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Off The Record

WITHIN AN HOUR of the Boston bombs, the conspiracy creeps were on the internet where one of the creepiest of all, Alex Jones, predictably claimed that our government had done it. Jones called the bombings a "false flag op." Also on Monday, at the Willits Post Office, a pair of Larouchies showed up with their trademark placard depicting Obama with a Hitler moustache, and describing Obama as a Nazi. This stuff can make a guy nostalgic for the sedition laws. Our government does bad things but, and bear with me here Building 7 nuts,  it hasn't descended to blowing up random groups of Americans. (Random groups of Mohammedans is another discussion. ) Most AVA readers will know that Larouche is a fascist and all-round cult nutball. He comes on with a pseudo-populist message — re-enact Glass-Steagall, for instance — but he's a low down evil bastard who, we hope, didn't have much success signing up saps in Willits. Obama is not a Nazi, or even a fascist although his policies, across the board, are more destructive than even Bush managed. Democrats are not the friends of Americans who make less than a hundred grand a year, which is most Americans.  Republicans are even less representative of most Americans. Obama and the Democrats, like the Republicans, represent only the owners of this country, not you. Rich people own the political system and they own all the people who get elected in the system. They also own you, from the food you eat to the movies you watch to the shelter you pay a third to half of your income for. I'm sorry to break this sad news to you on such a beautiful spring day, but there it is.

LAROUCHIES in Willits, a reader writes: Two members of the LaRouche PAC stopped in Willits on Tax Day, April 15, on their “Obama as Hitler” tour, petitioning on the public sidewalk outside the Willits Post Office.

FOOT and vehicle traffic was already a mess due to those mailing in their taxes on deadline. The petitioners blocking the sidewalk, at least at points during the day, didn’t make things any easier.

UGLY, aggressive comments – personal insults, “go to hells” and worse – were the replies to those who challenged them.  One of the petitioners filed a false report of an assault by “a man, a person” Monday afternoon, after a woman took pictures of the petitioners blocking foot traffic, and tried to take pictures of the literature on their table, trying to grab one of the flyers as well to document who the petitioners were.

THE LAROUCHIES “Obama as Hitler” - showing Obama with a Hitler-like moustache - sandwich board was originally placed so as to block the public sidewalk even more than the two petitioners and their table did all day, but city staff came by in the morning to tell them they needed to move the sandwich board, and they complied, leaning it against the table instead.

CITY POLICE checked out the scene more than once, but said they didn’t observe what they considered “blocking the sidewalk” during their observations. Does “block the sidewalk” mean ignoring passersby, making it difficult for them to walk by (as the photo of the two petitioners blocking the sidewalk to the extent that a passerby had to walk on the red edge of the curb to get by clearly shows? Or does it mean “refuse to move” when a passerby actually asks?

CITY OF WILLITS has two ordinances under Chapter 12.08 - Street Obstructions of the City code: one prohibits “dangerous obstructions,” but the other more broadly reads: “No person shall place or cause to be placed upon any street, alley or sidewalk within the corporate limits of the city, anything that will obstruct the free passage or use of said street, alley or sidewalk” exempting delivery of goods.

NEWS REPORTS from small towns across America show that the Obama as Hitler tour has been regularly blocking sidewalks: in Manchester, CT, in mid-February, police did order LaRouchies to move their display from a public sidewalk. A report in the Hartford Courant says a police officer told them “they could continue their protest as long as they did not block the public way.” After some argument, the petitioners left, threatening to contact a lawyer.

IN HASTINGS, MICHIGAN last October, after police received complaints of harassment from “Obama as Hitler” LaRouchies, the petitioners were told by officers they’d have to remove their table and large standing sign from the sidewalk. The petitioners reportedly left without incident. The story in The Hastings Banner includes this paragraph: “Hastings Police Department reminds the public that they do have the right to a peaceful demonstration, however, city ordinance prohibits obstruction of any part of sidewalks.

LYNDON LAROUCHE'S cultlike (and mostly ineffectual) political movement started out when LaRouche was a Marxist in 1960s – LaRouche had joined the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party in the 1940s – but soon broke with the left, and is now considered an extremist right-wing group with some trappings of populism. LaRouchies have a long history of violence against left opponents and labor unions, and intimidation, harassment and threats against reporters and news organizations.

