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Mendocino County Today: Friday, April 21, 2023

Sunny | Wildflower Show | Dandelion | Help Garth | Poppies | Sales Tax | Dot Signing | Mental Hospitals | Killer Lawns | Farming Challenges | AV Brewfest | Must Sell | Women Strong | Street Value | CAMP History | Book Chat | 420 Skunk | Stolen Sisters | Boontling Classic | Meyer v Skunk | New Doctor | Artists Alley | AV Stories | Headliner Norfleet | Buck Clark | Yesterday's Catch | Cancer Cure | Favorite Photo | Missed Diagnosis | Hunger | Warriors Win | African Cherokees | Boxing Demo | Cannabis Edibles | Facebook Wall | Dem HUAC | Current Events

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DRY WEATHER and above normal daytime temperatures are forecast to prevail through much of next week. (NWS)

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by Miriam Martiez

The Anderson Valley Unity Club's Garden Section presents our Annual Wildflower Show Coming to June Hall in the Fairgrounds on April 22nd & 23rd from 10 to 4. Admission is FREE!

Starring the most beautiful Wildflowers on the Redwood Coast hills. There will be lovingly propagated plants for sale. Bring in your specimens from your yard to have them ID'd. See the student Art exhibit. Learn from the folks at the California Native Plants table.Have a cup of tea and a snack at the Tea Room (by the Teen Center). Other beverages are also available. See the wondrous gifts you might bring home from the Silent Auction table.

As a special treat the Lending Library will be open special hours on the 22nd, from 10 to 2. Check out our new books, or adopt a pre-owned: 50¢ for paperbacks or $1 for hardbound.

No matter what interests you, you'll find it at the Wildflower Show, Saturday & Sunday, April 22nd and 23rd, from 10 'til 4 in June Hall, Fairgrounds. Admission is FREE.

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"Those of you that know me probably already know that I'm currently hospitalized at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. I'm being treated for AML, acute myeloid leukemia. The treatment is going well; I expect a complete recovery.

The complication is that my treatment requires several back and forth trips to and from Sacramento and the Coast. The long long drive is a burden on my GF. I'm not supposed to drive in my current, low hemoglobin, state. I'm hoping to find people who make the trek with some regularity so I can tag along when needed.

I can't afford to hire a professional driver, but I can pay for gas.

I don't have a specific schedule at this point, as everything is dependent on variables like my white blood cell count. There will be one trip back to Mendo in roughly a week. Then a round trip in the May 20-somethings, and two more round trips a little further down the time line.

If there's any chance that you might be able to help with any of the legs of this journey, please email me off-list.

For anyone interested in my progress, I've been doing a little news/journal thing on my blog:


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California Poppies, South State St., Ukiah (Jeff Goll)

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by Mike Geniella

Sales tax revenue continues to slip in the city of Ukiah, the region’s retail hub, and Mendocino County as a whole, presenting new challenges for local government agencies.

Ukiah city officials said they expect a $1 million shortfall in sales tax revenue for the fiscal year ending July 1 from what was originally projected.

“This year’s budget will be more about needs than wants,” said Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley.

The latest tax report shows the city’s overall sales tax revenue declined a sharp 9.5 % during the fourth quarter of 2022 from a year before, signaling a sluggish local economy that is still buffered by inflation and big declines in spending related to the county’s struggling cannabis industry.

Sales in garden and agricultural supply businesses, for example, plunged 12.6 % in the city and 11 % countywide compared to a statewide average decline of 5.4 %, according to the latest sales tax update provided to city and county officials. An even sharper drop in spending in sporting goods and recreational stores was pegged at 18.2 % in the city and 17 % in the county, compared to a statewide average of 4.4 %.

Underscoring the North Coast region’s sagging economy was the fact that there was only one reported increase in sales tax revenues for the city of Ukiah and only two countywide – service stations and drug stores - compared to eight sales tax revenue increases posted statewide in the 10 spending categories tracked.

The city registered a single increase in sales tax revenue, and that was at service stations. It was a meager .6 % rise compared to 1.4 % for the county, and paled compared to a jump of 7.5 % at service stations statewide.

The sales tax updates cover the final three months of 2022, typically the biggest spending period for consumers. 

The updates show a local economic slowdown continues at a pace greater than throughout the North Coast region in general and statewide, according to the statistics supplied by HDL Companies, a Southern California firm that specializes in compiling sales tax revenue for government agencies statewide.

HDL in its latest report noted that while sales tax revenue was off in Ukiah in all but one category, statewide the local one cent sales and use tax receipts for sales during the months of October through December were 4.7 % higher than the same quarter a year before.

Statewide, HDL found that “a holiday shopping quarter, the most consequential sales period of the year, experienced solid results which lifted revenue to local agencies across the state.”

But not in Ukiah, and Mendocino County. 

HDL found that actual sales in Ukiah were down 5.9 %, and taxable countywide sales dropped 6 % over the comparable time period. Neighboring counties suffered a 3.6 %  decline in comparison, according to HDL.

HDL said the local and statewide outlook for the remainder of the year looks bleak.

“Heading into 2023, additional interest rate hikes along with consumer sentiment waning about the economy foretells minimal change ahead from California’s taxable sales in the months ahead,” its report concluded.

Mendocino County’s overall budget status is murky, and how declining sales tax revenue affects its financial status is unclear. County officials are bogged down in confusing budget delays, uncertainty about accuracy of revenue projections, and a sharp shrinkage in the local cannabis industry because of chronic questions about a local regulatory framework. 

City officials are more confident. Deputy City Manager Riley said Ukiah in general tends to “weather economic situations well because of our diversified tax base, and the fact that we are a regional hub for such a large geographic area.”

“Even in tough times people come to Ukiah for medical needs, education, legal and business services, and general necessities,” said Riley. 

Riley said the city has been fiscally conservative for several years and has healthy cash reserves in order to meet any financial crunch.

Still, Riley said there is no doubt that the ‘crash’ in the local cannabis industry is taking its toll across the board in retail pot sales, garden, and farming supplies, and in auto sales. 

“The Emerald Triangle is experiencing a very different economy than the state overall,” said Riley.

HDL researchers in a special report entitled ‘Cannabis Supply and Demand in 2023’ released two weeks ago declared “California’s cannabis industry is not dead, and it’s not dying. It’s just realizing that the market is not large enough to support everyone hoping to get a slice of the piece.” 

 “With every new market, comes inevitable corrections. California’s cannabis isn’t dying. It’s just not as large as people thought,” HSL told its clients.

HDL said the current situation reflects a harsh fact that small cannabis growers on the North Coast face stiff competition from big companies elsewhere.

HDL said based upon “rough estimates, the 20 largest cultivation companies are capable of producing over 2.6 pounds of (cannabis) flower per year, enough to supply the entire statewide market.”

“This is not unique to the cannabis industry,” concluded HDL.

HDL said there are more than 11,000 wineries in the U.S., but that the 50 biggest companies alone represent more than 90 percent of domestic wine sold by volume. Same is true with the brewing industry. Nationally there was 9,247 breweries, but most of them share just 13 % of the total market, according to HDL.

“California’s cannabis industry is being shaped by the same free market forces that shape other industries, with the predictable result of concentrating market share into the hands of a few large companies,” according to HDL.

In short, HDL found that “It is likely that independent small (cannabis) businesses will continue to struggle as they compete for some small percentage of the market.”

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Author Signing on Independent Bookstore Day

Saturday, April 29, 2023, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Gallery Bookshop, Main and Kasten Sts., Mendocino

Join author Dot Brovarney on Saturday April 29 at Mendocino’s Gallery Bookshop, where she will sign copies of her new book from noon to 2:00 p.m. Mendocino Refuge: Lake Leonard & Reeves Canyon follows a cast of tough-as-leather characters who have peopled this wild canyon fed by Mendocino County’s largest natural lake. For more information about the publication, go to

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Until and unless they bring back State mental hospitals nothing can be done. It is sad that the standard for deciding that someone is mentally competent is if they know their name.

Allowing folks with drug or mental problems to the point of incompetence should not be allowed to roam freely in a civilized society. It is cruelty beyond belief. Not only can they not care for themselves. They spread trash and disease, foul the creeks, watersheds and wetlands. They cause many fires, and many of the first responder calls are because of the needs of the mentally incompetent and homeless. 

Being old enough to have seen how well mental hospitals worked I know what is possible. When faced with cleaning up their lives or getting to be incarcerated until they do got a lot of lives back on track and become productive people again.

A lot of mental problems can be relieved with proper drugs, but they need to be kept in a facility until they can handle reality.

I normally don’t comment on these kind of subjects, but having been a first responder for 39 years and having had family members helped in the state hospital back in the day. I feel that I have a very valid opinion.

Good luck with your quest.

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It's been a long tough winter into spring for us so far this year. Even the chickens felt out of joint and delayed their laying. They've only just started to produce the quantities usually associated with spring and which normally peak around Easter. Only now are we seeing some spring-like weather with many of the fruit trees and shrubs starting to flower. The tomato, pepper and eggplant starts in the greenhouse are stepped up and ready to be planted out but the cold nights and mornings and windy days are keeping them back.

