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Off the Record (January 25, 2023)


Due to the continuing deterioration of conditions at the Creekside Cabins RV Park and Resort, the County of Mendocino has dispatched a contractor to work with Caltrans and various other State and local agencies to provide temporary, short term, ingress and egress to allow residents of the park to safely relocate from the area. The County has not received any indication that the conditions will be abated by the property owner and will pursue the matter separate and aside from this response. 

Mendocino County Social Services and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will be on-site in the coming week to talk with residents about this temporary ingress/egress response. This will include discussions on eligibility for assistance programs that may be available to them.

The County continues to encourage the public to avoid the area so that County staff, resource agencies and contractors can perform any needed work and provide assistance safely.


Mendocino County Social Services was on site at the property this Friday, January 20, 2023 to meet with residents and direct them to any additional services. All residents are encouraged to attend this meeting so they may ascertain what resources may be available to them.

The temporary bridge to the site will be installed on January 24, 2023. Caltrans has mandated that this will be exit only traffic from January 25th to January 26th due to traffic safety restrictions. Vehicles will only be allowed to enter the property to assist with towing travel trailers or similar with prior approval. The bridge will be removed on January 27, 2023. The installation and removal of the bridge may alter some of the foot access paths, so residents should not rely on existing foot access paths to remain after the bridge is installed and removed. At this time there is no existing plan for permanent access to the site, so this will seriously compromise the ability of sewer, garbage and emergency response to provide services to the site.

Mendocino County Code Enforcement and Environmental Health issued an inspection warrant on January 18, 2023, and will be evaluating the property this week to further investigate health and safety concerns as noted by the Public Health Officer in the advisory. 


As of today, Pebbles is safe but in a temporary living situation & has a loving local community rallying around her. Her home is uninhabitable. Her health has deteriorated. One emergency after another has drained her savings. As a radical spirit, as independent as they come, residing off-grid for decades, she is now in need of assistance. Her property is in the process of being sold. Low-income senior benefits are being secured. But in the meantime, she needs funds for incidentals that are essential to remaining as independent as possible, like a cell phone & transportation. Possibly even an automobile or an uber account. Pebbles will soon also have her own patreon account, an online forum where folks can subscribe to support her while she shares her archives & future thoughts. While all of the above gets sorted out & set up, this gofundme is still needed for immediate support. Pebbles has dedicated her life and financial resources to helping others. In this spirit, we have dedicated time and resources of our own into helping a woman who has so little, yet deserves so much as a treasured elder of the cannabis community. We are asking you to join us wholeheartedly in donating what you have to offer. Please help us help Pebbles.

A bit more of herstory in Pebbles own words:

What I did was endure the consequences of my civil disobedience, rather than take an easy plea for felony transportation & get it over with squandering my opportunity, & eventually getting somewhere worth the effort, proving others could do the same. By losing at the trial court level, I actually gained: 1) the right to transport medicine you can legally possess, which became the 5th right in Prop 215 (left out of the original initiative). 2) the quantity standard which is the amount "reasonably related" to your medical condition, now known as the Trippet standard. The Court replaced the 6 plant limit numbers game with a legal standard patients were entitled to based on voter intent. In 2010, People v Kelly involved an AIDS patient prosecuted & convicted of growing 8 plants instead of 6, to which the CA Supreme Court replied: 'That's not what the voters intended.' Since I based my case on constitutional rights, the Court took it more seriously & commented, 'This is one of those rare times when both defense and prosecution agree,' affirming the Trippet standard in Kelly in 2010. Let this be a long view lesson. This process took 20 years (1990-2010) including appeals - with 10 prosecutions in 5 counties in 11 years. I prolonged my low income status as long as I could until I finally concluded with deteriorating health, that selling the land was the best option for maintaining my independence & using some of the $ to collaborate with viable community projects for the greater good. Most people don't know I worked hard for these results, without regrets. I wouldn't ask if I didn't have to but I know my limits and I've reached them.


The State of California is trying to rev up the old WPA arts projects? They're pumping millions of dollars into a "California Creative Corps," the Upstate version of which has invited me to give a zoom talk Tuesday at 1pm.

I've been editorializing and otherwise working toward the reinvention of the Federal Writers' Project, so they think I'm some kind of expert. Mendocino County is in on this, and I figured you'd want to know...