DEFECTORS describe bizarre paranoid behavior and psychological abuse of members. LaRouche served five years in prison after being sentenced to 15 years for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax code violations. He was paroled in 1994. LaRouche has run for President many times, mostly as a Democrat, but in 1992, from prison, LaRouche ran as the representative for the “Economic Recovery” party. LaRouche also ran for president in 1976 as the leader of his own U.S. Labor Party.

ASSISTANT DA PAUL SEQUIERA issued this terse statement Thursday on the unprosecuted murder of Susan Keegan. “It's still under investigation.”

REALLY? We're not talking about the Kennedy Assassination here. How complicated an investigation is this? We're talking about the murder of a woman bludgeoned to death in her South Ukiah home by her doctor-husband of 30 years. What's the hold-up? The case isn't the usual slam-dunk? I hope win-loss stats aren't the issue here. We're talking about an unprosecuted crime. It's way past time to arrest Doctor Keegan and prosecute him. Maybe he's innocent. We won't know until it's sorted out in a public way, but this “it's still under investigation” baloney has become insulting. If Joe The Tweeker's wife had been found dead in the marital bower under similar circumstances, you can be sure that Joe would already be in his third year at the state pen.

IS THE KEEGAN case as simple as that? Maybe the DA can tell us. The doctor said he found his wife dead in her bathroom of the home they shared. He said she'd fallen and hit her head. But the wounds to Susan Keegan's head were not consistent with a bathroom fall, hence the upgrade of the death certificate to homicide.

THE DOCTOR said his wife was a drunk and a pill-popper, an assessment that does not square with Mrs. Keegan's busy daily schedule. She was a woman who got up every morning and did things, as her many Ukiah friends are prepared to testify. Pill-popping drunks don't do much besides indulge themselves. If Mrs. Keegan was a drug-addled drunk the people she saw every day would have noticed. They didn't. And she wasn't. And she's gone, and the one person who says she was a drug and drink person is not gone.

SUSAN KEEGAN'S death has been officially ruled a homicide. There was one other person in the house when she died. That person, Doctor Keegan, didn't offer any other explanation for his wife's death than that he'd found her dead in her own bathroom and had immediately slandered her to the police as likely having fallen under the influence. He didn't say he heard a possible intruder during the night or offer any other explanation for what might have happened to his wife. One death, one suspect, one death certificate that says homicide.

THE DA'S OFFICE under Eyster has yet to prosecute a single tough case. Sequiera was hired to prosecute tough cases. He did lots of high profile cases in the Bay Area. This one may get into the Bay Area's media, but we're unlikely to see TV trucks parked out in front of the County Courthouse.

THE ENDLESS DELAYS in this one are starting to smell. How is it possible to have a homicide, one suspect but no arrest, no prosecution? We hope we haven't reverted to the kind of class-based prosecution policy of yesteryear, most famously occurring in the 1987 Fort Bragg Fires. In that one, a handful of crooks got away with burning the heart right out of the town, and perhaps a murder. And we could list a dozen major crimes from 1970 to the present that either went unprosecuted or some kind of cozy deal was worked out with the well-placed, well-connected perp.

SUSAN KEEGAN was a good person. She was prepared to leave the marriage and move on. Doctor Keegan was very angry, murderously angry, that half their property would belong to Mrs. Keegan, and he did what he did, which was to commit murder, a murder under investigation since November of 2010.

OUR LATE DA Norm Vroman prosecuted egregious domestic violence cases knowing they were iffy because the female victims refused to testify against the “man” who had beat them. Vroman prosecuted these cases because they should have been prosecuted, win or lose.

EYSTER'S done some good things — his dope prosecution policy is a very good thing for the County — but letting woman killers slide because the cases aren't airtight is signing off on murder. It's past time to move on The Doctor.


• November 11, 2010 — Susan Keegan reported dead at her Ukiah home by her husband, Dr. Peter Keegan.

• November 11, 2010 — Family and friends call Sheriff’s office and explain why death should be treated as suspicious.

• November 13, 2010 (approx) — Body released to husband and cremated shortly afterward.

• Fall 2010, Winter/Spring 2011 — Family and friends begin calling the Sheriff’s office and the DA’s office urging a full investigation.

• June, 2011 — Search warrant executed at Keegan home.

• Summer/Fall 2011 to Winter/Spring 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”

• August, 2012 — The cause of Susan Keegan’s death is officially declared “Homicide.” Sheriff's office tells media “there is a person of interest.”

• Fall/Winter 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”

• January 2013 — Second search warrant executed at Keegan home. Family and friends continue to call DA's office inquiring about the status of the investigation.

