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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, April 13, 2023

Frosty Mornings | Ride Needed | Navarro River | Local Hero | Riley Search | Panther Rico | Plant Sale | Napkin Art | Holcomb Talk | $90,000 Laundry | MAC Dinner | Public Records | Navarro Estuary | Haschak Sez | Parking Problem | Ed Notes | Old Highway | Yesterday's Catch | Abbie Hoffman | Batternuts | Duck Hunting | Lora Photos | Stinkin' Papers | Life Goal | Reparations | Pelican Crossing | Nordic Aquafarms | More Tats | Half Crazy | Express Myself | Blame Joe | Many Shots | Ukraine | Media Coverage | Problem Solved | Narrative Control | Tropical Fruits

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COLD MORNING TEMPERATURES will continue through Friday while daytime highs trend higher into the weekend. Dry weather will persist through Saturday before a wet and colder pattern begins on Sunday. (NWS)

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QUE PASA? Hi AV community, there is an elderly woman who is up at Faulkner Park. She is trying to get to Stanford for medical treatment and was hitchhiking at base of mountain view. She's camping at the park tonight. We gave her food and blankets but if anyone can help her, it'd be greatly appreciated.

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Navarro River (Jeff Goll)

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Dear Community,

You likely heard that 2 young women (22 years old) jumped off the Albion bridge at 1 am Saturday, April 8 into the Albion River Campground.

The girls came from Utah with their plan to commit suicide together jumping holding hands. (sigh)

One girl died and the other girl survived (extremely busted up). One fortunate thing is a Willits firefighter, Howard Darrow, who was camping, heard her cry for help and he sat with her and handled the calls for what was needed for this tragic event.

The surviving girl said, “Why am I alive?!” angrily and said, “this world is crazy and dark and I don't want to be here.” (My husband, Roger, helps manage the campground and heard all this first hand)

Everyone at the campground is very grateful for Howard and all the help and support that has been given by the medical emergency people, law enforcement, Chapel by Sea, etc. Mental health people even came to offer free trauma counseling.

And we all say Howard Darrow is a local hero!

Please send thoughts and prayers for healing, hope, love and comfort for the surviving girl and all the girl's family and friends. The shock and grief must be unbearable.


Georgia Collin


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Many aspects of the Emerald Triangle’s rural lifestyle lend themselves to suicide risk factors. Those risk factors, as described by the Center for Disease Control, include barriers to health care, social isolation, and high rates of adverse childhood experiences. Added risk factors include a social “safety net” that’s underfunded and understaffed with many staff being inexperienced and under qualified. And despite the pot boom and bust, the north coast has been economically depressed for decades with high poverty rates. All of which combines to put us near the top in numerous categories of negative demographics, not just suicide.

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Lack of hope, lack of TRUE help. Throwing a pack of crackers and a bottle of water at a soul who needs much more kindness and empathy is an insult. Our services are bsically service less. If it was a DV life that pushed her that far. DV tolerance is tragic. We allow too much to be laid on us as a society and passed down. Emotional hurt is the worst. Alone on Easter with a head and heart of sorrow. This woman/gramma to feel so lost, to die at the roadway like this is a reality that is NOT ok. We need to do better. “Help” should not have so many barriers, judgments, rules, restrictions and limitations that it is hopeless. RIP mamma. I’m sorry for your pain and loss.

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May the soul of the departed rest in peace.

If you see your brother standing by the road

With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed

And if you see your sister falling by the way

Just stop and say, “You’re going the wrong way”

You’ve got to try a little kindness

Yes, show a little kindness

Just shine your light for everyone to see

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don’t walk around the down and out

Lend a helping hand instead of doubt

And the kindness that you show every day

Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness

Yes, show a little kindness

Just shine your light for everyone to see

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

You got to try a little kindness

Yes, show a little kindness

Just shine your light for everyone to see

And if you try a little kindness

Then you’ll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

—Glen Campbell

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What are you talking about? I don’t know how old you are, but in my cohort (millennials) I have literally lost track of how many of my peers have died of suicide, overdose, liver failure, all deaths of despair in the last few years. Two this week alone. I cannot overstate how fucking depressing it is to only see your friends at funerals.

My partner and I were in the cannabis industry our entire adult lives until 2 years ago. We weren’t rich, but we paid our bills, ate modestly at local restaurants, and shopped locally when we could. Now, we have been in danger of losing our housing nearly every month since we left the industry. We don’t go out. We buy everything off of Amazon. We have almost no connection to the local community anymore.

Both of us have CPTSD, and both of us have struggled with clinical depression since childhood. Par for the course growing up in Mendocino County. I am truly amazed that we survived the last two winters, and that is not an exaggeration in the slightest. Humans aren’t meant to live under the constant threat of homelessness. We would be homeless if it weren’t for an insane amount of luck.

Our friends are dying, on average about one a month it seems, and that’s just people we personally know. I can only imagine how many other non publicized deaths of despair are occurring every day throughout this county.

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Thank you to everyone who is continuing to search for Riley. Our family is waking up everyday and hoping he will be found. Please continue to send in any potential sightings to the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office at 707-463-4086

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Anderson Valley Unified School District collaborated with the community to create the opportunity of a life time for two dozen students to explore Puerto Rico as a Spanish 3/4 trip over spring break. The trip was covered by a district contribution, Education Foundation sponsorship, and local donors. Participating students were required to have stellar grades and citizenship in order to qualify. 

 Some students experienced their first plane ride. Students learned of the ecology of the rain forest, the economy of the coffee industry, and practiced their language skills in an unparralled cultural immersion experience led by the exuberant Miss Cook.

To all of the donors in the Anderson Valley that contributed to make this experience happen for kids, I am so deeply grateful. To Miss Cook who gave up a week of her vacation to make this once in a life time trip happen, I am grateful. You look at the generosity around you in treasure and time, and it inspires us to be all that we can become. Anderson Valley innovates to educate. We thank the community and the Anderson Valley Education Foundation for the investment in our children.

Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District


Twenty AVHS’s upper level Spanish language students, parents, and Ms. Cook, are on an amazing trip this spring break to Puerto Rico. Fourteen of these students are AV FFA members! Five of our six officers are on the trip!

Today they visited Ms. Swehla’s friend and agriculture teacher colleague, Juan A. Jimenez Maldonado. They met Sr. Jimenez and his young agriculture students. They each got to plant a coffee tree on their school farm. 

“Every kid planted a coffee plant on their school farm to symbolize our forever Boonville and Puerto Rico connection!”, says Ms. Cook.

Sr. Jimenez then took the students to the high school vocational school. 

“Yes. He took us to the vocational school to check out the animal sciences program and meet the FFA students. It was amazing. They interviewed us on the radio.”

So happy for this opportunity for our Panther students and the Puerto Rican students.

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The Fort Bragg Garden Club's Annual Spring Plant Sale is this Saturday April 15, 10am-2pm. It happens in the Americas parking lot at 300 S. Main Street in Fort Bragg. Plants will include landscape plants, native plants, and edibles.

Proceeds support Scholarships for local students pursuing environmental studies.

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Current show at Kelley House of Sea Gull Cellar Bar Napkin Art. Special event with some of the artists on Saturday April 15th 4 pm to 5:30 pm. Put it on your calendar.

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Bill Holcomb

Bill Holcomb presents Anderson Valley Memories, this Sunday, April 16th, 3:30 to 5 PM at the Anderson Valley Museum (Little Red School house).

