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Off the Record (Sept. 7, 2022)

MENDO THE MERCIFUL. Former Ukiah Police sergeant, Kevin Murray, 38, was sentenced late Tuesday afternoon to two years probation and jail time. Judge Moorman admonished the hulking, buzz cut defendant that if he violates any of a series of strict probation requirements, including therapy for his alleged bi-polar disorder and the post traumatic stress he says he suffered as a military policeman in Iraq, she will pack him off to state prison. 

MURRAY'S invocation of mental illness seems suspiciously opportunistic given that he has functioned normally (more or less) for nearly 15 total years as a police officer.

THE DEFENDANT looked on impassively as the judge spoke. He did not deliver even a pro forma apology for his behavior. The light sentence means he does not sacrifice his license to again work as a police officer.

A LARGE TURNOUT of armed law enforcement personnel inside and outside the packed courtroom was apparently staged in anticipation of possible disorder but was not required to quell any disturbance. The crowd was quiet, although a number of persons shook their heads in disbelief at the rendered sweetheart sentence as they filed out of the room. (I thought the large police presence meant that Murray was going to be taken into custody, which seemed at least possible prior to Judge Moorman's lengthy recitation of the charges and her reasons for downsizing them, all strictly legal of course, concluding, “This is not to be interpreted as a slap on the wrist.”

MURRAY was accompanied by two women I assumed for no other reason than wild surmise, to be his wife and mother-in-law, or sister and mother perhaps. 

THE DEFENDANT replied terse yeses to questions from the judge that he understood the numerous stipulations that came with his miraculously generous sentence. 

JUDGE MOORMAN delivered a twenty-minute explication of the charges and her findings. 

MURRAY was represented by Chris Andrian and Stephen Gallenson, but attended only by Gallenson at Tuesday’s pro forma process, while The People were represented by Assistant DA Heidi Larson, who was mute except for an occasional affirmative in response to the judge. Murray's expensive defense certainly paid off for him, but it remains unclear who paid for it. Some people say his family, others the Ukiah Police Department. 

DA David Eyster was not present although the charging decision to downsize Murrays basket of felonies to misdemeanors was Eyster’s decision. 

SONOMA COUNTY PROBATION'S evaluation of the rogue cop concluded that he should do some jail time, less than a year but a serious period of incarceration. That recommendation was ignored by Judge Moorman.

AN UNIDENTIFIED rape victim, identified in court documents only as “S.Y.,” was scheduled to testify by Zoom about the harm she suffered from Murray, but a technical-computer failure canceled her testimony, which would have been ignored anyway given that the proceedings were obviously pre-determined. None of the other victims were present, nor were their written statements read, assuming they had been submitted to the court.

GIVEN THE RANGE and variety of the original felony charges against Murray, the magic reduction of them to misdemeanors was not challenged by Ms. Larson, The People's prosecutor.  The People, aka DA Eyster, stuck to their decision to let this guy slide on charges that would put most men in prison for a long, long time. Those charges included possession of methamphetamine, burglary, rapes of three women and a description of a hotel incident that seemed headed for rape until the potential vic locked herself in a bathroom. One of the rapes was carried out at gun point.

MURRAY is a resident of Lake County, and on his third marriage. He still faces a civil suit filed by a former female colleague at the Ukiah PD, the woman who says she was forced to lock herself in a hotel bathroom to elude the nude Murray brandishing his erect penis.

THE BADGED marauder has cost the City of Ukiah's taxpayers a large amount of money. Chris Rasku won a million in federal court when he was seriously injured in an assault by Murray, and one of Murray’s female victims was paid $250,000 by the City before today's charges were adjudicated.

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 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 already 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. 

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.

“THE REPORT of the Sonoma County investigation of former Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich has been forwarded to Mendo's District Attorney's office. Nobody knows what's in it or what they recommend for what is rumored to be an assault on a woman, the former Chief’s second such charge.

THE REPORT of the Sonoma County investigation of former Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich has been forwarded to the Mendo's District Attorney's office. Nobody knows what's in it or what they recommend for what is rumored to be an assault on a woman.

PREDICTION: The next thing we'll hear about the case is that Waidelich has hired SoCo attorney Chris Andrian and a plea bargain is being arranged involving no jail time. The DA will issue no press release. The contents of the SoCo investigation will never be public, and when the plea bargain comes before Judge Moorman for rubber-stamping, the Judge will tell the public, “This is NOT to be interpreted as a slap on the wrist!”