• April 2013 — Assistant DA says case is “under investigation.”

COUNTY SETTLES DOPE CASE WITH FEDS — After a closed door session with the Board of Supervisors last week, the County Counsel’s office issued this statement: “The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the United States Attorney’s Office for the northern district of California have reached an agreement on the nature and scope of documents to be provided to the Federal Grand Jury, pursuant to the subpoenas of October 23, 2012. The information to be provided will not include personal identifying information involving individuals.  This consensus is reflective of the law enforcement needs of the United States Attorney’s Office, as well as reflecting the public policy goals of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.  The scheduled hearing on April 16, 2013, will not be held in light of this consensus.”

THE ORIGINAL SUBPOENA had demanded that Mendocino County turn over “any and all records,” including financial records, related to the county's medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. The desired records were from January 1, 2010, to the present and covered all types of communication regarding Mendocino County 9.31 ordinance that essentially sold licenses to grow dope.

THE SUPERVISORS wasted no time paying $12,000 to a San Francisco attorney named William Osterhaudt to quash the subpoena on grounds subsequently described by Mr. O as “burdensome and oppressive,” an “improper intrusion” on the County's and the state's ability to govern its citizens, as overbroad, and on the grounds that it would hinder the County's ability to comply with state law requiring medical marijuana programs. Osterhaudt also said the subpoena would violate patient confidentiality.

SO IT LOOKS LIKE all Mendo got for its $12k was a grudging concession from US Attorney Melinda Haag that while Mendo still has to fork over all the overbroad, burdensome, and oppressive materials in response to an improper intrusion into County business it’s ok if Mendo blacks out the names of the program participants. (Which can still be made visible, by the way, if you know how to do it and the feds, of all people, certainly know how to do it.)

SOME “SETTLEMENT.” On top of the $12,000 squandered on Osterhaudt to do what experienced dope lawyers volunteered to do for free, Mendo’s harried staffers will still have to waster their work hours making copies of reams of 9.31 material so Ms. Haag can continue her federally-financed fishing expedition.


Subject: FW: Caltrans: “Dan Hamburg says 'move forward' on Willits bypass”

From: “Dan Hamburg” <

Date: Wed, April 10, 2013 2:14 pm



“Anderson Valley Advertiser” <

“'K.C. Meadows'“ <

“Good afternoon Phil,

I am outraged by the way support for the Willits Bypass is portrayed on your PR website. As you know, the vote by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors was a narrow 3-2 to send a letter of support to Mr. Dougherty. Supervisor Gjerde, who has served on MCOG for nine years, voted “no.” I also voted “no.” Your PR site attempts to portray my signature as Board Chair as indicative of my personal support for the bypass project. I can't help but believe that this distortion is purposeful. I hope that this is not indicative of the way Caltrans routinely does its business." (Dan Hamburg)

HAMBURG was referring to the posting on Caltrans’ Bypass website which included the letter showing that the Board voted 3-2 in favor of moving forward with the work. It was titled

"Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg says 'move forward' on Willits Bypass." In fact, Hamburg and Gjerde voted not to move forward until pending objections were resolved.

CALTRANS SPOKESMAN PHIL FRISBIE answered Hamburg: "Hello Dan: I am sorry that your letter was misrepresented, and the post has already been corrected. It is my error; I did not note that the signature block used meant the letter was not from you personally, and that you were representing the board as a whole. I hope this error does not taint the times we have worked positively together in the past, and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. Sincerely, Phil Frisbie, Jr., Public Information Officer for Lake and Mendocino Counties.

FRISBIE’S/CALTRANS website still doesn’t mention that the vote was 3-2.

FRISBIE'S the guy that suddenly swooped down on the AVA to tell us we wouldn't be receiving Caltrans press releases because we'd made a joke about Big Orange a decade earlier! Not that we're mourning the loss. We can't remember when a Caltrans press release told us anything we didn't already know. But still, this weirdly petty retaliation for a joke?

