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Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 15, 2023

Cooler | Swallowtail | Groundwater Sustainability | Fish Caught | Vacation Rentals | Maestro Rainbow | Senior Center | Fifth Strike | Ed Notes | Celebrating Censabella | Selling Newspapers | Costume Party | Poetry Celebration | Lansbury Exhibit | The Shorts | Yesterday's Catch | High-Speed Chasing | Chappelle SF | Greatest Liar | Nostradamus | Corn Hole | Warhol Art | Feudal Society | Ukraine | Psychological Manipulation | Important Wall | Independent Journalism | Hitcat | Reading Freedom | Lake's Edge

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COOLER TEMPERATURES are expected today across the area, although inland areas will remain slightly above seasonal normals. Coastal stratus will keep the coast cooler as well. These conditions are expected to continue through the week. Today a few showers are possible over the mountains and ridges of Trinity county. (NWS)

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THIS IS A NEW PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAIL - just dropped from its chrysalis this morning....

We pick them up so they don't get stepped on and attach to a warm wall next to nectar plants. In an hour the wings have inflated, in two hours they flit away. Dozens and dozens are busy in the garden. 

(Valerie Hanelt)

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(On the possibility of Potter Valley going dry…)

I am the agricultural representative on the UVBGSA [Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency]. The GSA was initially funded with state money to develop a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP). The Ukiah Valley was deemed a basin of moderate concern so the primary requirement was to develop a plan to monitor and set thresh holds. That plan has been submitted to DWR and awaits approval. The state is no longer funding the GSA. It is being funded by URRWA and the City of Ukiah. The Upper Russian River Water Agency is a JPA made up of Redwood Valley, Calpella, Millview, and Willow Water Districts along with the Ukiah Sanitation District. We are going to be interviewing firms to do a rate study soon to figure out who gets to foot the bill in the future. We hired West Yost to manage the GSA. They contract out the monitoring and fulfill the requirements. They are also looking and applying for grants to do projects like increased monitoring, groundwater recharge, etc.

And yes, Potter Valley could run dry if the diversion ends. PG&E is ready to abandon the project because it loses them money. Pacificorp has laid a template with the decommissioning of the four dams on the Klamath. No diversion and we lose 60,000 AF a year on average going into Lake Mendocino. PVID loses around 20,000 AF. Potter Valley’s aquifer is very shallow and not high yielding. It is getting recharged by the leaky canal system. According to the state, its max annual yield is 450 AF for a community of 650. They may be able to squeak by with drinking water but some wells would likely go dry. Even Ukiah’s aquifer can only provide 10,000 AF more than it does now on an annual basis. Ukiah having water doesn’t do Potter Valley much good though, unless we want to start driving trucks there like we did the coast.

I am working on the white paper laying out the issues and there will be a suggested plan of action.

PS. Yes, any vineyard over five acres is getting hit with water discharge requirements (WDR). SWRCB regulates water rights, ensures water is being put to beneficial use and ensures said water is not being harmed. The Fish Friendly Farming program through the California Land Stewardship Institute is one third party that verifies you are meeting the requirements by developing a farm plan which includes mapping your property, seeing where you may have problems, then prescribing corrective action plans. They do follow through with monitoring. Developing the plan initially is the costly part. Currently there are grants available to offset the cost but the owner must continue to monitor and follow through with whatever corrective measures are necessary. Our farms are certified FFF. I think it is a good program.

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(photo by Denise Brendlin)

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CHUCK ARTIGUES: I don’t think ‘all’ short term vacation rentals should be banned. I do believe that the conversion of long term rentals to vacation rentals should be stopped and rolled back and eliminated if possible. I live over a mile from Highway One, in a purely residential area and the house next to me was purchased by some Bay Area techies, who claimed they were going to live here part time, but I saw them once and now it’s just an air bnb hotel. My wife’s doctor can’t find a rental and may choose to leave the area because of a lack of housing. You can’t tell me this isn’t an important issue. If my supervisor tells me that he can’t put an exact number on how bad this problem is, it just means he’s not doing his job.

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I’ve read with dismay the recent articles concerning the County’s sabotage of the Senior Center. To quote St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, “May it never be!” The subject building many decades ago served as Boonville Grammar School. I’m not sure when it closed, although a) I’m certain someone who might read this does, and b) I suspect it was right around the time Indian Creek was closed in Spring 1956 precedent to the building of the current high school. (It was located on the site of the PG&E substation below Philo Market next to the Catholic Church.) During that two-year construction period, this building served for the first month of the year as home to our 1st and 2nd-grade classes for the first few weeks of school, until after the Fair, then we matriculated to the new Home Arts Hall on the fairgrounds. Once the high school was complete, all primary grades were consolidated at the current elementary building, with 4th-7th at the old long-missed high school next door. In any event, I believe the idea of somehow putting the Senior Center property under the CSD is a good one, although I’m sure the higher-ups will think otherwise. How the CSD became the owner of the Con Creek School was simply because we had access to grant money to acquire it, which we did, and then executed a long-term lease to the Historical Society. Probably too simple for some folks over the hill to comprehend, I imagine. 

Signing off from Texas.

PS. Indian Creek School, 1921. Mike Prather and my dad are on the left end. Not sure of the date, with the inimitable Blanche Brown on the back right in charge.

