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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Sunny | Fungus | Mountain Fatality | Mendocino Pass | Park Purchase | Trim Shack | Marijuana Exodus | MNF Reopening | Road Slump | ACLU/Murray | Magical Experience | Constant Struggle | Pitsenbarger Book | Public Health | Curry Eyes | Ed Notes | Woodstock Line | Symphony Concerts | Yesterday's Catch | Public Transportation | Lobster Island | Haystacks Calhoun | California Housing | SF Skyline | Supernatural Machinery | Annie Oakley | Not Woke | Shooter Scorecard | Dirty Secrets | Thelonius Monk | Keep Walking | Ukraine | Mr Brainwash

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AS A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM moves off to our northwest, a high pressure system builds in its wake. Dry and typical seasonal temperatures are expected through this week as a result. (NWS)

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(photo mk)

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On March 14, 2023 at approximately 1930 hours, E. Rodriguez Vizcarra was operating a 2005 Polaris Sportsman on Mexico Ridge Road south of Mendocino Pass Road within unincorporated Mendocino County. For reasons still under investigation, Vizcarra lost control of the Polaris while traveling down a steep portion of the dirt roadway and he failed to negotiate a sharp curve towards his right. The Polaris left the roadway and overturned down an embankment. Subsequently, Vizcarra was ejected from the Polaris and he succumbed to his injuries on scene.

The California Highway Patrol, CalFire, MedStar Ambulance, Covelo Fire Department, and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department all responded to the scene. This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol - Garberville Area.


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Mendocino Pass (Nov 2022) photo by Jared Prado

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

I have had a lot of good days in my life. Today was one of the best. I went to the title company and signed the deed to transfer the ownership of the community park to CSD for the whopping sum of $1. Integral to this is the development of the student-driven skatepark under the direction of Noor Dawood, as the leader of the Service Learning Team.

Not too often in your life do you come across a bunch of adults working hard to make something happen for a community of kids. I would like to recognize the AVUSD Board, the CSD Board, Noor and the many volunteers who combined talents to make the impossible a reality.

I am hopeful now that the park is out of the DSA mandates and prohibitive construction requirements, the area will become a true community jewel for gathering, fun, and recreation. To all those who raised a voice and said this is important to me and my community--thank you. To the AVUSD & CSD Boards who looked forward to all that could be for kids with an open heart, thank you.

Looking forward to what the future can bring…

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley School District


NOOR DAWOOD: Thank you so much for this beautiful note, Louise. I’m at a loss for words to sufficiently express my gratitude for your steadfast support through all of this. The many evening and weekend phone calls, the consistent follow-up and follow through, your way of unflinchingly confronting bumps in the road (the many, many bumps) and finding a way around...  I hope everyone knows how hard you work for our community, way beyond the bounds of your job description. Thank you.

DONNA PIERSON-PUGH: This is an amazing accomplishment that the Rec committee tried to make happen many years ago, but was successful this time because of the leadership of Louise, Val and their two boards, and the remarkable team of community members and students Noor recruited! This is the magic of Anderson Valley’s synergy making our community a great place to live!

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Trim Shack (painting by Jazzminh Moore)

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A LOT HAS CHANGED in Redwood Valley since that summer of 2021. Community members say it is much quieter since the price of cannabis has dropped dramatically. The County has been issuing code violation notices to illegal grows. Farmers have ag water again (for now). The Cal Fire planes based at the Ukiah airport put out most of last summer’s fires very quickly. Flow Kana, the biggest licensed cannabis operation in Redwood Valley, is mostly gone. Facebook Marketplace is rife with growers attempting to liquidate their farms selling water pipes, water tanks, soil, hoop houses, and other growing equipment. Real estate prices have dropped. The average home price in Mendocino County dropped from $509,000 in March 2022 to $492,000 in March 2023 according to the California Association of Realtors. County tax revenues are down, as reported on April 23 in the Ukiah Daily Journal. Local law enforcement is reporting that illegal cannabis growers are packing up and leaving Mendocino County.

— Monica Huetl (

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Mendocino National Forest officials have lifted the off-highway vehicle and Deer Valley campground closure order (Order No. 08-23-02) on the Upper Lake Ranger District, effective at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16. Agency and volunteer crews have been clearing trails after severe storm damage this winter. Fire-killed and fire-injured trees may continue to fall, so riders should be prepared and exercise caution. Road access remains limited across the forest due to storm damage, though some temporary fixes are in place for emergency vehicles. 

“Last week Lake County Department of Public Works crews completed temporary repairs to Elk Mountain Road (County Road 301) to provide quicker response time for first responders in the event of an incident,” said Frank Aebly, Upper Lake District Ranger. “This temporary fix is for emergency vehicles only,” said Aebly. “To access the OHV trail system or Deer Valley Campground, the public will need to take the longer alternate route via Potter Valley (Mendocino County Rd 240 / Lake County Rd 301). The gate above Middle Creek Campground will remain closed and locked.” The public can also access Deer Valley campground and the trail system via Forest Roads 16N01 and 16N30 out of Sam Alley, but these roads are very narrow in many places and only drivable with a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. Officials advise the public not to haul trailers up these roads. A timeframe for the permanent repair to Elk Mountain Road is not yet available. Officials ask the public to obey all posted signs and never drive around barriers or locked gates. Alerts and conditions in Mendocino National Forest are available online at Photos of road conditions are available at

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Slide and hillslope failure on Elk Mountain Rd (Laura Leidner)

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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.

ED NOTE: I didn't swipe at LaFever, that was a commenter. I think Feve does a good job. I've always been a lukewarm ACLU guy from way back when my youngest brother refused to register for the draft as his protest of the War On Vietnam. When he approached the ACLU for legal representation, they turned him down because, imo, he wasn't eminent enough like, say, David Harris. Bro went on into the federal pen at Lompoc while the ACLU went on representing front page cases that made them big bucks as fundraisers. I think their non-case against Eyster is more show biz. “Look at noble us. We're fighting racism because this guy won't give us the stats about how many Mexicans and Indians he prosecutes. What is he hiding?” The ACLU implication is that Mexicans and Indians are getting Mendo-arrested out of proportion to their numbers, the further implication being the DA is persecuting those sectors of the Mendo population, for which there is zero evidence, as the County Jail's daily intake proves beyond all doubt. I'll bet the DA doesn't even keep race stats, and he shouldn't. As for Murray, the timeline in his case seems to indicate that he was finished as a cop, so there wouldn't be any point in Brady-listing him.