GRIST CREEK Aggregates has withdrawn its application for a concrete batch plant in Longvale, adjacent to Outlet Creek, and plans to submit a new application later this year. An April 8 letter from Planning Director Steve Dunnicliff accepts the April 5 request from Rau and Associates, on behalf of its client Grist Creek Aggregates, for withdrawal “without prejudice” of the project application. The letter says Grist Creek Aggregates “will submit a new application later this year which includes a revised project description and project site map, and some additional environmental studies to evaluate issues which were raised during the public review process.” According to Friends of Outlet Creek, more than 70 public comments on the Grist Creek plan were submitted to the Planning Department The Grist Creek project was undergoing an administrative review process, different than the normal review process, which would go first to the county Planning Commission and then to the county Board of Supervisors. Director Dunnicliff said this “atypical” administrative review process was being used because, according to Planning, the applicants do not require a use permit for the project and no public hearings need to be held. Because the site is already zoned industrial, the proposed use is permitted “by right,” Dunnicliff said, even though the project is still required to undergo environmental review. In the administrative review process, it is the Planning Department's director who makes the decision to approve or reject the project, with the right of appeal to the board of supervisors. But, according to Dunnicliff, supervisors do not have the jurisdiction to overturn an administrative review decision, only to add further conditions. Development review approval for industrial zoned properties was adopted as part of Mendocino County's updated zoning code to expedite the county's review process. — Jennifer Poole (Courtesy, Willits Weekly)

RAUL ENRIQUE LULE, 43, the married father of two children, died Wednesday, April 3rd at the Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale. Reading between the lines of the scant press release announcing the accident, Lule seems to have died “pulling greenchain” — the conveyer belt on which lumber is sorted.

THE BELT can jam up with lumber, and is usually turned off while the jam is cleared. If a worker tries to unstop the jam while the belt is moving he can become part of the pile-up and be badly injured or killed in the crush. Trying to clear the moving belt seems to have been Mr. Lule's fatal error.

WE DON'T KNOW the exact circumstances of Lule's death, but in September of 2008 another mill worker at the same mill in Cloverdale was killed on the conveyer belt. And we recall a worker killed pulling greenchain at the now closed L-P mill in Ukiah. In that one, a foreman had ordered the guy to clear a jam while the belt was moving.

IT WILL TAKE months before the State Department of Occupational Safety issues a report on the precise causes of the Lule fatality.

REDWOOD EMPIRE also owns the mill in Philo, whose grounds it lately uses mostly as a log deck. The company is owned by Roger Burch and is based in San Jose under the name Pacific State Industries. Burch also owns a plant in Creswell, Oregon, and timberland in, I think, here in Mendocino County.

MEAN TIME, Obama is getting ready to freeze Social Security payments or, as they've come to be called, “entitlements,” although recipients have paid into them all their working lives. Obama's move on Social Security has even prompted our Congressman, Spike Huffman, to a rare show of passion. “Why are we even talking about trimming Social Security benefits?” Spike harrumphed to the Chron last week. “There's no way to sugarcoat this.”

SUGARCOATING being the preferred political strategy anymore, Spike is correct. Sort of. But Spike and his political party aren't talking about means testing Social Security, nor they do they dare mention that the Social Security fund is about as sound as the rest of the economy, its contents consisting entirely of government paper, paper whose value is inexorably being eroded by Bernanke and the Fed as they print more money every week to give to the banks. Nor do Spike and the Demos dare suggest the easy SS fix of removing the cap on earnings, which let’s the rich pay nothing into social security for earnings over about $114k.

THE DAYS THAT WERE: "We all lament the loss of a certain type of San Franciscan that maybe ain't ever coming back. It's the guy who, like my dad, took me to Candlestick to see Mays and McCovey. He worked a real blue-collar job, where he just did it. Didn't talk about it, or write about doing it. Just did it. A little like Steve McQueen's character in the movie Bullitt. These teamsters, mechanics and cops for the most part drank and smoked too much, and maybe they didn't wear their seat belts, but most certainly they wouldn't have texted while driving, or at all, and would never have thought of bringing a mitt to a ball game unless it was worn by their son, as mine was.” — Armando Lagunas

DAN GJERDE might want to re-think his blind support for the Mendocino County Transit Authority, an ongoing grant-subsidized boondoggle — about $12 for every paying customer — grandly mismanaged for years now. Yes, MTA has a brand new bus barn and offices for management. Yes, MTA has some brand new buses. But MTA also has a major fiscal hangover and an ongoing subsidy-abuse problem. It's locked in to an excessive rate of pay for its manager, a spot recently vacated for its one and only occupant, the ineffable Bruce Richard; it has a board of trustees stuffed with the usual array of inland career public agency people who could not survive a day in the free enterprise jungle; and it has a lingering debt incurred by the departed Richard when Richard shifted tons of polluted earth during bus barn construction down the street to the Ukiah Fairgrounds. This is an agency so encumbered that, in the terrible economic times to come, it will simply collapse from years of bad management.

