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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

Cold | Frosty | Estuary Rising | Log Truck | Adventist Incentives | Gladys Chambers | Public Duty | Log Hauling | Garden Class | Long Poles | Weed Window | Spruce Bolts | Caen Friend | These Roads | Housing Workshop | Yesterday's Catch | Game Day | Hydraulic Mining | Niner Loss | Prospecting | Things Gone | Lion | Killing MLK | Horse Wagon | New Digs | Scotia Roundhouse | Buried Angels | Zap | Money Rule | Sunday Drive | Enjoying Life | Naptime | Political Violence | Bot Blame | Schiff Gang | Mendo Mill | Ukraine | Omelette Fantastique | Coffee Moon

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DRY COLD WEATHER will prevail across Northwest California through mid week. Temperatures will then moderate as wet weather returns to the region Thursday into the weekend. (NWS)

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Good Morning, Willits! (photo by Michelle Hutchins)

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This is not an alarm or warning! It's more like a watch.

The Navarro River is entering a condition that may lead to some backup flooding of Hwy 128 just east of the Hwy 1 bridge by next weekend.

The sandbar at the river mouth is closing up again and causing the estuary level to rise. Over the past couple of weeks the channel has veered sharply southward through a long, shallow course down the beach instead of cutting directly across the sandbar and into the ocean.

The river level and flow rate has been steadily diminishing since the atmospheric river storms ended a couple of weeks ago. Today at 6 PM the river gauge level fell below the 5.0 ft mark as measured about 5 mi. inland. But there is still more water coming down into the estuary than is able to exit through the long, restricted sandbar channel.

So the estuary water level has risen and is only a few feet below where shallow flooding of the highway can occur. The brushy mud flat on the south side of the river west of the bridge is now completely under water. The Navarro Beach access road is still closed to vehicle traffic partly due to driftwood logs and sand making the beach parking area inaccessible and partly because sections of the road are subject to flooding.

It's a matter of equilibrium between inflow and outflow. The inflow is diminishing but so is the outflow. Even when the sandbar completely blocks the river mouth there is still significant outflow through the coarse sand. My guess is that the sandbar will close in entirely within a day or two, and that the estuary will rise somewhat higher than now even with no rain.

But the weather forecast says some rain may start Thursday and continue off and on through Sunday, with a predicted 4-day total just over 1.5". That might be enough to boost the river flow and put a few inches of clear water over the Hwy. 128 roadway between the 0.18 mile marker and about 200 ft. east of there. It would not be enough rain to blow open a new channel through the bar.

I'll be keeping an eye on it over the next few days and post an update if called for.

Nick Wilson

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Log Truck, Klamath, California, 1937

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The Adventists in Ukiah recently got a large donation of land across the street from Mendo Mill on North State Street in Ukiah. The Adventists are not known for their “transparency.” But word on the street is that they plan to develop it into first a cardiac facility to compete with other north bay cardiac specialty facilities (as the local population ages there are more and more heart patients).

Mark Scaramella


As a medical decision this is of course bass-ackwards. The end-stage manifestations of coronary artery disease, like angina, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and life-threatening arrhythmias require expensive treatment supported by advanced, costly technology. But these events are typically the culmination of a chronic disease process advancing slowly over decades, one whose risk factors are easily identified and amendable to lifestyle modification and affordable medications. The question is why aren’t the Adventists investing in less expensive preventive care and community based primary care?

The answer, of course, is money. As a financial decision, it makes sense.. The financial incentives for specialty care are vastly greater than for basic community care and thus we’ve already seen the disappearance of primary, preventive care locally. When I came to Ukiah 25 years ago there were at least 30 full-time internists and family practitioners in the area. Try and find one now, you’ll be lucky to get an appointment with a “physician extender” a few months down the line. Adventist Health has been responding to perverse financial incentives for decades now. It has actively driven dozens of competent physicians from the area. It invests in high ticket medicine while underpaying its nurses and support staff. The result is a neglected community burdened by chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. But Adventist Health is divorced from this community and let’s face it, there’s a lot more money to be made from a single invasive procedure than a lifetime of preventive care.

If this plan is effected, I’m sure we’ll be in for a barrage of fund-raising and publicity. I think it will be important, at that point, for the community to stand up for itself and identify what it really needs from Adventist Health.

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MIKE J: On the other hand, they transport heart attack folks (like me) to St. Helena Hospital for stents and bypass. These procedures aren’t available here now.

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MICHAEL TURNER, MD: There is merit in what you say. But this is about the economics of regional planning. For years Adventist Health has pressured doctors to send patients needing specialty care to their mothership hospital in St. Helena. But many patients didn’t want to go, there were closer, more reputable facilities in Santa Rosa. So there has always been talk about building a higher level facility somewhere along the 101 corridor, with the aim of “capturing” health care dollars from the north and keep them in the Adventist system. Their planning is always about revenue and the transformation of small town clinics and hospitals into a state wide feeder system. These rumors about the proposed use of this donated land sound consistent with all this.

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Gladys Chambers, Albion, 1902

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Our elected officials, when being inducted into office, swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the state of California. Article XIII, Section 35, of that document states unequivocally that the first priority for spending of public monies (tax revenue) is for the purpose of public health and safety. Not tourism, not promoting industries and businesses, not for festivals and parades, and certainly not for unnecessary remodeling of “chambers” where these elected officials conduct the business of the people.

In Lake County, neglect of the duties of care by previous Board of Supervisors members led to the loss of $12.5 million dollars in general fund reserves to pay for the cost of emergecy response activities related to the “Valley Fire” (September 12, 2015), because the county had failed to meet the requirements of the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. Specifically (to start with), there was no accounting system established to enable staff to record their activities in trackable records of time expended for emergency response capacities. FEMA rejected the county’s request for reimbursement and our reserves were tapped to pay for those expenses (with no actual detailed report ever provided; the state agency responsible for providing an “after action report” stated that such a report would never be released). So much for accountability, and so much for actually prioritizing public health and safety.

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Hammond Lumber in Carlotta, 1935

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The Spring Garden: Selecting Seeds & Planning the Design

February 11, 2023, 11AM - 3 PM, at the Philo School in Boonville

Contact: mpatpalm@herbalenergetics or 707-895-3007

Limited to 4 people

(Mary Pat Palmer)

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A Load of Tall Logs near Fortuna

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LEGALIZATION, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: Of course you liked things better when you were part of a small, insular, insanely profitable club. Of course you didn’t like other people adopting your money printing strategy and inevitably correcting the radical over valuation of this plant product.

Have you considered that while you and the rest of the super cool back to the landers were paying off your property on a single small garden, that was supported by unimaginable state violence that destroyed lives and communities across the country?

Did any of you really think that you could grow a plant product little more complicated than a tomato and sell it for more than gold and no one else would ever make the effort to get in on the scheme? 

Everyone who has grown and sold weed out of the hills of the emerald triangle has contributed to the “greed rush”. No one who grew or sold weed in the emerald triangle could direct the course of legalization. All of us, from the first homesteaders planting some seeds to the guy from Florida trying to get that massive permit down by McCann, are riding waves produced by forces way bigger than us.

The bitterness towards anyone who made different choices/actions than you, or was born into a different situation than you, doesn’t solve anything. There’s assholes all over the place. In every industry. The idea that anyone who is trying to navigate this new legal chapter is inherently a problem is just sour grapes and casts the whole first Gen weed culture in a bad light. 

