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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, August 25, 2022

Persistent Stratus | Laytonville Rodeo | JDSF Logging | Fitness Nook | Usal Pier | Resort History | Portable Planetarium | MCN Future | Caspar Brewery | Shop Class | Log Turner | Public Shun | Bragg Meeting | Thirsty Grapes | Ed Notes | Murray Protest | Yesterday's Catch | Lesson Learned | Half Off | Ukraine | Re-Protect | Raid Disappearance | TV Influence | Small Acts | Same Old | Cooperstown Visit | Cow Party | Water Diversion | 1844 Pack

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DRY WEATHER with above normal interior temperatures are forecast to prevail today through Friday. Persistent stratus will continue to blanket coastal areas through the weekend. Stronger northerly winds should help to clear out the stratus in the afternoons this weekend. Cooler temperatures and possible gusty winds are forecast for the interior this weekend. (NWS)

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JUST IN FROM POLLY GIRVIN: Logging operations to resume in Jackson Demonstration State Forest commencing this week.

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GROUP FITNESS IS BACK! Drop by The Live Oak building weekdays 9am-2pm and take a peek at the variety of ways your body can move @ The Pilates Nook, a small group fitness training center focused on Pilates but soon to add Barre, TRX, & more! Stay tuned for our Fall group class schedule! 

Interested in becoming certified in group fitness? Already an instructor and looking for a new space to offer classes? Please reach out as we grow our services to meet the interests of our local community.

Together with Studio SoBo (Yoga, Dance, Karate, & more) and our AVHS Gym (cardio & weight training), we can bring the community fitness resources we all appreciate to our valley.

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Usal Redwood Company Pier, 1896

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RE: The Land. To take the history back farther, The property was called El Rancho Navarro when Irving and Edna Newman purchased it in 1957 and founded the summer camp of the same name. Prior to that, El Rancho Navarro was a resort established by Joe and Marian Selby in the mid-to-late 1940s. Prior to that, the property was a resort called The Pines, founded by Mary Ward and her brother James Hanen in the early 1900s and run by them until at least the 1920s and possibly longer.

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Elizabeth Garcia & Fans

THE ANDERSON VALLEY SENIOR CENTER hosted Elizabeth Garcia who brought a portable inflated planetarium to the Senior Center. Seniors were treated to a “stroll” through the constellations and then Ms. Garcia talked about the new Space Capsule that launches in six days headed for the Moon. Thanks to Elizabeth for being our own local NASA diplomat! (Renee Lee)

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MEETING WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON at the Mendocino K-8 School 

by Mitch Clogg

At an unusual July meeting, the Mendocino Unified School District Board talked about selling our local Internet Service Provider, the Mendocino Community Network, to a private or corporate buyer. MCN has been the property of the school district since it was founded as a school project 28 years ago. It grew from there into the what it is now, the best ISP on earth, according to Jim Heid and Bob Laughton <>, the hosts of KZYX’s longstanding show about all things digital, “Point & Click.” 

They said they compared MCN to ISPs all over the planet and found none better, anywhere.

The operation, it is hinted, is a burden to the school district. That is a flat lie. I asked MUSD’s superintendent, Jason Morse, if the operation requires a lot of attention from him and his staff. He said no. He said that since its manager’s and bookkeeper’s retirements, he and his staff have had to pick up some of MCN’s management tasks, but, he said, that will only last until replacements are hired. They have been recruiting. There are candidates under consideration.

The attendee of the July 7 meeting who criticized the maintenance and housekeeping at the facility also told the board that it would be unreasonable to try to find replacements “at twice the salary you’re offering.” That salary is between $70,000 and $80,000 per year, with full medical insurance, paid vacation, maternity leave and retirement benefits.

MCN is an “asset” of the school district. Nobody knows of another ISP that is owned by a public school district, anywhere. It has been a happy and productive marriage. Some have called this a peculiar setup that should be privatized—sold to the highest bidder. They have offered no coherent reason.

It has been a self-operating unit located on the grounds of the Mendocino High School. It has contributed its profits to the school District—upwards of $40,000 per year, every single year of its Existence! It has never cost the schools a single dime, and it has Provided excellent jobs for its dedicated staff since day one.

One attendee to the July 7 meeting described the building MCN occupies as a “maintenance-deferred” mess. That’s surely true. It is also irrelevant. The tiny staff does not complain about the physical condition of their workplace, and a visitor is tempted to think they like it that way. Asked about the shabby, cluttered surroundings, they shrug. It’s neither here nor there. Attractiveness of the physical plant of this ISP has never been a priority. Way more important, the staff are paid good livable wages with full civil-service benefits.

All in all, MCN has been a crucial part of the community. People who call with questions and problems receive quick, friendly and effective advice, always. And you can also just walk right in to their building during business hours.

If MCN is privatized, its gleaming accomplishments will be seen as reducing profits. If MCN is privatized, it will no longer be Mendocino Community Network.

The July meeting was poorly attended by the public. The decision of whether to keep or discard an exemplary part of the school district’s operations has so far been considered in what amounts to a vacuum.

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NICK WILSON: The school board received three bids for purchase of the Mendocino Community Network internet service. All bids were for a small fraction of the financial value of MCN. After discussion and comments from people attending the meeting in person or via Zoom the board considered a motion to reject all bids. The board unanimously voted to reject all bids. The board has received some applications for the vacant positions of MCN General Manager and the second in command. They are hopeful that those positions will be filled.

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Caspar, 1885

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

Last Spring, we offered the opportunity for students at Anderson Valley Unified to enroll in a special admit Mendocino Community College auto mechanics class beginning with school start. Dozens of students signed up. The first class was last week. Was it a big shift? Yes. Did it require incredible staff and parent support to make it happen? Yes. Will that energy and support continue to be required to ensure these students are successful? Yes. But was it successful so far? Yes. Because a whole bunch of kids are going to graduate with 3 units on a Hands-On Auto shop program. Because if they continue in the program, TESLA is hot to hire them or they can bring their skill to the Valley.

AV Shop Class

Our school has traditionally offered dual enrollment for extension or accelerated learning. We have not offered it previously for vocational learning. I am delighted that we are able to partner with Mendocino College for this effort. I also want to shout out the incredible hard work of David Ballentine, who rearranged his whole schedule so that he could accompany students on the bus and in the shop for the weekly classes. Assistant Principal Ewing and Counselor Chris Howard have been working through the logistical problems of teaching children how to login to college platforms. This wasn't time they had in their day, but they made time because they care. Academic Support classes were created to assist these students to ensure their work was done. Parents stepped in and helped their students plow through the material. Dennis Johnson is driving a bus over and back and made the commitment to do it every week.

Do you realize what you have done as a community? You have raised the bar of opportunity and excellence for students to experience higher ed learning outside of Anderson Valley and in concert with a higher level institution. Deepest thanks to Amanda Xu and Michael Pratt and the amazing teachers at Mendocino College. This is important and GOOD STUFF. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes… A special awards banquet for all of our dual and special enrollment students is planned in the Spring. But most importantly, your kid will grow in skill, confidence, and knowledge. Rock and Roll!

So proud of these students and all of the other kids that accept those dual enrollment opportunities. We are going to grow this. Talk to your kids. They deserve the opportunity.