Refreshments served at 3:30, Event begins at 4:00 PM

This month we are piggybacking on the AV Historical Society'€™s Friendly Chat series,€“ so you don'€™t have to choose, i.e. €œyou can have your cake and eat it too!€

Join your friends and neighbors for a chat with Bill Holcomb. Please RSVP with the coordinator,€“ Cell: 707-684-9829 or Email:

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by Mark Scaramella

At Tuesday's board reading supervisor Williams wanted to know why what Williams said was just a washer and dryer for the Family and Children's Services Department was estimated to cost $90,000.

General Services Agency Director Janelle Rau: "We do provide detailed estimates for each of the projects. We are happy to provide any detail that comes forward. This is just a form that was prepared by, that was submitted by departments. So there is a cost breakdown for each of those. This one in particular could include electrical, plumbing, walls. And you're also working in a facility that was designed and built as an office unit, not necessarily housing. So there are some issues that come into play there. We reconcile every project, estimate to actual, and we also have a certain percent cost overhead that we are obligated to include in every public project so there are some cost escalations that you see in government that — you'll see it across the board. It's public contract code. It's one of those obligations we have. We are certainly willing to — and I believe every project report that we have been attaching mostly to the CEO report includes a budget to actual as well, so if there is more information this Board… We are happy to include that, but one thing I can point out too is we have a very very short window of time under this current budget, calendar and timing, to provide estimates to -- and sometimes quite significant requests for modifications and that gives you very little time to provide these estimates. We are working with the executive office to change that timing to allow our facilities project specialists who are also actively managing live projects to provide those estimates. So again we are happy to provide details on that. And I agree with the sticker shock. But I can send you that detail Supervisor Williams so that you have it for transparency, but for every project there is a very detailed estimate which includes labor and materials and any outside contracting."

Williams then asked how many projects like this the County has per year.

Rau: "You can have anywhere from 25-100. But you are blending policies as well. Policy one has to do with contracting, but you also have Mendocino County code, and the public contracting code. Policy one is really about services. But when you are in the public contract world, if you're doing an improvement to an eligible facility, we are obligated to comply with public contract code. This board and this county has also adopted the alternate procedure in the uniform construction cost accounting, Mendocino County Code 2.33. There are certain regulations and we are almost certainly working with the CEO and we will mention the update to Policy 1 and any efficiencies we can put in place we most certainly will. But regardless of who is doing the work, we are obligated to comply with the codes and mandates."

Williams concluded: "I appreciate the code and mandates. But we are working with children and those children need clothing cleaned. I don't care how we get there but they need a washer and dryer. I'm worried that this is not a one-off situation. This is more of a pattern in our county. Something needs to be done and we can't afford it. But when you look at why we can't afford it, it is kind of outrageous. We have a $90,000 estimate so we don't do it, rather than let's find a way to accomplish that task within our budget.”

WAIT A MINUTE. First Ms. Rau says it’s “just a form” they fill out. Then she says there are oodles of details to back it up. Then she speculates that it might have to do with walls and plumbing and stuff. Then she says it’s because of “overhead.” Then she says that even though it has oodles of details and lots of rules and “mandates,” it was done in haste. Then she says it’s because of “policies.” Then she says it’s because it’s just an ordinary part of “the public contracting world.” Then she says she’s considering some “efficiencies.” Apparently we can mix and match whatever excuse we want, whether it applies or not. PS. The CEO report does not include budget vs. actual on projects. Never has.

THIS SELF-CONTRADICTORY EXCHANGE reminded us of the classic Get Smart spy spoof tv series from the 1960s when “Control” Agent Maxwell Smart was trying to convince the bad guys from “Kaos” who had captured him on their yacht in New York Harbor to let him go because, Smart claimed, the authorities were converging on them…

Maxwell Smart: You're very clever my charming little friend, but not clever enough. The moment I suspected there was something wrong with this old scow, I immediately telephoned headquarters and I happen to know that at this very minute seven Coast Guard cutters are converging on this very ship. Would you believe it? Seven!

Mr. Big: I find that pretty hard to believe.

Maxwell Smart: Would you believe six Coast Guard cutters?

Mr. Big: I don't think so.

Maxwell Smart: What if I told you I had planted an explosive charge on the hull of this boat before I came on board and it will explode and sink this ship in a matter of minutes? Would you believe that?

Mr. Big: No. 

Maxwell Smart: How about two cops in a rowboat?

Mr. Big: Nope. Don’t believe it.

HOWEVER, in defense of Ms. Rau and her staff, when we looked at the fine print in the actual estimate/request we read that the $90k is for much more than a washer-dryer. “Evaluate rooms 19a, 21 or 24 with regard to best availability of electric, plumbing, lighting, HVAC, structural integrity and square feet necessary to remodel one of the areas into a laundry room and shower room. The room will need a hot water heater, shower with detachable shower head, exhaust fan, HVAC air supply/returns, lighting fixtures, water resistant flooring, 220 electrical outlets, storage cupboards for towels and supplies, durable washable paint on walls and cupboards, stackable washer/dryer and if possible a new laundry utility sink. Cost estimate is for design, build and equip the area.”

SO WILLIAMS WAS GRANDSTANDING AGAIN. Too bad Ms. Rau didn’t simply read from her own estimate. 

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SHERIFF KENDALL Kendall reported some interesting statistics to the supervisors on Tuesday concerning his Dispatch operation. Remember, this dispatch operation does not include the Highway Patrol, Willits, or the Ukiah/Fort Bragg separate dispatch operations which should have been consolidated long ago, but has never been followed up on.

Kendall: “Last year we received 82,905 calls to our dispatch center. That's phone calls, not radio traffic coming from patrol vehicles or from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, or Calfire, or other people we dispatch for. 16,642 were 911 emergency calls. 66,263 came from the business lines. Dispatchers speak with people during the worst moments of their lives. They walk people through when a child goes missing, or people giving CPR. They walk people through things that are just mind-boggling. Right now, many police agencies are down in personnel. We are download just one in dispatch. I almost feel guilty at times when I speak with other sheriffs that we are doing so well here. It's due to the, um… Well, it's due to the good people we have in Mendocino County.”

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Come to the DINE-OUT on Thursday, April 20 at the LEDFORD HOUSE restaurant in Albion. Have a delicious dinner from their menu. Reservations 4:30 to 8:30 pm; call 937-0282. Invite your friends to join you and support MAC.

(The Little River Inn March benefit brought $3800 to MAC - Thank you all for your generosity) 

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by Jim Shields

Ever since last fall subsequent to the Board of Supervisors approving Ordinance No. 4507 (“CPRA Ordinance”), the Board has been faced with challenges regarding the legality of the Ordinance from media organizations, good government groups, county residents, and at least one Supervisor, John Haschak, who twice has attempted to have it rescinded.

The crux of the dispute is whether the Ordinance’s provisions relative to record duplication fees comply with the California Public Records Act (CPRA).

The CPRA specifies that, “Copies of records may be obtained for the direct cost of duplication, unless the Legislature has established a statutory fee. The direct cost of duplication includes the pro rata expense of the duplicating equipment utilized in making a copy of a record and, conceivably, the pro rata expense in terms of staff time (salary/benefits) required to produce the copy. A staff person’s time in researching, retrieving and mailing the record is not included in the direct cost of duplication.”

