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Mendocino County Today: Monday, June 5, 2023

Mostly Sunny | Mendo Coast | Graduation Ceremonies | Geoffrey Dunham | Bird & Beckett | GO Hearing | Leaf | Diversion Tunnel | Cat Play | Shields Report | Little Men | LGBTQQIA2S+ | Grange Updates | Ed Notes | Pulp Cover | Worldly People | Watertower Exhibit | Hair Service | Pet Marmaduke | Poetry Celebration | Woke Symptoms | Purple Clay | Yesterday's Catch | Do It | AI Threat | Old Days | Distant Company | Liberal Fantasy | Reagan Drag | Ukraine | Scairclip | Taiwan Strait | Nibble First | Animal Adjectives | Feed Store | Once Again | Her Kind

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WARM AND DRY conditions will continue for the interior today with quick clearing stratus along the coast. Scattered thunderstorms are expected across the interior this afternoon. Cooling temperatures will arrive later in the week along with continued thunder chances and more resilient coastal stratus. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 97°, Yorkville 93°, Boonville 91°, Fort Bragg 60°

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 48F on the coast this Monday morning. Skies should clear out later. Our rain chances now seem to be focused on Wednesday but east of here is looking more wet especially the Sierra. You can see the system taking shape off the southern Cal coast that will meander around for several days. Then another system for the weekend?

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(photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Special event start times vary this week. Please make sure you check the start time!

  • Monday: Awards Night: 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 6th Grade Promotion: 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 8th Grade Promotion: 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: High School Graduation 7:00 p.m.

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

Cell: 707-684-1017

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February 21, 1943 - May 20, 2023

On May 20, 2023, Geoffrey Dunham, lawyer, raconteur, guitar-picker, devoted friend, loving father and husband, passed away at home in his sleep with his loving and dedicated wife by his side.

Fentress Geoffrey Dunham was born in Hollywood, California, on February 21, 1943, to Elizabeth Angelica Hill, a Stanford-educated, San Francisco socialite and William Donaldson Dunham. He was raised in Pacific Heights.

Geoff's life was infused with music. In the 60s, he was a participant in the Great Folk Scare, playing guitar and singing in coffee shops. As he explained it, he dressed entirely in leather, which, given his size, demanded a lot of cow.

His lifelong quest was to find the perfect guitar. Music stayed with him throughout his life: songs picked on the beautiful hand-made guitars he favored.

He attended Sonoma State where he was the editor of the college rag, The Steppe. He was a fourth-generation Californian who loved Sonoma County. From January 1973 to March 1974, he was the mayor of Cotati, landing him on the cover of Rolling Stone. Giving up his political ambitions, he went to law school, graduating and being admitted to the Bar in 1977.

FGD practiced criminal defense in Sonoma County until he retired in 2022. During that period, he was a looming presence in the Bar, handling cases big and small. He taught evidence at his alma mater, Empire School of Law; he provided free legal counseling for veterans through the VA, and he extended his hand to help whenever he could.

He was also a serious student of the art of baseball. He delighted in rattling off sports statistics, and collecting baseball memorabilia was his avocation.

His parents and his younger brother David predeceased Geoff. He is survived by his wife Kathleen; his siblings Hilary, and Priscilla; his children: Scott, Randy, Tadd, Ryan, and Laurel; and a host of friends and colleagues.

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SPECIAL FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL HYBRID PUBLIC HEARING about Grocery Outlet this Monday, June 5 at 5:00 PM at Town Hall

The city staff has made some substantive recommended changes to the Grocery Outlet application since they got it from the planning commission. Nothing that would change minds, but interesting The packet is worth reading. A generator would be required, several changes to traffic issues, which will require a study. And no truck dock activity between 9 pm and 7 a.m In addition to native trees being put in to replace Monterey cypress that will be removed, there is a suggested change to require saving two of the cypress and some shore pines.

The city has determined the project can be appealed to the California Coastal Commission if the council chooses to approve it. They have added a recommendation that Dave Jensen suggested to require a generator. Chains often go dark during any sort of community disaster, but the city can require this to be different. Some other GO owners do have generators, a chain rep said. There is also a revision that shows the GO won't have as much of an impact on other businesses as had been said previously, quoting a study of the issue. Read the packet about the project at:

Another biggie in the packet is that changes be made to make South Streeet and Franklin Street safer "The Applicant shall pay its fair-share for the installation of either an all-way stop or pedestrian triggered flashing lights, as recommended by a traffic engineer, at the intersection of South Franklin St. and South St., including signage, striping, and pedestrian facilities (sidewalk, curb, and gutter) to provide crossing at all legs of the intersection. The proposed intersection improvement would require the installation of sidewalk curb and gutter to City Standard Specifications for a total length of 57 linear feet along the east side of South Franklin St. as well as a curb return to provide sufficient pedestrian landing facilities on the south-east corner of the intersection. "

The city staff did more research to back up the assertion this is a "formula business"

There is an extensive discussion of whether the project will impact any ocean views. That was a gigantic issue several years ago when the GO wanted to go on the bluffs at the scenic entrance to Fort Bragg . But it has not been an issue this time, as it is located behind gas stations and motels. "The view is visible for about 20 feet along the access road entrance from the current Grocery Outlet Permit Analysis June 2023 Page 9 parking lot. 2. The view extends through four parcels, including an existing Chevron gas station, Highway 1, and the undeveloped Mill Site to the west of Highway 1. 3. The view to the ocean is only visible from a high truck or other high vehicle (see figure 2). It is fully obscured by a solid wood fence along the Mill Site property line if one is in a car or walking as a pedestrian "

A lot of interesting stuff in the report. I recommend reading it before attending the meeting.

(Frank Hartzell)

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(photo mk)

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The recent Press Democrat editorial comparing the Eel River diversion into Potter Valley with the problems confronting the Colorado River was constructive and helpful (“Another chance for North Coast river deal”). This issue has to be resolved, and the sooner the better so those responsible can get on with it. 

There is another issue, however, never mentioned when this issue is discussed, that needs to be considered and decided: 

Namely, who will pay and be responsible for repair and maintenance of the mile-long diversion tunnel once PG&E is out of the picture? The burden will be substantial; this is earthquake country. Those concerned shouldn’t treat this like Highway 37 and wait until the tunnel collapses.

Jared G. Carter


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by Jim Shields

On Sunday the Heavens parted.

Last Sunday’s (May 28th) super-torrential drenching reminded me of a sudden Illinois late Spring deluge that ends almost as soon as it began, but leaving corn and soybean fields underwater. I was at Harwood Park helping volunteers on a construction project, when the storm began around 1:30 p.m., lasting about 45 minutes. Oldtimers said they had never experienced anything similar previously. Retired CALFIRE Captain Vic Weaver commented, “That was a real gully-washer. Never seen anything like that before.”

An upper low brought the unexpected event that included thunder and lightening. The cascading rain dumped 1.10 inches on the floor of Long Valley, 1.77 inches five miles north of town, and over two inches up in the mountains. Monday afternoon brought a bit more precipitation, a little less than tenth of an inch, thus pushing our season precip total to 63.36 inches compared to the historic norm of 66.31 inches. All is well on the water and weather fronts in the north county with summer just around the corner.

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Gjerde, Haschak oppose funding to tourism board.

At the Board of Supervisors final meeting in May, they took a quick look forward to this week’s budget hearings where a multi-million deficit looms in the 2023-24 budget. At the May 23rd session, Supervisors Dan Gjerde and John Haschak parted company with colleagues Glenn McGourty, Ted Williams, and Mo Mulheren, over a proposed funding request of $262,000 from Visit Mendocino, a tourism promotional group. The County is broke, seriously broke, so there’s no money available for numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that over the years have received county funding for various and mostly good causes and needed services. I agree with Gjerde and Haschak on this issue because when times are tough and money is scarce or not to be found, then we all share in the fiscal misery.

Here’s Mark Scaramella’s thoughts on the problem:

The Supervisors engaged in another tedious discussion of the annual tourism subsidy, with Supervisor Dan Gjerde arguing against it saying “they don’t need it,” and “We need the money more than they do,” and, “There’s no fuel in our tank anymore,” noting that the promoters have more reserves (proportionately) than the County does. Supervisor Williams, of course, thinks that every nickel the County hands over to the tourism people translates directly into more revenue for the industry, more jobs, more tax revenue and other untold benefits and that the tourism industry is the only industry left in the County now that timber, fishing and pot have fallen off. Supervisor Haschak said he preferred to look at the ‘big picture’ of overall economic development, without mentioning any. Haschak said the Board should postpone the tourism handout until other (vague) economic development options are explored. When Gjerde suggested that the three supervisors who are enamored with the tourism subsidy find an equivalent sized cut elsewhere in the budget to pay for it, Supervisor Williams called Gjerde’s proposal a ‘gimmick.’ Again, this is the same Supervisor Williams who uses the exact same ‘gimmick’ against anything he personally opposes. As usual, Supervisors McGourty, and Mulheren supported the subsidy while conceding that the budget probably couldn’t cover it. There was some question about the amount, however. Until this year the tourism promoters have been able to rely on a whopping $600k from the County to add to their own advertising (in print and on-line) and wine/food writer give-aways. But even the promoters seem to understand the budget situation and have proposed increasing their own levy on themselves to reduce the County’s $600k to around $260k. At the end of the meeting, they left the question semi-open pending a self-promotional report from the promoters early this month which the promoters say demonstrates how great their advertising spending is.”