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Defendant Timmy Kent Cooper, age 61, formerly of Ukiah, was sentenced Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 33 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Timmy Cooper

As previously reported, a Mendocino County Superior Court jury found Cooper guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon (a chain) and personally inflicting great bodily injury by breaking the victim’s arm, said verdicts being returned in February following deliberations that lasted less than a half an hour.

In a bifurcated evidentiary hearing conducted after the jury was excused, the District Attorney proved with certified court documents that Cooper has suffered four prior Strike convictions. 

Those prior Strike convictions are for residential burglary, two counts of robbery in Los Angeles County, and a bank robbery using a deadly weapon in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

A Strike conviction is defined by current California law as either a serious prior felony conviction, as listed in Penal Code section 1192.7(c), or a violent prior felony conviction, as listed in Penal Code section 667.5(c). 

Of the defendant's prior Strike convictions noted above, three are characterized by California law as violent and one is characterized as serious. The most recent Mendocino County conviction is also characterized by law as violent.

The law enforcement agencies that gathered the People’s trial evidence and provided trial support were the Ukiah Police Department and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

The prosecutor who represented the People’s interests at today’s sentencing hearing was Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.

The defendant, his attorney, and ADA Trigg appeared before Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder Friday morning to present arguments regarding applicable law and the appropriate sentence for this defendant, given the instant crime and his background of felonious recidivism.

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CURIOUS about this mysterious CCC project, now seemingly abandoned, I've wondered for several years what the heck was the point of it off 128 at mile post 35.17. 

Val Hanelt lives in the area so The Major asked her. Val replied, “No, I don't know. But it was a CCC project. Or at least the work was being done by them. If we find out more we’ll let you know.”

TRUMP'S MOTHER'S DAY GREETING: “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL, in particular the Mothers, Wives and Lovers of the Radical Left Fascists, Marxists, and Communists who are doing everything within their power to destroy and obliterate our once great Country. Please make these complete Lunatics and Maniacs Kinder, Gentler, Softer and, most importantly, Smarter, so that we can, quickly, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!” -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

ON BEHALF of my mother, Mr. Bluster, I hereby exonerate her from any responsibility for her son's lunacy. The poor thing did everything she could to keep him from straying into lunacy but, gee, he concluded early on that's where all the interesting people were.

I'M SURPRISED at how fast this blurred canard of commiefascistlunatic has caught on among the unlettered. Anything the Magas don't like is the work of all of the above, although there's way less than a million of the serious ones all put together, and they have zero power, less influence. But I'll admit to having had plenty of run-ins with radical left fascists — pseudo radical leftists, I should say, but certainly fascist to the their rancid cores, hiding behind “Making the world a better place.” The radical left fascists can be found in self-validating clusters around Mendocino County in any current group that describes itself as “activist.” The fake left is one reason there's no left in this country. A young person might go to one meeting or one public event and come away vowing, “Never again,” not that building a real movement ever occurs to the nuts and hustlers who fasten themselves, barnacle-like, to anything calling itself “progressive.”

I THOUGHT this on-line comment from Redheaded Blackbelt nicely summed up the ACLU's bogus suit against Mendo DA Eyster: 

“Eyster’s big crime isn’t lack of transparency or failing to comply with the ACLU’s fishing expedition, but that he ignored them. 

The ACLU is riding on its reputation from long ago but it’s in the vanguard of undermining women’s rights by elevating trans rights. The ACLU turns the issue on its head by claiming “trans rights are women’s rights.” 

No, it doesn’t matter to me how people choose to identify but it’s wrong to rob a girl or woman of her hard earned victory or a place on the team because she was forced to compete against biological males. 

Then there’s Matt LaFever’s florid, feverish, house on fire writing style.

Doesn’t matter if he’s writing about a cat stuck in a tree or a vicious murder – he’s always reaching for – and falling short of – a riveting wannabe “true crime” style of reporting. 

To flesh out the story he brings in Eyster’s use of the Brady Act. He faults Eyster for putting a probation officer on the list who first denied then claimed to be a victim of domestic violence. She probably lied to protect her abuser (as many victims of DV do) but the fact is she lied. 

Then there’s Officer Awad who hit on a woman he arrested for DUI, had sex with her, tried to throw the case and admits to lying about it. LaFever insinuates Eyster weaponized Brady by using it against the P,O. and Awad, but not the lying, sleazy, disgraced ex-cop Murray. Key phrase is “ex-cop” – Murray was quickly fired and will never work as a cop again so the Brady list was NA. 

After nearly a year of wrangling Eyster finally responded to the ACLU’s fishing expedition. The result? According to LaFever it’s a ton of raw data with limited value. But the ambulance chasing ACLU will search for and find racial disparity in charging. Why? Crime stats in Mendo are skewed by Covelo where some members of the Native American population are repeatedly arrested and charged with crimes.”

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

As a kid I delivered newspapers (Cleveland News, Cleveland Press) and when I got older I worked 80-hour weeks in a ketchup factory. I spent college summers at a small shop that fabricated big ticket specialty items.

As an adult I’ve mostly kept to two occupations: Journalist and private investigator. The jobs A) require similar skills and attributes, and B) suffer from general mistrust on the part of the public.

People assumed that whether a journalist or an investigator I was at bottom a shyster, a trickster who pretended to be looking for facts but in reality was determined to bend (so-called) truth to fit an agenda. 

Over the years as a newspaper reporter I heard a familiar phrase over and over when I tried to pluck words and information out of the mouths of sources: “Oh, you don’t care about the truth, you just want to sell newspapers!”

