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Off the Record (January 18, 2023)

FORT BRAGG RESIDENT, SUE STEVER, Identified As the Women Tragically Killed When A Tree Fell On Her House Early Monday Morning; Second Death Due To Storm; Family Set Up Gofundme

From GoFundMe: 

“Our community and our family experienced a tragic accident and lost our pillar of strength this morning. My momma taught us all to love unconditionally and look with no judgement. In her years here on the Mendocino coast she worked at Fort Bragg High school, Parents and Friends, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center and Child Protective Services, striving to touch hearts, change lives and make a difference. As her family we are numb and know our lives will forever be an emptier space without her. We need some help please to give momma the services she deserves, repair the home damaged by the tree that took her from us and funds to stay afloat while we figure out what to do without the woman who was a mom, a grandma, a confidant, a friend and the heart of our family.” 

(Disclaimer: Do your own personal research before donating, online.)

Donations can be made here or to her account at Community First Credit Union acct#....


During late December 2022 and into early January 2023, Mendocino County has been impacted by several winter weather storm events. To date, the following is a synopsis of storm related deaths being investigated as coroner's cases by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:

1. Edgar Castillo (37-year-old male from Elk Grove, California), died on 01-07-2023 at 7:47 AM during a traffic collision in the 41000 block of Mountain View Road in Manchester. Castillo was reportedly driving a tree service boom truck that left the roadway and rolled over several times resulting in his death. Castillo was employed with a company that was in Mendocino County assisting PG&E with storm related repair efforts. The circumstances and cause of the collision is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol. An autopsy including BA/Toxicology by the coroner's office is pending currently.

2. Susan Lee Stever (68-year-old female from Fort Bragg) died on 01-09-2023 at 1:40 AM when she was struck by a tree that fell into her home while she was asleep. Stever's residence was in the 27000 block of North Highway 1 located north of the city of Fort Bragg.

(Sheriff’s Office Presser)


ROBERT DEUTCH: Here’s a question for Ted Williams and other board of supervisors. When can we expect to get hazmat collection visits to the coast? And why don’t we have a CRV buyback station on the coast anymore? I believe these two issues are contributing greatly to dumping of garbage and waste in our community. Board of supervisors should solve this problem!

TED WILLIAMS replies: Having traveled to places in the world favoring universal trash service and seen the lack of roadside dumping, I think we're going about trash all wrong. We pay for abatement, monetarily and environmentally.

The new vendor is working on state permitting for operation. I understand it took about a year in another county. Hard to believe, the level of bureaucracy, but I see their diligence. The issue is government regulation and policy.

Recycling has fallen apart in California (and America) because countries in Asia have decided they don't want our waste. We were feeling good about recycling when in fact our recyclables were being shipped across the ocean using fossil fuels to places like China. This change has had a cascading impact. 

The county could use your county tax dollars to subsidize CRV pickup, but it would leave something else in worse shape, for example, roads.

Most of the $356 Million county budget is earmarked for specific purposes. What remains covers mandated services like Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, ... 

The public could institute another tax, but given local economics, I don't think it would be supported. 

The puzzle of state mandates and local revenue paints a startling future. While mandates, deferred maintenance and expectations have grown, revenue in real terms has been flat.

ALETHEA PATTON: Regarding “Williams Zero Sum Game”. Like Robert Deutch, I have been giving a lot of thought to the litter and illegal dumping problem we have in Mendocino County and particularly in the Anderson Valley. The fact that the supervisors do not fund clean-up is truly distressing. I think it would be a good idea for the AVA to open up a public discussion around this issue. I’d like to know how much money the County has allocated in the budget to litter removal and who does that work.

Between Hendy Woods and Signal Ridge Road, on Philo Greenwood Road, there are aluminum cans spaced about 5′ to 6′ apart. I am starting to focus on it obsessively and would like to find solutions to the litter problem on our local roads. Philo Greenwood Road is a particularly dangerous road to undertake litter clean up because of all the logging trucks that use it. Anyhow, here are a couple of ideas I would like to throw out there to start the dialogue:

As a local community, say, the Anderson Valley, we bypass the County government, fundraise and hire our own private litter removal contractor. I would think that the local wineries, resorts, hotels and other tourist dependent businesses would kick in, as well as local community organizations. This was a solution that Bolinas used for many years. The Bolinas Community Center teamed up with some of the wealthy property owners in town to fund a part time job for a local person. I am not sure how the insurance issue was handled, but I believe it was through the Community Center.