To the Editor: 

Mike Geniella continues his long, tired jihad against Dave Eyster, his former boss, by again brandishing the case of an ex-cop’s light sentence. Geniella goes on most recently to call my “defense” of the sentencing “staggering” and question my bonafides as both journalist (22-plus years) and criminal defense investigator (34 years).

This willl be the third time I’ve written about the Murray case, and for Mr. Geniella’s benefit I will type real, real slow:

I’ve offered no opinion as to whether the sentencing was reasonable. My point, made repeatedly and now for the third time, is that I utterly disbelieve Geniella’s insinuations that Murray was the beneficiary of a sweetheart conspiracy of a backroom deal brokered by Judge Ann Moorman and District Attorney Dave Eyster. 

There is no conceivable theory, other than in Geniella’s feverish imaginations, by which a highly respected judge and our longtime tough-minded DA would risk careers and reputations to benefit a crooked cop. 

Geniella can’t offer any evidence to bolster his preposterous claim, so he changes the subject and accuses me of defending Murray's sentencing. Never true, then or now. 

Based on my years in the justice system I can suggest hypothetical circumstances that might impact a sentence. Witnesses sometimes change their stories, and witnesses sometimes disappear. It happens. Did whacky facts come into play and affect this case? Who the hell knows?

Once more: 

The Judge and the DA didn’t hatch a plan to circumvent justice.

Whether the sentence was appropriate I have no opinion. I wasn’t present when the deal was hashed out and neither was Geniella. 

Finally, I resent Geniella’s snide comments deriding my professionalism and experience in both journalism and the legal system. 

Thomas Hine (aka TWK)

Ukiah, sometimes

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Dear Mr. Scully,

Stop The Presses!!!

Please allow me to butt in, thanks. I am afraid that you are burdened with some misconceptions. First, be aware that you do not “publish” anything. The “publisher” (see page 3) publishes “contributions” (see dictionary), a word implying that your work is unsolicited, and further that there is no “consideration” (see dictionary) absent a written agreement to that end.

Please believe me when I say that I share your pain, without having claimed a share of your particular petulance. You say you have been sending stuff to the AVA for six years! Six whole years, amazing fortitude! I have been sending them stuff for 33 years, so imagine my suffering. Articles ignored or, if printed, turned into hash by drunken paste-up crews for a cheap laugh. Letter after letter, brilliant though they obviously are, callously shitcanned. A blizzard of little fillers, all more fascinating and informative than the junk that gets in, ignored and tossed out. I’m sure you understand by now. You are not alone! But, Mr. Scully, do I stamp my little feet in frustration? Do I lash out demanding attention and payment? No, I do not embrace pointless theatrics.

I sharpen my pencil and vow, Once more, dear friends, unto the breach! It’s a constant struggle that requires devotion and fortitude without expecting recognition of any sort at all! 

Why, even now, Sir, I ponder the fate of this letter! Will it be Worthy? Will it make it under deadline? Or more likely, will it be dead on arrival? I think of all the errors in usage and style that cripple me. How can I presume to attain the satisfaction of publication, relaxing in the glow of having obtained use of the subscribers and readers eyeballs for a brief and glorious moment? No, even with this, I shall probably fail, but I will sit down and write again! 

So, best of luck to you! Of course I have to wonder if your letter is merely a silly joke, made of the sort of overbaked larded on sarcasm that is my only specialty. Maybe it’s all a setup for such as I to step in it big time. Maybe the AVA prefers to chop you up at leisure with their own weapons. But keep on writing! 

Note: a bottle of expensive brandy might help. 


Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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BEAUJOLAIS IN MY BLOOD: Author Talk and Signing

Kelley House Museum

45007 Albion Street, Mendocino

Thursday, May 18, 4pm – 5:30pm

$5 for members and $7 for general public. Purchase at the door.

Wondering how the acclaimed Café Beaujolais got its start? Find out at this book signing and slideshow with Eric Neil Pitsenbarger, author of the new book Beaujolais in My Blood: Growing Up Gay and Well-Fed in a Family-Run French Restaurant. The son of Café Beaujolais’ original owners, Gerald and Ellen Pitsenbarger, Eric will be interviewed by local writer Eleanor Cooney, and copies of his book will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the Kelley House Museum.

Told from the perspective of a closeted adolescent, this memoir is a revealing and humorous account of a complex family story, intertwined with the creation of a renowned French restaurant. Pitsenbarger captivates readers with tales of rustic 1970s Mendocino: eccentric old-timers and hippie new-comers, ingenuous tourists, and demanding movie stars. The story reveals a dark family secret and the search for love; it is as much a celebration of community as it is the origin story of the legendary restaurant.

You WILL be hungry after hearing Eric read about food, so afterward Café Beaujolais is hosting a “progressive event” at The Waiting Room, where you can enjoy champagne and nibbles. 

Beaujolais in My Blood is available for purchase for $20 online and at the Kelley House Museum, as well as at both events.

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Mendocino County Public Health will hold the Media Day Presentation with Dr. Andy Coren on Friday May 19th at 2:00 pm. We will have a guest speaker presenting information on childhood vaccinations.

Please RSVP to

The Zoom link for the presentation will be sent Friday morning.

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Curry eyes Jordan Poole

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BREAKING: NPR drops bombshell, reveals that it’s quitting Twitter permanently over Twitter owner Elon Musk’s “exceptionally harmful” and “dangerous” decision to shamelessly and inaccurately label NPR as “government-funded media.” In a scathing press release, NPR accuses Musk of “undermining” its “credibility” by “falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” Here is NPR’s full statement: “We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence. Actions by Twitter or other social media companies to tarnish the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.”

IF BULLSHIT were a capital crime, everyone at NPR from the suites to the mailroom would be in line for Old Sparky. NPR, CNN, the NYT, Washpo, MSNBC are extensions of the Democratic Party. Know how to tell real quick? They all present Biden every day as if he weren't a diminished-capacity case, whispering occasionally that maybe, just maybe Biden is too old for a second term. Fox and NewsMax are extensions of the Republican Party. Know how to tell real quick? They've always presented Trump as a plausible character, and not the oafish blowhard that he is.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “Clarence and Ginni Thomas — Politics, Power and the Supreme Court,” a Frontline documentary. I hadn't known anything about Thomas's early years and his education, but I couldn't help but sympathize with his travails as a young man growing up Catholic in a mostly white, seminary-like context during which, it seems clear from the doc, he racked up a lot of justified grievances from which he drew the wrong political conclusions. Thomas is now getting his revenge for all the humiliations of his youth and his early professional life as a powerful rightwing justice. 