SPEAKING OF TRANSPORTATION, how come little kids have to be wrapped in combat-quality car seats for automobile rides, but you see irresponsible parents (and grandparents) pedaling their unprotected kid all over the place on the backs of bicycles?

MOVIE REVIEW: Check that. “Warning! Toxic Film Ahead.” After all these years I should know better than to believe a Chronicle movie review. The paper hasn't had a reliable reviewer since Judy Stone and the late great John Wasserman, a high school classmate of mine, by the way. Stone and Wassy knew a bad movie when they saw one. So did Pauline Kael and Dwight Macdonald. But they've all been gone a long time now, and all we have left are shills like those academic twits on NPR trying to sound all Andrew Sarris about the dumbest thing going. Anyway, someone in the Chron's ad department had declared that “The Place Beyond the Pines” was “huge in its ambition and huge in its achievement.” Christ Jesus save us from the ambitious if this is what ambition has come to. Lasalle  (natch) gave the movie a big thumbs up. And Mr. Sap here figured, "Well, I'll take a chance despite the hype from the usual unreliable sources, and the Landmark theaters at least try to run good movies." And? What you have is story line with huge holes in it, a script full of people yelling “fuck you” at each other, and no-talent young actors playing repulsive young people when they could have just played themselves. The Mendocino County Courthouse offers much better entertainment than this and does it every day for no admission charge. My excuse for paying $8.50 for two hours of filmic cretinism? I don't have one. I believed Lasalle and I believed the ads, and how dumb is that? I sat there watching to see how stupid it could get and it was cold and windy outside. The pretentious title of the thing should have been another tip off that I was in for a couple of hours of idiocy. Yep. Improbably dumb front to back, one of those movies where you say to yourself, "Please kill each other early so we can all get away from you and go home." If any of my friends say they're going out to see “The Place Beyond the Pines,” I'll tackle them at their front doors. It should be called “The Place Beyond the Pale.” But nothing is anymore, and here we are.

A READER WRITES: “Not content with burying Democracy Now! in the mid-afternoon desert while dropping other shows like Counterspin that critique our rotten and corrupt Establishment, KZYX has just cut loose Alternative Radio, another syndicated program that presented speeches by telling-it-like-it-is radical thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Vandana Shiva, Michael Parenti, Michael Hudson, and so on. Not to fret, AR has been replaced by (drum roll… cymbal clash) the TED Talks! Yes, Arianna Huffington's favorite pseudo-liberal present paradigm enablers! The TED Talks (Technology — Entertainment — Design), a self-proclaimed global set of conferences owned by a private corporation that purports to be “a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers.” Recent TED Talk “inspired thinkers” include such establishment-challenging pit bulls as Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and Gordon Brown. TED Talk speakers might indeed elaborate on the myriad political, economic, social and ecological crises now confronting us, but one will never, ever, hear a TED Talker state the obvious: our present corrupt political, financial and militarist culture has spawned these crises and must be radically transformed if we are to go forward. (The TED Talks refused to distribute a speech in 2007 by a well known Indian economist who warned of an imminent global financial meltdown.) And the TED Talks are brought to us by (who else?) NPR. The downward spiral of KZYX to the seventh level of bland, centrist timidity and mediocrity continues apace…”

HUH? “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.” — TV listing for The Wizard of Oz from the ‘Marin Independent Journal.

MORE AND MORE debris from the Japan tsunami is washing up on Northcoast beaches. A 12-foot rowboat-looking craft beached at Crescent City last week. Its origins have since been traced back to a town called Rikuzentakata on Japan's northeastern coast where some 2,300 people of the town's 23,000 died when the tsunami, measured at 42 feet, swept over and through Rikuzentakata.

ADD LOOK-ALIKES: Ukiah business man Ross Liberty and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.

SOMEHOW WE FAILED to note that the manufactured demo signs opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline at the recent Obama snatch and grab appearance in SF's Pacific Heights — he's collecting campaign money for Hillary — were the work of Credo, formerly Working Assets, where the well-to-do pledge one percent of their monthly phone bills to prudently mainstream protests. Credo is, of course, solidly mainstream Democrat. A lot of Credo money goes to support More of the Same.

