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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

Cool Coast | Buzzardvision | DA Silent | Bunyan Days | Heat Emergency | Panther Football | Murray Sentence | Chicken Run | Yorkville Social | Ship Bar | Tough Cases | Bronc Rider | Ed Notes | 1933 Band | Trailer Sale | Patty Search | Wedding Party | Xmas Lights | PV Rodeo | Hopkins Survivors | Dahlia | Shot Dogs | Garbage Patch | 1911 Band | Records Ordinance | Bull Rider | DUI Verdict | Pilates Class | Selma Josephson | Art Walk | Yesterday's Catch | Occasional Thought | Jim Bertram | Hastings Bill | Shapeen | Ginsbergbrain | Torturer | Ukraine | Strenuous Life | Wine Rations | Covid Complications | Covered Bridge | Too Stupid | In Arizona | Tomato Girl | Nuke Newsom | The Damned | Biden Unfit | Bargain Regime | Native Win | Taking Land | Nightmare | Retire Diablo | Colossalpus

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THE INLAND AREAS will see hot temperatures today across the area. Friday will see slightly cooler temperatures before a warming trend through Monday. Much cooler weather with night and morning low clouds and fog will continue for coastal areas through next week. Cooler temperatures are expected by mid to late next week. (NWS)

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Morning on the bluffs (photo by Kathy Shearn)

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WHAT SAY, MR. DA?

by Mike Geniella

Disgraced former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Patrick Murray is home breathing a deep sigh of relief today, thanks to his high-powered team of expensive Santa Rosa defense attorneys and a seemingly lackadaisical prosecution effort by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

Murray walked out of Tuesday’s sentencing with a two-year probation order, a minimal sentence for a case that originally was filed with 5 felonies including three sexual assaults against two women. A third woman, a former police trainee under Murray’s supervision, corroborates their claims in a civil lawsuit. 

During the sex crimes investigation, Murray’s genitalia was photographed for evidence. Investigators also found two packets of methamphetamine in his locker at the Ukiah Police Station, but even that charge was dropped in a sweetheart plea deal that ranks among the most notorious yet.

Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman insisted Tuesday that her sentencing was not merely a “slap on the wrist.” 

Moorman’s ruling, however, left some onlookers shaking their heads, and wondering out loud how a cop who has cost local taxpayers $1.3 million so far in cash settlements to victims of his sexual abuse — and his beating of a Navy veteran who lives in Ukiah — got to walk out the door and go home to his family in Lakeport, where he now lives.

Moorman, a former top defense attorney in state and federal courts and often spoken of in glowing terms as being the best qualified judge in Mendocino County, contended during Tuesday’s sentencing that “it was very clear to the court” that the District Attorney’s office was proceeding on the good faith belief that if the case went to trial, the prosecution could not prove Murray’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

No matter, it seems, of the availability of three women witnesses who have independently claimed Murray sexually abused them. Two are cited in an amended criminal complaint, and a third corroborates their stories with her own claims in a still pending civil lawsuit against Murray and the police department. Under revised state law, the third woman could have been subpoenaed to testify in the criminal case had the DA’s Office made that move.

Murray, who was originally charged with multiple sex crimes, burglaries, and misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine, in the end of was sentenced only on a felony count of intimidating a witness and a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment.

The outcome is being widely criticized, and for good reason.

Personally, I covered cops and courts off and on during my 40-year newspaper career. I also spent 10 years working inside the DA’s office where I was officially labeled “public information officer.” Admittedly I am not a lawyer, but I have never seen an outcome in a high-profile case like this.

Sadly, the Murray case is just the most widely publicized in a string of police misconduct cases for the Ukiah Police Department.

In March, it was announced that the city of Ukiah ponied up another $211,000 to settle a shocking beating case involving a mentally ill man who was naked, tasered and punched repeatedly on the ground during an encounter with cops on South State Street. Earlier this year, a Ukiah man showed evidence of facial injuries he suffered in an arrest at the hands of Ukiah officers for allegedly driving under the influence.

There is more to come.

Sonoma County investigators for weeks now have been looking into a complaint that former Police Chief Noble Waidelich assaulted a woman while on duty. Waidelich, a local cop who rose through the ranks, was summarily fired in May. He was seen as someone who would lead the police department out of the swamp. 

Besides the ongoing Sonoma investigation, Waidelich still faces a civil lawsuit brought by a former county probation officer, who once was his domestic partner.

Amanda Carley claimed in civil and criminal complaints that Waidelich abused her during a stormy relationship in the past decade. District Attorney Eyster refused to prosecute, citing conflicting accounts when Carley was first questioned. He took the extraordinary step of listing Carley on a so-called “Brady List,” a secret compilation of officers who are not allowed by him to testify in criminal matters because of perceived untruthfulness. The district attorney originally was named in Carley’s lawsuit, but his name was later stricken because of a state law that allows him to justify his actions while serving as chief prosecutor.

“DA Dave” as Eyster refers to himself has yet to publicly talk about Murray’s case. The outcome has riled the community, and left onlookers wondering what is going on with the pugnacious prosecutor. He is a man who typically grinds down defendants in the courtroom, lashes out at some judges he personally considers “wimps,” and takes time to personally pound out press releases about the most minimal of cases. DA Dave often illustrates his verbose conclusions with an illustration blaring “GUILTY” on his Mendocino County District Attorney web site.

Jason Cabral, a reader, posted this response Tuesday to the latest DA announcement trumpeting a misdemeanor DUI conviction: “This is what you guys are spending your time doing? Posting about DUI convictions while rapist cops get golden plea deals that no civilian would ever get offered?”

Not a peep in the Murray case yet from DA Dave, however. He almost always posts verbose results, but nary a word about the Murray sentencing on the DA web site.

For unexplained reasons, DA Dave earlier this year chose to turn over handling of the biggest police misconduct case in the county’s history to a deputy prosecutor. Neither he nor Assistant DA Dale Trigg publicly got involved although nothing, and I mean nothing, happens in the DA’s Office without their approval.

Despite repeated questions from local news reporters, including two written requests, DA Dave has offered no response to the public concerns or questions. He left Deputy DA Heidi Larson to appear alone during Tuesday’s sentencing. She had little to say.

In an apparent attempt to nullify the public outcry, Larson at the last minute on Monday filed a motion with Judge Ann Moorman urging some jail time for Murray. She did not press the issue during the sentencing, however.

Moorman promised that if Murray should dare step out of line during his probation, “you are going to the joint.”

Okay. We will be watching. No high hopes, though, that justice will be ever given to the victims at Murray’s hands.

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CA STATE OF EMERGENCY PROCLAIMED DUE TO EXTREME HEAT EVENT

August 31, 2022 Governor Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to temporarily increase energy production and reduce demand.

Excerpt from Press Release: Actions the state has taken to accelerate our transition to clean energy have put an estimated 4,000 megawatts on the grid that were not available in July 2020. Since then, the state has also developed emergency measures including adding generators and a Strategic Energy Reserve, additional procurement, and demand response to produce 2,000 megawatts available to respond to emergency conditions like what we are facing today. However, because this heat wave is impacting the entire western United States, limited energy resources are being stretched across multiple states. The prolonged drought has also greatly reduced the state’s ability to generate hydroelectric power. Additionally, the duration of this heat wave is unlike those experienced in recent history increasing the length of time the grid will face peak demand.

gov.ca.gov/2022/08/31/as-heat-wave-grips-western-u-s-governor-newsom-takes-action-to-increase-energy-supplies-and-reduce-demand/

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JUDGE SENTENCES FORMER UKIAH POLICE SGT. KEVIN MURRAY TO SUSPENDED PRISON TERM

by Justine Frederiksen

After stating that she had very few options at her disposal, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann C. Moorman sentenced former Ukiah Police Department Sgt. Kevin P. Murray to two years in prison Tuesday, a term that is currently suspended as he begins serving 24 months of supervised probation.

“But if you take one step out of line, you’re going to the joint; I’m giving you one chance on this,” Moorman said to Murray, who declined to make a statement prior to sentencing, beyond what he had already submitted to the judge.

In explaining her ruling to the victims as well as the community-at-large, Moorman described the plea agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense in July (which dismissed all sexual offenses and had Murray pleading no contest to one misdemeanor and one “Strike” felony on the condition that he receive probation) as amounting to the District Attorney’s Office “signaling to the court that they did not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Referring to a proposal received Monday from the DA’s Office that recommended Murray serve “360 days in county jail,” Moorman described that as both an “unsound recommendation” and “mildly inappropriate.”