And I’d think, “Well no, not really.” 

As a criminal defense investigator I heard a different phrase over and over as I tried to pluck words and information from the mouths of potential witnesses: “Oh, you don’t care about the truth, you’re just trying to get him off!”

And I’d think “Well no, not really.” Not even close.

If you drill down to the core mission of a newspaper, it is indeed to sell more newspapers. But the notion I’m trying to con some deputy city manager into voicing a contrary opinion about water department operations so I can squeeze it into the 14th paragraph of a story to appear on page six of tomorrow’s business section, hoping newspapers will magically disappear from sales racks is preposterous. Delusional, really.

And if you get right down to the essence of working in criminal defense, then yes indeed we are trying to get the hapless chump charged with 12 felony counts “off.” But the idea I might con the mother of the victim of several of these unpleasant crimes into making a statement to magically spring my client to freedom is ludicrous, and yes, delusional. 

What investigative trickery and treachery might I dream up to get the defendant off? Rewrite police reports and expunge his name? Hypnotize jurors during trial?

In my years reporting and editing for various papers in newsrooms at big city dailies and among a handfuls of staff at modest weeklies, I never once heard fellow journalists or editors slyly suggest that although a story we were contemplating was false and misleading, it would sure sell a ton of copies tomorrow morning. Never.

I never once heard anyone utter a word about just wanting to sell newspapers. 

Having spent 34 years doing criminal defense investigations I was never under the impression, much less the command, to follow a course that might ultimately “get (the defendant) off.” 

For one, it would be virtually impossible to perform such work. Shall I dangle a pocket watch in front of a witness and suggest in soft, soothing tones that she did not see what she already had repeatedly told the police she had seen?

Plant evidence? Offer the judge a bribe? 

Does anyone think I might undertake such illegal skullduggery to spring some criminal I don’t even know? Why?!? I can’t think of a reason either.

Now let’s update this historic mistrust regarding events here in Mendocino County in 2023: 

I am certain there is no conspiracy among legal system participants in the ongoing matter of People vs. Kevin Murray. Prosecutors and judges aren’t going to bend the rules, let alone twist them into pretzel shapes, to give a break to a cop accused of assorted misdeeds.

Why would they? Why would an elected District Attorney and elected Superior Court Judge damage reputations and careers to benefit just another defendant? 

Some local journalists have suggested high-level dirty dealing is the only explanation for what appears to them as lenient sentencing.

Don’t you believe it. They’re just trying to sell newspapers.

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ELEANOR COONEY: This is a repost, but it being Mother's Day (which my mother thought was ridiculous) and all, can't resist putting it up one more time. My mother was the hippest, coolest, smartest, funniest person I ever met. And I'm not just saying that because she was my mother.

The scene: a costume party in Connecticut, ca. 1962 or so. The gorgeous dame with the killer gams is my mother, Mary Durant. The guy to the left was a houseguest, Ralph, who had come up from NYC for the weekend with his high-maintenance filly of a girlfriend. On the night of the party, the GF threw a hissy fit because she didn't like how she looked in her costume, and refused to go to the party. So Ralph and my mother went without her. The expression on Ralph's face seems to say: Jeez, if only I'd left the silly bitch in NYC, I might have had a chance with Mary…

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Yes, we’re on at the Hill House for Sunday, June 11. Arrive during the noon hour, come up the grand winding staircase, have a sip of something with choice comestibles, sign in if you want to read. Enjoy the gathering of words.

Dan Roberts will start the reading at 1:00 pm,, with four minutes per poet, a nice pace to sustain the sublime. Then break for town and coast, returning at 5:00 to read again at 6:00 pm. Attend either session, or both, and yes, bring a friend!

Thanks to Zida Borcich for dedicating the cultural banquette of the May issue of REM, the Real Estate Magazine, for poems. and articles about poetry, and the history of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration. Pick up a free copy of REM and see the articles by Dan Roberts and me.

I recall a happy encounter with two German poets checking in at the Hill House, who chanced to attend the unexpected show of northern California American poetry, and stayed on for both sessions. I’m pleased to think they got our best. Pick up a free copy of REM, or try

The live Celebration will later be broadcast by Dan Roberts with segues of world music on KZYX public radio, continuing for weeks until each poet is heard.

Questions? Happily entertained at Mark your calendar: Sunday June 11.

Gordon Black


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Angela Lansbury in the role of Jessica Fletcher while filming “Murder, She Wrote.” She is standing under the barber pole at Mitch’s Barber Shop on the corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets.

The Kelley House’s new digital exhibit, Angela Lansbury: Muse of Cabot Cove, is a tribute to the beloved actress and her impact on Mendocino. The exhibit examines her illustrious life and career, in particular her role as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote.” The iconic TV series had an impact on Mendocino that ranged from hiring locals for the filming to boosting tourism. Most of all, the exhibit honors Lansbury for the generosity and kindness she showed to the people of Mendocino.

This digital exhibit is based on the physical exhibition, Angela Lansbury: Muse of Cabot Cove, which was on display in the Kelley House Museum from December 2022 - March 2023.

