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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, May 13, 2023

Hot | Rail Bridge | Outlet Planning | Goose Hunt | No Action | Petrel | Mussel Quarantine | FFA Dinner | Ag Teacher | Picnic Table | Boontling Classic | Leaves | AVUSD News | Quake Tilt | Pinot Fest | Replacements | Museum Donation | Mendocino City | Wealthy Insiders | No Crime | Lawnternatives | Yesterday's Catch | Marco Radio | SF Closures | Had Enough | Warriors Lose | GG Fog | Mother's Day | Stella Pastry | Boom Years | Behind Me | Controlled Demolition | 99% Lawyers | Docket Pocket | Ukraine | Destroy Fascism | The Deer | Insurmountable | Sadistic GOP | Mine Owners | Big Oil | Liberal Dad | Biden Family | Live Oak

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HIGH PRESSURE BUILDING into the area will bring highs in the 90s this weekend across the interior. Coastal stratus will decrease into the weekend as offshore flow increases. This will allow coastal temperatures to warm to around 70. Next week temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler, but still above normal. Stratus is expected to be fairly widespread at the coast. (NWS)

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Northwestern Pacific Rail Bridge, Outlet Creek, Route 162 (Jeff Goll)

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by Frank Hartzell

The big showdown over Grocery Outlet that many predicted didn’t happen.

Local residents encouraged the Fort Bragg Planning Commission to approve the proposed Grocery Outlet Store on the south end of Franklin Street. Fort Bragg residents had clashed on social media prior to the meeting, but everybody was polite at Wednesday’s meeting. 

Fort Bragg Police Capt. Thomas O’Neal watched the meeting from the back corner of Town Hall and left amid the calm and polite meeting after about an hour. With only a couple exceptions, the 17 speakers at the meeting and on Zoom supported the project, or were neutral and wanted to talk about improving the traffic flow. Apparently the culture has  changed since two years ago, when many more opposed the Grocery Outlet and a suit was launched against the project. At the meeting, despite the group formed on Facebook to oppose Grocery Outlet, opposition was very muted. The Planning Commission certified all of Grocery Outlet’s requests, with conditions and passed the final decision to the Fort Bragg City Council.…

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Goose Hunt, Mendocino, circa 1868 (photograph taken by M.M. Hazeltine)

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Mr. Scaramella,

We have reviewed your "cure and correct" request and determined that the facts asserted would not constitute any violation of the Brown Act. As such, I am advising the Board of Supervisors to take no action and will not be placing any "cure and correct" item on any future Board agenda. Your email states that you believe that the Brown Act was violated because various members of the Board of Supervisors issued similarly worded political endorsements of a candidate for elected office. Because the Board did not discuss this political endorsement during a noticed meeting, you infer that the members discussed this matter through other channels. If true, however, these facts would not constitute a violation of the Brown Act. Indeed, to the extent that Board members wish to discuss among themselves possible political endorsements or campaign activity, they are not only permitted, but actually required, to hold such conversations outside of noticed meetings of the Board of Supervisors.

Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I section 2 of the California Constitution, individuals elected to political office retain their free speech rights to comment on matters before the voters, including the endorsement of specific candidates for office. In doing so, however, officials must act only on behalf of themselves or their campaigns, not the County. State law prohibits the use of County resources for political activities, including the endorsement of a specific candidate. See, e.g., Gov. Code §§ 8314, 54964. Certain de minimis activity, such as the incidental use of a county's email system, may be tolerated. DiQuisto v. Cty. of Santa Clara, 181 Cal. App. 4th 236 (2010); Gov. Code § 8314(b)(1). Formal endorsement by the Board, or the use of staff time to discuss and debate endorsements during a public meeting, however, would be improper. In this context, discussion of political endorsements are not subject to the Brown Act. The Brown Act only applies to meetings "within the subject matter jurisdiction of the [Board of Supervisors]." Gov. Code § 54952.2. That definition necessarily excludes the political endorsements of individual supervisors. Any attempt to control the endorsements of individual board members would violate their rights of free speech under the state and federal constitution, and any formal endorsement by the Board itself is impermissible. If, as you allege, the Board members discussed their personal political endorsements, those conversations fell outside of the Scope of the Brown Act.

Normally, when concluding that a "cure and correct" demand is unfounded, I advise clients to still consider revisiting the item to avoid further dispute. The statute is clear that any action to cure or correct an alleged violation shall not be construed as an admission that any violation occurred. Gov. Code § 54960.1(f). In this case, however, any attempt to "cure" the alleged violation by discussing the endorsements in open session would be unlawful. As such, I will not be placing an item on any future agenda, and will continue to note that discussion of political endorsements can only be legally conducted in the manner you allege occurred here. I have spoken with the Board Chair, and this email will serve as a formal denial of your request pursuant to Government Code section 54960.1(c)(2).

Lastly, I note that you have concurrently made a Public Records Act seeking correspondence between individual supervisors and Senator Mike McGuire. From the language of the request, it was not clear whether your interest lay in communication related to these political endorsements or something else. Please note that, although the County requests officials search their personal devices for disclosable public records under City of San Jose v. Superior Court, purely private political correspondence would not qualify as a public record under Government Code section 7920.530(a). In the interests of efficiency, I want to highlight this distinction before the search is performed, in case in may affect your decision to pursue or modify this request.

Christian M. Curtis

County Counsel, County of Mendocino

501 Low Gap Road, Room 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482

Phone: (707) 234-6885 · Fax: (707) 463-4592


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Our original violation notice was meant for Board Chair Glenn McGourty and his colleagues and was only copied to Mr. Curtis, Esq. It was intended to be an opportunity for McGourty et al to defend their improper endorsement. Instead, we get this response from their tax-paid attorney claiming there was no violation. This is no surprise, of course. We had harbored a faint hope that the Board would actually try to defend their improper de facto violation as somehow good for Mendocino County, even if their attorney says it’s not a technical violation. But they’re not even willing to defend this unprecedented and improper attempt to unanimously influence an upcoming non-partisan race in favor of an inexperienced and novice candidate with no political credentials or local substance who has taken no position on any issues facing the County and has to this point been silent on District 1 or Mendocino County matters. But hiding behind a legalistic defense instead of taking responsibility their for indefensible actions is typical of this wishy-washy board, apart from whether their own attorney says their actions are technically “legal.” As we said in our original complaint, the board obviously “met” to endorse a political ally in violation of public meetings rules based on their simultaneous endorsement of one preferred candidate in the same manner on the same day. 

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White-faced storm petrel (via Ed Oberweiser)

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a Mussel Quarantine Order effective May 1 through October 31, 2023. The mussel quarantine is a yearly event prohibiting the public from harvesting mussels for human consumption due to potentially dangerous levels of biotoxins that may be present in shellfish anywhere on the California coast, including bays, inlets and harbors. The annual mussel quarantine is in place to protect the public against paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning, also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning.

The quarantine applies only to sport-harvested mussels. Other types of bivalve shellfish, including oysters and clams, and commercially harvested mussels from certified companies are not included in the quarantine.

CDPH may begin the quarantine early, or extend it, if monitoring results indicate the presence of dangerous levels of biotoxins outside of the normal quarantine period. The May through October quarantine period encompasses more than 99 percent of all PSP illnesses and deaths reported in California since 1927.

The mussel quarantine is in effect along the California coast, from the Oregon border to the Mexican border. All bays, inlets and harbors are included.

Notices will be posted in public areas along the coast advising the public of this quarantine.