Sincerely yours,

Louise Simson, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017

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Log Turning Machine, Union Lumber, Fort Bragg

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by Mark Scaramella

One of the few things Mendo’s current Board of Supervisors is good at is ignoring public input with the well-known, “Thank you,” and goodbye. But now they’ve taken it a step further by making it even more difficult for the public to provide the input they so studiously ignore.

A few days ago, in her Supervisors report on, KZYX/Freelance reporter Sarah Reith said:

“The public is also no longer privy to correspondence with the Board of Supervisors on matters of public interest. Up until the beginning of June, comments addressed to the Board about items under discussion during the meetings would be attached to the pertinent agenda item. They were often plentiful, and they ranged from expert opinions to angry one-liners. But a new system, called Granicus, requires commenters to create a password-protected account, which has not caught on.”

Very correct. “Not caught on…” is an understatement. Reith continued, “Since then, only county documents have appeared on the agendas.”

Apparently, even the memo that elected Auditor Controller Treasurer Tax Collector Treasurer (ACTTC?) Chamise Cubbison wrote to the Board last month complaining about their misinformation and failure to include her in budget clarification discussions was unable to be posted as a comment to the Board’s ill-considered agenda item.

Other documents from well-known and well-established people and organizations which rightfully should be attached to relevant agenda items have also gone astray from Cannabis growers and groups to municipal advisory councils. 

If even people like elected office-holders, and representatives of local organizations can’t get their comments to the Board and public or the Board, what about the rest of us? And what about that “accountability” that some local organizations say they plan to demand when the Board misallocates sales tax revenues? If the public and the Board don’t even know about their failures, how can an elected official be held accountable?

Reith noted, “The most recent agenda consisted of 66 items, and contained only one public comment, which was a memo from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, an advocacy organization that has long been working with the Board and the public to establish and clarify its position.”

When Reith complained about the Board’s obstructionism in person at last Tuesday’s Board meeting, Board Chair Ted Williams shrugged his shoulders and made excuses.

Reith: “Williams responded that he agreed, but that the Clerk of the Board’s office is down from five employees to about 1.5. The union members, who were in the room for public comment, booed and groaned. Williams said the clerk is charged with saving emails as pdf’s, and manually uploading them as comments. ‘We simply didn’t have staff time, based on the number of comments,” he said. “I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have that simplified model that we had before, but it’s a struggle, and it’s not just in the clerk’s office. It’s across the board. Every problem that we look at, we say, we don’t have enough personnel to carry it out. Yes, it’s a problem…I don’t know what that solution is today. It’s not as easy as directing staff to put back in place what was in place previously. Because we simply don’t have the staff time to carry it out’.”

Since technically, there is a process to submit written correspondence — even though in practice it’s essentially non-functional — this arrangement is another violation of the Brown Act, in spirit if not the letter. 

Among the County’s many long-standing staff vacancies, the Board Clerk’s small office is one of the most glaring. For all their talk about the importance of “transparency” and such, Williams and the Board collectively shrugging their shoulders at this latest road block to public comment is yet another example of their hypocrisy and failure to deal with the most basic aspects of their duties. 

Paired with their recent decision to charge seemingly arbitrary fees for staff time for ordinary local public records requests, the Board’s isolation from the public that elected them is increasing, even as they complain about not having enough information to make decisions with.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Supes have taken a month off — their last meeting was August 16 and their next one isn’t until September 13 when they say that they might get around to starting to talk about their ongoing budget info gaps and unusually high staff vacancy rates. 

No public input to ignore for a whole month!

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A Meeting in Fort Bragg, 1900

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A READER WRITES: Dear Wine Appreciation Department: This “reader” is prepared to make a minimalist statement like: “We need to keep in mind that soil and water is required both for wine and for growing the grape plant. The roots of the vines may run very deep in search of moisture. If you kill off the weeds via mechanical cultivation and/or application of chemicals the crop can escape irrigation. This does not mean, however, that the water consumption is negligible. In fact, in Anderson Valley, depending on many factors, the total water demand of grapes per vine between bud break and leaf fall is thought to be 100 to 150 gallons. This aggregates to an acre-foot of water for a vineyard of less than ten acres. Obviously, planting cannot be continued indefinitely without serious depletion of the water table. The total draw per vineyard depends on the vine density. According to a book I picked off the shelf at Barnes & Noble, the California average is 450 vines/acre. An acre is about 43,000 square feet, or a plot around 200x200 feet or so. The rows have to be about ten feet apart to accommodate the tractors, which would be 20 lines each with about 25 plants/line. This is a critical point. The summer flow in the Navarro is steadily diminishing. 

“The Water Economy of the Grape Vine”

Supply (most of this goes right down the river)

• Annual 30 inches of rain on one acre: 2.5 acre-feet.

• For a 500-acre vineyard, 1250 acre-feet


• From bud break to leaf fall, estimated about 125 gallons/vine

• For about 450 vines/acre, 125 x 450 = 56,250 gallons per acre.

• For 500 acres, 56,250 x 500 = 28,125,000 gallons.

• One acre-foot = 43,560 cubic feet x 7.8 gallons/cubic foot = 339,768 gallons.

• 28,125,000 gallons for 500 acres/339,768 gallons per acre-foot = 82.3 acre-feet on 500 acres with 450 vines/acre.

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Mark Scaramella notes: This is interesting, but it does not factor in frost protection, nor does it estimate the amount of substantial water use at the winery in the making of wine. Further, most modern rootstock is a special variety developed at UC Davis’s viticulture department which features shallow-rooted vines that are more dependent on irrigation than traditional tap-rooted rootstock such as those found in Old World vineyards. A better measure of water consumption would be to estimate the amount of water used for, first, a ton of grapes, and then the amount of water used to produce one 750ml bottle of $50 wine. The commenter also fails to mention the number of acres of vineyard in Anderson Valley, which, at last count, was over 2500 acres. While it’s true that average “annual” rainfall was 30 inches per year before the drought, that’s no longer the number. Remember that rain doesn’t fall “annually,” but in a few rainstorms (if we’re lucky) and the hundreds of vineyard ponds in the Valley represent a very large impoundment of the flow of those waters meaning, except for the short periods of occasionally heavy winter rain, very little water “goes right down the river,” leaving very little water for the few remaining, mostly stranded, local fish.

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THE KEVIN MURRAY SENTENCING had been set for today (Wednesday) at 1:30. Then it was set for 2:30. Then “safety concerns.” Then “scheduling conflict.” Then Judge Moorman is out with an injury. As of 4pm Wednesday the People vs. Murray has not been scheduled for sentencing.


MURRAY is a former Ukiah police sergeant and Iraq veteran where he served as a military policeman. He had been scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday in deal widely viewed as highly suspicious plea deal that saw his felony charges of rape and sexual assault reduced to misdemeanors with no jail time, although the Mendocino County Probation Department has subsequently recommended jail time.

DA EYSTER is being hammered as a party to an inside sweetheart deal for Murray, but it was Judge Moorman who agreed to no jail time for the priapic defendant, and the City of Ukiah handed $250,000 to the only viable witness to felony rape against Murray, a woman with prior arrests for prostitution, and she promptly disappeared. Add to the list of the disappeared were at least five sex charges against Murray from three other women, including a former officer colleague at the Ukiah PD.

