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Off the Record (February 1, 2023)

LAST WEEKEND, Fort Bragg police officers prevented a distraught person from committing suicide, who was threatening to jump off the Noyo Bridge. We are here for you. If you are depressed and having suicidal thoughts or know someone that is having suicidal thoughts, call us. Or call 9-1-1. Or call/text 9-8-8 (National Suicide Hotline). Or call RCS Crisis 1-855-838-0404. Just call. School counselors in the Fort Bragg Unified School District are ready to assist any student. It’s ok to not be ok, but please let someone know. (Fort Bragg Police Presser)

THE RIGHTWING MEDIA jumps on every odd sexual development to make it seem as if gender-bending is prevalent, that gender bending is common in school curricula when it’s non-existent in curricula and a non-factor in the lives of all but a tiny sliver of Americans. There have been a couple of cases here in the outback, Mendocino County division, but for most of us this alleged “transitioning” epidemic is off our mind screens. The rightwing, though, seems terrified that this statistically non-existent phenomena is gaining ground, that your kid just might come home from school and announce he wants to be a girl, or your girl says she wants to be a boy.

THE LATEST EXAMPLE of this hysteria was in the news today when a Norway-based group of practical jokers called Trans Cultural Mindfulness Alliance (TCMA) said they want Aretha Franklin’s famous song, “I Am A Woman” taken off Spotify and Apple Music because it suggests hostility for other expressions of female-ness as expressed by men who parody women by dressing like them. The joke got big media play for a full day before the fun-loving Norwegians admitted they’d pranked the world, a world so primed for bizarre gender-bending craziness that the joke seemed plausible.

WHAT’S UP WITH THE DA? The spectacularly rogue Ukiah cop, Kevin Murray, gets probation on convictions that would get your average Mendo tweeker-perp state prison time, then the DA tries to foist off the matter of defrocked Ukiah police chief, Noble Waidelich, on the state AG who promptly writes back to say, this is your case, Mr. DA, not a state matter. Waidelich is accused of extorting sex from a Ukiah woman while in uniform. Either he did or he didn’t. He said he didn’t, she said he did. Either prosecute him or don’t prosecute him. It’s unfair to her and to the accused to just leave it hanging. There’s also a pending sex charge or charges against fired Willits cop, Derek Hendry. That one’s also apparently in a suspiciously lengthy limbo. And the County of Mendo, always a big pay day for outside lawyers, rightly had to pay a nice sum to Amanda Carley for trying to destroy her reputation as a law enforcement officer. There seems to be a big bias against women going here, and an equivalently large bias for badged marauders, both biases centered in the DA’s office. 

SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE says he won’t seek a fourth term.

“With the early campaign schedule prompted by California’s early Presidential Primary Election, I feel it is in the best interest of Fourth District residents that today I make a public announcement that I will not be seeking a fourth term,” Supervisor Dan Gjerde said.

The election of Fourth District Supervisor will coincide with California’s Presidential Primary Election on March 5, 2024. Candidates will need to begin filing papers as early as September 2023, which is only nine months away.

“With today’s announcement, residents who might want to consider service as a County Supervisor have proper notice. They can study the issues facing the County and can evaluate if the job is a good fit for the skills, effort, and time they are prepared to offer,” Gjerde said.

THE COUNTY might have to buy some extra Whereas' to rain down on Silent Dan as he departs. “Whereas Supervisor Gjerde loyally voted for every hair-brained scheme put before him; Whereas Supervisor Gjerde appeared cryonically encrypted for his final four years in office but always roused himself to vote Yes; Whereas Supervisor Gjerde faithfully kept up the pretense that County leadership earns its exorbitant salaries....” Etc.

GJERDE'S finest hours in public service occurred when he was an unpaid Fort Bragg city councilman. He stood up to the low rent crooks and arsonists then operating FB as their personal ATM's, and Fort Bragg, when Gjerde left to become a supervisor, went on to become the model of civic functioning it is today. 

