemble my final thoughts and wishes for those I must regrettably soon leave behind.
You will find my last words, Will and Testament buried in the usual place out in the backyard near the bird bath. You’ll also find half a dozen rawhide sticks, two tennis balls, a ham hock and one of Emily’s green leather gloves, chewed up and buried, that I stole when I was still a puppy and have always felt bad about.
I shall keep my barks and growls to a minimum, and begin by distributing my earthly possessions. There are only a few. Dogs are different than people in that we don’t much care about owning things. We don’t long for items we don’t have, and we don’t worry much about keeping what we do have.
I never knew a dog concerned with money, the stock market, how the Oakland A’s will do next season or why anyone cares if a little mud or canine saliva gets on the furniture or back seat of a car.
Why do people wash their bowl after eating, anyway? And what is it that humans do when dogs aren’t looking that gets you so filthy you have to take a bath every day? We have always wondered.
You can give my leash to your next dog. Even though it’s pretty beat up I think any canine with sensible fashion taste will appreciate it. I’d happily bestow my best collar too, the turquoise one with all the jewels and fancy leather, but Dad took it to the downtown pawn shop back in October.
And please—don’t disappoint me by deciding to not get another dog. It would reflect poorly on me. The neighbors and fellow dogs at the park would assume I’d been such a disagreeable burden that you decided to never allow another dog on the premises. That would grieve me, and I would grieve for you.
A new dog is the best way to get over losing an old dog. Every puppy knows how to help. Another dog in our home would certainly be no betrayal, nor would it lessen the bonds we had with each other. Far from it.
Having spent my entire life in Ukiah surrounded by nothing but admirers may have given me enhanced notion of my beauty, lovableness and self-worth. You might need to search the world to find my replacement, which means you should start now. I’m thinking you’ll need two dogs, but for the moment go ahead with one.
There are a few other items to distribute to this new pup, most notably my shiny metal water bowl, my great big crunchie bowl, and my last little yellow stuffed duckie toy that, alas, I had neither the energy nor desire to disembowel. It will give your next dog an early challenge.
And that’s it. If you’d like to place the rather flattering color portrait that Dottie’s daughter Shelly painted above the mantel, or the one from Travis in the bedroom, I’d be honored. Don’t feel compelled. If it was my mantel or bedroom I’d hang a nice photo of you two along with Emily and Lucas, all smiling, all happy.
Here in Dogtopia things are beyond what any of us could have reasonably expected. No one wears a collar and there’s no need for doggie bags.
All the angels are sweet and kind and smell just like Arlynn and Dottie.
Our bowls are always full, and guess what? They’re filled with the tastiest treats in all the heavens, the same kind Ken Edmonds always carried around in that ziploc baggie in his pocket. If you see him tell him I miss him and still have the pin he gave me when we started going steady.
Barking of the park, my favorite thing every morning was for Haley and Boo to help me get extra treats from adults who were never quite smart enough to realize we were doing the double-reverse confusion shuffle to see how fast we could empty their pockets.
Boo was my friend and I miss him, but not so much that I want him up here anytime soon. Sometimes I see Kittiboy, but usually he’s on a timeout.
Last of all, Thank You, Mommy. When I arrived they had my lifetime totals on a big scoreboard and it said I was All-Time Number One Canine!
No dog ever had a better life than me, with better people than you.
There’s at least one lonely little pup out there who deserves the same.
(Tom Hine finds this stuff on the mawkish side so gives 100% writing credit to the oft-useless TWK.
THE RAVEN IN THE HIGHWAY
On Thursday, I was driving into town and spotted a Raven in the middle of the highway. As I got closer, I could see that it was hit by a car. The bird was in the middle of the lane and about three miles from home. Knowing Ravens well from living alongside a family for twenty years, I suspected it was one of the pair that lives in the big old dead oak tree on the ranch next to us.
Over the years, I have watched and been a part of this family as it raised its young every year. I know its the same family because of their habits and calls when they visit the farm. They know me as I know them, the pair sit in the afternoons on the top bar that separates the horse stalls. Preening and cooing, nuzzling each other. They know me and tolerate my presence as I sit on the ground watching in amazement at their love for one another. Two big black beautiful birds, making a vast assortment of sounds, I am lucky to witness this unconditional love.