THE MURRAY CASE occurs in a daily media din of national rogue cop episodes, and occurs locally in the context of a Ukiah Police Department reeling from brutality suits and a chief recently fired for domestic violence. (A second accusation of misconduct against former Chief Waidelich is pending the results of a long, drawn-out investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.) And you have the City of Ukiah willy nilly paying victims of police misconduct lots of money prior to any possible courtroom adjudication.

THE CITY OF UKIAH had previously been successfully sued in federal court by a Ukiah man, Christopher Rasku, who proved that he had been gratuitously assaulted and badly injured by Murray. The Rasku suit cost Ukiah more than a million dollars.

A SMALL BAND of demonstrators has protested in front of the County Courthouse this week for what they and most locals view as official leniency for a dangerous man.

WE'D been told that the California State Police Association has funded Murray's expensive defense, which they deny. Now we understand it is a Ukiah Police fund putting up lots and lots to pay Murray's lawyers.

HERE YOU GO, readers, the original charges but shorn of the legalese:


Complaint-Criminal Felony

Bail schedule: $175,000

The undersigned, on information and belief, complains and says, that within the County of Mendocino, state of California

Count One

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or between 1st day of June 2014 and the 31st day of July 2014, commit the crime of Forcible Rape, a Felony violation of Section 261(a)(2) of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did willfully and unlawfully accomplish an act of sexual intercourse with a person, to wit, Jane Doe, not his spouse, against said person’s will, by means of force, violence, duress, menace, and/or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on said person and/or another.

It is further alleged that the above offense is both a violent and serious felony, within the meaning of Penal Code sections 667.5(c)(3) and 1192.7(c)(3), respectively.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require the court to order you to submit to a blood test for evidence of antibodies to the probable causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.1.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require you to register pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. Willful failure to register is a crime.

Special Allegation

It is further alleged that during the commission of the above offense, the defendant was armed with a firearm, said arming not being an element of the above offense, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 12022(a)(1).

Count Two

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 10th day of April 2014, commit the crime of Forcible Oral Copulation, a Felony violation of section 288a(c)(2)(A), the predecessor statute to section 287(c)(2), of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did unlawfully participate in an act of oral copulation with Jane Doe, and did accomplish said act against said victim’s will by force, violence, duress, menace, and/or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury to said victim and/or to another.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require the court to order you to submit to a blood test for evidence of antibodies to the probable causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.1.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require you to register pursuant to Penal Code

Executed on February 22, 2021 in Ukiah, California.

C. David Eyster, District Attorney


SCUK-CRCR-21-37371-001 Amended Consolidated Information

The Honorable C. David Eyster, District Attorney Of The County Of Mendocino, hereby accuses the following defendant of the following crimes:

Count One

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 25th day of November 2020, commit the crime of Burglary In The First Degree, a Felony violation of Section 459/460(a) of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did then and there enter an occupied motel room located at 693 South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah, California, said room occupied by a female with the initials S.Y., with the intent to commit larceny or a felony therein.

Notice: The above offense is a serious felony within the meaning of Penal Code Section 1192.7(c).

First Special Allegation

It is further alleged that during the commission of the aforementioned burglary the motel room was occupied, within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c)(21).

Notice: The First Special Allegation, if found true, converts the burglary charged in Count One to a violent felony, within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c)(21).

Count Two

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 25th day of November 2020, commit the crime of Burglary In The First Degree, a Felony violation of Section 459/460(a) of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did then and there enter an occupied motel room located at 693 South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah, California, said room occupied by a female with the initials S.Y., with the intent to commit a felony therein.

Notice: The above offense is a serious felony within the meaning of Penal Code Section 1192.7(c).

Second Special Allegation

It is further alleged that during the commission of the aforementioned burglary the motel room was occupied, within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c)(21).

Notice: The Second Special Allegation, if found true, converts the burglary charged in Count Two to a violent felony, within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c)(21).

Count Three

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 25th day of November 2020, commit the crime of Sexual Battery, a Felony violation of Section 243.4(d)(1) of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did then and there willfully and unlawfully, by means of words, act, or the implied or express authority of the defendant, force a female, to wit, S.Y., to touch the defendant’s penis against her will, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

Count Four

Said defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 1st day of December 2020, commit the crime of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, a Misdemeanor violation of Section 11377(a) of the California Health and Safety Code, in that said defendant was in unlawful possession of a usable quantity of controlled substances, to wit, methamphetamine.

Count Five

Said Defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or between 1st day of June 2014 and the 31st day of July 2014, commit the crime of Forcible Rape, a Felony violation of Section 261(a)(2) of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did willfully and unlawfully accomplish an act of sexual intercourse with a person, to wit, Jane Doe, not his spouse, against said person's will, by means of force, violence, duress, menace, and/or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on said person and/or another.

It is further alleged that the above offense is both a violent and serious felony, within the meaning of Penal Code sections 667.5(c)(3) and 1192.7(c)(3), respectively.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require the court to order you to submit to a blood test for evidence of antibodies to the probable causative agent of Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.1.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require you to register pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. Willful failure to register is a crime.

Third Special Allegation

It is further alleged that during the commission of the above offense, the defendant was armed with a firearm, said arming not being an element of the above offense, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 12022(a)(1).

Count Six

Said Defendant Kevin Patrick Murray did on or about the 10th day of April 2014, commit the crime of Forcible Oral Copulation, a Felony violation of section 288a(c)(2)(A), the predecessor statute to section 287(c)(2), of the California Penal Code, in that said defendant did unlawfully participate in an act of oral copulation with Jane Doe, and did accomplish said act against said victim’s will by force, violence, duress, menace, and/or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury to said victim and/or to another.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require the court to order you to submit to a blood test for evidence of antibodies to the probable causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.1.

Notice: Conviction of this offense will require you to register pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. Willful failure to register is a crime.

Notice: The above offense is a serious felony, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 1192.7(c)(5), and a violent felony, within the meaning of Penal Code Section 667.5(c)(5).

The offenses charged in the SIX COUNTS of this Information were of the same class of crime and connected together in their commission.

Executed on February 9, 2022 in Ukiah, California

Heidi C. Larson

Deputy District Attorney


A letter to the victims of rapist Kevin Murray

You are not responsible for the hurt, betrayal, silencing, and victimization that rapist Kevin Murray willingly and intentionally caused you and your loved ones.

You are not and shall not be held responsible for the “loss of career” rapist Kevin Murray caused on himself by choosing to commit crimes against you, other victims, and the betrayal to the oath he took for the community of Ukiah. He chose with strong commitment to commit crimes. That is his pill to swallow.

To the victim he took advantage of knowing he was a white male senior officer, knowing he was in a position of power and authority, using your vulnerability to his advantage, I’m sorry he used that to try to get his way. I’m sorry you had to sleep on the nasty floor of a hotel bathroom to save yourself from being raped. I’m sorry your department failed to protect you. I’m sorry your story has been ignored by the justice system. I’m sorry community members did not see you until Chief Wyatt suddenly disappeared, Chief Waidelich was fired, and Sergeant Pintane remains hidden in the four walls of a corrupt department avoiding accountability. You are seen by community members. You have been heard. You matter.