PSP and domoic acid poisoning are immediately reportable to the local health authority (Title 17, California Code of Regulations, Sections 2500). Even suspected cases should be reported immediately by telephone to the local health department and to the nearest poison control center. Local health departments should interview patients regarding shellfish exposure and report these cases promptly to the Infectious Diseases Branch at (510) 620-3434.

For more information, CDPH has developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) for the annual mussel quarantine that can be found online at the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Program website.

(California Department of Public Health)

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If you have seen the recent job postings for the high school you will have seen an open position for an agriculture teacher. 

Ms. Swehla is not leaving or retiring, yet.

The school is looking to add a second agriculture teacher to the department. 

We are looking for a great Ag teacher to join us!

We are also looking to fill the Farm Manager position. 

Call Sara at the District Office, 707-895-3774, for information about both positions.

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Picnic, anyone? South Coastal Trail (photo by Lindy Peters)

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After a three year hiatus, the 38th Annual Boontling Classic 5K Footrace took place on Sunday, May 7, at the Anderson Valley Elementary School on a beautiful spring morning. Leading the 89 runners was Kenny Smith of Willits, with the fastest overall time of 16:56. Maeva Riley of La Jolla led the woman with a time of 21:48, placing her 4th overall. First place ribbons were awarded to the following runners in each of their respective age divisions: Kalea Boudoures, Ahilamar Perez, Mira Bouch, Maeva Riley, Nicole Smith, Rinat Klein, Rebecca Mclean, Sheila Leighton, Weston Ford, Pele Esserman-Melville, Guy Kephart III, Cooper Clark, Kenny Smith, Nat Corey-Moran, Tim Riley, Kevin Britton, and Anthony Fleming.

After the run, participants enjoyed the post-race drawing with prizes generously donated by local businesses. Special thanks to the following sponsors: Bee Hunter Wine, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, The Apple Farm, The Boonville Hotel, Farmhouse Mercantile, Navarro Vineyards, Wickson Restaurant, Jan Wax & Chris Bing, Pennyroyal Farm, Micki Colfax, The Bohemian Chemist, Sun & Cricket, Lemon's Market, John Hanes Art Gallery, Handley Cellars, Witching Stick Wines, Gowan's Heirloom Cider, Boonville General Store, Long Meadow Ranch, Disco Ranch, Brashley, The Company Kitchen, Foursight Wines, Phillip's Hill, Lula Cellars, Seebass Wines, Philo Ridge, Toulouse Vineyards, Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville Cellars, Maple Creek Winery, Husch Vineyards, Mosswood Market, Anderson Valley Market, Hedgehog Books, Rossi's Hardware, Boont Berry Farm, The Rock Stop, The Pot Shop, Scharffenberger Cellars, Domain Anderson, Roederer Estate, Twomey, Lauren's at the Buckhorn, Lichen Estate, Jay's DIY Metals, and Greenwood Ridge Vineyards. Grindstone PrintCo in Ukiah printed the awesome t-shirts!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their Sunday morning to help make the race a success, especially Brenda Smith, Tatiana Bertsch, Matthew, Lama and Leela Nasser-Gammett, and Janet McConnell. And, of course, special thanks is necessary to Flick McDonald for keeping the Boontling Classic well and alive for all of these years, and for passing along all of his wisdom and expertise.

This race was sponsored by North Coast Striders and we are grateful for additional resources and support provided by the Anderson Valley Lion's Club, Principal Thomas-Swett and the Anderson Valley Elementary School, and the Anderson Valley Historical Society.

See you next year at the race!

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1. Kenny Smith, Willits, 16:56

2. Travis Brakeman, Ukiah, 20:55

3. Cooper Clark, Ukiah, 21:38

4. Maeva Riley, La Jolla, 21:48

5. Nicole Smith, Willits, 22:42

6. Nat Corey-Moran, Boonville, 22:47

7. Gregory Baer, Willits, 23:30

8. Dylan Stein, Oakland, 23:33

9. Julio Perez, Ukiah, 23:38

10. Noor Dawood, Boonville, 24:20

11. Rebecca McLean, Fort Bragg, 24:20

12. Weston Ford, Boonville, 24:45

13. Anthony Fleming, Healdsburg, 24:45

14. Shane Topolinski, Willits, 25:00

15. Cindy Novella, Boonville, 25:12

16. Mike Zaugg, Yorkville, 26:05

17. Pele Esserman-Melville, Ukiah, 26:30

18. Remi Moran, Boonville, 26:38

19. Rinat Klein, Philo, 26:40

20. Mira Bouch, Boonville, 26:48

21. Tim Riley, Boonville, 26:51

22. Julian Vau, Ukiah, 27:02

23. Cob Martin, Boonville, 27:10

24. Ramon Alvarez, Boonville, 27:52

25. Ben Bollock, Cleone, 28:31

26. Steven Campbell, Talmage, 28:41

27. Lindy Topolinski, Willits, 28:48

28. Susan Stern, Ukiah, 28:50

29. Fred Ehnow, Philo, 28:52

30. Yoriko Kishimoto, Boonville, 29:22

31. Sara Esserman-Melville, Ukiah, 30:02

32. Laura Quatrochi, Philo, 30:12

33. Guy Kephart III, Boonville, 30:57

34. Sebastian Franco, 31:30

35. Sean Foley, Boonville, 31:36

36. Cora Hubbert, Boonville, 31:37

37. Juju Foley, Boonville, 31:40

38. Brennon Moore, Boonville, 31:48

39. Anthony Esserman-Melville, Ukiah, 32:10

40. Alexandra Ramos, Willits, 32:22

41. Kevin Britton, Willits, 32:23

42. Ryan Stearns, Boonville, 33:08

43. Katherine Smith, Willits, 33:54

44. Joe Cyphert, Ukiah, 34:01

45. Ahilmar Perez, Ukiah, 35:30

46. Dariel Perez, Ukiah, 35:34

47. Juan Franco, Ukiah, 36:03

48. Yail Madero, Boonville, 36:06

49. Aurelia Guerrero, Ukiah, 36:56

50. Jesus Bucio-Ibarra, Boonville, 37:17

51. Lizandro Espinoza, Boonville, 37:20

52. Guy Kephart Sr., Boonville, 37:28

53. Kalea Bourdoures, Philo, 37:34

54. Mollie Camacho, Philo, 37:35

55. Louis Sciocchetti, Fort Bragg, 38:51

56. Don Shanley, Philo, 41:25

57. Victoria Espinoza, Boonville, 41:51

58. Orlando Espinoza, Boonville, 42:47

59. Maggie Von Vogt, Philo, 42:49

60. Seansea Crotty, Boonville, 44:06

61. Dramane Parzyk, Boonville, 44:07

62. Star White, Boonville, 44:20

63. Charlotte Triplett, Boonville, 47:33

64. Jeanne Mailliard, Boonville, 47:33

65. Sheila Leighton, Navarro, 47:34

66. Linda Bourdoures, Philo, 48:02

67. Megan Bourdoures, Philo, 49:02

68. Leela Foley, Boonville, 57:38

69. Zepher White, Boonville, 57:41

70. Skyler White, Boonville, 57:44

71. Austin White, Boonville, 57:46

72. Catherine Bayless, Boonville, 58:30

73. Saoirse Byrne, Boonville, 58:30

74. Jeff White, Los Gatos, 59:00

75. Jeane Riley, Boonville, 59:01

76. Peggy Ridley, Boonville, 59:39

77. Autumn Ehnow, Philo, 59:40

78. Johnny Kephart, Boonville, 59:42

79. Karen Kephart, Boonville, 59:45

80. Najwa Dawood, Boonville, 65:37

81. Barbara Goodell, Boonville, 65:39

82. Luka Moran, Boonville, 65:48

83. Ad Dawood, Boonville, 65:49

84. Celia Schwenter, Boonville, 73:06

85. Valerie Brakeman, Ukiah, 73:17

86. Danielle Brakeman, Ukiah, 73:19

87. Mark Apfel, Philo, 74:45

88. Daniel Mandelbaum, Boonville, 74:45

89. Rob Goodell, Boonville, 74:45

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(photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

Another week ZOOMS BY….

