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Off the Record (February 22, 2023)

TUESDAY, the morning of the three-minute snow in Boonville, I drove over the hill to Ukiah half-expecting a regular blizzard up top, but the road was clear, the sun in and out, and the Boonville Caltrans guys were posted here and there in anticipation of a big snow that never came.

ON SOUTH STATE, headed towards Talmage, traffic was stopped while a deranged woman on a drug-fueled fast-walk veered across all four lanes of the busy roadway without so much as a glance in either direction. Fortunately for her, drivers in both directions were alert to the contemporary Ukiah civic fact that the county seat has become a combined open-air drug market and outdoor mental health clinic. A lot of the town's street people obviously have easy access to methamphetamine, although you'll see here and there a lost person immobilized in mid-air by, I guess, fentanyl, or versions thereof.

IN UKIAH, aberrant public behavior is restricted to State Street and points east. The cops keep it out of the Westside where the main stream doers-of-good make their untroubled homes — the non-profit czars and czarinas, the enthusiastic Democrats, the lawyers and judges, the thinkers of appropriate thoughts, the people who put the lib in Mendolib.

TURNING EAST on Talmage, Remo McCosker, also apparently on a speed run, veers across the pot-holed street, his jaws churning, insane determination tight across his cadaverous features. That made for two careening mental cases in as many blocks. 

Remo 2022-2023

I HAVEN'T made a trip to Ukiah in years where I didn't see at least one person on an accelerated journey to early death, and I'll bet every one of them represents a funding unit for a bunch of well-paid people allegedly helping them back to normal functioning. We're now as used to free range crazy people as we are to mass shootings, inured to public suffering and sudden mass public death.

Remo 2018-2021

I DON'T KNOW how many years I've seen Remo in the Sheriff's log. Like a lot of disturbed persons in Ukiah's unattended community, he obviously has no prob getting street drugs which, of course, exacerbate his mental deficits. I've heard from a person who knows him that Remo, lately, has been breaking windows and committing other acts of vandalism, a regular feature of Ukiah retail. Maybe his property violence will escalate, maybe it won't. Who knows? The street drugs are clearly making him more of a roaming menace, if not physically, certainly this one guy chips away at our sense of civic peace.

Remo 2014-2017

THE SUPERIOR COURT judges must be on a first-name basis with Remo. Versions of Remo fund them, too. He's in and out of the system regularly, so isn't it past time he at least got on the waiting list for a state hospital commitment? Or first up for a few months getting the drugs out of his system in the County Jail?

JAMES MARMON NOTES: “Things started going downhill fast for Remo after his mother died. She took care of him and kept him out of trouble for the most part. Gloria was a good woman who left us all too soon. I have nothing good to say about the local helping professionals who are getting fat off the lives of those who are suffering and/or killing themselves.”

Roland Eskind

A TRANSIENT, identified as 53-year-old Roland Joseph Eskind Jr., 53, is assumed to have destroyed, via an arson fire, the Gualala Community Center last week.

ED NOTE: Internet records show that Roland Eskind Jr., was booked into the Alameda County jail on January 23rd for theft and battery on a peace officer. So we assume he was just released from jail on that case before burning down the Gualala Community Center. Internet reports also indicate that a Roland Eskind Sr. 73, lives in Louisiana and that Roland Eskind Jr. had been arrested in Louisiana for trespassing.

GUALALA COMMUNITY CENTER Board President Kevin Evans told the Mendocino Voice that they plan to rebuild the two Community Center buildings, originally built in 1954. 

SARAH KENNEDY OWEN: Tommy Wayne Kramer’s article was unusually perceptive! As for landmarks around this town [Ukiah], I agree there are some desolate spots, but the “downtown” area is pretty cute. This, despite the cube-like courthouse which, without its modern encrustation, could have been part of the attraction, had not someone decided it should look like a cardboard box, thus covering up the original columns and cupola that Kramer writes about nostalgically as desirable options for the proposed new courthouse. 

Unfortunately, the new courthouse will cause the abandonment one of the best assets of Ukiah, the downtown area!