Instead, Moorman said she was removing the option of county jail and sentencing Murray to prison time, explaining that she wanted to ensure that even if Murray violated his probation with only six months left on his sentence, “he will go to prison. That is vastly different than if he went to county jail.

“This is not to be interpreted as just a slap on the wrist, or as leniency that is not available to other defendants,” Moorman continued, explaining that she was also requiring Murray to complete a course of counseling for sexual offenders, despite the fact that all sexual offenses Murray was previously charged with were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

“I am requiring he complete at least one year of a certified counseling program for (sex offenders),” she said. When Murray’s attorney Stephen Gallenson asked if that counseling could be completed through the Veteran’s Administration, which is where Murray is currently receiving treatment for PTSD and Bipolar Disorder, Moorman said she wanted the counseling to be certified through the SAFER Program, but that Gallenson and Murray could come back to the court to present options.

In addressing the victims, identified in court as only S.Y. and Jane Doe, Moorman said she “took no pleasure in today’s proceedings for many, many reasons, and that nothing I say or do can restore what’s been taken from you, which is your sense of personal safety and trust.”

To Murray Moorman said, “The damage you have done to the Ukiah Police Department cannot be underestimated. It will take generations for the community’s trust in its police force to be fully restored because of your conduct,” for which Moorman said she believed Murray did hold “genuine remorse.”

As to the terms of his probation, Moorman said that Murray was not allowed to carry a firearm or other type of weapon, was not allowed to consume any controlled substance, which included marijuana and alcohol, or possess any related paraphernalia. He was also not allowed to possess alcohol in his home or frequent any establishments “whose chief item of sale is alcohol,” which Moorman said, in her opinion, included casinos.

To ensure these provisions are met, Moorman said Murray is to submit to testing, and “at any time, day or night, without prior notice, his person, vehicle or home can be searched without a warrant.”

He also must complete 250 hours of community service.

Murray was fired from the UPD about a month after being arrested for allegedly breaking into a Ukiah motel room and raping a woman in late November of 2020. Later, allegations from other women surfaced, including from a former fellow UPD officer.

In a letter to Judge Moorman dated Aug. 11, 2022, Murray writes that since his arrest he has had “the opportunity to reflect on the poor choices that I have made. I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused.

“I have learned so much from this situation,” Murray continues, noting that he has “realized that my family is the most important thing to me. My daughters are 17 and 15, and my sons are 11 and 7. During the past 20 months, I have been able to be actively involved in my children’s lives,” something he explains he did “not have the opportunity to do before while serving in the military or working in law enforcement. Being with my family and supporting them in all endeavors is what I want most in this world.

“Although the circumstances surrounding this incident are not something that I am proud of, they led me to a place where I was able to take my health, especially my mental health, seriously,” Murray continues, describing himself as being diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar Disorder, for which he is “attending therapy and seeing a psychiatrist. My goal is to continue down this road and … show everyone that I can persevere through this traumatic time and become a better person, father and husband. Supervised probation would allow me this opportunity and assist in keeping me accountable to these goals.”

(Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Chicken Run, Potter Valley Fair

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YORKVILLE ICE CREAM SOCIAL IS BACK!

by Terry Sites

Monday, September 5th, 11-4 at the Yorkville Post office mile marker 40 Hwy. 128. Come for the fresh grilled burgers, the ice cream sundaes, the homemade desserts and bake sale. And when you’re done eating dive into the most incredibly priced book sale this side of Cloverdale. Books are sold by the inch so buy a foot or two to round out your winter reading program.

Yorkville being at the southern end of what is not really even officially part of Anderson Valley is often considered “so far away.” People from Boonville, Philo and Navarro may think that a trip to Yorkville is similar to contemplating a trip to Siberia. Really it’s only 20 minutes from Boonville so come on up for the Social.

After you’ve secured your stash of books move on to the silent auction. This year two super offers include a three-night stay at Venice Beach in southern California in a lovely rental home and also a jeep tour of the Cooley Ranch including a BBQ finale.

Also on offer are Magnums and Jeroboams of Valley wine, Valley restaurant meals, Jewelry, Ceramics, Woodwork, cases of hard to find Valley beer and wine and finally three different Yorkville gentlemen artists will offer their commissioned artwork.

All possible ways to stay Covid safe are being followed.

While you’re at it don’t forget to buy some raffle tickets for the Yorkville Ice Cream Social Quilt. This quilt is a showstopper every year assembled lovingly, capably and painstakingly by the Yorkville Women’s Sewing Circle. You can see a photo of the quilt posters on flyers throughout the valley.

What is this fundraiser supporting? More safety for all of us. All funds will go towards the building of a new shelter for a water tender and possible additional fire truck in Yorkville. All of this equipment will respond to any fire incident in Anderson Valley so if you live in AV the Ice Cream Social is supporting you!

Some intrepid souls actually live in Yorkville. Admittedly it is a rare breed of cat who puts down roots in Yorkville. Yorkville is home to a pretty fascinating mix of people including; ranchers, artists, fire men and women, teachers, accountants, shepherds, doctors, photographers, pilots, a wrought iron expert, an arborist, real estate agents, winemakers, a puppeteer and even a retired Air Force full-bird colonel. Quite a few brainiacs live in Yorkville, which is probably why their major fundraiser features a book sale. Books are a big bargain these days via the Internet, remainder tables and Dawn Ballantine’s Hedgehog Books in Boonville. For book lovers the problem becomes where to put all the books. Something’s gotta give and the book sale is an excellent way to move some of those books on down the highway (literally- no pun intended). The subject matter is across a wide board from chick lit to cookbooks, classics, non-fiction and novelty. You’ll find them all at the Yorkville Ice Cream Social Book Sale.

An outstanding characteristic among Yorkvillians is an almost alarmingly high energy level. In Yorkville they “can do” and they can do it at warp speed and with vigor. Come Sunday many volunteer hands will make light work of what it takes to set up this event. Then they will all gather for a “High Rollers BBQ” at the home of two of the Yorkville’s sauciest “new” residents just down the road on Highway 128. Come and meet some of these energetic people, join the fun and make our Valley more fire safe while having a delicious time doing it.

PS. If you too are a book lover with too many books it is not too late to donate books for the sale to the big box outside of the Yorkville Post Office which is accessible 24/7 until the day of the Social.

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The Ship Bar, Fort Bragg, 1950s

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YEARS AGO we received a four-page list of cases that DA Norm Vroman had supposedly “lost” from a very good deputy public defender named Gary Preneta. Preneta even insisted that we actually use his name as compared with most notes we get from local lawyers. He alleged that Vroman was filing unjustified charges or overcharges in the cases listed, resulting in either not-guilty verdicts or verdicts for substantially reduced charges from the original charges. (It should also be noted that Preneta was a good defense attorney and his active defenses may have contributed to some of the “losses” too.) Preneta wanted us to look into the cases ourselves to see if we agreed and then blast Vroman for his alleged mis-charging. The majority of the cases listed were domestic abuse cases where for one reason or another the female victim “went sideways” as the lawyers call it. The victims in the those cases listed had decided or realized that prosecuting their abuser for a felony, as the circumstances indicated, would mean he’d be gone for years, they’d lose the abuser’s income, the abuser had apologized/promised to reform, the victim blamed herself or thought she had contributed to the problem, the victim didn’t want her kids to lose their father, the injuries “weren’t that serious,” the woman was afraid of her abuser, the kids didn’t want their dad prosecuted for a felony and go to prison, they didn’t want to leave his house because they didn’t have alternate housing, the victim didn’t want the circumstances to come out in open court, they/he were/was drunk, they couldn’t afford an attorney, etc. etc. etc. One of Vroman’s sharpest prosecutors at that time was an experienced attorney named Marianna Lehr who told me once in passing in the hallway between her office and Vroman’s that, “You’d be amazed at how many ways a woman can make excuses for her abuser.” 

ANYWAY, after looking into Preneta’s list to the extent we could, we concluded that Vroman had (mostly) stuck with the original charges on a number of domestic abuse cases where the victim no longer wanted to pursue the case, or pursue it as a felony. Vroman stuck to his original charges and either lost (because the victim didn’t cooperate) or got reduced charges. We called Preneta back and asked him about our conclusion. He insisted that it showed that Vroman was overcharging or at least not reducing charges after finding out that the victim had “gone sideways.” 

WE NEVER PRINTED THE STORY or Preneta’s list. We still think that Vroman was right in prosecuting those cases even when there were difficulties as the case proceeded. Too bad current DA David Eyster doesn’t have the same mentality when it comes to the Murray case. (Especially considering that one of Murray’s victims did NOT go sideways at all.) Why not let the case go to the judge or a jury and let them decide if the original charges are warranted?