GINNI THOMAS was raised by Birchers and, given her limited brainpower, the girl couldn't help becoming a neo-fascist of the MAGA type. She's even more extreme than her Republican-sponsored husband, whose grievance temperature went through the roof when Anita Hill revealed him as the oaf that he is, with political opinions to match. Mrs. Thomas has written that the MAGAS should arm themselves “for what's coming next.” 

MY FELLOW LIB-LABS, these people aren't playing. It's not going to be enough to beat them in elections, and we can count on the Democrats to put up someone that Trump can beat, someone like the walking corpse presently pretending to be in charge, but we should at least understand that the MAGAS want to end us, and US.

FOOD NOTE. Last Friday I enjoyed the best hamburger of my life at Perry's Delicatessen, Fairfax, marvy Marin. I've bought to-go sandwiches at Perry's for years, packing them to the ballpark to avoid ballpark food prices. As an old guy in the very last quartile of the actuarial charts, I've downed my share of America's preeminent food item, but never one as good as the one on sale at Perry's where a second plus is the portly chef in a greasy shirt and nobody on staff paying any attention to the phone that never stops ringing. Nothing slick or up-market about the place, but I'm here to tell you if you don't like the Perry burger I'll reimburse you.

IT WAS A WITCH HUNT. Special Counsel John Durham found that the FBI did not have enough “factual evidence” to investigate allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, in a scathing report released Monday. The report says that “based on the evidence gathered in the multiple exhaustive and costly federal investigations of these matters, including the instant investigation, neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.” “FBI records prepared by Strzok in February and March 2017 show at the time of opening Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI had no information in its holding indicating that any time during the campaign anyone in the Trump campaign had been in contact with any Russian intelligence officials.”

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Woodstock, 1969

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Concerts this weekend

Symphony of the Redwoods welcomes spring with concerts on Saturday, May 20th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 21st at 2:00 pm at Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg. There will be a pre-concert lecture one hour prior to the show. This concert will feature auditioning conductor, Paul Schrage, and feature Daniela Minerva on piano.

The program: De Falla’s, Ritual Fire Dance from El amor brujo; Schumann’s Piano Concerto featuring Daniela Mineva, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #4.

Those under 18 and their parent are admitted free of charge!

Tickets are available at Out of this World in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Brown Paper Tickets online, and at the door. (All tickets are good for either day)

Symphony of the Redwood’s current COVID-19 protocols do not require proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Masking will be optional, but strongly encouraged, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Joanie Packard, Executive Director

Symphony of the Redwoods

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, May 15, 2023

Alvarez, Rouse, Vice, Wood

ANDREW ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation violation.


DAYNE VICE, Hopland. Probation revocation.

TOBIAS WOOD, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale, felon-addict with firearm, violent felon with body armor.

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As a 75 year old disabled woman, I no longer ride BART (San Francisco Bay Area's version of the subway). The reason? Fear of being trapped underground in a sealed tube with an out of control, violent, crazy and/or homeless person (they now live/sleep in the cars 24/7). I would rather drive by myself, even if it pollutes the atmosphere. Columnists can decry the death of Mr. Neely but his early death was assured by a system that puts people in a revolving door of care and treatment. There was ample evidence, criminal and otherwise, that Mr. Neely was in serious need of mental health treatment. If Mr. Neely hadn't refused service, he would be alive today. Much is made of the NYPD prohibition against chokeholds. However, Mr. Penny is not a trained New York police officer, he's a 24 year old trained ex-Marine. Everyone also glosses over the fact that there were others in the car (including the oh-so-brave videographer) who did nothing to help Mr. Neely. While the Manhattan DA has brought charges against Mr. Penny, it may be impossible to empanel jurors in Manhattan who haven't been trapped in a subway car with someone who is acting out. These comments are proof enough that there aren't enough peremptory challenges and I can't see the judge disqualifying everyone who's ever ridden the subway. Bottom line, people shouldn't have to live in fear of using public transportation.

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by Jim Murphy

It was 1972; five years had passed since Jim Murphy had launched his new 50-foot long steel commercial fishing boat. On top of boat expenses, he had a wife, a mortgage to consider, and a future to build. Fishing was going okay, but the Murphys were always glad of the steady income earned from Alice’s bookkeeping job.

Thus, when Jim was approached by someone looking to charter a fishing boat for lobster fishing at Clarion Island, Mexico, he was ready to listen. After much negotiating, the F/V Aurora was hired, with Murphy as Captain and Alice as First Mate.

(Accompanying the Aurora on the adventure were two other Morro Bay fishing boats, the F/V Viva (Richard Ennis) and the F/V Pursuit (Steve and Barbara Rigsby, and family). However, they stayed in Cabo San Lucas while the Murphys went out and anchored.)

The plan was simple: the company would provision the boat in the States, and then the couple would pilot it to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they would receive the necessary permits and pick up their crew. They would take the crew out to the Island and anchor. Each day, the crew would work the lobster traps from skiffs, and deliver them to the Aurora, where they would then be frozen in the hold. When the boat was full, the Murphys would take the crewmen back to shore and deliver the product into the United States.

The young couple left Morro Bay with stars in their eyes, headed off for several weeks of tropical weather, fresh lobsters and easy money. Shortly after their arrival in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, however, the stars began to twinkle out, one at a time.

First, the company’s agent advised them there had been some sort of a snafu with the paperwork, and they were delayed for a number of days. Meanwhile, the Mexican crew arrived and moved on to the boat. In short order, the Murphys discovered that the provisions supplied in the United States were not going to suit the needs of their Mexican crew. Years later, Jim still laughs at how much room a ton of bread took up, saying that the company had delivered more than a pallet full, most of which would remain in the hold, frozen, for the entire trip.

After waiting days for the permits, a LaPaz lawyer wrote up a “fancy” permit, all in Spanish, with a wax seal and ribbon, signed by well-compensated officials of Baja del Sur. The Murphys were told to go out to the Island and start harvesting, unaware that the Islands belonged to Mexico, not Baja del Sur. Off they went, glad to be away from the Mexican port and to finally begin working, albeit a little wary about the permit situation.

They made it out to the designated fishing grounds without any difficulty, anchored and the crew, equally happy to be away from port, began diving for lobsters, which were abundant. The first lobsters were brought on board the Aurora, and dressed in his insulated suit, Jim took them down into the 30 degree fish hold for freezing. The Mexican crewmen, unfamiliar with boat refrigeration systems, were shocked to see the lobsters immediately frozen solid. Jim and Alice’s next problem surfaced: none of the crew would go down into the hold again, for fear of being frozen solid, like the lobsters. Still, this was not an insurmountable obstacle, and they continued to work.