To the victim he took advantage of knowing she was a family friend, I’m sorry rapist Kevin Murray manipulated his way into your home. He used his charismatic personality to gain your trust then later used it against you to manipulate his attorneys to believe he is innocent. I’m sorry rapist Kevin Murray intentionally and forcibly sexually assaulted you. Not only once, but more than once. I’m sorry rapist Kevin Murray’s actions were only classified as misdemeanor after the many months of court appearances to at the end only be told he may get probation. You may not have been given the opportunity to speak in court but we, the community, see and hear you. You matter.

To the victim of the hotel, I’m sorry he used his power of a police officer to justify his encounter with you then later chose to willingly and intentionally force you to conduct sexual favors on him. I’m sorry rapist Kevin Murray caused you intentional emotional harm when he trapped you in that hotel room to engage in sexual activity. I’m sorry you had to make the right, yet difficult, decision to report the heinous crimes to his peers. I’m sorry your story was not shared in court and the opportunity of confronting your abuser was stolen from you by rapist Kevin Murray working out a plea. We see you. You matter.

To the wife of rapist Kevin Murray that said she stayed with him because she “would have missed the opportunity to love someone unconditionally”, please seek therapy. Co-dependency is real. There are other fish in the sea. You are worthy of faithful, honest, true love. Rapist Kevin Murray’s selfish, willful and intentional acts to cheat on you are strong signs of him being self-centered. I’m sorry rapist Kevin Murray has dragged you and your family through emotional turmoil because he chooses not to accept responsibility. You deserve better. You matter.

To the officer who had to write recommendations for rapist Kevin Murray’s sentencing, I’m sorry you were not given complete reports of the hideous acts this ill willed person committed on the victims he prayed and sought after.

In closing, many lives were negatively impacted by rapist Kevin Murray’s actions and he is still avoiding accountability. Let us pray the justice system holds rapist Kevin Murray accountable before he prays on more victims. Rapist Kevin Murray’s victims deserve justice.

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Former Ukiah Sergeant’s Sentencing Delayed As Protesters Decry Plea Deal

by Colin Atagi

A small group of protesters rallied ahead of a former Ukiah police sergeant’s sentencing Wednesday to decry the plea deal reached in his rape and assault case.

They stood outside the Mendocino County courthouse in Ukiah holding signs demanding a full trial and heavy sentencing for Kevin Murray, who was arrested in January 2021 and remains out of custody.

“(Police) are supposed to make people feel safe in their community, and they don’t feel safe here,” said Willits resident Shelly Gibson, 50, who was among the three or four protesters gathered just before lunchtime.

Murray, 38, had been charged with burglary, sexual battery, drug possession, rape and oral copulation stemming from a series of incidents that date back to 2014.

He pleaded no contest in July to one count each of witness intimidation and false imprisonment and was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. His attorney told The Press Democrat in July that Murray would likely be sentenced to 24 months of probation as part of his plea deal with the prosecution.

Sentencing was delayed, though, and is to be rescheduled for a date to be determined, according to superior court staff. It wasn’t immediately clear why the hearing was pushed back.

Murray had been with the Ukiah Police Department for about 10 years. He started as a patrol officer and was promoted to sergeant in April 2020.

On Nov. 25, 2020, he was on duty when he unlawfully gained access to an occupied room at Super 8 motel on South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah, according to a criminal complaint.

He was accused of forcing a woman in the room to touch his penis against her will and using his authority as a police sergeant to violate her civil rights, according to the complaint.

The drug possession and witness intimidation charges pertain to a Dec. 1, 2020, incident.

The oral copulation allegedly occurred in April 2014, and the false imprisonment and rape allegations were from an incident that occurred between June and July 2014. He was armed with a gun during that incident, according to the complaint.

Murray is named in a civil lawsuit involving a former Ukiah police officer who accused him of sexual assault and the police department of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

Another civil suit involved the use of excessive force during a 911 call in 2018 that left a Ukiah man with four broken ribs, a punctured lung and other injuries. That suit was settled last year, Ukiah city staff said.

Letty Cacchiola, an area resident, learned of Murray’s case this week and was compelled to join the protest. She said her foster father raped her several times over the years and she’s determined to get predators off the street.

Cacchiola said she was angered about Murray’s case.

“It pissed me off. He was a sergeant, someone who was supposed to protect someone,” she said.


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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 24, 2022

DavidSon, Degurse, Escamilla

JESSE DAVIDSON, Covelo. Criminal threats, probation revocation.

NATHAN DEGURSE, Willits. Domestic battery, controlled substance, paraphernalia, metal knuckles.

DANIEL ESCAMILLA, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Martin, Starks, Thompkins, Tucker

NATHEN MARTIN, Ukiah. Nunchucks, controlled substance.

ANTHONY STARKS, Rio Dell/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, paraphernalia, addict driving a vehicle.

GREGORY THOMPKINS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ANDY TUCKER, Covelo. Domestic battery. 

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Before Kevin Spacey was slut-shamed for being too perverted for Hollywood, one of his movies cast him as an abrasive producer whose constant refrain, shouted at underlings, was “Sit down, shut up, listen and learn.” It’s very difficult for people, generally speaking, to do any of these things, but they are keys to an otherwise unknown world. You have to sit down, shut up and listen, before you can learn.

Look at the natural world. People call it “the outdoors.” What are they saying? That they are aliens on vacation. That they are fantasists, frightened by silence, always eager to console themselves by reworking the earth in their own image. That they can ignore what is given in favor of preferable illusions. That they can hate the real world and use that energy of contempt to create a phony one. Phony philosophies, phony religions, phony politics, phony relationships, an entire universe of fakery, seamlessly welded together so convincingly that generations are born and die without actually understanding much of anything.

I have learned some things by being ashamed. I spent a night at what the settlers call Spencer Hot Wells. Valuable minerals go hand in hand with these places, and the miners had thoroughly ripped this one up, leaving hills of wasted rock, junk cars shot full of holes and wrecked buildings. Somehow a hot spring had survived and, forcing its way to the light, made a small pool. 

There was a trash can full of liquor bottles, left by drunks and partiers. Some persons had gathered all the liquor bottles and stuffed them into the trash can. There were so many bottles that they had been fashioned into a pyramid of glass on top of the trash can, and the whole of it stood as a monument to the surroundings left by the miners now long gone. Someone had tried to exorcise the spirits of waste by piling up all these bottles, by sequestering them in their metal container, by isolating them yet not removing them elsewhere so as to speak a history and a warning.

The pool was too hot and shallow to bathe in but steamed quietly alone. I walked off a hundred feet or so and wormed into my bag. A mile or so away a car turned off the highway and bounced down a dirt track towards me while I hoped to heaven it wasn’t another load of stupid noisy drunks. The car stopped where the track appeared to cross a rough and sandy draw across its path. Its lights went out and I watched for nearly an hour to see if it was going to come my way because I wanted to be alone and didn’t want to deal with a load of idiots. Why couldn’t they go back to Reno if they wanted to get loaded and make noise? The car seemed to have vanished into the desert brush as the sun set. I stopped worrying long enough to get to sleep.