We should preserve the murals in the courthouse, which show that, despite some bad decisions regarding the exterior of the building, at least someone had the good sense to hire a muralist to adorn the interior. I suppose that will also go into the shredder with the building when it is torn down to make way for (another) “town square” comparable to the park and town square in Healdsburg, an idealistic notion, at best, and ruinously expensive, at the least. I mean, who are we fooling, here? Healdsburg? We are far from being the next Healdsburg, but could at least capitalize on the good things we have left, thanks to a fairly healthy and well preserved downtown (School St. and proximity). Preserving that includes preserving its proximity to the courthouse.

BTW Tommy, you left out 2 LA attractions: the Bradley building with its ornate, wrought iron elevators, and the “modern” installation at the LA County Museum by Chris Burden, lining up ornate old streetlights en masse, which is one of the most photographed landmarks in California, if not the country. It’s a master work by a master pack rat, who saved those street lights out of, I would guess, pure nostalgia, as well as a sense of place.

THE CENSUS BUREAU via Jacob Sherkov, says that as of 2021, roughly 2.7 percent of all housing units in the United States — 3.8 million dwellings — were likely permanently vacant. There are approximately 580,000 involuntarily homeless people in the U.S. Even if each of them were to be placed in one of these houses, we'd still have more than three million empty homes. That number far exceeds any conceivable amount of new development, 3-D printed or otherwise.

ARE THERE empty homes in Anderson Valley? Yes, lots of them. Are there families in the Anderson Valley who need affordable shelter? Yes, lots of them.

ONE MORE REASON why your PG&E bill is way, way up. CEO Patricia Poppe received $51.2 millionin total compensation in 2021, a lot of it in non-liquid stock options, but still.

EVERY DAY, I get GoFundMe appeals from people who genuinely need help, which ought to beg the question, “Where's government?" The magas always say that "government is the problem,” ignoring the fact, to take one fact that contradicts their bogus claim, of Social Security, a model national program instituted by the Roosevelt Administration almost a hundred years ago. SS is a model of efficiency without which older Americans especially would be destitute. But what about ruinous health care bills and the many other random disasters everyday Americans suffer? Involuntary homelessness? Nope. Voluntary homelessness? Nope. 

BILL KIMBERLIN: While going to Film School at San Francisco State University I lived in a Hotel. It wasn't really a hotel anymore, but it had been in an earlier time. It had a front desk where you picked up the key to your room and your mail. Rooms came with two meals, breakfast and dinner and you could rent by the week or the month. It was called, "The Monroe Residence Club" and was on Sacramento Street near Van Ness. It is still there but it is difficult for men to be accepted because a lot of them just stayed there to pick-up girls and there were tons of them having just moved to San Francisco. That rule didn't exist when I was there, so as yet no charges have been filed.

Because it was a public lodging house they received FBI wanted posters. Since I like saving things of historical interest, I pulled this Eldridge Cleaver wanted poster off the wall. He was married to Kathleen Cleaver at one time and later became a conservative Republican, but he wrote at least one noteworthy book, “Soul On Ice.” 

Angela Davis another political activist of the era lives down the Valley from me and I met her once on the Holmes Ranch road offering her a ride up a steep hill. She just wanted the exercise so I drove on, but we did have an interesting talk for a few minutes.

WE WERE SORRY TO HEAR of the death of David Harris whose obit appears separately under Jonah Raskin’s byline. The local connection: Harris wrote the definitive story of Charles Hurwitz’s takeover and clearcutting of Humboldt County-based Pacific Lumber in his excellent book entitled, “The Last Stand: The War Between Wall Street and Main Street Over California's Ancient Redwoods.” When Harris was on his book tour in 1998 he was interviewed on KZYX. Toward the end of the interview Earth First!’s Naomi Wagner called in to complain that Harris hadn’t included much about Judi Bari and Ms. Wagner and their activities in Mendocino County. Harris tried in vain to explain to Wagner that the Mendo activities were not a significant part of the Pacific Lumber/Hurwitz storyline and that they should write their own book if they wanted to. Wagner replied that Judi Bari, who had died the previous year, had already written such a book (Timber Wars), so Harris simply said, “Good,” and went on to the next caller. (Mark Scaramella)

RUMOR OF THE WEEK: Have you heard any stories about people's payments to Adventist Hospital(s) being lost because Adventist changed their card merchant processor and seems to have lost track of payments on the former platform? At some point Adventist changed their payment portal, but left the old portal up, and anyone who made payments on the old portal is out of luck because Adventist can't "find" a record of the money. It seems to mainly be affecting people with payment plans.