NOBODY ever could plausibly claim that Gjerde is stupid. He's a virtual encyclopedia of how government works. But stuck with low functioning colleagues, and a CEO who, in my opinion, was a functioning nut case, maybe Gjerde simply tuned out, mailed it in as they say. On the other hand, if he'd become a dissident vote like McCowen and Pinches, his colleagues, all extensions of CEO Mommy Dearest, would have cordoned him off, as they did McCowen and Pinches, neither of whom got their Whereas' when they left office. 

NICK WILSON ON PG&E: Smart meters have nothing to do with it. PG&E rates have gone up and up and up over the past 10 years. We used to be on a time of use plan where the rate at night was under 10 cents per kwh. Now I think it's never under about 30. Also the hours in which the part peak and peak rates apply have changed so that evenings and dinner prep are at peak rates. The only way to escape is with a solar off grid setup, or maybe a large battery and inverter system so you can use grid energy to charge the battery at low rate times and then run off the battery during peak times. However that would take a long time to come out ahead due to the cost of that equipment, so not really practical. PG&E now charges grid-tie solar customers a large fee for being tied to the grid, and pays you a measly wholesale rate for power your system puts into the grid while charging full rate for power you take out of the grid at night.

‘NO WAY TO PREVENT THIS,’ SAYS ONLY NATION WHERE IT REGULARLY HAPPENS. In the hours following a violent rampage in California in which a lone attacker killed seven individuals and injured one other, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Tuesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. 

“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said New Hampshire resident Lisa Martin, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. 

“It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” 

At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.” 

— Rob Anderson, District 5 Diary

THE CREEKSIDE FIASCO is a perfect metaphor for the present functioning of the top echelons of County government. But for the fifty souls who were suddenly told they had two days to abandon their homes the sudden eviction edict was no metaphor, it left them scrambling in impossible conditions to get themselves and their property outtathere. But many of their motorhomes are inoperable, and many of the residents have no other place to go. It's real life in a place — Mendocino County — that advertises itself as a kind of 'progressive' rural paradise but in reality is a place where government is an ongoing menace to the health and welfare of persons of ordinary means.

(FOR those of you in the outside world, Creekside is a ramshackle trailer park off 101 north of Willits, its rent-paying residents a stutter step away from homelessness.)

OF COURSE we won't get the names of the County people who paid a quarter of a million dollars for a two-day bridge at Creekside, and we won't get the name of the persons who decided the premises were so toxic that Creekside's 50 residents had to leave, and leave pronto as if a wildfire was closing in on them.

I'LL SPECULATE as to who's responsible for this casual sadism: the County's alleged health officer, Dr. Coren, fresh off his many covid triumphs; the five supervisors who get three times the average County income to steer policy; and the County's legal counsel, Christian Curtis, a dependable source of bad advice.

LAZ OF WILLITS COMMENTS: “Creekside? This BOS versus Creekside deal appears strangely motivated, likely about money. This is from a board that has trouble deciding what time of day it is, generally.

The County has made all the moves that indicate they want the Creekside RV Park over and done.

 Trotting out the County’s Medicine man was an interesting touch. Speaking in health and well-being platitudes was opportune. Meanwhile, residents have been given 48 hours to move on. How does that affect the renter’s well-being, Doc?

Then the 3rd District supe's parting shot, remarking, “this is an unfortunate situation.”

Yes, Sir; “just another student of the obvious.”

Then there’s the money. I ask again, who are these people? Who can ask for and get a cool quarter mil. for a 48-hour exit, barely capable of getting a full-size vehicle out, let alone trailers, RVs, and such?

I don’t know any players in this sad but true drama. The RV park is several miles north of Willits. I was there once, looking at a place for a relative who was getting out of jail. It seemed orderly and clean at the time, but some might see it as a little sketchy, but the rent was cheap. The relative ended up with me, then found his own home.