Glad you got to live through that crazy lottery of time and space, sucks that our community is a net loser in the legalization story so far, but your neighbors that went bigger than you (even the ones who were dicks while doing it) were never driving this bus. Just riding it like the rest of us.

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Hauling Spruce Bolts to Arcata, 1935

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by Jim Shields

A supra talented, off-the-charts bright woman I admire, and who my wife Susan said was “big brain cool,” responded to my comment last week regarding Bruce Anderson, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Although I've known her for a long time, and was aware she was at one time a “big paper” journalist, she never talked about it much so I didn't press her on it. 

Here's the resulting email thread between “N” and me, with Bruce also signing in at the end:

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Hello All, 

Here's this week's Observer. I've written another chapter in the ongoing saga that is the closed Laytonville Landfill. I've said forever, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

As always, check out Bruce Anderson's column. In some ways he's a revved up successor to Herb Caen, except Bruce doesn't freeload at bars and restaurants, and he stitches his column together with wicked wit and laugh-out-loud humor while actually making a point.

Hasta Luego, Jim

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Ha! I just read the Anderson column start to finish — as you compared him to my old friend and colleague, Herb Caen.

Must say I learned something about the Marin Headlands being connected to the city shoreline way back when — fascinating.

He's a good writer — but I do miss the old three-dot journalism that Herb employed. I got him a lot of his items and must say it was always a rush, even after twenty or more times, to be mentioned in his column. He was charming and funny and we exchanged dirty jokes all the time — something that I guess would be considered “harassment” these days.

And ah, I must admit, I was the recipient of many a “junket” back in the day when it was allowed. As one of the Society pages writers, it was almost hard to not get a free meal when we went out. The good old days… I was gonna write about them anyway, but hey, the paper never paid us much and a free meal was ok by me. Granted, Herb got paid a bundle I assume… and there you have it, three dots!

Never been called “big brain cool” before! Very funny, Herb would be proud! Remember Strange de Jim, one of the regular contributors to Herb's column?  Perhaps you are the new Strange de Jim!

Thanks Jim, this is fun; love you lots!

Xoxoxox, N

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My Oh My, N,

So you were a ranking member of Herb's intelligence gatherers and crypto-alter egos! Appears you knew him very well.

I only met him once. It was late at night in the late 70s at the Original Joe's on Broadway. It was a brief conversation but it led to us exchanging a half-dozen or so notes or short letters over the years. I've attached the final note I received from him. The references in his note won't make any sense to you, but they were about some things occurring when I was in the labor movement at the time.

We'll have to get together and reminisce. Herb was truly a single-model-break-the-mold genius. I always thought his humorist-journalist style could only have been nurtured and grown to perfection in San Francisco where his daily column mined all of the local happenings, insider gossip, political intrigues, the social going-ons of high society and blue collars, and everything spiced just right by his at-the-ready anecdotes and Herb-being-Herb puns.

I still recall when San Francisco was called "a good union town." And Caen was one of those who said it and meant it.

Thanks for re-kindling the memories, N.

Super Huge Hugs, 


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Ha! The old Chronicle stationary! I remember it well! I also knew his assistant who most probably typed up that letter for Herb's approval and had him sign it. I was working there in 1988, in fact I was probably just a few feet away when your letter was received! I could tell you lots of Herb stories… Next time we are together for sure!

But I must say Bruce Anderson is doing a good job too — I like his style!

Even covering Society in the 80s, I always tried to get some humor in there. Couldn't let those rich folks get too serious about themselves!

Sure hope to see you soon, Jim! 

Xoxoxoxox, N

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Thank you Jim, and more thanks to “N” for the Herb Caen look-back. It's humbling to even be mentioned in the same para as Caen, whom I, like everyone else, still miss.

Bruce Anderson

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Thank you “N” for having fun with me, and for giving us a peek at one hell of a newspaperman who was one hell of an artist.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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The City of Point Arena will hot a Community Workshop on Tuesday, February 7th at 6:00 PM. The event will be held both in-person and via Zoom. At the workshop, the community will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss important issues related to housing in the city, including:

* Results of the recent Community Housing Survey and Property Owner Survey

* Updates to Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations

* Updated zoning designation within city limits

* Streamlining of the City's permitting process

* Potential development of multi-family housing on a city-owned parcel

Community members are encouraged to attend the workshop and provide feedback.

Point Arena Housing Community Workshop

Tuesday, February 7th at 6:00 PM

Point Arena City Hall & via Zoom

451 School Street

Point Arena, CA 95468


For more information, please contact Linda Ruffing at North Coast Community Planning (

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, January 29, 2022

Ballew, Crippen, Curtis, Garcia

JASON BALLEW, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, paraphernalia.

JOHN CRIPPEN, Ukiah. Leaving scene of accident with property damage.

RICKIE CURTIS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


Henkel, Lewis, McKenzie, Silva

COREY HENKEL, Ukiah. Lewd acts with child under 14 with force, etc.

BROOKE LEWIS, Willits. Failure to appear.

ALTON MCKENZIE, Ukiah. Contracting without a license.

MARK SILVA, Hopland. Failure to appear.

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Sunday was game day and the hardest part for an avid sports fan was counting down the hours to kickoff, when I sat in my comfortable chair to watch the game with my nerf football nearby. Whenever we make a great play I bounce it up against the entertainment cabinet with a hippie whoop! Then try to catch it — yes I still have “good hands.”

It’s an anomaly: the 49ers have this great team but the worst, most inexperienced quarterback in the league, and odd because general manager John Lynch and “quarterback whisperer” Kyle Shanahan have built this amazing team through the draft, trades, and free agents but inexplicably dropped the ball with quarterbacks. (More drama and excitement will therefore ensue.)

I loved Jimmy G because he’s like me: not quite really good, inadequate for the task, an Everyman surrounded by skilled giants. I like Trey Lance because a running quarterback brings the added dimension of deception and excitement. I’m very pleasantly startled by the hero-for-the-moment Brock Purdy, an amazing story, the rookie that could, but really? A rookie taking his team to the Superbowl? Could it, would it happen? What a storyline!

There was nothing to do but wait, as the time would down five more hours, two more, fifteen minutes to game time. 

I haven’t had a drink in three months but if we win today I’m drinking a fucking beer, and another one on Superbowl Sunday. Why not?

Paul Modic


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Miners Working with Hydraulics

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by Ann Killion

PHILADELPHIA — The San Francisco 49ers’ glorious ride came to an abrupt halt on Sunday afternoon. And unlike some other harsh endings, there was nowhere to point fingers, no blame to be assigned, except perhaps to that cruel mistress, Lady Luck.

“Life just punches you in the face sometimes,” George Kittle said.

On Sunday, the 49ers got punched in the face, over and over. They lost the NFC Championship 31-7, in a game that felt over almost before it ever began. It was perhaps the most forgettable championship game of the league-record 18 they have played in.

Kyle Shanahan summed up the day.

“We lost our last quarterback,” said the head coach, his eyes glistening with emotion.

On their first possession of the game, the 49ers lost their fairytale-come-true quarterback Brock Purdy to an elbow injury. And then, on the first possession of the third quarter, they lost their backup Josh Johnson to a concussion.

And that was pretty much that.

The 20th game of the season provided a weird symmetry to how the season began, with the 49ers attempting to make a quarterback transition to Trey Lance. But they lost their QB1 in Week 2, went to QB2 in Jimmy Garoppolo, who went down with an injury in early December. Purdy jumped in the saddle and rode to the NFC Championship game. And in the final game of the 49ers’ season, both QB3 and QB4 were injured.