SUPERVISOR MULHEREN is all the way on board for the Great Redwood Trail scam: "Phase 4 of the GRT coming soon. My goal is to get the trail from Hopland to Redwood Valley within 10 years. Ukiah to Hopland tourism and recreation, Ukiah to Redwood Valley for recreation for sure but also as an active transportation coordinator for people going to the College and those that live off of Lake Mendocino Drive and in Redwood Valley. Support from the City of Ukiah is moving this project along in the Ukiah Valley and I’m grateful that they recognize McGuire’s vision. I had a meeting with someone yesterday that hadn’t heard my outdoor recreation trifecta speech.

So I’ll share it again. The Great Redwood Trail, a thriving Lake Mendocino, and recreational uses on the Russian River could be an economic driver for Inland Mendocino County tourism within the next five-ten years. I also talked with someone that hadn’t heard me say that the GRT is/should be looked at as an economic driver for the properties on the Eel River Canyon that are struggling in the cannabis industry. We need to think big picture for the future and this is just an incremental step in the larger vision."

MARTHA GELLHORN'S ‘Travels With Myself and Another’: “It is all mad and a joke. We are fools; we believe in words, not reality which the words are supposed to describe. Politics -- the bungling management of the affairs of men -- is a game played among themselves by a breed of professionals. What has politics to do with real daily life, as real people live it?” 

AN ON-LINE REALITY CHECK: “It's too bad the BOS don’t get out and about and talk to local businesses to actually get a feel for the economic impacts currently happening because they are paralyzed to make a decision.

Lumber yards are down 50% and cutting people’s hours, seeing the writing on the wall a legacy AG supply store sold out, and a major chain grocery store is voluntarily asking people close to retiring to leave early to help cut costs.

Stop playing the blame game and be a leader. Remember, they signed up for this position.”

SALMAN RUSHDIE has led an angry backlash aimed at publishers for making woke changes to the classic children's books by Roald Dahl. Rushdie was recently stabbed, losing the sight in one eye, for protecting free speech. He said the changes to Dahl's books were “absolute censorship.” Hundreds of changes have been made to the beloved children's books, including no longer referring to Augustus Gloop as “fat.” Other characters have had their genders changed and words like “mad” and “crazy” have been removed by “sensitivity readers.” 

SO FAR as I'm aware, “woke” has only raised its green-haired head a couple of times in Mendo, both occasions being confined to the Mendocino Coast where, in the first instance, an obviously unhinged young black woman tried to rustle up a few bucks for herself during the Black Lives Matter festivities, the other when a small group of ahistorical prigs mounted an unenergetic campaign to change the name of Fort Bragg. The town, you see, was named after Braxton Bragg, a slaveholder who became a Confederate general. Bragg, before he turned traitor, was posted as a U.S. Army officer to Fort Bragg to protect Indians from white settlers, a righteous assignment that Bragg carried out with all due diligence, escorting Coast Indians to Covelo where a reservation had been established. Not to repeat myself too many times, but we should celebrate our history, murders and all, because we've survived it and, grudgingly in too many cases, tried to make amends for the worst of it. Vote NO on a name change for Fort Bragg.

DICK WHETSTONE CLARIFIES THE HISTORY: Braxton Bragg was never in California. It was named by Lt. Gibson for his former Captain in the Mexican War. From Wikipedia: “In the summer of 1857, 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson, then serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, established a military post on the reservation, approximately one and a half miles (2.4 km) north of the Noyo River, and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.” I agree about not changing the name. It is not right to lose the history for political correctness.

I GOT A LETTER from one of the County's innumerable non-profits signed by a woman who appended “she-her” to her name. I asked her if she was a Siamese twin but didn't hear back.