Springtime is when the pair disappears, only having the male come over every day to collect chicken eggs, if he can find them, before I get a chance. Then, in the middle of June, the pair will bring over their fledglings, gawky, trying to fly. It is so fun to watch them making runs, getting up in the air. The horses and sheep do not mind them careening above their heads. The parents are always patient and proud, making all kinds of incredible noises.
Once the babies fledge, the parents go back into their usual routine, coming over every morning and sitting on the telephone pole at the barn, waiting for me to notice them. When I look up and say hello, they immediately go into this beautiful dance. It’s a coo, a dip with their body and then they click their beaks together. This goes on for at least five minutes with changes in frequency and additions of other unique sounds. The Ravens visit every day. I love these times with the Ravens. It has always healed my heart.
But now, as I was driving into town, seeing a black thing in the middle of the road, with cars whizzing by, my heart sank. Somehow I knew who this was.
When I picked the bird up I realized what had happened. I could immediately feel it’s breastbone knowing the bird was desperately hungry and took a risk. It went for some morsel in the highway but was not fast enough to get away. I have never seen a dead Raven in the highway before, they are too smart to get hit by cars. But everything here in the west is in a desperate race to survive this incredible drought. Animals are risking their lives to find food and water. I could also see the bird broke its neck when it was hit by the car.
At first I was just going to move the Raven off to the side of the highway, but something in my heart told me to bring it back home and put it in a more dignified quiet place. I brought it out in the field next to the house and placed it in the dried grass next to Grandmother Juniper.
After a few hours, I was in the house and could here one of our Ravens outside. It was making a strange sound that I have never heard before. I looked out the window and could see the Raven was by the other dead Raven that I placed in the dried grass previously. I stepped outside and saw the Raven was next to it and talking to the other. It would nuzzle it with its beak and coo. Tears came to my eyes as I watched this unfold and realized this dead bird must be its mate and my friend. The Raven stayed with the carcass for the several hours before night, sitting in Grandmother Juniper.
The next day, as I was watering the horses and sheep at the farm, the Raven flew up and sat on the telephone pole. I told it hello. It talked back in a language I have not heard before, a set of coos, clicks and head bobs. The sounds were beautiful and quiet. My heart ached for its love of its lifelong mate.
Maybe this was its way of telling me thank you for bringing its partner home. Maybe it was just lonely and wanting a friend. It sat on the pole conversing with me for a while. And then it flew away.
I can’t help but think about all the connections there are between living things around us. If we allow them into our hearts, we can learn how to be human through their devotions and unconditional love. I know, in my quiet existence at the farm over two decades, I have been taught what it means to love.
But in all of this, I can’t stop thinking about all the lives that have just been lost in the massive wildfire that is threatening our place in Mimbres. The many horrible dramas of families; mammals, birds, insects and plants, that are in the fire’s path, trying to survive the drought but adding to that stress trying to outrun from this massive blaze. I feel as if my concern of our material things like our house in the line of this 300,000+ acre fire and ready to burn is insignificant compared to this horror.
But life is resilient, and out of this tragedy there are lessons to learn. I somehow wish that for one day, every human being on this planet would take time and see and then listen with their hearts to the beings that surround us, and understand we are insignificant compared to the immensity of all life surrounding us.
Just one day would change the world…
Silver City, New Mexico
TRUMP AND I CAN AGREE: The US is a “third-world country”
by Belan Fernandez
The US advertises itself as being at the vanguard of global “development” but the nation’s healthcare, poverty and other indicators suggest a policy of wilful counterdevelopment instead. Back in 2017, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, visited the US for two weeks. At the end of his trip, he issued a statement on how he found the country “exceptional in ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights.” Despite managing to spend more money on “national defense” than China, Russia, the United Kingdom and a bunch of other big spenders combined, the US had some “40 million people” living in poverty amid glaring “contrasts between private wealth and public squalor.” As Alston noted, the US was also “alone among developed countries” in insisting that human rights did “not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation.” So much for that line from the US Declaration of Independence about “inalienable” rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It’s hard to pursue anything if you’re dead.…
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, AUGUST 21
A former member of Russia’s Duma who was expelled for anti-Kremlin activities has claimed that Russian partisans were allegedly behind a car bomb which blew up the daughter of one of Vladimir Putin’s close political allies on the outskirts of Moscow.