That’s a lot of bad luck.

“I wish we had a little bit better opportunity,” Shanahan said.

This game will be unfairly lumped into the Shanahan-can’t-win-the-big-one bucket, which is silly. Shanahan’s coaching got the 49ers to the big game with a rookie quarterback and then they got whacked with terrible luck. This game should forever carry an asterisk: *No healthy quarterbacks available for the second half.

In that way, it was a little reminiscent of the 49ers’ attempt to win in Green Bay in the divisional playoffs in 1997, when Steve Young tried to play with broken ribs (courtesy of the Eagles) and lasted just two possessions before being replaced by Elvis Grbac. Or when the 2019 Warriors lost after Klay Thompson went down in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a game after the team had lost Kevin Durant.

But the Warriors were coming off won three titles in four seasons. And the ’96 49ers were just two years removed from a Super Bowl championship.

This 49ers team was attempting to end a long and frustrating drought. On the 28th anniversary of their last Super Bowl championship, they were trying to win to get back to another Super Bowl. And once there, at long last, win a sixth one.

The 49ers’ players themselves don’t care much about that “Quest for Sixth” or the historic context of their drive. They know better than anyone that the NFL is hard. That careers are short. That you must seize the moment when you can.

“This is the best group I’ve been around,” Nick Bosa said. “When stuff like this happens, it’s pretty much out of your control.

“But the thing about the NFL is you never have the same group. It’s just sad that this exact group doesn’t get another day together.”

Even young Purdy, in his first year, understands that concept.

“I was just thinking about how hard it is,” he said. “It takes every little thing to align the right way to win, to go all the way.

“I’m just so sad for the older guys. They deserve to win the whole thing.”

The game felt off from the start. You could say that maybe the week felt off from the start after defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was arrested on Monday, the day after the team beat Dallas, on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence. Shanahan said the player would play while the legal process played out. At the very least, it was a bad omen.

On the second play of the game, 49ers linebacker Fred Warner was injured — though he came back and played. In the first quarter, Bosa got spiked while standing on the sideline during a punt, saying an Eagles cleat went an inch or two into his calf.

“That was the sign of a rough day,” Bosa said.

The game turned early on two bad calls, and the issue of coach’s challenges. The Eagles converted on fourth-and-three with a 29-yard reception that replays later showed was not a reception. They went downfield and quick-snapped the next play; Shanahan said neither he nor anyone in the 49ers’ booth saw a replay that showed it wasn’t a catch. He didn’t want to burn a timeout a few minutes into the game. By the time the Eagles took a 7-0 lead, the replays were conclusive that the drive should have ended back at the 35-yard line.

On the ensuing 49ers possession, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni challenged an incomplete pass on the play Purdy was injured. It was successful: the call was overturned and ruled a fumble.

So, two possessions, two huge incorrect officiating calls. The officiating was questionable the rest of the way: the 49ers were flagged 11 times for 81 yards and the Eagles got hit with four penalties.

But officiating and challenges were not going to change the outcome of this game for the 49ers. Not when they were left with zero actual quarterbacks and trying to get Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Juszczyk ready for emergency fill-in duty.

Purdy knew he was seriously injured as soon as he was hit, with shooting pain down his throwing arm. He couldn’t throw deep. Yet he had to come back in and hand off the ball to keep the 49ers actually playing. Kittle estimated the 49ers’ playbook was reduced to about 15 plays. The Eagles knew the 49ers couldn’t throw so they loaded the box and smothered the run.

“Our message was just ‘F it,’” Kittle said. “What are you going to do? Roll over and die?”

It wasn’t the ending the 49ers had dreamed of or expected. They had won 12 straight games and unlike last year, when they had to claw through a final regular season game and into overtime to make the postseason, they felt aligned and ready.

They had momentum. They had as good a team as they’ve had in recent years. They had a fairy tale story in their quarterback, poised to head to a Super Bowl in his home state.

And then Lady Luck punched them in mouth. Hard.

San Francisco 49ers’ Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair walk off the field after Philadelphia Eagles’ 31-7 win in NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. PA., on Sunday, January 29, 2023.



Save for The Christian McCaffrey TD Drive, the 49ers’ offense was rendered toothless halfway through the first quarter when Brock Purdy‘s right arm was smashed — and Josh Johnson wasn’t the answer. Johnson’s lost fumble with 1:11 to play in the second quarter was crushing (and he was later knocked out of the game with a concussion). On their lone TD drive, McCaffrey accounted for 44 of the 46 yards, the final 23 on a highlight-reel scoring run. The 49ers racked up 505 yards of offense against Seattle in the wild-card round and 312 last week against the Cowboys; on Sunday, they managed just 164 yards and 11 first downs. McCaffrey rushed for 84 yards and had four catches (for 22 yards), but George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk combined for just seven catches for 75 yards.


Penalties, penalties, penalties... and for good measure, more penalties. The Eagles’ two TDs in the final two minutes were yellow-flag assisted: three on the go-ahead TD drive (Jimmie Ward, pass interference; T.Y. McGill, illegal use of hands; Charvarius Ward, illegal contact) and one on a drive that made it 21-7 at the half (Dre Greenlaw, facemask), all of which resulted in first downs. The Eagles had more first downs via penalties (seven) than passing (six). The flags overwhelmed an otherwise stellar effort. The Eagles held the ball for 37:26, but MVP contender Jalen Hurts passed for just 121 yards and the Eagles needed 44 carries to gain 148 rushing yards (a 3.4 average).


The defense doesn’t bear the entire burden for untimely penalties. Reserve RB Jordan Mason was flagged for roughing the kicker when the Eagles had been forced to punt. That drive was extended and resulted in a turn-out-the-lights TD to make it 28-7. The 49ers’ most successful way of moving the ball came on kick returns: Samuel (2 for 65) and Ray-Ray McCloud (1 for 42) averaged 35.7 yards.


There was a reason the Eagles hurried up to run their next play after Davonta Smith’s tremendous one-handed catch converted a fourth down on the game-opening drive: it wasn’t a catch. But Kyle Shanahan didn’t challenge the call and two plays later Philly scored. It was also a curious decision, paid for dearly, to have non-linemen try to block Haason Reddick — his sack/forced fumble initially knocked Purdy from the game. Once Purdy was rendered unproductive, Shanahan was essentially the captain of a ship without an engine.


You need only watch the clip of Trent Williams body-slamming the Eagles’ K’Von Wallace late in the fourth quarter to know what kind of afternoon it was for the 49ers. “Frustrating” likely doesn’t describe the feelings held by a Super Bowl-contending team team forced to play 3½ quarters without a healthy starting quarterback. The circumstances are much different, but this loss joins the pain pantheon already occupied by the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs three years ago and last season’s dropped-interception-defeat against the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

— Michael Lerseth

ED NOTE: The Niners were only down 7 when Purdy was hurt. His loss and three really bad penalty calls against the Niners doomed our heroes. The best play of the game, however, was McCaffrey's amazing touchdown run. The defense played well all day despite the score, and if Purdy hadn't been knocked out of the game it would have been interesting to see if he could have carved up the vaunted Philadelphia defense.

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Chinese Man Prospecting, 1852, California

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Things you don’t see much of anymore, and other observations:

SKATEBOARDS: Gone, down south anyway. I’ve yet to spot even one.

ACNE ON TEENS: What happened to zits? Where have all the pimples gone, long time passing? When I was a teen acne was like a contagious disease. I might have been a carrier.