In fact, citizens have a right to inspect most records – i.e., go into a government office and look at them – at no cost. You also have the right to make your own copies using your own devices, such as scanning or photographing the records with a cell phone. If you want the agency to make copies of records, it can charge you for “the direct cost of duplication.” It cannot charge for time spent searching for, reviewing or redacting records.

The courts have ruled that, “The direct cost of duplication is the cost of running the copy machine, and conceivably also the expense of the person operating it. ‘Direct cost’ does not include the ancillary tasks necessarily associated with the retrieval, inspection and handling of the file from which the copy is extracted.”

In direct contravention of the CPRA’s unambiguously restrictive fee-setting provision, County Ordinance 4507 unlawfully permits the County to include in record duplication fees, costs for, among other things, staff time spent searching, researching, reviewing and redacting records.

Here are two provisions from Ordinance 4507 that are unlawful under the CPRA:

“B. Search Fees. Whenever a request for copies of County records subject to disclosure describes the records sought by listing categories of records related to a particular matter, issue or subject, or otherwise does not reasonably describe a specifically identifiable record, the requester shall compensate the County for the costs incurred by the County in responding to the request as set forth in subsection D of this section.”

“C. Specialized Search/Review Fees. Whenever a request for copies of County records subject to disclosure describes a category or type of records (including but not limited to email or other electronic communications) that may include both disclosable records and records exempt or prohibited from disclosure, the requester shall compensate the County for the costs incurred by the County in responding to the request as set forth in subsection D of this section.”

Now keep in mind that the records referenced in the foregoing provisions include both paper documents but also so-called electronic databases, electronic communications, emails, videos, etc.

There are also provisions in the Ordinance allowing the County to charge a fee of “$20 per hour to locate, retrieve, provide and refile such records,” and also charge the public $150 per hour for “review and/or reasonably segregate disclosable documents …”

Needless to say, such charges are unlawful under the CPRA, especially in light of a 2020 unaminous California Supreme Court decision that found, “[j]ust as agencies cannot recover the costs of searching through a filing cabinet for paper records, they cannot recover comparable costs for electronic records. Nor, for similar reasons, does 'extraction' cover the cost of redacting exempt data from otherwise producible electronic records.”

Kate Maxwell, publisher of the Mendocino Voice, told of her experience requesting records under the new Ordinance: “Since the ordinance passed, I personally have had responses to my requests with estimated fees for amounts including $66,660, $28,200, and $16,856.22 — the first two for a single records request related to current supervisors discussions on cannabis regulations and CAMP raids. As a small locally owned outlet, we don’t have the budget for these kinds of fees.”

The drafter of County Ordinance 4507 is County Counsel Christian Curtis, who refuses to recognize the long established legal applicability of the CPRA and court decisions interpreting it to, as specified in the CPRA, all local agencies, including county boards of supervisors, city councils, water districts, school districts, etc. and any board or commission of a city, county, municipal corporation or other political subdivision.

He even dismisses a unanimous decision of the California Supreme Court in 2020, that established an important victory for government transparency, that strictly limited the costs that public agencies can demand from members of the public and the media who request public records in an electronic format. 

Here’s a brief explanation on the seminal state Supreme Court decision.

The Court's May 28, 2020 opinion in National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, lifts a daunting financial barrier that had discouraged requests for public records like police videos, electronic databases, and public officials' emails, all of which the news media routinely use in reporting on state and local government—and which watchdog groups and individual citizens rely on to hold government accountable. 

The unanimous decision also strongly reiterates the pro-disclosure purpose of the California Public Records Act (CPRA), and the constitutional mandate that the law must be construed broadly to promote public access. 

Case Background

The Hayward case began when the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLG) requested records related to how police handled Bay Area protests in 2014 over several high-profile national incidents in which unarmed African-Americans were killed by police. The City of Hayward produced six hours of video from police body-worn cameras, and charged NLG nearly $3,000 for the time that city staffers spent editing the footage to redact material the City claimed was exempt from disclosure.

The CPRA always has made clear that members of the public must be allowed to inspect public records free of charge. Since 1981, the law has provided that when agencies produce copies of records, they can only charge requesters the "direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable." Courts have explained that “the ‘direct cost of duplication’ is the cost of running the copy machine, and conceivably also the expense of the person operating it,” and it “does not include the ancillary tasks necessarily associated with the retrieval, inspection, and handling of the file from which the copy is extracted.”

The Court's Decision

The California Supreme Court agreed, in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Leondra Kruger. After a comprehensive review of the statute's text, structure, and history, the Court concluded that in allowing agencies to recover certain “extraction” costs, the law was “designed to cover retrieving responsive data from an unproducible government database–for example, pulling demographic data for all state agency employees from a human resources database and producing the relevant data in a spreadsheet.” 

However, the "term 'extraction' does not cover every process that might be colloquially described as 'taking information out.' It does not, for example, cover time spent searching for responsive records in an e-mail inbox or a computer's documents folder." And, the Court added, “[j]ust as agencies cannot recover the costs of searching through a filing cabinet for paper records, they cannot recover comparable costs for electronic records. Nor, for similar reasons, does 'extraction' cover the cost of redacting exempt data from otherwise producible electronic records.”

Importantly, the Court also relied on Article I, Section 3(b) of the California Constitution, a constitutional provision enacted by the state's voters in 2004 that requires that any statute, rule, and other legal authority “shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people's right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.”

While some of California's courts have paid lip service to the provision but failed to treat it as a controlling interpretive mandate, the Court reiterated that it is a “constitutional directive” that confirms the conclusion “that redaction costs are not chargeable as costs of data extraction." The Court recognized that allowing agencies to shift redaction costs to the public "could well prove prohibitively expensive for some requesters, barring them from accessing records altogether.”

It’s not necessary to be a legal scholar to comprehend that the County’s Ordinance is in violation of both the CPRA and this unanimous Supreme Court decision, not to mention other court rulings. 

Prior to publication of this column, I provided (through another county official) to County Counsel Curtis the full 39-page Lawyers Guild v Hayward Supreme Court decision, along with much of what appears in this column. Reportedly, Curtis stated that he was “familiar with” or had “looked at” the decision. But he evidently parsed some sort of distinction over the precedent and binding nature of the ruling because it dealt with a “city” ordinance or legal matter versus his “county” ordinance. There is no such distinction under the law in question, which is the California Public Records Act.

So, just who is covered by the CPRA and does it draw any distinctions, as County Counsel Curtis apparently believes, between and among those subject to it?

Here’s who is subject to the CPRA: 

State Agencies

• All state agencies except the state Legislature and judicial agencies. 

Courts and court administrative bodies (such as the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts) are not subject to the PRA. Access to court records is governed by constitutional and common law principles established by case law, by the California Rules of Court, and by separate statutes governing certain court records.

State legislative are records not available under the CPRA. There is a separate statute that governs records of the Legislature (the Legislative Open Records Act). 

Local Agencies

• All local agencies, including county boards of supervisors, city councils, water districts, school districts, etc. and any board or commission of a city, county, municipal corporation or other political subdivision. 

 It should be noted that if a public body is subject to the Brown Act, it is also subject to the CPRA.

Please note, that with the exceptions of the state Legislature and judicial agencies, there are no other exceptions or exemptions to coverage under the CPRA. It specifically states “all local agencies” are covered under its jurisdiction. Therefore, for example, if the California Supreme Court rules that the City of Hayward violates the CPRA when it charges fees for time spent searching for, reviewing or redacting records, it means that the County of Mendocino is prohibited from doing the very same things. 