— Mark Scaramella

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Potter Valley Rodeo

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ED NOTES

STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: “Mendo politicians (including judges) are simply too comfy in their positions. Many are lifelong insiders, some run unopposed, and those who do face competition are often up against unelectable certified nut jobs.

Eyster is a Exhibit A, to use the terminology of his profession. If I’m not mistaken, he’s run unopposed at least twice, including the most recent election. Ted Williams, aka Teddy Bow Tie, ran against a candidate who many consider to be the most unpopular person in his district. Marie Rodin beat two candidates, at least one (Soinila) far more qualified and appealing but relatively unknown and not a member of the good ‘ol boy/gal network, for another term on Ukiah’s City Council. Last and certainly not least, there’s the wannabe Sheriff YouTuber, Trent “Tat” James. Don’t mean to include Sheriff Kendall in these examples, as I think he’s doing a terrific job. But I just can’t turn a blind eye to the guy who ran against him. The guy wasn’t even living in Mendo and had to establish a gofundme account to allegedly pay for his plane ticket to fly here from Virginia in order to register his write-in candidacy.”

YUP. The legal profession around here is even more incestuous than the local medical gang, and both can be lethal, in the first case to justice, the second to your life, with neither group ever daring to say a critical public word about their respective cartels. 

LIFE behind the Green Curtain — the curtain falls at the Mendocino County line with Sonoma County and lifts just north of Crescent City, and in between personalities and events are peculiar indeed.

I WON'T FORGET an attorney from The City emerging from Fantasy Island, aka the Mendocino County Courthouse, to exclaim, “Jesus Christ! What just happened in there?” 

TUESDAY’S FARCICAL sentencing of demented former Ukiah cop, Kevin Murray, was in the grand tradition of Only In Mendo.

JUDGE MOORMAN, as she sentenced Murray in a clearly done deal, got off a couple of jaw-dropping whoppers. “This shouldn't be viewed as a slap on the wrist,” as she gently tapped her pinky on a defendant's wrist who'd committed what are ordinarily viewed, even in Mendo, as major felonies with state prison consequences. I guess the judge could have lashed Murray with a feather, because she couldn't have slapped him lighter. Er, check that: I guess she could have apologized to Murray for having to drive all the way over from Lake County to be wrist-slapped.

THE JUDGE launched an even larger whopper when she said “every effort had been made to prosecute” Murray, a statement belied by DA Eyster's mother of all whoppers that Murray couldn't be prosecuted because he couldn't find a key witness! 

UNTRUE. The woman was not only findable but rather eager to testify on her dual, forced sexual encounters with Murray, one of them at gunpoint.

MURRAY'S PROBATION will be supervised by Lake County, a jurisdiction teeming with probationers and parolees. 

AND Judge Moorman's diction slipped. I know, I know, but these proceedings, even phony ones like Murray's, are supposed to be formal, solemn even, so when the judge warns the defendant that if he violates the terms of his probation he'll “go to the joint” it's kinda jarring to hear the grand dame of Mendo jurisprudence talk like she's one of the boys in B-Tank. (A little too Proustian dear readers? Probably.)

MOVING along, I was at the CostCo pumps the other day when an adjacent customer said, “You look like a lawyer.” Worse, I said, journalist.

THE LETTER to Mendo County Counsel Christian Curtis begins, Dear Mr. Curtis: The First Amendment Coalition (“FAC”) is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs. I am writing on behalf of FAC to discuss Resolution No. 22-181, in which the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors directed “the creation of a local media organization public records grant program and fund” to cover fees for public record requests imposed by Mendocino County Ordinance No. 4507 (“Ordinance”). Joining in this letter are the California News Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee. …”

ANY MATTER referred to the County Counsel's office is like repeat visits to Dickens' Office of Circumlocution (Little Dorrit). Free speech? In a month or so, County Counsel's legal wizards will return with an ordinance prohibiting night time Duck Hunting on State Street.

DID SWEDEN get Covid right? Remember when everybody was arguing for or against Sweden’s light touch approach to coping with the Covid-19 epidemic. Did the world's economy have to be put on hold for two years while the Swedes carried on as normal with only commonsense protective policies?

HERE in Mendo we got minor-scammed by CEO Angelo's appointment of two public health officers, both of them largely ignored by the local public who took their covid advice from state edicts, or simply carried on un-vaxxed. One of Angelo's appointments was a chum from San Diego, who phoned it in, as they say, and one more example of official Mendo's gross dysfunction.

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FB High School Band, 1933

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FOR SALE: 2013 WALTON TRAILER. 24' dually gooseneck , steel loading ramps, deck stakebed, electric brakes, new rubber & spare, 14,000 lbs load capacity. Call for photos, 707-895-2100, $4500

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LOOKING FOR PATTY VAN DAMM

Editor,

I enclose a postal money order for years of fun reading for my brother, an avid reader, to enjoy.

In addition, I am searching for an acquaintance from way back and down there in Mendocino County around 1971, also in Acapulco, by the name of Patty Van Damm. We both have roots in Mendocino. We planned to make a connection. 50 years flew by! I haven't given up hope. So I'm asking you to help spread my search through the AVA readers who can use my cell phone number to set up a meeting: 707-272-1879. Text will work.

Thank you, man,

Bart Butler

Laytonville

PS. That was such an articulate story about one of your prominent Valley people recently. It gave me a deep down stomach howl of joy! The August 17 story about Sam Prather and his departure was great. That Brad Wiley is some writer.

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The Philip and Freida Johnson Wedding, 1924

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THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT BANDIT

Dear AVA,

Bureaucratic red tape is the reply of some. Criminal recidivism others. I personally think it is a case of sheer utter boredom, lack of something better to do. I have taken my issue to the front steps of the Mendocino County Courthouse over the past year almost daily. I have been accosted and arrested on the steps and benches outside the courthouse five times now, four of those arrests were unfounded and charges were dropped. 

I'm now the "Christmas light bandit," LOL. I face charges for removing one strand of Christmas lights. The city of Ukiah claims without prejudice that out of all the professionals here that can replace the strand I removed out of thought of an arcing and broken wire haphazardly strung up the side of the tree. They say it is going to take four electricians and 10 hours each to set the zip-tied lights back on the broken limb. The city of Ukiah is pressing vandalism charges in excess of $4,000. The estimate of repairs is $3,480 or so and said charges of over $1000 for one strand of Christmas lights. Is this what our taxpaying dollars are going to? No wonder the county is broke. 

Am I one to cry wolf? No. I take full responsibility for my actions. That being said I am representing myself in this absurd case. I'm a college graduate of Mendocino College as a fire science major with a 3.7 grade point average. I graduated Howard Forrest Firefighter Academy, completed fire service class (FSC) 68 wildland firefighting at Mendocino, got my firefighter safety and survival training from Ukiah Valley fire authority. I'm certified with Cal OSHA, MSHA, local 1245 IBEW out of Vallejo as a flagged emergency response groundman, certified with the American Board of Traffic Safety Association. I am a certified oil field first responder from when I worked in the oil fields in North Dakota for companies such as Hess, Everstar, Halliburton, Triangle, Hurley's Oilfield and Pioneer Drilling, just to name a few. 

But one officer for the Ukiah Police Department with the nickname "Dirty Dutch" feels with her 10 months of employment experience that after her first five attempts to arrest me last year that I am incompetent to notice an active fire hazard. I believe I was preventing that. Once again she feels she can stutter her way into the District Attorney's pocket by not validating who I am and what I worked for in my life. 

I am currently awaiting a jury trial in Ukiah where the city is going to spend who knows how much money with the cost of a court-appointed counsel, private detectives, jury summonses and more of everyone's taxpaying dollars to fund a jury trial against me over one strand of broken Christmas lights in July. 

If anyone ever has a mishap at Christmas this year or any year in the future with flaming Christmas trees or the like catching fire, don't expect me to piss on them to put them out. Rely on Dirty Dutch, the newest recruit for the Ukiah Police Department, to save you. 

Hopefully you won't have to go through five dropped charges, six trials and five and a half months of BS in return. Let's see if attempt number five by the Ukiah Police Department will get a conviction because for some reason District Attorney David Eyster backed down the first four times. Please consider me for a first time contributor to the newspaper about this. 

Bah humbug, as Scrooge said.

Sincerely,

Patrick Ray Redmill A#95751

Mendocino County Jail, 951 Low Gap Road

Ukiah, CA 95482

PS. My cell mate Alan Sonny Crow left for his seven years recently. Good luck brother. I look forward to reading the next newspaper if we get it.