The days passed, the weather was gorgeous, the water warm, and the evenings pleasant. The fish hold, with a capacity of 20 tons of seafood, was beginning to fill. Despite their initial setbacks, everything was going according to plan, more or less, until a company employee who was with them on the boat mentioned to them that the Island was not the property of Baja del Sur, and their permit was invalid.

Despite having been on anchor for days, harvesting and freezing lobsters, Jim and Alice decided they could not bear the risks involved. Conceivably the Mexican government could not just seize their catch and the boat, but they could also put Jim and Alice in jail for poaching. They’d had enough of broken promises, it was time to dump their catch and make for the border.

Jim pulled the anchor and they headed toward the shore. After a lengthy discussion with their crew, a nice, sandy cove was selected. Jim nosed the Aurora in as close as he dared, and the Mexican nationals jumped ship, swimming home. It was a sad couple that returned home, a bit wiser for the voyage.

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by Ben Christopher

This month Californians worried about the cost of housing were offered the rarest of gifts: a glimmer of hope.

New numbers released by the Newsom administration show that California added homes to its housing stock at a faster clip than any time since the Great Recession — 123,350 additional units, or an increase of 0.85%.  

Over that same period, the state’s population declined, marking the third year in a row that it’s fallen from one new year to the next.

Put those two numbers together and a surprising statistic emerges: There are now more homes per person — 3,770 units for every 10,000 Californians — than there have been since at least 1991. 

For a state that has long suffered from too many people trying to cram themselves into too few homes, that’s an encouraging number at first glance. 

It’s also the kind of news that might lead a person to wonder: Does this California exodus mean the state’s perennial housing shortage is finally coming to an end? 

The long answer is “it’s complicated.” 

Though many analysts have tried, no consensus exists on just how many more homes the state would need to build (or how many more people would need to leave) before we can call an end to the crisis and start to see rents and home prices fall within reach of working and middle class Californians. 

But the short answer is “almost definitely, no.” 

Much of the outflow of residents is itself driven by the high cost of living. In March, the median price of an existing single family California home was $791,490, more than twice the national median of $375,700. 

“When house prices go up, people leave,” said Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said as much in a recent interview with UCLA’s Blueprint, naming the cost of living as the “principal driver” and its chronic shortage of homes “our original sin.”

And while experts don’t agree on exactly how much additional housing the state might need to attain an ill-defined “affordability,” they do agree on this much: it’s a whole lot more.

Just how big is California’s housing shortage?

In 2000, a report issued by California’s Department of Housing and Community Development estimated that the state would need to build 220,000 additional units each year for two decades to meet the needs of what was then still a growing population. 

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Even last year, a relative high-water mark for home construction, the total was roughly 100,000 units below that goal.

The department published another estimate in 2018 urging 180,000 units per year through 2025. And last year, in putting together housing goals for regions across the state, the department’s total prescription added up to 2.5 million new homes over the next eight years (or 315,000 per year).

The administration acknowledged the state’s sluggish population growth in its latest proposed budget for next year, which gauged the need at 148,000 new units per year.

One of the reasons these estimates vary is because there’s no single definition of a “housing shortage.”

In 2015, for example, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, an agency that serves as a think tank for state legislators, framed the issue with the following question: How many units would the state have had to build between 1980 and 2010 to keep the median value of an owner-occupied home increasing at the same rate as the rest of the nation, rather than skyrocketing so much higher, as it has for the last half century? 

That definition of the state’s shortage led the office to estimate 210,000 each year. Alas, the state has only hit that annual mark five times since 1980 — and not once since 1990.

A year later, the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, put out its own figure — 3.5 million homes by 2025. Newsom took that eye-popping figure as a rallying cry during his first gubernatorial run, when the then-candidate vowed that California would reach that total by the end of his second term. He’s since scaled the pledge back to 2.5 million, a goal the state is still unlikely to reach. 

McKinsey based its estimate on its own version of the state’s housing problem: the number of new units required to bring California’s houses-to-people ratio in line with that of the rest of the country. 

The common thread behind all these estimates is they are all very, very big. And whichever shortfall estimate you choose, the state has never hit the mark. 

A moving target

But the numbers have been moving in a more encouraging direction in recent years. 

The totals since 2020: roughly 430,000 new homes and some 821,000 fewer Californians competing to reside within them. That necessarily narrows the gap, however we define it, said Hans Johnson, a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California. 

If the shortage is relatively modest, he said, and “if we continue like this for another decade, with very slow population growth or essentially no population growth, and with fairly robust housing construction, then it should start to eat into that lack of housing,” he said. 

But if the state needs to hit McKinsey-esque levels of new production, counted in the millions of units, “we’re still a long, long way off,” he added.

That’s in part because the size of the hole is so large. But it’s also because the shortfall is “a moving target,” explained Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The building industry booms and busts. Young Californians grow old enough to live out on their own while older ones begin to die off. And people’s housing wants and needs change, too.

How COVID worsened the housing crisis

A particularly dramatic driver of such change: the pandemic. 

Eager to keep COVID at bay and seeking more space to work from home, Californians dumped their roommates when they could and sought out places to live on their own, resulting in a great “spreading out,” as analysts at the Public Policy Institute of California put it. The trend toward fewer people living in each home is nationwide and long term. Over the last 40 years, the number of people living alone doubled across the country. But the pandemic put the trend on overdrive. 

That worsened the state’s housing shortage. Even if the total number of Californians continues its gradual downward drift, more homes are needed to house the roughly 38 million sticking around. 

Starting in June 2020, the median price of an existing single-family home shot up from $626,170 to a peak of $900,170 in May 2022, according to data compiled by the California Association of Realtors. That’s an increase of 44% in less than two years. 

Since then high interest rates have brought California’s housing inflation back down to earth slightly. But the median price in March was still 29% above where it was three years earlier.

Whether Californians will begin clustering together again as COVID concerns ease is an open question. But there’s no sign that’s happening yet. By the beginning of 2023, with the worst of the pandemic presumably behind us, the number of Californians per household hit a record low of 2.77.

A shrinking population, driven largely by outward migration, provides an escape value for some of that extra pressure, said Meyer, the USC demographer. But based on analysis he and his colleagues conducted for the California Association of Realtors, it’s easy to imagine demand for homes staying strong, given how large the millennial generation is and how many are now reaching a baby-having, roommate-jettisoning age. 

