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Mendocino County Today: February 17, 2013

LETTER OFTHE WEEK: SHE'S AVAILABLE

Editor,

I'm sure most of the population of the world, including the majority of Catholics, are unaware that the college of cardinals may elect anyone the next pope, and not necessarily one of their own members. Therefore, I would like to nominate my wife. As a woman with strong religious convictions, she is also a progressive who would bring the church into the 21st century. With unconditional love for people of all races, creeds and lifestyles, she would do more than just pray for peace in the world. And besides, she's married to an Italian American, which wouldn't hurt. Pope Judith the First has a nice ring. Are you listening, Rome?

Nick Daddio, San Francisco

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JONATAN SASTRE-CORDOVA, 35, of Fort Bragg, driving drunk, managed to knock out power to most of Fort Bragg late Friday when a series of crashes he caused sheared off a main PG&E pole critical to Fort Bragg’s electrical grid. Some 5,200 households lost power at 11:22pm. Fort Bragg police found Sastre-Cordova at Madrone and Whipple streets attempting to drive away from a tangle of wires and another badly damaged vehicle in his 2008 Chevrolet Suburban. Police Sgt. Brandon Lee said Sastre-Cordova’s careening SUV caused a five-block radius of power lines to come down. “It's a big mess from one guy driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said. After police and fire personnel secured the area, PG&E crews arrived at the scene at about 2am to begin repairs. As of Saturday morning, power had been fully restored.

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MITCH CLOGG WRITES: Stop the Presses — I just read this today--not blinking on the sides of a dirigible, or as "smoke" from a sky-writer, or as the light-bulb headlines crawling by over Times Square or from the saddle of Paul Revere's sweating horse or on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or NY Times Online or a screed by Noam Chomsky or Rachel Maddow. This is taken from the Feb. 9-15 issue of "The Economist" (American edition), p.8, "The world this week," a page that holds 21 brief news items, this one number 16.

"China's government approved an income-distribution plan to tackle the growing wealth gap. The plan includes boosting minimum wages, loosening controls on interest rates and increasing spending on education and affordable housing. State-owned companies would also be required to hand over more of their profits to the government to help pay for the changes."

Mitch Clogg,m Mendocino

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FRIDAY NIGHT, at 7:45pm, and only hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people, and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, many NorCal residents in California, including the ava, saw a meteor, or fireball, streak downward to the West. Astronomers say smaller meteorites hit earth five to ten times a year but chances of a large meteor passing, such as the one that streaked over Chelyabinsk, Russia, are much rarer. Another meteor landed in the Bay Area in October and caused a loud sonic boom. Bay Area media outlets reported the fireball was reported seen from an area stretching from Gilroy, about 80 miles south of San Francisco, to Sacramento, about 90 miles to the northeast.

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MENDOCINO REAL ESTATE AGENTS who ignore history are doomed to Robichaud it. Back in 2002, a high flying Coast realtor, Jim Robichaud, was packed off to state prison for embezzling an estimated $293,000 from his clients and Mendocino County. Related charges included writing bad checks and tax evasion. Robichaud did his time, came back to Mendocino to marry another real estate lady and moved to Eureka where, presumably, he lives happily ever after.

ROBICHAUD, ironically, was prosecuted by Tim Stoen, the same Tim Stoen who has ignored a Robichaud-like case presently making a whole lot of Coast people very, very angry. Robichaud’s main move was to stick the money from rentals he was managing into his own pocket. Rent a place for a weekend, keep the $400 for yourself and both the owner of the rental and the County get robbed, the owner for his rental fee, the County for bed tax. Or rent it for a week and tell the owner it was only rented for the weekend. Charge the owner for household supplies and firewood that go to your house instead of into the rental. So why isn’t the DA moving on Greg Menken, once of Shoreline Vacation Rentals presently of ReMax, the chain real estate outfit? More than 30 rental owners are saying that Menken ripped them off ala Robichaud.