Anyway, there appears to be more to this than code and health violations. With the bridge, a lawsuit, etc., likely handled by a 1 to 2K an hour out of town attorney, this deal could cost the County a bundle. Which should not be a surprise to anyone.

What I saw Tuesday at the BOS meeting was 5 out of touch snobs who have no idea what it’s like to be the residents of Creekside RV Resort.

The owner obviously has issues, but why hardship the many to pursue only one?”

ALWAYS A PLEASURE to see Dead Dog Brennan appear in person before the Supervisors. The lively and outspoken Brennan, an archetypal redneck and former federal trapper, always has something interesting to say. But, as they do to every citizen appearing before them, the Supes listened impassively and without comment to Dead Dog’s lament that Spy Rock Road had become impassable without so much as a “thank you for taking the time to appear here today” — add the absence of basic manners to the Supervisors’ long list of deficiencies — and as always another citizen’s sensible comments were ignored.

BRENNAN got his Dead Dog handle from people who claim that as federal trapper Brennan was prone to shooting their household pets, although no verification of DD's summary executions of Fluffy and Muffy was ever provided. The guy knows his wildlife, hence his unpopularity among the local Bambi-type anthromorphs. Tuesday, Brennan, togged out in full Marlboro Man cowboy hat and wool outdoorsman vest, complained that Spy Rock Road was just about impassable and that the County's present wildlife management strategy was non-existent, which he's pointed out before and will be pointing out to The Last Day, but bless him for trying. 


To our Families, Staff Members, and Community: Fort Bragg Unified School District does not endorse the essay contest sponsored by the Change Our Name-Fort Bragg organization.

We are not affiliated with this group in any way.

Thank you. Joseph Aldridge, Superintendent, FBUSD

AN ON-LINE COMMENT re Fort Bragg name change essay contest: “Offering a bribe for an essay from high school kids against the name of our school and actually against our town’s name. The families that have been here for generations never gave a thought to the origin of the name any more than wondering who Casper, or Mendocino was named after. People move here to get away from the places they lived thinking this is where they can make a comfortable home but then they look around and think “our old neighborhood did this or thought that so let’s change it to the way we were before we moved”. Going after the children, offering money is low, especially since most of the families here are below the poverty level. The people behind this have no respect for Fort Bragg and the community. We see what you’re doing.”

SO, I turn my enfeebled attentions to a collection of short stories by Lorrie Moore, whose fiction I'm a big fan of. The story is called ‘Will’ about a show biz lady estranged from the biz and herself. This quote appears below the title: “How can I live my life without committing an act with a giant scissors?” The quote is from Joyce Carol Oates, whose fiction I'm not a fan of. I can't get past the quote because I don't think I know what it means in relation to Moore's story, but I think it means most of us wonder, after some bad experience, how we can go on without somehow obliterating that bad experience. Eleanor? Eleanor Cooney? White courtesy telephone, please.

FUNNY THING, THOUGH, as I scrolled back through my collection of crimes, which I'd prefer to be excised from that long indictment that will be read off against me on Judgment Day, the one that popped up was trivial, perhaps my way of scissoring out my too numerous large-scale sins. So, there I am with my eccentric high school girl friend at Fisherman's Grotto Number 9 at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, 1957. I played weekend baseball on a high school all-star team sponsored by the restaurant. I thought I'd show off to her what a big shot I was at that establishment, greeting the maitre’d with a jaunty, “How are ya, Gino?” which he failed to acknowledge. Anyway, we ordered crab louies, which were affordable in '57. As I, Mr. Suave, squeezed a slice of lemon on my salad, my unpredictable date yelled, “Watch it, goddammit. You almost got me in the eye!” Then she laughs. I assume now she only associated with me to enjoy the mortification I suffered at one or another of her deliberate provocations, and like some kind of masochist I continued to associate with her because in between mortifications we were compatible. We both liked the same things as the young pseuds we were — live theater, also then affordable; avant garde movies, which I tried to pretend I was interested in, including the totally fraudulent ‘Last Day at Marienbad,’ which almost put me off movies forever and, natch, books. A month or so after her major scene at the restaurant — unseemly public behavior was not on in '57 — we were up in the cheap seats at the precipitous Geary Theater when, after the show on our way down the stairs she screamed, “Vertigo! Get me out of here before I fall over the side!” Outside, she laughed and laughed. I suffered several more major embarrassments with her until I moved on to more sedate female company, but she pulled off a final bit of theatrics at the place I rented south of Market, then an area solid with SRO's. “I really want to see your place,” she said. Then, when we got there, “It's in this building?” She seemed incredulous. “Well, yeah,” I said. “Here it is. I like it. I've got a corner room overlooking the street, bathroom down the hall, fresh sheets once a week. I can walk everywhere I need to go. It's perfect.” Right there on the sidewalk she started to cry, not leaving it at a few tears but mixing in a kind of funereal death howl. “This is the most depressing place I've ever seen,” she finally sniffled. I laughed, and that was it. She walked off and I never saw or heard from her again.