This week’s highlight at the Junior/Senior High was Robbie Lane's presentation about lost opportunities that happen with drug use.  Some staff and high school students were moved to tears.  The night before, about 25 people attended our Drug and Bullying Task Force.  I APPRECIATE THEM, BUT IT IS THE SAME FAMILIES.  If you want this to change for your kids, you need to get involved and not leave it to someone else… We will start again in Fall. We are welcoming parent/family volunteers as part of the Panther Squad.  Call your site to sign up.

We have an LCAP update meeting on Thursday, May 18 at the high school library at 3:30.  Come join us.  This is the last year of a three year plan.  LOTS HAS CHANGED THE LAST TWO YEARS AND WE ARE EXCITED.   SUPPORT YOUR KIDS BY COMING FOR AN HOUR.

What’s up with those texts you may be asking? I went on a WASC visit to a school near Chico, and parents are notified daily of their student tardies and absences via an automated Aeries system.  As a mom, I LOVED THAT.  Please talk to your kids.  I don’t know what happened during the pandemic.  Was it a lack of expectancy?  Was it that Robert Pinoli wasn’t in the building?  Was it a total deterioration of expectation and standard about what is expected?

Whatever it was… I will be clear…

I expect it.  Just like an employer expects it. If we want our kids to be successful, we need to require it.  They need to get to class on time.

Being in class is part of achievement and success and work ethic.  Tardies are not okay. Next year, we are moving to after school rather than lunch detention for tardies and kids will miss sports practice.  I’ll be honest, this is just stupid. Kids need to get to class. We are burning their time and our time teaching them how to be responsible adults. Nag at them a little please…  what we are doing right now isn’t working, so we will change it up.

Sports physical forms were sent home as we are trying to make this easy on families and book the appointments during school. RETURN THE FORMS.  Students can’t play without A COMPLETED PHYSICAL.


A huge shout out to elementary schools for embracing the rural math school partnership.  This will support our achievement in math skills moving forward.  I have to embrace the amazing “normal” that is happening in the halls of the elementary building, as I see a return to pre pandemic instruction and EXPECTATION.  I CONTINUE TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF CYMBRE THOMAS SWETT AND HER TEAM.  Looking forward to all that our students can become…


Sincerely yours,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

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Fort Bragg building tilt after the 1906 earthquake

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This year marks Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association’s 24th annual Pinot Noir Festival. The festival, which takes place May 19-21, showcases wines from throughout Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties crafted with Anderson Valley’s legendary pinot noir grapes. Wine drinkers from across the country flock to the valley to swirl and sip pinot, dine at local farm-to-table restaurants and mix and mingle with winemakers. 

Most importantly, the annual event benefits organizations close to the hearts of Anderson Valley locals: the Anderson Valley Skatepark Project and Fire Department. The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Anderson Valley’s wine industry, has donated over $430,000 to local organizations since its founding in 1983.…

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It is with much gratitude that the Mendocino County Museum acknowledges an extraordinary donation from the Trust of William L. Bittenbender, in the amount of $500,000. While the Museum had been advised they would receive a dividend from the Trust, the overwhelmingly generous amount was not anticipated.

After reserving $10,000 for the Fiscal Year 2023/24 Museum budget, the remaining amount of $490,000 will be transferred to the Community Foundation Endowment so that accrued interest can sustain the Museum’s vision of being: a vibrant social, cultural, and educational center of Mendocino County, strengthening community and enhancing the wellbeing of all, for years to come. Contributions to endowments are critical for museums and the financial gift to the Mendocino County Museum could not have arrived at a better time, given that bolstering our financial sustainability is a high priority.

The Museum is proud to be the stewards of a significant collection of artifacts and archival materials pertaining to the lumber industry and local history, donated by William Bittenbender in 2007. Currently, the Museum has the Bittenbender camera collection on display as part of the current exhibit, Gadgets Galore! 

For more information, please visit or contact the Mendocino County Museum at or 707-234-6365.

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Mendocino City, looking east, Big River Bridge in the distance, circa 1865

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DOES ANYONE KNOW who California’s Lieutenant Governor is? It’s a priveleged 57-year old woman named Eleni Kounalakis with a reported personal net worth of over $5 million who has been on tv already saying she wants to be California’s next governor. Ms. Kounalakis is the daughter of wealthy Sacramento developer and long-time major Democratic Party donor Angelo Tsakopoulos with a reported net worth of over $600 million. Before becoming Lieutenant Governor with her father’s money and influence Ms. Kounalakis was Obama’s ambassador to Hungary, another position she obtained with the assistance of her wealthy father. She is also a four time delegate to the Democratic Party National Convention and a member of the State Democratic Party Steering Committee, as well as a member of the Democratic Party-owned First 5 Commission. 

According to her state website:

“Prior to her public service, Kounalakis was president of one of California’s most respected housing development firms, AKT Development, where she worked for 18 years.” AKT Development just happens to be her father’s development company.

Some Sacto pols are saying that Ms. Kounalakis is more “liberal” than Newsom, if “liberal” means anything in the context of her father’s money and influence. If she becomes the Democratic Party candidate for Governor, as seems quite likely, and therefore the odds-on favorite for election, it’ll be more evidence of the stranglehold wealthy Democratic Party insiders have on the state’s power levers. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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There was an excellent article on replacing lawns using only mulch and plants in the April 29 edition of the Press Democrat. But it did not mention that alternatives to mulch, such as synthetic fabric, rocks, fake grass, etc., create yards that aren’t fertile and reduce absorption of rainfall.

In addition, yards using these alternatives will have no birds as there is nothing alive underneath the coverings for birds to eat, even if they could get through them. Birds come to yards where they can dig for food. Also, there will still be weeds, which I assume is the purpose of the fabric and rocks. It is recommended to have only 5 feet of noncombustible material next to one’s home.

Thus, following the guidelines of the master gardeners to use just mulch and plants will provide a natural and fertile environment filled with birds.

Lynn Hoyle

Santa Rosa

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, May 12, 2023

Cape, Freeman, Furline

CHERLYN CAPE, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

TRISTA FREEMAN, Covelo. Failure to appear.

CODY FURLINE, Fort Bragg. Indecent exposure, failure to appear.

Hernandez, Jiang, Keater, Lavenduskey

VINCENT HERNANDEZ JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, marijuana for sale, unlawful display of registration, probation revocation.

YU JIANG, San Leandro/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

BENJAMIN KEATOR, Redwood Valley. False personation of another, county parole violation.

RITA LAVENDUSKEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

Marrufo, Medlin, Miller

NATHAN MARRUFO, Stewart’s Point/Ukiah. Mandatory supervision violation.

JEREMIAH MEDLIN, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

GABRELLE MILLER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats.

Schleper, Stark Still

AMANHI SCHLEPER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

KYLE STARK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DUGUAN STILL, Riverside/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Tolbert, Van Horn, Wiley, Williams

ANTHONY TOLBERT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

HOLLAND VAN HORN, Willits. Burglary, firearm theft, vandalism, leaded cane or similar, controlled substance, conspiracy.