ANOTHER BIG MEDIA WEEK for Mendocino County in the great outside world where Mendo seems perpetually in the news for one bizarre reason or another. Last week it was a drunk driver who got off because he was fleeing two irate women, one his girlfriend, the other his wife who'd caught him with his Jezebel. His defense was perfectly reasonable with the jury that acquitted him. “Yeah, I was drunk, but I had to get outta there for two obvious reasons.”

THIS WEEK, the Great Outside got a few yucks out of a Chronicle story about Mendo's failed pot licensing program, the basic stat being 832 applicants forever in process, only 12 licenses approved. We're talking about a total of, max, a couple of hundred acres in pot because each applicant is limited to ten thousand square feet. And pot prices have collapsed, with these saps still trying to play by Mendo's insane rules. 

SO HERE WE ARE, the entire fiasco beginning with “legalization,” soon exacerbated by the Mendo Supervisors who refused to simply adopt HumCo's workable strategy — Mendo is home to more experts per capita than any county in America — as Mendo piled on all manner of unreasonable stipulations. Then appointed a dozen stoners to drift in and out of an office recently moved to the decrepit Willits courthouse to steer legalization and, and, and…

THERE WAS A TELLING EXCHANGE between supervisors Williams and McGourty when Williams asked wine guy McGourty if the pot rules were applied to grape permits what would happen? McGourty's candid reply: The grape industry would be a lot smaller.

ATTORNEY HANNAH NELSON has tried, and tried mightily to bring some clarity to the licensing mess. “Historically, and even recent history, demonstrates that the local cannabis department is not equipped to process the number of applications that would need to be processed,” Nelson said. “I have clients who have submitted three, four and even five times and the county keeps losing things, changing what was required, and failing to track its own steps along the way.”

FORMER 3RD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR, John Pinches, has always said he could write a workable pot licensing program on a cocktail napkin. I think he had in mind, basically, an annual flat fee, which would keep off the local cops but leave growers to fend off other authorities on their own. It's all moot now with the collapse of prices and lots of people permanently retired from the game. Legalization killed the golden goose, one lamentable result being a big hit for Mendocino County's economy. Gone are the days a small army of long-haired grunges would come down out of the hills to pay for new trucks with wads of cash, the days when cops would take off a crop here and there, just enough to keep prices up. Illegal worked just fine.

ANOTHER long pot discussion at the Supervisors the week before last. How many public hours over the years do you estimate have been devoted to this one subject? Thousands, more than any other by far.

MIKE GENIELLA: There are people and events that help define the character of every community, and we had the pleasure Saturday night to engage again in a great tradition in the town of Ukiah, Mendocino County's economic, political and government center. Mardi Gras, an annual event benefiting St. Mary's School, raises an incredible $80,000 in one night to help keep tuition affordable for local families. One of the stars is fifth-generation baker Zack Schat. He and his crew cooked and served a flawless dinner for 450. A tip of the hat to you, Zack.

Zack Schat


[1] Every time I see an ad on television (when I actually watch television) I laugh out loud. These automakers are committing future suicide. The dollar is collapsing. People are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet much less save a buck or two and these woke auto corporations are shifting operations over to electric vehicles that the majority of people worldwide will never be able to afford. It is absolutely astonishing to me how out of touch with reality nearly EVERYONE, other than the consumer actually are. 

The cost of the EV doesn’t include the upgrades one will need to make on the home electrical system needed to adequately and safely charge the damned thing either. 

Nor does the cost of the EV include the increased cost of the electricity for either the business or the home owner. Think the power bill is high now? Wait till you are charging one or two Tesla’s (if you are lucky enough to afford them).

The EV push will fail because nobody other than the uber rich will be able to afford to drive and charge them and there won’t be enough uber rich to buy enough of them to keep the stock holders happy.

These people are insane.

[2] As you may know, I have a periodic hobby/fascination with looking at online prison women personals and then looking up their crimes and mugshots and whatnot.

Many of them have a fair amount of tattoos, piercings and are often plastered with makeup and/or have foggy/soft-focus images.

When I manage to find a mugshot (not always easy or possible), they look almost completely different– kind of like young men or very clean-shaven gay men.