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Potter Valley Rodeo

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HOPKINS FIRE SURVIVORS APPLICATION For Reassessment Of Damaged Or Destroyed Property Must Be Filed By September 12, 2022, With The Assessor’s Office

Attn: Hopkins Fire Survivors 

Application For Reassessment Of Damaged Or Destroyed Property Must Be Filed By September 12, 2022, With The Assessor’s Office

The Prevention, Recovery, Resiliency, and Mitigation (PRRM) Division encourages Mendocino County residents impacted by the 2021 Hopkins Fire to file the “application for reassessment of damaged or destroyed property” before the September 12, 2022 deadline.

The application may be obtained at: mendocinocounty.org/government/assessor-county-clerk-recorder-elections/assessor-services-forms

Or, by contacting the Assessor’s Office at (707) 234-6800 and requesting an application be mailed to you. To qualify for a calamity adjustment the property must have suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage and the owner must file a claim form with the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity. The completed application should be mailed to:

Mendocino County Assessor

501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020 

Ukiah, CA 95482.

 The Assessor’s Office is available Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm to answer questions, or offer assistance completing the application.

 The Assessor’s office will review the information you provide and an appraiser will contact you.

There is not a charge to file the application for reassessment of property damaged by misfortune or calamity.

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photo by Sandy Metzler

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MENDOCINO COUNTY MAN ARRESTED IN SHOOTING DEATH OF THREE DOGS

by Matt Pera

A Mendocino County man has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting three dogs on his sister’s property, authorities said.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Dos Rios property where the dogs were found dead on Aug. 25, according to a news release Tuesday from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The dogs’ owners had returned from a trip to find the animals had been shot and dragged to various parts of their property in the 15000 block of Poonkinney Road, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Trevor Williams, 56, of Willits after identifying him as the suspected shooter based on video footage, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators believe Williams shot the dogs while they were in a kennel in the backyard. They have not determined a motive for the shooting.

Williams “went to the house unannounced and uninvited,” Capt. Greg Van Patten said.

Williams was booked into the Mendocino County jail on suspicion of cruelty to animals, offenses committed while released on bail and violation of a protective order. His bail was set at $220,000.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CLEANING UP THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH 

On Thursday, September 1, at 9 AM, Pacific Time, our guest at "Heroes and Patriots" is Mary Crowley. 

Last month, Ocean Voyages Institute announced that after 45 days at sea, its sailing cargo ship has arrived in port, docking in California for the first time, with 96 tons of recovered plastic “ghost” nets, derelict fishing gear and consumer plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a large body of floating plastic debris trapped in the Pacific Ocean by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Discovered by NOAA, the patch is estimated to contain 20 times the density of floating debris compared to the global average.

Our show airs live, on the first and fifth Thursdays of every month, at 9 AM, Pacific Time. 

KMUD simulcasts its programming on two full power FM stations: KMUE 88.1 in Eureka and KLAI 90.3 in Laytonville. It also maintains a translator at 99.5 FM in Shelter Cove, California. 

We also stream live from the web at https://kmud.org/ 

Speak with our guests live and on-the-air at: KMUD Studio (707) 923-3911. Please call in and meet Mary Crowley. 

We post our shows to our own website and Youtube channels. Shows may be excerpted to other media outlets. 

Wherever you live, KMUD is your community radio station. We are a true community of compassionate, informed, progressive people. Please join us by becoming a member or underwriter. 

— John Sakowicz 

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Fort Bragg Band, 1911

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OPEN LETTER TO MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISORS: NEW PUBLIC RECORDS FEES WILL COST MORE THAN THEY SAVE

(Note: This letter was sent and published on August 31, 2022, but we are happy to add additional signatures — if you would like to be added to the list or republish the article, please contact publisher@mendovoice.com. You can read our reporting on Mendocino County’s public records fee change here. — Kate Maxwell, Publisher, MendoVoice.com)

August 31, 2022

Dear Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, County Counsel Christian Curtis, and CEO Darcy Antle, 

We write to express our opposition to Mendocino County’s new public records ordinance (No. 4507), and to question the creation of a media fund to offset the fees imposed by the records ordinance (No. 22-181). We also wish to voice our support for the First Amendment Coalition’s letter to the Board of Supervisors, dated August 29, 2022. Access to these records is essential to democracy, accountability and government oversight. 

We believe the ordinance language and new fees violate state law and present an unreasonably high burden on members of the public, who play a crucial oversight role in Mendocino County. This will result in a demonstrable chilling effect on such transparency efforts. 

To quote the FAC, “our position is that the Ordinance is unlawful because the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) does not authorize fees for locating, reviewing, and redacting records and no statute authorizes a county to impose fees not otherwise allowed by the CPRA. To charge up to $150 per hour for responding to record requests creates a financial barrier that deprives many people of transparency rights guaranteed by the CPRA and California Constitution. The grant program cannot cure the defects of an ordinance unlawful on its face.”

The California Public Records Act (CPRA) clearly states that only the costs of duplication can be passed on to the public, and the public has a right to inspect such records at no expense. The creation of a media fund does not address our overarching concerns about what this ordinance will do to transparency and government oversight in Mendocino County. Moreover, the supervisors and county counsel have publicly stated their intent with these fees is to reduce the number of requests as well as to assess them based on the perceived intent of the requester, which is a clear violation of state law. 

As FAC wrote, “Regardless of any benign motive to support local media, the First Amendment does not permit the government to favor one segment of the press over another, whether based on geography, circulation, medium of publication, or any other characteristic. For all these reasons, the only appropriate definition of ‘media’ is a person who is gathering information for the purpose of dissemination to the public… To look beyond that definition to other factors such as location, circulation, longevity, business model, corporate status, employment status, medium of publication, or the like would amount to impermissible discrimination between segments of the press.”

The media outlets covering Mendocino County vary in size, medium of distribution, legal structure, and business model, but many of us cannot afford additional fees — much like the community organizations, freelance journalists and residents who comprise the majority of public records requestors. We fear these ordinances are a boondoggle that will cost the county more than it saves in staff time and potential legal fees. 

Details of how this fund will be created, administered, and implemented are still not publicly available weeks after the fee ordinance took effect, demonstrating the lack of due diligence county supervisors and counsel have put in. The creation of a media fund will inevitably take additional staff time, generate public comment and debate, and increase administration costs on county staff by creating an additional layer of applications, administration, labor, and grant dispersals on top of the public records request process required by state law. 

If the goal is to reduce staff costs, as supervisors and county counsel have expressed, neither this ordinance nor the media fund will accomplish this, and is likely to have the opposite effect. Moreover, the creation of the fund does not address the fundamental issue, which is ensuring public access to these records — in a county where many residents cannot afford $150/hr to do so.

We are urging the Board of Supervisors to repeal this ordinance, which we believe to be in violation of the California Public Records Act. We are joined by the majority of public comments, including statements from KZYX, the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, First Amendment Coalition, California News Publishers Association, Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee, and the signers included below.

Thanks for your consideration,

  • Kate Maxwell, Publisher and cofounder, The Mendocino Voice
  • Frank Hartzell, freelance journalist/Mendocino Voice
  • Dave Brooksher, Mendocino Voice/CopDocuments.org
  • Dana Ullman, freelance photojournalist/reporter/Mendocino Voice
  • Kym Kemp, publisher Redheaded Blackbelt
  • Matt LaFever, Founder of MendoFever
  • Chris Pugh, Editor of the Fort Bragg Advocate-News
  • Bruce Anderson and Mark Scarmella, the Anderson Valley Advertiser
  • Elizabeth Larson, Editor/Publisher of Lake County News
  • Sarah Stierch, freelance journalist
  • Will Carruthers, News editor of the North Bay Bohemian and Pacific Sun
  • Carole Brodsky, freelance journalist
  • Zack Cinek, newsboy.substack.com
  •  Pacific Media Workers Guild (The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America Local 39521)
  • Lauren Schmitt, KMUD News Director
  • Olivia Henry, former Mendocino Voice Membership Coordinator
  • Sarah Reith, reporter, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties
  • s.e. smith, National Magazine Award-winning freelance journalist
  • J. Stephen McLaughlin, publisher, Independent Coast Observer, Gualala
  • Aaron Mackey, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

* * *

Bull and Aspiring Rider, Potter Valley

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DUI DEFENDANT’S TRIAL RESULTS IN GUILTY VERDICT

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from speedy deliberations to find the trial defendant guilty as charged. Defendant Thai Shawn Specials, age 22, of Ukiah, was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater.