I had acne on top of acne; my face looked like the surface of Mars, if Mars is indeed red and filled with peaks and pocks. Now kids all look like Hollywood models with skin as flawless as a Potter Valley peach.


BEAN SPROUTS: Banished from menus nationwide.

BARS IN UKIAH: This deserves a whole column, sob.

REDNECKS, STONERS, GOAT-ROPERS at Ukiah High. All as disappeared as Valedictorians, Honors students and Lettermen jocks.

FIRST THEY’LL LOSE half their value, and then another 50 percent after that: Used electric guitars, Harley Davidson motorcycles, season tickets to the Oakland A’s.

STORAGE LOCKERS: I’ve yet to see them in the Carolinas, whereas in California they’re 10 percent of the landscape.

BUMPER STICKERS Concerning teaching tolerance, celebrating diversity or multiculturalism.

SUPERMARKET CROWDS: I never wait in line for a cashier here, but Ukiah’s Co-op always seemed mobbed. Solution? Tell a clerk there’s a Subaru in the parking lot with its headlights on; Store will be empty in 30 seconds.



GUYS AT OFF-RAMPS holding up cardboard signs that say “Will Work for Food.’ Did they all get jobs?

RACISM: Used to be you’d hear disparaging remarks about any old ethnic group anyone wanted to point a finger at, including Polocks, Dagos, Blacks, Jews, etc., but those days have been gone since around the time Ike was President.

Now, despite the best efforts of the NY Times and other leftists, you’d no sooner hear people call someone a Kike or a colored person than you’d hear them call women broads or refer to men as “toxic” males.

Oh wait. Never mind.


TURN SIGNALS: Ukiahans have grumbled and muttered for decades about drivers not using their turn signals, but they ain’t seen the real pros yet.

Here in the south turn signals are still a novelty and I’m thinking they must be very expensive luxury options on cars.

A lot of people just can’t afford them, so they take the money they would have spent on turn signals and invest it in great big engines with really loud mufflers.

EGGS: No eggs, but lots of chickens? Explain.

TIDE PODS and the people who ate them. Poof! Gone!

DOGS with names like Rex, Lucky, Spot and Fido. Now everyone’s dog has a person’s name, probably to let the world know we consider Lucy a family member.

UGG BOOTS, and good riddance. Footwear that made even the loveliest of ladies look like Clydesdales.


MAGAZINES: Real ones, not People Magazine or a Complete History of Led Zeppelin or Haunted Houses in North America.

SEDANS & CONVERTIBLES: All of a sudden we can’t get a Chevy Impala (or Malibu), a Ford Taurus (or Fusion) or most any other regular family car that’s been the bedrock of American cars for a hundred years. When did we decide we only want SUVs and electric cars?

MATH: Or, why we’ll all soon be poor, especially our grandchildren: A Million seconds goes by in 11 days, a Billion in 32 years; a Trillion seconds takes 32,000 years.

SWIMMING POOLS: Endangered species.

DSM’s elastic guidelines

Remember all the hysterical “experts” in frenzied sweats shouting that the previous President was unfit for office, afflicted as he was by various personality disorders? Those same shrinks are now silent, and believe Doddering Joe, a senile old coot who couldn’t find the White House if he was standing in the Oval Office, is a model of robust intellectual vitality.

Calling on George

RECEPTIONIST: “Thank you for holding, Dr. Kramer. I have Congressman Santos on the line. Go ahead, sir.”

“Hello,” he lied.

(Tom Hine and his invisible typist live in Ukiah sometimes and North Carolina some others.)

* * *

Lion Resting by Antoine-Louis Barye

* * *


To the Editor

Thank you for your recent testimony regarding the assassination of Martin Luther King. His leadership role in the civil rights movement, as you pointed out, was actually pretty well accepted and tolerated. King's erasure didn't become necessary until he crossed the line and began using his high profile speeches to describe the social costs of a corrupt and morally bankrupt system in which all policy, both domestic and foreign, is dictated solely by the needs and interests of capital. It was when he began challenging and calling for a dismantling of this system that the tolerance for his opinions ended, and with it his life. 

His history could provide a lesson for these whiny clowns today who like to portray themselves as the victims of some kind of “cancel culture.” So, you're no longer permitted to expose yourself on social media? Too bad. Some of your embarrassed sponsors have fled, taking their ad revenues with them? So sad. You may be a bit more pathetic than you once were, but silenced you are not. Dr. King was silenced. His words cost him his life. 

On a somewhat related note, if there's any more room on the tumbril, there's one more tired, inane phrase I'd like to toss onto the top of the heap before the cart is dispatched to the dump. I'd like to get rid of that favorite empty mantra of the pwogs, “speaking Truth to Power.” Those who wield power place no value on the truth. To them, it's a meaningless and worthless abstract, easily shed. If you think you're “speaking truth to power,” your time would probably be better spent teaching calculus to your goldfish. 

Michael DeLang

Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado

* * *

Horse Wagon with Logs, Klamath-California

* * *



I made it to this new joint. I've been here before back in 1998-99 and I wasn't thrilled. This time around it looks a little better if you can say that about any "joint." So far I'm out of solitary and everybody seems friendly. Maybe I won't have to worry about getting stabbed and going back to the hole.

I have about everything I need except TV and jogging shoes. I guess that will be a big project to order. I miss my sports fix. I was surprised that you too are what they called me years ago, a baseball enthusiast. I liked your photos of the baby bull, Orlando Cepeda. I guess he's still alive and goes by 'cha-cha' now. I almost cried when the Giants traded him and I met him later when he was with the Braves. Luke Easter was one of my favorite old-time first basemen too.

Did you ever google the Mendocino Beacon from 1965-70? You will see my column about Fort Bragg sports. I used my middle initial C. because my father, the Beacon's editor's name was David B. Giusti.

Being a child prodigy sports writer is about all I can write about!

I also liked your box score production of when you pitched. Somebody must have doubted you on that. "Thou shalt not bear false witness" is one of the Ten Commandments. I get real uptight when somebody calls me a liar. For that and for lying people still risk getting shot in Montana! It really irks me when Alan Crow lies to the paper. Alan claims he's all of a sudden dying of liver disease. That is so very unbelievable to me. Just before he wrote about that he had been for nearly one year my neighbor in lockdown in County jail. There was never any mention of liver disease. To my knowledge he never saw a doctor, nor even a nurse. And I know for sure he didn't get any meds. Alan Crow is what you and call a 3-D — pathetic, pathological, perpetual liar! As Christians we have to love him and pray for him.

David Giusti

San Luis Obispo

* * *

Pacific Lumber Engine House, Scotia

* * *


by Hugh Stevens (“Inside Detective,” Feb. 1973)


Big Tom and Little Charley were motorcycle buddies. Their friendship went back to the days when they were “good old boys” down in Atlanta, Georgia.

Then they were Thomas Shephard Shull and Charles Baker and, except for the hours they spent on their motorcycles— riding like the wind—each felt tied to that southern community. Baker had a good job—police motorcycle mechanic— and Shull had a wife.

But Tom and Charley had some dreams and they talked about them when they had been out on their bikes. They liked motorcycling better than anything in life and they had heard of places on the west coast where men grouped together and devoted their lives to wild riding and wild parties.

When Tom’s marriage went sour, he divorced his wife and started talking about heading west. Charley was ready, too. He quit his job. In the spring of 1971, the two men put their bikes, bedrolls and a few belongings into the back of Charley’s 1957 pickup truck and headed west.