CHRISTOPHER WILEY, Willits. Burglary, grand theft, conspiracy, controlled substance.

EDWARD WILLIAMS, San Diego/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night Friday night!

Deadline to email your writing for Friday night's MOTA show is like 5:30 or so. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.

I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's 325 N. Franklin studio. To call and read your work in your own voice, the number is 707-962-3022. If you want to come in and perform in person, that's okay, I guess, but bring a real mask to put on.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.

As always, at you'll find plenty of things to mess with until showtime to keep your fingers and ears and eyeballs from going crazy, such as:

A real public service ad from the real FBI, meant entirely unironically. Because this is the country we live in now, which includes Texas, where they just passed a law to require /bleeding-control stations/ in schools, as well as training for third-graders in staunching shooting trauma blood in the classroom, in case the bleeding-control station in the hallway is too far to get to, or the shooter is still out there shooting. (via Alternet)

The Shangri-Las. (say SHANG-gruh-LAHZ)

And baby goats frolicking in slow motion.

Marco McClean,,

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When you have had enough of the inconsequential local irrelevancy, and the American national spectacle as well, you may then stop wasting your life and plug in here: Vedic Chants

Stop identifying with the body and the mind, and your problem is solved!

Craig Louis Stehr

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NO DYNASTY LASTS FOREVER, but Warriors' season was full of warning signs

by Connor Letourneau

If the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty is in fact over, the scene that unfolded at Arena on Friday night could feature heavily years from now in a “Last Dance”-style documentary: Lakers fans celebrating in the stands; a jubilant LeBron James embracing his teammates; Stephen Curry shaking his head with a towel draped over his head.

Yet again, he had done what he could to will the Warriors to victory, only for his supporting cast to falter. The result was a 122-101 loss to the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals that carried implications far greater than a season’s conclusion.

By halting a 19-0 playoff-series winning streak against Western Conference teams, the Warriors should trigger another wave of hastily written eulogies about one of modern professional sports’ most memorable runs. Unlike those end-of-dynasty stories from Golden State’s loss to the Raptors in the 2019 Finals, however, Friday’s articles won’t feel premature.

The Warriors’ record-setting payroll says it all: Tough decisions loom, and a second-round exit only upped the chances of this dynastic core breaking up. Draymond Green has a $27.6 million player option for next season. Even if he exercises it, the Warriors’ front office might trade him this summer to lower its luxury-tax bill.

All good things really must come to an end. What the Warriors have accomplished — four NBA titles in eight years and six straight Finals appearances amid an era of near-annual roster turnover — already stands as a historic accomplishment. Given the league’s efforts to crack down on deep-pocketed teams, Golden State might never have had a chance to keep the party going for a full decade.

Few should be faulted for thinking otherwise. In vaulting from perpetual punch line to class of the league, the Warriors assumed an almost-superhuman quality. The locker-room infighting and letdowns that plagued other teams were nowhere to be found in Golden State, where superstars coexisted in harmony, records were broken with apparent ease, and the basketball’s beauty rivaled its dominance.

Even two career-threatening injuries to Klay Thompson, a league-worst record in 2019-20 and back-to-back lottery trips (’20 and ’21) couldn’t prevent the Warriors from shocking the world with yet another title last season. As Curry kissed that Larry O’Brien trophy in Boston, many assumed Golden State was poised for a second multi-year run of Finals trips.

Then reality began to set in.

Over the past seven months, as they endured enough drama to make a reality TV producer jealous, the Warriors shed their air of invincibility.

It started in early October, when TMZ released video of Green violently punching the younger, much smaller Jordan Poole in a preseason practice. That intrasquad betrayal — and the national backlash that ensued — represented what coach Steve Kerr called “the biggest crisis we’ve ever had.”

Kerr believes Green’s punch might have played a role in the Warriors’ rough start — particularly on the road, where their disjointedness was most glaring. Golden State lost its first eight games away from San Francisco. Even after the Warriors finally got their first road win in late November, they were a case study in contrasts.

A team that boasted the NBA’s third-best defense and third-best record (33-8) at home during the regular season also had the sixth-worst defense and fourth-worst record (11-30) on the road. That defied convention, which suggests that the most pronounced drop-offs on the road tend to come from unproven teams.

Perhaps the craziest part is that the home-away disparity was just one of numerous oddities to emerge. In addition to injuries that sidelined core players like Curry and Andrew Wiggins for extended stretches, the Warriors navigated near-constant rotational tweaks and a deadline deal that sent former No. 2 pick James Wiseman to Detroit.

That four-team trade, which reunited Gary Payton II with Golden State and was nearly quashed when Payton failed his physical, sent a clear message: After a couple years trying to juggle two timelines, the Warriors were going all-in on the present. They had finally realized the only timeline that matters is Curry’s.

With their 35-year-old elder statement pushing the limits of his prime, the Warriors weathered a seven-week, family-related absence from Wiggins to win eight of their final 10 regular-season games and narrowly avoid the play-in tournament. Wiggins played for the first time since Feb. 13 in Game 1 of the first round against Sacramento, which seized a 2-0 series lead and pushed Golden State to seven.

With the Warriors’ season hanging in the balance, Curry added to his lore with a 50-point masterpiece. But even a player of his caliber needs some help from time to time. Against the Lakers in the West semifinals, Curry’s supporting cast labored, which perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise.

The Warriors built a dynasty with mostly homegrown talent. As Curry, Green and Thompson entered their 30s, Golden State had a harder time fielding championship-caliber rosters, which was the league’s intention. The salary cap and draft lottery exist to help ensure parity.

Now, in the wake of an early playoff departure that included horrendous play from Poole and limited production from role players, the Warriors stare down a critical offseason. On top of Green’s situation, they must see whether general manager Bob Myers will sign another contract.

There is also Poole, whose four-year, $140 million deal takes effect next season. Perhaps the Warriors feel that unloading him this summer is their best path to a more-manageable payroll.

It doesn’t help that the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement limits Golden State’s options to round out the bench. Given that the Warriors will almost surely exceed the second salary-cap apron of $17.5 million over the tax line, they should lose their taxpayer mid-level exception, which has allowed them to sign such key rotation players over the years as Otto Porter Jr. and Donte DiVincenzo.

The problem for Golden State is that most NBA teams are under the second salary-cap apron. After watching the Warriors rule the league for nearly a decade, they’re ready for someone else — anyone else — to have a turn.

In that sense, many franchises got what they wanted Friday. The dynasty is probably over. All good things must come to an end.


* * *

* * *


by Annie Lamott

Here is my annual Mother’s Day post, ONLY for those of you who dread the holiday, dread having strangers, cashiers & waiters exclaim cheerfully, mindlessly, “Happy Mother’s Day!” when it is a day that, for whatever reasons, makes you feel deeply sad. I told Neal last year that I didn’t think I’d run it, because I always get so much hate mail, and he said, “It’s never stopped you before.” 

This is for those of you who may feel a kind of sheet metal loneliness on Sunday, who had an awful mother, or a mother who recently died, or wanted to but didn't get to have kids, or had kids who ended up breaking your hearts. If you love the day, and have or had a great mom and happy highly successful kids, maybe skip it:

I did not raise my son, Sam, to celebrate Mother’s Day. I didn’t want him to feel some obligation to buy me pricey lunches or flowers, some obligatory annual display of gratitude. Perhaps Mother’s Day will come to mean something to me as I grow even dottier in my dotage, and I will find myself bitter and distressed when Sam dutifully ignores the holiday. Then he will feel ambushed by my expectations, and he will retaliate by putting me away even sooner than he was planning to — which, come to think of it, would be even more reason for me to resist Mother’s Day.

But Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering.

The illusion is that mothers are automatically more fulfilled and complete. But the craziest, grimmest people this Sunday will be many mothers themselves, stuck herding their own mothers and weeping or sullen children and husbands’ mothers into seats at restaurants or Parkettes. These mothers do not want a box of chocolate. They may have announced for a month that they are trying not to eat sugar. Oh well, eat up.

I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or lost children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure. The non-mothers must sit in their churches, temples, mosques, recovery rooms and pretend to feel good about the day while they are excluded from a holiday that benefits no one but Hallmark and See’s. There is no refuge — not at the horse races, movies, malls, museums. Even the turn-off-your-cellphone announcer is going to open by saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

You could always hide in a nice seedy bar, I suppose. Or an ER.

It should go without saying that I also hate Valentine’s Day, even those years when I’ve had a boyfriend or some random husband.

Mothering perpetuates the dangerous idea that all parents are somehow superior to non-parents. Meanwhile, we know that many of the most evil people in the country are politicians who have weaponized parenthood.

Don’t get me wrong: There were a million times I could have literally died of love for my son, and I’ve felt stoned on his rich, desperate love for me. I felt it yesterday when I was in despair. But I bristle at the whispered lie that you can know this level of love and self-sacrifice only if you are a parent. What a crock! We talk about “loving one’s child” as if a child were a mystical unicorn. A majority of American parents secretly feel that if you have not had and raised a child, your capacity for love is somehow diminished. They secretly believe that non-parents cannot possibly know what it is to love unconditionally, to be selfless, to put yourself at risk for the gravest loss. But in my experience, it’s parents who are prone to exhibit terrible self-satisfaction and selfishness, who can raise children as adjuncts, like rooms added on in a remodel. Often their children’s value and achievements in the world are reflected glory, necessary for these parents’ self-esteem, and sometimes, for the family’s survival. This is how children’s souls are destroyed.

But my main gripe about Mother’s Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them, including aunties and brothers; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, who unconsciously raised me to self-destruct; and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men. I have loved them my entire life, including my mom, even after their passing. 

No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother’s Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture’s bad people and behavior. You want to give me chocolate and flowers? Great. I love them both. I just don’t want them out of guilt, and I don’t want them if you’re not going to give them to all the people who helped mother children. But if you are going to include everyone, then make mine something like M&M’s, and maybe flowers you picked yourself, even from my own garden, the cut stems wrapped in wet paper towels, then tin foil and a waxed-paper bag from my kitchen drawers. I don’t want something special. I want something beautifully plain. Like everything else, it can fill me only if it is ordinary and available to all.

* * *

* * *


Some of us made it to a top university; we were aiming for a better life and hoping to “make a difference.” The irony is that we had already missed the boat: the opportunities associated with China’s opening up were shortlived. The 1990s were boom years for people born in the 1960s: young, energetic, ready to inherit the new China. Soon they would take all the key positions in the economy, the universities, the state administration, even the arts, leaving their successors with little room to maneuver. For the 1960s crowd 1989 was the moment of transition. They were going through college at the time (often with their siblings) and were, on the whole, idealists, believing in reform and freedom. Tiananmen and 4 June changed everything.

From then on, instead of trying to change the political system they would focus on wealth creation. From the ashes of their hopes a shrewd, hard-nosed business elite emerged, driving China’s economic performance indicators to new heights. After 1989, foreign multinationals, impressed by the state’s iron determination and commitment to stability, began to invest heavily in the country. Before long, the children of the 1960s were basking in double-digit growth, and cleaning up as equity and property boomed. Few laws or regulations constrained venture capitalism, and China got its first good look at the filthy rich. When the children of the 1980s hit the job market, we found ourselves in an unenviable situation.

* * *

* * *


Now, I believe we are witnessing a controlled demolition of America. Slow and deliberate. So much so that the average person doesn’t really notice. 

You state that the brain cells of most Americans are addled by drugs and brainwashed by fake news as the reason most Americans don’t give a rat’s ass about any of this. Although I don’t disagree that many Americans are dumber than a box or rocks, I do argue that there are still many Americans, who, like me, want to do something but we don’t know what to do about it. I’m just one guy with no voice. Do I take up my guns and bum rush the State Capitol? I end up in prison without a trial or charges like the J6 people. Contacting our representatives does no good. The voting system is corrupted and everyone knows it. I think many Americans have incorporated a state of despair and are doing the only thing they know how to do. Keep their heads down and try to live out their lives in peace, unnoticed. What else can we do? What do we do when our Constitution is nothing more than ass fodder to the people who swore an oath to uphold and defend it from the President down to the janitors at the FBI? When the whole system is rotten but powerful, what recourse do we the people have? I don’t know.

* * *

99% OF LAWYERS give the rest a bad name.

— Steven Wright

* * *

* * *


Ukraine says its forces have pushed the Russians back 2 kilometers (about 1 mile) around Bakhmut over the past week. Moscow has rejected Kyiv's claims that it is now on the front foot after months defending the eastern city.

The chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner invited Russia's defense minister to visit the Bakhmut front lines, his latest provocative statement amid a rift with the Kremlin.

China says it will send an envoy to Ukraine and Russia next week to "promote peace talks." Western nations view Beijing's attempts to portray itself as a peacemaker with skepticism in light of its partnership with Moscow.

Ukraine and Russia are nearing an agreement to extend the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal, Turkey's Defense Ministry said. 

* * *

* * *


Walking alone in a forest, I came upon

a deer — this was not a vision.

It faced me, on its four thin legs,

unmoved as a cave painting

brushed by light. I made myself still.

I spoke to it, softly. I can't remember

what I said. The deer regarded me as a god would,

eased by my astonishment.

Then, slowly, I moved closer, and the deer

did not run. By now, you know it was love

I walked toward, not the deer, but

what hung in the space between us. I know

it was love because, as I held

my breath, the deer took

a few steps toward me before

bounding into the camouflage

of branches and leaves.

— Ama Codjoe

* * *

* * *


by Ralph Nader

Raising the federal debt limit over the years has secured unconditional routine Congressional passage and was endorsed by presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. After all, it allows the U.S. Treasury to pay past and existing bills, not expand future spending.

Routine, that is, until the recent arrival of the mad-dog Republicans with their monetized brains indentured to the war-making military industrial complex and Wall Street speculators gambling with other people’s savings.

It wouldn’t have mattered if the Democrats campaigned in 2022 as did vigorous New Deal Democrats instead of campaigning like willing servants of corporate cash and political/media consultants conflicted with their corporate clients. Imagine, in New York, a state controlled by a Democratic Governor and Democratic state legislature, Republicans won four U.S. House seats previously held by the blundering Democrats. The GOP could have been vanquished. (See,

Instead, the GOP squeaked through with a tiny majority to take over the U.S. House and let some 30 off-the-wall “crazies” turn the screws on their Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He hails from impoverished and neglected Bakersfield, California.

Fearing the crazies might dislodge him, McCarthy has accepted many of their cruel budget cuts as a condition of lifting the debt limit. Failing to raise the debt limit will result in an unprecedented default by the U.S. Treasury sometime in the early summer. Taken together, the GOP cuts represent a congealed and vicious assault against defenseless Americans. Of course, the avaricious plutocrats, with their hands deep in Uncle Sam’s pockets, have been shielded from any financial pain by the demands of these ruthless Republicans.