Plus, if the California exodus is a cure to the state’s housing shortage, it’s also a symptom, said Dowell. 

“The ones who are older are leaving because they’re (homeowners) cashing in their gains,” he said of the nearly 8 million ex-Californians who exited the state last decade.”The young people who are leaving, we now think, are leaving because they can’t buy a house here.”

And even if those departures do ultimately alleviate the state’s scarcity of homes, it’s not the solution to the problem that anyone should want, adds Johnson from Public Policy Institute of California.

“I don’t think any of us who have been advocating for building more housing in California — to help alleviate the shortage of housing we’ve had and to improve affordability in the state — thought that the best path was just to have the state start to depopulate.”


* * *

The skyline of San Francisco as seen from Bernal Heights Hill on March 16, 2020. (photo by Jeff Chiu, AP Photo)

* * *


We can change a face, change a gender, change a race, change a voice; produce the true illusion of someone speaking words they never spoke; sell tickets for events at which dead people will sing and dance for our delectation. Why, it’s almost as if we were alive to see them do it. What can we not do? Tell Sophocles (“What a wonder is man”) the news. Maria Callas? Elvis Presley? Freddie Mercury? Vera Lynn? Vera Imago? Straight up? With a twist? Genetically enhanced? Coming right up. Nothing is real and—pace John Lennon—everything to get hung about.

We do have books, important books that would actually bring us close to important people, but now these hem-of-the-garment books have come upon hard times; they are discredited, almost exploded: John Aubrey’s Brief Lives, so mysteriously stuffed with the speech of men long dead, Boswell’s Life of Johnson (which lives by its “Sir” and dies by its “Sir”), Coleridge’s Table Talk, Gustav Janouch’s spurious Conversations with Kafka, Hitler’s (God save us) Tischgesprache

(Meanwhile, in what’s derisorily known as the real world, we have politicians’ and diplomats’ memoirs, written supposedly — legendarily—between dinner and bath time; with an FBI-approved, legally satisfying memory of once-seen documents; with the benefit of shorthand or without. The first draft of history. Ahem. Ahem ahem.) Now that we’ve had it with uncomplicated greatness, just give us our supernatural machinery. 

What a poor, gaslighted, meme-riddled, spook-spooked species we are. We can no longer count to three, but by golly you should see our numerology. I don’t know what we should be more ashamed of: our stupid credulity or our oh-so-clever suspicion.

— Michael Hofmann

* * *

1890s: Annie Oakley, Western sharpshooter, aiming over her shoulder with a mirror.

* * *

‘I DECLARED MYSELF NOT WOKE’: What happened when a critic of anti-racism ‘ideology’ led DEI at a Bay Area college

Tabia Lee’s ouster at De Anza College has become a flash point over diversity and inclusion policies on U.S. campuses.

by Nanette Asimov

The firing and pending departure of a Black woman as director of diversity, equity and inclusion at De Anza College in Cupertino after less than two years in the job has become the latest clash over the implementation of anti-racism policies on U.S. campuses.

Tabia Lee received a letter in March saying her contract would not be renewed in June because she was uncooperative with colleagues, unwilling to accept constructive criticism and unlikely to change. Lee is a vocal critic of many of today’s diversity and inclusion practices, and many colleagues at the school said she belittled their racial justice initiatives.

Lee said she fell victim to “woke” excesses in the campus’ anti-racism drive that she could have corrected. Her detractors said she undermined, rather than uplifted, diversity efforts.

Tabia Lee (photo by Jessica Christian / The Chronicle)

Lee’s ouster quickly became a focus in the nation’s culture wars, and Lee accepted her role with relish. She wrote an essay called “A Black DEI Director Canceled by DEI” for Compact, a new magazine that opposes the “ideology of liberalism,” and made her case on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show before Carlson, who has mocked campus diversity initiatives, was fired.

“I am willing to speak to anyone that is willing to speak to me,” Lee said, noting that Carlson was the first to invite her on the air. She said she is neither a liberal nor a conservative, but “a scholar, a teacher, a humanist and learner.”

Lee said she will fight to keep her job as faculty director of De Anza’s Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education, which she has carried out remotely since the fall of 2021. Her job description at the public community college of 16,000 students is to promote a “commitment to equity, social justice and multicultural education” and create an “inclusive campus environment” within an “institution-wide transformation.”

Critics said Lee sought to transform the college in the wrong direction. Groups representing Latino and Asian Pacific American employees urged the district’s Board of Trustees to remove her, contending that she subverted anti-racism initiatives by opposing everything from their efforts to gain more say in campus governance to their use of the gender-neutral term “Latinx.” In a letter to the college, Lee cited research suggesting the word has little support among Latinos themselves. 

It’s not clear to what degree De Anza understood, when it hired Lee, that she was part of a community of critics of many of today’s diversity and inclusion efforts, who often argue that focusing heavily on racism while trying to undo it can worsen the problem. Neither a college spokesperson nor a representative from the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, which oversees the school, responded to requests for comment or to specific questions.

“Having a DEI employee take the positions she’s taking is very unusual,” Jennifer Hochschild, a professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and an expert on race and politics, said of Lee in an interview.

Lee is a founding member of an organization called Free Black Thought, which seeks to “amplify vital black voices that are rarely heard on mainstream platforms,” according to its website. In her Compact essay, she wrote: “My crime at De Anza was running afoul of the tenets of critical social justice,” in which campus employees see the world in terms of “unequal identity-based power dynamics that must be exposed and dismantled.”

One of the ways Lee ran into trouble at De Anza, she said, was to resist stating her preferred pronouns, an increasingly common practice in schools and businesses to show solidarity with transgender and nonbinary people. 

“I was one of the early proponents of gender pronouns,” she told The Chronicle. But staff “began to talk about starting every meeting by saying your pronouns. Every class. I said that sounded like compelled speech, and I have a problem with that.” She said the practice made some of her nonbinary and gender-fluid friends uncomfortable.

Yet the defining moment of her tenure, Lee said, occurred during a staff meeting weeks after she arrived. She said she was explaining how the group could use Google Docs to collaborate and share agendas when a staff member told her to stop what she was doing. 

“I was told, ‘What you are doing right now is you are whitespeaking and whitesplaining,’ ” Lee said. She said she felt jarred not only because she is Black, but because her accuser told her she was being “transactional” and therefore “supporting white supremacy.” (The person who Lee said made the accusation did not respond to an interview request.)