New Book! Memories Of Cabot Cove by Barbara Reed – Fans of the hit TV show “Murder, She Wrote,” will love this commemorative 44-page photo booklet with 35 color and black-and-white images from filming in Mendocino during the 1980s and ’90s. Mendocino was chosen for its resemblance to a New England town and was given the name Cabot Cove on the show, which starred Angela Lansbury as the plucky sleuth, Jessica Fletcher. Author Barbara Reed is the former owner of the Hill House Inn, which was featured repeatedly in the show, and still welcomes visitors with a sign out front reading “Hill House of Cabot Cove.” Many of the cast and crew stayed here during filming. The introduction in this revised edition is written by Jain Lemos, daughter of Toni Lemos, who was Mendocino County’s Film Coordinator for decades. $15.

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JEFF & CAROLYN SHORT, The Last Of The Old-Time — Full-Service Station Operators

by Bruce Anderson (AVA, August 28, 1985)

A reminiscing Valley resident was once overheard to say, “When I first came here in 1960, it seemed to me there were only two places I was assured of a warm and friendly welcome. One was at the old Tindall Market. Alice Tindall cashed a check for me the first day I was here and volunteered to help me look for housing. The other place where a stranger was certain to be genuinely welcomed was at Jeff and Carolyn Short’s service station. I’ve been buying gas and tires from them ever since.”

Carolyn & Jeff Short

That sentiment has been expressed by many new arrivals to the Valley and is been often and unanimously endorsed by the many persons born and raised in Anderson Valley. In a small community such a reputation is not only enviable but nearly impossible to achieve. But the Shorts, Jeff and Carolyn, are the proverbial couple about whom you will never hear a disparaging word. They have a rare, instinctive kindness and generosity that other Mom and Pop businesses would certainly profit from if such virtues were somehow transferrable.

Jeff and Carolyn Short are the undisputed champs of the Anderson Valley Service Station business, a championship they’ve achieved by simply out-working and out-servicing all competitors since they took over their present location in December of 1962.

“When we took over the station in 1962, there had been eight previous owners. We had one bay and no canopy. Right next door where the fire station is now, there was a Shell Station. Down the street between The Lodge and Seconds To Go there was a Chevron Station. There was plenty of competition,” Jeff neatly capsulizes, with typical modesty, what had to have been a grueling 25 years. The Shorts not only operated their station for long hours each day, but for five years sold gas wholesale to local ranchers and loggers. Between pumping gas, repairing cars, responding to emergencies at all hours of the day and night at the request of stranded or needy customers, both Jeff and Carolyn drove a big fuel delivery truck all over the Valley to the homes and work sites of wholesale fuel purchasers. 

As if this regimen weren’t eventful enough, Jeff volunteered to drive the old Valley ambulance in the days before there was compensation. “Bill West, Carl Kinion and me went out all hours of the day and night. I was with the ambulance for 14 years. The ambulance used to be parked right here at the station.”

Jeff explains that he had come out to Vallejo in the early 40s to go to work at the Mare Island Shipyards in Vallejo but, because he was only 15, he was too young to get on there. “In the old country, back in Arkansas, I grew up in the same general area as the Summits, the Waggoners and the Willis Tuckers. That’s around Mount Ida and Glenwood, Arkansas, about 30 minutes from Hot Springs. In Vallejo, I worked as an iceman, delivering ice for the old-fashioned ice boxes everybody had then. From there I was inducted into the Army at the base at Beale (now Beale Air Force Base), up near Yuba City. Delivering ice in those days got pretty interesting, I can tell you with all those young wives left without husbands who were off to the war.” 

Jeff grins impishly, before continuing his story, “I got out of the Army in 1945 after spending most of my time in Manila in the Philippines. I went home to Arkansas to work in a gas station 22 miles from where I lived. I hitched a ride every day with Jigs and Redman. Twenty-two miles comin’ and twenty-two miles goin’. My dad was Marshall down there in those days.”

“We met in Arkansas. I was a little bit suspicious of Jeff at first. But when we got to know each other, it wasn’t long before we decided to get married,” said Carolyn Short in response to a question as to how the popular Boonville couple had first met. “I lived about seven miles from Jeff. He was in and out of the area anyhow because he had come out to California to work when he was 15. I didn’t know him until he started showing up at my school to watch me play basketball.

“Love at first sight,” confirms Jeff. “I had to give nine other girls rides home from basketball games until I could get alone with Carolyn. Carolyn was a good basketball player, too, I can tell you that, but I sure had to do a lot of drivin’ around her friends to get to know her.”

Jeff continued his and Carolyn’s story by describing their lives as newlyweds in Benecia where they settled briefly after the war. 

“I did a bunch of different things around Vallejo before I heard about logging over in Mendocino County. There was lots of work in the woods around here then. There were mills everywhere. We came over here in 1950. When we got to the top of the Ukiah hill, I said, ‘What in the hell are we doing here?’ I drove a logging truck from 1950 until I bought the station in 1962.”

And Carolyn Short? “I worked as a bookkeeper in the mills. I told Jeff I didn’t think we should buy the station because I knew there had been eight other operators before us. I didn’t know if we could make it or not. It’s been hard work, but here we are. We raised our son, Jimmy, right here in Boonville. He loved it here, wouldn’t let us leave. Jimmy was born in 1956. He works over in Ukiah for the WestAmerica Bank.”

Understanding how hard they work, as one seldom passes the busy station at the intersection of Highway 128 and Haehl Lane without seeing Jeff and Carolyn on the job, it is wondered how they ever manage a day away from their old station over these last 23 years.