Many parts of California have had a much more difficult, and in many cases dangerous, winter/spring than we. In some places the snow-pack in the Sierra is 70' and many homes have become snow caves while a number of roofs have collapsed from the weight. What's developing right now in the Central Valley, one of the country's prime produce sources, is crucial to the food supply of this country. A longdry lake has returned to life and is threatening to take back the farmland from Sacramento to Bakersfield by drowning towns and fields. It has just started to fill from the "atmospheric rivers" we've recently experienced. The snow-pack hasn't yet melted but when it does, most rivers and streams flow to the central valley so the lake will be vast, and deeper than in the past since the extreme farming over the years has depleted the water table below it causing the land to sink. Welcome back Tulare Lake which 150 years ago was called the largest lake west of the Mississippi and an inland sea. Engineers are at work right now raising dikes and creating drains, but nature has a way of her own.

How do you enlighten people to focus on what's important to life? Food and water come to mind as the foremost concerns. Humans are experts in distraction, deception, dissembling and disinformation none of which fools Mother Nature who could give a damn. Her methods are simple, clear and forceful, straight to the heart of the matter. She wants balance and equanimity and shuns our crazed attempts at divisiveness and distraction. She will get her way at a huge price to us. That said, Spring has finally begun to bloom in Anderson Valley. Very tentatively so far, but beautiful as always. Below are a few pictures of what's blooming on the farm, although the weather is still too random to plant out the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants waiting in the wings.

Take care of each other and enjoy the good things and work to change the bad.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg


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Anderson Valley Brewing Company's 2023 Legendary Boonville Beer Festival To Be Held on Saturday, April 29 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds

Anderson Valley Brewing Company (AVBC) will be hosting its annual Boonville Beer Festival on Saturday, April 29 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. Now in its 25th year, this legendary Northern California craft beer event has donated over $1.7 million to local charities.

Featuring more than 80 breweries, two live music stages, and a stellar lineup of local food vendors, the Boonville Beer Festival gates and taps will open at 1:00 pm and close at 5:00 pm.

Tickets for this year's event cost $55/person if purchased before April 29 and $65/person if purchased the day of (April 29). Designated driver tickets are $5/person. Tickets are only available for purchase online. This is a 21 and over event including designated drivers.

Saved by the Beer! Throwing it back to the 90s, this year's Boonville Beer Festival theme celebrates a decade that smelled like Teen Spirit and tasted like Hot Pockets. Guests are encouraged to break out their best 90s threads and head to the Mendocino Redwoods to enjoy a full day of live music, local eats, and the state's top craft beers.

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Excitement is building for the next 100+ Women Strong of Inland Mendocino County Gathering on Thursday, May 4, 5:30-7:00 pm, at Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley. Attendance is open to anyone who wants to participate in giving a financial boost to an inland Mendocino County nonprofit.

The three nonprofits presenting are Laytonville Healthy Start, Hospice of Ukiah, and Ukiah Valley Association for Habilitation.

Laytonville Healthy Start is home to an extensive list of services for families, teens, and anyone in the community who needs assistance. It was started in 1997 primarily to assist children attending Laytonville Schools. Laytonville Healthy Start runs the Drug Free Community program, providing alcohol and other drug services, and assistance with health care and child abuse and neglect. Today, the Center is the go-to organization for the entire rural community as a resource for transportation services, services for adults and seniors and affordable childcare and housing in the Laytonville area. And during snowed-in days of the past winter, Healthy Start stepped up to house stranded families.

Hospice of Ukiah's mission is to provide end of life and comfort care, free of charge, to everyone in our community who needs it. Serving Ukiah, Calpella, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Hopland, Talmage, Anderson Valley, and Willits, Hospice of Ukiah is completely supported by the community in the form of Donations, Grants, Bequests, and the earnings from our Thrift & Gift Store. Since its founding in 1980, volunteers with Hospice of Ukiah continue to care for terminally ill patients who choose to fight their disease with chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis etc. The organization has since added Palliative Care-to support patients and their families who were not terminally ill. Their problems include old age debility, dementia, emphysema, renal disease, cardio-pulmonary disease, etc.

The Ukiah Valley Association for Habilitation helps people with disabilities meet their full potential as productive citizens in the greater Ukiah community. Their three major programs are co-sponsored by the Ukiah Unified School District Adult School. The Rural Adult Program is designed to help attain maximum independence. Mayacama Industries is an employment and vocational training program, which along with Mayacama Employment Service assists individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency and vocational independence through its job placement and support. Learning Independence from Experience (L.I.F.E.) is designed to serve adults with developmental or other disabilities and 18-22 year old students in their last year of school who want to be fully included in work and community life.

At the 100+ Women Strong Gathering, each Non-Profit will have five minutes to speak and five minutes for the audience to ask questions. After hearing from each of the speakers, everyone who has made a hundred dollars donation will cast a vote for the nonprofit of their choice. The non-profit with the most votes will walk away with at least $10,000.

100+ Women Strong is an inclusive all-volunteer group. Anyone interested in attending the gathering and hearing from three nonprofits doing indispensable work in our community is welcome. To register, each attendee pledges a hundred dollars on the 100+ Mendocino Women Grapevine website via <> Click the "Become a Member" button. Already more than seven thousand dollars have been pledged.

100+ Women Strong for Inland Mendocino County was spearheaded in 2019 by Katie Fairbairn and twenty volunteers. Previous winners include NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), Cancer Resources of Mendocino County, Ukiah Valley Trails Group, NCO Gardens Project, Caring Kitchen, Project Sanctuary, the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County, Northern California Disaster Services, and KZYX Community Radio. More than a hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars has been raised to support local nonprofits.

For more information and to become a member of 100+Women Strong for Inland Mendocino County check the website Or call Karen Christopherson, 707-272-5570.

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ON THIS 4/20, REMEMBER THE RAIDS, ARMED AGENTS, and California’s warning to growers: ‘You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide’

by Matt LeFever

As the day dawns on 4/20 and cannabis is celebrated the world round, take a moment to consider a moment captured 34 years ago.

It was the summer of 1988 and the cannabis growers of the Emerald Triangle had become attuned to the thwock-thwock of helicopters and growl of diesel engines that preceded raids conducted by armed agents. Dozens of armed men in tactical gear would chop down their plants. Their income would be reduced to compost in hours.

The Campaign Against Marijuana Program, a united effort between state, local, and federal law enforcement, was formalized in 1983 and dedicated to eradicating black-market cannabis.

An annual report from that year celebrated that after five years of work agents had conducted over 3,600 raids throughout the Golden State and destroyed “1,600 tons of marijuana worth over $1.9 billion”.

California Attorney General Van de Kemp is quoted in the report telling CAMP leaders at a conference that cannabis growers are now getting the message: “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

Police militarization has come under the microscope in our era of accountability. An image from the 1988 report demonstrates CAMP had framed itself as soldiers fighting a war worth-fighting.

A scrum of uniformed men in the dry heat of NorCal summer stands atop a pile of cannabis, raising California’s Bear Republic flag above. Evoking the historic image of soldiers raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima, these CAMP agents framed a photo that communicated force, strength, and dominance.

Now, 34 years later, California is paying grants to cannabis growers that were once raided by CAMP. The Emerald Triangle’s growers are navigating a legal market governed by state actors while the old-timers acutely remember struggling to feed their families after CAMP paid them a visit.

We’ve come a long way since that time. As cannabis gains acceptance and legalization, the outlaw era could seem quaint and old-fashioned. Today, if you are celebrating cannabis, remember our community’s close connections to America’s War on Drugs.


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I recently listened to the audio versions of two bestselling books from the San Francisco Public Library.

Don’t have have time for a proper review, just a few words, and am attaching links to the books’ web pages if anyone is interested.

’Palo Alto,’ by Malcolm Harris

Why should anyone care about the history of an affluent Bay Area suburb? Well, because it’s California history. Palo Alto morphed into Silicon Valley and became one of the centers of global capitalism.

Harris is decidedly left wing. This is the story of how the tech bros and venture capitalists of Palo Alto are actually following in the footsteps of railroad baron Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University. He draws a direct line between the capitalists of the past and present.

The book starts off with the Spanish conquistadors, and then the gold rush, the railroads, the founding of Bank of America in San Francisco, both World Wars, the Cold War, leading to the rise of the CIA and the security state, and consumer technology. Harris’ thesis is that racism and labor exploitation are built into the system each step of the way.

Harris proposes that the large global corporations have always been aligned with each other, rather than being loyal to any country. After WWII, the large corporations of Germany and Japan had not suffered as much damage as expected, and were rebuilt quickly with the help of US corporate interests.

Then Harris leads us into the modern day, with sections on Lockheed, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Palantir, and others.

I grew up in Cupertino, not far from Palo Alto, and watched it change from apricot orchards to Silicon Valley, so this book really hit home. (I can imagine Bruce saying “you had me at left wing,” LOL.)

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’The Deluge,’ by Stephen Markley.

An ambitious, long novel about Earth’s looming climate disaster. It has a huge cast of characters, and takes place from the 2010s to the 2040s. The beginning of the book names real politicians, corporations, and actual global events, then it turns into disaster fiction, describing extreme climate crises. Venal politicians protect the wealthy, who are insulated from most of the problems. Fires, floods, tornados, and hurricanes are vividly depicted. I would be surprised if a script for a streaming TV series is not already in the works.

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On First Friday, May 5, Women in Black will stand at 5 p.m. corner of Main and Laurel, Fort Bragg

Our focus will be Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Our state, and county, have declared May 5 a day of recognition and awareness of this ongoing horror in Native communities.