 PREDICTION: The next thing we'll hear about the case is that Waidelich has hired (Sonoma County) attorney Chris Andrian and a plea bargain is being arranged involving no jail time. The DA will issue no press release. The contents of the investigation will never be public, and when the plea bargain comes before Judge Moorman for rubber-stamping, the Judge will tell the public, “This is NOT to be interpreted as a slap on the wrist!”

MIKE GENIELLA: “Why is DA Dave suggesting more investigation might be needed by his office, and whether referring the case to the Attorney General's Office for independent review and possible prosecution is still being pondered? 

The fact of the matter is that DA Eyster played a big role in events that led to the downfall of Waidelich and his former fiance, Amanda Carley. Eyster cast doubts professionally, and personally on Carley, the former domestic partner of the police chief, a former county probation officer, and a one-time employee in the District Attorney's Office. The DA's role was so large that originally he was named in a still-pending civil lawsuit filed by Carley against Waidelich and the county of Mendocino.

Eyster escaped remaining as a defendant by asserting state law protections that he was acting in his official duties. Still, there is little doubt Eyster shut down Carley's local career by placing her on a secret list of cops no longer allowed to testify in court proceedings because of concerns about their truthfulness. She has since moved to Southern California, achieved a license to be a state investigator, and works within the state corrections system.

Let's face it. Given the widespread public cynicism surrounding the DA's sweetheart plea deal with disgraced former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Murray, 'DA Dave' needs to recuse himself and do the right thing. Ask for an independent review and assessment of the former Police Chief's case for possible prosecution. The public will accept nothing less.”

I THINK the DA is wise to zip it and keep it zipped on the Murray matter. Anything he says at this point will only incriminate him further. For reasons we're unlikely to ever know, the local justice system let Murray slide on charges that would get your ordinary Mendo criminal serious prison time.

DONNING my moralist hat, I truly don't understand abuse of women. In my youth, I remember men who beat or otherwise mistreated their wives were shunned, ostracized by the wider community. Male relatives of abused women, at least in my neighborhood, were known to knock the crap out of abusers. Abuse of women just wasn't done, and male children were raised to be, ahem, “gentlemen” in their relations with the other gender. (There were only two genders until recently. Pronouns have also become complicated.) I blame the prevalence and easy availability of pornography — filmic abuse of half the human population — on the more egregious abuse of women, but only one more sign of these, The Last Days.

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

Gaye LeBaron

HERE’S TO GAYE, Mike Geniella writes: “Terese and I attended the Museum of Sonoma County’s gala Saturday night at Pacific Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa in honor of Gaye LeBaron, the noted newspaper columnist, and North Coast historian. Gaye was presented the museum’s ‘Visionary Award,’ given annually to individuals “…whose actions and ideas help transform our region and the world around us.” 

I worked with Gaye at The Press Democrat for nearly 30 years, where I learned very quickly she was the ‘go-to’ person for background information about the people and places of the Redwood Region. Over the years our professional and personal friendship deepened, in some ways because of our mutual Portuguese heritage from the Azores in the Atlantic. Gaye is a good friend of the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, where she is much appreciated. Congratulations, Gaye.

 “JOIN US IN THE FUTURE OF THE ICO!” read the emphatic invitation over the announcement in the Independent Coast Observer that the venerable South Coast weekly is “transforming into a community owned nonprofit.” 

HMMM. The bulk of publisher Steve McLaughlin’s death knell desperation was a pitch for an ad salesman, ads, as Steve has often written, being “the life blood” of journalism, George Orwell’s observation notwithstanding that in fact “advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.” And who wants swine determining what goes into your community newspaper?

ELECTRONIC ADVERTISING has killed off many newspapers, with the survivors taking on water in rough seas. The mighty ava has survived on subscriptions, legal ads, stand sales, with many of our stands having succumbed to handheld telephones. 

OLD TIMERS will recall the wonderfully comprehensive newsstand on Ukiah’s Standley Street opposite the County Courthouse where all the County’s publications, including this one in its early years, were on sale. Every town of any size had a combined newsstand and smoke shop, plus odds and ends like playing cards, chewing gum and candy bars. The further one got into the depths of the old stand on Standley, the more salacious the reading material; you had to go all the way to Santa Rosa to find the more obscure liberal publications like The Nation and The New Republic. Today, only the stalwart Mendocino Book Company maintains a viable mag rack of legacy pubs. 

WHEN THE LIBS dominated the Mendo Board of Supervisors, I had to guard against them denying legal ads that rightly and, sic, legally, belonged in the Boonville weekly. But then liberals everywhere, and certainly here in “progressive” Mendocino County, have been illiberal for some time now. As the Mendo Supervisors of that overtly censorious time led their ineffective secret boycotts and heaved their futile blackballs at us, we’d laugh at the irony of our primary enemies being libs, not the more conservative sectors of Mendo’s divided population who, to this day, have never once tried to off us. 