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Be careful what you wish for:

Minnesota Governor signs Cannabis Legalization Bill

Well, I don’t have tell people in Mendocino County — or Californians for that matter — but folks in the Land of 10,000 Lakes most likely are going to be sorry, as in big time remorseful, just like everybody else in the other 22 pot legal states. Legalization hasn’t worked anywhere.

This week, Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz signed a cannabis legalization bill into law, making the state the 23rd to legalize weed for recreational use starting Aug. 1. It contains a regulatory scheme for a legal weed market, including a 10% sales tax, the establishment of an Office of Cannabis Management for regulation and enforcement purposes, and allows people to legally use, possess and grow cannabis The new law is Minnesota’s version of California’s Prop 64 that saw voters, according to the late-great Prop 215 Godfather, Denis Peron “sell out their asses for an ounce of weed and six plants.”

Good luck, Minnesota, but you should have asked Mendo growers how many of them wish those helicopters were still up there flying around. Those choppers were emblematic of the most successful farm subsidy program ever implemented — and California voters and Sacramento politicians deep-sixed it, replacing it with wrecked rural economies.

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

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Mendocino County Social Services: “Pride Month celebrates the diversity, resilience, and achievements of our LGBTQQIA2S+ community.”

(“LGBTQQIA2S+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.”)

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First a belated thank you to the Senior Center Community bus getting seniors to the Variety show... Yay Lindsay. And a thank you to the elementary school for loaning us those Hepa filters. Yay Louise. The clinic gave us a bunch of masks to pass on to anyone wishing one. Thanks! It's real nice when people pitch in to help out, small town sharing, not a lot of forms to fill out, one very good reason why we live here.

This is a response to Jim Mastin from last week’s paper. He asked if anyone had a video of Anderson Valley Ho! Sarah Larkin and John Tyson closed out the Friday Variety Show doing it as a sing along and we got it on video. Our tireless video team is finalizing the editing as we speak and it should be up on youtube within a couple of weeks. Believe it or not we have our own youtube channel. Right now it's a hodgepodge of some past shows and bits and pieces of acts. The youtube channel address is: AV Grange Variety Shows. Be sure it headlines “Random Acts of Variety.” When the current shows come on in a couple of weeks they will probably be the first in line. Sarah and John’s sing along of Anderson Valley Ho is the last act of the Friday night show 2023. Someday we intend to have all the shows on the channel in order and catalogued.

Moving on, how about some pancakes? AV Grange Pancake Breakfast as always the 2nd Sunday each month is almost upon us. This Sunday June 11th 8:30-11:00. Best deal in the valley. Flippin' Bill back on the grill and most of the usual crew as well. The company is great, and we are angling for the Deep End Woogies to add some music too, so come on down this Sunday. See ya soon

Captain Rainbow

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CHANGE OUR NAME, a local non-profit organization, handed out checks totaling $1500 to two Fort Bragg High School students on Saturday in an award ceremony held at the Pacific Textile Arts patio in Fort Bragg. 

The essay contest invited students at FBHS to write on the prompt of their choosing: either (a) The name of Fort Bragg High School should be changed or (b) The name of Fort Bragg High School should not be changed. The contest kicked off in February 2023.

The First Place essay was written by Carmen Velazquez who won $1,000 and the Second Place essay was written by Josephine Erickson who won $500. Ms. Velazquez read her winning essay to the gathered crowd of 30+ people at the event. The essay can be read in full online here:

Congratulations Carmen & Josephine!

PHIL ZWERLING, PhD, Corrupter of Youth and True History, is pied piper for Change Our Name, a local non-profit organization. The professor (ret), has handed out checks totaling $1500 to two Fort Bragg High School students in a private awards ceremony held at the Pacific Textile Arts patio in Fort Bragg. The essay contest invited students at FBHS to write on two choices of subject: either (a) The name of Fort Bragg High School should be changed, or (b) The name of Fort Bragg High School should not be changed. The contest kicked off in February 2023. The first place essay was written by Carmen Velazquez who won $1,000 because her essay was pegged to the false history of Fort Bragg promulgated by Zwerling and the anonymous neo-Stalinists he functions as pied piper to. “Hello, history? Get me re-write.”