At first light I woke to a film of steam from the pool drifting in the air, near the pyramid of liquor bottles. I had to void myself so I walked another hundred yards into the brush and scooped a shallow hole. Then I made some breakfast and enjoyed the silent scene of the land before sunrise, and the subtle desert scents carried by the bit of moisture in the air, liberated overnight by the earth before the heat returned. I packed up, started the car, and began driving on the dirt track to the highway.

Suddenly there were Indians. An old man wearing a red shirt and a black vest with a crushed hat on his head led a group of young men up the track towards the hot spring. The old man seemed to be intent on something and he barely glanced my way while the young men looked around at the mining wreckage and suddenly it was clear to me that they were the party in the car and that they preferred that I would have not been there the previous evening, but they had stayed off in the brush all night and waited for me to leave, and that not only had I obstructed them but I had failed to remove the pile of liquor bottles and worse I had crapped on a place that I now saw was of such importance to them that they were willing to wait out yet another fool who didn’t understand a thing but would soon be gone down the road, and I saw that there was no way for me to ingratiate myself or seek to have my rambling pointless curiosity speak with them as if whatever they might tell me would be comprehended in a totality of knowledge that could never really be mine because my people had not spent 10,000 years listening to the desert. 

I knew nothing of their world, their culture, their stories and songs and beliefs. I knew nothing of what their intention was, to wait for me to leave. I had no idea what the hot spring was named in their language and knew nothing of its place in their world but I did know that it was important to them and that I was in their way. So I said nothing to them because there was no way to even begin to speak of it all, and returned to my own intention of delivering the car to the naval officer who waited for it on the other side of the continent. 

But this minor event has impressed itself on me, and I have been taught to get off the roads and trails and sit down, shut up, listen and learn.


Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


Ukraine observed its Independence Day on Wednesday — exactly six months after Russia's invasion of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid tribute to Ukrainians assisting the war effort in an emotional video address, saying the country was "reborn" on the day Moscow invaded.

World leaders marked the day with messages of support and new rounds of aid. US President Joe Biden announced $2.98 billion in new assistance and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a $66 million aid package during a visit to Kyiv.

Russia has conducted “missile strikes across Ukrainian territory” on Wednesday, an adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Minister said. At least 22 people were killed in a train station strike in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Zelensky said earlier Wednesday.

Ukraine was on high alert as it marked the holiday, with Zelensky on Tuesday warning Moscow may attempt "something particularly ugly.” Celebrations were canceled and the US urgedAmericans in Ukraine to leave the country immediately. 


* * *

* * *


Did that big news two weeks ago actually happen?

by Matt Taibbi

Excuse me for giving a shit, but what happened to the Trump raid story? 

Two weeks ago, the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was the biggest story on earth and seemingly one of the most consequential American news events since 9/11. The search inspired a few hours of social media jubilation, followed by roughly a week of frenzied leaking as a parade of national security soothsayers unspooled sinister scenarios on TV, and then — nothing. The line went dead. By last week’s end, the cancellation of Brian Stelter on CNN was a top national headline in comparison. 

With a caveat that the relative quiet could be upended by a court decision Thursday, could we pause to reflect on the oddness of this episode? Has a story this big ever receded to the back pages this quickly? 

Once the FBI finished searching, everyone from Andrew Cuomo to the New Yorker to Mother Jones to George Will at the Washington Post pointed out the obvious, that the Justice Department needed to quickly produce an explanation, if not an indictment, to avoid the disaster of allowing the perception of a politicized raid to fester.

Instead of providing that explanation, officials across the board posed in the manner of comic strip figures, each pointing at the other and appearing genuinely surprised to be answering questions about it. 

On the day after the search, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre dumped the matter squarely in the Attorney General’s lap, denying President Joe Biden knew what was coming a remarkable eight times: 

One: “No.”

Two: “The President was not briefed.”

Three: He “was not aware of it.”

Four: “No one at the White House was given a heads up.”

Five: That did not happen.”

Six: “The White House learned about this FBI search from public reports.”

Seven: “We learned just like the American public did yesterday.”

Eight: “We did not have advance notice of this activity.”

It now looks like that’s all reporters are going to get from Biden, at least until the next time his handlers let him out of his cage. When Fox asked for more comment Sunday, the White House referred them back to Jean-Pierre’s remarks. This is the political equivalent of Biden wedging a hornet’s nest on Merrick Garland’s head and holding it there. 

The Attorney General strode to a press conference podium three days after the raid looking like a condemned man. He hinted the raid only became public knowledge because Trump blabbed about it, then said the DOJ only filed a motion to release the search warrant “in light of the former president’s public confirmation of the search” and because of “substantial public interest.” Garland toward the end of his remarks said he’d “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” briefly held his hand up to beseech reporters to hold their questions, and Snagglepussed out, exit stage right, without answering one.

The four-minute performance played like a hostage video. The idea of Garland both filing a motion to release the warrant and making a public appearance solely because of the post-raid reaction suggests he, too, was taken by surprise, and didn’t expect to be facing questions. If there was any amount of planning before the raid, this would be impossible. Yet it appeared so.

Virtually simultaneous to Garland’s bizarro presser, the Washington Post released a story entitled “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say.” Post reporters Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, Perry Stein and Shane Harris cited the ever-present “people familiar with the matter” to tell us “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” had been among the items FBI agents sought, adding the unusual raid underscored “deep concern” about “the types of information” sources thought “could be located” in Mar-a-Lago. They went on to add:

“They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation.”

Just throwing it out there, that the raid might have been about some other country’s nuclear secrets! The Washington Post’s anonymously-sourced stunner was the beginning and end of the nuclear secrets story, however. Not one thing has come out about it since, apart from a brief flurry of speculative features (“What nuclear secrets could Trump have possibly taken?” asked Vox, while proudly gullible Post columnist Jennifer Rubin quipped, “Leaving with nuclear secrets would be Trump’s dumbest, scariest stunt yet”). 

A week after announcing their motion to unseal the Trump search warrant, Garland’s DOJ turned around to oppose the full release of the affidavit in support of the warrant. The judge, Bruce Reinhart, cited “intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search” in ordering at least partial disclosure of the affidavit. Reinhart gave Garland’s DOJ a week to submit proposed redactions for info it wanted to keep secret, then appended his order to worry that the Justice Department could redact the document to death, making release “meaningless”:

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government.”

On the first weekend after the raid, official sources were telling everyone that a great part about using the Espionage Act in a Trump probe is that the law doesn’t require the involvement of classified materials. Now, we’re back to Trump not only taking secret documents, but super-secret “sensitive compartmented” ones. We’re going to hear this term, “Sensitive Compartmentalized Information” (capital S, capital C, capital I), a million times before this is over. As PBS reports:

“FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate… removing 11 sets of classified documents, with some not only marked top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” according to a receipt of what was taken… That is a special category meant to protect the nation’s most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests.”

In sum: Joe Biden didn’t know the raid was coming, Merrick Garland blamed Trump for the raid becoming public at all and took three days to take responsibility for ordering it, and Trump’s crime has moved from mishandling “nuclear documents” to keeping “Sensitive Compartmented Information,” whose possession by Trump poses “exceptionally grave” risk to the United States. 

Something about all this stinks. On one hand, we’re in the same place we’ve been a hundred times in the Trump era, waiting for the big reveal. We were here before Michael Cohen’s testimony, before the Mueller report, before the Ukraine whistleblower letter, the Barr memo, and countless other expected bombshells.