All finest,

David Kipen

Libros Schmibros, UCLA, L.A. Times Critic-at-Large

P.S. Please take a sec and read these brief, eloquent words from the great Rebecca Solnit in support of our 21st-Century Federal Writers' Project Act (aka HR 3054), and then consider asking your senator and/or rep to co-sponsor, thanks!

"The United States’ most precious and overlooked resource is stories, the stories of all the people who live far beyond the spotlight, rural people, indigenous people, elderly people who hold memories of the past that will soon vanish. The idea of sending waves of writers out to connect to these stories and maybe preserve them, as the oral historians of the Federal Writers Program did, is gorgeous and would save innumerable stories from vanishing for good, the stories of who we really are."

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Antonio Guterres told the billionaires assembled at Davos that the world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad “interlinked” challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine that are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash.”

YES, and a perfect metaphor for serial bad news, a massive freeway pile-up with several of the vehicles carrying nukes. Meanwhile, in the bucolic Anderson Valley, which is more bucolic the farther you climb into the hills, but on the Valley floor income levels are described by people who measure these things as Appalachian, now more Appalachian than ever with the collapse of the marijuana market, which used to provide ostensible poor people with a nice cash income.

THE MENDOCINO COAST'S history re-write committee is sponsoring a Fort Bragg Name Change student essay contest, pro or con, with the con end of the argument unlikely to win any of the cash. Should Fort Bragg's name be changed? Of course not, but it gives virtue signalers a no risk opportunity to demonstrate their righteousness, to solidify their view that all us slobs out here approve of slavery, the slaughter of Indians and all the other atrocities our fine, fat country has implausibly survived to become what we are, which isn't particularly bad, imo, or certainly no worse than the histories of most countries.

AGAINST the accumulating catastrophes, compare any or all the current elected leadership with, say, Roosevelt's administration. Most current elected leaders, and this just might be me, look silly, childish even, none of them inspiring any confidence whatsoever. 

INTERESTING article in last week’s NYT on cockfighting, a very big underground recreation right here in Mendocino County, along with the much less frequent but always popular dog fights.

THE TIMES PIECE BEGINS: “According to some rooster men, the game fowl, or fighting chicken, was almost chosen to be the national bird of America. ‘And it should’ve,’ a breeder once told me. ‘An eagle ain’t nothing more than a glorified buzzard.’ Such game-fowl lore and sentiment abound: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were devoted rooster fighters. Union and Confederate soldiers put aside their differences on Sundays during the Civil War to pit their chickens against one another. Abraham Lincoln was given the nickname Honest Abe after he displayed impartiality as a cockfighting judge. Whatever the (dubious) historical merit of claims like these, they are meant to establish the deeply American identity of game fowl. ‘They fought them right out on the White House lawn,’ says David Thurston, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, a national nonprofit dedicated to the birds’ preservation. Such conviction exists in stark contrast with the state of cockfighting in the country today. Taking part in the practice, which consists of strapping metal spurs to the legs of two chickens and confining them to a pit to fight each other to the death, is now illegal in all 50 states, and it has been since Louisiana was the last to outlaw cockfighting in 2007. It has been banned in all 16 US territories since 2019. Federal law also makes it a crime to ‘knowingly sell, buy, possess, train, transport, deliver or receive’ any chicken across state lines for fighting purposes…”

A READER WONDERS: Whatever became of Todd Walton? Stopped by one of those “little free libraries” near the somewhat gentrified section of south Caspar (where the old Highway One once meandered) and picked up a spoken word recording of his (including a very enjoyable short story, “I Steal My Bicycle.”). Seems like he was contributing fairly regularly to the AVA until about 5-6 years ago. Any idea why he stopped and his whereabouts?

ED REPLY: As I dimly recall that in one of our lean periods we had to reduce his miniscule pay to even fewer peanuts. Gracious fellow that he is, Todd decided to go off on his own with, I think, his own website. So far as I know, Todd's still on the Coast and reachable here:


2023 Homeless Point In Time (PIT) Count; Volunteers Needed to Complete Surveys

Mendocino County, CA - The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC) will be conducting its annual unsheltered Point-In-Time (PIT) Count which will begin at sunset on January 26, 2023, and run through the following week. The Point in Time (PIT) Count is mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used by the State of California and multiple Federal Departments to calculate allocations of homeless services funding. The data received through the PIT Count will help our local community to identify needs and develop planning to engage and support those persons experiencing homelessness throughout Mendocino County.