The cyclists of French Camp, a small settlement in California’s San Joaquin River delta area, stared in awe when Charley Baker’s sputtering pickup rolled into town two weeks later and the two started unloading their bikes.

Tom Shull

Shull looked like a giant pirate. His six-foot frame carried well over 200. pounds. He had long red flowing hair and a matching beard. He wore knee high boots, a chain belt that secured a knife to his hip and a swastika earring.

Struggling at his side to roll the bikes off the back of the truck was Charley, the antithesis of a biker. Pushing 30, he was six years older and a foot shorter than his oversized buddy. He wore common clothing, short curly black hair and glasses.

The pair seemed incredibly green to the West Coast bikers. Some of the French Camp gang snorted laughter at the sound of their southern accents. Others nodded knowingly a short time later when the newcomers’ bikes broke down.

But Shull and Baker had come to stay and their enthusiasm for motorcycling soon won them acceptance with the French Camp Boys. Everyone in California motorcycle clubs gets a nickname. The good old boys from Georgia soon became “Big Tom” and “Little Charley.”

The two moved into the Stockton home of one of the French Camp Boys, fixed up their bikes and began joining the club members on their favorite outings—races at breakneck speed on the twisting Sierra Nevada Mountains road from Placerville (known as Hangtown) to Lake Tahoe.

Fred Hanley, a biker who knew Big Tom and Little Charley in those days, later recalled the rides that became the first taste of California motorcycling for the men from Georgia:

“We'd go down the white line, sometimes passing between two cars on the corners, just to see who was the fastest. Sometimes we'd hit 120 or more on the straights.”

At the end of a run, the bikers would party and talk about motorcycles.

“Tom always said he wanted to graduate up to the Angels [The Hells Angels,

California’s most notorious outlaw club]. He wanted to wear that red and white death’s head emblem. That was one of his ambitions. Charley just liked to ride fast and party,” Hanley remembered.

A month after their arrival, Baker moved from Stockton into the waterfront apartment of a girlfriend on San Francisco Bay. He took a job as a mechanic in a custom motorcycle shop in the East Bay community of Rodeo.

Shull, still in search of membership in the Hell’s Angels, moved from Stockton to Manteca a few months later, sharing an apartment with two other men. He said he wanted to be closer to the East Bay, home of the Hell’s Angels.

It was a period of transition for Shull. In the words of a biker who was his friend, “He was graduating from a small bike club into the big boys. He was partying with the Angels. He was either an Angels’ prospect or had some business dealings with them.”

Little Charley seemed to have no desire to become an Angel, but he and Big Tom continued to party and ride together.

Then, one day in November, 1971, both Shull and Baker were missing.

Shull’s roommate later told police: “One day Big Tom just didn’t come back. I thought something seemed funny. His Harley, the yellow and black one, was gone, but he still had some things in the apartment. You know, odds and ends. Nothing big. I figured he got into some trouble or something in the Bay Area.”

Time passed, but neither Big Tom nor Little Charley were seen again. The motorcycle gang grapevine said they were dead—killed and dumped into San Francisco Bay. The word had it that they had come into disfavor with the Hell’s Angels. That’s what the police heard, too, when Big Tom’s mother reported him missing in February and an all-points bulletin was issued.

“We heard he was murdered and in the bay,” one peace officer said.

Some friends of the pair from Georgia thought Shull might have been killed because of his aggressive pursuit of membership in the Angels. Charley’s disappearance was more of an enigma, but Hanley offered one explanation:

“When Charley was working in the cycle shop, he sent an Angel’s bike out with no oil and it burned up. Shortly after that. Little Charley was gone. An Angel’s bike is like his right arm.”

No one knew where the pair was. But everyone was certain the Hell’s Angels held the answer. Why?

It was a matter of reputation. By both police and biker standards, the Angels are the toughest, wildest, most vicious, most sadistic, most criminal motorcycle outlaws in the State of California. With headquarters centered mostly along the East side of San Francisco Bay—in Oakland, Richmond, San Jose —the Hell’s Angels have enjoyed a reign of terror over an ever-expanding area for 25 years. State Attorney General Evelle Younger says when you talk about organized crime in California, you have to talk about the Hell’s Angels.

The club made its reputation in the 1950s with a series of town treeings, gang rapes and ruthless fights. The word was quickly established: If you harmed an Angel or, worse yet, his motorcycle, you had to answer to the whole club. And a beating at the hands and heels of the Angels was a sure ticket to the hospital, if not the morgue.

Ralph (Sonny) Barger, president of the Oakland chapter of the Angels, from time to time granted interviews to give the public some insight on the philosophy and lifestyle of his club members. He said:

“We're just a bunch of guys who like to ride motorcycles and have a good time together. We don’t pick fights unless something is done to us. But we don’t run away from them either. I enjoy fighting and so do the other guys. Any man who hasn't fought physically for what he wants doesn’t know what life’s all about...

“Ain’t nobody going to kick my bike. It’s my life and all I’ve got. You love that thing better than anything in the world...

“I’m no peace creep by any sense of the word. If a man don’t want to be my friend I’m going to hurt him and he’s going to hurt me.”

After awhile, the Angels didn’t have to do anything to create terror. The roar of their chopped down Harley Davidsons, the clumping of their hobnailed motorcycle boots, the sight of their greasy black Levi jackets with the cutoff sleeves and death’s head on the back was enough to create an atmosphere of fear.

The case of Harvey Solon, owner of a small bar on the Bay at Richmond, was typical. Solon ran a quiet bar with steady customers until one Sunday afternoon when the Angels, on the way home from a run in the country, made a detour from their usual route and stopped at Solon’s bar for a few beers.

The cyclists drank their beer, played the juke box and talked loudly, but they caused no trouble as Solon nervously tended bar. 

But, when the Angels left an hour later, all the regular customers were gone, too. The bikers reappeared each Sunday for a month after this incident, never causing a disturbance. Then they stopped coming. It took Solon six months to build up a clientele of regular customers again.

In the last four years, police say, the Angels have more and more used their organization for criminal pursuits—particularly narcotics trafficking. The word on the streets and in the hall of justice in the San Francisco Bay Area is that the Hell’s Angels are major suppliers of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and LSD. They use the drugs themselves, mixing them freely in combinations that are said to lead to frighteningly wild parties. They don’t mind making a profit on them either.

But dealing dope with the Angels can be dangerous., There are stories on the street.

There was the one about the teenage girl in Marin County, a wealthy suburban community across the bay from Richmond and San Francisco. The girl bought what she thought was methamphetamine from an Angel, then discovered it was film developer (a common substitute). She refused to pay.

The Angel put out the word she would be badly beaten for non-payment. Finally, the girl met face to face with the Angel and convinced him he had sold her “bad stuff.” The Angel was contrite and apologized. Then he proceeded to give the girl a beating. He explained that he couldn’t risk word getting out that the Angels didn’t follow up on their threats. That could be bad for business.

There was another case in the same community: Two former heroin addicts, a man and a woman, had turned informants, and were working with narcotics agents. One was prepared to testify against a Hell’s Angel. The morning of one of their court appearances, a district attorney’s investigator found both dead in their motel room. Someone had administered each a lethal dose of high grade, uncut heroin. The dope was traced to the San Jose Hell’s Angels and police currently are eyeing several cyclists as suspects.