The County could create a restorative justice program that focuses on community service cleaning up litter and illegal dumping on roads and water ways. This would be a voluntary program that would offer community service hours and a reduction in fines / penalties to people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. Is there already a program like this in Mendocino County?

We as a community regularly organize litter clean up days where we gather as a community and get the work done on a regular basis. This would be combined with free dump fees for all garbage collected and cleaned up – maybe as a bonus, community members who help with clean up get a coupon for dump fees for their personal trash.

Lobby the County to fund more free dump days and Hazmat drop off. All dumps should be places to get the California Redemption Value for recycled beverage containers. What does the State do with all that money it collects but does not return to customers? I’d be interested to know.

It is interesting to me that most of the litter that I see on the Philo Greenwood Road & Signal Ridge is aluminum cans – which are already free to take to the dump. So we are dealing with serious character disorder.

I welcome people to continue this conversation.

JAMES MARMON: You would never find cans on the side of the road in Clearlake, the homeless (now called the unhoused) snatch those things up fast. Yes, the proper reference for the homeless is now unhoused. I shit you not.

MARK SCARAMELLA: The County could start by issuing trash haul vouchers for one free dump load per month to any family on food stamps. If the Supervisors took a $10k pay cut each (they obviously aren’t earning their $84k plus perks) that would fund $50k worth of vouchers to start and solve Williams’s false zero sum game bs. There’s plenty more, as Ms. Patton describes, but since they won’t even consider a voucher program, why even bother suggesting the more complicated ideas? We’re dealing with heavy duty indolence at Low Gap these days.

ELI MADDOCK: Take a small fraction of the funds from the entirely superfluous “visit Mendocino” budget to pay a supervisory position to shuttle folks sentenced to mandatory community service. Win win. The roadside looks nice for the tourists and the locals don’t pay a new tax!

But here’s reality:

At least once a week probably more, I see the same person picking up trash alongside the road all around Fort Bragg. I don’t believe he is paid or convicted, just an upstanding citizen who cares enough to make a difference. What a guy! And there it is. If you want to see change prepare to get your hands dirty.

By the way, what happened to Mendo county tire amnesty? There were 4or5 events in 20-21 then zip-nada in 22. Events like that and mobile haz-mat disposal really do help keep the nastiest items out of the canyons and rivers.

ALETHEA PATTON: As an aside, my husband (the curmudgeon of Vinegar Hill) suggested that all supervisors be paid in aluminum cans, that they collect themselves and redeem at the nearest CRV recycling center.

LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, I've followed the Idaho murder story, the stabbing slaughter of four young college students. Truly excellent police work by the widely vilified local cops for their seeming inability to zero in on a suspect, although they had zeroed in on him fairly quickly given the odd and very difficult circumstances of the case — random murder by a stranger — and had all along been proceeding with due caution as they slowly amassed the evidence against him. 


I THINK the alleged perp will turn out to be a kind of two-bit Raskolnikov. Remember him from ‘Crime and Punishment,’ Dostoevsky fans? Rasky was also a student with a high opinion of himself who murders to confirm that high opinion, imagining himself in the same league as Napoleon. 

THE SUSPECT in the Idaho murders, Bryan Kohlberger, and this from only his photos, similarly seems arrogantly full of himself, the kind of guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else, certainly smarter than the massed forces of law enforcement, now reinforced with all manner of techno-devices from DNA to telephone tracking. Prisons are full of people who were confident they could outsmart the cops. 

IF KOHLBERGER ever confesses, I bet he'll say he did it because he thought he could get away with it, thus solidifying his lofty opinion of himself as superior to the rest of us wretches.