PENNILESS & OPTIMISTIC (AVA, November 2002)

To the people of Mendocino:

I would like to thank the local media for giving me this opportunity to accept full responsibility for violating the laws regulating trust accounts, to express my remorse for what’s happened, and to thank those who have helped.

I also want to express my appreciation to the many friends and past customers who have supported me through their personal letters to the Court.

I would like to take some time to explain how I ended up penniless and owing $300,000.

The Village of Mendocino in the 70s and 80s was an impoverished community. I arrived in 1973 in the hopes of marrying and raising a family. It was a natural progression from window cleaner to janitorial company owner to vacation rentals.

After a pitifully short time in the vacation rental business I was fool enough to guarantee homeowners a net monthly rent while the company sub-rented by the night.

The expenses of operating these guaranteed homes outpaced their income by staggering amounts (the DRE [Department of Real Estate] auditor estimated a loss of $10,000 per month). After a few years finding and correcting the problem I was looking at an overall debt of more than $300,000.

When I learned of the changes to the Trust account regulations in 1990, I didn't want to research the issue any further than necessary. It seemed to me at the time that the most important priority was to repay the debts by maximizing the nightly rents.

I want the Court to know, and I want the people of Mendocino to know that had I realized then what I know now, I would never have gone down that path.

It's not easy for me to discuss private failures in a public forum, but I do so because I want to be honest and to earn your trust and respect. I have spent this entire time on a strict regimen of repayment and hard work. I now apologize and ask for your forgiveness, I am truly sorry for permitting myself to be other than totally honest. This has been an excruciating and painful lesson, which is not yet over.

Now it is time for a healing and a “clearing of the board” in this whole matter. All parties want the same thing — a fair and final resolution where everyone can be made whole again. I am certain that I have the skills, the talent, and the integrity to repay the innocent parties that I have harmed.

       Through wiser eyes, I look forward to a new beginning.

Jim Robichaud, Mendocino/San Quentin. PS. Pay your taxes!

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Thomas-Deal
Thomas-Deal

OFFICERS were summoned at 1:19am on Wednesday (February 13) to an apartment in the 400 block of South Harold Street in Fort Bragg where a pre-Valentine's Day argument had been raging. The male victim was outside his home in an alley waiting for the police to arrive. The young man told officers that Rebecca G. Thomas-Deal, 24, was upset with him because she thought he wasn't listening to her, which he probably wasn't, being young and unaware that experienced men feign attention, occasionally nodding assent or throwing out a periodic “That's right, sweetie,” rather than tune out entirely. But Thomas-Deal was so frustrated by her boyfriend's inattention she allegedly started “throwing household items” at her love interest, “pushing him and hitting his face and chest.” Officers reportedly found several scratches on the victim's face and chest. Based on the evidence and visible injuries, officers arrested Thomas-Deal on suspicion of domestic violence. She was booked at the Fort Bragg Police Department and taken to the Mendocino County Jail, where her bail was set at $25,000.

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A CURIOUS ARTICLE from the 1921 New York Times.

Greetings, Mr. Anderson;

I recently came across a photostat of a 1921 article from the New York Times, which I thought you and your readers might find diverting. I transcribed it, below, keeping to the original spellings and punctuation. I was particularly intrigued by the description of the applicant taking his test while Menlo Park's stone deaf Wizard stomped around with his lackeys bellowing inaudible excuses at him. If you put this kind of thing into a movie, nobody would believe it. Best wishes, JB Reynolds, Graton

* * *

EDISON QUESTIONS STIR UP A STORM

“Victims” of Test Say Only “a Walking Encyclopedia” Could Answer Questionnaire.

OFFICIAL LIST A SECRET

But Man Who Remembers 141 Questions Tells What They Were and Calls Them Silly.

Thomas A. Edison’s examination questions for college graduates seeking employment as executives in his plant and the inventor’s unfavorable opinion of college men because they couldn’t answer the questions, have evoked many protests, both from “victims” of the examination and others. The general tenor of the comments is that the questions only could be answered by a walking encyclopedia and are a test of a man’s memory and store of miscellaneous information, rather than of his knowledge, reasoning power or intelligence.