Congressional history has rarely witnessed such a corrupt, cruel and explicit drive to turn the delegated sovereignty of the people against the citizenry.

The Republican-demanded cuts totally exclude the vast, bloated military budget, which amounts to over half of the entire federal government’s operational budget, and doesn’t reduce the huge corporate welfare giveaways and bailouts. Republicans leave intact the huge gaping tax escapes for super-wealthy individuals and giant corporations. The latter bonanza implicitly rejects Biden’s revenue producing proposals to eliminate some of Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for the very rich like Trump’s family.

A partial litany of the latest heartless GOP horrors that will result from the budget cuts they are anticipated to propose include:

Reduced funding for nutrition programs for children; reduced Social Security benefits; increased processing delays from past GOP cuts in processing disability benefit decisions and retirement claims; cuts in Pell Grant award levels meant for about 6.6 million low-income college students; damage to federal child-care programs; and the potential elimination of some 170,000 Head Start program slots.

Fewer safety inspections of workplaces (by the already financially starved OSHA) fewer inspections of the railroads, and nursing homes. Tens of thousands of people could lose access to federally funded treatment for opioid addiction. Millions of people would not receive federal student loan forgiveness.

The GOP demands budget cuts to the health and safety agencies that protect the American people, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) air traffic control system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) programs for auto safety and the Federal Emergency Management’s (FEMA) emergency rescue programs.

The GOP message, camouflaged in attacks on the federal “bureaucracy,” is “hell for the people, but swell for the plutocracy.” Cutting the huge giveaways to the avaricious fat cats is off the table.

The first bill passed by the House GOP in January was to continue aiding and abetting giant tax evaders by repealing $80 billion over ten years that allows the budget starved IRS to go after the tax outlaws and promptly answer individuals’ phone calls.

Ironically, with all the verbal sparring between Republicans and Democrats, nary a peep has come from either party over the Federal Reserve’s trillions of dollars in printed money (called quantitative easing) to juice the stock market and subsidize the banks.

Even though the GOP is doing all this brazenly, mostly out in the open, the Democratic Party is unable or unwilling to use the powerful language and penetrating messaging essential to exposing the impact the GOP fangs will have on people where they live, work and raise their families. Imagine what FDR and Truman would have done.

The Democrats spend vast sums on television and radio ads with unmemorable self-anthems. They have the money to expose the GOP’s viciousness. What is the problem? Is campaign cash muzzling them? Could it be too many smug Party apparatchiks not being replaced with vigorous progressive strategists and communicators?

Are there too many safe gerrymandered seats, like those occupied by the GOP? Would more tough, young primary challengers change the debate? How about more animated, engaged voters? Could third-party competition wake up the slumbering politicians who refuse to listen to progressive citizen groups? Is there too much concentration of power within the House and Senate in just two so-called leaders? All of the above?

What’s your take readers?

There is another way for the Democrats to defeat the extortion effort by the GOP’s dangerous extremists who are playing hostage with American lives and livelihoods. Focus intensely on six or seven Republicans in the House who either are in Districts won by Biden or have expressed saner views on this gridlock. Focus also on those House Republican members who are retiring. All that the Democrats need is a switch of six votes to get the increase in the debt limit approved, leaving the GOP to wallow in its unprecedented viciousness.

* * *

* * *


by Dan Bacher

If you thought the $18 million that Big Oil spent on lobbying California officials in 2022 was outrageous, the gusher of money the oil and gas industry is spending in their campaign to control the regulatory apparatus is even worse this year.

Big Oil spent $9.4 million attempting to influence the California Legislature, Governor’s Office and agencies in the first quarter of 2023, according to lobbying disclosures by the oil and gas industry now posted on the California Secretary of State’s website.

“The dollar amount puts Big Oil on pace to greatly exceed the $18 million it spent lobbying in Sacramento in 2022, with $3.7 million spent in Q1 of 2022 and nearly $10 million spent by mid-year 2022,” according to a press statement from Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods (VISION).

Normally the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) tops the quarterly oil lobbying spending, but Chevron led the lobbying expenditures for January-March 2023.

Chevron came in first with over $4.9 million spent in the first quarter, while the Western States Petroleum Association finished second with over $2.3 million and Aera Energy finished third with nearly $628,000.

Oil refiners affected by the price gouging penalty legislation — Chevron, Marathon, Phillips 66, Valero and PBF Energy — spent a combined $5.6 million, noted VISION.

“It’s outrageous, but the fact that Big Oil is spending so much to keep control of the state legislature is a testimony to the progress that the Assembly and Senate have made,” said Kobi Naseck, coalition Coordinator of Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods. “We saw it last fall in S.B. 1137, the historic bill to pass public-health buffer zones outside of extraction sites, and this year in SBX 1-2, which marks the end of Big Oil’s price gouging of working families at the pump.”

“The industry knows what’s at stake here in California, and so do we. We will not allow the million-dollar corporate machine to undo the protective measures we’ve fought for on behalf of Californians on the frontline of the climate and economic crisis,” stated Naseck.

“Particularly noteworthy — across the supply chain from drillers, oil storers, pipeline and oil-by-rail operators, refiners and gasoline sellers — the industry went all-in on attempting to defeat SBX 1-2,” noted Naseck.

SBX 1-2, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom at the end of the quarter, creates a regulatory process overseen by the California Energy Commission to mandate more transparency and accountability for how Big Oil prices its dirty product and sells it at the pump in California, according to VISION.

The bill, coming after Californians faced record prices at the pump in 2022, enables the agency to implement a price gouging penalty if it finds that a refiner has engaged in predatory pricing practices harming consumers.

“The mad scramble, all-hands-on-deck lobbying activity comes as the industry is increasingly under scrutiny for its climate-wrecking, community-intoxicating, consumer-harming conduct,” according to the group.

Marathon, one of the Big 5 refiners, also lobbied against legislation (AB 1614) authorizing the Energy Commission to study the prospect of phasing out gas stations as the state fulfills its mandate to move away from internal combustion engine vehicles and toward Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) over the next decade, the group stated.

“Disclosures show that companies and trade associations lobbied against climate and environmental justice protections, transparency and accountability measures for price gouging and to continue drilling and leaving pollution behind in ways harmful to frontline communities,” the group revealed.

According to VISION, other “exemplary bills” receiving lobbying engagement by Big Oil during the quarter included:

SB 252 – Legislation calling on state public pension systems to divest from fossil fuels, Big Oil lobbied heavily against it

SB 253 and SB 261 – The former calls on large California-based corporations to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, while the latter creates a mandate for companies operating in California to disclose their climate-related financial risk. Both got lobbying backlash.

AB 1167 – Multiple companies, as well as WSPA, lobbied against this bill that would compel companies to hold financing in place for idle and abandoned wells. These wells are known to emit greenhouse gases and pollute communities.

SB 1 and AB 2 – Multiple companies lobbied to suspend motor fuels vehicle taxes, including ones that finance the Low Carbon Fuels Standard to transition the state away from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

SB 674 – WSPA and Marathon lobbied against this legislation that would mandate fenceline air quality monitoring at refineries.

Total number of oil drilling permits soars to 14,623 since Jan. 2019 

As the oil industry pumped $9.4 million into influencing state officials during the first quarter of 2023, CalGEM approved a total of 897 permits throughout the state, a 40% uptick over the first quarter of 2022, according to an analysis by Fractracker Alliance and Consumer Watchdog.

All but one for new drilling were for work on existing wells, including fixing, deepening, and redrilling them. Permits for work on existing wells rose 76% over the same period last year, according to an analysis by Kyle Ferrar of the Fractracker Alliance.