The incident seemed consistent with what she saw later at two professional development events on campus, Lee said. She shared screenshots of posters equating “white supremacy culture” with several actions and characteristics, including “power hoarding,” “worship of the written word” and “sense of urgency,” and said these were presented during the trainings.

Lee said she believes she is being fired because she rejects an ideological approach to diversity that is so narrow it excludes some groups — such as Jewish students who feel marginalized — because they’re white. There is an effort on campus to “de-center whiteness,” which generally means avoiding portraying white people as predominant or superior. But it goes too far at De Anza, she said: “People are put into racialized categories. Everyone is either a victim or an oppressor.” 

Criticism of Lee at De Anza heightened last June, when six members of the De Anza Latinx Association and the Asian Pacific American Staff Association urged the Board of Trustees to remove her. The employees offered criticisms ranging from Lee’s rejection of the terms “Latinx” and “Filipinx” to her description of ethnic affinity groups as “tribalism,” which one speaker called “heavy with racist connotations.”

Lee’s positions are “adversarial and hostile towards our district’s and college’s values on anti-racism, social justice and equity,” Erick Aragon, co-chair of the Asian Pacific American Staff Association, told the trustees, adding that Lee’s views create “a hostile work environment.”

Maristella Tapia, a sociology instructor and member of the De Anza Latinx Association, said Lee had “repeatedly advocated to remove the language of anti-racism from institutional documents, arguing that anti-racism is harmful and divisive ideology.”

“To add insult to injury,” counselor Noemi Teppang of the Asian Pacific American Staff Association told the trustees, Lee dismissed certain employees as “woke do-gooders.”

None of the speakers responded to interview requests.

Lee has indeed referred to colleagues as “woke,” a term that has emerged as one of the most polarizing in modern political vernacular. In a 13-page critique of De Anza’s new educational master plan, for example, she condemned the plan’s use of the “invented Woke racialized term ‘Filipinx’ ” because it was being “applied to a group of people by Woke do-gooders on their behalf.” Lee used “woke” as a negative adjective 13 times. 

Although “woke” was born in the Black community to describe an awareness that racism continues to drive injustice, it has been co-opted by the right to condemn a range of causes, including transgender rights, and to criticize the left as self-righteous.

In Lee’s telling, a hiring committee warned her that De Anza’s equity office “was a little too woke” before she got the job. “I assured them that I was not,” Lee said she told the committee. “I think that’s why I was attacked from the beginning. Because I declared myself ‘not woke.’ ”

Asked what the word meant to her, Lee avoided expressing an opinion and said it had “different meanings in different contexts.” She pointed to a survey she conducted to learn the needs on campus, which asked people to define “woke.” The range of answers, she said, included “being proud of who I am to fight against the racism and patriarchy that made this country” and “a ridiculous focusing on constantly seeing racism and oppression everywhere.”

Lee had a doctorate in education and years of experience when she arrived at De Anza in 2021. Born in the Central Valley, she spent a decade teaching in Los Angeles public schools before becoming an education consultant, according to her resume. She designed curriculum for a few years at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont but left in 2020 when the private college shut down its undergraduate program. She went on to develop courses and faculty training programs at the College of San Mateo before landing at De Anza. 

At De Anza, Lee said, she got pushback for what she described as her effort to treat all groups equally. For example, she urged the college to uppercase “white” as it does Black when referring to race, pointing to a recommendation by the National Association of Black Journalists. 

Some of the strongest opposition came when she argued against giving a vote in the Academic Senate to formal affinity groups — including her own Black Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Network — on grounds that unrepresented “racialized groups,” as she put it, don’t get that vote. She lost both arguments.

An ally, computer science instructor Ron Kleinman, said, “Lee’s story is that she’s a very independent person who really believes in equity — but she doesn’t agree with the groups she’s supposed to be fighting for. She’s more inclusive.”

One disagreement about Lee touched on a broader national debate over the role of antisemitism in anti-racism initiatives, and “whether American Jews belong under the umbrella of diversity, equity and inclusion programs, or whether they don’t by virtue of the fact that most are white and more economically secure,” in the words of the Jewish News of Northern California.

After Jewish students complained about feeling unwelcome on campus, Lee invited Sarita Bronstein, executive director of Hillel of Silicon Valley, a chapter of the global nonprofit that supports Jewish students, to share recommendations with the school’s Equity Action Council, which supports multicultural education.

During Bronstein’s remarks, Lee said, an Equity Action member dropped names of pro-Palestinian groups into the Zoom chat, while another, a professor, made distracting comments about a chef who had worked for the Nazis, and about the practice of pardoning turkeys at Thanksgiving, according to a screenshot Lee shared with The Chronicle.

Bronstein said her recommendations — including condemning antisemitism on De Anza’s anti-racism page and considering Jewish holidays in planning the academic calendar — went nowhere. Fall classes are scheduled to begin on Sept. 25, which is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

Lee went on to organize a Jewish Inclusion & Anti-Semitism Community Education Summit on campus. When Lee’s critics asked the trustees to oust her, Jorge Morales, a counselor from the Latinx Association, referenced her support for Jewish students. He said she was “placing individuals with institutional and structural privilege and power on the same footing as marginalized groups.” Morales did not respond to an interview request.

As Lee encountered opposition on campus, she found support from outside critics of modern anti-racism initiatives, including the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, or FAIR. Its advisers include former Fox News host Megyn Kelly; journalist Bari Weiss, who often critiques what she calls the “strident left”; linguist John McWhorter, a self-described “cranky liberal Democrat”; and Abigail Shrier, a writer known nationally for asserting that transgender adolescents are part of a dangerous “craze.”

This month, Lee appeared on a webinar hosted by FAIR, whose founder, Bion Bartning, has said, “I don’t think it’s the school’s place to teach our children to be race-conscious.”

“The idea that someone Black in a diversity position would align with FAIR” and its race-neutral approach is unusual, said Hochschild, the Harvard professor. “Being color-blind is a big red flag. It says, ‘Don’t think about race, just like whites don’t think about whiteness.’ ”


* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

“The average Democrat knows the Biden family is profoundly corrupt and they simply don’t care…. Sam Harris spoke for all of them when he said it wouldn’t matter if Hunter’s laptop was packed w/pictures of dead kids.” — MartyrMade on Twitter

This is the dirty secret of our time: the device that the Woke / Progressive elite used to finally get rid of Donald Trump — Covid-19 — shoved them over a cliff Wile E. Coyote style. And now, as they freefall off that cliff, the supposed antidote to Covid-19 — getting vaccinated — is blowing up in their faces, again, Wile E. Coyote style. The elite now have to wake up every day and wonder if the vaccines they rushed to get will end up killing them prematurely. This is what has finally driven them crazy. And, of course, crazy people will do crazy things: like destroy their own country.