In January, 1972, Sonny Barger and other Hell’s Angels were arrested in the Oakland Hills. In the trunk of their Cadillac police found two men bound, gagged and badly beaten. The victims, fearful of the Angels’ code of retribution, accepted gratefully their release and hospital treatment, but refused to talk to police.

In May of this year, Barger and three other Hell’s Angels were arrested and indicted for the Oakland murder of Servio W. Agero, a 29-year-old suspected narcotics courier from McAllen, Texas. The gun which killed Agero had been used the same day in the murder of three young narcotics dealers in nearby San Leandro, but no charges were brought in that case.

Barger, Sergey Walton, Gary Popkin and Donald Smith went on trial for murder on this past Halloween day (October 31, 1972), the same day Big Tom and Little Charley reappeared.

The motorcycling buddies from Georgia were found deep in a water well test hole dug on the edge of a 153-acre ranch near Ukiah, in Mendocino County, about 150 miles north of San Francisco. The ranch belonged to George (Baby Huey) Wethern, a former member of the Oakland Hell’s Angels, and his red haired wife, Helen.

In another test hole, near the one occupied by Shull and Baker, the excavating police authorities found a sealed oil drum containing the body of a long dead young woman.

The bodies of Big Tom and Little Charley had decomposed so badly that a pathologist could not determine the cause of death. The woman, who still is unidentified, died of a bullet to the brain.

Attorney General Younger said lawmen apparently had come upon the “Hell’s Angels’ burying ground.”

Lawmen were led to the burying ground by a frightened former member of the Hell’s Angels. He told them his fellow club members have a $2000 contract for his death and that two attempts had been made on his life recently. Ironically, the man is doomed anyway. He has throat cancer and doctors have told him he has only two or three more months to live. Lawmen are so concerned about his safety for that short time that they refer to him only by a code designation—“SFT-1.”

Big Tom and Little Charley met brutal and bizarre deaths during a party at the clubhouse of the Richmond chapter of the Hell’s Angels more than a year ago, SFT-1 told investigators from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office. They were brought to the little woodframe house as prospective members of the club and were given LSD, cocaine and marijuana. Everyone at the party was mixing drugs. The party lasted all night.

In the early morning hours, both Shull and Baker became highly excited by the influence of the drugs. The Angels at the party began taunting and teasing them. By 7 a.m., Big Tom Shull was paranoid, violent and panic stricken.

It took four Angels to hold him down, according to SFT-1. Three of them were from the club’s Richmond chapter—Edward (Junior) Carter, 24, a burly six foot two, 230 pounder; Richard Allen Barker, 28, and Rollin Boyd Crane, 29. The fourth man struggling with Big Tom was known to SFT-1 only as Frank, purportedly the president of the Buffalo, New York, chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Under all their weight and strength, Big Tom Shull continued to struggle.

For two hours, the men tried to sedate Shull. They tried to force 20 seconal tablets down his throat. When that didn’t work, according to SFT-1, they beat him viciously. Finally, Barker ordered the others to tie Shull up and take him into a back bedroom. SFT-1 said he found Shull dead in that room a short time later.

Barker and William J. Moran, 39- year-old president of the Richmond chapter of the club, examined Shull and confirmed his death, according to SFT-1. They allegedly decided that Little Charley Baker had witnessed too much and must be killed. While other Angels held Baker down, Moran removed his belt and strangled the little man, according to the informant.

Then, SFT-1 said, Barker made a phone call and asked for either Sonny Barger or Sergey Walton, seeking instructions on how to dispose of the bodies. The informant heard no more of that conversation, but told police that he was called the next day by Sonny Barger, who told him to meet Barker at Barker’s house. He complied and was told he would be the driver of the Hell’s Angels’ hearse.

The bodies were stuffed into the trunk of a green Cadillac owned by Chester (Festus) Green, a 29-year-old, six foot four inch, 299 pound member of the Richmond chapter. Moran was there, he said, and told SFT-1 that getting the bodies into the trunk was no easy matter. They had to break the arms of the two men to fold them in.

SFT-1 said he drove to the Wethern ranch alone in the Cadillac with two bodies. He was followed by two Angels in another car. Their task, he was told, was to shoot any police officer who might happen to stop the car for a traffic violation. If he were stopped, the informant was told, he was to get out of the car, reach for his wallet, then drop to the ground so the men in the trailing car could use their submachine gun to kill the officer.

In Ukiah, SFT-1 said, he was met at the turnoff to the road to the burying ground by a pickup truck driven by William (Zorro) Mitten, a member of the Oakland Hell’s Angels.

He and Mitten dumped the bodies in the hole, which was partially filled with water, the informant said. When the bodies would not sink, they threw in two bags of lime and used crossed sticks to hold them down.

Armed with a search warrant based on SFT-1’s information, officers from the state attorney general’s office—and the sheriff's offices of Contra Costa County (Richmond) and Mendocino County (Ukiah)—knocked at the door of the Wethern ranch house. Instead of offering resistance, the Wetherns asked for help. The Angels, they said, would not let them go.

Several years ago, while under the influence of drugs, Wethern said, he shot and critically wounded Zorro Mitten. By the Angel code, it became Wethern’s obligation to make that up. He owed a debt—not just to Mitten, but to all Hell’s Angels. He paid Mitten’s hospital bills, but that wasn’t enough. Debts to the Angels are never paid in full, he explained.

Wethern later became uncomfortable in the club. The membership was changing, the Angels were turning to the more serious drugs. Wethern began to talk against those drugs and his life was threatened. He quit the club and moved his wife, son and daughter to Mendocino County, where they bought the large ranch.

Still, his debt to the Angels followed him. He had to put up the ranch as bail security for some Hell’s Angels facing charges in the Bay Area, And, he said, he had to let the club use some of his land as a burying ground.

Wethern said he would not only lead the police to the grave shared by Big Tom and Little Charley. He also would show them were the Angels had buried another body nearby—a young woman. All he asked was that he, his wife, and their 10-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter be kept safely beyond the reach of revenge minded bikers.

The officers brought in heavy equipment to aid them in their dig for the bodies, a combination back-hoe and digging machine. Officers found the test holes about 20 yards from the Boonville Road, a country byway running alongside the rolling hills, scrub oak, manzanita grass and weeds that make up the Wethern Ranch. The bodies were not buried deep.

Searching the ranch house, officers found marijuana, benzedrine, narcotics paraphernalia, two stolen rifles and a photograph of Sonny Barger. The Wetherns were arrested and held in lieu of $100,000 bail. They were not charged in connection with the bodies and they were allowed to share the same jail cell in Ukiah. Their children were placed in a foster home.

Mendocino Sheriff Bartolomie (Center) and staff

Public Defender Joseph ‘Joe’ Allen [later Mendocino County District Attorney], was appointed to represent the Wetherns. He said negotiations were underway to grant the couple immunity in exchange for testimony about everything they knew of the Hell’s Angels criminal activities, Allen practically asked that his clients be held in jail. “THe4y are 2well fed and well house. They’re getting three meals a day and I know who their visitors are” Meanwhile, Contra Costa County officials issued a warrant of arrest for seven men in connection with the deaths of Shul and Baker. On Halloween night, Zorro Mitten, Junior Carter and Festus Green were arrested in the East Bay. 

Mitten, Moran, Carter, Green

Mitten was charged with the murder of Shull and Baker. Carter and Green were charged as accessories to murder. William Moran was arrested the next day and charged with two counts of murder. An arrest warrant, charging two counts of murder each, also was issued for Rollin Crane, Richard Barker and a motorcyclist named Paul Francis Mumm, 26 (possibly “Frank” of Buffalo). 