“In the first quarter, 62% of all the permits approved in the setback zone—totaling 556—were primarily to repair or redirect drilling in existing wells to more productive geologic formations,” said Ferrar.

“An independent scientific advisory panel had advised CalGEM that a 3,200-foot setback—or one kilometer–between homes, schools, daycares, hospitals, and other sensitive receptors was the minimum distance to protect public health,” revealed Ferrar.

Nevertheless, he said Californian women living within 6.2 miles of at least one oil or gas well during pregnancy have an increased risk of low-birthweight babies. Proximity to active oil operations increases the risk of premature birth by 40% and the chances of a high-risk pregnancy by 30%.

The total number of oil drilling permits approved since Governor Gavin Newsom took office in Jan. 2019 soared to 14,623 in the first quarter of 2023.

7.4 million Californians—nearly one in five—currently live within a mile of an active well, according to the two groups. Risk of harm from chronic exposure to toxic emissions from wells has been documented among residents who live up to 6.2 miles from a well.

Set to go into effect in January 2023, the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA) sponsored the referendum that has delayed the implementation of the setbacks law for two years. Filings with the California Secretary of State reveal that oil companies funneled over $20 million to the committee Stop the Energy Shutdown, a “Coalition Of Small Business Owners, Concerned Taxpayers, Local Energy Producers And The California Independent Petroleum Association.

The two groups track and map new well approvals at the site

Background: Big Oil spent $34.2 million on lobbying in the 2021-22 session

In addition to $20 million the oil industry paid to challenge SB 1137, the oil and gas industry spent over $34.2 million on lobbying the Legislature and other state officials in the 2021-22 Legislative Session.

While a long and hard-fought campaign by environmental justice groups, with the help of Governor Gavin Newsom, was able to finally get SB 1137 approved by the Legislature, other important bills were stopped by oil industry-backed legislators. Those measures include a bill to ban offshore drilling off the California coast and another bill to divest State of California pension funds from investments in the fossil fuel industry.

In addition to stopping key climate justice bills, the gusher of Big Oil and Big Gas lobbying money also resulted in CalGEM’s approval of 3,382 permits in 2022, including 551 new well permits and 2,831 oil well rework permits.

The Western States Petroleum Association, the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent $11,720,912 in the 2021-22 session:…

Chevron Corporation, the San-Ramon based oil giant that is infamous for environmental devastation and degradation from the Ecuadorian Amazon to Richmond, California, spent a total of $8,631,118 lobbying California officials in the 2021-22 session.

WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 8 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups; (5) working in collaboration with media; (6) sponsoring awards ceremonies, including those for legislators and journalists; (7) contributing to non profit organizations; and (8) creating alliances with labor unions.

To read my story on how the Western States Petroleum Association has embarked on a campaign to sponsor dinners and awards for the media and journalists, go here.

(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

Joe Biden could go to jail and The New York Times wouldn’t tell anybody he was no longer president.

— Peter A. Golden

Reality has become so elastic in America now that it stretches to a cosmic event horizon deep in the Twilight Zone where everything is magically transformed into its opposite. Note The New York Times report on Thursday saying that the House Oversight Committee showed “no proof” in its disclosures of the Biden Family’s international money laundering and racketeering operations.

In fact, the committee outlined a shit-ton of documentation in the form of bank records detailing exactly how gobs of money from foreign lands were washed and rinsed through a dozen shell companies and disbursed to everyone in the immediate Biden family down to the president’s grandchildren. The committee’s preliminary report was precise as to the money’s exact origins, its journey through the laundering apparatus, and the owners of the bank accounts it landed in. Thus: No evidence of wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, another whistleblower from the FBI emerged claiming that an unclassified FBI document called an FD-1023 report exists detailing the Biden Family moneygrubbing scheme. Rep James Comer (R-KY) formally requested it from FBI Director Chris Wray, who has declined to furnish it on the grounds that the doc contains info from a “confidential human source” (CHS), and the bureau can’t compromise an investigation, blah blah….

Here’s an interesting take from a reader of this blog for your consideration:

I have had a theory that the FBI made Hunter Biden a Confidential Human Source.

They can pretend that they were monitoring CCP figures in the US and that Hunter

was in a position to provide them with counter intelligence. As with Whitey Bulger,

the whole business was just a scam to keep him out of jail on legitimate charges.

This would explain why the FBI’s Wray is claiming national secrets now that Comer

is closing in on Biden family corruption and influence peddling.

It would also help to explain why Hunter Biden has been untouchable despite clear evidence of firearms felonies, money laundering and influence peddling crimes. All in plain sight for years. This CHS bullshit has been used repeatedly by the FBI and DOJ to shield Democrats and their henchmen from legal jeopardy. Stefan ‘Hamburger’ Halper, Christopher Steele and various other foreign election meddlers have been shielded by the FBI under the pretense of protecting sensitive intelligence, methods and foreign sources.

Would they dare pull this one with Hunter? Why not? The DOJ and the FBI spent years sitting on his laptop stuffed with incriminating docs and videos, obviously shielding him. The people running these agencies must be liable now for a range of crimes running from obstruction of justice to interfering in a presidential election, to acting as accomplices in the Biden Family bribery crimes. Mr. Comer’s Oversight Committee has only just started. Soon, they will be hauling in witnesses, and even if the cable news networks and the big newspapers don’t report about them, there are too many alt-news outlets that can only be stifled by a Carrington Event.

Does the Party of Chaos actually suppose they can keep pretending “Joe Biden” will run for a second term? Articles of impeachment await for bribery, at least, and perhaps treason. At this point, the case couldn’t be more clear-cut. The House is solely in-charge of the impeachment process. The hearings will be brutal. A bill of impeachment would then go to the Senate for trial, as we’ve seen twice before recently. Do you think the mainstream media can avoid covering that?

You must conclude that there is no way that “Joe Biden” will run for president again. He may resign rather than face impeachment. And then what? I’ll tell you what: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. starts making-over the Democratic Party the way that Donald Trump transformed the Republican Party in 2016. Bobby Kennedy has the tremendous advantage of standing completely outside the matrix of corruption, lying, and Woke mental illness that the Dems have made of themselves, and the voters are going to notice, even if The New York Times doesn’t.

The people of this land are also going to notice how much damage “Joe Biden” and those running this fake president have done to our country. A federal judge in Florida temporarily stayed the lifting of Title 42 — the rule put in during the Covid-19 emergency that allowed border officials to turn away migrants on the grounds of preventing the spread of the virus. (Of course, they should be turned away for entering the US illegally, in the first place.) Do you think those tens of thousands waiting now on the Mexican side care about the legal niceties of all that? Watch them bum-rush the border starting today and keep coming for weeks on end, whatever our government says it’s doing.

Beyond that “Joe Biden” induced fiasco loom the ongoing banking collapse, the cratering on-the-ground economy, the humiliation of the failing Ukraine project, and the exposure of the vast harms done by the Covid vaccine crusade.


* * *

California Live Oak (2015) by Phyllis Shafer


  1. Mike J May 13, 2023

    “The Brown Act only applies to meetings “within the subject matter jurisdiction of the [Board of Supervisors].” Gov. Code § 54952.2. That definition necessarily excludes the political endorsements of individual supervisors. Any attempt to control….”

    Just like I said. I should petition the state to issue me a law license!

    There are some who have expressed the view that this mass endorsement represents “hanky panky”. I presume that means the perceived most friendly-to-wine-grape growers candidate is being promoted as a super-great guy and great potential Supe.