ELEANOR COONEY, my go-to person for literary matters, comments on my puzzlement over a Joyce Carol Oates quote over a Lorrie Moore short story promptly picked up the phone: 

“Okay, well, I dig Lorrie Moore, too. And JCO, not so much, at least as far as her fiction goes. Her essays are something else. As for the scissors quote; my first thought was that it was a reference to mayhem. You know, plunging a giant pair of scissors into somebody's neck or belly. I'll read the Moore story and get back to you.

Meanwhile, reading your story of the wailing woman after she saw your humble digs: Here's an excerpt from an essay of mine called "As She Lay Dying." Here, I'm talking about Faulkner's ‘The Wild Palms,’ and its two illicitly and confusedly in-love characters, Harry and Charlotte. They finally arrange to go somewhere to consummate, and Harry has an experience remarkably like yours. Start:

In the decade-later world of Harry and Charlotte, Harry quickly learns that Charlotte is a strict taskmaster who burns with the ferocious intensity of a prophet when it comes to this thing called Love, bringing the same blunt, abrading honesty to it that she brings to everything, and that anything resembling waffling, faintheartedness or mendacity, anything at all that cheapens or compromises the miracle that they are now responsible for will be burned off of him and out of him like dross in a smelter.

Her vision is transcendent and ruthlessly practical at the same time. Like a prophet heeding a summons from on high, she knows that to drop everything and follow will inevitably cost them everything; she also knows that if they don’t do it right, they must not do it at all. After three meetings for lunch—just lunch, no more than that—she informs him that she’s told her husband. After the fourth lunch, they arrange, at last, to go to a hotel. He, the poor medical student, chooses a semi-fleabag. Then, carrying a suitcase weighted with a couple of bricks in it to fool the bellboy and desk clerk, he waits for her to appear, not really believing she will show up. But he’s wrong:

"She had a coat, but no bag nor veil. She came swiftly out of the cab when he opened the door, her face was hard, sober, her eyes extraordinarily yellow, her voice harsh.

‘Well? Where?’

He told her. ‘It’s not far. We can—’ She turned, already getting back into the cab. ‘We can walk—’

‘You damned pauper,’ she said. ‘Get in. Hurry.’ "

Once in the room, she does not even take off her hat and coat. It’s not a sudden attack of prudishness, ambivalence or conscience. She’s perfectly willing to walk away from her husband and children, because, as she puts it:

"….the second time I ever saw you I learned what I had read in books but I never had actually believed: that love and suffering are the same thing and that the value of love is the sum of what you have to pay for it and anytime you get it cheap you have cheated yourself."

No. It’s her blunt-instrument honesty, from which she herself, especially, is not spared. The room is seedy. It’s a “back-alley” kind of place.

"'Oh God, Harry,’ she said. She beat her clenched fists on his chest. ‘Not like this, Jesus, not like this…..not us, Harry. Not you. Not you.’ "

What she knows, and which the sight of the shabby room forcibly brings home, is that he has no money, and aside from a little she’s saved, neither does she. And she, illusion-free, knows that lack of money is slow arsenic to love. It’s not a matter of being poor. She’s willing to be poor. It’s a matter of not sullying or dishonoring love by contaminating it with squalor.