I decided early-on to not get vaccinated for a simple reason: as the vaxx program got up to speed in the late winter and spring of 2021, reports came out that the spike protein in it attacked the endothelial lining of the blood vessels and led to unusual blood-clotting. As someone who had bypass surgery some years earlier, that was all I needed to hear. This was before any Censorship Industrial Complex formed to attack “misinformation.” The news was still getting out.

By then, Mr. Trump was out, too, deposed in a janky election rigged with Covid-19 ballot “innovations” that made fraud easy. He was replaced by a fake chief executive too impotent to even campaign, but useful as a front for the gigantic “security” bureaucracy that was actually running things. This naturally raises the question: what exactly is the relationship between the political elite and this security state?

The elite are the useful idiots of the security state. They enable it and protect it with their divisive antics. The dirty secret of the security state is that it’s not about the security of the state, that is, of the nation known as the USA. It’s about the security of the people running the security state, the agency heads and their officers in the Intel Community and all its spinoffs, the State Department, the Justice Department, and the Defense Department and their accomplices in Congress and the federal judiciary.

What does this security state need protection from? From accounting for all its prior cumulative crimes against the nation. These crimes slowly accreted over the decades after the Cold War and then blossomed in 2016 — slowly, and then all at once — when the security state was rocked by the election loss of its avatar, Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton had many crimes of her own to conceal, most of them committed with the help of the security state, such as the Uranium One grift, the Skolkovo transfer of US computer tech to Russia, and the Clinton Foundation’s financial escapades following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, to name a few biggies.

The person who beat Mrs. Clinton had averred publicly and shockingly to her crimes during the campaign, going so far as to label her “Crooked Hillary.” That is why the Russia Collusion hoax became the centerpiece of security state harassment during Mr. Trump’s term in office. The Democratic Party was enlisted as the praetorian guard for the security state. The public had to be conditioned to believe any number of things that were the opposite of true.

Like myriad institutions in recent decades, the Democratic Party had come to be dominated by women. Women, being hard-wired for safety-seeking, were easily manipulated by the security state into an hysteria fixated on Donald Trump, who was made to represent everything that seemed unsafe. They gave the game away on Mr. Trump’s inauguration day with their women’s march that featured thousands wearing the emblematic “pussy hats.” Message: don’t think you can have your wicked way with this!

The hysteria hasn’t let up since then, and now that Mr. Trump is resurging from a thousand attempts to kill him off like some implacable axe-murderer in a horror movie, the corps of useful idiots is showing signs of nervous exhaustion. The Democratic Party’s front-man, “Joe Biden” (or the claque behind him backstage), has screwed the pooch on just about every matter of vital public interest at home and abroad, and now this president stands revealed as the head of a racketeering operation that specialized in bribery. Yet, oddly, it is Mr. Trump who has been fed into the cogs of the judiciary on an unending set of Mickey Mouse charges. There’s a pretty fair possibility that none of that will work.

The Democrats must suspect this, and their nemesis has declared his intentions for a return to power pretty clearly: fire all the seditionists in the security state, pardon all the people on the Right who were unjustly prosecuted, and commence some righteous prosecutions against people who actually deserve it. Thus, the Left plunges ever-deeper into mental illness — celebrating it at every opportunity and even shoving it in America’s face, Joker-style, in defiance: Here, have another drag queen….

A big part of the Left’s mental illness is the inability to even notice their own self-destructive trajectory. There’s a way out for them but it’s pretty drastic. That would be turning to RFK, Jr. for leadership. Trouble is, Mr. Kennedy intends to go after the Democrats’ patron, the security state itself, which he’s publicly blamed for the deaths of his father and uncle. Bobby Kennedy also happens to be an enemy of the US public health agencies and especially a critic of the Covid-19 vaccines that the Left has hung its identity on. They still can’t admit that getting vaxxed and boosted was a tragic mistake.

But an election contest between RFK, Jr. and Donald Trump would be a most salutary exercise for our country. Both of them want to dismantle the overgrown surveillance apparatus and severely reform the agencies under the executive branch. That is, they are both intent on disarming the security state and the Censorship Industrial Complex it spawned. They are both against the stupid Neo-con wars. Trump versus RFK, Jr. would bring the people of this country together and refocus the nation’s attention on things that matter. It would also be the Baby Boomers’ last stand.


ON-LINE OBSERVATION: If right-wing populist D. J. Trump goes up against left-wing populist R. F. Kennedy Jr., it would be the best choice for America, not least because it would drive the “elites” crazy. It would be the best show in town, and that points to why it could happen.

* * *

Thelonius Monk

* * *

ABOVE ALL, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. 

— Søren Kierkegaard

* * *


Unconfirmed reports say four Russian 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 Volodymyr Zelensky met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the UK Monday as part of the leader’s latest visit to European allies to shore up support. The visit comes just days after the UK delivered multiple "Storm Shadow" cruise missiles to Kyiv and ahead of more expected aid. 

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have been able to capture more than 10 Russian positions near Bakhmut, Ukraine's deputy defense minister said. 

* * *

Art shop window near Lancaster, UK (Randy Burke)


  1. Mike Geniella May 16, 2023

    My apologies to the Editor for attributing online comments regarding the ACLU/DA Dave Eyster brouhaha to him. At the heart of that issue is the ACLU’s data request, which was made to every DA in the state. Eyster chose not to respond for more than a year and only did so after litigation was filed.
    Mr. Kramer in his response goes off on jihads, conspiracies etc. I have no axe to grind. If Tommy Wayne was serious about his professed role as a journalist, he would research facts of the Murray case and subsequent sentencing. He would learn that in fact investigators had secured the cooperation of two witnesses, and they were prepared to testify until the plea bargain scuttled the trial. The agreement was reached between the DA’s Office and the law firm of Andrian & Gellenson of Santa Rosa. Any veteran of courthouse coverage understands that is the powerhouse criminal defense law firm on the North Coast. No suggestion of conspiracies involving the judge. The DA’s office accepted the plea deal, as presented to the court. Clearly, the Santa Rosa firm did its job on behalf of Mr. Murray. The plea bargain decision rested with DA Dave Eyster. Neither he nor his top assistant, Dale Trigg, handled the day-to-day prosecution efforts of Murray. Oddly, it was left in the hands of longtime Deputy DA Heidi Larson. So, Tommy Wayne can launch into character assassinations if he chooses. I will stick to the facts of the case.