Carolyn explains, “We get time away to go fishing and we save up to visit Lake Tahoe a couple of times a year. We both love to fish, we enjoy the local dances, the fair every year, and we like people. It’s surprising the number of people who stop by every year to ask if we remember them? We remember.

Carolyn turned to Jeff: “Remember Burgess Meredith?”

“Who? Oh yeah,” remembered Jeff. “The little guy who was broke down outside of town. Yes, I think someone said he’s a movie star, but he’s a customer too. We couldn't have lasted without the support of the local people. We owe it all to them.” 

And with that, Jeff turned to mount a tire and Carolyn hurried over to a just-arrived customer where she filled the tank, washed the windshield, checked the air pressure in the tires, all without being asked.

Outside of the mythical Murph, your television "spirit of ’76" man, how many stations do you know where that happens these days?

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, May 14, 2023

Alvarez, Boone, Castillo

ESBEIDA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Battery.

MEREDTH BOONE-DENHEM, Laytonville. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

BRYAN CASTILLO, San Francisco/Ukiah. DUI, no license.

Dausman, Hayes, Hidalgo, Hughes

MATTHEW DAUSMAN, Ukiah. DUI, probation violation.

DAVETTE HAYES, Covelo. Assault with firearm, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, use of firearm in a crime.

THOMAS HIDALGO, Ukiah. Parole violation.

WHITNEY HUGHES, Ukiah. Arson of property, shopping cart possession, controlled substance.

Maciel, Mendoza, Moro

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

MELISSA MENDOZA-CERVANTES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


Nanez, Ruiz, Salo

ALYSSA NANEZ, Fairgrove, Michigan/Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JUAN RUIZ, Ukiah. Unlawful sexual intercourse with minor who is more than three years younger than perpetrator.

ERNEST SALO, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

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Over and over, local police are jeopardizing our safety by initiating high-speed auto chases through our streets. Driving drunk is not a capital offense and inciting a drunken driver to speed is foolhardy. Suspected thievery, drugs or handguns do not justify risking the lives of innocent bystanders during a high-speed chase. The police could record the license plate number and apprehend the suspect later. How proud we could be in Sonoma County if our police departments led the way nationally in giving up the use of high-speed chases.

Elizabeth Boardman

Santa Rosa

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WHEN DAVE CHAPPELLE & SAN FRANCISCO COLLIDE, headlines invariably follow. 

Returning to the city by the Bay just five months after presenting Elon Musk to an unimpressed audience there, Chappelle performed a last-minute set on Thursday evening. During the show, the controversial comic expressed open contempt for San Francisco, at one point asking, “What the fuck happened to this place?” according to a review by SFGate. He observed that the city had become “half Glee, half zombie movie,” describing a recent incident wherein he watched someone openly defecate in front of a restaurant he was entering. Chappelle added that San Franciscans “[needed] a Batman” to save it. Despite the derision, the 49-year-old referred to the city as his second home during the show, SFGate reported, and recalled having played venues there hundreds of times over his career—joking that he’d used “the city like a goddamn ATM.” 

(Daily Beast)

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SNOW WHITE, SUPERMAN AND PINOCCHIO were out for a stroll in town one day.

As they walked, they came across a sign: "Beauty contest for the most beautiful woman in the world.”

“I'm entering" said Snow White.

After half an hour Snow White came out and they asked her, “Well, how did you do?”

“First Place,” said Snow White.

They continued walking. Then they saw a sign: "Contest for the strongest man in the world.”

“I'm entering,” said Superman.

After half an hour he returned and they asked him, "How did you make out?"

“First Place,” answered Superman. "Did you ever doubt?"

They continued walking when they saw a sign: "Contest! Who is the greatest liar in the world?”

Pinocchio said, “This is mine.”

Half an hour later, he returned with tears in his eyes.

“What happened?" they asked.

“Who the hell is Donald Trump?" asked Pinocchio.

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Re: Cornholery

The first time I heard people bragging about their Corn Hole skills, I absolutely cringed at such an inelegant wholesale violation of human decency. Corn hole, since at least 1955, meant anal intercourse, a minor sexual proclivity, an occasional necessity, and rarely (often depending on the position) an honest mistake. To my perhaps coarsened sensibility, one's skills in butt-banging, while perhaps of interest to an extremely small circle of aficionados, do not usually require public disclosure.

If I remember correctly, “corn hole” had its origin in a joke, a joke I heard in the 4th grade boy's bathroom in 1955. The joke, with its unabashedly racist/sexist soul, was what I now think of as the natural second joke in the lexicon of Beginning Adolescent Humor. The first dirty joke is the Johnny Fukerfaster joke. A young kid is loose in the world when his mother steps out their door to call her son to dinner: “Johnny! Johnny Fukerfaster!” And then this answer came floating back: “Hey Mom, I'm fucking her as fast as I can!” In case it may have escaped you, that was the joke. Get a good grip on your ribs because here's the corn hole joke: A fair Indian Maid of the Gotchanookie Tribe woke one midnight when the teepee flap fluttered and a handsome young buck was looming over her. The young buck said, “I want some loving.”

The Indian maiden smiled coyly and asked, “Have you brought me something?”

The young buck seemed startled, but said, “What shouId I bring you? What do you want?”

“Wampum,” she smiled.