WES CHESBRO, the Northcoast's eternal officeholder or curse, depending on the degree of one's estrangement from the political process, will be termed out next year. I think Wes would be a perfect for the Mendocino Transit Authority, but given his years as corporate bagman at the state level the sly old featherbedder will undoubtedly be appointed to head up the Northcoast Railroad or some other  Demo sinecure. Efren Carrillo, a young Hispanic version of Chesbro, will probably run for Chesbro's Assembly seat, as will two other SoCo politicians, Jim Wood of Healdsburg where he's a city councilman, and John Lowry a former low income housing manager. Carrillo's only 32 and, like Chesbro, devoid of any discernible principle, would have to be considered the front-runner. And Carrillo does seem to have combativeness going for him. In a late night brawl outside a San Diego bar last year Carrillo knocked a guy out.

MEDIA NEWS GROUP owns the Ukiah Daily Journal, both the Mendocino Coast's Advocate and Beacon, the Willits News, and the Eureka-Times Standard. An insider tells us that the Times-Standard and the Willits News have outsourced their ad composition work to India. I wonder if anyone would notice the diff if all these chain publications, news and all, were outsourced to Mumbai?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: “Those whose politics begin and end with rolling off the couch every few years to vote could in theory be forgiven for perceiving a yawning chasm between the Republican and Democrat candidates. Marketing firms were paid a lot of money to create that illusion. And Mr. Obama almost certainly has the political calculus correct that the bourgeois commentariat, aka ‘the left,’ will whimper in protest for a few days, weeks at most, before falling in line for Hillary or whatever militaristic, corporatist abomination the Democrats put forward in the next Presidential election. Early reports even have liberal pundits sticking with the line Mr. Obama is only posturing with the proposals, despite his near decade prior explaining why he believes Social Security and Medicare must be cut to be ‘saved.’ However, this is truly a ‘let them eat cake’ moment. Mr. Obama’s policies will needlessly, and in economic terms gratuitously, hurt a lot of people — overwhelmingly those who self-identify as the Democrats’ political ‘base.’ And lest there be confusion over the matter, in his first term Mr. Obama fully restored the fortunes of America’s ruling class at several trillion dollars of public expense before proposing these cuts.” ( Rob Urie)

VANITY PLATE on a beater pickup in Ukiah last week: “UGT NTIN.” Which, after a bit of thought, we decoded as, “You Got Nuthin,” which, in a prison setting reads, "You Got Nuthin' Coming, Punk," which is the auto-response to inmate gripes from other inmates. A very amusing book by former Nevada prisoner Jimmy Lerner is called, “You Got Nothing Coming: Notes from a Prison Fish.” From Lerner’s book jacket: “The true story of a middle-class, middle-aged man who fell into the Inferno of the American prison system, and what he has to do to survive. It is your worst nightmare. You wake up in an 8' x 6' concrete-and-steel cell designated ‘Suicide Watch #3.’ The cell is real. Jimmy Lerner, formerly a suburban husband and father, and corporate strategic planner and survivor, is about to become a prison ‘fish,’ or green new arrival. Taken to a penitentiary in the Nevada desert to begin serving a twelve-year term for voluntary manslaughter, this once nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn ends up sharing a claustrophobic cell with Kansas, a hugely muscled skinhead with a swastika engraved on his neck and a serious set of issues. And if he dares complain, the guards will bluntly tell him, ‘You got nothing coming.’ It's possible that the driver of the UGT NTIN is a local corrections officer, or related to one, but more likely the owner of the truck is a guy who's been there.

SHADES OF MENDO! Federal agents have forced the Oregon Public Health Division to turn over an untold number of patients’ medical marijuana records, according to court records recently uncovered by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  Department of Justice Special Agent Michael Gutensohn applied for a warrant to seize the records that was executed in November as part of an investigation into medical marijuana growers who were suspected of selling goods illegally. “I have probable cause to believe that records from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will contain evidence and instrumentalities of marijuana manufacturing and trafficking and conspiracy to commit marijuana manufacturing and trafficking offenses,” he wrote. Gerri Badden, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Oregon, told the Post-Intelligencer that only those specific records listed in the warrant had been seized, but that the investigation was ongoing.  Jonathan Modie, a spokesperson for the state’s public health division, which runs the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), said the state “routinely releases records pursuant to a court order.”  “I want to emphasize, though, that unless compelled to do so by a court order, the OMMP does not give out information about patients, caregivers, or growers. A similar warrant sought by US Attorney Melinda Haag was narrowed on Wednesday to exclude identifying information in California’s Mendocino County. Haag had issued the “chilling subpoena” in October. Mendocino Supervisor John McCowen wrote to those protesting the subpoena, “An agreement has been reached which voids the need for further court action. No personal identifying information will be reported to the US Attorney.”