The doctrine of precedent (stare decisis) is a foundational concept in the American legal system, but it appears to have taken an extended timeout here in Mendocino County.

The other four Supervisors must reign in their obstructionist County Counsel and join 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak in rescinding Ordinance 4507.

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

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Navarro Estuary (Jeff Goll)

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Spring is here with rain showers, green grass, and blue skies at times. This winter has been a wild one. The roads and infrastructure have taken a beating. The March snowstorms were declared a disaster by the County and State. We are waiting for a federal disaster declaration. If and when this happens, both public and individual assistance will be offered and FEMA will most likely come back to help with navigating the bureaucracy.

The opening of the Laytonville Library was certainly a cause for celebration! Dedicated people from the Laytonville area really made it happen. They were certainly persistent. It was great to see support from the County and other Friends of the Library groups. The new library is a beautiful space and the focus will be on getting people the books and resources that they need. Libraries also serve an important service as a community center.

Change is happening with the County’s cannabis program. The Director resigned and experienced County staff is leading the department for now. The State and County are working on new pathways to licensure. The Department’s budget has been a real problem with numbers bouncing around in a mind-boggling way. With the fiscal team from the Executive Office now overseeing the process, the numbers should be clearer and consistent. The goal is to get cultivators to their state annual licensure. We now have the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance working with Willits Environmental Center with this goal in mind.

The Public Records Act is meant to ensure openness and transparency in government. County ordinance 4507 was adopted to limit the number of unnecessary, frivolous public records requests. This is a statewide problem especially in the last few years with numerous requests focused on elections and covid. The answer must be greater transparency and accessibility to records via the County’s website, better organization of records, and possible modifications at the State level. I have attended several discussions about this issue at the Calif. State Association of Counties. With the ordinance that we have, I believe we are creating a liability for the County. That is why I have twice proposed rescinding the ordinance. I await another Supervisor to join me to get this on the agenda. 

Please reach out to me at or 707-972-4214.

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AT LEAST one set of frost fans snapped on this morning at exactly 6:23a.m., the first aural assault on the residents of Boonville this grape season. The rest of April will bring “scattered showers,” which means lots of frost mornings when the fans will go off much earlier, often midnight until an hour or so after daybreak. But take heart, Anderson Valley, console yourselves for your lost hours of restorative slumber with Philo wine mogul Ted Bennett’s memorable explanation — “My grapes are more important than your sleep.”

DAMARA MOORE is the former legal advisor to the County Office of Education via School and College Legal Services based in Sonoma County. Former Superintendent Michelle Hutchins worked closely with Ms. Moore, which seems to account for the startlingly shabby-unto-actionable treatment meted out to Ms. Moore by the new MCOE Superintendent, Nicole Glentzer, and two of Glentzer's gofers, the agency's new legal advisor, Jennifer Nix, and MCOE's personnel manager, Becky Jeffries. 

SCHOOL and College Legal Services is a Joint Powers Agreement to provide legal advice to outback school districts. It's lightly overseen by three county superintendents from Humboldt, Sonoma, Mendocino, as well as County School Board members and other superintendents who use the service.

JENNIFER NIX functions as tutti di capo at this Santa Rosa-based legal seraglio called School and College Legal Services. She is also now legal shot caller at the Mendocino County Office of Education where she has teamed up with Superintendent Glentzer and the County Office's pliable personnel boss, Becky Jeffries, to vilify Tamara Moore, former legal advisor to the Mendo County Office of Ed under former Superintendent, Michelle Hutchins. The persecution of Ms. Moore is clearly motivated by a high school-quality vendetta to get everyone who openly supported the failed re-election bid by Superintendent Hutchins.

THAT EMAIL VILIFICATION aimed at Ms. Moore was intended for co-conspirators Nix and Glentzer. It originated with Becky Jeffries, Human Resources chief for the Mendocino County Office of Education. But thanks to the incompetence of Ms. Jeffries — who makes roughly $200,000 a year — the hit piece was also sent to its victim, Ms. Moore. 

LAWYER NIX had placed Ms. Moore on administrative leave in obvious direct retaliation for Ms. Moore complaining to the Schools and Colleges Legal Services Governing Board in open session about the irrelevant and highly inappropriate effort by Glentzer, Jeffries and Nix to ruin Ms. Moore.

THE QUESTION the County Board of Education might consider asking itself and Superintendent Glentzer is this: Should Glentzer, Jeffries and Nix be permitted to retaliate privately against Ms. Moore for complaining publicly about Nix, Glentzer, Jeffries and Nix to destroy her?

Also, under California law, unless the person who conducts the workplace investigation is a licensed private investigator or qualifies for an exemption, conducting such an investigation is prohibited by law. (Cal. B&P Code § 7523, et seq.) These requirements apply to investigations performed by both private and public employers. 

There are two categories of exemptions that have an application to workplace investigations. The first is attorneys. Under the law, attorneys “performing his or her duties as an attorney at law” are exempt from having to be licensed, private investigators. (Cal. B&P Code § 7522(e).) Thus, attorneys performing their duty as attorneys are authorized by law to conduct investigations, including workplace investigations. 

The second group exempt from obtaining a private investigator’s license is employees who conduct internal investigations for their employer. For example, a human resource professional. While external HR and other consultants may be willing and able to perform workplace investigations, the law prohibits them from doing so.


“Attached is the Government Claim, my right to sue letter from DFEH, and the SCOE policy that I think SCLS/Nix/Glentzer violated. Also attached is Becky's email and a correspondence with Glentzer re Same. As stated in my Government Claim, Becky was investigating me at Nix and Glentzer's direction, which they both admit in written emails, two days after I returned from hip surgery, was billing over my required hours, and pretty elated to have my clients and work back. I had talked myself into believing life was secure, and now it is all up in the air. And remember I was put on leave immediately after I made a public comment, in violation of my Freedom of Speech under Civil Code sec. 47.”

(NOTES: The AVA covered the original formation of SCLS via which a glib private attorney out of Santa Rosa managed to parlay his dubious private contracted services to outback school districts into a full-time gig for himself and, now, full time gigs for a whole office full of attorneys representing the interests of, not children, but school boards and school superintendents. Similarly, the Mendo County Office of Education, which does not perform a single task the individual school districts of Mendocino County could not do better and cheaper themselves, blew up into the monster it is today, some 180 persons, about half raking in more than a hundred grand a year in salary and bennies. As late as 1970, the County Office of Education consisted of Superintendent Lou Delsol and a Mrs. Hopper who checked credentials. But under Delsol the office exploded into a variety of “services” under a variety of ethically challenged and low ability persons, two of them shuffled into prison for, in one case edu-funded pervery, the other for theft of edu-goods. When Terminator Schwarzenegger was governor, startled at the enormous sums of state funding that went to county offices of ed, he tried to eliminate them as a redundant drain on state finances. An alarmed statewide edu-blob successfully fought the governor off, arguing, essentially, “We just love kids, and we're totally dedicated to our nation's future. Goddammit Arnold, you can't do this.”The blob prevailed, of course, there being so many of them.

LOTTSA LIBS are upset that Elon Musk has designated NPR and the New York Times as “state-affiliated media.” Why the upset? I thought even the dimmest libs knew this, just as even the dimmest libs have always understood that Musk, Fox News, News Max etc. are fascist-affiliated media.