FROM ZWERLING'S totally wrong version of why Fort Bragg's name should be changed: “The word ‘Fort’ stands for the theft of tribal land and the murder of Indigenous people thus it memorializes a racist and genocidal past. Though it was never the wooden stockade beloved of motion pictures, the small Army garrison was meant to protect the White settlers … protect the White settlers while they stole the land, labor, and children of the Native people. Some of those structures still stand in the center of our town.”

PROFESSOR ZWERLING, as always tending to hysteria, followed up with a blast at a commenter who wants Fort Bragg to remain Fort Bragg: “That’s right, we’ll just sit here in our little enclave by the sea with the last municipality named for a Confederate and enslaver in the state of California and the only public schools (FBHS and FBMS) in the entire state also named for a Confederate and enslaver and pretend everything is right with our world. And memorializing a ‘Fort’ that played its part in the Indigenous genocide is ok too, I guess.”

THE PROF’S logic and history are way off. It's a big leap on the prof's part to assume an innocent commenter approves of genocide simply because he thinks Fort Bragg's name change isn't happening, and the prof still doesn't seem to know that Fort Bragg was established to protect Indians, not murder them.

BRAXTON BRAGG was a consensus bad man who did his bad in the early-to-middle 19th century. Stop the next ten Fort Braggers you see on the street and ask them who Braxton Bragg was. No one will know or care, so the best Zwerling and his posse of historical fact expungers can do is distort the true history of Fort Bragg and, by extension, the history of Mendocino County.

FORT BRAGG was founded to protect Indians from the white settlers — a grim collection of all-male fugitive criminals, Indian slavers, and general lowlifes — not murder them, an honorable pedigree for any town, and one of many reasons to keep Fort Bragg as Fort Bragg, a name placed on the remote Coast outpost by one of Bragg's military colleagues who seems to have admired him. (Bragg is considered the most incompetent of the Confederate generals.) 

IT'S OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTANDABLE that Southern black people would want to remove statues from public places which honor Confederate generals and I, for one, am happy that they've done it. Overall, though, erasing reminders of America's bloody history is a bad idea because it also erases the truth of what happened. (The removed statues weren't destroyed; they were packed away in museums, which is as it should be.)

BUT OUR ATROCITY-PACKED history is one more reason to celebrate our unprecedented, magnifico country, that despite its depraved, murderous history, America has grown, prospered and done much, and continues to do much, to atone for the sins of our fathers. Viva Fort Bragg!

MORE HYPE and history re-writes from a fax advertising an album called “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” featuring “twenty-three selections of her greatest speeches, plus assorted newsclips and songs comprise this 72 minute treasure trove of cutting edge wisdom and wit, available on CD, vinyl and cassette.”

IN CONVENIENT convenient marketing conjunction with Boogie Two at Carlotta years ago, Darryl Cherney released an album of enviro songs by famous singers called “If A Tree Falls” — If A Tree Falls, Two Bucks Fall Into My Pocket might have been more like it.

THE JUDI BARI record hype comes with a nearly complete re-write of the truth about who she was, what she did and what she accomplished. “Judi didn’t preach from the ivory tower of intellectualism; she talked the language of the streets, the woods, and the working class from which she came.” In fact, Judi was an intellectual who became an anti-intellectual, succumbing to the New Age rituals, time capsule hippie-ism and the pseudo-mysticism of many of her constituents that she privately ridiculed. JB’s gifts as a speaker and writer inspired Redwood Summer but she wasn’t enough of an intellectual to get past the adulation of toadies, and not enough of an intellectual to make the movement grow.

JUDI BARI did not come from the working class, loosely defined here as people who work for wages. She was a daughter of securely middleclass people who had been communists in their youth. Nor was she a union organizer. Judi helped organize one wildcat strike among post office workers in opposition to the postal union. Most condescending of all to the memory of the old girl is this fatuous statement: “She introduced many to the notion (notion?) that it was the industry owners and not the workers who were responsible for forest destruction. She built bridges with (sic) the loggers and millworkers, helping injured sawmill workers start an IWW labor union at a nearby Georgia Pacific mill.” Even the dimmest flower child understands that loggers aren’t responsible for corporate policy. Judi did try to get past the snobbery infecting many of the more privileged environmentalists who’ve never had the wolf at the door. Her bridge-building from hippies in the hills to the 8-5 people was much over-rated because it’s impossible to “organize” people from outside the work place. 