Typical crimes:

– Drugs (dealing, taking and/or manufacturing and/or conspiracies thereof)

– Public intoxication (a couple of them in their mugshots still appear drunk lol)

– Drunk driving

– Manslaughter from drunk driving

– Hit and Run

– Thefts of different sorts

– Frauds of different sorts

– Prostitution (even a prostitution ring or two)

– Accessories (sometimes apparently inadvertent) to murder/manslaughter (getaway car, etc.)

– Assaults of different sorts (guns, knives)

– Child abuse/neglect

– Sex with minor

– Murder (often in for life but not always)

There are many others of course all rich in variety. 

A little belated for Valentine’s Day but pick the kind of bad girl you want and go get her. 

(Personally, I’m partial to the financial fraud, resisting arrest, rejecting police authority and the general stick-it-to-the-system-somehow-without-really-hurting-anyone girls, but might be willing to consider the stab/shoot the abusive boyfriend in the thigh/ass kind too.).

[3] When I first heard that there was a separate black national anthem played at the superbowel, I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t.

Apparently, Kari Lake refused to stand up for it. Good on her. 

How many national anthems are we going to have in burgeoning Clown World? One for the TRAs is next, I am thinking. Then sports contests will spend half their time doing satanic half-times, and the first part singing or playing umpteen different ‘anthems’. 

Getting more idiotic every day.

[4] The people became wealthy and as a wealthy people they were no longer required to sacrifice anything for their sustenance. No longer being required to sacrifice anything for their sustenance, they needed a purpose to justify their empty existence. So they found causes to create, causes like PETA, women’s lib, the Sierra Club, Feminism, the NAACP or Greenpeace among countless others. If they didn’t create these causes they joined them. Suddenly tribalism is alive in America. Tribe comes first don’t you know? With all this wealth, time and lack of sacrifice, Americans now have plenty of time to obsess about their sexuality and gender, where their next orgasm will come from and how many partners they need when they want it. Now they have plenty of time to obsess over tattoos, piercings, unnatural hair colors and wardrobe. Now they have plenty of time to buy a little weed, heroin or booze and become brain dead addicts unable to think for themselves or control their actions. Now they have plenty of time to sit on their obese asses and meld themselves into the couch while they watch the Bachelor or Tom Brady or Steph Curry as they shove saturated fat laden foods into their crumb crusted pieholes. If they aren’t watching television their eyes are glazed over as their stare endlessly at their phones scrolling through countless postings on Instagram about dogs dancing or making rockets out of soda bottles or other stupid and useless activities. In short, I believe we became this way because we have been blessed far too long and nobody living today knows what it is like to truly sacrifice for our next meal, or live without something or to even communicate with our neighbor. We’ve lost our purpose for existence. We’ve lost our reasons for loving one another. Our hearts have failed us. Seems I’ve read about this happening in the last days somewhere….the Bible maybe? Godspeed to all of us. I wish the end would be quickened. I’m sick of waiting.

[5 I have lost chickens to my dogs, bobcats, hawks and a great horned owl that was the bane of my existence for a while. Never a coyote though. But I have dogs. Once they learn not to kill chickens they are good at keeping coyotes away. My dogs won’t mess with bobcats though. Too scary.

[6] THE SUPER BOWL, an on-line comment: I had the Super Bowl on but it lost my attention when the damned coin toss took 20 minutes. They had to walk out this black guy or that black girl and point out this or that accomplishment. The all-girl fly over was especially heartwarming, glad to see that girls can fly planes too. They have an honorary coin, an honorary team captain and captains who stand 15 feet away from the actual coin toss and an honorary coin flipper in addition to the actual team captains (why teams need 4 players to toss a coin will never make sense to me). They had an aged Doug Williams mosey out and hoist the Lombardi trophy pointing out that the man was black and then pointing out that Hurts and Mahomes are both “African American” even though Mahomes has lighter toned skin than that of my own. Hey, did you know that this was the first SuperBowl where a white guy wasn’t the QB for either team? For a sports league that wants to end racism the NFL can’t do nothing but emphasize race, race and more race.

By the time the coin toss was over I couldn’t take it anymore and wandered off to do more effective things. 

I caught the end of the game and watched the refs cement Kansas City’s win with what should have been a no-call holding penalty. 

The NFL has become such an utter woke joke. I just couldn’t sit and watch it anymore.

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