The evidence received at trial was that the defendant’s blood alcohol back during the early morning hours of September 5, 2021 was .10/.11.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying Wednesday’s guilty verdict were the Ukiah Police Department and the California Department of Justice forensic laboratory.

The prosecutor who presented the People’s evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Jordyn Sequeira. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan presided over the one-day trial spread over two half days.

* * *

PILATES CLASS

It’s been a minute but very excited to finally share our new space with everyone as Pilates mat classes return to Boonville at The Pilates Nook (located in The Live Oak building). "Pilates Mat with Props" class will utilize a variety of props to explore each week, helping assist with body awareness and improve alignment, posture, strength and balance. Feel free to PM me or call/text 415-713-3833 or email elizabeth@pilatesnookav.com. I look forward to seeing you on the mat!

Elizabeth M. Jensen

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Ms. Selma Josephson, Fort Bragg, 1923

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SEPTEMBER FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK LINE-UP

ART WALK: emphasis on ART and WALK. 

Ukiah is a very walkable town. Join artists and their hosts for an evening of art, music and refreshments as you stroll from one venue to the next; each showcasing local art and artistry. Held in Historic Downtown Ukiah on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk is the perfect way to relax your body, mind and soul. This enjoyable evening begins at 5:00 p.m. and promises to delight your senses; all while enjoying the company of others. For more information contact (707) 391-3664

Grace Hudson Museum & Sun House, 431 S Main Street, Ukiah We’ve planned the First Friday in September to coincide with the opening of our fall exhibition, *Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic*. Be the first to see the show, meet many of the artists, and enjoy the Hopland Pomo Dancers and Pomo style foods.

Ukiah Library, 105 N Main Street, Ukiah (5-7pm) Art Walk Ukiah: Mixed Reflections By Alexandrea Villarreal

Come enjoy an exhibit by Alexandrea Villarreal, titled “Mixed Reflections.” Ms. Villarreal will show portraits in watercolor and her artwork is a celebration of Hispanic Culture. The Ukiah Branch Library will be hosting live music by Clay Hawkins. Watercolor painting materials will be available for in-person crafting or as a Take & Make. This exhibit is free to the public, for all ages, and sponsored by the Friends of the Ukiah Valley Library and Mendocino County Library.

Art Center Ukiah, 201 S State Street, Ukiah

At Art Center Ukiah, "Salon D’Automne" is the invitational exhibit organized by Kate Gould, of diverse artists in both two and three dimensions, reminiscent of the first intimate salons in Paris where artists, rejected by the mainstream juries, came together to show their work. Michael Berg will compliment the art with his music during the reception.

Corner Gallery, 201 S State Street, Ukiah

Lots of new art at the Corner Gallery this coming Friday! Sarah Scott Falk is showing watercolors in the front windows under the title “Blue Skies." Elaine Richards exhibits her most recent oils at the MCAA corner. And something new: painter Jill Millward creates a collaborative art installation and a commentary on the influence of cell phones. Young artist Melanie Muniz continues in September.

Bona Marketplace, 116 W Standley Street, Ukiah

A collaboration of watercolor, mixed media and collage with Laurie Howard and Lynn Williams of the beautiful changing of seasons and light in local art.

Introducing a New venue!

A whole lot of Art! Corner of Main Street and Standley Street in Ukiah

Maureen Mulheren

Ukiah Valley Networking Agency

Ukiah, CA 95482

707-391-3664

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 31, 2022

Barr, Cook, Lewis

ANDREW BARR, Fremont/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

CANDACE COOK, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

DANA LEWIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobeying court order.

Gifford, Lormer, Suba, Zehm

ZACHARY GIFFORD, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

RICHARD LORMER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, protective order violation, parole violation.

KRISTOFF SUBA, Laytonville. Disobeying court order.

LESLIE ZEHM, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

* * *

GOODBYE, GORBY

Brahmic Vrittis, Resting Comfortably in the Svarupa, the 4th Dimension

Warmest spiritual greetings to everyone on the planet earth, Am at the Ukiah Public Library having just finished reading the New York Times appreciation of Mikhail Gorbachev. That, plus "all the news that's fit to print", which resulted in sitting in an easy chair, mind resting comfortably in the svarupa (heart chakra), breathing slow and rhythmic, an occasional thought crawling through. The global news was fully digested, with no apparent side effects. Social security money comes in tomorrow, an appointment for September 7th will result in new eyeglasses, and otherwise there is nothing whatsoever on the horizon. Considering the psychological hell and material confusion which defines daily life, at least according to The New York Times, maybe it is okay that relaxing in "haiku spelled backwards" is the present situation. But still...contact me if you wish to do anything crucial. I'm available.

Craig Louis Stehr, Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com

* * *

Jim Bertram, Soda Pop Salesman, 4th of July, 1990

* * *

UC HASTINGS NAME CHANGE BILL AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

by Alana Minkler

A state Assembly bill to change the UC Hastings College of Law’s name and to solidify a series of restorative justice efforts toward a Northern California tribe passed the Senate unanimously Thursday and is on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

The bill, AB-1936, authored by Assembly member James C. Ramos, D-San Bernardino, seeks to address injustices toward the Yuki Tribe.

Yuki tribal members make up one of six Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo and are the direct descendants of those who survived massacres perpetrated by college founder Serannus Hastings in the Eden and Round valleys during the California Gold Rush.

The Round Valley Tribal Council had been negotiating with the school for years over a name change, but the Yuki had been left out of the discussions until a Press Democrat story revealed their voices were missing in the debate.

Ramos began working on the bill early this year. After reading The Press Democrat article, he added provisions that would ensure the college takes 21 steps toward restorative justice for all the Round Valley tribes.

Those steps include pro bono legal assistance work for tribal members, developing scholarships for tribal members who are admitted to the school and assisting tribal leadership with understanding federal and state Native American graves protection and repatriation laws.

The college will also create a permanent and public memorial on campus in the heart of San Francisco, which should “acknowledge and atone for the historical traumas suffered by the Yuki people,” according to the bill.

The restorative justice efforts in the bill also include an annual apology “to attest to and acknowledge the social justice components achieved and ongoing efforts.”

During the consultation period, Yuki representatives proposed that the school be named Powe’no’m, which means “one people.” However, on July 27, the college’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to change the name to College of the Law, San Francisco.

Board members said it was the best option to maintain the school’s reputation for the sake of students, staff and alumni, stating it would be consistent with other University of California schools, which are based on geographic locations such as UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles.

Yuki Committee members, including Edwina Lincoln and Steve Brown, said they were disappointed when board members voted for the geographical-based name. Tribal members had pointed out previously that the name San Francisco also has roots in the history of colonization and European efforts to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and ultimately erase their culture.

“We feel really disrespected because everything we said, none of it mattered,” Brown said in an interview after the board hearing. “But the fight isn’t over. We’re never going to give up.”

The Yuki Committee ultimately described the passage of the bill as a major victory.

Deb Hutt, a Yuki Committee member, wrote on their Facebook page: “I celebrate our victories...the true history of California Indians is being revealed, and most importantly, this issue has brought the Yuki together...”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

* * *

GINSBERG’S ‘BIRDBRAIN’

This is my response to Allen GINSBERG’S Poem Dec. 5

Ginsberg holds poetry world hostage!

Ginsberg is the ultimate product of beat commercialism

Ginsberg bureaucrat of America’s hip cliches

Ginsberg who wrote well 30 years ago -now never shoots at difficult targets!

Ginsberg forces reality into little boxes marked GINSBERGBRAIN!

Ginsberg needs to keep his prices and prizes up!

Ginsberg writes like police states uncontrolled dishonest

Ginsberg offers not vision but invective

Ginsberg merely points can’t illuminate

Ginsberg stain on Blake and Whitman

Ginsbergbrain!

Ginsberg wants to be Premier, President, Commissar of Arts!

Ginsberg shames those with legitimate complaint

Ginsberg shames those with real troubles

Ginsberg is paid for narcissism he decries -in anyone but himself

Ginsberg gets space in the newspapers -while literature poetry starves

Ginsberg is no longer useful to any -but academic discussion mills

Ginsberg media creation of death!

Ginsberg has betrayed poetry in -order to be immortal.

Mark Leviton, Claremont

Note: Ginsberg publicized his poem 'Birdbrain’ in 1981. On 12/5/81 it was printed in the Los Angeles Times and Leviton’s response was printed on 12/12/82. Source: Archives LA Times. Also see Ginsberg reading his poem accompanied by the punk band the Gluons, 1981

Harry Williamson

Santa Rosa

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* * *

UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2022

A team from the UN's nuclear watchdog has arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia ahead of a planned visit to the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine. The team is expected to visit the plant on Thursday, following recent shelling at the facility and mounting fears of a nuclear disaster.