The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care is a group of agencies that consist of service providers, non-profits, faith-based organizations, community members, and Mendocino County staff. These individuals and agencies come together to help address the needs of those who are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of homelessness. This undertaking requires a lot of individuals performing many different tasks in preparation for this event, as well as surveying individuals and families experiencing homelessness throughout Mendocino County. We need volunteers to count along the Coast as well as Southern and Northern Inland portions of Mendocino County.

If you have questions or would like further information, please contact Veronica Wilson at or (707) 468-7071. 

DON’T BELIEVE the Point In Time Count is a farce?

ROBERT MARBUT on the Point In Time Count:

(The “Marbut Report” was “accepted in principle” by Mendocino County but its recommendations were ignored.) 

“There is very little useful (eg actionable) County-wide data regarding single adults experiencing homelessness. The Point-in-Time Count (PITC) data is inflated; furthermore, most organizations do not actively participate in the Federally mandated Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). This means there is no County-wide comprehensive tracking system at the individual level of individuals experiencing homelessness on a name-byname basis. The overall lack of meaningful data means decision making has often been made based on myths and one-off anecdotes, rather than on hard data. … When PITCs are “incentivized” around the USA, like the giving out of grocery cards in exchange for participation, there is often over counting. In some cases, individuals change their name and information so they can receive another incentive. In other cases, volunteers give out more than one incentive to an individual or pocket the incentive thus inflating the numbers. Additional problems occur when volunteers count vehicles and building structures, and then apply nonscientific multipliers instead of counting actual people. These inflationary multipliers are often based on assumptions and not on rigorous data modeling. When it comes to counting within encampments, the numbers are often highly inflated since “recent activity or presence of individuals” is often counted rather than counting actual observed individuals. Furthermore, because of weather and police activities, people often move between encampment sites which often means an individual’s “activity” ends up being counted multiple times at multiple sites rather than only once at the site where they are actually currently living. Additionally, good or bad weather on the day of the count can also increase or decrease the number of volunteer counters thus affecting the overall efficacy of the count. Weather can also change the patterns of individuals experiencing homelessness. Finally, when the count time is extended past a 24-hour period, individuals are sometimes counted more than once at different locations.” 

A REPRESENTATIVE STATEMENT on the homeless, this commenter a resident of Santa Rosa: “I have all of the compassion and empathy in the world, which causes me significant problems personally and professionally. I am a property manager with a large parking lot that struggles with the homeless weekly, and sometimes daily. Right now I am looking out on a dilapidated pull behind camper that I saw early this morning coming into the office. It just so happens to be the same camper that parked in the same location several months ago. At that time I spoke to the person about this being private property and asked them to move. It took several days before they actually did even though he assured me it would be gone “right away”. What happens then is once people see the one camper/car/tent I end up having 2 or 3 more parked because they saw the first one. Then the neighbors start jumping on me because they have families and feel unsafe. Which is perfectly reasonable because 75% of homeless people that park or pitch a tent are high on something or mentally unstable when I try to speak to them. I am sure one of these days I will eventually be attacked regardless how polite and professional I am. When I call the police they will come and talk to them but rarely force them to leave right away. One young man, who I had spoken to many times over the last 6 months and asked them to leave and not return showed up again. He gave one of the most used excuses that his vehicle was not running. (Somehow he got it to our parking lot). He was very nice and played on my empathy, saying that he is working on it and will have it out the next day. Three weeks later— he was still there despite my efforts and the efforts of the police. The thing that made it worse, was that I never saw him working on the vehicle and every time I went out to talk to him, no matter what time of day, he would be asleep in the car. I am tired of picking up the garbage, dealing with the attitudes and spending my time that I should be working on other things. I know any one of us is just one unfortunate event or one or two bad choices away from being in a similar situation. I also know the choices that people make at “the bottom of the barrel” place makes all the difference. I have not lost my compassion or empathy, but there is nothing compassionate about a society letting or enabling people live like this. Enough is enough, the state has spent $billions on this issue, yet from my front window things have only gotten worse. What has been tried is an overall failure.” 

FORMER NYT EDITOR JILL ABRAMSON on the Times’ and the Davos climate change summit: “The coverage was a sweetener to flatter the CEOs by seeing their names in the NYT so that they could then speak at high-dollar NYT conferences–and, of course, get phony news stories from the conferences into the paper. It was–and is— a corrupt circle jerk.” 