THINK YOU KNOW all about methamphetamine because you’ve seen a few episodes of Breaking Bad? Waste meth chemicals are dumped in any place you can possibly think of. Fully operational mobile labs are now showing up in the trunks of cars. Absolutely anyone can run into a meth lab dump and not realize it. Many people wander into a meth lab dumpsite and are exposed before they even realize what has happened. Most of the waste chemicals cause serious injury or death, in startling and deadly ways. This presentation shows all chemicals involved in making meth and how meth is made. This is primarily a class for first responders to identify a scene, the materials involved, prevent exposure, and how to get away from them — and not to teach people how to make it. This training is presented by Mendocino County's hazardous materials expert Wayne Briley and should prove highly interesting. Wednesday May 1st at 6pm. Location is at the Albion School on Albion Ridge Road near the transfer station — 30400 Albion Ridge Road. Snacks will be served. We need you to RSVP on this — agencies, please distribute this to your members and please indicate if you will come, how many, their names, and what agency you are with. Please RSVP before April 22nd. Note this highly informative presentation is open to the public as well — we welcome you to our training; but take note, emergency responders will be given priority. An RSVP is also required. Please RSVP to Scott Roat via There is no charge. -- Scott Roat Broker Associate Century 21 Seascape Realty Mendocino, CA 95460 p: 707.937.6161 f: 707.937.0344

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S Air Pollution Control Officer, Chris Brown, has resigned. Contrary to what the County Counsel's office is putting out as the reason for Brown's resignation, which is no reason at all, Brown's staff had revolted at Brown's heavy-handed management style. Staffers signed letters to the Supes detailing the boss's alleged ill-treatment of them. Brown sued the County last year over an allegation of failure to notify his office of asbestos-related activity at a County building. That move was, to say the least, an unhappy one that pitted the County against one of its own departments over a matter that could have been handled informally. It probably also hastened Brown's exit. Prior to his resignation, Brown had been out on paid administrative leave. The resignation is the usual no talk deal, as in, “Mr. Brown, we're paying you a few months salary to go quietly. If you do indeed go quietly we won't tell your next employer that, ah, your personality could stand some burnishing.”

ON A RECENT visit to Fort Bragg, we couldn't help but notice the many lawn signs for two of the three candidates for city council. Madeleine Melo seemed to have more lawn support than Heidi Kraut. We didn't see any signs for Derek Hoyle. But judging from their interviews in the Fort Bragg Advocate, all three are capable people fully up to speed on Fort Bragg affairs and Fort Bragg won't go wrong with any of them.

COASTLIB, of course, is supporting Mrs. Kraut over Mrs. Melo, recently widowed when her husband was shot to death by Aaron Bassler, touching off the famous month-long hunt for Bassler that ended with Bassler's own death when he was shot by a Sacramento swat team. Jere Melo was retro on the issues. Mendolib is liberal right up to where their personal welfare is in play, then look out. They suddenly aren't liberal anymore. Mrs. Melo is or was a nurse, a profession high on the mighty AVA's approval list. Whatever her late husband's views, Mrs. Melo certainly doesn't come across as a Fox News-type frother; she'll undoubtedly garner a lot sympathy votes but really does seem mellower (sic) than her late husband.

HOWEVER THE ELECTION comes out, the Fort Bragg City Council, having worked itself back into the fiscal black over the past decade after years of old fashioned civic corruption, will continue to make intelligent management decisions. (Dominic Affinito was making no-interest loans to FB City Council people in exchange for yes votes on his various projects. Not only were the loans interest-free, the councilmen didn't have to pay them back. Any other place than Mendocino County the loans would have been seen as bribes and the person making them and the persons taking them would have been arrested and tried.)

FB COUNCIL CANDIDATE DEREK HOYLE, asked the usual Zen question about economic development to which there are only Zen answers, mentioned the long range possibilities of rail, which struck me as a good thing to at least throw in the development discussion mix. Used to be — circa 1950 — you could board a morning train in Fort Bragg and be eating dinner in San Francisco that night. On the remote chance we're ever again capable in this country of a functioning train system, a Fort Bragg train to Willits and points south could be restored, and what a boon that would be to the isolated northern tier of coastal Mendocino County.