Hawkins: On another note, you have been following the JFK assassination for a long time and November 22 of this year will mark the 60th anniversary of the Dallas kill. Some analysts have concluded that the Deep State was involved — a mélange of corporatists, the CIA, and military DIA operatives, such as the scenario depicted in the film Executive Action (1973) — and have helped cover up the event all these years. And it has never sat well with lots of the Left that Allen Dulles sat on the Warren Commission and was certainly in a position to influence the findings and cover up the CIA’s role, if any, in the kill. Joe Biden said he’d release all the rest of the JFK archives, but he hasn’t. Why not, Jefferson?

Morley: Biden, like Trump, has acquiesced to the CIA’s extreme and bizarre claims of secrecy. At the end of the day, both presidents found it in their interest not to challenge the CIA on the JFK files, which tells you something about the Agency’s entrenched power. The CIA has made clear it intends to retain the right to control what the public does and does not see about Kennedy’s assassination. Some people say the CIA is hiding nothing of significance. I disagree. To me, the most plausible explanation for failure to disclose fully, as required by the JFK Records Act, is that they have something significant to hide. What they are hiding is the undisclosed interest of certain senior CIA officers in Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, while JFK was still alive. I first wrote about the undisclosed Oswald operation last November 22 at JFK Facts ( and I will be reporting more on the story in 2023.

MANAGERIAL STALINISM has always reigned at pseudo-public radio KZYX, so it was no surprise, to us anyway, that program manager Alicia Bales had been fired for no announced reason. If not her, some other hapless, unsuspecting dupe. That's the way they roll at Philo headquarters.

WHY WAS MS. BALES OFFED? We'll never know, and why she wouldn’t go public with the why from her perspective implies she was fired for cause. The cringing weenies who dominate the place are unlikely even to get out a weasely, explanatory presser, saying something like, 'The board of directors of Public Radio Mendocino found that the long-term interests of the enterprise were inconsistent with Ms. Bales' vision for programming, and since we were unable to reconcile the two, and we couldn't murder her, we decided to terminate Ms. Bales' employment.'

MS. BALES AND I have always been on opposite sides of the Bari Bombing. As a kid, she was an acolyte of the diva of Mendo dissent and, as I recall, once said, “Everything I know, I learned from Judi Bari,” one of the more frightening remarks I've ever heard. Ms. Bales has always helped run interference for that great swindle around the bombing of her mentor, and, like others before her at KZYX, made sure dissenting views of the case were never heard on Free Speech Radio, Mendocino. (In the great world outside, people familiar with the case think it's obvious her ex-husband car-bombed Bari.)

BE THAT AS IT IS, Ms. Bales turned out to be a natch for radio. She has a good radio voice, she's smart (mostly), articulate, and very good at interviews and moving the conversations along. The only other person that KZYX has with all-round audio competence is Sara Reith, the station's local reporter.

NOTE TO MS. BALES: The Boonville weekly is available to you for a de-brief. Don't go quietly, Alicia. Take some of these bastards with you!

AS AN OFF AND ON MEMBER of Free Speech Radio, Philo over the long years, and having had the distinct honor of being banned from the station by its founder even before it went on the air, but occasionally un-banned every ten years or so — I've always relished writing up its many scandals — the forceful takeover of the station by a Bari strike force; a rigged board election; a cho-mo interlude involving a programmer and a 12-year-old intern; several late-night management boffs in the on-air studio; the night the newsman went apeshit in the studio; the dependably fatuous reign of that creepy EST cult guy and his pals; the major bores who buy their way onto the air and the board of directors (cf Bob Bushanksy); the hilarious meeting arranged by a station manager and local rich people to raise money that raised not a dime, the rich people consensus being, “Are you kidding?”; and not to mention the many hours of unintentional on-air hilarity. But what the hell? It's an amateur operation, and it's located in Mendocino County, so what do you expect? KQED?

THERE DOESN'T seem to be the basic awareness at KZYX that it faces the same survival dilemmas faced by print newspapers, which is that few people under the age of 60 have any interest in either newspapers or a radio station staffed by fagged out old hippies doing the same goddam thing for more than thirty years! How could KZYX become a must-listen among the young? I have no idea. Confiscate their telephones?