[1] AN ON-LINE COMMENT re Creekside in Willits: That bridge to replace it with an adequate culvert and the environmental impact reports will cost a million dollars. Yet, if they are so concerned exactly where are they going to put these residents? There’s a housing crisis in the county. Rentals are out of everyone’s reach. Being forced to live in a hotel long-term is not a solution either . The cost of living in a hotel, you’re looking at $3,000 plus a month . Even with a voucher, even with the government paying for it. Truly, is that a wise use of fees? There are no easy answers here.

[2] Let me be brief. The MSM deep state wants Joe out. It has to be after the end of January so ( god forbid) Kamala can run for two terms. That won’t happen. The Dems candidate will be Newsom, the ultimate used car salesman. He has Pelosi, the DNC and Silicon Valley all behind him. They would love Trump to split the Republican Party, assuring them victory in 2024. Trump is a malignant narcissist and the odds of him keeping the Republicans fractured are great.

[3] Rural people have LOTS of firearms, and I suspect many of them have ammo out the wazoo. (Sounds like it around here, anyway.)

Re the ATM problem: Do local rural people keep a stash of cash around the house? I don’t know, but I’d doubt it. But I do suspect that many more people have a stash of gold and silver than you would think. 

One guy I know who lives in a close-in suburb recently told me he has about $7,000 in junk silver, much of it stuff his late father collected. The reason I know he has it is because he recently asked me if I wanted to buy some of it. 

Bottom line: I think there may be enough gold and silver stashed away among rural people to function as currency, at least minimally. Obviously, barter would be everyone’s preference. 

We’re pretty close-knit around here. Productive and skilled people know and trust a lot of other productive and skilled people. They’ll get by. Though if you’re an asshole, getting by will be problematic.

[4] Reverse Rumpelstiltskins

How inept politicians have turned gold into straw.

It appears that Mendocino County isn’t the only entity that can’t budget properly. As she was exiting the building, CEO Carmel Angelo confidently claimed the County had a $20M surplus. Hosannas rang throughout the land. This year, the County is projecting a $12M deficit. But County Supervisor Ted Williams has repeatedly commented that the Board of Stuporvisors doesn’t know how bad the budget deficit is. Is it because the County has three sets of books, Ted?

And so it is with the state of CA. Our reverse Rumpelstiltskin Governor is turning CA gold into straw. Last year the state budget had, purportedly, a $31B surplus. The current budget shows a $22.5B deficit. But the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) in a recent report says the budget is a fantasy and the deficit will be even worse. More details.…/calif-legislative…/

The LAO says the state — and I would recommend the County heed this advice — needs to cut costs. Or swirl the financial drain.

Meanwhile, most voters don’t see the connection between these problems and the officials they elect to represent them. Alas.

(John Redding)

[5] THIS ON-LINE COMMENT nicely summarizes much of Mendocino County's rental housing stock: “And they own dozens and dozens of single family housing charging exorbitant amounts of rents and do not maintain them. Have you had the opportunity to go to many people’s rental housing lately? Mold issues, leaking roofs, failing plumbing and the landlords are still charging top dollar. Tenants are forced to pay it because the housing market is so tight and God forbid you complain to have safe, adequate and nice housing — you will be evicted. Try to follow up with legal aid to try to get any kind of tenant support for deplorable landlords skirting the tenant law… That’s a laughing matter. Rubber stamp next. No such thing as a fair trial in an eviction housing case in Mendocino County. That's how a savvy slumlord's sustainable society is maintained.”

[6] I’m sorry to say I’ve never made it to Mexico. Always thought I had time…

But Peru… 

Swarmed by kids trying to sell postcards in the plaza in Cuzco. Those kids can make more money than their parents and that fact is disrupting family life in areas with intense tourist pressure.

One kid had a cold – ok, everyone in Cuzco has a cold, all the time. Instead of buying post cards I bought him cold medicine – and got myself an adopted son.

Then his whole soccer team – Cuzco Strongert (nobody knows what the name means) – adopted me. I sat on the concrete steps next to a vacant lot, drinking chicha, as Strongert smashed the other team 7-0. Each time one of my teammates made a goal, he’d yell out, “This one’s for you gringo!”