Several letters commenting indignantly upon the test have been received by The New York Times. A typical one suggests that it was “not a Tom Edison but a Tom Foolery test.” Another says that even a college graduate is a human being and is interested in other things besides the depth of the ocean, while a third accuses Mr. Edison of having been guilty of that conspicuous human frailty against which Socrates gave warning: Belief that because he knows one thing well, he knows all things well.  Refuses to Make Questions Public.

An effort was made to get from Mr. Edison or his representatives both a reply to the critics and an authentic list of the questions. Mr. Edison was home because of a slight cold and would not talk. H.W. Meadowcroft, Mr. Edison’s secretary, refused to make the questions public on the ground that future applicants would be enabled to cram for the examinations.

“The whole point of the test would be lost if its contents were published,” Mr. Meadowcroft said. “I will say, however, that it covers pretty thoroughly a man’s supply of general information. Mr. Edison originated the questionnaire three or four months ago and is well satisfied with the results. Only some thirty of the several hundred applicants have managed to pass the test, it is true, but those who did and thus became inspectors of the factory have made good in every case.

The plan is to advance those men to executive and administrative positions if their future progress is satisfactory.”

Though the official list remained a carefully guarded secret, known in its entirety only to Mr. Edison , Mr. Meadowcroft and a clerk, 141 of the questions were sent to The Times yesterday by Charles Hansen, an unsuccessful candidate. No person who takes the examination is allowed to write down the questions or makes notes of them, so Mr. Hansen’s list is from memory and he makes no pretense of giving more than the substance and purport of the queries. The attitude of Mr. Edison and his aids made verification impossible.  Here is Hansen’s List.   This is the list:

What countries bound France?

Where is the River Volga?

What country and city produce the finest china?

Where does the finest cotton grow?

What country consumed the most tea before the war?

What city in the United States is noted for its laundry machine making?

What city is the fur centre [sic] in the United States?

Can you play any musical instrument?

What country is the greatest textile producer?

Is Australia larger than Greenland in area?

Where is Copenhagen?

Where is Spitzbergen?

In what country other than Australia are kangaroos found?

What telescope is the largest in the world?

Who was Bessemer and what did he do?

Where do we get prunes from?

How many States in the Union?

Who was Paul Revere?

Who was Hancock?

Who was Plutarch?

Who was Hannibal?

Who was Danton?

Who was Solon?

Who was Frances Marion?

Who was Leonidas?

Where did we get Louisiana from?

Who was Pizarro?

Who was Bolivar?

What war material did Chile export to the Allies during the war?

Where does the most coffee come from?

Where is Korea?

Where is Manchuria?

Where was Napoleon born?

What is the highest rise of the tide on the North Atlantic coast?

Who invented logarithms?

Who was Emperor of Mexico when Cortes landed?

Where is the Imperial Valley and what is it noted for?

In what cities are hats and shoes made?

Where is the Sargasso Sea?

What is the greatest depth ever reached in the ocean?

What is the name of a large inland body of water that has no outlet?

What is the capital of Pennsylvania?

What State is the largest? The next?

Rhode Island is the smallest State. What is the next and the next?

How far is it from New York to Buffalo by way of the New York Central

Railroad?

How far is it from New York to San Francisco?

Of what State is Helena the capital?

What State has the largest copper mines?

What State has the largest amethyst mines?

What is the name of a famous violin maker?

Who invented the modern paper-making machine?

Who invented the typesetting machine?

Who invented the printing press?

On what principle is the telephone based?

Of what is brass made?

Where do we get tin from?

What ingredients are in the best white paint?

How is leather tanned?

How is artificial silk made?

What is a caisson?

What is coke?

How is celluloid made?

Where do we get shellac from?

What causes the tides?

To what is the change of seasons due?

What is the population of the following countries: Germany, Japan,

England, Australia, Russia?

From what part of the North Atlantic do we get codfish?

Who discovered the south pole?

What is a monsoon?

Where is Magdalena Bay?

From where do we import figs?