KMUD outta Garberville is a true community radio station, and it survives by staying free of NPR and focused almost entirely on the Northcoast. KZYX has been wed, from its murky beginnings as a one-man hustle, to NPR, assuming a vast audience out there for government certified news and bland interviews with show biz figures. And music, music, music. Maybe NPR is the correct demographic assumption for partially tax-supported audio that assumes its paid-up members are mostly well-to-do conservative Democrats. Hell, that demographic calls the tune in Mendo, doesn't it?

DEATH AT SEA RANCH: Two men found dead inside home in  the 300 block of Spinnaker Close, Sea Ranch were discovered by a tree crew when the crew was called to remove a tree that had fallen on the house. The two men were in separate bedrooms and there was a generator in the hallway. The power switch was turned on and the fuel tank was empty. The two dead men were identified as Gene Beauchamp, 74, of Colusa and Phil Mabray, 61, of Biggs, in Butte County. CalFire reminded everyone: It is dangerous to operate generators inside a building. Generators release noxious fumes that can result in carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Always operate your generator outside and at least 20 feet away from occupied buildings. 

PETE GREGSON of Advance Power Solar-Hydro-Wind, writes:

Many years ago a lady hired me to “fix” her off-grid solar system. Even though it had not been fully installed, but designed, she was not happy. And nothing like an unhappy woman. So she gets a friend of hers, who’s a pilot to fly to Ukiah, pick me up and fly me to northeast of Stockton, Valley something, can’t remember town name. So anyways, I was in the front right seat, the pilot was in the front left seat and the lady was in the back seat. Seems like half way through the flight the pilot took off his earphones and asked, “What’s that noise?” “WTF?” I didn’t have a clue. “It’s your plane. Then he looked at me and said, “Oh, your door’s open.”

WHEN DOING a system in Alaska, the only way to get to the island was to fly or take a long, slow boat. So, fly was the directive. Seemed to me he was flying seriously close to the top of all the mountains we were going over. As in, it seemed like he missed the tops of the mountains by inches. But what do I know? All along the trip he kept, with his right hand, forefinger, tapping on this gauge in front of me. It would pop back and forth from totally left no see’um to somewhere between middle and full right. So after a while: WTF? The close calls over the hill jumps wasn’t important any more. So I asked him: “What’s that gauge?” “That’s the fuel gauge,” he replied.

GEORGE KITTLE on McCaffrey: “When you get snubbed from the Pro Bowl when you’re the best running back in the NFC, I know that he definitely has a little extra anger and passion. I’m not going to say that he was lacking that at all. But there’s a little extra motivation behind that. And I hope Christian plays the rest of the season pissed off. Because he’s been pissed off the last four weeks and all he’s done is dominate.”

THE BASES ARE LOADED. Brandon Belt at the plate, runs the count to 3-2. Strikes out looking at a ball half a millimeter out of the strike zone. Glares at the ump all the way back to the dugout. From all accounts a nice kid, but this fan won't miss him.

ESTHER MOBLEY: "Given the widespread devastation, it’s hard to spin these storms as anything other than bad news. And yet, for one sector of California, these storms have been almost uniformly good news. I’m talking about vineyards.

“We are delighted to get this rain,” said Claire Ramey of Healdsburg’s Ramey Wine Cellars. “We’ll take as much rain as we can get.”

This is the best time of year for rain for vineyards. Grape vines are dormant during the winter. These months represent the plants’ moment to recharge between the fall’s harvest and the spring’s budbreak — which signals the start of the year’s growing season. A wet winter is ideal for vines, replenishing the soils and filling up wells that will be used for irrigation later in the year. This burst of rain is a welcome reprieve from the dry, drought-ridden winters of recent memory."

NATIONAL NEWS the other day reported that a high school football coach in Texas is under investigation for alleged misconduct after he forced the team to do 400 push-ups in an hour without any breaks. Turns out the 400 was in sets of 16. Brady Luff, a varsity captain for the team, defended his coach and stated that Harrell would never put the students at risk. He also denied that the players were deprived of water during the workout. 'Our motto, it's the number 16,' the junior said. 'Sixteen ball games to win a championship. We do these workouts and it's all about discipline. If we get them right, we move on. If not, we do 16 push-ups.' 