The young buck returned near dawn, carrying a large elk hide pouch. “Look what I brought you,” he grinned, opening the drawstrings on the pouch, dumping five perfect ears of corn by her side. She angrily grabbed one, shook it in his face, and pushed down the buffalo hide covering her beautiful naked body. With her empty hand she pointed at her vagina and announced, “Wampum hole.” She adjusted her body slightly and then pointedly used the corn in her other hand to indicate her anus: “That's the corn hole.”

A real knee-slapper, plus some hideous sexual “sets” and dubious info for 9 year old males, perhaps explaining why 25 year old white American males are so suave in all matters erotic.

But back to corn hole. I think what happened was simple: the joke, lacking much humor, but containing enough racist/sexist toxins to offend a “waking” audience, sort of died out over a couple generations until a tailgate game involving throwing a bean-bag-like projectile through a hole cut in a slanted board became popular, and the bean-bag actually contained dried corn, and some wag with a demented sense of social responsibility went old-school ironic. Or that's my wild ass guess, and I'm always glad to contribute to the confusion, chaos, and dis- and deformed information gracing our lives these days. 


Jim Dodge


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If the NY Times doesn’t report it that means it didn’t happen. You can’t fight reality and the reality of today is that we live in a feudal society of a rather unique kind. The Bidens and their allies hold a lot of cards–if anything is to come from the investigations of the Bidens by the House there would have to be a new alliance and, perhaps it is forming but it clearly has not yet formed–if it is the sort of alliance I think it is then it will take a lot of time and it would have to center around someone and it can’t be RFK Jr. because he’s antagonized most of the power elite. Our only hope is to move towards moving power away from the federal government which is now completely anti-populist and anti-citizen as well as systemically corrupt. No matter who is the candidate anyone that champions commoners is automatically excluded.

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Russia’s air force may have just suffered one of its worst days since the Ukraine war began. Unconfirmed reports say that four of its aircraft were shot down within Russian territory, in what would mark a significant coup for Ukraine.

In a rare announcement of combat deaths of high-ranking Russian military officials, the Russian defense ministry said two of its commanders were killed on the battlefield in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. 

Ukrainian President Zelensky thanked Germany for a $3 billion military aid package, its largest yet, during his first visit to the country since Russia's invasion began. Speaking at a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Zelensky said Ukraine is concentrating on a highly-anticipated military counteroffensive against Russian forces.

As the Eurovision Song Contest got underway, Russian missiles hit Ternopil, the home city of Ukraine's entrant Tvorchi. Two civilians were injured.

* * *

WESTERN CIVILIZATION is dominated by a power structure that has invested more heavily in "soft power" (mass-scale psychological manipulation) than any other power structure in history. It pervades our media, our internet services, our art — literally all of mainstream culture.

—Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

* * *


by A.G. Sulzberger

As long as independent journalism has existed, it has angered people who want stories told their way or not at all. But I can pinpoint the moment when I realized how contested the very idea of journalistic independence had become.

It was the fall of 2018, my first year as publisher of the New York Times. I had spent my career until then as a reporter and editor steeped in the methods, values, and stylistic quirks of traditional journalism, covering small towns for the Providence Journal and local government for the Portland Oregonian before joining the Times. Even after years of watching these traditions come under intensifying pressure from the internet and social media, I was struck by how frontally the old journalistic model was being challenged by the dynamics of covering a new president unconstrained by precedent and social norms—sometimes even reality itself.

At the time, the country was waiting for the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign. Many of the president’s critics believed that the investigation would force the removal of a man they regarded as unfit to lead the nation. They were also convinced that the last safeguard against the president’s relentless efforts to undermine the investigation was Rod J. Rosenstein, the second-highest-ranking official in the Justice Department, who had assumed oversight of the investigation when the attorney general recused himself.

After months of careful reporting, two reporters in the Washington bureau of the Times, Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt, uncovered a startling story. The previous spring, Rosenstein himself had been so concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior that he had suggested secretly recording the president and even raised the possibility of invoking a constitutional mechanism contained in the Twenty-Fifth Amendment that had never been used, to declare Trump unfit and remove him from office.

There was no question about whether to publish the story. It was based on extensive interviews with high-level players in the administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI and backed up by a paper trail. It seemed like exactly the type of journalism the public should expect from an independent press.

The article appeared on September 21. Given that the reporting raised profound concerns about the president’s ability to serve—from one of his own appointees, no less—the swift and angry response from the right was not at all surprising. Some saw our reporting as a validation of their theories about a “deep state coup.” Many others dismissed the reporting as entirely untrue and attacked us for publishing the story. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted a response to the piece that proved typical: “When it comes to President @realDonaldTrump….. BEWARE of anything coming out of the @nytimes.”

What caught me by surprise was the outrage from the left. Here the criticism was not so much that the reporting was untrue—though some did jump through hoops to make that assertion—but that the information was too dangerous to publish.

From Twitter to magazines to cable news, these critics charged that our reporting had effectively armed Trump with the pretext to fire Rosenstein and end the inquiry into his own conduct. On her show that night, Rachel Maddow attacked the credibility of the story at length before warning: “They have provided President Trump this headline and this fully cooked, fully baked New York Times–approved headline inviting the president to fire Rod Rosenstein and thereby end the Mueller investigation.”