Speaking in Kyiv, where he is based, Ilya Ponomarev alleged the explosion on Saturday evening was the work of the National Republican Army, which he claimed was an underground group working inside Russia and dedicated to overthrowing the Putin regime.
The Guardian has not verified the authenticity of Ponomarev’s claims. Russian commentators have blamed Ukraine for the attack, a claim Kyiv strongly denies.
“This action, like many other partisan actions carried out on the territory of Russia in recent months, was carried out by the National Republican Army (NRA),” Ponomarev said. He was speaking in a 7pm broadcast on February Morning, a Russian-language opposition TV channel he launched in Kyiv earlier this year.
He added: “A momentous event took place near Moscow last night. This attack opens a new page in Russian resistance to Putinism. New – but not the last.”
The blast killed Darya Dugina, the 30-year-old daughter of the Russian political commentator and far-right ideologue Alexander Dugin, both of whom had been sanctioned by the UK and US for acting to destabilise Ukraine.
Ponomarev said partisans inside Russia were ready to conduct further similar attacks against high-profile Kremlin-connected targets, including officials, oligarchs and members of Russia’s security agencies.
The former deputy read what purported to be an NRA manifesto: “We declare President Putin a usurper of power and a war criminal who amended the Constitution, unleashed a fratricidal war between the Slavic peoples and sent Russian soldiers to certain and senseless death.
“Poverty and coffins for some, palaces for others – the essence of his policy. We believe that disenfranchised people have the right to rebel against tyrants. Putin will be deposed and destroyed by us!”
IN FBI VS. TRUMP, THE PEOPLE LOSE
Investigating Trump for an Espionage Act violation, the FBI must have him over a barrel, we are told. Does anyone remember Russiagate?
by Aaron Mate
For my money, the early beneficiary of the FBI’s espionage investigation of Donald Trump is Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Post, “Trump has told advisers that in the nearly two years since leaving office, no issue had better galvanized Republican voters around him.” A Politico poll of Republican voters in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid gave Trump a 10-point boost over his closest possible primary rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump’s ensuing fundraising campaign has done even better, quickly topping $1 million on at least two days, a jump of at least 700%.
Over the long run, it is difficult to form a conclusive judgment on Trump’s potential culpability in the absence of any confirmed detail about both the contents of the documents that Trump allegedly mishandled, and the evidence to support the Justice Department’s suspicions. But if the last six years of routine Trump standoffs with the national security state are any guide, the walls are nowhere closer to closing in.
Whatever your views on Trump, it is undeniable that the permanent military-intelligence bureaucracy in Washington does not see him as one of their own, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to target him when it sees fit. It also undeniable that the national security state’s spats with Trump have distracted the public from vital issues that impact working people’s lives and the future of the planet. This includes, I have long argued, Trump’s most harmful policies as president, which were routinely overshadowed and even exacerbated by his standoffs with the “deep state.”
Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect that this latest “scandal” over the potential mishandling of classified documents will continue the trend that has defined the Trump era: an intra-elite, symbiotic feud that simultaneous boosts Trump among his base, and the national security state among his foes.
Pundits and politicians are resoundingly confident that the FBI must have the goods on Trump to have taken the unprecedented step of searching the former president’s home. This argument can only be made by ignoring that the FBI and other intelligence agencies took far more unprecedented and consequential actions against Trump when he was president, on grounds that were not only baseless, but fraudulent.
The FBI investigated Trump as a suspected Russian conspirator and asset – and not just once, but twice: first as a presidential candidate, and then months after he took office. To undertake this, they relied on the Hillary Clinton-funded Steele dossier’s conspiracy theories as source material; repeatedly lied to a FISA court; and, despite the full knowledge that they had come up empty, prolonged their investigation with media leaks and court filings that falsely suggested that a collusion “smoking gun” was within reach.
Russiagate apologists like to argue that the FBI’s use of the Steele dossier was an aberration that does not taint the whole enterprise. In fact, there are ample grounds to believe that Steele’s fabrications played an even greater role than the FBI has acknowledged – including, as I have detailed, possibly triggering the Russia investigation to begin with. But even taking the FBI’s official predicate at face value, the probe was baseless from start to finish...