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Off the Record (Sept. 21, 2022)

“WHICH COMMANDMENTS of Jesus are ignored the most”?

I was startled this morning when the above question popped up on top of Mendocino County Today our on-line daily news wrap. I could only remember about half the commandments, the simple, commonsense ones about not murdering anyone, honoring mom and pop, or at least being civil towards them, not stealing, not coveting either property or the neighbor's wife. The rest — no idols, no other gods, keeping the sabbath — are pretty sectarian, applying only to Christianity, although the basic rules about murder, stealing, deferring to mom and dad apply to all the mainstream belief systems. 

AND EVERY SINGLE ONE is routinely violated in this country at this time except by that minority of noble souls who structure their lives around the big ten, who include pastor Kooyers of Boonville and his stalwart flock who asked the question in the first place and will, as they always have, conduct Sunday services Fair Sunday.

WHICH COMMANDMENTS are most ignored? I'd say covetness being capitalism's very motor, it's not only ignored the most but is the foundation of our system, with taking the Lord's name in vain running a close second. Bearing false witness feels a bit antiquated, but walk into any of the Mendocino County Superior Court rooms on any random day and you'll hear someone bearing false witness, often the officers of the court themselves.

KH: “…I was thinking recently someone should do a really long interview with the AVA editors (and some of their co-conspirators) about the business/ethics/life involved in running a community paper with worldly ambitions, what the future looks like to them, what they have learned and what they wish they had known when they started. Sounds silly when I write it out like that. But there’s so much institutional community knowledge in this group, and time is passing too fast.”

DOESN'T SOUND SILLY at all, KH. Your questions are the fundamentals of a vanishing enterprise — the newspaper in paper form. At one time, as you suggest, before techno-nirvana kicked in, we did have outsized dreams of taking on San Francisco, but without the capital to realize them. Around 1990, we were at peak sales, many of them in the Bay Area where our crew of writers was already well-known, hence the outsized ambition. With some money, I think we could have done it, but likely would have soon crashed with the advent of the internet as many of our sales outlets — bookstores and newsstands — also disappeared.

FAST FORWARD to 2022 and the End of Days for both paper-papers and perhaps everything else, the ava is a true non-profit in that it pays its bills while the people who produce it live off social security and random acts of cash kindness.

A PAPER-PAPER like this one requires a surprising amount of hand labor — bundling and packaging the outbound papers and getting them to the Boonville Post Office before dispatch time, hand-delivering them in the Anderson and Ukiah valleys, nevermind writing a hunk of it and assembling the beast into hopefully coherent form. Then there's all the bookkeeping, billing our handful of advertisers, keeping the subscription roster current, and so on. Five of us are involved, two of them, and the ever more expensive post office, are paid, as are some of our contributors. I assume Jim Shields in Laytonville and Steve McLaughlin in Gualala push a similarly-sized rock up the weekly hill.

AS YOU KNOW, K.H., we also produce a daily paper on-line. Our cyber-daily is running neck and neck in paid subscribers with our remaining paper-paper subscribers, most the latter, maybe even all of them, are Senior Citizens whose attention spans haven't been electronically destroyed. 

LOOKED at strictly as a business, weekly newspapers have NO value other than phony-baloney “legal adjudication,” meaning we're legally qualified to print government announcements of various kinds, which annually amount to a nice income. (I remember when the Frisco papers went to war over the fair distribution of the city's legal advertising. And I lost money I didn't have going to court with the chickenshit Mendo supervisors — liberals of course — when they denied the ava the legal advertising that rightly belonged in the Boonville weekly.) If I were on a friendlier basis with their majesties of the Mendocino County Superior Court I'd petition them to legally adjudicate the on-line ava, which is far more widely read than the paper-paper ava. That would be hugely innovative of the Black Robes, which means it is not on. If the point of legal ads is public notification like, dude, it ain't happening anymore in paper-papers.

PRODUCTION of a weekly paper-paper is pointless if you think you can earn even an austere living doing it, which means when the rapidly aging wheezes who do most of the paper-paper ava's work wheeze their last, the ava will die with them. I'll ask my heirs and assignees to turn the on-line paper over to those young electronic whipper-snappers, Matt and Danilla.

FINALLY, K.H., you mentioned ethics. Not sure what you have in mind, but the prevailing ethic here has always been suspicion unto enmity for government at all levels, whatever hostility we can inspire for capitalism as the basis of social/economic organization, and, natch, to have fun doing it.

ONCE US BOOK DINOS (as in dinosaurs) get going we can't stop. A few more of my faves: Fat City by Leonard Gardner; Killings by Calvin Trillin; anything by Robert Stone and Richard Price and, for you political historians, the brilliant ‘Lenin’ by Alan Brien. Also, the brilliant history of water in California by Mark Arax called The Dreamt Land — Chasing Water and Dust Across California. And Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe.