THE SUPERVISORS’ ONGOING VILIFICATION of Chamise Cubbison — Treasurer, Tax Collector, Auditor, Controller — is unfair and entirely fact-free. Most readers don't follow the Supervisors, hence the Supes’ convenient and unfounded scapegoating of Ms. Cubbison for fiscal confusion that they themselves have created by (1) signing off on the ill-advised combining of all the functions listed above into one agency, Supervisor Williams leading the charge to do it just as he now is leading the charge to pin the predictable fiscal confusion on Ms. Cubbison and her under-staffed office (2) the fiscal time bombs planted by departed CEO Angelo are now exploding.

IT'S ABSOLUTELY SHAMEFUL that Americans, and plenty of Mendo Americans, have to set up go-fund-me begging bowls to pay for catastrophic illness and accidents. In any of the single payer countries of the world go-fund-me pages aren't necessary when citizens are struck down.

KAREN OTTOBONI, Mendo radio personality, posted:

“Did you know the county has let these buildings deteriorate to the point they're going to start disposing of them. The first on the list to go is Boonville.” (The Boonville Vet's Building)

I FORWARDED OTT'S alarming heads-up to Supervisor Williams, who replied: “Decades of empire building... Revenue doesn't support 75 buildings, not if roads and public safety are to be maintained.”

THIS FROM a guy who signed off on, to name two recent fiscal disasters, on a $400,000 pointless legal hassle with the Sheriff and upwards of a cool million on the hurry-up evacuation of unprepared poor people from the trailer park at Creekside Cabins, Willits.

FIRST OFF, the sensible thing to do would be to sign the Boonville structure over to the Senior Center with the super-capable Renee Lee in total control of its repairs. Renee would mos def get it done. Second, the Supervisor is simply posturing on roads and cops whose budgets are adequate to carry out their functions, besides which these aren't the alternatives. (Bulldozing our Vet's Building would surely ignite Boonville's first-ever riot.)


Measure AJ was passed by a wide majority of Mendocino voters back in 2016. It was an “Advisory Measure” which accompanied Measure AI to help sell the County’s Pot permit/tax program which imposed the Cannabis Business Tax. Voters were told that if Mendocino County adopted the accompanying Cannabis Business Tax Measure the County “should use a majority of that revenue for funding enforcement of marijuana regulations, enhanced mental health services, repair of county roads, and increase fire and emergency medical services.”

Guess how much of those pot tax revenues (calculated by the County to be over $20 million in the last six years) were allocated to mental health services, county roads or fire and emergency services. (Hint: $0.)

The one time Supervisor Haschak suggested honoring the will of the voters, Williams quickly shot it down by suggesting that the County pretend that business as usual amounted to compliance, His colleagues, including Haschack, quickly agreed.

Now Williams wants to ask the voters to pass another road tax? Maybe the Board should honor that advisory vote first.

THE BIG RAINS that soaked California this winter have yielded wildflower super blooms so large and vivid that they're showing up in images captured by satellites orbiting the Earth, and here in the Anderson Valley we have some beauts, including the calendula explosion here at Boonville's geriatric weekly.

“DOWNTOWN S.F. looks like a zombie apocalypse. People who’ve not been there have no idea,” Elon Musk declared on his Twitter platform the other day.

YEAH, poor old battered Baghdad by the Bay's entire downtown has become an open-air asylum minus the sanctuary that ordinarily accompanies asylum. Herb Caen will be spinning in his grave to see what has become of his cool, gray city. As a mega-lib myself, I think it's time to declare civic martial law to scoop up all the sidewalk dwellers of whatever self-crippling affliction, sort them out according to disability, and house them in Frisco's many vacant buildings for rehab. We can't go on like this, and it's a shame it takes someone like Musk to point out the obvious.

* * *


by Challenger Tom

Prior to the construction of the modern alignment of US Route 101 and Redwood Highway getting from Hopland of Mendocino County south to Cloverdale of Sonoma County was far more difficult.  Modern US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway follow the courses of the Russian River from Hopland south to Cloverdale.  The original alignment of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway can be found west of the modern highway via; Mountain House Road, California State Route 128 and Cloverdale Boulevard. 

Part 1; the history of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway between Hopland-Cloverdale

Cloverdale of Sonoma County was originally settled by R.B. Markle and W.J. Miller in 1856 who established the stage stop known as Markleville on the Russian River.  In 1859 Markle's property interests were sold to James Abram Kleiser who in turn plotted out the town site of Cloverdale.  Cloverdale would incorporate as a City on February 28th, 1872 when the San Francisco & Northern Pacific Railroad reached the community.  Cloverdale can be seen as the north terminus of the San Francisco & North Pacific Railroad and head of a stage route to Mendocino County on the 1873 Brancroft's Map of California.  Note; this stage road north of Cloverdale is now part of California State Route 128 ("CA 128") and Mountain House Road towards Hopland.  

Hopland is located in southern Mendocino County on the banks of the Russian River.  Hopland was originally settled as "Sanel" on the western bank of the Russian River in 1859.  The Sanel Post Office opened in 1860 when the community grew to a large enough size.  Sanel would move to the eastern bank of the Russian River in 1874 so it could be centrally located on the new Franchise Toll Road to Clear Lake.  Sanel's community name would change to Hopland in 1879 in reference to the local hops harvesting.  The bulk of Hopland would relocate back to the western bank of the Russian River in the late 1880s when the San Francisco & North Pacific Railroad was completed from Cloverdale north to Ukiah.

For a time the community on the western bank of the Russian River was known as Sanel whereas the community on the eastern bank was known as Hopland.  Today the community on the western bank of the Russian River is known as Hopland whereas the community on the eastern bank is known as Old Hopland.  Sanel can be seen on the San Francisco & North Pacific Railroad on the western bank of the Russian River whereas Hopland can be seen to the east on the 1896 George Blum Map of Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Napa Counties.  Note; what is now Mountain House Road and CA 128 can be seen connecting Hopland south to Cloverdale as a stage road on the George Blum map.  

The history of what would become US Route 101 ("US 101") from Hopland to Cloverdale began with the approval of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  The First State Highway Bond Act was approved by voters during 1910 and was the genesis point of some of the most notable highways in California.  Legislative Route Number 1 ("LRN 1") as originally plotted was a new State Highway which was designated between San Francisco north to Crescent City.  The route of LRN 1 would be extended to the Oregon State Line during the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act and was came be known as the Redwood Highway.…

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Alarcon, Aretino, Bushaw, Wakeland

MARCO ALARCON, Willits. Marijuana for sale, conspiracy, probation revocation.

ARIANA ARETINO-REYES, Fort Bragg. Suspended license, no driver’s license, failure to appear, probation revocation.

ADAM BUSHAW, Ukiah. Marijuana for sale, conspiracy, mandatory supervision violation.

KYLE WAKELAND, Redwood Valley. Forge/alter vehicle registration, probation revocation.

* * *

JONAH RASKIN: Abbie Hoffman died 34 years ago. He was 52 years old. I met him in 1970, helped him go underground, roamed around Mexico with him when we were both there in 1975, saw him on and off until he died in 1989. He lived at my place in Sonoma County before he surfaced. Isms were was-ums he would say. The only 'ist' he allowed for himself was artist. His book "Revolution for the Hell of It" is a classic. Abbie was the only person I knew who begged to be in the Weather Underground. They turned him down. He was mostly non-violent; language was his favorite weapon, like when he wrote "FUCK" on his forehead in Chicago in 1968 and was arrested. He gave me many gifts over the years, worked as my unpaid literary agent and secured publishers for my articles and books. The blurb he wrote for my novel about him reads, "Penetrates the mind of the fugitive. An uncannily accurate portrayal of the underground world." A French publishing house translated my bio of Abbie into French and published it a few years ago.