LIKE THE ICO, all the County’s paper-paper publications exist on the financial edge as the population of newspaper readers dies off and is replaced by the cell phone addicts with their 60-second attention spans. The times done changed, and all us print dinosaurs are pretty much week-to-week.

WOOF-WOOF. Lindsey Graham says there’ll be “riots in the street” if Trump is criminally charged for the classified documents confiscated at Mar-a-Schlocko by federal agents. “If there’s a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle… there’ll be riots in the streets,” Graham promised during a Sunday Night in America interview. Graham also claimed that Trump was treated with a “double standard” by law enforcement, simultaneously resurfacing claims that the FBI were told to “slow down and back off” President Joe Biden’s son Hunter in the months preceding the 2020 presidential election. “Most Republicans, including me, believe when it comes to Trump, there is no law. It’s all about getting him,” Graham said. 

GRAHAM’S correct about the feds and Trump, but riots in the streets? Will we see Mendo’s lead Trumper, Al Kubanis, at the front of a mob surging down State Street? I guess there are towns where the Trumpers might don their flag jackets to make a run at government offices, but I’d guess they’re gun (sic) shy after their big day in DC last year to risk prosecution for insurrection. But if things deteriorate to that point the question will be how committed to impartial law enforcement are local authorities? Would they stand up to armed treason even if sympathetic to the Trump world view? Here in Mendo, I’m confident law enforcement would repel a mob of whatever type, but when you have U.S. Senators talking up chaos, and given all the givens of our rapidly unraveling society, mass violence is that much closer.

OL’ TREV AGAIN. On Thursday, August 25, 2022 at 7:14 A.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a report of three canines having been shot and killed at a residence located in the 15000 block of Poonkinney Road in Dos Rios.

The incident occurred while the residents were away and was discovered when they returned home from their trip.

The suspect responsible for shooting the canines was identified as Trevor Williams, 56, of Willits. 

Trevor Williams

Williams was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $220,000 bail.

LAST MONTH, drunk and armed with five guns, Williams, 56, was arrested at his Willits ranch after threatening responding officers with his little arsenal, and even grappling with one of the officers for his gun. Most places, Trev would not have emerged alive from the encounter. Now here he is killing his sister’s dogs.

THE GREAT HEALER addressed The Nation last Thursday night  on the subject, “The Battle for the Soul of the Nation” during which he described Republicans as “semi-fascists,” which they are, of course, but still. Given that the Semis make up half of our fine, fat population, the president, even a senile one, should at least pretend we're one big dysfunctional family. 

AND FROM his bunker at Mar-a-Schlocko with its gold-plated bathroom fixtures, Trump has accused Biden of “politicizing” the FBI in an effort to knock Trump out of the 2024 election. 

THE FBI was formed as a political police force, and has always functioned as a political police force, as even a cursory read of the agency's sordid history would inform even the non-reading Trump. Until now, the G-Men have always focused their incompetent sleuthing on the non-existent American Left. The federal police apparatus is obviously out for Orange Man.

MEANWHILE, according to a Quinnipiac University poll Americans are united in one fact — our battered, quasi-democracy is imperiled, with half the Americans polled predicting civil war. Truth to tell, when the war starts, if I had to choose between Trump and Adam Schiff who to shoot first, I'd have to shoot myself.

FROM SUPERVISOR MO MULHEREN: "Providing feedback can be challenging if you want to be heard. How you deliver the feedback matters. Check out this helpful infographic and see if you can think through some of these as you offer feedback to team members whether they are your manager or employee.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: If you’re not taking public input of any kind, then it doesn’t matter what kind of criticism you receive. 

WHAT THE HECK was the name of that old Vincent Price movie in which whenever Vince was besieged by people angry with him his face would assume a kind of beatific, blissed-out look as he gazed heavenward to the sound of sweet violins? The trick, Mo, is to zone out! (cf Craig Stehr)

REDWOOD DAN: “About 12 years ago I knew of a grower who turned the whole place into a plant nursery in 1 day. He had like 20 trimmers working when the Trinity county sheriffs showed up on his road. They didn’t have a warrant and were trying to come in. He managed to deter them, but knew they would be back. He literally dug up a barrel of money, paid everyone out, and bought a semi full of nursery plants. He paid a handful of trimmers to unload the plants into greenhouses and moved anything cannabis to his neighbor’s property. When the sheriff came back and cut his locks, he was grinning ear to ear when they were walking around and couldn’t find any weed. Probably couldn’t do that nowadays since weed isn’t worn $2k+ and I would guess there are a lot less barrels of cash buried in the hills these days. But within 1 day, a person could pull water lines from creeks, update and hang up current paperwork, tag all of their legal plants, cut or move extra personal plants, hide their chemicals, and have their foreign trim crew take a day off.”