UH, 16 PUSH-UPS over an hour's time with or without water available, which it was, shouldn't tax a teenager, even a teenager otherwise lying prone on his couch all day, staring into his telephone.

THE MEDIA PACK is presently asking irrelevant questions like, "Will the president's re-election campaign be harmed by this latest documents scandal?" First off, the president could be storing satchel nukes under his bed so far as he is aware of anything. Second, even the possibility of a second Biden term is grotesque given his evident malfunctioning, and the possibility of a second run against Trump is doubly grotesque and a sure sign that the American Experiment has not worked out. Third, I'll bet there isn't a single bit of information contained in thousands of allegedly 'top secret' documents any more revelatory than weather predictions. Government bureaucrats always head for the mattresses rather than reveal what a gang of ass coverers they really are.


(1) The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. This one's the saga of Kai Lawrence whose eccentric media interviews made him famous after he saved a woman from being assaulted by bludgeoning her attacker with a hatchet. Fascinating story of a wandering hippie dingbat who goes from hero to convicted murderer.

(2) Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street. Hard to outdo the many monsters inhabiting Wall Street but Madoff did it. The whole saga is positively Shakespearean in its consequences and, of course, more confirmation that the regulators and the regulated are similarly derelict.  

ALL-PRO TIGHT END George Kittle tweeted Thursday night that he had been without power “going on 4 days” — making him one of tens of thousands of Californians still without power due to the recent storms.

WOKE ME WHEN IT'S OVER: The University of Southern California’s School of Social Work has published a letter saying it will remove the word 'field' from its curriculum and practice and replace it with the word 'practicum' instead. The move is meant to reflect 'anti-racist' values, but only proves there are idiots running USC’s social work department. Responding to the announcement that the word 'field' will be removed by that department, one Twitter user wrote: 'For someone who spent more than 7 years at USC with 2 graduate degrees from this institution, I am so embarrassed at what's happening there. I wonder how much of my money they spent on coming up with this amazingly useful change.'

Another commented: 'Wow, I went to USC and never thought it was particularly woke. Of course that was 10 years ago now… and I didn't study social work.'

A third tweeted: 'Are they still going to have baseball and football fields?' 


[1] Today, no eggs whatsoever in the supermarket. Instead, a sign announcing “Supply chain issues.”

It was the same deal last week. 

Fortunately on my way back from Town X on a fruitless mission to get the 4G flip phone that Verizon owes me, I remembered that I would be passing a spot where they sell eggs from a fridge in the backyard for $7/dozen. They still had two cartons. 

My niece-in-law is convinced that a coyote has been ‘poaching” her flock. So, no eggs there. 

Yahoo says this:

“If you’ve had trouble finding eggs at your local grocery store, you’re not alone. Stores around the nation are experiencing a shortage, and have for some time. The primary reason is a spreading avian flu, reducing poultry flocks while driving up the price of eggs. In Colorado alone, some 6 million chickens have been euthanized.”

Wow. Did all of those chickens really need to be killed? What happened to the corpses? Is this another plandemic to deprive us of real food?

[2] Most processed foods – aren’t food. And they are filled with ag chemical residues, preservatives, bad veggie oils, sugar (really bad for you), dyes, etc. It’s all mostly garbage and is likely the real reason most of us hang out in doctor’s offices. We save money by eating crap quality food, and then spend ten times as much in the “health care” system trying to fix damage caused by our so called food. 

[3] I’ve been looking around recently at prices and availability of wood burning kitchen cook stoves. My great grandma used one until nat gas and electric became available. Installing a kitchen wood burner is a lot more expensive than a regular gas or electric model. And it takes time to fire one up. But from that point on, and especially if you have access to free wood, no more utility bills from that particular kitchen appliance. And you are also on your way to having an off grid kitchen setup. Electricity down for a few weeks or even a month? No problem, you’ll still be cookin’ – and lots of neighbors will be very interested in your setup.