ENJOYED AN HOUR LAST WEDNESDAY with Fort Bragg's mayor, Bernie Norvell, and FB's lively new police chief, Neil Cervenka, the latter a worthy successor to one of my all-time fave cops, John Naulty. Chief Cervenka comes to us from Turlock where he racked up years of successful policing and, sports fans, was a close neighbor of the Kaepernick family whose famous scion the chief remembers first as an active neighborhood kid, then as a dominant, three-sport high school athlete. Chief Cervenka is grateful to have landed in Fort Bragg, “especially after 114 degree days in Turlock.” Like Naulty, the chief practices “pro-active” policing, meaning direct visits with troubled people and people causing trouble, nipping more serious crime in the proverbial bud.

RETIRED NURSE LOUISE MARIANA recently told me some wonderful stories drawn from her years at Coast Hospital, including this one: A middle-aged woman conked out under a hair dryer at a Fort Bragg beauty salon. “I mean she was out.” Fortunately for the patient, she was only blocks from Coast's emergency room where staff labored long and hard to bring her back, all the while fearing she was gone, gone beyond reviving. From death's door, the patient spent another thirty days on life support, again with her family and staff wondering if she would ever rejoin the living. Suddenly, one miraculous day she awoke. “How does my hair look?” she asked.

SMALL WONDER a big chunk of us Americanos have lost confidence in government. Some 100 Congresspeople bought or sold financial assets that just happened to coincide intersected with the work of the committees they sit on, this grim revelation forwarded to the punch drunk public by the New York Times.

THE MOST FLAGRANT conflict of interest violators include Delaware Sen. Tom Carpenter, D, who traded in 138 companies and had 39 potential conflicts of interest, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who traded stocks in 326 companies and had 43 conflicts and California Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna, who reported trades in 897 companies and had 149 potential conflicts.

TOO BAD about Ro Khanna, the South Bay Congressman because he's one of the better reps, much more progressive on most issues than many of his self-certified lib colleagues. 

THE BEST KNOWN insider trader is Paul Pelosi, husband of you know who. Just this summer he bought $5 million of shares in a semiconductor chip manufacturer days before a vote that handed $52 billion to semiconductor manufacturers. 

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS furiously texts his critics, informing one of his many targets that he or she is not only wrong, but has become “a captive of the AVA.” If you’ve been thus imprisoned, see me for the key to your cell.

IT'S OBVIOUS ENOUGH, one would think, that the national security apparatus has been unleashed on Orange Man, a deserving target, of course, but to maintain at least a fig leaf of plausible fairness, the contents of Hunter Biden's famous laptop also ought to be investigated. Two thirds of Americans believe that the information from Hunter Biden's laptop is “important,” while whistleblowers claim that FBI leadership tried to suppress the story and downplay its contents. Of course they did. They're Democrats. And all that top secret stuff allegedly spirited out of the White House by Orange Man? I betcha there's no credible reason any of it should be top secret. Embarrassing, probably, but ass coverers always try to hide their work lest the taxpayers get wise to them. Withholding information from democratic America? Why, I never…

THOSE PACKED RANKS of Brits with cell phones held up to the queen's passing hearse look like they're heiling Hitler.

TIRESOME LECTURES from the junior faculty on the evils of the Brit empire prompted by the death of dear ol' Liz manage to ignore the empire that tenures their radical chics in forever jobs.

BOB PADECKY of the Press Democrat thinks “baseball is suffocating under its outdated rules, traditions.”

I THINK baseball is suffocating under too many fans who don't know a baseball from a watermelon; cell phones in the ball park; corporations buying blocs of tickets; outfielders who can't go back on fly balls: hitters who take called third strikes on pitches a millimeter outside (cf Brandon Belt); $8 “garlic fries,” $12 beers; pitch-counting managers (cf Bochy et al); and too many ballplayers who would have been in Double A in 1950. Return the major leagues to 16 teams!

“CITY OF UKIAH hires firm to begin search for new police chief,” confesses the headline in the Ukiah Daily Journal. The City might also ask the same firm to locate a new City government, seeing as how the task of running the town seems beyond Seldom Seen Sangiacomo and the City Council.

IF YOU'RE TRYING to get a ten-year-old drunk, try this: “Suddenly it’s everywhere: the popsicle-topped cocktail.

A sunshine-yellow popsicle, infused with curry, chile and makrut lime, is lodged into a coupe glass at new Oakland bar “Night Heron.” (Esther Mobley reporting in the Chronicle)

HOW ROUNDUP, the weed killer linked to cancer, became one of California wine’s biggest controversies (Esther Mobley)

One of the most hotly debated issues in California wine these days involves a chemical that can be found in every Home Depot in America: Roundup.