* * *

DEBORAH WHITE: I went to Winchell's yesterday and ran into someone as garrulous as I am. He said he had to get cake doughnuts for his wife, and he objects to the name. They should be called "batternuts," since they don't use yeast. That got me thinking about the "nut" part, so I Googled it there and then and found out that what we call doughnut holes WERE doughnuts until the 20th century! We were both suitably impressed.

* * *

A HILLBILLY WENT HUNTING one day in West Virginia and bagged three ducks. He put them in the bed of his pickup truck and was about to drive home where he was confronted by an ornery game warden who didn’t like hillbillies. The game warden ordered the hillbilly to show his hunting license, and the hillbilly pulled out a valid West Virginia hunting license. The game warden looked at the license, then reached over and picked up one of the ducks, sniffed its butt, and said, “This duck ain’t from West Virginia. This is a Kentucky duck. You got a Kentuckey huntin’ license, boy?” The hillbilly reached into his wallet and produced a Kentucky hunting license.

The game warden looked at it, then reached over and grabbed the second duck, sniffed its butt, and said, “This ain’t no Kentucky duck. These ducks are from Tennessee. You got a Tennessee license?”

The hillbilly reached into his wallet and produced a Tennessee license. The warden then reached over and picked up the third duck, sniffed its butt, and said "This ain’t no Tennessee duck. This here duck’s from Virginia. You got Virginia huntin’ license?”

Again, the hillbilly reached into his wallet and brought out a Virginia hunting license. The game warden was extremely frustrated at this point, and he yelled at the hillbilly “Just where the hell are you from?

“The hillbilly turned around, bent over, dropped his pants, and said “You tell me, you’re the expert!!”

* * *

During her life, the photographer Lora Webb Nichols created and collected some 24,000 negatives documenting life in her small Wyoming town, whose fortunes boomed and then busted along with the region’s copper mines. See more of her photos:

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by David Bacon

Farmworkers in California labor camps see unprecedented rise in evictions. As growers bring in more H-2A workers, affordable housing for local farmworkers has become sparse.…

* * *

EVERY MAN IS THE SUM TOTAL of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on... So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything... The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all... We do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES. But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors...but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal... Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.

— Hunter S. Thompson (Book: Letters of Note

Hunter Thompson, October 1970, wearing a sheriffs badge as part of his campaign for Sheriff.

* * *



I can’t remember who wrote about giving up to $800 billion to people of color in California as reparations for past discrimination and suffering, but it seems it would take too long for most who qualify. It got me thinking about how to get something done faster. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

― Free K-12 and college tuition and books paid by the state.

― Return all lands seized by the state.

― End redlining.

― Guarantee equal pay and job benefits, across the board.

― Relax credit requirements for property purchases.

― Guarantee 7% interest rates on credit cards.

― Guarantee halved interest rates on home and property purchases.

― Reduced taxes on property for some extended period, perhaps two to three generations.

Many of these actions should also be taken for Native Americans and Hispanic American citizens.

Bart Burg


* * *

CHRIS SKYHAWK: me ex is a brit, went there a couple of times; I think this is probably the oddest sign i've ever seen.

* * *


by Lawrence Reichard

In February 2018, Nordic Aquafarms, a Norwegian company, burst onto Maine headlines, publicly announcing plans to build the world's largest land-based fish farm in my midcoast town of Belfast, population 6,700. At $500 million, it was arguably the biggest industrial project in Maine history. 

Maine media gushed. Politicians lined up for photo ops with well-dressed Norwegians. Maine's famed loggers sharpened their chainsaws. The Belfast City Council rammed through a zoning change despite written public comment that ran 140-0 against the rush job. And the Maine Department of Environmental Protection rolled over.

A year later Nordic announced plans to build a $400 million land-based industrial fish farm in Humboldt County, California. 

And now, five years and untold millions of dollars later, Nordic's Maine project lies in shambles.

On April 7, Nordic officially asked the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to suspend the permits for which Nordic's lawyers produced more than 1,000 pages of application material. But even a barnful of lawyers might not be enough to save Nordic as it faces no less than seven lawsuits. Ouch.

In a statement on Nordic's website, CEO Brenda Chandler whines, I mean shares: "(T)his pause will allow the courts to fully adjudicate the issues raised by project opponents without allowing the delay caused by the endless litigation to run the clock on the permits." As if it were unseemly to sue to to stop the destruction of mature forest, vital wetland and wildlife habitat, including that of the extraordinary - and threatened - bobolink bird, which, weighing in at all of 1-2 ounces, migrates 13,000 miles a year to southern South America and back. And to stop the dumping of 7.7 million gallons of warm fish effluent into the Gulf of Maine, the fastest-warming marine body of water in the world.

Nordic's fortunes took a decided turn for the worse February 16 when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Nordic doesn't own the intertidal land it needs to lay its saltwater intake and effluent discharge pipes. Nordic knew years ago that there was, at a minimum, considerable doubt over ownership of that land, but it failed to report this to the DEP, which - theoretically - requires clear title to all needed land before even entertaining any permit application. Theoretically. DEP knew of the well-documented doubt over Nordic ownership of the land, but buried its head deep in the sand.

Ironically, the intertidal land was for sale when Nordic first came to town, but apparently confident in the success of its hide-and-seek land-ownership subterfuge, it didn't. And that mistake then cost Nordic untold sums in legal bills. Oops.

Anticipating a Nordic loss before Maine's highest court, the Belfast City Council seized the land by eminent domain. But in Maine eminent domain can't be used for private purposes, so the city announced with great flourish plans for a 2.7-acre park, where the whole family could picnic alongside an industrial pump house. And Nordic would be allowed to lay its pipes just offshore from the park. With an effluent dispersal rate of 14 days, park-goers would enjoy bathing in 107.8 million gallons of warm effluent. And families would enjoy dodging 45-mile-an-hour traffic, with limited visibility, while crossing U.S. Route 1 from the park's parking to the park itself. 

The Belfast City Council apparently thinks its charges are sufficiently imbecilic to swallow this sham park scheme. And now facing a lawsuit over its park scam, the council is hoping Maine's courts prove equally daft.

There are other signs Nordic may have one foot out the door in Maine. After years of paying rent for a habitually vacant office in downtown Belfast, Nordic recently moved its alleged office to its ever more imperiled construction site. And in its DEP permit suspension request, Nordic didn't copy Ransom Consulting, its Maine engineering firm, leaving Nordic opponents wondering whether Nordic has cut Ransom loose, to help staunch its financial bleed-out in Belfast. With construction-sector inflation pushing Nordic's California tab to $650 million, and with Nordic issuing gleeful press releases every time it raises a few million bucks, one wonders how the company plans to raise the minimum of $1.15 billion it now needs for Maine and California. Can it find enough investors who have slept through the widespread reporting of its Belfast woes?

Meanwhile, Nordic is switching its European production from salmon to kingfish/yellowtail, and it may be doing the same in California. In announcing its Europe switch, Nordic cited more favorable kingfish market conditions. But Are Nylund of the University of Bergen, Norway, perhaps the world's foremost academic aquaculture expert, dismissed that explanation and told me by phone that land-based aquaculture has been unable to solve the problem of salmon disease. Nylund says Kingfish has similar problems, but not as much.