These men were still at large. 

By the end of the week, Wethern and his wife had agreed to tell all they knew about the Angels. In exchange, state officials would grant them immunity and federal law enforcement officials would help them move to another part of the country and settle under assumed names. Mendocino County District Attorney Duncan James, who negotiated the agreement, announced the decision of the Wetherns with excitement, saying: 

“This may not shut own the Angels right away, but most law enforcement officials think it could be the beginning of the end.” 

One lawman, highly placed in the attorney general’s office, said he believed they eventually would unearth a dozen bodies of Hell’s Angels victims from isolated Northern California graves. But digging on the Wethern ranch has stopped and digs in other counties north of San Francisco Bay, based on tips, have failed to produce additional bodies at this writing.

Business continues as usual in the Oakland courtroom where Barger and the three other men face charges of murder. Fifty prospective jurors have been questioned and sent away, most for prejudice against the motorcyclists.

But there are pressures building. They obviously are felt by George (Baby Huey) Wethern. On November 8, the day before he was to go to court and be granted immunity, he calmly asked his wife, Helen, for two pencils, saying he wanted to write a friend. When she handed them to him, he quickly jabbed one into the corner of each eye. His wife screamed for help, but he grabbed her by the throat and tried to throttle her into silence. Jailers pulled him off.

“I was out of my mind. I can’t explain it,” he said.

His wife was moved to a separate cell. His eyes, not permanently damaged, were treated. Wethern was said to be too upset to make his court appearance the next day.

On Monday, November 20, authorities revealed that SFT-1 actually was William ‘Whispering Bill’ Pifer, 41, an Antioch, California man, currently serving time in the Alameda County Jail. That same day, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office announced that Francis R. Herman, 38, of Buffalo, New York, also was being sought in the double slaying.

(Inside Detective Editor’s Note: The names Fred Hanley and Harvey Solon are not the actual names of the persons who were in fact participants in the incidents described.)

* * *

* * *



Another dance hall, another party, another 10 dead. The inane conversations continue: Motive? Where’d he buy the gun? The illegal magazine? Was it a hate crime? More flowers against the fence, more “our prayers are with you.” What is it we are pretending not to know?

It is that our electoral system is organized around money — getting it, sharing it, spending it to stay in office. It’s the Gordian knot binding so many problems: The influence of wealthy lobbyists on public policy; the inordinate time legislators dedicate to fundraising, the Citizen’s United decision.

The National Rifle Association is the lobbyist for the armaments industry. They camouflage themselves as hunters, marksmen and collectors, while doing everything in their power to increase sales of military-style weapons, silencers, bump stocks and extra-capacity magazines, all swelling the bottom line for weapons manufacturers. We pretend we don’t know this — year after year, body after body — three weeks into 2023 and already 36 mass shootings. Legislator after legislator sent to Washington to be bought or forced by money to do its bidding to remain in office.

Not knowing, discussing or acting to weaken the power of money in our elections is pretending to be stupid. How long will we bear the consequences?

Peter Coyote


* * *

Sunday Drive, Old Tokyo

* * *


Just what would you have us duped citizens do? We are open for suggestions. Don’t bother suggesting voting for better politicians. That option has been compromised a long time ago, same with protesting. That just falls on deaf ears. So what’s next, form a resistance uprising. Good luck there. As soon as you get more than three people I can guarantee with utmost certainty that one will be an undercover agent or informant. So what other options are there? Most of us are taking the be patient option and enjoying life in the meantime. Been to a range lately? The ones here are busy. Like other fun activities. These ppl seem awake to me.

* * *

* * *


by Joe Garofoli

At roughly the same time Friday that the world saw the video of a QAnon believer bludgeon Paul Pelosi unconscious with a hammer, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel was telling delegates gathered in Orange County why they were meeting in deep blue California.

Because, McDaniel said, “I just wanted to rub Nancy Pelosi’s face in it one more time.”

McDaniel, who was re-elected Friday, was talking about Republicans winning back the House last fall. Yet by continuing to demonize the former Democratic House speaker, she wasn’t just fortifying the path that led David DePape — a loner living in a Richmond garage — to allegedly break into Pelosi’s Pacific Heights house in the middle of the night in search of the speaker.

McDaniel’s quip emphasizes the degree to which many Republicans simply cannot help themselves when it comes to vilifying Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, no matter the cost. McDaniel did not have the discipline or the decency to hold back even on a day in which the world was watching an endless loop of an octogenarian being pummeled.

DePape told investigators he intended to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and that if she didn’t confess to the “lies” she was telling about stolen elections (they were not stolen), “I was going to break her calves.”

Instead, DePape found her husband, Paul.

And that is the video the world finally saw Friday. An unhinged man influenced by hateful, violent rhetoric and the unsuspecting 82-year-old he knocked unconscious after police arrived.

The still images of the video don’t just lay bare the chaotic, bizarre scene that night. They are a snapshot of how broken America is.

And they illustrate how political violence in America is escalating every day. How the partisan divide in America is growing wider. How those divisions are making Americans turn on each other. And be unrepentant. And disbelieving in anything we see that doesn’t cleanly align with our point of view, even when we see it in graphic video.

“Where is the evidence of breaking and entering?” criminal defense attorney Brian Claypool said Friday on Fox News after the video was released. The host said that there’s video of DePape smashing glass.

“I haven’t seen that,” Claypool said.

“It’s on the screen right now,” the host said as the video of DePape’s entry flashed.

“Maybe that’s true, maybe I’m wrong,” Claypool said. Then he quickly pivoted to asking, “What is the (Department of Justice) doing?”

Seeing isn’t believing for a lot of Americans.

‘They are criminals’: What suspect in Pelosi attack said in interview

A year after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in which five people died and 138 law enforcement officers were injured, only four in 10 Republicans recalled the attack as “very violent” or “extremely violent,” according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey.

That wasn’t the impression from those who were pummeled by rioters.

“It was like something from a medieval battle,” Aquilino Gonell, a Capitol Police sergeant, told the Jan. 6 commission. Insurrectionists doused him in chemicals and beat him with a pole, an American flag still attached to it.

Yet three in 10 respondents to the survey said it wasn’t violent.

They are swallowing the same disinformation that many spread online about Paul Pelosi’s attack. It wasn’t 12-follower Twitter users shoveling that garbage. It was spread by everyone from Trump to Twitter CEO and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who shared an anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the attack. Within hours, Musk’s missive had been retweeted more than 30,000 times and liked more than 110,000 times, before being deleted less than an hour later.

As my Chronicle colleague Shira Stein reported Friday, the release of the attack video didn’t silence conspiracy theorists. It inspired new ones.

It is the kind of misinformation that feeds people like DePape. And what pushed him into that frame with Paul Pelosi.

It is wrong to dismiss DePape as an outlier, someone firing off online screeds from inside his lonely garage to a nonexistent audience.

His blogs were filled with references to far-right conspiracy theories, QAnon insanity and racist and anti-LGBTQ ramblings. Weeks before the attack, he created posts with headlines like “Communist Voodoo science,” “Feminist gets owned” and “The woke are Racists with a guilty conscience.” His former girlfriend told The Chronicle last year that he struggled with mental illness.

“I told him that I’m not going to surrender, I’m here for the fight,” DePape recounted to investigators in footage of his interrogation released Friday. “It’s like, if you stop me from going after evil, you will take the punishment instead.”