Ukrainian officials say military operations to retake Russian-held areas of the southare underway. Ukraine’s forces have regained four villages and broken through Moscow’s defenses at multiple points of the frontline in the Kherson region, according to Ukrainian officials. 

European foreign ministers have reached political consensus to fully suspend the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Russia. The agreement will now have to be approved by all member states at the European Council level. 

— CNN

* * *

I'M NOT ADVOCATING the strenuous life for everyone or trying to say it's the choice form of life. Anyone who's had the luck or misfortune to be an athlete has to keep his body in shape. The body and mind are closely coordinated. Fattening of the body can lead to fattening of the mind. I would be tempted to say that it can lead to fattening of the soul, but I don't know anything about the soul. However, in everyone the process of fattening or wasting away will set in, and I guess one is as bad as the other. 

— Hemingway

* * *

French Army's Wine Rations, Gallipoli, 1915

* * *

THE GROWING EVIDENCE THAT COVID-19 IS LEAVING PEOPLE SICKER

When Dr David Strain encountered a 64-year-old patient on his ward round, the British geriatrician had a bleak epiphany.

by Sarah Neville, Federica Cocco

Less than six months earlier he had treated the man for Covid-19. Now, his deterioration was painful to witness. “He came in with a stroke and really bad delirium, a precursor of dementia,” Strain says. “I saw the patient, recognised him [and] recognised the fact that his brain had dramatically aged.”

By unsettling coincidence, the same day Strain, who is based at the University of Exeter in England’s west country, had read a newly published study which identified significant brain shrinkage in a cohort of about 400 people aged between 51 and 81 who had recovered from coronavirus.

The encounter crystallised Strain’s belief that Covid generated a kind of epidemiological aftershock by leaving people susceptible to a huge range of other conditions, threatening global health systems already struggling with insufficient resources and ageing populations. “It made me realise that this is something that we’re going to be facing in a really big way in the near future,” he says.

As he started to see a rise in certain conditions in the first year of the pandemic, Strain assumed it was the result of people being unable or unwilling to access healthcare. Only as the pandemic entered its second year did he begin to suspect that Covid itself could be increasing vulnerability to other serious illnesses.

He now sees it as an inversion of the huge drop in respiratory illness doctors saw from the 1980s onwards, when millions either stopped or reduced smoking. “The level of damage that’s been done to population health [during Covid], it would be as if everybody suddenly decided to take up smoking in one go,” Strain says.

While more data will accumulate in the coming years, there is already evidence to back up his concerns. A Financial Times analysis of data from the UK’s NHS, one of the world’s richest health data sets, showed significant rises in deaths from heart disease since the start of the pandemic in all but the very oldest age groups. In the 40-64 age group, heart attack deaths increased 15 per cent in 2021 compared with 2019.

In February, meanwhile, an analysis of more than 150,000 records from the national healthcare databases at the US Department of Veterans Affairs suggested that even some people who had not been seriously ill with Covid had an increased risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year afterwards.

Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from Covid than in similar people who had not been infected. A separate analysis of VA data, published in March, suggested that in the “post-acute phase” of the disease, people with Covid “exhibit increased risk and burden of diabetes”.

“What’s particularly alarming is that these are really life-long conditions,” says Dr Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of research and development at the VA St Louis Health Care System and clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St Louis, who led both pieces of research.

While just 4 per cent more people contracted heart failure following a Covid infection than those who had not been infected, “because the number of people infected with Sars-Cov-2 in the world is colossal, even small percentages will translate into huge absolute numbers.

twitter.com/FinancialTimes/status/1564938594837569537

* * *

Russian River Bridge, near Cloverdale, 1908

* * *

ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I wonder if yeast in a barrel think they’re so very special, when they reach the end of the hops and it’s time for the die-off.

Do they assure each other that they deserve better than this? Do they demand that they be provided with a bigger barrel and more hops and barley?

I went to a hotel in Nashville last weekend. I walked into the room dressed for the 90 degree weather outside.

Three lights and the TV were on in the empty room, and the thermostat was set at 65!

65 degrees! And yet the entitled ones assure me that setting the thermostat at 69 degrees in the winter will freeze old people to death!

LITERALLY!

Too Stupid To Live, is my diagnosis.

* * *

A LOT OF BAD WEIRD THINGS HAPPEN in Arizona. Power moves very nakedly in that corner of the desert, and only the rich survive to tell their side of the story. Every time I fly into Phoenix, for instance, I expect to be killed. Not immediately. Not at the airport. But almost any time after that. Hell, you never know in Arizona. Some people get killed and some don't. But even if you get out alive, you always know somebody wanted to kill you. They just didn't get around to it this time. 

— Hunter Thompson

* * *

* * *

'PRESIDENT' NEWSOM GOES ANTI-SOLAR AND PRO-NUKE WITH A TICKING CLOCK

by Harvey Wasserman

“Green” Gavin Newsom, the California governor who would be president, has gone intensely anti-solar and pro-nuke.

He now demands that by Wednesday night—within 48 hours—the state legislature approve keeping the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors open indefinitely.

The shocking pro-nuke move comes parallel with the Governor’s attempt to tax rooftop solar out of existence. That decision could come from the CA. Public Utilities Commission within a month.

It’s an astonishing one-two punch that has deeply infuriated California's safe energy community.

Newsom says he needs Diablo to meet future energy demand. But there are a million rooftop solar arrays in a statewide wind/solar industry that employs some 70,000 workers (there are 1500 at Diablo Canyon). With new federal tax credits and other incentives, renewables are transforming the state, letting hundreds of thousands of households to produce their own clean, cheap energy and break away from the utility-owned grid.

Thus Newsom’s choice of an energy future based on atomic rather than solar energy has shocked the state.

Designed in the 1960s, the Diablo reactors have hosted more civil disobedience arrests than any other in the US. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has long since warned that Unit One is dangerously embrittled, a deep structural flaw that could turn a melt-down into an apocalyptic explosion.

NRC site inspector Dr. Michael Peck has warned that while just 45 miles from the San Andreas, the reactors can’t withstand credible seismic shocks from a dozen or more fault lines surrounding the site.

The rise of renewables has slashed Diablo’s ability to compete. Facing major losses and expensive upgrades, Pacific Gas & Electric helped convene a two-year series of public deliberations to plan a shut-down by 2024-5, when Diablo’s NRC licenses would expire.

The painstaking collaboration was crowned in 2016, when then-Lieutenant-Governor Newsom joined then-Governor Jerry Brown with PG&E and regulators, unions, local governments, environmental and citizens groups in mapping out a smooth transition to a renewable-based future.

Thousands of megawatts of green capacity were factored into the phase-out, guaranteeing California would avoid shortfalls while transitioning to solar, wind, batteries, efficiency. They would guarantee the state’s energy security while chasing its carbon-reduction targets.

Notable opposition came from the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, who still want an immediate shut-down.

In 2019 the Mothers also joined a broad coalition asking Newsom to conduct an independent inspection to evaluate the reactors’ safety. 

( https://solartopia.org/blog-a-topia-2/shut-diablo-nukes/ )

Newsom has refused. He also wants to hand PG&E $1.4 billion in public money to keep Diablo operating for undetermined years to come.

In a very rushed process with no public hearings or inspections, Newsom’s move to cancel Diablo’s orderly phase-out has infuriated green activists, who view it as an autocratic, arbitrary and opportunistic betrayal.

Aside from six years of deferred maintenance, all that’s really changed since Diablo’s shut-down agreement is further deterioration of the reactors combined with dramatic rises in the cost-effectiveness of renewables, efficiency and battery storage technologies.

Newsom’s sudden support for 35-year-old reactors surrounded by earthquake faults with major structural flaws in a green state is widely seen as part of a presidential campaign ready to reap huge utility and nuke-powered donations.

Newsom says he fears shutting Diablo could cause embarrassing blackouts. But the reactors’ downtime is substantial. They regularly destabilize the statewide grid. And they can always blow up.

By contrast, a booming network of independently-owned battery systems recently helped avert a serious grid blackout.

(http://acehoffman.org/sano/DCNPP_EnoughIsEnough20220829A.mp4 )

Like all US nukes, Diablo has no private insurance to compensate those harmed by a major disaster. If there are workable evacuation plans in the face of a radioactive cloud blowing into Los Angeles, the Central Valley or the Bay Area, they’ve not been made public.