We will wear red. I have a few red t-shirts (Size L), short sleeved, cotton. NO MORE STOLEN SISTERS #MMIW is printed on front. Personal message me if you would like a shirt at bargain price of $5.00. Wear it all that day, join us if you can.

Lorna Dennis

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THE BOONTLING CLASSIC is less than 3 WEEKS AWAY! Register now by clicking the link or scanning the QR code in the attached flyer and sign up to receive an awesome locally printed t-shirt before they sell out! 

Every race participant is entered in the post-race drawing where amazing prizes await: bottles of wine from local vineyards such as Toulouse, Witching Stick and Philo Ridge, organic apple juice from the Apple Farm, gift certificates for dinner at the Boonville Hotel and Beehunter, wine-tastings at Disco Ranch and Goldeneye, and many, many more!

We're very excited to see you all at the race!

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WILLITS RESIDENT JOHN MEYER came close to bankruptcy resisting Mendocino Railway's attempt to take his property by eminent domain. Today, he won his case in court.

"The court concludes that MR has failed to meet its burden of establishing that its attempt to acquire Meyer’s property through eminent domain is supported by constitutional and statutory powers. The court finds in favor of Meyer."

— Jade Tippett

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JOHN MEYER; MARYELLEN SHEPPARD; REDWOOD EMPIRE TITLE COMPANY OF MENDOCINO COUNTY; SHEPPARD INVESTMENTS; MENDOCINO COUNTY TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR; all other persons unknown claiming and interest in the property; and DOES 1 through 100 inclusive, Defendants. 

Case No.: SCUK-CVED-2020-74939 

Decision After Trial 

Trial Dates: 8/23,24,24,29 and 11/10/22 

This matter came on regularly for trial on August 23, 2022, and after a short delay concluded on 11/10/22. Plaintiff Mendocino Railway (“MR”) was present through its President Robert Pinoli (“Pinoli”) and represented by Glenn L. Block. Stephen Johnson appeared on behalf of John Meyer (“Meyer”) who was also present. No other Defendant was required to appear. After trial, the parties were granted the opportunity to submit written closing briefs and reply briefs. The matter was submitted on February 8, 2022. In this case, Plaintiff seeks to acquire through eminent domain a 20-acre parcel owned by Meyer. The property is located west of the town of Willits and abuts Highway 20. It is known as 1401 West Highway 20 and Mendocino County Assessor Parcel Number 038-180-53. (“Property”). It is alleged by MR that it wants the property to construct and maintain a rail facility related to its ongoing and future freight and passenger rail operations. 

Relevant Facts 

Robert Pinoli, the President, and Chief Executive Officer of MR was the only witness who testified at trial. He testified that MR is a privately held corporation that owns and operates a railroad line commonly known as the “California Western Railroad” (“CWR”) which is also most known as the “Skunk Train.” In 2002, CWR filed a petition in Bankruptcy Court under Subchapter IV (Railroad Reorganization) of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Sierra Railroad Company (SRC), a holding company without carrier status was the successful bidder for the assets of CWR. SRC then formed Mendocino Railway, also a non-carrier, as a holding company to acquire the assets of CWR. The Articles of Incorporation for MR do not reflect the intent to operate as a railroad. Rather, the Articles simply state that “The purpose of the corporation is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a corporation may be organized under the General Corporation Law of California…”: According to Pinoli, MR was a holding company and a “non-carrier” intending to initially operate CWR with the help of its affiliated entities, Sierra Northern Railway (a class III carrier) (SNR) , Midland Railroad Enterprises Corporation (a railroad construction and track maintenance company) (MREC) and Sierra Entertainment (a tourism entertainment and passenger operations company) (SE), all subsidiaries of SRC. MR certified that its projected revenues would not exceed revenue regulations that would render a designation other than a Class III rail carrier. A class III carrier is one that is a small or midsized railroad company that operates over a relatively short distance. (See Surface Transportation Board Notice of Exemption. (EX21). There was no designation of MR’s status by the STB offered by MR. MR acquired CWR in 2004 when it purchased its assets through bankruptcy and operated it as a non-carrier. 

The railroad line is approximately 40 miles in length and runs from its main station in the City of Fort Bragg to its eastern depot in the City of Willits. According to Pinoli the Fort Bragg Station is developed as a rail facility, with spur and siding tracks, a depot building, locomotives, passenger and freight cars, an engine house and storage facilities for its equipment. Presently, MR contends that it does not have adequate maintenance, repair and freight rail facilities to serve its ongoing operations at the Willits end of the line. MR contends that the acquisition of the Meyer property which is on the rail line will allow MR to fully operate its freight rail services with storage yards, maintenance, and repair shops, transload facilities, rail car storage capacity and a passenger depot. 

In 2015, there was a landslide in “Tunnel No.1” that has prevented the trains from running the full length of the line since that date. No transportation between Fort Bragg and Willits has occurred since the tunnel was closed. It will take considerable funds to repair the tunnel so that it can function and there is no specified time frame for its completion. 

MR concedes that currently its main function is the operation of a popular excursion train known as the Skunk Train for sightseeing purposes on the line through the redwoods. At present, the Skunk Train can leave the Willits station and travel west approximately 7.5 miles before turning around and traveling back to Willits. From Ft. Bragg, due to the tunnel collapse, the train can only travel east for 3.5 miles before it turns around and returns to Ft. Bragg. MR also operates motorized train bikes, and trail walks along the tracks. The excursion service generates ninety percent of MR’s income. The other ten percent of MR’s income is from leases and easement revenue. 

In 1998, the California Public Utilities Commission made findings regarding MR’s predecessor, CWRR regarding its status as a public entity. 1 The CPUC found that “[I]n providing its excursion service, CWRR is not functioning as a public utility, ….we conclude that CWRR’s excursion service should not be regulated by the CPUC.” (1988 Ca. PUC LEXIS 189 (1998). The CPUC through its counsel in 2022, concluded that MR is subject to inspections of railroad property as part of the Commission’s obligation to ensure the safe operation of all railroads in California. (Pub. Util. Code §309.7) MR is designated as a Class III Commission regulated railroad. The Class III designation relates to the safety regulations and does not mean that it advances MR’s status to public entity. MR does not dispute the 1998 findings and agrees that the term “transportation” for purposes of the public utility analysis excludes excursion services. Instead, according to Pinoli, MR is a public utility because it is a common carrier. 


1. Public Utility Status 

Article 1, Section 19 of the California Constitution and CCP§1240.010 specify that private property can be taken by eminent domain for public use. The power of eminent domain by a public entity or utility is balanced with its constitutional obligation to pay “just compensation” to the owner of the property interest being acquired. This power is clearly defined and limited to certain circumstances by statute. The appropriate entity’s right to take property must meet both constitutional and statutory limitations, to ensure the property owner of his or her right to be justly compensated for such taking. “The power of eminent domain may be exercised to acquire property for a particular use only by a person authorized by statute to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire such property for that use.” (CCP§1240.020.) 

MR claims that it is entitled to avail itself of the eminent domain statute because it is a railroad corporation, a common carrier and through its activities it qualifies as a public utility. 

Eminent Domain proceedings in the utility sector are permitted so long as the utility is a corporation or person that is a public entity. Public Utilities Code §610. A railroad corporation may condemn any property necessary for the construction and maintenance of its railroad. Public Utility Code §611. A railroad corporation includes every corporation or person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any railroad for compensation with this state. (See §230). PUC §229 provides that a “railroad” includes every commercial, interurban, and other railway…. owned, controlled, operated, or managed for public use in the transportation of persons or property.” By definition a “common carrier” means every person and corporation providing transportation for compensation to or for the public or any portion thereof, including every railroad corporation providing transportation for compensation. (See §211). The central issue in this case is whether MR can be deemed a public utility for purposes of this eminent domain proceeding. 

As stated above, MR operates a popular excursion train for sightseeing purposes on the line through the redwoods. MR also operates motorized train bikes and trail walks along its tract. Courts have defined and the parties do not dispute that “transportation” in the public utility context means “the taking up of persons or property at some point and putting them down at another.” City of St. Helena v Public Utilities Com. (2004) 119 Cal. App. 4th 793,902 (Quoting Golden Gate Scenic S.S. Lines, Inc. v Public Utilities Com. (1962) 57 Cal. 2d 373). Round trip excursions do not qualify as “transportation” under Section 211 of the Public Utilities Code. (City of St. Helena, supra). As stated above, MR does not dispute the 1998 findings of the CPUC and agrees that the term “transportation” for purposes of the public utility analysis excludes excursion services. 

Counsel for MR argues that “transportation” is not the only qualifier, but that the court should also interpret the term “provide” as it is stated Public Utilities Code §211. MR contends that to “provide” a service is to offer it by making the service available. In other words, MR should not be penalized simply because it is not transporting freight or passengers, it is the availability of the services that matters. MR argues that the “volume of service actually accepted by the public or a portion thereof is not relevant to whether the provider is a common carrier or any other kind of public utility.” Addressing the participation of the affiliate entities, MR alleges a further distinction between providing the service and performance of the service. MR argues that even though it was not a common carrier it made the service available and its affiliate entities which may have been recognized as common carriers performed the service until at least 2022 when MR took over the operations of SNR. Assuming the court accepts this distinction, the testimony demonstrates otherwise. 