From where do we import dates?

From where do we get prunes?

From where do we get domestic sardines?

What railroad is the longest in the world?

Where is Tallahassee?

Where is Kenosha?

How fast does sound travel per foot per second?

How fast does light travel per foot per second?

What planet is it that has been recently measured and found to be of enormous size?

What large river in the United States is it that flows from south to north?

Where are the Straits of Messina?

In what country are earthquakes frequent?

What mountain is the highest in the world?

Where do we import cork from?

Name six big business men in the United States.

Who is called the father of railways?

Where was Lincoln born?

Who stated the following: “Fourscore and seven years ago,” &c.?

What business do you like best?

Are you experienced in any of the following: Salesmanship, clerk, stenography, bookkeeping?

Name a few kinds of wood used in making furniture, and the highest priced?

What kind of wood is the lightest?

What kind of wood is the heaviest?

Of what kind of wood are axe handles made?

Of what kind of wood are kerosene barrels made?

What part of Germany do we get toys from?

What States bound West Virginia?

Where do we get peanuts from?

What is the capital of Alabama?

Who wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner”?

Who wrote “Home, Sweet Home”?

Who composed “Il Trovatore”?

Who was Cleopatra?

Where are condors to be found?

What voltage is used on street cars?

Who discovered the law of gravitation?

What cereal is used all over the world?

Where is the Assuan [sic] Dam?

What country produces the most nickel?

What is the distance between the earth and the sun?

Who invented photography?

Where do we get wool from?

What is felt?

What States produce phosphates?

Why is cast iron called pig iron?

Name three principal acids?

Name three principal alkalis?

Name three powerful poisons?

Who discovered radium?

Who discovered the X-ray?

What the weight of air in a room 20x30x10?

Where is platinum found?

With what metal is platinum associated when found?

How is sulphuric [sic] acid made?

Who discovered how to vulcanize rubber?

Where do we get sulphur [sic] from?

Where do we import rubber from?

Who invented the cotton gin?

What is the price of 12 grs. of gold?

What is vulcanite and how made?

What is the difference between anthracite and bituminous coal?

Where do we get benzol [sic] from?

Of what is glass made?

What is porcelain?

What kind of a machine is used in cutting the facets on diamonds?

What country makes the best optical lenses and in what city?

Where do we get borax from?

What is a foot-pound?

Calls Examination Silly.

Mr. Hansen calls attention to the fact that he was able to remember so nearly all of the questions, remarks that that is “not so bad for an ignorant college graduate,” expresses the opinion that the examination is more appropriate for a high school boy than a college man, and says:

“I want you and the public to judge whether a full blooded man who has been out of college and out in the business world for the past ten years could average 50 per cent. on this silly examination.”

Another letter received yesterday described the experience of a man who answered Mr. Edison’s advertisement for a production engineer, was told that his qualifications were satisfactory and then was required to answer a questionnaire, after which he was to have had a personal interview with the inventor.

“I finally completed my answers to the sixty or more questions,” he writes. “During this time Mr. Edison paced back and forth, irritably demanding why certain results were not being obtained in his factory and denouncing what he termed bone-headed moves on the part of his executives, while the latter shouted their excuses into his deaf ears.  My written answers were given to him, and after a few moments of waiting I was told I had failed and was ‘given the air’ with the other fellows who had also failed.

Answers Safest in Textbooks.

“Aside form several silly catch questions, the majority were ones embracing formulas that are always safest when left in standard textbooks. Any attempt to memorize formulas and little used specifications is, without a doubt, disastrous, and may be compared to a man operating a large business by his memory rather than by bookkeeping.”

“Some of the questions were:

“What is a Chinese windlass?

If six bricks were placed on a glass plate, would it require more effort to move them if placed side by side or on top of one another?

If a ball weighing one pound is dropped from a height of one foot on an anvil, what force in pounds would it create when striking the anvil?

What pinch pressure at the driving wheels does a 25-ton locomotive require when drawing a load of 100 tons on level track?”

(The New York Times; published 11 May, 1921)

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