Monsanto’s high-profile herbicide is the go-to method of weed control for many California vineyards. As with all crops, weeds are a nuisance among grapevines, competing for resources like water and potentially causing young vines to die.

But Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is probably a carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. Repeated exposure to glyphosate has been linked to cancers like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Recently, new research has revealed just how pervasive glyphosate may be in our environment: In July, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study of 2,310 subjects that found glyphosate in the urine of 80% of adults and 87% of children. 

That revelation has spurred a new outcry in the California wine industry. Some winegrowers who farm according to organic, biodynamic or regenerative protocols — which prohibit the use of glyphosate and other synthetic chemicals — are speaking out against Roundup with renewed fervor, calling for an end to its use in vineyards.

 ”I’m incredibly frustrated that these chemicals continue to be used and that nobody calls it out,” said Beth Milliken, owner of Spottswoode Winery in St. Helena. She finds it “amazing” that in a place as image-conscious as Napa Valley, people are still “spraying poison.” …


PATRICK DUFF: I was good friends with Les Crane, and I will never forget him or the things he did for me, and other people. I am now working with a team of investigators, journalists and attorneys to try and bring some justice for the murder of Les.

Leslie Charles Crane was murdered at 2:30 am on November 18th, 2005 by a group of four to six masked men. Les was a prominent medical cannabis activist, dispensary owner and caretaker to thousands of patients in California. Les came to California with $100 and his dog, where he survived the first few months from the generosity of the local Mendocino County food banks.

This is a timeline showing all of the events leading up to the night of the murder, including newspaper articles, court dockets, and other information compiled from sources on the internet, as well as what took place directly after the murder. This is the first of several information drops that will take place in the next couple of weeks, which will include completely new information never seen before by the public.

Here is a link to a timeline of what is known about Les’s murder:

ED NOTE: Glad to see there's some movement on this awful event. With that many perps, got to be information out there.

REPORTERS have almost universally eschewed the term ‘riot’ to describe January 6th, reflexively using ‘insurrection’ and ‘insurrectionist,’ which again, just happens to the language of the likely charge in play, 18 U.S. Code § 2384, ‘Seditious conspiracy’ (both of those words are constantly used by media also). Some outlets install prejudicial presumptions of guilt in the headline, as in PBS’s ‘Oath Keepers’ lawyer arrested in connection with Jan. 6 insurrection.’ Reporters likely don’t see the problem here, but if part of a lawyer’s defense is that what happened on January 6th was not an insurrection but an ordinary riot, he or she will have a steep hill to climb with a jury pool that by now has heard the word ‘insurrection’ ten million times.

Matt Taibbi

RIGHT, MATT. Jan 6th was a riot, not an insurrection. The diff between a riot and insurrection is an insurrection is planned, armed, coordinated, led by people who have a specific goal in mind. If Trump's Camo Buddies, or even a small portion thereof, had been armed, and had a specific plan to occupy Congress, that would have been an insurrection. What we saw was a riot.

PLEASED TO LEARN that our gifted muralist, Lauren Sinnott, will include the Finns, history of, in her forthcoming Fort Bragg mural. The history of the Finns is fascinating. As immigrants up and down the Coast from Astoria, Oregon to San Francisco, wherever there was work, they were split between white Finns, partisans of the Czar, and red Finns, partisans of the Bolsheviks. The two sides even imported their own editors from the old country for their rival papers, which were headquartered in Astoria. One of the saddest photos I've ever seen is of a group of Finns sailing out of Noyo on a boat they built to carry them home to the revolution. None of them were ever heard from again. Russell and Sylvia Bartley, of Fort Bragg, are the go-to historians on the subject. Mrs. Bartley's father, Oscar Erickson, was a Finn partial to the American left when an American left still existed.

ADD THIS to your endless roster of signs of the apocalypse: The SF Giants, a baseball team, now employs a master sommelier. 

WHAT is the true state of the border with Mexico? If it's collapsed, as the fascists claim, why isn't restoration of an orderly, human immigration system a priority of Biden's? (Or a priority of whoever's writing the old grifter's teleprompter scripts.) Axios puts the figure at an average of 7500 people walking into our imploding country every day, some of them, presumably, arriving with ill intent. The cruel deployment of the desperate by slobs like the governors of Florida and Texas to make the political point that the border no longer exists begs this question: Why aren't they reinforcing it? What's the governor of Texas doing to stanch the flow?

HEADLINE FROM THE PRESS DEMOCRAT: “Ghost Ship defendant could face jail after weapons found at his Lake County home.” The guy lives in Mendo, near Ukiah. The story was bylined AP, but still, where's the paper's editors not to catch the error? The violation alleged was a single bullet found in an art arrangement and professional-quality bows and arrows, and unrelated to his conviction for a terrible accident, not a deliberate mass murder.