He is not alone. And that’s the terrifying part.

One in five Americans believes that violence can be at least sometimes justified “to advance an important political objective,” and half believe that a civil war is on the way “in the next few years,” according to a nationwide survey by researchers at UC Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program last year.

The survey found that nearly 19% of the respondents strongly or very strongly agree with the statement that “if elected leaders will not protect American democracy, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires taking violent actions.” Meanwhile, about 16% feel the same way about the statement, “Our American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”

If more people take to using violence to support their political views, videos like what surfaced Friday won’t be the exception.

* * *

* * *

SCHIFF'S GANG UNMASKED: Racket’s Matt Taibbi eviscerates Hamilton 68’s pathetic response to his Twitter Files exposé, which showed the group falsely treated hundreds of real Twitter users as Russian bots, prompting countless bogus “news” stories. Hamilton is pretending reporters simply misunderstood the research, but the outfit’s principals routinely did media hits claiming they were tracking “bots” and “never complained about all the headlines” like “The Russian Bots Are Coming.” Fact is, “the Hamilton 68 people” took “ordinary accounts with opinions [they] deemed to be in sync with Russia, and called them part of a ‘network’ that was ‘engaged with Russian propaganda’.” Then they “basked in every opportunity to speak on TV and to newspapers and at schools and think tanks and even congress, offering themselves as primary witnesses for a tale about ongoing ‘cyber attacks’.”

* * *

Mendocino Lumber Mill, 1864

* * *


Ukraine's eastern front line continues to experience heavy shelling, with one town in the Donetsk region seeing nearly 300 Russian rockets and artillery shells over 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian military. 

Germany's defense minister said sending fighter jets to Ukraine is "out of the question." It follows renewed appeals by Ukraine’s government for Western jets after Germany approved the delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks earlier this week.

A senior European Union official accused Russia of taking its war against Ukraine to a “different stage,” prompting the plans to supply Kyiv with tanks. 


* * *

Une Omelette Fantastique, 1901

* * *


I met the moon for coffee
It was Friday night I think
When she watched me hardly sleeping
And invited me for drinks

We found ourselves a table
In the middle of the night
And the constellations twinkled
Like a thousand fairy lights

She asked me how I’d been
As she poured coffee from a pot
For she said she’d watched me
Waking up at midnight quite a lot

I said my brain was far too full
My mind was always on
And when I woke it felt as if
I was the only one

The only one who lay awake
Whilst I sat on my bed
With thoughts that raced at lightning speed
Around my busy head

My thoughts were stuck in orbit
And I couldn’t pull them back
As they preferred to swim against
A sky so vast and black

The moon said simply nothing
But she opened up a book
And I saw it was a diary
So I took a closer look

And listed there were names of people
All around the world
And all the thoughts and worries
That the moon had overheard

Just then, my eyes were drawn towards
The name that was my own
And that was when the moon said
“See, you shouldn’t feel alone”

And then she pulled me close
Using the night sky as a blanket
And said “I know you sometimes feel
So lonely on this planet

But when you cannot sleep,
Get up and watch me from your room
And you’ll see so many others
Having coffee with the moon”

— Becky Hemsely


  1. Kirk Vodopals January 30, 2023

    Re: online comment of the day… “Been to a range lately?”… Golf range? Gun range? Home on the range?
    Fun activities? Hitting golf balls or shooting your guns?
    That’s your answer? Hang out with yer guns/balls buddies?
    Whatever floats your boat, dude

  2. Eric Sunswheat January 30, 2023

    RE: The bitterness towards anyone who made different choices/actions than you, or was born into a different situation than you, doesn’t solve anything. (LEGALIZATION, AN ON-LINE COMMENT)

    –> January 26, 2023
    Increasingly, some scientists are pushing to reframe “depression” as an umbrella term for a suite of related conditions, much as oncologists now think of “cancer” as referring to a legion of distinct but similar malignancies…

    Nemeroff expects that someday the gold standard for care won’t be just one treatment — it will be a set of diagnostic tools that can determine the best therapeutic approach to an individual patient’s depression, be it cognitive behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, neuromodulation, avoiding genetic triggers, talk therapy, medication or some combination thereof…

    That prediction may frustrate some physicians and drug developers, since it’s much easier to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution. But “appreciating the true, real complexity of depression takes us down a path that is ultimately going to be most impactful,” Krystal said.

    In the past, he said, clinical psychiatrists were like explorers who landed on a tiny unknown island, set up camp, and got comfortable. “And then we discovered that there’s this whole, enormous continent.”…

    Indeed, the entire premise of the chemical-imbalance theory may be wrong, despite the relief that Prozac seems to bring to many patients…

    While the exact mechanisms linking the brain and gut are still poorly understood, the connection seems to influence how the brain develops.

  3. Briley January 30, 2023

    Adventist Health is closing its women’s health office in Ukiah. A staffer told me at my visit earlier this month. There goes another preventative health care venue and having a choice of where to go. They will refer everyone to the Care For Her unit at the local clinic. Getting an appt anywhere these days in a timely fashion is next to impossible and getting worse.

    • Marshall Newman January 30, 2023

      Not just in Ukiah. Everywhere.

  4. Chuck Dunbar January 30, 2023


    Betsy Cawn, bless her committed, informed heart, notes:
    “Our elected officials, when being inducted into office, swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the state of California. Article XIII, Section 35, of that document states unequivocally that the first priority for spending of public monies (tax revenue) is for the purpose of public health and safety. Not tourism, not promoting industries and businesses, not for festivals and parades, and certainly not for unnecessary remodeling of “chambers” where these elected officials conduct the business of the people.”

    I’d love to see some righteous citizen stand at the back of the BOS’s chambers at every meeting, holding a sign noting this priority for public health and safety use of funds. It would be a most-needed quiet, peaceful reminder and protest. Would the BOS let such a person remain or try to oust them? Taking bets on this…

    • George Dorner January 30, 2023

      Thank you, Ms Cawn.

  5. Cotdbigun January 30, 2023

    Baghdad By The Bay…………The Saccamento Kid……RIP

    • Chuck Dunbar January 30, 2023


      A day sans savy Ed. Notes—
      A day of no favor or bliss.
      Pray bring ‘em back soon–
      We’ll know nothing’s amiss.

  6. Marmon January 30, 2023


    Reports: Purdy suffered torn UCL, will be sidelined six months

    ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday, citing sources, that Purdy endured a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right throwing elbow and is recommended to undergo surgery.

    NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero added that Purdy is getting second opinions on his elbow and the hope is he will undergo just a repair — not full reconstructive surgery — to be ready for training camp.

    6-12 months recovery how much bad luck can this team have? So looks like its Tommy John for Brock. Usually when pitcher have this surgery they come back throwing harder.


    • Stephen Rosenthal January 30, 2023

      It’s Brady time.

      • peter boudoures January 30, 2023

        Did you watch him this year? Obviously not

        • Lazarus January 30, 2023

          RE: Tom Brady
          As Bill Walsh said while coaching the 49ers, “Some players must be told when it’s time to step away from the game.”
          Be well,

        • Stephen Rosenthal January 31, 2023

          We’ll see.

  7. Marmon January 30, 2023


    Biden will end national and public health emergency declarations over Covid-19 on May 11, 2023


  8. Jim Armstrong January 30, 2023

    Folks who were around at the time remember wild stories of law enforcement antics at the Wethern Ranch
    Reno Bartolomie, a world-class storyteller, told some great ones about them.

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