And in California, Nylund's words are echoed by Alison Willy, a retired fish and wildlife biologist with 40 years' experience. Willy actively opposes Nordic's California project and says flat out that Big Aqua, both land-based and sea pen, is currently unable to produce disease-free eggs - for any fish species.

Back in Maine, Nordic could effectively leave town while saying it's not. The company could say that given market conditions it's putting Belfast on hold, to focus on California. But with evidence mounting that Nordic may be woefully short of cash, it may make little sense for the company to leave the light on.

(Lawrence Reichard is a freelance writer and editor in Belfast, Maine. He can be reached at

* * *

* * *

THERE ARE ONLY TEN OF US and there are ten million fighting somewhere in front of you, so get your onions up and we will throw up a truce flag. He eats like a little sausage baloney maker… the sidewalk was in trouble and the bears were in trouble and I broke it up… my gilt-edges stuff and those dirty rats have tuned in… Please, Mother. You pick me up now… a boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kiln… please crack down on the Chinaman’s friend and Hitler’s commander. Mother is the best bet, and don’t let Satan draw you too fast. I am half-crazy. They won’t let me get up. They dyed my shoes. Give me something. I am so sick. Give me some water, the only thing that I want. 

— The last words of Dutch Schultz

* * *

I WILL NOT SERVE that in which I no longer believe and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can. 

— James Joyce 

* * *

DON’T YOU DARE BLAME JOE BIDEN As America Faces Changing Tides On Global Stage

by Michael Goodwin

The geopolitical plates are shifting violently as China and Russia form a new axis of evil and once-reliable allies are moving away from the United States and toward our adversaries.

Even a major NATO member is openly rejecting American leadership on Taiwan.

But don’t even think about blaming any of this on Joe Biden.

The world is churning but the buck never, ever stops on his desk.

The latest example of his media free pass appears via a front-page New York Times article that bemoans what it calls a “dearth of diplomacy.”

“Bargaining tables sit empty these days. Shuttle diplomacy planes have been grounded. Treaties are more likely to be broken than brokered,” writer Peter Baker declares.

Before the reader gets any ideas that all these empty roads lead to the befuddled man in the Oval Office, Baker assures that “Mr. Biden fervently believes in deal making,” then ticks off a series of hot spots where the president couldn’t make a deal, such as with Iran, or didn’t make an effort, such as pretty much everywhere else.

“It is widely considered futile to even try to end the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict or negotiate with North Korea at this point,” Baker writes.

“The Russians have suspended the New START treaty, the last major Russian-American arms control agreement, and there appears to be little prospect for diplomacy to halt the fighting in Ukraine in the near term.”

The deal-making drought includes the economic front, where “Mr. Biden opted against rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sweeping free trade pact negotiated by a previous administration he belonged to, nor is he pursuing any other major free trade agreement, making him the first president not to do so in four decades.”

Baker is a skilled Washington hand and more a survivor than a participant of the Times’ shift to far-left activism, so he cleverly damns Biden with faint praise.

But he’s also careful not to dig too deeply into the cause of this litany of futility, settling for quotes from a former diplomat and others who cite this era as especially difficult for deal-making and the fact that big agreements happen slowly.

All true — and yet obviously incomplete.

The real questions are ones that Baker never touches: Why is this happening on Biden’s watch? And don’t great leaders write history instead of being victims of it?

After all, Baker concedes that Donald Trump secured the historic Abraham Accords in the Mideast and a new and improved NAFTA trade deal, while failing to get a new trade deal with China.

That’s far more than Biden has done or even tried.

So what’s the problem?

The answer is something else Baker can’t or won’t say: Biden is the weakest president America has had since Jimmy Carter and the world knows it.

That single fact explains why China, Russia and Iran are making common cause like never before.

They refuse to make deals with the US because they don’t see any reason to make concessions to what they view as a declining power.

They act without fearing our reaction.

The same can be said about why Saudi Arabia and others are pulling away from America’s embrace.

They neither fear nor trust Biden and obviously don’t believe that following America’s lead is in their best interest.

Instead, they are tilting toward China, a rising power instead of a declining one.

Take two other stunning recent examples.

French President Emmanuel Macron, after a visit to China while the Communist nation was conducting attack drills against Taiwan, said Europe has no interest in pushing the conflict over the island and should become a “third pole” independent of Washington and Beijing.

In an interview with French and American media outlets, Macron said that “the worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and adapt to the American rhythm or a Chinese overreaction.”

Making it clear that Taiwan and China’s other neighbors are on their own, he said Europe “should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren’t ours.”

It was a pandering performance, no doubt exactly what Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted to hear.

Nor is the timing irrelevant.

Enormously unpopular at home, Macron can’t risk international trouble, so he rides the strong horse on the global stage. For most of the post-war years, that horse was America.

Not now.

Had Macron been afraid of Biden’s reaction, he would have stayed home or not advertised his greater fear of China.

It’s possible other NATO members will follow France’s lead in giving China a green light.

Given that a number have provided little to no aid to Ukraine in a war in their own neighborhood, it wouldn’t be shocking if they turned their backs on Taiwan.

Another example of an ally shifting allegiance involves Egypt.

The failure of the Pentagon to keep its secrets is causing trouble with a number of partners, including South Korea, but the Egypt case is especially shocking.

One of the leaked intelligence documents reveals that President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, a major recipient of US aid, including military aid, wanted to secretly produce 40,000 rockets and ship them to Russia to be used against Ukraine.

According to the Washington Post, the document reflects talks between Sisi and top military aides where they also discuss plans to supply Russia with artillery rounds and gunpowder.

The conversation includes Sisi’s order that the aid be kept secret “to avoid problems with the West.”

The document is dated Feb. 17, but seven weeks later, there’s been no comment from the White House on whether the US objected or if the shipment to Russia happened.

In each of these examples, the details matter, but not as much as the trend.

Around the world, America’s hold on the alliances it created decades ago is slipping and new alliances are forming against us.

It’s dangerous and terrible, but don’t you dare blame Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, the Democrats’ choice of Chicago as the site of their 2024 convention is a head-scratcher.

Normally each party picks a city in a swing state or one where it can showcase a rising-star mayor.

Illinois is a deep-blue state and Chicago is a crime-ridden danger zone.

Voters just fired their Dem mayor and elected one whose policies could make things even worse by next year.

So why Chicago?


* * *

* * *


Two videos have emerged on social media in the past week that purport to show beheaded Ukrainian soldiers. President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine will not "forget anything," as the country's security service announced a war crimes investigation. The leader of Russia's Wagner group denied being behind the video.

The highly classified leaked Pentagon documents suggest a pessimistic US view of the war's progress in Ukraine and predict a stalemate for months to come.

The Kremlin said that a new bill allowing for the electronic delivery of military draft papers is meant to streamline registration — but strict rules would also make it harder for Russians to evade conscription. The bill now heads to President Vladimir Putin's desk.

* * *

THE WAR IN UKRAINE continues without mercy. Like every war in my lifetime (and like almost every war in history), the day-to-day media coverage of the conflict is a barely concealed combination of lies, exaggerations and nationalist propaganda. Beyond this are discussions of the weaponry and projections of their efficiency in killing humans and destroying their habitat. This is true no matter if one is consuming western media or Russian media. Of course, there are varying levels of censorship involved in each nation’s media, as well. For example, no major mainstream media outlet in the United States seems willing to allow any calls for an end to arms shipments or even negotiations. In addition, any coverage of a small but growing antiwar movement have been mostly kept from the public. 