On the other hand, the evidentiary hype train has been turned off early this time. The deadline for more news out of Reinhart’s court about what’s inside the affidavit is this Thursday, when Garland is supposed to submit his proposed redactions, yet the story is getting more coverage on Fox (Gutfield! incredibly surged to the top of late-night comedy ratings after the raid) than in mainstream press, which appears to be tiptoeing back from the case much as administration officials did in the first week. 

Trump’s lawyers filed a rambling motion Monday to ask for a Special Master to review the documents before they’re released. A few notes about this motion. One, it started off noting that “Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” which not only gave an indication about Trump’s thinking but framed the issue as a political matter, essentially accusing the DOJ of raiding Trump’s home for political reasons. 

“The Government,” the motion read, “has refused to provide President Trump with any reason for the unprecedented general search of his home.” There’s a lot of crazy stuff in the Trump motion, but they’re not wrong about this. 

Unless Garland and the Biden administration give a clear idea of what exactly precipitated the Trump raid — whether it involved Trump funneling the names of spies to Putin, leaving launch codes out on a pizza box, whatever — Trump is going to continue to hammer this issue. Unless the man is literally in manacles before November 2024, this mess will remain an open wound for Democrats. Even if the raid wasn’t politically motivated, it will for sure continue to look politically motivated, if the Justice Department doesn’t come up with a better explanation than the six or seven leaked so far. Yet everyone is acting like that question has been answered.

What gives? Even though stories like Russiagate and Ukrainegate had holes from the start, their underlying dramatic logic was consistent: Trump is guilty, and proof will be released any minute. The Mar-a-Lago raid by contrast feels like an accidental missile launch. Are we really being softened up for the DOJ ending this story without ever explaining what it had at the time of the raid? That would be bananas, and even crazier if the public accepted such an ending. This is way too big of a story to leave unexplained.

* * *

* * *


by Caitlin Johnstone

It is not easy being someone who cares about the world and opposes the status quo. It's a series of disheartening failures and crushing disappointments amid an endless deluge of information saying that everything is getting worse and worse.

The environment keeps degrading. Ruling power structures keep getting more and more controlling. Capitalism gets more and more imbalanced and exploitative. World powers get closer and closer to a mass military confrontation of unspeakable horror.

And what do we get when we try to oppose these things? Letdown after letdown. Politicians we support lose their elections, often after brazen interference from the very power structures we'd hoped they'd oppose. Political organizing breaks down in sectarian infighting. Activist leaders get caught up in sex scandals. Agendas we helped push for fizzle into impotence. Power wins time after time.

What passes for "the left" in the English-speaking world is basically either controlled opposition or a glorified online hobby group. Or both. The real left has been so successfully subverted by power that the mainstream public doesn't even know what it is anymore; most think the left is either a mainstream political party that's wholly owned and operated by the empire or a loose bunch of vaguely related ideas like having pink hair or saying your pronouns. The left really has been so successfully dismantled that it has almost been purged from memory.

Every time, at every turn, power wins and the people lose. After a while it starts to feel like you're bashing your head against an immovable object. Some people fall down after a few hard bashes. Some don't get back up again. Others keep bashing away, becoming harder and harder and more and more miserable and neurotic the longer they go at it.

And most people don't even know any of this is happening, that's what can really make it hard. You talk to your loved ones about what you're seeing and they just get uncomfortable or look at you like you're crazy. They don't see the problems you're pointing to because none of the places they're getting their information from tell them it's happening, because the powerful control those information sources.

As Terence McKenna put it, "The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation." And as Marshall McLuhan put it, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a hallucinating idiot."

And it sucks. No matter how you slice it, it sucks. It sucks watching this massive juggernaut slowly devour your world and see everyone's attempts to stop it fail, and to have most people in your life not understand it or even see what it is you're pointing to.

So what can you do? Is there a way to beat the bastards? Is there a way to stop the machine in its tracks and turn this thing around?

Well, no. Not right this moment anyway, and not by yourself. The machine's far too big, far too entrenched, and its control over information systems means you're not going to get help from other people in the numbers that you will need them. It's just you and a few others against an entire globe-spanning power structure.

But that doesn't mean you are powerless, and it doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. It just means you're not going to be single-handedly knocking out the bad guy and saving the world in some grand, ego-pleasing way like an action hero in some stupid Hollywood movie.

What you can do as an individual is cultivate a habit of committing small acts of sedition. Making little paper cuts in the flesh of the beast which add up over time. You can't stop the machine by yourself, but you can sure as hell throw sand in its gears.

Giving a receptive listener some information about what's going on in the world. Creating dissident media online. Graffiti with a powerful message. Amplifying an inconvenient voice. Sharing a disruptive idea. Supporting an unauthorized cause. Organizing toward forbidden ends. Distributing literature. Creating literature. Having authentic conversations about real things with anyone who can hear you.

Every day there's something you can do. After you start pointing your creativity at cultivating this habit, you'll surprise yourself with the innovative ideas you come up with. Even a well-placed meme or tweet can open a bunch of eyes to a reality they'd previously been closed to. Remember, they wouldn't be working so frantically to restrict online speech if it didn't pose a genuine threat to the empire.

People tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish in a day, but sorely underestimate how much they can accomplish over a span of several years. Finding little ways to undermine the oppression machine every day gradually adds up to hundreds of acts of defiance in a year, which after a few years becomes thousands.

Do this, and then relax. Don't expect yourself to save the world on your own. You're only human, and there's only one of you. You can only do what you can do, and humanity will either make the leap into health or it won't. Just exert influence over the things you can exert influence over, and outside that little sphere of influence you've got to let go and let be. Don't put any unfair or unreasonable pressures on yourself.

Perpetrate regular small acts of sedition, and then surrender to whatever life brings. I personally see many reasons to hold out hope that we can bring that machine crashing down together one day.


* * *

* * *


by William J. Hughes 

Cooperstown, New York, is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I had not been there since I was a native child of New York with all that sudden wonder all in one place. It is a Disneyland grand slam. I return even like James Fenimore Cooper, and Chingachgook, Hawkeye, the British, the French, this very adult return coming after crossing upper New York from Buffalo, New York and all the Frank Lloyd Wrights.

Just by scheduling chance, in Cooperstown on Hall of Fame induction day in July. We don't much care about some of them. But it will be interesting to be there anyway: Jim Kaat, pitcher for mostly the Minnesota Twins. Tony Oliva, infielder also mostly Minnesota Twins. Minnie Minoso, utility infielder, mostly Chicago White Sox. David Ortiz, infielder -- boo! Mostly of hated (by me of the Yankees) Red Sox. And Bud Fowler, he of the Negro leagues and below, his struggle separate and not equal. What if before Jackie Robinson, equal and equal.

This New York, this is the forest, prime and eternal, New York covered, blanketed, Sherwood Green, all the way to our motel clearing in Herkimer, New York -- French and Indian, Revolutionary war stuff, right on the Mohawk River. You know, like Fenimore Cooper's Drums Along the Mohawk, close enough to Cooperstown to give us a bucolic two lane drive through bountiful farms, Greek columned silos, bountiful corn, antiques on the front lawn, the soft, forested Katskill Mountains comforting it all. You will notice I spelled it with a K, the way those Washington Irving Dutch would say, those Dutch bowlers and Rip Van in the very air.