A common carrier is a private or public utility that transports goods or people from one place to another for a fee. Unlike a private carrier, a public utility carrier makes no distinction in its customers as it is available to anyone willing to pay its fee. Pinoli testified that in addition to the excursion service, MR operates commuter passenger and freight services between Ft. Bragg and Willits and has been doing so since it purchased CWR in 2004. This testimony was later amended by Pinoli to reflect it was the affiliate entities SNR, MREC and Sierra Entertainment that performed the services through its own employees. Except for the excursion services, freight and passenger were minimal. This clarification came after Meyer discovered a Decision of the Railroad Retirement Act (45 U.S.C.§231 et seq.) and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (45 U.S.C.§351 et seq.). MR had requested the Board to re-consider whether it, along with Sierra Entertainment, would be required to pay into the respective funds when they were not employers as defined under the act. (CWRR had been terminated as an employer effective September 30, 2003.) MR was merely a holding company and had no employees and Sierra Entertainment only provided excursion services. The Board found that MR was not a carrier performing freight and passenger services between the time of its acquisition in 2004 when it took over operations from Sierra Northern Railway in 2022 and to date. The Board further advised that their opinion could change upon proof of MR’s carrier status. Pinoli agreed with this finding. 

Pinoli clearly testified that 90% of the railroad revenue comes from the excursion train activities. The other 10% of its revenue comes from leases and revenue. When questioned, Pinoli finally clarified that MR did not actually perform common carrier services between the time it purchased the assets of California Western Railroad in 2004 through 2022 when it took over operations from Sierra Northern Railway. Those services were allegedly performed by the affiliate companies. No evidence was submitted to support this allegation. MR did not offer evidence in the form of contracts with the affiliated entities, operating agreements, ledgers, receipts, payments etc. The court can infer that such agreements would be appropriate to address at least compensation for services, liability, and indemnification, if in fact, the services were provided. MR is the Plaintiff in this action and has the burden of proof to establish its legal status as a public utility. There is no dispute that the only evidence of railroad income during the relevant time was and is earned from the excursion services only. MR concedes that the excursion service does not fall under the category of “transportation” and does not qualify MR as a public utility. 

Despite agreeing with the findings made by the Retirement Board, Pinoli testified that MR as the successor to CWR is doing today what CWR has been doing for 137 years of existence. Pinoli testified that besides hauling approximately 100 loads of aggregate and steel for two environmental restoration projects along the line, it hauls a very limited amount of freight at present. 2 He offered into evidence various letters from local businesses that have expressed an interest in obtaining freight services once they become available. Pinoli also acknowledged that any freight service from Ft. Bragg to Willits cannot happen until “Tunnel No. 1” is repaired. There was no specified time frame for completion of the repairs. In addition, it was not clear as to whether MR had the available funds to complete the necessary repairs anytime soon. The letters were purposely solicited by MR in connection with a grant application to obtain funds from the federal government to improve its line for freight services. The letters are no more than letters of a possible interest in services should they become available. The court gives little weight to the letters of support. 

Pinoli also testified that over the years passenger service was provided to residents of the various cabins along the route between Fort Bragg and Willits. Despite the court’s comments that Pinoli appeared to be a credible and knowledgeable witness, the best evidence would have been written documentation in the form of ticket receipts, ledgers evidencing income, contracts with Mendocino Transit Authority, and contracts for freight transportation. When given the opportunity by the court, MR was unable to provide any documentary evidence of MR’s claim for the freight or passenger services it allegedly provided either through MR or its affiliates. The court therefore gives little weight to Pinoli’s testimony regarding the abundant array of services provided. (CACI 203.) The court ultimately was not persuaded by Pinoli’s testimony alone. 

Pinoli testified that when MR assumed control of SNR services in 2022, it planned to expand freight and passenger services with equipment and new business opportunities. While the efforts were noted, the intention to provide services in the future is not sufficient to establish the railway as a public utility. (See City of St. Helena v. Public Utilities Commission (2004) 119 Cal. App. 4th 793) Through its enhanced efforts MR may be able to obtain public utility status in the future but court is not convinced that such status is appropriate at this time based on the evidence provided by MR at trial. 

2. Eminent Domain 

Assuming for purposes of this opinion that MR has public utility status, it still needs to meet the statutory requirements of the eminent domain law. As stated above, a railroad company is entitled to condemn property that is necessary for the construction and maintenance of its railroad. (See Public Util. Code §611). “The power of eminent domain may be exercised to acquire property for a proposed project only if all of the following are established: (a) the public interest and necessity require the project.; (b) the project is planned or located in the manner that will be most compatible with the greatest public good and the least private injury; (c) the property sought to be acquired is necessary for the project.” CCP§1240.30. The power to take property under eminent domain is not unlimited. Such power “[M]ay be exercised to acquire property only for public use.” (CCP §1240.010; City of Oakland v. Oakland Raiders (1982) 32 Cal. 3d 60,69.) “The statutory authorization to utilize the power of eminent domain for a given “use, purpose, object, or function’ constitutes a legislative declaration that the exercise is a ‘public use.’” (City of Oakland.

Acquisition of the 20-acre site would enhance the operations of MR’s excursion service that admittedly does not fall within the definition of transportation. MR cannot exercise the power of eminent domain to carry on its private business activities. In City & County of San Francisco v. Ross (1955) 44 Cal 2d 52,54, the City sought to acquire by eminent domain a site that would subsequently be leased to private individuals who were planning to build and operate a parking structure and other facilities including private commercial retail. The court stated, “[w]hile it might be argued in the present case that the percentage area to be used for other commercial activity is small enough to be merely an incident to the parking activity and not in itself enough to invalidate the whole plan, nevertheless it aids in characterizing the whole operation as a private one for private gain.” “The Constitution does not contemplate that the exercise of the power of eminent domain shall secure to private activities the means to carry on a private business whose primary objective and purpose is private gain and not public need.” (Council of San Benito County Governments v. Hollister Inn, Inc. (2012) 209 Cal. App. 4th 473,494 (citations omitted.) As stated previously, the income generated from the Skunk Train excursion service is 90% of MR’s revenue. The court can easily find that MR’s primary objective is to obtain the property to serve the excursion service. No explanation was offered to distinguish the private operations from the “proposed” freight and passenger enhancements. 

Notwithstanding the above, MR’s proposed use of the property conflicts with the statutory requirements of public use and least private injury. At trial, approximately seven months of internal MR emails were admitted into evidence. Pinoli conceded the emails revealed that the original conception of the MR project reflected a train station, campground, and RV park. He also testified that his boss was known to brainstorm ideas and concepts for the acquisition and use of property acquired by MR, but those ideas were not always fully vetted. The only conceptual drawing for the Meyer property prepared by MR at the time it filed its complaint however, depicted a station/store, campground, and long-term RV rental park. It wasn’t until June 2022, approximately 18 months after the eminent domain action was filed that a preliminary site plan was prepared. The site plan offered at trial is one that generally depicts maintenance/repair facilities, a yard, vehicle parking, a rail transloading facility, dept offices, a platform and a natural habitat preserve. The site plan is considerably different from the original conceptual drawing. 

Pinoli admitted that the use of the property for a private campground was not consistent with the operation of a railroad and could not be the basis for eminent domain. Instead, he said that the current purpose is to develop the necessary maintenance and depot facilities on the Willits side of the line and to create a transload facility. The transload facility would not be operational or even necessary until “Tunnel No. 1” was usable. In addition to the original drawing utilized at the time the case was filed, the site drawing was the only evidence offered to address the use of the property. There was no evidence of an actual plan for development or funding for the project. “[A]n adequate project description is essential to the three findings of necessity that are required to be made in all condemnation cases. Only by ascertaining what the project is can the governing body made those findings.” (City of Stockton v. Marina Towers LLC (2009)171 Cal. App. 4th 93,113.) While the plan in the City of Stockton case was severely lacking in detail, which arguably differs from the instant case, the principle that a property owner is entitled to know what is being planned for the land remains the same. The court questions the credibility of the late hour evidence of a site drawing presented in the instant case. Particularly so, when a transload facility was added with MR’s knowledge that freight transportation could not happen until “Tunnel No. 1” was available. No evidence was presented to establish whether or when the tunnel would be available for use. 

The credibility of the testimony is also questionable when the initial plan prepared at the time the complaint was filed included a campground. Following the initial plan, in preparation for trial, MR develops a new site plan that eliminates the initial concept. This was done presumably to satisfy the requirements of the statute. Also lacking is an analysis from MR as to the impact the maintenance and transload facility would have on the residents (including Meyer) living directly adjacent to the proposed 20 acre site. The court finds that Pinoli’s testimony that there would be no real impact on the residents is simply insufficient. Without such information the court is unable to determine if the project would impose a greater injury to the residents. The court finds that MR did not meet its burden to establish that the current site plan supports a project that is planned or located in the matter that will be most compatible with the greatest public good and least private injury which is required by statute and case law. (See CCP §1240.030 and SFPP v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. Co. (2004) 121 Cal. App. 4th 452.) 

The court concludes that MR has failed to meet its burden of establishing that its attempt to acquire Meyer’s property through eminent domain is supported by constitutional and statutory powers. The court finds in favor of Meyer. 

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Erin Conroy

MCHC Health Centers is excited to announce that Dr. Erin Conroy, a local board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN), has joined its Care for Her team. Dr. Conroy will focus on prenatal care, labor and delivery, family planning and birth control services, and surgical procedures, working primarily at Hillside Health Center in Ukiah.