[4] THE FATE OF THE REDWOODS, an on-line comment: Redwoods are going nowhere. Their range is artificially increasing with redwood now planted in Oregon, Washington, Montana, British Columbia, France, Hawaii, French Polynesia., as well as many other places. The ice age reduced their natural range to what it is currently. Redwoods do just fine in droughts and dry climates, ie; Eastern most redwoods in Napa County in an oven like environment. It’s all about the microclimate because those trees are growing on benches in the rain shadow of mountains often near watercourses. In Kauai, they are growing in Kokee on the dry side of the island. They are just as big and it looks exactly like the redwood forests here.

[5] Confidential documents found at a Biden “think tank”. A Biden think tank! Let that sink in. “Deafening silence” from the MSM. These are top secret “original copies” of state secrets. When confronted Biden stated that he now “remembers forgetting” about these years ago.

[6] WATER PLANNING, an on-line comment: 

Perhaps instead of building a high speed rail system, we can defer that project and invest more in rain catchment systems to inject the water into the aquifers. Particularly in the Central Valley where it’s critical for agriculture. And before all the naysayers jump on the “Almonds/grapes/cotton wastes water!” bandwagon, they need to consider that agriculture is the economic backbone of this state. Unless y’all are prepared to replace the lost taxation agriculture provides to the state’s coffers, y’all need to find another poster child for water-waste… like, oh, I don’t know… illegal cannabis grows?

The technology is out there to recover and inject runoff back into the aquifers, we just need the fiscal foresight to invest in it. Better above ground storage is a good idea as well. Climate change is here to stay because the world didn’t have the will to decrease greenhouse gas emissions; if we don’t develop some initiative soon, humanity may just as well kiss our collective asses good-bye. Improved management of our liquid resources needs to begin now, not later. Especially in my beloved home state.

[7] Holy crap. In Wisconsin, I’ve lived through a lot of -45°F weather in 6 decades, but only once did I go through -60°F. That was so cold, tire rubber froze solid, retaining a flat spot, so if you were lucky enough to get your car started, it still drove like a broken Tinkertoy.

[8] For many Indonesian families, the number one monthly cash expenditure is – believe it or not – telecommunications. 

No matter how “working-class” people are categorized (excluding the desperately poor, though many still have them) every family has a couple of “devices”, and enforce a “stay in touch” ritual with the children and relatives. Schools ban cell phones which means they lock them up during class hours. This includes the popular pesantren, Islamic boarding schools. But after hours the kids are back on their devices.

So even with discounts and reasonably cheap data packets, how can the millions of working-class citizens scrounging to pay for food, ciggies, fuel for a wobbly motorbike and electricity (the other main cash drains) afford their Telkom or Indosat or XL? 

That is not the point: it is clearly a case of addiction. I see it around me all the time. Kids sidle up to my place in the hills to mooch off my wi-fi. Some loiter outdoors but the more familiar neighbors plop themselves inside and glue faces to tiny screens, for hours. Little or no conversation or socializing, just staring and the occasional chuckle.

Meanwhile, Grandpa, hunting down wild grasses to feed the goats, wouldn’t know to operate a cell phone if you took him to MIT; dad is out in the fields hoeing the sweet potatoes or corn plants (barely able to figure out his own device) in the blazing sunshine, while those 25 and under are obsessed with the usual content.

This phenomenon is undoubtedly being repeated all across the third world (although Indonesia has traditionally been far ahead of everyone else, as the military dictatorship used the telco networks to monitor and control the populace, all the way from the pioneer Palapa satellite in 1970).

It’s a generation of mutants, and I do not foresee these kids out planting the rice seedlings in the hot sun anytime soon. Nevertheless, that may be all that is facing them, before long. I’ll probably be knocking elbows with them.

[9] Earlier this year I got my arm ripped open by a pit bull – and it was my own fault. After wrapping my arm in bloody towels, my next door neighbor drove me to the ER. I was in line for a few minutes and the person ahead of me seemed to be in fine shape and it made little sense to me why he was there. When I stepped up next I didn’t say a word but just pulled the bloody towels aside and showed the lady behind the glass window what the inside of my arm looked like. I was a bit in shock and a bit unsteady, but together enough to wait a few minutes in line. After she saw my arm a minute later a door opened ten feet away and they told me to step inside. They put me in treatment right away, I got attention before everybody else, maybe it was because I had an actual emergency.

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