ANOTHER BOS FAILURE…

Ukiah City Hall is air conditioned, but… A reader wonders: “There is NO provision for any designated cooling station anywhere in Mendocino County during what is going to be a deadly, at worst, debilitating, at best, period of very HOT weather. While reasons are cited, there is NO justification for this failure. I wonder how many of us will be invited to find relief at the homes and offices of supervisors and other county executives?. This is just another blatant show of the disdain of official Mendocino County for its inhabitants."

SUPERVISOR MULHEREN ON COOLING STATIONS: “If the conditions warrant the cooling stations will be opened. The Public Health Emergency Operations is monitoring the weather conditions. Because our temps cool in the evening the conditions haven’t warranted it yet, but when they do there will be an announcement which I am sure you will receive.”

BIDEN TOOK BACK his Thursday indictment of the MAGAS as “semi-fascists,” while lots of us wondered if he'd read the wacky speech correctly off his teleprompter in the first place. “I don't consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country. I do think anyone that calls for the use of violence… and refuses to acknowledge when an election was won and insists upon changing the way in which the world votes — that is a threat to democracy,” and that there is your basic distinction without a difference.

IN AN ACT OF MIDNIGHT MADNESS, California lawmakers voted on the last day of the state legislative session to give PG&E the option to keep the reactors operating another five years. Scheduled to close in 2024 and 2025, two 40-year-old reactors sit in an active earthquake zone near the San Andreas fault. The hastily passed law provides a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to PG&E–a company which has pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter–with the condition that the utility applies for a federal bailout from Biden’s Civil Nuclear Credit Program to keep the units open through October 2029 and October 2030, respectively. — Jeffrey St. Clair

A READER WRITES: Re: Cloverdale homeless in danger 

…If you think it helpful, please forward that to Cloverdale p.d. (not that they haven't already thought of the coming situation...) 114 degrees in Cloverdale 9/7. How does anyone survive that. Perhaps police can start making sure now, there will be cooling places ready, for ALL, by wed, homeless or not. Many low income renters, with children, have no a/c. Start putting up notices everywhere, along the street, at bus stops, etc. where homeless congregate, in Spanish too. School gymnasiums, library...police should be on lookout, all day, while driving, for street folks, homeless and otherwise, who look like they need an immediate ride, to a 'cooling shelter'. They should notify all business owners, now, to allow a certain number of 'distressed' people, to come in and sit, in designated areas within the business. No one should be turned away, including their dogs... 

HOMELESSNESS was a major topic when I arrived in 1980, and if anything it’s gotten worse. It continues to baffle me why we let individuals who are clearly, tragically mentally ill roam the streets. People who are barefoot and screaming to the sky. They are obviously desperately unhappy and unable to care for themselves.

And yet, despite new laws that would allow them to be placed in conservatorships, where they would get mandatory care, we rarely give them that help. When we try, critics rail against a loss of civil liberties and insist that they be allowed to stay on the sidewalk, unsheltered.

I know I’ve been a broken record about this, but talk to the families of those individuals. They aren’t advocating for them to stay on the street. They are begging for help, for a safe place and treatment for their loved ones. Ignoring them just seems cruel.

And it is exasperating to see the constant civic bickering over the same problems. Homelessness was a major topic when I arrived in 1980, and if anything, it’s gotten worse.

I thought that the way it would work would be that the bright minds in the city —and there are plenty of them — would come up with an innovative plan to address the problem.

And, frankly, it probably wouldn’t work. Homelessness is a tough one.

But, I thought, there might be a part of the new plan that held some promise. Gavin Newsom’s Care Not Cash was a good one, for instance.

And those bright minds would take that part that worked and build on it. There’d be another plan which might not work, but it might have some helpful features that could be part of the next new plan.

And we’d move forward.

Instead it just seems like an endless cycle of arguing and complaining. It seems advocacy groups are against nearly every new idea. OK, so what is their plan? What are you for? 

— C.W. Nevius

WHERE'S McCOWEN? Former supervisor, John McCowen, that is. We're accustomed to hearing regularly from the garrulous Mendo solon because arguing with him has always been great fun. We know he spends many hot and hazardous hours cleaning up homeless camps along Ukiah's stretch of the dying, de-watered Russian River and its battered tributaries, for which selflessness he's regularly threatened by the lost souls he cleans up after, but he hasn't been reported missing, and we'll assume he lives on.