Dr. Conroy was inspired to become a physician after watching her mother and grandmother battle breast cancer. Those experiences, while difficult, drove her desire to help others be healthy and happy. In medical school, she was paired with an OB/GYN early in her training, cementing her commitment to specializing in women’s health.

“Sometimes women have trouble becoming pregnant, or have complications with their pregnancies,” Dr. Conroy said. “It’s really satisfying when you’re able to guide people through those tough times and toward a happy ending. I’m looking forward to doing that every day with the help of the Care for Her team here at MCHC,” she said.

Before joining MCHC, Dr. Conroy spent a couple of years working in private practice in Ukiah. Prior to that, she spent five years in Siskiyou County at the Fairchild Medical Center Women's Clinic in Yreka, where she won the 2021 Best of the Best South Siskiyou OB/GYN Award.

Dr. Conroy’s approach to healthcare emphasizes a collaborative relationship with patients based on respect, autonomy, and shared decision making.

“I think a lot of the time patients just don’t feel heard, so I try to listen closely and provide the women in my care with as much information as possible,” Dr. Conroy said. “That allows us to have productive conversations about what’s best for their health, and the health of their baby.”

In deciding to join MCHC, Dr. Conroy said the opportunity to be part of a talented team practicing integrated healthcare was too tempting to pass up. MCHC’s team-based approach gives patients timely access to providers across several specialties who collaborate to provide holistic care.

Dr. Conroy said, “At MCHC, pregnant women have access to dental checkups, lactation programs, nutritional support, mental health care, and more.” If her patient needs additional services, she can simply refer the patient to an MCHC colleague, making it easy and convenient for the patient to get the care they need.

Dr. Conroy is also looking forward to working with MCHC’s team of certified nurse midwives, who are trained and credentialed to provide women’s health services and assist women throughout their pregnancies, including delivering babies. Dr. Conroy noted that midwifery care is associated with fewer premature births and labor interventions such as cesarean sections, according to a study by the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.

“Certified nurse midwives are skilled practitioners that provide essential care to patients and critical support to physicians.” Dr. Conroy said. “That makes it more likely that myself and other OB/GYNs will be available to assist high-risk patients or people who need surgery.”

In addition to work, local family ties played a part in convincing Dr. Conroy to relocate to Mendocino County. Her husband was already working in Ukiah when she moved to the area in 2021, and she has a brother and sister-in-law who live in Fort Bragg. Dr. Conroy is also familiar with the area because she attended college at Pacific Union College in nearby Napa County. She says she has happy memories of driving to Santa Rosa with college classmates to shop at the mall or catch a movie at the theater.

Dr. Conroy earned her medical degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Southern California. She attended her residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, one of the top schools for OB/GYNs, where 500 deliveries per month keep doctors and midwives busy.

Dr. Conroy is grateful to be back in this area of California and has been taking advantage of the local scenery by spending a lot of time outdoors. She enjoys biking with her husband and hiking with their two children, an 11-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. The family’s animals keep them busy, too, including a flock of chickens and egg-laying ducks.

Both personally and professionally, Mendocino County is a good fit for Dr. Conroy. MCHC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Matthew Swain, said, “We’re so pleased to welcome Dr. Conroy to our team. She clearly understands and appreciates our patient-centered approach to care.”

Dr. Conroy said she is happy to be a part of the growing team at MCHC, which has more than 30 years of experience providing medical and dental services to people in Mendocino and Lake Counties.

“Women deal with a lot of unique issues,” Dr. Conroy said. “It’s satisfying to help them understand what’s going on, alleviate any pain they may be experiencing, and ultimately make their lives better.”

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* * *


by Esther Mobley

I’m so excited to share with you a project that we’ve been working on for many months: a collection of stories about Anderson Valley.

This remote, redwood-shrouded wine region in Mendocino County is such a special place. It’s never easy to get to: No matter how you cut it, you’ve got to drive up that long, winding stretch of Highway 128 from Sonoma County to arrive here. But it’s always worth the trek. Anderson Valley is beautiful and wild, and it feels so accessible — most wineries don’t require reservations, and tasting fees are cheap. The Pinot Noirs are among the best that California can yield, and it’s also world-class ground for Riesling, Chardonnay and sparkling-wine grapes.

It feels almost too good to be true that a California region with wines this good can feel so laid-back.

My colleague, wine reporter Jess Lander, shares these sentiments, and it was her brilliant idea to produce a package on Anderson Valley. Because Mendocino County is not technically in the Bay Area, its wineries too often escape our coverage, and this felt like a good excuse to try to rectify that.

To find the full collection of Anderson Valley stories we’ve published, I’ll refer you to this link-laden landing page. Today, allow me to highlight a few of the stories I really hope you’ll read.

  • Anderson Valley was once known primarily for Riesling and Gewurztraminer, the noble grapes associated with France’s Alsace region. Now, these wines are something of an endangered species. I ask: What happened?
  • Despite 40 years of winemaking and a glowing critical reception, Anderson Valley still hasn’t fully taken off as a mainstream wine region. Jess considers the reasons why its growth has been tough.
  • Pennyroyal Farm doesn’t just make great Anderson Valley wines — it makes excellent cheese, too. Caleb Pershan, The Chronicle’s assistant food and wine editor, has an adorable portrait of one of the goats that makes it all happen.
  • Espelette peppers are a coveted ingredient in Basque cuisine, but they’re expensive to import. Now, one Anderson Valley farm is producing its own local spice from this pepper. Freelancer Naoki Nitta reports on this exciting effort.
  • An acclaimed vineyard at the northern end of Anderson Valley boasts an almost unheard-of feature: Its crew is entirely female. I profile the dynamic group of women who care for Wendling Vineyard.

I hope we can inspire you to take a drive up Highway 128 sometime soon.


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* * *


interviewed by Bruce Anderson

Buck Clark admits to having been an occasional participant in what he called “the fightin’ and the fussin’” during the county’s logging boom of the 1950s, but it never got in the way of a day’s work for him. Buck, even as an old man, was a familiar sight at his home place opposite what is now the Boonville Transfer Station as he fashioned “split stuff,” redwood fencing and posts out of the logs he hauled up from the valley floor.

“I started workin’ when I was a kid near Monroe, Louisiana. I worked the swamps cuttin’ down trees for paper mills, I made 50¢ a day. I worked out in the swamp with water moccasins and alligators. Me and my brother fall a tree then we had to float it in and around all the other trees to get it to shore. Later on, we'd make rafts of trees and float ‘em down the river in big bunches. Most I ever made was $1.50 a day. Had a little ol’ boat that wouldn’t do but 3 miles per hour that I used to keep my rafts of logs from runnin’ up on the shore.

1930 was a dry year. The water in the swamp was way down. One day we was workin’ fallin’ trees when we come up on a alligator. Well, that’s a place alligators hibernate and hatch their eggs. There was lots of ‘em down in this particular well. We took a can of carbide, put it on the end of a stick and stuck it down in the hole. This gator bit the can of carbide right off the end of the stick and a came up breathin’ carbide out of his mouth. I hit ‘em one right behind the gill and killed him. That alligator was 9 foot 11 inches. That thing looked like a sea monster a smokin’ pourin’ out of his mouth. There was days when we would see a hundred alligators while we was workin’. That 9-footer we gave to a family who cut it up and ate it. Taste just like beef steak. If I’d a-known it was that good I’d a kept it and ate it myself.

“Times then was tougher than tough! We would do anything just to survive. We'd hunt swamp rabbits, birds — mostly those big breasted robins — and we fished. We'd sell the birds to people for a nickel apiece. Things got so tough we hunted birds with bean flips [sling shots] because we couldn’t afford shells for our rifles. I knew everything about that swamp. One time a rich man from somewhere out of state hired me to take him fishing. As we was paddlin’ down a little side stream I saw a little ‘ol water snake, harmless thing, hanging up in a tree. I steered right under it and it fell right on this man. He did a back flip right out of the boat. After that he said he never wanted to see another fish or fishing tackle or fishing pole in his life.

“I was born in Texas, near the Louisiana border. We moved on into Louisiana when I was a year old, a little place called Calhoun, Louisiana, near Monroe. I lived around in there until 1946 with some time out for the war. I cut logs for paper wood, logs for pilings, and floated logs to mills that were 45 miles away from where we cut ‘em. Had to learn the river and loggin’ both. I got here in Anderson Valley in ‘46. Came out here with the Brown brothers, Lester, Jay and Highpockets. whose real name was Boyce. We landed in Garberville. I fell my first redwood up there. Twelve foot on the stump. Used a drag saw that weighed about 200 pounds. Took me about six hours workin’ by myself.

“I was workin’ around and out of Garberville until ‘49. ‘49 was the worst year in the woods in California. No jobs anywhere. Finally, I heard of a job in Fort Ross, but after I was workin’ in the mill there for six weeks it burned down. A guy in Fort Ross told me there were 21 mills in Boonville. So me and my partner drove up Highway One, came over the road from Manchester. The road at that time was real bad. Pot holes took up most of some parts. I never seen so many people in such a little place as there was in Boonville then. People everywhere. At night in the bars crew bosses was buyin’ drinks and tryin’ to steal men for their crews, one another’s crews. People at the bars was six deep sometimes, had to pass the drinks back. You could wear corks right in the bars. Man up near Garberville was stomped to death one night with corks so you couldn’t wear ‘em in bars anymore.