She doesn’t let him touch her. She is willing to sacrifice everything for love, except the love itself. Better to abort the affair than to poison it at its conception with penury. She leaves in a cab:

"She sat there, her face harsh and wrung and savage beneath the springing tears like sweat. ‘Oh, you pauper, you damned pauper….’ ….She leaned toward the driver. ‘Go on!’ she said savagely. ‘Drive on! Down town!’ ”

MY LATE COMRADE, Alexander Cockburn, always said Gerald Ford was his favorite president because “he didn't do anything.” No wars, no internal disasters except the ongoing ones, just ol' Jer puffing peacefully away at his pipe.

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISORS could learn from Ford. It's better for all of us, Supervisors, if you simply draw your undeserved pay and stay home until your terms are up. The nut of the prob with our five elected local leaders is that they've stepped into a situation that badly needs a strong, capable CEO, and I'm not suggesting a return to Mommy Dearest who had the strong, goodness knows, but not the rest of it that should go with the job. The Supervisors step in it every time they meet because there's no one to tell them how to avoid stepping in it. 

YEARS PAST we've also had weak Supervisors, person-for-person weaker than the present quintet. But those weak boards had the benefit of effective CEO's, Al Beltrami and Mike Scannell, to name two. They let the Supervisors pretend they were running the County while everyone who paid attention knew Al and Mike were the true shot callers.

MS ANTLE, the present CEO, is a consensus Nice Person. She was installed by Mommy Dee based on whatever subterranean motives Mom had as she departed — personal friendship, it seems. But if the ship is sinking do you want Nice or do you want Ahab? The gratuitously cruel handling of the Creekside property never would have happened under Mike or Al, and we wouldn't have suffered any of the serial disasters we've suffered under Mommy D and the Nice Lady who has succeeded her with either Al or Mike. The County ship of state is headed for the rocks with nobody at the wheel. 

GIVEN THE ARMIES of estranged citizens in this country, and given the easy access they have to guns, it's surprising there aren't more mass shootings than there are. My mother always talked about a man in her little hometown of Hillsboro, Illinois, circa 1915. For months this guy had grumbled to acquaintances that “one of these days I'm going to blow up this goddam town.” And darned if one morning he didn't dynamite about a third of the main street. Miraculously, the perp was the only person killed. Most of us know highly aggrieved people who probably dream of mass revenge, and when they go off we shrug and say, “Well, it was only a matter of time.” I knew a cop the other cops called “Tok,” as in Tick Tok, as in time bomb. He's still out there somewhere, permanently aggrieved, and heavily armed.

THE FORT BRAGG FOOD BANK has announced that “due to the egg shortage we are distributing half dozen eggs to clients. Thank you for your patience as we navigate rising costs and rationing from vendors.”


All suggested options have been explored. It's a sad situation, but a detailed analysis highlighted the scope of realistic options for county government involvement. The county was able to place a temporary bridge for evacuation purposes, but due to ground conditions at the site, this bridge extended to impede the state highway, necessitating costly traffic control. It was an elective action by the County to facilitate evacuation, but not a solution CalTrans would allow long term. The bridge was safe but not a permanent solution to withstand ongoing, unattended, regular use. Salmon spawning starts next week, limiting the ability to construct a permanent solution (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) or even maintain the temporary bridge for a longer period. The county's focus has been on enabling evacuation and Social Services support for relocation and related services to those who qualify. The dispute over road access and infrastructure responsibility is between the private property owner and CalTrans; the County is not a party. The facility is regulated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The county has not ordered evictions, but has provided the same evacuation support we'd expect to see flow from fires, floods and other disasters. The County cannot compel the private, for-profit, land owner and park operator to continue operations. I don't see the County placing roadblocks. 