But Newsom’s Diablo package does hand $2 billion or more to PG&E stockholders. Forcing Californians to pay for Diablo state-wide could sabotage Community Choice Aggregation districts, which the big utilities hate.

They also hate rooftop solar, which lets homeowners produce their own power and sell it back to the grid.

So heavily funded utility lobbyists are ramming a bevy of taxes and regulations onto the CPUC docket, designed to make photovoltaic cells unaffordable.

Ironically, Florida’s extreme right-wing Governor Ron DeSantis, a possible 2024 Newsom competitor for the White House, has just vetoed a parallel anti-green bill. In both California and Florida, public support for solar is in the range of 80%.

One can easily speculate on Newsom’s presidential and other motives for this double assault on a green-powered future.

But risking billions of public dollars on a dangerous, decrepit nuke plant while slashing rooftop solar certainly sends a message that Gavin Newsom is ready to serve the private utility industry long before the movement for green public power and a sustainable planet.

(Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, and The People’s Spiral of US History are at www.solartopia.org. Most Mondays he convenes the Green Grassroots Emergency Election Protection zooms (www.electionprotection2024.org). 

* * *

Crowd of the Damned, Pamplona Bible, 1197

* * *

LYING JOE BIDEN IS UNFIT TO SAVE THE ‘SOUL OF THE NATION’

by Michael Goodwin

President Biden is going to deliver a prime-time speech Thursday on what the White House calls the “battle for the soul of the nation.”

It’s a timely topic with rich possibilities, but none richer than the notion that the Big Guy is qualified to address America’s soul. Unless he’s going to confess how his family made millions by selling access to foreign governments and Communist oligarchs, Biden will be stuck spinning a web of fiction.

No problem there because fiction is what he’s good at. He has a gift for playing make-believe.

All politicians lie, but Biden doesn’t stop there. He’s a proven plagiarist, a fabulist, always the hero of his own stories, the Walter Mitty of American politics!

Never mind that on his watch and under his policies, America has gotten more violent, more expensive and more pessimistic. The world smells weakness and when our enemies say the United States is in decline, it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Yet Biden stumbles and mumbles on, the path greased by his image of being a solid old-school guy. Uncle Joe is made for politics and voters can trust him, the media never tires of lecturing us, because he reminds them of someone in their family.

Sure, he’s a little daffy and gets hot under the collar quickly, but he means well and has a big heart. Maybe that big heart is why young children want to rub the hair on his legs and why he nuzzles them and sniffs their hair.

Many of Joe Biden’s stories have lacked any factual basis.

Isn’t that what all uncles do? And don’t all fathers take showers with their daughters, as Uncle Joe did with his daughter, according to Ashley Biden’s diary?

When Uncle Joe tells stories about his own childhood, he is always “Joey” and the family is sitting around the kitchen table in Scranton, going over the bills they can’t afford to pay. Somebody always says something about the little guys getting screwed, which Joey vows to stop when he grows up.

That’s why, he tells us, he worked so hard in high school and wasadmitted to the Naval Academy, started college at the historically black Delaware State University, then moved to the University of Delaware, where he got three undergraduate degrees.

Three degrees and four Pinocchios!

Then he was off to law school at Syracuse University, where he got the only full academic scholarship and finished in the top half of his class.

He said, until facts proved otherwise.

Along the way, he got a job as the only white lifeguard at a black swimming pool in Wilmington, where he faced down Corn Pop, “a bad dude who ran a lot of bad boys.” They all carried razor blades dipped in rain barrels to make them rusty, but Joe Biden wasn’t afraid and Corn Pop backed down!

Fight to save own skin

Real life dealt Biden more than his share of tragedy, but it never dimmed his passion for self-aggrandizement. He says he was arrested more than once for participating in civil rights protests in the United States and once in South Africa for trying to see Nelson Mandela.

Neither claim is true, but it is a fact he befriended Southern segregationists in the Senate and “revered” his mentor Robert Byrd, a former KKK member.

Sometimes Biden’s passion for civil rights carries him away, as it did in the 2012 campaign when he accused Mitt Romney and Republicans of wanting to put black Americans “back in chains.”

Or when he told a black radio host in 2020 that “you ain’t black” if the host even considered voting for Donald Trump.

Biden referred to a Georgia voter ID law as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

Those passions were still hot last year when he attacked a proposed Georgia law requiring voter identification as “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and said supporting it was like being on the side of Bull Connor. No matter that Delaware also requires voter ID.

All of which suggests Biden’s version of the soul of America is conveniently contoured to fit his politics at any given moment. Thursday, with the midterms heating up and Biden family secrets at stake, will be a grand example.

Coming just after his attorney general ordered an unprecedented raid on the home of the former president, and as the case plays out daily in the media, the current president will say America must unite to protect democracy from the other party, er, semi-fascists.

He won’t have to mention Donald Trump’s name for everyone to know who the devil is. While some may worry Democrats are weaponizing law enforcement against their political enemies, the media will shout hooray for Uncle Joe.

It will remain unsaid that the same FBI that spied on Trump in 2016 and helped to quash The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020 is now being counted on to deep-six that pesky probe of Hunter and all those foreign paymasters. No leaks and no end in sight of the four-year investigation, despite the fact that millions of dollars sloshed around in various Biden family accounts.

All the more reason why Biden must fight like hell for Democrats to hold both houses of Congress this fall. His presidency and reputation are at stake because if Republicans gain either chamber, they vow to investigate the Big Guy and his family’s riches.

So voters will have a real choice. They can get a full, honest picture of Biden’s long career of getting a secret cut.

Or they can decide the soul of the nation is best served with the status quo, where the cash flows into the first family’s pockets and the leader of the other party gets raided by the FBI and faces prison.

There are now thousands of immigrants in NYC’s shelters.

Seven thousand six hundred — and counting. That’s how many border-crossing migrants are now in New York City shelters, and the number is growing by the day.

Sooner or later, Mayor Eric Adams is going to pay a political price. The influx started with the federal government’s secret flights to area airports and is continuing with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sending migrant buses to Gotham and Washington, DC.

Abbott’s goal is to pressure sanctuary cities into crying uncle and getting Biden to seal the border.

Abbott has won the argument. The only question is how long it will take for Adams to concede defeat and work with him to get Washington to enforce immigration laws.

(New York Post)

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SARAH PALIN LOSES ALASKA RACE TO DEMOCRAT MARY PELTOLA

The Democrat Mary Peltola has won the special election for Alaska’s only US House seat, besting a field that included the Republican Sarah Palin, who was seeking a political comeback in the state where she was once governor.

Peltola, who is Yup’ik and turned 49 on Wednesday, will become the first Alaska Native to serve in the House and the first woman to hold the seat. She will serve the remaining months of the late Republican US Representative Don Young’s term. Young held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.…

theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/31/alaska-special-election-mary-peltola-wins

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THINGS STARTED GOING WRONG, as far as Zhaanat was concerned, when places everywhere were named for people — political figures, priests, explorers — and not for the real things that happened in these places — the dreaming, the eating, the death, the appearance of animals. This confusion of the chimookomaanag between the timelessness of the earth and the short span here of mortals was typical of their arrogance. But it seemed to Zhaanat that this behavior had caused a rift in the life of places. The animals didn’t come around to these locations stained by the names of humans. Plants, also, had begun to grow fitfully. The most delicate of her plant medicines were even dying out altogether, or perhaps they had torn themselves up by the roots to drag their fruits and leaves to secret spots where even Zhaanat couldn’t find them. And now even these half-ruined places that bore the names of saints and homestead people and priests, these places were going to be taken. In her experience, once these people talked of taking land it was as good as gone.

—Louise Erdrich, 2020; “The Names,” from “The Night Watchman”

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The Nightmare, 1810

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WHY THE RETIREMENT OF A CALIFORNIA NUCLEAR PLANT SHOULD PROCEED AS PLANNED

by Ralph Cavanagh, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Since 1979, when I first joined the Natural Resources Defense Council, I have been involved with nuclear power issues touching on all aspects of the technology’s deployment in the United States. Thirty years ago, I served on a National Academy of Sciences panel convened to address the nuclear industry’s future, and in 2016 I helped negotiate the agreement that extended the lifetime of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to ensure time for zero-carbon replacement. Nuclear power is certainly better than fossil generation, avoiding its carbon and particulate pollution (although no one should ignore the public health and environmental concerns associated with the nuclear fuel cycle’s waste disposal, mining, and weapons proliferation issues). But those aren’t our only choices, and Diablo Canyon is an instructive case study.