“In Boonville, I worked peelin’ logs. I set chokers. Worked up off the Manchester Road on what is now Mannix Road. Went to work for Hollow Tree in Ukiah before it was Masonite. Worked in mills. Quit the mills because I wanted to fall. My first day fallin’ I made $300 and they fired me. I got enough money to get my first chainsaw —a Mercury. That thing weighed about 200 pounds without the bar and the bar was seven feet long. Worked on the Masonite Road out of Ukiah then I went back to Boonville fallin’ for Blackie Lattin at Indian Creek Mill. I fell enough timber by myself to keep that mill goin’ steady for five years.

“My biggest day was 71.000 feet. The biggest tree I ever fell had 50,500 foot of lumber. I made $3,100 once for two weeks fallin’. They wanted me to scale back. At the time I was workin’ for Twink Charles. Twink told me, ‘You’re makin’ more money than me and I own the mill!’

“That big tree I was tellin’ you about was cut up off the Greenwood Road. Darndest tree I ever saw. It was bigger at the top than at the foot and it had huckleberry bushes growing out of it at the top. Never seen anything like it. Buster Farrer’s brother, George, was the scaler then. The logging boom was over by ‘55. Work got a little thinner each year after that.

“I’ve never missed a day of work in my life due to accidents or injuries. Got hit one time not too long ago by a big ol’ branch that knocked me out for a minute or so. I was smokin’ then and when I come to the ash was close to the mouth end of the cigarette. That’s about how long I was out. I seen lots of accidents in the woods. When all the mills was goin’ they was losin’ one or two men a week. I was workin’ the day Danny Huey got hit by a widow maker and fell on top of his chainsaw. He was real lucky he wasn’t killed that day.

“When I first got to Garberville you could buy redwood land for S4 a thousand foot. I worked for a while up in the Sierras, too. We had an old G.I. truck we could drive from job to job. Had everything in it. Freezer, too. Worked up around Chester and Quincy. Had a fight with the boss up there who just got out of the Army, and he bossed everyone like he was still in the Army. He come up on me one day and said. ‘Your log is too long.’ I never heard of a log bein’ too long. Me and him tangled up and fell to fightin’ in some blackberry bushes. The briars hurt worse that the fight! He came up the next day with a fifth of whiskey and tried to get me to stay workin’ with him.

“There was something like probably 2,000 fallers because they wouldn’t let you single jack. Had to have two guys. Worked up around Piercy. out on the Elkhorn Road, everywhere around here. Never used a plumb bob, never will. Don’t need to. I just look at ‘em. Never been fooled yet. The only way you can get fooled by a tree is if the wind comes up on you.

“I started makin’ split stuff when I was a kid in Louisiana. I made railway ties. When I come out here I learned to make fencing, grape stakes, beams — all kind of split stuff up in Garberville. I used to get 3.5¢ cents a grape stake, $37.50 a thousand. I made 1,100 seven-foot stakes once in nine hours. I’ve sold split stuff to people as far away as Los Angeles. Now I get $4.50 a post for seven-footers for fencing. I’ve made bean poles for the Gowans, redwood shakes for lots of houses around here. Most all the fencing you see at Navarro Vineyards I did. In the old days people wouldn’t take a sawed stake. The young guys don’t do much split stuff. Too much work for ‘em.”

Buck points to a rusting vehicle that looks like an ancient oversized tow truck.

“This here machine will do darn near anything you ask it to do. It’ll buck logs, skin ‘em, skid ‘em, lift ’em, winch ‘em, drag ‘em, loosen ‘em — all of it, whatever you do in the woods. I thought Ford Motor Company had stopped making them in 1938, but I was out on the beach at Navarro where I saw one working there that was built in ‘53. I bought this one from a midget. He’s about that high. He used to log out at Hollow Tree. The midget had blocks wired onto the pedals way out so he could drive it. Me and Kay Hiatt went over to the midget’s place in Ukiah and brought it back over here on the lowbed. That little sonofagun backed right on there. All it needs now to run is a new carburetor. I’m thinking about putting it into the parade this year. Mainly, they skidded logs with it. Out at Hollow Tree they skidded logs seven miles with it. They loaded shingle bolts with it, too. It’s got 400 feet of cable on it. Me and Rex made 1500 posts one winter with it. We hauled the post logs right out of Bear Wallow Creek with this thing. It'll pull a big log. It’s geared real low, maybe it’ll go 12 miles per hour. Tops. One winter right up the road here in the park [Faulkner Park] they had some blow-overs right over the camp part. We slid them sonofaguns right out of there. They’d gone over right into the campground. I hauled one of the blow-overs to the Philo Saw Works. He sawed it right up for me. If I’m not mistaken, Steve Holmes drove this sonofagun over at Big River skidding logs. Put ‘em right on here and skid ‘em right out of the bush! Regular old Ford motor, four cylinders runnin’ since 1938. It’s got no generator on it. You got to use two batteries to start her up. Heck, I need one battery to start myself up in the morning!

12 volts to start it up. The 6 keeps it going. This here windshield looks like it come off a car. She’s something else, little bits of her from all over the place. Right now there might be some water in the dad-gummed gas tank. It’ll run a little bit then go dead. I’m going to get underneath there and get it fixed up one day soon. I loaded a 28-foot log on my old green pick-up one time. Bob Mathias has a picture of it down in his office. That thing there will pick up a helluva load. Bob Trotter had her going one day. I looked around and this old sonofagun was standing nearly straight up! It’ll work! It’ll go right up anybody’s hill. You could use it as a tow truck if you wanted to. See that swivel up there? It’ll go thataway, thataway, thataway, thataway. I got chains for it. They fit right over both sets of back tires. You can work this thing in all kinda mud. I’m fixin’ to crank it up. I could use it this place I’m working. You can take this machine. put you a block on a tree that gives you lots more power. I broke about ten feet of line off that cable one time hauling a log out with this thing. I like to skid up hill. Downhill is no good. Logs get hung up too easy. It’s a good machine. Built to last.”

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, April 19, 2023

Alvarez, Brinson, Finn, Lopez

ARMANDO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ROBERT BRINSON, Fort Bragg. Burglary, grand theft.

NINA FINN, Orinda/Ukiah. DUI, resisting.

SABRINA LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Martinez, Meszaros, Quezada, Santiago

OSCAR MARTINEZ, Covelo. Under influence, probation revocation.

GEORGE MESZAROS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Forgery, controlled substance for sale, evidence tampering, unspecified offense.


JOSE SANTIAGO, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Simmons, Walker, Weatherly

JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. Paraphernalia, parole violation.

KATELYN WALKER, Willits. Leaded cane, resisting.

TRAVIS WEATHERLY, Arbuckle/Fort Bragg. No license, suspended license, county parole violation.

* * *


Eighty-four is not as old as it used to be. Checking out of the ER recently, I saw two familiar faces come in. They were there to visit a friend who was under repair from an accident. She’ll be 103 in May. The third oldest known person alive lives brightly near here, all marbles still very much intact. She’s 114. A neighbor is older than I am. Eighty-four’s just not that old.

But it IS old. For me, the words “self” and “eighty-four” don’t seem to match. Every damn day I have to come to terms with it. (Let’s see, am I 83 or 84? 84! Get used to it!)

I was born in 1938. At school, from “My Weekly Reader,” I learned that my life expectancy was sixty-two years. If I lived out my sixty-two, I could see the change of the century and the start of a new millennium! I wondered.

As decades passed, friends bemoaned: “Twenty! My youth is gone!”, “THIRTY! Ogod, it’s all over!” I thought that was all silly. Forty, fifty, sixty, seventy—what’s the big deal? I never gave much thought to my age. Birthday parties seemed to be celebrations of nothing much. Then came eighty. I noticed 80. I was starting to feel like a jalopy. My daughter threw me a surprise birthday party. I forced my cheeriness.

I am 90% fine and 10% bothered by physical complaints. I can tell you, from this lofty perch, that means I’m 100% not okay. 

I had throat cancer in 2005. The Veterans Heath Administration—the VA—cured me with vigorous applications of a baseball bat, or so seemed the treatment at the time. The cure involved surgically removing nineteen lymph nodes from my neck because four were infected. Can’t be too careful. They pulled all but six of my teeth so they wouldn’t get in the way of the next phase, radiation. They strapped me down to a metal table and clamped a stiff mesh mask over my face to keep me still while the death ray, a thing the size of a Volkswagen, moved in an arc over me, pausing at carefully chosen spots to zap the tissue with God knows what kind of radiation.

And then onto chemo, to wit, a devil’s brew called cisplatin. There’s a room where you join other chemo patients for your infusion. Everybody’s nice there. Once I heard an older medic lady tell a younger medic lady, sotto voce, “Don’t get any of that on you.” They were already in plastic protective clothing. The silver bag of fluid they were hooking me up to had big cautions printed on it that spoke of toxicity. It didn’t seem right that they were injecting that into my veins.

There’s no shortage of discomfort and pain in curing cancer, but disgust may be just as bad. The chemo and radiation kill lots of tissue, the good as well as the bad, and, with throat cancer, the steady flow of dead cells goes right down your gullet and into your stomach. I spent my autumn of cancer cure feeding on my own dead cells, which are not appetizing. The radiation killed most of my taste glands and saliva glands too, so all the streams of gunk grew thick. A morning bathroom ritual is peeling scum from tongue and environs. Food becomes impossible. It was for me, anyway. They tell you: “Your food may taste a little metallic,” or “Food may taste a little like sawdust.” LIES! Even a glass of clear mountain-spring water tastes like industrial waste from a galaxy far, far away, like nothing imaginable. 