IT WILL BE NEWS and impossible for Williams and his oblivious supporters to agree with my opinion that all the cruelty in the world happens because of people who can justify Creekside-like persecutions, and the much larger atrocities routine in today’s world. The Williams mentality makes the universal Bad possible. 

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), and then maybe expand that into a regional hospital to compete with other larger regional hospitals. If the Adventists dedicate that kind of financing to construction of a new Ukiah facility, the chances of a new or major remodel of the old Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg will decline and Fort Bragg would be reduced to a stripped down feeder facility that the Adventists probably wanted when they first offered to operate the Coast Hospital. If history is any guide, we won’t know much more about this new development in Ukiah until the Adventists are ready to tell us. Remember: the Adventists are a religious institution and pay no taxes on their facilities or revenues, making their financing options more attractive than those a conventional medical project. (Mark Scaramella)

DR. MICHAEL TURNER: 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.

Michael Turner MD

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.

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.

MIKE GENIELLA: “MOM, MOM”: In my mind, it doesn't matter whether police officers are white, black, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, or whatever. The level of police brutality shown in these videos is unacceptable and seemingly criminal. I know a lot of people in law enforcement. Few would do this. They are our friends and neighbors. No doubt the cops on the streets are facing increasing demands dealing with too many armed, dangerous, and mentally unstable people. 

Still, what happened here is wrong. The sheer number of officers responding to this call, and the 22-minute wait before medical help arrives are mind-numbing. Personally, the shocking series of videos reminds me of the group of Ukiah police officers standing around after knocking a naked mentally ill man to the ground on South State Street in April 2021 and beating him. Some of them were shown on police video proudly displaying abrasions on their fists. In the Ukiah case, the victim at least escaped the fate of this poor man crying out for his mother in the final minutes of his life.

AS ANY COP scholar will tell you, the chief sets the tone. If there's a wink and a nod guy at the top, as there obviously has been at the Ukiah Police Department in recent times, the badged bad guys on the force will go rogue with impunity while the honest cops continue to do their job in a professional manner. If the top guy runs an honest shop, the worst cops on the force won't dare go rogue. The Memphis Police Department was weak at the top, and a presumably small segment of the force beat a kid to death, not because they were trying to kill him, but just for the savage joy of beating the crap out of someone, anyone, plus because they knew, or thought they knew, they could get away with it.

HERE A SCHIFF, there a Schiff, everywhere a Schiff, Schiff, Schiff! As the DNC's primary Trump slayer, Schiff was unable to link Trump to Russia as a Russian tool; Schiff's impeachment of Trump went nowhere; and the Jan. 6 show trial aimed at Trump nailed a lotta little fascists but not the big red one, who obviously incited the attack on Congress. Anybody but Schiff in the Senate race for Feinstein's seat, assuming the old girl doesn't drag herself out for another term.

KYM KEMP: I'm not sure whether or not to celebrate or cry. In the fall of 2015, our family began the process of getting our cannabis license. 

Today, my son and I received word we were awarded our annual state license—the full ticket we had imagined taking one year to get.

We have barely over 4,000 square feet. The plot, the size of a family vegetable garden, is entirely organic and watered with a 40-year-old rainwater pond and managed entirely by our family. In the process, we had to change from our original beautiful garden on a flat to one on a hillside that is windblown and tougher to manage. And, in my opinion, not as environmentally sound though still with minimal impacts on the surroundings.

Over 7 years of frustration and worry…

Admittedly, some of that was weird problems with the land's title, some of it was our ignorance of the process, and some that I already have a busy life that made this not my highest priority. But a lot was just the brutal process that ground up small farmers. 

So, congratulations to my son, Quinn, we made it. Love you and am proud of you and your wife, Kirsten.

BETSY CAWN: 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 emergency 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.