Baseball uniformed fans abound in the John Cheever, Updike, Rockwell leafy hamlet, stuffed with Red Sox fans for David Ortiz — mostly Dominicans, Americans, Spanish the language of the day for their Dominican hero -- of course no white folks of the Red Sox who also claim Ortiz would ever let a Dominican live in their neighborhood back home. But play ball! Main Street all brick fronts full of baseball crapola, expensive crapola, kind of a carnival midway, but when in "Say, Hey…"

Hot, hot, catching a bus to the induction ceremony. I just want to see Sandy Koufax, even in my Yankee gear he is the best of the best and still a bit of a mystery man. Did you know he lives in Delaware, Maine? But don't tell anybody. Not exactly Malibu or Fifth Avenue. Koufax, once described as a cross between a Greek god and Cary Grant, so his somewhat seclusion is most personal and unusual.

Baseball Woodstock, sort of in the same upper New York green field area with green mountains, an enormous crowd, enormous like we never expected, Dominican again the official language.

Hot, we are not staying very long. There is Sandy Koufax from a distance as past Hall of Famers are introduced under the white tent center stage. That will do after just a few words from those "going in" as the saying goes.

That's more than enough, so I hiked back to town to avoid the possible Altamont, not Woodstock, rush to the buses back to town.

We have the Hall of Fame before the crush, contained and crowded all over with historic stuff from the Babe to Roberto Clemente, every hero and villain that's ever stepped up to the plate, the actual home plate from long-lost Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York, my DNA with sports in it, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit, my friend Rick just about empty of such fluff stuff. I sort of envy him, sort of, acting as his guide to all the gloves and bats and balls, the Splendid Splinter, the Georgia Peach, the Yankees with 27 World Series, up, down and around through all the gear and years to finally arrive at the reason I, we have really come: Marvin Miller and Curt Flood, pay my, our respects to both of them, one who's in the Hall and one who deserves a room of his own in the Hall, that being Curt Flood — who sacrificed so much so that others could be "free" agents and reap the rewards.

Here's a window box for Marvin Miller with a book on Curt Flood. I'm leaving a short story of mine, "21," to honor Curt Flood — a film director like Spike Lee and a few multimillionaire free agent ballplayers will finance a film of Curt Flood and a room in the Hall just for him — who has all but been forgotten — but a young lady has picked up my short story and is reading it. She knows of Curt Flood — Bravo! Marvin Miller gets a poem:

Relishing the chance

in Cooperstown

a hotdog

Dinner —


in honor of

Marvin Miller


If you don't know him, he represented the Players Union, standing up to the almost plantation tycoon team owners of baseball. He seemed like someone who might have fought for the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War -- both of them gone now.

And one last note before we go, another poem for Roberto Clemente, left on a beautiful photo of the Pittsburgh Pirate Puerto Rican gazelle in action:

The Wreck

of the San Juan

the Pittsburgh Pirates

sunken treasure —

Roberto Clemente

— W.J.H.

if you don't know, Clemente died in a plane crash bringing aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

When in town, if you'd like a break from the baseball action, take in the Fenimore Museum. Abner Doubleday may have invented the national pastime around these parts, but James Fenimore Cooper put it on the map.

* * *

* * *


by Dan Bacher

Ranchers who are members of the Shasta River Water Association have defied state law by diverting water flows from the Shasta River, a key Klamath River tributary for imperiled coho and Chinook salmon, a joint press statement from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes revealed.

The association violated an order by the State Water Resources Control Board Board to cease and desist all diversions from the Shasta River just a week after a fire induced mudslide killed all fish in a 60-mile reach of the Klamath River.

The violation by the association takes place as the Klamath Irrigation District in Southern Oregon also plans to defy a U.S. government order issued last week to halt water deliveries to farmers in the basin.

“The Klamath River Water Association is illegally dewatering one of the most important salmon nurseries in California,” said Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery. “After last week’s fish kill, every juvenile salmon in the Klamath basin must be protected to ensure future runs. We are horrified, we are angry, and we expect accountability.”

The Tribes said the diversion led to a 37% decrease in Shasta River flows, from 58 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 36 cfs in about 2 hours on August 17. Rapid drops in flow strand fish along the banks leading to mortality, the Tribes said.

On August 18, 2022 the State Water Board issued a letter to the Shasta River Water Association stating “...the SRWA’s water right is curtailed under the drought emergency regulation and SRWA should not be diverting water from the Shasta River watershed.”

The order reads:

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, pursuant to sections 1831 through 1836 of the California Water Code, that:

1. The Diverter shall immediately cease and desist all diversions from the Shasta River and shall continue to cease diversions until curtailments have lifted or otherwise notified by the State Water Board.

2. The Diverter shall maintain, and provide to the Division upon request, records of all surface water diversions from the Shasta River.

3. The Diverter shall maintain a working flow meter for any future diversions once curtailment is lifted.”

Since August of 2021, water users in Siskiyou County’s Shasta and Scott River Valleys have been subject to a curtailment order (Order). The State Water Board developed the Order after Governor Newsom declared a drought emergency in the Spring 2021, the Tribes noted.

“The Order is an attempt to maintain bare minimum flows in two of the Klamath’s most productive tributaries for Chinook salmon,” explained Karuk senior fisheries biologist Toz Soto. “These flows reflect the best available science and are the minimum amount of water the fish need to survive in drought years.”

Soto said salmon spend 3-5 years of their lives as adults in the Pacific Ocean. Adults return to the freshwater streams they were born in to mate and lay eggs. Juveniles hatch in the Spring but normally spend a year in the river to grow large enough and strong enough to make the swim out to the ocean, repeating the cycle.

“The Shasta River is unique in its abundance of cold springs that flow year-round, making it an outstanding place for juvenile salmon to rear. Unfortunately, most of this cold clean water is being diverted to flood irrigate pasture,” Soto stated.

“We demand and deserve an equitable and fair approach to sharing water,” said Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairman. “For too long ranchers have done what they please with no concern for those of us living downstream. It is time we manage the Klamath basin together as a whole.”

The Tribes said they are “evaluating all options” for holding those engaged in illegal diversions accountable.

“The State Water Board needs to act immediately to hold these illegal diverters accountable. We know the drought is tough on the agricultural community, but once these fish are gone, they are gone forever,” concluded Myers.

The Shasta River Water Association, Inc. a tax-exempt 501(c)(12) irrigation group) based in Grenada, California, represents about 80 ranchers. According to Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the association had total revenues of $429,505, spent $392,491 in expenses and paid 3 employees in 2019.

The Association has not yet responded to my phone call asking for a comment on the cease and desist order.

However, in a letter to the water board on August 17, the group claimed it “believed exemptions allowed it to reduce its diversion by only 15% and said it would start pumping water to supply livestock in hot weather and to fill ponds for fire suppression,” according to the Redding Record-Searchlight.

“The curtailment has dried the Shasta Valley to the point of endangerment to health and life of the public and residents who live here, with apparent disregard to the livestock and pet health within this watershed,” the letter stated.