I was six feet, one quarter-inch tall when I went into the hospital and weighed around 170. I came out 5’ 10 1/2” (your bloody bones shrink!) and 129 pounds. I looked exactly as you’d imagine. I was “ambulatory.” I made pallets all over the floors—cushions, blankets—and ambulated by crawling from one to another. My wasted muscles couldn’t stand me up. I was supposedly recovering, but disgust was still making food nearly impossible. Since you’re mostly toothless, and food furnish you with Ensure, a chocolate-malt confection with plennee sugar and vitamins, that I renamed Endure. I spent hours staring at full cans of Ensure, getting up the nerve, flagellating myself. “So! You just gonna sit there and starve, coward?”

Eleanor presided over all this with little comment. And, by God, they cured me.

Cisplatin is maybe the oldest and strongest of the chemo drugs. It was wrong for me. It destroyed my inner ear, and from that cascades troubles without number. I haven’t worked out whether my current lameness is yet another product of cisplatin. In any event, I’ll probably be going under the knife again soon to restore some blood circulation to the half-blocked arteries in my legs. Maybe I’ll be able to walk without canes or sticks. Maybe I’ll be able to walk up the hill again with the dog. ¿Quién sabe? 

That’ll be another story.

* * *

BILL KIMBERLIN: This is one of my favorite photos. It is a Milton Green shot of Marilyn Monroe who was a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. Green was a famous photographer and apparently a boyfriend of Marilyn. I tried to get an original print from Green. I called him up after seeing a magazine that printed this photo, but we couldn't strike a deal. My error.

* * *


Survival Update fr. Craig Stehr in Ukiah, CA, Still Available for Destroying Demons, etcetera

Warmest spiritual greetings,

A day of testing at Ukiah, California's Adventist Health yielded welcome results. I now have a permanently assigned primary care provider, was given a breathing treatment, prescribed more steroids (short term) for comfort, then sent to the cardiovascular department for an echocardiogram, then onto another department for labs and a chest x-ray. Later, dropped into Walgreen's to get the latest pills. I have been instructed to continue using the inhaler which is for treatment of COPD, and to increase the puffs of albuterol to four times, four times per day. It is my understanding that the previous three medical providers, who did much testing only to conclude that "there is nothing the matter with you. It is the polluted air that you are breathing", simply failed to identify the problem as COPD, because that doesn't show up in medical tests. Nota bene: The staff at Ukiah's Adventist Health wondered aloud how, nevertheless, it could have been missed by 1. Berkeley's Herrick Hospital, 2. Herrick's associated Lifelong Medical Plan, and 3. Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu, since all of the COPD symptoms are clearly there. 

On that note, allow me to refer you to:

Craig Louis Stehr

* * *

HEMINGWAY IN PARIS: Hunger Was Good Discipline

“You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. When you had given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to go was the Luxembourg gardens where you saw and smelled nothing to eat all the way from the Place de l'Observatorie to the rue de Vaugirard. There you could always go into the Luxembourg museum and all the paintings were sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry.”

— A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

* * *


by Ann Killion

Bob Myers had a pearl of wisdom in his grim Wednesday afternoon press conference, discussing Draymond Green’s suspension.

“Sports,” Myers said, “is crazy.”

Why yes, it is. And Thursday’s Game 3 victory for the Golden State Warriors over the Sacramento Kings was particularly crazy.

Suspended Green was sitting in his San Francisco home, watching on television. Minutes before tip-off, the Warriors announced that Gary Payton II would miss the game due to illness.

So, down 0-2, fighting for their season’s life and the extension of their dynasty, the Warriors would face the Western Conference’s most prolific offense without arguably their two best defenders. It may have amounted to the biggest challenge of Steve Kerr’s tenure.

And in a crazily unpredictable outcome, the Warriors won 114-97. They ticked all the boxes Kerr had been concerned about. They played smothering defense. They outrebounded the Kings. They got huge games from the bench. They turned the ball over just 11 times and never had anyone in serious foul trouble.

This series feels quite different now. The Warriors can even the series with a win on Sunday afternoon, when Green and likely Payton will both be back.

“Nothing’s happened yet,” Kerr said. “Until someone wins a road game, everyone’s just holding serve.”

True, but I would disagree that nothing has happened yet. What happened on Thursday night at Chase was the reigning champions reminding everyone who they are. That they are not too old, too slow, not lost on defense, not distracted by their problem child No. 23.

They are still the champions. Stephen Curry, on the postgame broadcast, mocked the league’s ruling on Green that was based on his “history of unsportsmanlike acts.”

“They say Draymond’s got a history,” Curry said. “So do we.”

And that history is one of championships. A history of fighting and proving who they are.

“You bottle up all that noise and potential distractions of Draymond being out, the narrative and whatever,” said Curry, who led all scorers with 36 points. “You bottle it up and it’s a sense of pride in who we are capable of being and coming with the right energy to prove we can create some life for ourselves.

“Pretty bluntly, if we lost this game it’s pretty much over. So you’ve got to understand the moment and we gave ourselves life.”

As always, that life blossoms at home. When the Warriors are playing at home, they are particularly lethal. Last year, the Warriors went 11-1 at Chase in the playoffs. And this year, as terrible as they were on the road, they were an absolutely dominating 33-8 on their homecourt.

“Chase is different than Oracle, but it’s the same dynamic,” Kerr said. “We have great basketball fans in the Bay Area. It’s been a great home court for us.”

The desperate Warriors needed home to be particularly great on Thursday. Kerr specifically said before the game that he expected the Chase Center fans to provide the emotion that Green usually summons.

But in the first half, the vibe at Chase was more edgy tension than the raucous joy witnessed at Golden 1 Center. These days Warriors fans aren’t used to getting amped up for a first-round playoff series, even one in which their dynasty is hanging in the balance. That’s “We Believe” stuff from the past and this fanbase has witnessed a lot of playoff games since then. They tried, heartily booing Domantas Sabonis every time he touched the ball – and maybe it had an impact on him. The Warriors’ new public enemy No. 1 had five first-half turnovers.

But at one point in the first half Curry turned to the crowd to exhort them. The arena announcer almost pleaded for some “playoff energy” at the start of the second half. And things did get livelier in the second half, maybe thanks to the arc of the game or maybe excessive lubrication. The offense started to flow, Curry was on fire, Looney couldn’t be stopped on the boars, and the crowd was finally full-throated.

“We are a team with a lot of pride,” Looney said. “We know how to respond when our back is against the wall.”

This comes as no surprise to the newly minted Coach of the Year. Mike Brown, who was able to sleep in his own bed in his condo down the street from Chase, had warned his team that every step of their journey was going to be “blankety-blanking hard.” He knows the Warriors mentality as well as anyone.

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

* * *


In 1931 and Jack Dempsey, retired and pushing forty, had become Tony Galento's manager. Dempsey believed Tony had real talent, talent enough, if he actually trained, lost weight, and actually learned to box, could carry him to the title.

Tony went through managers like he went through big dinners. Managers would come in and think they could convince Tony to actually get in shape and train - and found out he was exactly what he appeared to be a fat slob with power who was never going to train to maximize it.

But Jack thought he could get through where others had failed, and had convinced Ray Arcel to become Galento’s trainer. Dempsey felt he had a diamond in the rough here, a future heavyweight champion. Jack just had to get Tony to train properly, and actually get in shape.

By early 1932, Jack had enough of Galento's antics. Galento was "training" at Stillman’s Gym on 8th Avenue in New York City. Dempsey walked in, dressed impeccably in a handmade suit and saddle shoes. His white silk shirt and tie had been imported from Paris. His French cuffs were monogrammed with the letters JHD.

Dempsey stood with Lou Stillman as they watched Galento horse around in the ring. Tony was grossly overweight and needed a bath. He took nothing seriously, and he looked disgraceful. It only took the old champ literally, according to Arcel and Stillman's account later, about a minute to explode. Jack asked for a pair of boxing gloves and quickly removed his suit coat and shirt.

Jack Dempsey

Dempsey then jumped up into the ring and said: “Now Tony, it’s you and me. I’ll show you how we used to do it.”

Stillman rang the bell and Dempsey began to move around his fighter. Dempsey was still in good shape, within 5 pounds of his fighting weight.

And Tony Galento discovered to his sorrow that Jack Dempsey could really flat out fight.

He feinted and set him up and then hit Galento with his classic left hook to the face, which split Galento’s lips. Dempsey then closed in with a short right that broke Tony’s nose. Blood sprayed on Jack’s tailored trousers. Two Ton Tony tried to cover up and begged Dempsey to stop. When Lou Stillman rang the bell to end the round, Tony was a bloodied and demolished. Ray Arcel spoke up then and said:

“I quit, take this bum somewhere else… He’s driving us crazy around here.”

Dempsey spoke shortly to Galento:

“Now I’m through with you. You can find yourself another manager and trainer.”

Lou Stillman later recalled that everyone in the gym could hear Dempsey’s left hook land to Galento’s head. Ray Arcel said it was: “a master showing an amateur how it is done.”