    • Teri Capriolo May 16, 2023

      Except using the phrase “professed journalist” is in and of itself character assassination, when you darn well. We’ll he graduated from J School at Bowling green and worked for two very big city dailies (way back then) , let alone what he’s done here

      • Mike Geniella May 16, 2023

        Appreciate Tommy Wayne’s background. Yet I am unaware of any action he took as a journalist to interview the people involved in the Murray case, review any available files, or contact the victims and/or their representatives. Right out of the box, Tommy Wayne publicly defended the outcome, blaming so-called ‘witness problems.’ If he knows specific fact-based details, he should share them. That is what journalists do. I have spent hours interviewing people familiar with the case, including lawyers, investigators, and others directly involved. The two top prosecutors in the DA’s Office kept their hands off the most high-profile local police misconduct case yet. Why? Did they not take the case seriously? They have refused all comment on the Murray case, the alleged sexual assault involving the former Police Chief in Ukiah, or the former sheriff’s deputy turned Willits Police lieutenant who was accused of the same. Why? Journalists should ask questions, instead of sitting back and smugly presenting their opinion in print without any deep research.

    • George Dorner May 16, 2023

      Until recently, TWK was the humorous twit-about-town invention of Tom Hine. And now we are supposed to take this imaginary being, Tommy Wayne Kramer, as a legitimate investigator/journalist/solon. That’s ridiculous. In the past, Mr. Hine has run serious pieces under his own byline, and his humor under Tommy Wayne Kramer. So why the change to hashing over stale scandal under the TWK byline? Why not put your true byline on that article?

  2. chuck dunbar May 16, 2023


    Mostly, I have learned my lesson—don’t read Kunstler—too out-there, not worth the time. Today, though, happened to take a quick look at his piece. This paragraph, early on, pretty much shows again why it’s a fool’s errand to read his stuff. It’s pretty crazy shit:

    “…This is the dirty secret of our time: the device that the Woke / Progressive elite used to finally get rid of Donald Trump — Covid-19 — shoved them over a cliff Wile E. Coyote style. And now, as they freefall off that cliff, the supposed antidote to Covid-19 — getting vaccinated — is blowing up in their faces, again, Wile E. Coyote style. The elite now have to wake up every day and wonder if the vaccines they rushed to get will end up killing them prematurely. This is what has finally driven them crazy. And, of course, crazy people will do crazy things: like destroy their own country…”

    Kunstler gives us no numbers, no facts, just tries to sell his grand conspiracy theory via dire fantasies and fear. What have we come to?

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 16, 2023

      Haven’t read the crazy, tired rantings of Kunstler for years. A complete waste of what precious time I have remaining. So this is not about Kunstler.

      Although I got the initial Covid vaccine and the first two boosters, I drew a line in the sand with the Omicron booster. Not because I feared any ill effects, but because I stopped believing in their efficacy. I’m absolutely not anti-vax, but it became apparent to me that as new variants emerged, new boosters would be recommended, ad infinitum. In my opinion, as Pfizer stock began to decline (now 35% below its pandemic high), Covid boosters became a money grab with no provable benefits whatsoever. J&J is essentially out of the Covid vaccine business and Moderna has drastically cut back its involvement. If you pay even casual attention to the TV and radio ads, more than 40% are for medical conditions and their associated treatments, most of which are sponsored by, surprise, Pfizer. A pill for this, a jab for that. I’m quite sure much of it has to due with the aging of America, but I’m not buying what Pfizer is selling.

  3. Michael Koepf May 16, 2023

    Did Geniella drop the dime to ACLU? “No axe to grind?” Holy mother of God, ever since Eyster dumped him, Geniella plants one a week in Eyster’s back.

    • Mike Geniella May 16, 2023

      I quit. The DA has the letter, which outlined the professional reasons why I left after 10 years. But then again, facts don’t matter to you, do they? Only Mike Koepf’s vision of the world. No wonder you and the DA are in sync.

      • Michael Koepf May 16, 2023

        So, the simple “fact” is: you quit in a huff.

        • Mike Geniella May 16, 2023

          No. I gave a 30-day notice to terminate my contract with DA Dave as a media consultant. I was the first public information officer for the District Attorney’s Office. The DA and I have known each since he arrived in town as a young, brash prosecutor eager to make a name for himself. We had a good run in my early years in the office. Marijuana restitution was a hot topic, and I worked mainly with outside media in explaining the program and setting up interviews with the DA. He knows his stuff, works hard, and seemingly enjoyed his sit-downs with reporters. Ultimately, a growing divide over how news was disseminated from the DA’s Office became an issue.

    • Eric Sunswheat May 16, 2023

      Mike Geniella performs a great public service, and has an insight advantage.
      Here again we have one of the gnomes emerging out of the mist, to cast doubt on a trusted source in an attempt to obliterate the facts.

      In similar vein, perhaps bring back ex CEO Carmel Angelo to lead the camel’s nose out of the tent to smell the roses, and wildly extoll magically that the County budget surplus is tens of million dollars instead of assets liquidation, and still counting.
      Is there no shame for disintegrating integrity among this bunch.

  4. Craig Stehr May 16, 2023

    Meanwhile, my annual auto-payment for $25 has gone to the Anderson Valley Advertiser. The zoom meeting to go over the housing voucher is tomorrow at 2PM. The head of the Adventist Health cardiovascular dept. ordered that the pacemaker be replaced in July with a more comprehensive one to better assist heart functioning. Am sitting here in front of computer #5 at the Ukiah Public Library tap, tap tapping away. Not identified with the body, not identified with the mind, Immortal Self I am!! Vedic Chants | Sanskrit Juke Box >>>
    Craig Louis Stehr
    1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
    Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
    Of course I am accepting money. Yours!
    May 16th, 2023 Anno Domini

  5. Pat Kittle May 17, 2023

    What is “woke”?

    (When the smoke clears) we can see it really means “anti-White” — and specifically, “anti-hetero-gentile-male-White.”

    Woke goalposts keep moving because Whites can never be allowed freedom from guilt.

    It’s why a legitimate comment like this is routinely censored.

    • Bruce Anderson May 17, 2023

      What would poor ol’ Whitey do without Pat Kittle ‘splaining things to us. Look out, Kittle, the green hairs are closing in on you!

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