I ALSO LIKED Mrs. Melo's comment that it was high time Fort Bragg got going with the development of the old GP mill site. What's the stall? The Koch bros? They own the site, apparently. (Wouldn't you love to see Fort Bragg eminent domain those boys?) Mean time, and the times are definitely getting meaner, can't we at least get the Noyo-to-Ten Mile trail open?

MRS. KRAUT was a little heavy on family evocations for my liking. I'm at the point whenever I see some candidate, at any level, either talking about or, worse, pictured with his or her perfect-toothed brood, I make a note to myself: “Here's a person who would sell his wife and children to get elected.” We all have families; some of us might even like our families, at least some of its members, so being married and having children is not relevant to public office. Or shouldn't be.

NONE of the candidates talked “visions” or “paradigms,” always a good sign in Mendocino County where the public rhetoric, especially from the libs, tends to be heavy on zircon spirituality.

CONTRAST the functioning of the Fort Bragg and Willits City councils to the functioning of the Ukiah City Council and you immediately see the difference. The Ukiah City Council is dominated by three silly people who don't seem particularly interested in local government. The best local officials of the elected type are prudent, non-ideological individuals who conscientiously take the time to thoroughly understand how things work, especially fiscal things. When councilmen and supervisors don't understand how things work or, worse, don't care, pain and suffering of public workers and the public served, are the result. Fort Bragg, Willits and the Board of Supervisors are well served. The City of Ukiah isn't. Point Arena, in wacky-quotient, is a mini-version of the Ukiah City Council, but only the 448 people who live within the tiny municipality's city limits suffer the consequences.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "This must be 'Garbage In' week. We have received an extraordinary succession of undercooked press releases and other submissions for entirely worthy events. I'm always eager to make space for community items, to lay out and publish submitted text. That's what we do. At the same time, is it unreasonable to ask that things sent in for publication be more or less ready to print without rewrites; that they rise above lazy Facebook/texting writing style? I don't think so. What's frustrating and a little scary is that I can point people to our website's Submission Guide, explain to them on the phone the basic requirements... and the thing still arrives in unpublishable form. I guess it's a comment on our educational system, and/or maybe our attention spans these days. But I know that I will forever be mystified by people's disinterest in submitting useable text. Particularly those who are getting paid to generate publicity, and have no awareness of the most basic style issues."— Kevin Hoover, Editor, The Arcata Eye

A BENEFIT DINNER for Lupe Medina (Gunshot victim, south coast) — There will be a benefit for her at the Pier Chowder House and Tap Room on Wednesday April 17, located at the Arena Cove (upstairs) in Point Arena. Tickets for this, which entails a Three Course dinner, is $30 and can be purchased in advance at the Pier Chowder House, the Gualala Chevron and other businesses. There will be three “waves” of dinners: 5pm; 7pm; 9pm. For more info: 884-4100. — Mike Jamieson

THE WORM TURNS? Child Support of Social Services and the half-dozen Air Quality workers have petitioned the County to decertify SEIU representation. They seem to have figured out that they were getting poor to non-existent representation from SEIU. We're hearing more and more Teamster talk out of Ukiah.

A KIND OF STONER'S WOODSTOCK  is on for this coming weekend as thousands of people are expected to join marijuana celebrations in Colorado and Washington, two states where the love drug has recently been decriminalized. More than 50,000 potheads are expected to light up outdoors in Denver's Civic Center Park on Saturday to celebrate decriminalization in Colorado, while similar events are planned for Seattle. Marijuana activists consider April 20 a day to celebrate the drug and push for broader legalization. The origins of the number "420" as a code for pot are murky, but for decades pot people have considered the date 4/20 as a day for group light-ups.

MARIJUANA is still illegal under federal law, and its sale without a doctor's recommendation isn't allowed in Colorado or Washington. Neither state allows open and public use of the drug. But authorities look the other way at public pot-smoking, especially at festivals and concerts.

ACCORDING to a recent posting on Sheriff Allman's Facebook page: "On Saturday, July 13th, we are having the kick-off event for my re-election. We have booked a live band, have arranged for some great food and I promise it will be a great night in Willits. More information to follow, but please, if you have not planned anything for Saturday, July 13th, stay tuned. It will be a blast.”

NOT SO MUCH as a rumor of anybody emerging to run against the Sheriff, a masterful politician with enthusiastic support from every area of the County where he seems to appear so regularly its as if he's some kind of five-in-one wizard.

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