Even those who regularly espoused support for independent journalism suggested that in this case our values had led us to a misguided neutrality that jeopardized democracy. Readers accused the reporters of journalistic recklessness and even of treason. “I suppose you would argue that your job is to print the news, whatever it is,” one reader wrote in one of the thousands of online comments and letters to the editor protesting the article. “However, thinking so narrowly is an abdication of your responsibility, and I’m not sure this was really news anyway. To ignore the consequences of your stories is not ethical and is no service to democracy. You have a profound duty to consider whether the news value is worth the damage the reporting will do. In this case, I do not believe it was.”

As I watched the reaction unfold, I found myself increasingly concerned not just by the growing pressure on independent journalism, but by the troubling demand implicit in the criticism. A leading news organization had discovered that a top law enforcement official had such profound concerns about the fitness of the president of the United States that he discussed whether unprecedented steps should be taken to remove him from office. And many people, even some journalists, wanted this information actively hidden from the public.…

* * *

* * *


by Richard Ovendon

On 10 May 1933, a bonfire was held on Unter den Linden in Berlin. Watched by a cheering crowd of almost forty thousand, a group of students marched up to the fire carrying a bust of Magnus Hirschfeld, the Jewish founder of the Institute of Sexual Sciences. Chanting the ‘Feuersprüche’, a series of fire incantations, they threw the bust on top of thousands of volumes from the institute’s library, which had joined books by Jewish and other ‘un-German’ writers (gays and communists prominent among them) that had been seized from bookshops and libraries. Rows of young men in Nazi uniforms stood around the fire saluting. Goebbels gave a speech:

No to decadence and moral corruption! Yes to decency and morality in family and state! ... The future German man will not just be a man of books, but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you ... You do well to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed.

Ninety years later, the excuses of ‘decency’ and ‘morality’ are being used by those who seek to control the books that people can access in public libraries across many US states.

PEN America has tracked more than four thousand instances of books being challenged or removed from American libraries since July 2021, with more than 1400 between July and December 2022 alone. The repressive action began with an organized takeover of the boards which govern public libraries (the system is different in the UK, where local authorities have been required since 1964 to provide libraries as a public duty). Schools have also been targeted, with right-wing pressure groups such as ‘Moms for Liberty’ recognizing no irony as they oppose the freedom to read, through controlling which books are stocked in classrooms or school libraries. One of the books the group sought to ban in Tennessee was Ruby Bridges Goes to School, which celebrates racial integration in schools.

Since last year, seven states have introduced restrictive legislation. Florida now requires the vetting of books in all school libraries and classrooms, and access to books is withheld until the vetting can take place. In Tennessee, publishers and booksellers are subject to criminal prosecution if they sell ‘obscene’ books to public schools. In Indiana, a new education bill imposes controls on books that could be considered ‘morally, sexually or intellectually’ offensive to a ‘reasonable person’ (Goebbels would smile). It places the onus on librarians to censor books which they have been acquiring and making available to their communities for many years, or risk being charged with felonies that carry custodial sentences. Many of the targeted books have LGBTQIA+ subjects but racial equity also features prominently.

The New College of Florida, a liberal arts college in Sarasota, is part of the ‘independent’ state university system. Appointments to its board of trustees are in the hands of the governor. The librarian and chief diversity officer were both fired for opposing the ultra-conservative policy perspectives of the new board members appointed by Ron DeSantis in January.

Meanwhile in the UK, a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (of which I am a longstanding member) found an increase in demands from members of the public to censor or remove books from library shelves. So far these challenges have not moved into the legal frameworks that govern libraries, but the profession will have to remain vigilant.

On 10 May 1934, a year after the book burning in Berlin, the Deutsche Freiheitsbibliothek (German Freedom Library) opened in Paris. Founded by Alfred Kantorowicz, with support from André Gide, Bertrand Russell and Heinrich Mann, among others, it had collected more than twenty thousand volumes: not only the books targeted for burning in Germany but also copies of key Nazi texts, to help understand the emerging regime. The library became a focus for German émigré intellectuals, with organized readings, lectures and exhibitions, much to the disgust of Nazi newspapers. (When it was broken up after the fall of Paris in June 1940, many of the volumes joined the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale.) In December 1934, the Brooklyn Jewish Center established an American Library of Nazi-Banned Books, with Albert Einstein and Upton Sinclair on its advisory board.

There is a fight-back in America today, too. In Illinois, a bill has been passed prohibiting libraries from banning books under partisan or doctrinal pressure. In Glen Ridge, New Jersey, the public library board of trustees voted unanimously in February to keep six challenged books on the shelves, following a mobilization of public opinion by librarians and others concerned with the freedom to read. In Texas, an organized effort pushed for a judicial review of twelve books removed from the public library of Llano County. The judge reversed the ban and required the books to be returned to the shelves in April.

But the attacks continue on libraries and librarians, some of whom have received death threats. Amanda Jones, a librarian in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spoke out against book banning at a public meeting and has since been subjected to an online campaign of extreme hostile misinformation, accusing her of ‘grooming’ children. She continues to defy the onslaught and has filed defamation suits. Librarians are organizing in other ways, with groups such as EveryLibrary and Freadom, as well as the American Library Association developing strategies, toolkits and support networks for the librarians defending basic rights for access to knowledge. Libraries in states which are not in the grip of book-banning have been using technology to get past the restrictions. The Brooklyn Public Library’s digital library of banned books saw more than 100,000 downloads last year by teenagers across America.

‘You may burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe,’ Helen Keller wrote in 1933, ‘but the ideas those books contain have passed through millions of channels and will go on.’ Earlier this year, Margaret Atwood challenged people to ‘go ahead and ban’ The Handmaid’s Tale, as it would only make teenagers more interested in her book.