    At least two of the Supes appear to be not really concerned with the views of the AVA and basicly now ignore this paper’s editorializing.

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 13, 2023

      The problem isn’t that the Supervisors aren’t concerned with the views of the AVA, it’s that they’re (as a group, as in all 5) not concerned about implementing the will of the voters and the constituents they allegedly and legally represent.

    • Lazarus May 13, 2023

      “Just like I said. I should petition the state to issue me a law license!”

      Just because some lawyer says it, doesn’t necessarily make it so.
      But aside from that, politically speaking, the optics of what the BoS pulled are terrible.
      Then again, McGourdy won easily in his election bid. So one could surmise that the voters of the District will go along with the McGourdy scheme to keep Big Grape watered…
      Even if the rest of the County thinks it smells of election peddling.

      • Mike J May 13, 2023

        I actually sympathize with the AVA sentiments re Big Grape. Land use policies and a zoning changes are needed imo along the river corridor.

        But, I don’t think the AVA is exactly fair and accurate re the Supes’ motivations and characters and job performances.

  2. George Hollister May 13, 2023

    In the political money game, the Bidens are pikers compared to the Clintons. And the Clintons know better about how to actually be corrupt and get away with it.

  3. Nathan Duffy May 13, 2023

    Well if you can’t laugh at Anthony Davis rolling off in a wheelchair (Shaq and Barkleys laugh attack made my week) or Jordan Poole buying rapper Icespice a HALF Million in handbags on a friendly date(her twerk is as good as her butt is big) then I’d be crying in my oatmeal right now but instead we have comic relief in the form of overpaid manboys. Please let the drama queens do their thing and keep the entertainment rolling!!

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 13, 2023

      Denver in 6.

    • Bruce Anderson May 13, 2023

      Davis in the wheelchair and Barkley and Shaq cracking up was v. funny. The Warriors live or die with the three pointer and both the Splash Bros were way off, that and the Warriors don’t have a bench. Fun season, though.

      • Nathan Duffy May 13, 2023

        Indeed it was fun! But is it time to shake up the Dubs roster? Does Bob Meyers leave?
        Also, if Boston wins Sunday then the 4 teams in the finals will be the same as in the NBA bubble; Lakers, Celtics, Nuggets, Heat.
        Gotta take Miami if thats the case.

        • Bruce Anderson May 13, 2023

          Yeah, gotta shake that roster hard. Lots of dead wood there, but I’ll bet Meyers stays to do the trimming.

          • Marmon May 13, 2023

            I predict their will be a lot of dub’s fans that come over to the young Kings. Some old fans and some young ones. The 17 year playoff drought is over. Also, It looks like Euroleague MVP Sasha Vezenkov will be joining the team over the summer. The kings are a fun team to watch, and now the whole world has seen them on National TV and streamed all over the world. T-Shirt sales will be off the charts for the next few years or more.


  4. Eric Sunswheat May 13, 2023

    RE: legendary… grapes.

    —> October 16, 2022
    Fall is the ideal season to try a grape cleanse, a mono-diet that promises to detoxify the body. Rich in antioxidants, minerals and iron, this fruit has many health benefits…

    For the duration of the actual cleanse, you should eat only grapes. Eat a small quantity of them throughout the day, every two or three hours, for example. It’s best to choose red grapes, which are richer in flavonoids, also called vitamin P…

    The duration of this mono-diet varies from one day, for beginners, to three days. Anything beyond should be subject to medical advice. Before starting the diet, you must get your body used to receiving fewer calories and foods.

    To do this, you must gradually reduce processed foods, meat and starchy foods and replace them with fruit and vegetables. The same goes for coffee, which should also be cut out during the diet…

    During the cleanse, you might experience headaches, a coated tongue or feel cold. These symptoms are related to the elimination of toxins.

    Ending the cleanse must be done gradually. For an optimal recovery, count on twice the duration of the cleanse itself. If the process lasted two days, aim to resume eating normally four days after the end.

  5. Michael Geniella May 13, 2023

    George Hollister, interested to know your assessment of the Trump family, and its long history in the ‘political money game.’

    • George Hollister May 13, 2023

      The Trump brand lost value during Trump’s time in office, because of Trump. Trump is driven by narcissistic behavior, and his family money allows him to indulge himself, not the other way around. Trump is not in politics for the money, but because he thinks he knows better than anyone else what is best for the country, just like Bernie Sanders, and Kennedy. Jr. In many ways political figures like this can be dangerous, because they can not be bought off, and will do anything to further their vision. There is a long infamous world history of these types.

      • Sarah Kennedy Owen May 13, 2023

        Trump may be further in debt than you think. In which case he needs money and may be accepting offers. We know he gets lots of “campaign money”. The danger in Trump is his lack of regard for the well-being of Americans, by encouraging outlaw behavior in his constituents. He does this to gain power. For money? Maybe.
        To be honest I can think of no other logical reason, in his case, as his “belief system” (or “vision”) is a simple one-celled creature: self.

        • George Hollister May 13, 2023

          Trump lives on debt. I think this likely effects his perspective on government spending, and the national debt. To Trump, the national debt doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care about his debt, either. He has been through bankruptcy, at least once. Trump’s vision for America is to control (stop) immigration, to control (end) international free markets, and to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses. By doing these things he believes he can Make America Great Again. He has been talking about this for at least the last 30 years. His positions on abortion, Covid, education, the deep state, etc. have emerged since he ran for president in 2016, and are to some extent a result of a learning experience in Washington. His popularity with working Americans was likely a surprise to him, but he feeds on it. Of course the election was a fraud, in Trump’s mind he can never lose.

          It is a mistake to fail to see Trump as he is, just as it is a mistake to see Bernie Sanders, or RFK Jr. for who they are. They are not, or haven’t been politicians looking for a handout, or looking for a way to money themselves. They really believe they singularly know what is best. I would bet Bernie, and Jr. wish they had Trump’s money to spend on their respective visions. There are plenty of provisions in our Constitution to side track these types.

          • Marmon May 13, 2023

            Who do you suggest would be a better President, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney?


            • George Hollister May 13, 2023

              DeSantis, among other good GOP candidates, and potential candidates. Cheney, and Romney are not among them. The GOP has a wealth of impressive young leadership waiting in the wings that could beat anyone in the Democratic Party. How about Tim Scott?

              These people are solid, without Trump’s politically fatal shortcomings.

      • Marmon May 13, 2023

        “We have to understand that Trump thrives on adversity…Trump thrives on a challenge.”

        -Dick Morris


        • George Hollister May 13, 2023

          Trump thrives at looking in his mirror, showing off, sounding off, and convincing himself, with absolute certainty, that he is all knowing, and the only hope and savior of America.

          • Chuck Dunbar May 13, 2023


  6. Marmon May 13, 2023


    “I would say that the real story starts in 2014 when the U.S. government, and particularly the neocons in the White House and elsewhere, participated in and supported the overthrow, violent overthrow – a coup d’état – against the democratically elected government of the Ukraine and put in a very, very anti-Russian government.”

    Robert F Kennedy Jr. @RobertKennedyJr


    • Harvey Reading May 13, 2023

      It started when NATO, at the behest of the ego-dominated US, started moving troops and missiles to to the Russian border, decades ago. This time, we may just get our ass wiped, along with the rest of life on the planet. No Kennedy’s gonna be able to save our asses if that happens, and no Kennedy’s gonna get my meaningless vote. The only candidate I would even consider supporting is Kucinich. The rest are trash to the core.

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