Friends of the Shasta River accused the Association of “wanton disregard” for the emergency drought regulations upon release of a graph exposing the dewatering of the Shasta River:

“Here’s what wanton disregard for the emergency drought regulations looks like on the Shasta River,” the group stated on twitter. “Over 2/3 of the instream flow requirement (and 100 cfs of unregulated overlying pumped groundwater) is now washing over fields full of grazing cattle, getting heated, and full of s___.”

In an update on twitter on August 24, Friends of the Shasta River said, “Good news is that @USGS is out validating the Montague gage and it looks perfect. Bad news is that the river is seeing new lows while irrigators now have the luxury of 20 days to request a hearing about their curtailment and Notice of Violation. This is not effective enforcement @CaWaterBoards.”

* * *

Get ready for football season.


  1. Marmon August 25, 2022




  2. George Hollister August 25, 2022

    “Mark Scaramella notes: This is interesting, but it does not factor in frost protection,”

    Water diversion, and water use need to be looked at as two different things. If the use is for irrigation, and is done “efficiently”, all the water lost is due to transpiration. In the case of water use for frost protection, there is little loss due to transpiration, and depending on soil conditions, varying degrees of the frost protection water goes back into water table. My understanding is that in the Ukiah Valley, frost protection water often returns back to the Russian River where it came from. I don’t know about Anderson Valley, but suspect that in specific areas the same thing can be seen. If that water does not return directly to the river, it goes into aquifers below the vineyard.

    This touches on a larger subject. Transpiration. There is water used by grapes, and other crops that goes into the atmosphere due to transpiration. There is also much more water that transpires into the atmosphere due to native vegetation. This transpiration from native vegetation has the power to reduce Summer stream flows. Watershed studies in Eel Watershed suggest this, as well as studies in the Caspar Watershed. My guess is the same is happening in the Navarro Watershed.

  3. Marmon August 25, 2022


    “It’s unfair to force a truck driver to pay a loan for someone who got a PhD in gender studies. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for student loan relief and Biden’s order isn’t constitutional. If anything, universities handing out worthless degrees should be on the hook.”

    -Ron DeSantis


    • Brian Wood August 25, 2022

      In a broader sense well educated people generally get higher paying jobs and pay more taxes, meaning most education should be covered by the government. Student debt is a drag on the economy. Your truck driver might not have been able to afford to go to school. Saying “Gender Studies” is just a polarizing distraction. It’s an economic issue, not an issue about what’s politically correct.

    • Stephen Rosenthal August 25, 2022

      Republican Members of Congress Whose PPP Loans Were FORGIVEN:
      Matt Gaetz (R-FL) $476,000
      Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) $180,000
      Greg Pence (R-IN) $79,441
      Vern Buchanan (R-FL) $2,800,000
      Kevin Hern (R-OK) $1,070,000
      Roger Williams ((R-TX) $1,430,000
      Brett Guthrie (R-KY) $4,300,000 (!!!!!)
      Ralph Norman (R-SC) $306,520
      Ralph Abraham (R-LA) $38,000
      Mike Kelly (R-PA) $974,1009
      Vicki Hartzler (R-MO) $451,200
      Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) $988,700
      Carol Miller (R-WV) $3,100,000 (!!!!)

      All very, very, very wealthy individuals whose LOANS WERE FORGIVEN BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

      • Marmon August 26, 2022

        Why did drunk ass Paul Pelosi, worth $220 million dollars, get a PPP loan for $1.7 million dollars that he didn’t have to pay back?


      • George Hollister August 26, 2022

        The PPP “loans” were not intended to be paid back, and were a racket. Like most of what the the federal government spews money out for. No need to look any further than here in Mendocino County. The hogs at the trough were both Rs, and Ds, likely more Ds than Rs because there are more Ds. A funny one were the airlines that received this free money to avoid laying off employees. They laid off their employees anyway, and many found jobs elsewhere. Now the. airlines have a pilot shortage. Also, single proprietor businesses got nothing, because the only people they employ are themselves. So

        • Marmon August 26, 2022

          The PPP was past through an “Act of Congress” and was bipartisan. The tyrant Joe Biden does not have the power to forgive these loans and this will end up being settled in the courts.


        • Stephen Rosenthal August 26, 2022

          Before posting my comment, I did a little research from reliable sources of information, as I am wont to do, unlike certain other commenters who rely exclusively on FoxNews and other, shall we say, outlets that corrupt the facts. Funny, I wasn’t able to find much in the way of the “businesses” they were collecting their PPP loans for. And no surprise (at least not to me), the ones who collected the most of the free $$$ handouts were among the wealthiest members of Congress.

          Now George, I’m sure there are some Democrats on the list, but my point in posting the comment was that those who are most vociferously complaining about Student Loan forgiveness are the ones who have no scruples about enriching themselves with free money from the government.

  4. Debra Keipp August 25, 2022

    Ahemm: Kevin Murray, SERIAL rapist, for better accuracy. Please correct.

    And, yah, wifey needs to get a clue so she can understand that men are like fish in the sea. Pick another one after getting psychological help for yourself as to not spread simply overlooking this serious mental illness onto your children generationally as it goes with many sex crime addicts in families. Nor picking another one same as the other one, because of your own generational sex crime issues.

    I know you like Eyster, Bruce, but this serial rapist allowed to walk so far, instead of being thrown in the hoosgow… more loopholed law supported by guys thinking with their little heads. Sorry to be so blunt, but TRUE!

  5. Stephen Rosenthal August 25, 2022

    If the rapist cop incidents and apparent plea deal had happened in, say, Podunk, Georgia, or Backwoods, Mississippi, people would just pull a Teddy Bow Tie, shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, it’s the good ol’ boys being good ol’ boys, what can we do?” and move on. But it happened in Ukiah, whose residents for the most part laughably think of themselves as “sophisticated”; a city that was voted not too long ago as one of America’s Best Small Towns! (Exclamation point added for faux emphasis.) All the while the West Side glitterati schmooze at Patrona, turning a blind eye to the ongoing problems of a city (and County) in steep decline. It’s long past time to hold certain city (and County) elected officials and administrators accountable for their part in the deterioration they’ve allowed to fester on the people – all the people! – they’ve sworn to serve. Nothing short of a thorough fumigation and housecleaning is in order.

  6. Casey Hartlip August 25, 2022

    As the to water use/needs for grapevines: the figure of 450 vines/acre is SO 1970! Most vineyards planted in the last 25 years have a vine population of 1000-1500 vines per acre. Frost: the REAL water consumer. To frost protect with modern frost systems it’s takes 55 gallons/acre/MINUTE. On a 100 acre vineyard that’s 5,000/gallons/minute. I’d say that the average water consumption of a vine in Anderson Valley per season could be in a range of 50-150 gallons/vine/season.

  7. Meridan Clan August 26, 2022

    Re Cooperstown Visit
    Speaking and rhyming about Cooperstown honorees,
    I don’t know where Sandy Koufax lives. He may have some land in ME which he calls “Delaware.” However, there is no such officially named place in the State of Maine.

    While waiting to contribute to Sports Phone on KZYX, I composed the following bit of doggerel a few years ago.
    It was 50 years ago today
    Dock Ellis went out to play.
    High on LSD
    What did he see?
    More than enough
    To match the Padres’ stuff!
    Dock managed to throw
    An acid no-no!!
    June 12, 2020

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