The attacks on libraries and librarians are an attempt to reduce people’s freedom to take on board, through reading, ideas that may challenge received opinion, or help support their own identity. ‘Only through a diversity of opinion,’ John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty, ‘is there in the existing state of human intellect a chance of fair play at both sides of the truth.’ John Rawls went further in Political Liberalism, arguing that a ‘diversity of reasonable, comprehensive religious philosophical and moral doctrines ... is a permanent feature of the public culture of democracy.’ As the attempts to suppress the books circulated by American libraries show, libraries and the people who work in them are part of the critical infrastructure of democracy.

(London Review of Books)

* * *

Lake's Edge (2019) by Phyllis Shafer


  1. jetfuel May 15, 2023

    Scott Dam removal.

    The Eel river ran dry in summer months before the Scott Dam was put in place.
    Has anyone looked into who created the latest geological report, currently stating diferent results from the previous?
    My guess would be it’s biased.

  2. Michael Koepf May 15, 2023

    Andy Warhol. While at Elaine’s in New York with friends in the 80s, Warhol walks in. He looked like he’d dipped his face in a can of white paint.

  3. Marmon May 15, 2023

    Now that we have the Durham report, it is proven beyond a doubt that Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and their FBI/CIA allies committed election interference.

    • The Russia collusion probe: Election Interference.
    • The Mueller investigation: Election Interference.
    • Trump impeachment 1: Election Interference.
    • The Covid lockdowns: Election Interference.
    • Unlawful mail-in ballot changes: Election Interference.
    • Hunter Biden laptop story censorship: Election Interference.
    • 51 Intel Officials sign Russia disinfo letter: Election Interference.
    • Big Tech censorship: Election Interference.
    • Trump impeachment 2: Election Interference.
    • FBI Mar-a-Lago raid: Election Interference.
    • Civil suit judgment: Election Interference.
    • Criminal indictment: Election Interference.
    • Judge’s Trump gag order: Election Interference.

    It’s all election interference. All of these destructive actions have been undertaken with the purpose of ‘stopping Trump.’

    In the meantime, it is wrecking our Constitutional democratic republic. And it’s all being committed by a criminal outfit that calls itself the “Democratic” Party.


    • Bruce Anderson May 15, 2023

      Right, Jimbo. The MAGAS are committed to “our Constitutional democratic republic,” so committed to democracy they bum rushed the capitol back on Jan 6th.

    • chuck dunbar May 16, 2023

      “Election Interference” defined in a way that defies borders and boundaries of thought and reason. Anything and Everything become “Election Interference.” Name something that is counter to Trump’s ways and interests, and it becomes such. Opens-up the world of “facts” doesn’t it, James–a wonderful cornucopia of”Election Interference!”

  4. Mike Geniella May 15, 2023

    Regular AVA readers know I hold Editor Bruce Anderson and our pal Tom Hine aka Tommy Wayne Kramer in the highest regard. So, it may surprise some to know I strongly disagree with their journalistic contentions as printed in today’s edition.

    I will start with the Editor’s pronouncement that the ACLU’s legal challenge of DA Dave was frivolous because he refused for more than a year to comply with the request for public information surrounding the implementation of the state’s new Racial Justice Act. DA Dave is a master of collecting, and in some cases posting public information on the office’s website. He has time to write his own press releases, heavy on legalese. So why would he waste taxpayers’ money by dragging his feet with the ACLU data request, and only complying after litigation was filed? The editor’s slap at Matt LaFever’s reporting on the ACLU issue, and his linking of DA Dave’s selective use of the Brady List, is undeserved. Yes, Ms. Carley may have initially lied during the domestic violence investigation involving the former probation officer and her then-lover Ukiah Police Officer Noble Waidelich. It is common for victims to initially try and protect the perpetrator, usually for reasons involving fear and economics. DA Dave went after her with the Brady hammer but for still unexplained reasons he failed to use it on former Sgt. Kevin Murray when it was discovered the officer lied about an assault on a disabled veteran. Former Fort Bragg Sgt. Chris Awad was twice named ‘Officer of the Year’ before he had a falling out with one of DA Dave’s prosecutors. While he acknowledged questionable behavior in handling a young woman’s DUI case, he never lied on the witness stand. His behavior fell fall short of Murray’s, and other documented cases of cops who have escaped DA Dave’s selective use of the Brady List.

    Mr. Kramer’s continued defense of the Murray sentencing staggers, given his professed experience as a journalist and criminal investigator. The facts are the court ignored tougher sentencing recommendations by Sonoma County authorities who conducted an outside review of Murray’s case. In a special note in their report, Sonoma probation officers said they were limited to making a one-year jail sentencing recommendation because the DA’s Office for still unexplained reasons failed to turn over all investigative reports relating to Murray’s actions. They suggested if reports had been turned over for review, they likely would have recommended an even longer jail term for Murray. In short, a formal probation office report calling for at least a one-year jail term was ignored, and Murray instead was placed on probation by the sentencing judge. This happened after the DA agreed to a sweetheart plea deal with Murray’s high-profile defense team from Santa Rosa, which called for three serious felony sexual assault charges to be dropped against the former Ukiah cop. It also dropped a misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine charge. Mr. Kramer cites his journalistic background, but perhaps he ought to get his facts straight.

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