— Ron Jacobs

* * *

* * *

ALL THIS BICKERING and squabbling about whose voice should be uplifted as trustworthy and whose voice should be squelched as untrustworthy is just a manifestation of the fact that powerful people understand something most ordinary members of the public do not: that whoever controls the narrative controls the world. If you can exert control over the way people perceive reality, then you can control reality itself.

Until the public becomes more aware of this fact, our lives will be subject to the whims of oligarchs, government agencies, and mass media propagandists. Not until then will we be able to awaken from our propaganda-induced coma enough to shake off the psychological manipulations which keep us marching to the tune of oligarchy and empire, and use the power of our numbers to force the emergence of a healthy world that benefits us all.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *


  1. Eric Sunswheat April 13, 2023

    RE: Tropical Fruits: Grapes

    —> October 29, 2022
    Summer Harvest of 2022: Culinary Uses and Nutritional Benefits of Hawaii’s Grapes. When you have time check out our two latest short Summer grape videos on our youtube channel. “Picking Summer Grapes” and “Under the Tamiami.” at

    After you set out your vine it will take at least three years to see any production. Remember grapes grow very vigorously in the subtropics, and will need to be pruned yearly for good grape production…

    Many but not all seedless varieties are vinifera grapes grown mostly in Europe or California and are for wine making. We have been experimenting with subtropical varieties that all have seeds. So let’s look at the seed itself from a nutritional perspective.

    Research shows, grape seeds are full of important nutrients and have many health benefits. Grape seeds are edible and safe for eating everyday. Grape seeds are rich in vitamin E, linoleic acid, and powerful antioxidants.

  2. Grapes April 13, 2023

    Online Comment

    To put the entire blame on the helping professionals, for not doing enough to save this woman’s life is preposterous.

    • Marmon April 13, 2023

      Most helping professionals have lost their way. Their priority is helping themselves. One of the most troubling ethical dilemma I ever experienced was what came first, the client or the agency. The agency always wins.


      • Marmon April 13, 2023

        Like I’ve always said, “If we did our jobs right we would run out of work”.


    • Lee Edmundson April 13, 2023

      No human can save anyone intent upon killing themselves. Either quickly or slowly. Death is the end game of life, one way or ‘tuther. We all eventually go on the journey from which no one returns.
      We go peacefully or kicking and screaming. hurling ourselves off bridges or dying in our sleep. Death is all around us, everyday, in every manner.
      “The horror, horror, horror”… Col. Kurtz’s last words. So true.
      Hate to be a Cassandra, but we’re born here to live and to, finally, die here. Hopefully after enjoying a full, productive and fully enjoyable life.
      For some — perhaps many — not so much.
      We’re not living in the south Sudan. Or Syria. Or Ukraine. Or Myanmar. Or any of the other over a dozen locales currently experiencing warfare, drought, starvation, violent oppression. We are not the women of Iran or Saudi Arabia.
      Our Shangri-La is here. And it has become ugly, and impossible to solve.
      I am retired from public life now, but study events of the world , our country and County assiduously.
      We’re never gonna be able to prevent those who decide to drive here to throw themselves off the Albion River Bridge. Just as we’re completely unable to prevent two women with foster kids from driving their car off the cliff up in Westport. Life happens. Death happens. All the time. Every day. For the rest of our lives. Get used to it being so.
      Crazy is a facet of this life. I’m uncertain one can save crazy. But we can try. We must try. Our humanity, I believe, demands we do so. But most times, we will fail. But we should fail grandly.
      Our County should follow the example of Fort Bragg: Get mobile mental health units in the field. Now. It has been mandated, now demand them.
      Mental health crisis happens first slowly, then suddenly. Vulnerable individuals need help now. Now is the time to act. Let’s go.

      • Chuck Dunbar April 13, 2023

        Interesting, admirable post, Lee. I especially believe the reality and truth of your last lines, beginning with “Crazy is a facet of this life. I’m uncertain one can save crazy. But we can try…” Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Stephen Rosenthal April 13, 2023

    BREAKING NEWS: Still feeling the sting of being outsmarted at every attempt to bully Disney Corporation into submission, Governor Ron DeSantis has turned his attention to controlling Mother Nature. He has banned rainbows in Florida.

    • Chuck Dunbar April 13, 2023

      Soon, Stephen, he’ll be after unicorns and teddy bears. Seriously, this guy–soul-less ambition for power personified–scares me. He is an authoritarian at heart, and is exactly what America does not need or deserve.

  4. Chuck Dunbar April 13, 2023


    “$90,000 FOR A WASHER/DRYER?”– Mark Scaramella nicely describes this BOS meeting exchange marked by the usual verbosity. Nice to see our old pal Maxwell Smart used so fittingly here. And Mark is right in that the actual details of the project proposal he found in his reporting clearly justifies the cost. “Just the facts, ma’am,” as another old pal, Joe Friday, would have, a bit wearily, pleaded.

    • Lazarus April 13, 2023

      I don’t get my hands dirty with the type of bidding/estimate process anymore.
      But since I was in the contracting business for 50 years, worked for several government entities, and dealt with prevailing wages, the time invested in getting a government job, and then realizing that the contract you submit means nothing to protect you legally; And the document you get forced to sign that the government presents has nothing to do with your rights and everything to do with them. Mr. Williams and company are getting a pretty good deal.
      Then again, the County could go to a local laundromat or hire a laundry service.

      • Marmon April 13, 2023

        I don’t understand the cost. There are several small offices on the backside of the bathroom walls where all the plumbing is. The bathrooms are extremely large and already have showers in them. Converting one of those offices to a laundry room would be easy and relatively cheap compared to the 90,000 dollar gold plated laundry room they’re pushing on the tax payers. The outside electrical service box for the entire building is just about 15 feet from the bathrooms, just down the hall and out the backdoor. What a scam, I wonder who’s get the kickback?


  5. Whyte Owen April 13, 2023

    Re. Blaming Biden, or any other executive: Check out Tolstoy’s take on Napoleon in his War and Peace epilogue.

  6. Marmon April 13, 2023

    After leading one of the league’s most dramatic recent turnarounds, Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown has been voted the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year.


    • peter boudoures April 13, 2023

      Gp2 will slow down fox. Warriors in 5

      • Marmon April 13, 2023

        De’Aaron Fox has long been regarded as the fastest player in the NBA. It’s going to be a big challenge for GP2.


  7. Marco McClean April 13, 2023

    Here’s an idea for public records. Put all the digitized public records in a database available to all via the county’s website. When someone requests records not already digitized, the office worker would pull the records, drop them through two-sided scanner, and enter them into the searchable database. One minute, tops. That would solve both the immediate problem and the long-term one, and it would cost no more than what they’re doing now. No record would ever have to be pulled more than once. And the first step in accessing records at the website would be for a citizen to see if what they want isn’t already right there staring them in the face, which it probably is. They click on it and have it.

    • Grapes April 13, 2023


      Last week, I met with a group from the Bay Area, via zoom.
      At the end of the meeting, we went around, and shared some final thoughts. A former Nurse pointed out four of us had mentioned our grown daughters experiencing great difficulty with us, or in their personal lives.

  8. Craig Stehr April 13, 2023

    Hanging Out In the Heart Space Online Satsang – April 13, 2023

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