* * *

CANNABIS IS NOW LEGAL for recreational use in many states. But growing the cannabis market presents a unique branding challenge: How do you repackage a product that originally came in generic plastic bags and rolling papers to millions of newbies? For many cannabis companies, the answer is edibles, which provide endless aesthetic options—whatever your personal style, there’s probably an edible that dovetails with it. For a bougie mom, edibles feel safe: fruit-flavored and low-dose, with their THC and CBD levels printed right on the package. “The round tins reminded me of the French pastilles that I carried in my backpack in high school,” Alexandra Lange writes. “The gesture of opening the tin and offering one to a friend felt familiar, too. Let’s hang out and get high, but, unlike those high-school experiences of smoking up in the woods, let’s be sophisticated about it, too.” Read about the rebranding of high times:

* * *

* * *


by Matt Taibbi

Wow. When I think this iteration of the Democratic Party can’t sink any lower, it does.

I learned yesterday Virgin Islands Delegate and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government Stacey Plaskett is threatening me with prison, over her own error. Just after I ran a piece called “The Press is Now Also the Police” about the New York Times and Washington Post boasting of roles in delivering a leak suspect to the FBI, MSNBC’s new attack-caster, Mehdi Hasan, got his wish, inspiring first Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and then Plaskett to trumpet his incredibly vicious and mistaken claim that I lied to Congress.

The threatened penalty is five years:

It would be one thing if I really made the mistake. In that case, Plaskett’s letter would merely be an outrageous attempt to intimidate a witness by threatening a charge of intentional lying over a miscue. But that’s not the case. I did of course make an error, but what Plaskett is referencing is actually a mistake by Hasan, one she’s now repeating. I’m not sure what to do but explain and show this as clearly as possible.

I did in a tweet conflate the Center for American Security (CIS) with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), saying that CISA was so close to Stanford’s Election Integrity Project (EIP) that Twitter staffers didn’t really distinguish between them. This happened precisely because the agencies were hand-in-glove partners, and I’d seen so many communications about their cooperation that I lost track of some acronyms. I even tweeted months before, in TwitterFiles #6, that the agencies CIS and CISA were easily confused, because both worked with the EIP and CIS was a DHS contractor:

Before the 2020 election, a system had been set up under which reports of election misinformation could be through a CIS address to the Election Infrastructure Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), and in turn sent to “our partners”: the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Stanford’s Election Integrity Project (EIP).

Form letters acknowledging receipt of such complaints would be signed, “Center for Internet Security.” Individual reports of misinformation that came out of this system generated letters or “escalations” internally at Twitter, and in the first weeks of the #TwitterFiles project, when we were looking at piles of 2020 election moderation decisions, I saw so many variations on these communications that my eyes crossed at times.

Lee Fang wrote a detailed article rebutting Hasan that included links to other previously unpublished #TwitterFiles emails, showing how the system worked. As noted, many different types of complaints reached Twitter via this arrangement. Sometimes they originated with a state official — remember Twitter had been reassured that DHS would “know what’s going on in each state,” while the FBI offered to be the “belly button” for requests from the federal government — and sometimes they originated with EIP itself.

These groups openly acknowledged, even celebrated their relationships. In the montage below, you’ll see a notice from EIP’s website saying it partnered with CISA in 2020, a headline in a CIS news release about CIS and CISA working together, and just for good measure, a copy of an award showing that CIS received $38 million in federal funds beginning in September of 2020, with 99% of that money coming from… the Department of Homeland Security.

If that’s not enough evidence of intermingling, Matt Masterson, CISA’s former head of election security, stepped down from the DHS to accept a fellowship at Stanford’s Internet Observatory right after the conclusion of the 2020 election.

This means that when Plaskett writes it was “misinformation” for me to be “alleging that CISA — a government entity — was working with the EIP to have posts removed from social media,” she herself is engaging in misinformation. It may be an unintentional mistake, as she certainly seems capable of not knowing or caring to know underlying reality, but it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding. Only a person totally unfamiliar with the issue could believe that CISA/DHS were not closely involved with content moderation at Twitter, to say nothing of other companies. Both she and Mehdi are wrong about this, and make their accusation in defiance of a lot of obvious documentary evidence.

I’m not going to lie, it frightens me a little that I even have to offer this defense. I’ve had a long career, writing about some of the most litigious people and companies in America, and I’ve only been sued once and never successfully, and also never over a factual issue (the complaint was about the propriety of an undercover stunt). Nor have I ever had to issue a retraction. If you’ve read books like The Divide you know a lot of the things I’ve covered are arcane legal or financial stories, like the chronology of a long argument between very attentive lawyers over billions of dollars that allegedly went missing in the Lehman bankruptcy.

I nearly grew a tumor worrying before that was published. That came out okay, but I’ve of course made mistakes. It’s not supposed to happen, but it does, inevitably, which is why the New York Times has a “Corrections” section. What the Times still does is one of the last relics of the old honor system, under which journalists implicitly promise to try their hardest not to screw up, and readers agree to trust them, so long as they can see editors and their charges admitting their errors.

Unfortunately there’s a new model, in which news organizations don’t address errors or audience complaints at all. It’s from just such a media institution that Plaskett — while herself making an easily checkable mistake — got the idea to threaten prison for the kind of blunder we once would have consigned to the corrections page without a thought.

At the moment I still can’t quite wrap my head around this, and hope others will be able to make more sense of it. I’d laugh, but I have three kids, and these people might be serious. It’s like waking up in a H.U.A.C. hearing. Have they all gone mad?

* * *


  1. Chuck Dunbar April 21, 2023


    Geez, AVA, a photo that seems in praise of the dreaded dandelion, after a recent laudatory poem, too—the photo should really be a “Most Wanted Poster.”

    Here’s my little rebuttal:


    Dandelions earn no praise,
    They’re really just a nuisance!
    Be gone you evil plants—
    You haven’t any usance!

    They spread their seed—
    They pay no heed.
    Gardeners all are crazed
    By this sordid, surly weed!

    So down with dandelions—
    No sense in useless cryin’.
    Pull-out these nasty devils.
    And watch ‘em go a-dyin’!

    Old Gardener

  2. Eric Sunswheat April 21, 2023

    RE: Sales tax revenue continues to slip in the city of Ukiah, the region’s retail hub, and Mendocino County as a whole, presenting new challenges for local government agencies… signaling a sluggish local economy.
    (Mike Geniella)

    —> April 21, 2023
    Fiscal responsibility and risk management is critical to the success of any business. There is a large risk of future increases in public pension costs due to investment losses in pension plan assets.

    Taxpayers will ultimately pay for those pension cost increases through higher taxes and/or reduced public services. There is an important difference between the effect of investment losses in private sector retirement plans and public sector pensions.

    Investment losses were huge in virtually all classes of investments in 2022. Stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, were down 18.6% and bonds, as measured by the Vanguard total bond index, were down 13.7%…

    So how is the negative 16.15% investment loss in the public sector pension investments covered? The required contributions to the public sector pension plan are increased to make up for these losses.

    In addition, the public sector pension plan is assumed to make an investment return of approximately 6.75%. The increased contributions to the public sector pension plan must make up not only the 16.15% loss, but also the 6.75% investment return that the plan was assumed to make. Increased contributions are required to make up for a 22.9% (16.15% plus 6.75%) loss in 2022.

    If you work in the private sector, you not only bear 100% of the risk in your retirement savings, but also 100% of the risk of public sector pension participants through future tax increases or loss/reduction in public services.
    (Marin Independent Journal)

  3. Steve Heilig April 21, 2023

    Ernie Branscomb is correct re what is needed for many addicted and mentally ill people, homeless or not.
    It’s now 50 years since a landmark psychiatry paper was published titled “Dying with their Rights On.”
    It will be a huge hurdle to change this but some momentum is growing. Stay tuned (patiently).

    • Chuck Dunbar April 21, 2023

      There is an excellent title piece in the current ATLANTIC on this issue–perhaps part of the momentum Steve Heilig notes. It’s a sad, devastating, remembrance of a brilliant mentally ill friend, who received erratic mental health treatment, and who killed his girlfriend during a psychotic relapse.
      “American Madness,” THE ATLANTIC, May, 2023, by Jonathan Rosen

  4. Craig Stehr April 21, 2023

    The medical situation is, (following yesterday’s lengthy afternoon of testing at Adventist Health-Ukiah), sufficiently corralled and I am now being treated for COPD. Also, the heart muscle is being monitored, and blood pressure is stabilized. I am on steroids for three days for comfort. All is okay at the Building Bridges shelter. They love me!

    This morning I received a mailing pouch with the GOOD NEWS that I am getting a housing voucher. The zoom meeting is on May 17th…a housing specialist will be with me in an office w/ computer at Building Bridges. Yep, I’m going to get a subsidized apartment, and, after living in it for one year, am qualified to move anywhere in the USA where they will accept the voucher.

    I’m just “following spirit”, as you do understand. Stay in touch everybody…😊

    Craig Louis Stehr
    April 21st, 2023 Anno Domini

    • Chuck Dunbar April 21, 2023

      Craig, that is fine news, both as to your health issues and treatment, and your housing voucher. Good for you!

  5. Grapes April 21, 2023


    You ain’t lame, you waaay cool, and brave.

  6. Marmon April 21, 2023


    The Indian Child Welfare Act. (ICWA) in Covelo only benefits the Tribe in power. The current Council needs to be investigated.

    Children are the victims there.


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