Charles Manson’s 1967 Arrest in Mendocino County

(from Deborah Silva)

A little something for your Manson file. Plus, a question.

Manson was arrested in Leggett at a resort named The Redwood Castle. The group of them were staying in the Adanac cabin.

I've looked online for The Redwood Castle and all I can find is current stuff. They are an AirBnB type place and it looks like they have only one rental at this time. There were some pictures on their FaceBook page of the place back in perhaps the 40s going by the clothing and the car. But I can't find anything about the history of the place.

I've looked in archived newspapers, too. Not a single article!

Do you know anything about The Redwood Castle?


[1] This is apropos nothing, but seeing as the Ukiah Daily Journal doesn’t seem to have a reporter interested in local news anymore, I thought I’d put it here. (It also doesn’t seem to have an active editor, but that’s another story).

Approximately 25-50 people are looking for housing in Ukiah as the Regency Motel on South State Street has been red-tagged by some agency or another. It’s near the Talmage intersection and the Building Bridges site where Mr. Stehr resides. The motel been used as low income housing for the past few years. The parking lot has a chain link fence around it and is clearly in the process of being cleaned out. I spoke to a former tenant yesterday who was looking for housing in town anywhere he could find it. The school bus stopped there regularly, so there must have been families living there.

If anyone knows anything more about the situation, please chime in.

Coincidentally it’s my understanding the UDJ offices have downsized again, this time to the Talmage Office Park on Talmage Rd. I have not been the new location so cannot confirm 100%.

[2] When I was in the fifth grade in elementary school in San Francisco, we had a class president election. One of the candidates promised to get and place an ice cream vending machine in the school yard. I voted for him. He won but we did not get an ice cream vending machine. I learned my lesson. My point being that the candidates we elect to the City offices do the same: promises, promises. A lot of “performative politics”. We get the same: nothing, nothing. For those of you dissatisfied with the City's state, housing, schools, law enforcement, economics, living conditions, you the voters need to look in the mirror. For each of the neighborhood districts with a Supervisor up for election, you need to ask the question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” and vote accordingly.

[3] Generally, I’m in MT, ID and WY – roaming. There are any number of places in MT that are now charging fees for use of credit cards – bars, restaurants, smaller gas stations, propane fill-ups, coffeeshops, novelty stores (even near Yellowstone), even hotels and RV parks. The places I’ve seen that don’t are the larger big box stores which are few and far between. In ID and WY, there are fewer places “charging fees” but in small towns, a number will give “discounts” for paying with cash.

[4] I’ll say this just once because this kind of comment is totally verboten—I shouldn’t even notice this. Very shallow of me. Still … I find Viviane’s weird hairdo quite distracting. There, I said it.

[5]  [Last week, before the Sunday/Monday rain] OK, all those nights dancing naked in the garden are about to pay off! Serious rain headed our way, HUGE front coming from Japan, passing through Alaskan waters, and aimed like an arrow. We might see the first rain late afternoon, early evening Saturday, but for sure by sometime after ten PM, going through Monday, at the least. The rain is coming. Before I can enjoy fat drops I have to spot my wife as she climbs up on the roof to blow off the redwood leaves and yes, clean the gutters, then bring her the rake so she can get all the leaves into the green waste Recology bin. I’m ground support.

[6] So many of you people act like you know each other with just your online presence. You don’t. At best you are friendly strangers in a bar. We are all screen images these days, just like the movie stars we used to read about in the fifties. After I was in the service in the late sixties, no relationship ( with the exception of my wife and children) was ever as real as my buds in the army. Our lives depended on it.

[7] The reptoid ghouls living on Martha’s Vineyard may just eat those “migrants” for dinner if they run out of their usual fare – that is whatever gets shipped to them from Area 51 more aptly named “Dreamland” where they have all those kids chained to walls. You know who you are you murderous reptilian FREAKs! These ghouls, these alien, triangle headed, one-eyed Satanic reptoids, and I mean that literally- their time is up. Of course they will fight to the bitter end, but they won’t win. and they know it.

One Comment

  1. Jim Page September 22, 2022

    Up at the top when you talk about the 10 Commandments you make the usual reference to “taking the Lord’s name in vain” which is basically an admonition against swearing. “God damn it!” Usually I don’t pay any attention to these things but all of a sudden it hit me. “God” is not the name of the deity and more than “president” is the name of Joe Biden. How did these deadly serious sacred instructions get so stupid? And why didn’t we notice? Why didn’t I notice?

    And while I’m at it, why would an all-powerful deity such as Himself care what anybody said? The bible calls for stoning. Only a tyrannical playground bully with low self esteem would react like that. And of course, as smarter people than me have already pointed out many times over, if the deity was all that smart and really did want to set humanity on the straight and narrow it would have put “thou shalt not own another human being” as #1.

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