Then I got invited to attend Inti Raymi and chow down on roast cui with my new adopted family.

Unsophisticated country folk, they can almost give you faith in humanity, if you aren’t careful.

[7] It’s “unravelling,” it’s “falling apart,” it’s “collapsing.” That may be evident to those who are awake, but what about the masses who aren’t? Is the “collapse” being broadcast by MSNBC? CNN? The New York Times? As long as the gates of truth are guarded by the media mafia, average Joes will never be the wiser. In a rare moment of lucidity, Richard Nixon was correct when he said, “Americans don’t believe anything until they’ve seen it on television.” Hear, Hear !! Nothing will change until the unwashed masses run out of cheese doodles. At least here in the great usa. The most washed body part since the covid show is the brain. Plus, if your paycheck depends on you being brainwashed, guess what. Let’s not forget normalcy bias, either. The next 20 years will be the same as the last 20 years. If only. Here’s to me, wishing I was still blissfully ignorant…

[8] To give us a sense of control in our lives, we expend a lot of energy trying to figure out the future. I guess we all do. But in reality, no one knows. So – I take predictions with a jaundiced eye. McCarthy or Newcomb the next prexy? I doubt it. My own thinking is that some physical event or events will occur that change everything. The Earth is not alone in the universe. Stars explode, the sun burps out matter and radiation.

Climate always changes. Now we have atmospheric rivers. I never heard of that before. What else does Gaia have in store for us? We’ve depleted our soil, poisoned the land. The Earth naturally has its own equilibrium system, and we’re trying to override it with our own. Food availability will become probabilistic. People won’t put up with that – world-wide unrest will ensue and nobody knows who or what will be in power once the dust settles.

Economically, we’ve acted very stupidly. You can’t spend more than you take in without an ultimate breakdown. Militarily we’ve been insane. We all know here what the USA is doing. Did you read about the toddler shooting a gun? Crazy isn’t it? Now picture the gun as a missile carrying nukes – that’s where we may be heading. Then who or what will be in power? Biden, Newcomb, McCarthy? Really?

I could go on because there’s more factors that will shape the future, but you all should get the point: we really can’t tell what the future will bring. I’ll close out by stating a few positive possibilities: Nuclear fusion is successfully achieved, oil is abiotic, we balance the budget, Ukraine collapses before we push Russia too far. I wonder what would happen if there’s a small sub-group of sane individuals ensconced in a mental institution? Would they be subsumed by all the crazy inmates, or would they be able to rise to power inside?

[9] CREEKSIDE CABINS, WILLITS, DECLARED HEALTH HAZZARD, an on-line comment: "They can stay there at their own risk. At some point most likely PG&E will be discontinued to the side as well with the red tag status. Once you’re out there with no access. No water. Inability to get propane. Problems with trash and garbage pile up and how do you dispose of that with no access? Well water that’s no good and if there’s no electricity there’s not going to be any hot water in the showers or water to flush the toilet in the communal shower. I really don’t think that Thurman could charge you to stay at that point. Similar to camping out in the woods . May the powers that be use this as proactive time to address other slumlord properties. There are many renters charging full price rent even on HUD certificates the places are moldy, leaky, in horrible repair. Yet it’s better than being homeless. Code enforcement rarely does anything about moldy homes or things that are just rotting into the ground. We need about 600 more units of low income housing in the area that is income based. Not ones that have the high cap on their rent, the ones that can have low to free rent. Give us 150 over in Fort Bragg. 150 in Ukiah and Covelo. 100 in Willits and 100 in Hopland. There’s a lot of grants out there for this kind of stuff so let’s start looking and get this situation under control. Do something for the longer term instead of temporary Band-Aids that cost more than entire permanent projects. Could they clear the Creekside site and build a nice apartment complex in there for low-income families people who like to live out by the forest that could be a great solution for everyone might take a couple years but invite the tenants that had to leave to come back in if they’re still needing shelter.

[10] As H.L. Mencken said, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

The beam on the current scale can no longer be balanced. The Durham investigation essentially turns up bupkus. Dem special counsel appointment, Dem FBI and DOJ means that the Republicans must lift a very heavy weight, that, in my opinion, they don’t have the muscle for. 

“If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government.” — Emiliano Zapata

What we’ll probably see are exercises in futility, David against Goliath, Republicans having the sling but not the stones.

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