[1] Some people say that we Americans still have too much to lose and will not react in a revolutionary manner. I agree. As long as Americans can still watch “The Voice” or their favorite celebrity game show, or download free porn, or watch the NFL or go eat disgusting hamburgers at McDonald’s, they won’t revolt. Things must get much worse before people awaken from their entertainment induced stupor. Unfortunately, we will need to lose everything before people have a reason to fight. I believe, anyway. Last week a man drove his minivan through the front of an engineering business in my town. Plowed over a receptionist and killed her and then slammed into a man working at his desk on the other side of the wall. He didn’t die but got pretty banged up. The cause? A stroke. He drove across two lanes of traffic, through a parking lot, over a retaining wall and into the building. These things didn’t happen this regularly before.

[2] My beef with life in prison is it takes these filthy individuals and then makes them a ward of the state meaning you, I and all the rest of us are now responsible for their food, their health care, their education, their creature comforts, etc. I, for one, do not deserve to be punished for their sins in the form of increased taxation to cover their incarceration. America already imprisons more people than just about any other nation on this planet. 

I’m in favor of swift capital punishment. A box of 30.06 shells costs $49.00 right now. I even have a nice 30.06 rifle that can be used for free. A quick shot and an ignominious burial under some Nevada sage brush won’t cost you, our neighbors or I much more than the cost of transporting the corpse to its final resting spot. In a sane world, that is…..

[3] I worked briefly at a rehab hospital 40+ years ago.

Most of the paraplegics had crashed their cars and permanently damaged their spinal cords.

Here’s the thing. They spent all of the their time in the common room talking about new medical breakthroughs that were totally going to heal their spinal cords and allow them to walk again.

40+ years ago. Any day now.

What did I learn from that? That the human body is both a tough and a fragile organism. That you can crash your car and smash your body and still live, but if you crush your spinal cord you will not walk again.

AND I learned that some actions are irreversible. There is no magic cure for some things. AND that medical science is not all-knowing and all-curing. And that wishing that something were true does not make it true.

I watched the documentary “Anecdotals” which was very good, but the people damaged by the GMO injectable were pathetically hopeful that the same doctors who jabbed them could diagnosis and cure their disabilities.

They kept going to the doctors for tests and expecting that the doctors could fix them.

Not going to happen. Some people’s bodies may heal some damage and some people’s bodies may develop workarounds, but relying on the same people who injured you to fix you is not a sound decision.

[4] I think we can credit the Reagan Revolution, America's odd politics, and the media for creating greater wealth inequality now than during the Great Depression. Four families have more wealth than the bottom 50% of all Americans, yet the 99.99% are regularly convinced that such things as wealth taxes and inheritance taxes would be bad for them.

If we taxed the wealthy on their wealth, it would enable our country to return to the "first world" set. If we were able to do that, perhaps it would be more understandable, even to Republicans, that people beyond our borders are included in the Declaration of Independence's statement that all people (well, men) are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And if we ensured there was no hunger beyond our borders, that would go a long way to eliminating our immigration problem. If we cared less about the opinions of our very wealthiest, perhaps we could also stop trying to install right-wing dictators in other countries; every time we do that, we add to our immigration problem. And, if we cared less about the opinions of our very wealthiest, perhaps we could jail those executives who hire people here who lack papers, simply because they are more vulnerable and easily manipulated than those of us lucky to have papers.

[5] What is so disheartening about the last decade is that we the people have the power to stop all of this nonsense immediately but we do nothing but obey and comply. If everyone would stop paying taxes we would starve the beast. If everyone would stop paying property taxes we would starve the beast. If everyone said “no” to the vaccine we would starve the beast. It really is that simple. They can’t jail hundreds of millions of delinquent tax payers. 

Unfortunately, too many people bow the head and bend the knee before their Government Gods and have lost the ability to think for themselves and do not understand freedom as it truly should be. 

I hope I am around when the time comes that good and faithful Americans do decide “enough is enough” to rise up to finally starve the beast and bring justice upon the heads of the wrongdoers. Won’t happen in my lifetime. Maybe.

[6] LEGALIZATION. 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.

[7] 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.

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