DAVE KAHAN: “Many if not most of our recent large disasters have been wildfires that transitioned into urban fires, going house to house carried by the embers. The Wine Country fires in 2017 were my epiphany for this. It took a week of roaming nuked out subdivisions near Calistoga for me to realize why the foliage was merely scorched rather than consumed. The heat of the buildings burning scorched the vegetation. Previously, I had told clients and friends for years that hardening their homes to resist ignition from embers was fully 50% of the equation for fire safety and resiliency. At that point I realized that in those extreme conditions, it was more like 99%. 

Of course, it’s still necessary to create and maintain adequate defensible space to preclude the opportunity for a wall of flame to arrive at the front door, and to give structure protection personnel a chance for success. Also, if they don’t think they can stay safe, they won’t deploy their people in that spot.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] I can vaguely remember a tag team match, ‘Mr. T’ vs ‘King Kong Bundy’, each wrestler with a midget on his team. The match took a tragic turn when King Kong Bundy slammed Mr. Ts midget on the canvas, breaking his back.

Here are a few 60s midget wrestlers:

Fuzzy Cupid

Hornswoggle

Little Beaver

Meatball

Tiny the Terrible

Sky Low Low

I think it was Mr. Low Low who got his back broke by King Kong Bundy.

Some nights there would be all against all Midget Wrestling Matches that included 30 midgets in the ring at the same time participating in a mini-Royal Rumble; other nights, it was Andre the Giant or Haystacks Calhoun vs. a team of six midgets, like Gulliver being taken down by the little people.

Who brought up the subject of dwarfs? See what you started. Now it won’t end, like fruit pies.

[2] 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.

[3] Why should a pope going to Russia mean anything? Most of popery business in the Vatican right now involves a bunch of pedophiles addicted to soft living and wearing pink slippers etc. Men wearing feminine clothing and living soft comfortable lives in splendid surroundings. 

What any of that has to do with Jesus is beyond me. Jesus was a hard man with a muscles and scars, he’d been a construction worker before turning preacher. He walked most everywhere he went and likely didn’t smell very good – he was a poor man living on the road and depending on the charity of his fans. But he was a man – not one of the irrelevant sissies in the Vatican. His lifestyle and teachings are the reverse of what the Catholic Church has been offering. 

Take up your cross and follow me? Good luck finding anyone in the Vatican doing that! I doubt if the Russians are interested in anything the Pope has to offer…..

[4] Once the levels of incompetence and mental illness have reached levels high enough your nation is finished, done. 

Our future in North America is likely to be a land of very poor people living in an area comprised of a collection of squabbling, balkanized states or confederations of states involved in ceaseless tribal warfare. That’s how the native Americans lived here and that’s how we’ll be occupying this space in the future. Nobody is going to invade us because there won’t be anything here anyone will want. It would be like invading Haiti. Why? There would be no reason to. The prosperous and happy Christian nation living in unity will be Russia. And they will be very careful about who they let in.

[5] DURING WWII, the Coast Guard Beach Patrol covered more than 3,700 mile of coast and employed about 24,000 men. Patrols on horseback worked in pairs, riding about 100 feet apart, usually covering a 2-mile stretch. They were call “Sand Pounders” and were able to cover difficult terrain quickly and efficiently. 

[6] Walking the walk.

I…know this guy who just plunked down several thousand dollars for a thermal scope…for birdwatching…at night.

The Federal Government will allow you to own machine guns, tanks, even artillery, with the right permits and buttloads of cash. Been there, done that, and understand the privilege.

I am amazed, however, that the government allows private ownership of thermal scopes. 

“You don’t need a thermal scope to shoot Bambi at 200 yards at night”..

…Yes, you do.

[7] Even if Starbucks did make a decent espresso, cappuccino, latte, etc., I long ago did the math and realized that I could have a cafe-quality semi-auto. machine and grinder sitting in my kitchen for about the same price as it would cost to get some kid at Starbucks or one of the many shitty hipster cafes around us to pull us one 4-5 days a week. I have not regretted it, and it is rare that a coffee pulled in a cafe can compete with what we make at home. I recommend Quickmill and Mazzer. Do it!

[8] You can get a decent cup of coffee with a Melitta filter. Or, the golden mesh variety. Just put it on your coffee mug. I’ll never understand the trash-generating carry-out coffee mind-set. I see the malaise very clearly from my kitchen window every morning. In addition to the money spent for coffee, people drive into town just to get a take-out coffee. Vienna this is not!!!

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