In June 2016, the Natural Resources Defense Council announced that it and several other environmental groups would support a seven-year extension of the cooling water permit for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, from 2018 through 2025. For its part, PG&E committed to seeking permission to replace the California plant’s two generating units by 2025 with a portfolio of lower-cost, zero-carbon resources, led by energy efficiency and renewable energy. PG&E is one of the nation’s largest combination natural gas and electric utilities, serving 16 million people in northern and central California across a region the size of Florida.

Under the Joint Proposal to Retire and Replace Diablo Canyon, the state’s last remaining nuclear plant would get a state cooling water permit renewal allowing it to operate until the expiration of its federal operating license in August 2025 (barring unanticipated equipment failures or operational safety issues). Attesting its fair treatment for the plant’s host communities and workers, the proposal had strong support from those communities and PG&E’s principal union, IBEW 1245. In a bill co-authored by Senate Majority leader Bill Monning, adopted almost unanimously in 2018 and signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, California’s legislature endorsed the Joint Proposal and directed the California PUC to execute it fully, including a mandate to “avoid any increase in emissions of greenhouse gases as a result of the retirement of the Diablo Canyon Units.” That process is now well underway, with recently renewed endorsements by both the plant’s hometown paper (the San Luis Obispo Tribune) and the Los Angeles Times.

The orderly phase-out of Diablo Canyon is historic in important ways. It is the first nuclear power plant life extension and retirement to be conditioned on full replacement with lower cost zero-carbon resources. It reflected specific findings by the plant owner that giant “baseload” power plants no longer fit the needs of modern power grids, which require greater flexibility and resilience. For example, California increasingly must throw away solar energy at times of high production because it exceeds customers’ electricity needs. Under these circumstances, a giant baseload nuclear plant that is designed to operate around-the-clock had become a roadblock to replacing polluting power plants with emissions-free renewable energy.

Nonetheless, a February 2022 letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed by prominent academics and others urged further extension of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s operating life, shortly after Stanford and MIT researchers released a report with the same recommendation. Both assumed inaccurately that running Diablo Canyon after its operating license expires in 2025 would cost much less than zero-carbon alternatives. Both included other significant errors and omissions, reflecting in part the authors’ failure to consult with any of the numerous parties to the Joint Proposal.

The letter’s supposedly “new” arguments for life extension were considered and rejected repeatedly in public proceedings before both state and federal decision-makers between 2016 and 2021. The signers likely don’t know that and haven’t reviewed the replacement plan, and NRDC hopes they will join us and others in supporting much more affordable and practicable approaches to decarbonizing California’s economy. We all share that crucial objective, and this disagreement involves only one of numerous potential solutions.

The letter to Newsom is premised on the false notion that Diablo Canyon is being “prematurely shut down;” in fact, the Diablo plant is expected to operate through August of 2025, which marks the end of its 40-year federal license. The letter concedes that California law requires that Diablo Canyon be replaced without triggering any increases in emissions of greenhouse gases or other pollutants. The letter also acknowledges that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has recently issued a comprehensive procurement order establishing a detailed implementation plan to ensure compliance with the state mandate. A diverse portfolio of zero-emission resources will replace Diablo Canyon at significantly lower cost than refurbishing it to run longer. And total carbon pollution from power generation serving California is subject to declining caps that the CPUC strengthened recently.

The letter mistakenly equates California’s San Onofre and Diablo nuclear plant retirements, arguing that because San Onofre’s closure in 2013 triggered additional fossil fuel generation, Diablo Canyon’s retirement will have the same result. But San Onofre closed unexpectedly following massive equipment failures, with no opportunity to plan for long-term zero-carbon replacements. By contrast, the 2016 Diablo Canyon agreement left nine years for remedial action, which is now underway, overseen by the Public Utilities Commission.

For its part, the MIT/Stanford report rests on two palpably flawed assumptions: (1) Diablo Canyon’s retirement will be both costly and environmentally damaging because of heavy reliance on natural gas generation in the replacement portfolio, and (2) Diablo Canyon’s operating life can be extended inexpensively for decades with relatively minor modifications to its cooling system, which relies on massive seawater intake that significantly harms marine life. But it was clear to all involved in the Joint Proposal that California regulators would never tolerate continued operation of an ocean cooling system in any way similar to that described in the Stanford/MIT report. PG&E would have been required instead to install a far more costly cooling tower alternative, pushing Diablo Canyon’s long-term operating costs far beyond the Stanford/MIT projection (which implausibly anticipated at most trivial increases in today’s costs for decades to come).

As to the issue of replacement power, as noted above, the California legislature has ruled out the report’s natural gas-dominated replacement scenario. The 2018 bill required that Diablo Canyon be replaced without triggering any increases in emissions of greenhouse gases. The 2016 Joint Proposal itself was based in substantial part on expert analysis (overlooked by the Stanford/MIT researchers) showing that replacing Diablo Canyon with a diverse mix of energy efficiency, renewable resources and electricity storage options would be far less costly than continuing to operate a giant, inflexible plant past 2025.

Most of the claims in the Stanford/MIT report and the letter to the governor have been litigated unsuccessfully before the CPUC, the California Court of Appeal, and most recently—in March 2021—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Diablo Canyon’s owner, PG&E, has withdrawn and will not renew its application to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the plant’s 40-year federal operating license. Diablo Canyon will retire when the license expires in August 2025. Governor Newsom, who as a member of the State Lands Commission provided a key vote in favor of the Joint Proposal back in 2016, has no legal authority to extend that deadline.

Shortly before Governor Newsom cast that vote, the New York Times published an editorial strongly in favor of the Diablo Canyon retirement proposal, calling it “a positive example for other states and nations that may in time need to replace aging nuclear plants.” It was indeed, and always will be.

thebulletin.org/2022/03/why-the-retirement-of-a-california-nuclear-plant-should-proceed-as-planned/

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The Colossal Octopus, 1805

11 Comments

  1. Kirk Vodopals September 1, 2022

    Lotsa letters supporting the anti-nuke stance. I may have to agree with Governor Hair Gel on this one. Use Germany as an example: their utility costs are up 1,000 percent now, mostly cuz Putin is a tyrant. But they probably wish they hadn’t decommissioned so many nuclear plants. Nukes ain’t the best and only solution, but they’re a piece of the puzzle, particularly when you’re trying to get everyone to buy electric vehicles.

    • Chuck Dunbar September 1, 2022

      Some good news for sure. The last thing we need is more of Sarah Palin. Makes my day.

  2. Whyte Owen September 1, 2022

    Best read ever: Louise Erdrich from first to most recent, in order, twice.

    • Paul Modic September 1, 2022

      No, I never re-read a book, and i do LOOOOOOVE and read every Erdrich book, but the last one sounds a little too mystical for me, a ghost haunting a bookstore? I’ll pass…
      But my prejudices aside, if I DID read her latest I’d probably actually like it, she’s THAT good…

      • Bruce McEwen September 1, 2022

        I remember when she built her house above Foy Lake on Whalebone Dr. My weekly The Flathead Valley Leisure Revue was refused an interview but her books were a daring look into Native American issues and she has persevered heroically.

  3. Marmon September 1, 2022

    RE: NEWSOM AND GRETA THUMBERG.

    We are being asked to not use any electric appliances or charge our EV’s for the next week between the hours of 4 and 9 PM. Also it is PSPS time of the year because of fire danger. My eclectic bill for July was $225, double of what it was the same month last year. I will most likely turn everything off and go sit in the lexus with the motor running and air conditioner on high. Gas will be a cheaper alternative. I will plug my tablet into the cigarette lighter port for entertainment and information.

    Marmon

  4. Craig Stehr September 1, 2022

    I just got a notice from Community Development Commission of Mendocino County that I’ve been placed on a waiting list for subsidized housing. This lifetime, hopefully. After all, I’m not reincarnating. And if they can’t place me in Ukiah, then I’ll take Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., preferably up the hill from the brig >>> https://www.thebrigdc.com/ YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE TO GET THIS!! Thank you. ;-))

    • Marmon September 1, 2022

      We need to talk about your housing situation more here on the AVA. The squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Glad I could help.

      Marmon

  5. Bruce McEwen September 1, 2022

    The parody of a wrist slap in today’s Ed. Notes reminded me of the Firesign Theater’s skit where the judge says, “Bailiff, slap his pee-pee!”

    But Ukiah needs a good private investigator, now that Tom Hine has retired, and the court knows Mr Murray’s skills in this regard, so he doesn’t need a badge to serve the county, only a job.

  6. David Gurney September 2, 2022

    The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was not named that way for nothing. The only question is – how did they know beforehand?

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