THE IWW organizing was farcical (as is the IWW these days) and conducted solely to get some grant money out of the present day romantics dominating the organization as they trade on the lives of much braver men and women. Judi wrote a fine account of an L-P mill worker — George Alexander — who was nearly killed at L-P’s Cloverdale mill when a piece of debris flew off the huge sawlog blade at his work site, almost decapitating him. Alexander, a young Hopland guy with a strong sense of himself, refused L-P’s attempts to take him on the road as a professional victim of environmental terrorism. L-P wound up fighting Alexander for injury benefits after they’d loudly put it falsely out everywhere that the debris that had nearly killed him was actually an Earth First! spike.

WHOEVER wrote the record promo hasn’t even taken the time to get Judi Bari’s best efforts down correctly. Judi Bari, like Cherney, had a genius for self-promotion. Her legacy, for the worshippers who think in terms of legacies, is mixed, to put it gently. A serious political person, after all, would have set up her foundation to carry on political struggle, but Judi Bari’s foundation collects money to benefit her daughters, both of them are well protected by the wealthy families of both their parents.

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MICHAEL TURNER MD: The executive board that governs Adventist Health statewide is insulated by several layers of administration and largely escapes public scrutiny. Their strategic decisions take place in secrecy. For whatever reason they changed their regional strategy about ten years ago. Though never articulated publicly, the result has been to drive primary care providers from poor rural communities across the State, not just Mendo and Lake Counties. I’ve been in the room with regional administrators who were quite vocal about the unimportance of primary care from a revenue point of view. What got them excited was changing the focus to big ticket items such as advanced imaging, and orthopedic and cardiac procedures. Almost all administrators and many employees belong to the Adventist church. It’s not hard to see that their small community benefits from this strategy while the wider one suffers. There’s now here an epidemic of untreated, even undiagnosed, chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. I would guess that the percentage of the health care dollar that ends up in Adventist coffers far exceeds the amount going towards community care. This is to be expected from a cultish culture where non-Adventists are typically referred to as the “Worldly People.” 

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CELEBRATE THE WATER TOWER WONDERLAND exhibit opening on Second Saturday, June 10th

4pm – 5pm: Kelley House members will enjoy a private preview and reception.

5pm – 7pm: General public invited for refreshments and cookies as part of the local art walk.

Kelley House Museum

Quench your thirst and satisfy your curiosity about water towers during Mendocino's Second Saturday Art Walk. Enjoy refreshments at the launch of the exhibit "Water Tower Wonderland" which celebrates the artistry and ingenuity of these iconic structures. On display will be renderings of Mendocino water towers in several media, with serigraphs by Anne Kendall Foote and Bill Zacha, a quilt square by Dee Goodrich, and a woodcut by Emmy Lou Packard.

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Hello Anderson Valley friends! I’m in a bit of a bind and hoping you folks can help. I need last-minute hair services! I am a guest faculty member at Anderson Valley High School this semester, teaching creative writing, and excited about attending graduation this coming Thursday. I’m not so excited about how my hair looks right now, though. Lol! I had an appt. for a cut and color with my normal stylist in Fort Bragg (where I live), but she’s sick as a dog, and can’t make the appt. Any chance there’s a stylist in Boonville who can do a cut and two-process color on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning this upcoming week? I can be to the salon by 9:30 am. I know it’s a long shot… Anyone out there who can help a sister out? Any recs? Much appreciated! 


Hello folks. I am a Mendocino College professor teaching creative writing at Anderson Valley High School this semester. I live in Fort Bragg, and commute to AVHS four times a week so the high school students there have the opportunity to take a college-level class without having to drive to Ukiah. Many of my students will be graduating in just over a week, and I will be attending graduation on June 8, and am planning to stay over at The Madrones for the night. I want to enjoy Wickson for dinner, along with a couple of glasses of wine, but I don't want to drink and drive to the graduation ceremony at AVHS. I do NOT want to set a bad example for my students, so my drink/drive policy is zero tolerance. I would love to hire someone to drive me from The Madrones at 6:30 pm to the grad ceremony, which starts at 7pm. It is literally a five minute drive. Any takers? I will pay a fair rate. Also, any suggestions on how to navigate this are much appreciated.

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This handsome dog is a strong, active guy. During his evaluation and meet & greet, Marmaduke was curious and mellow, as he attempted to give kisses to everyone! This big dude is friendly, easy-going, and likes to be around people. Marmaduke appears to be a gentle giant, and has a soft mouth when taking treats. We think Marmaduke will make a great family dog.

If you like the BIG sweetie-pie dogs, get yourself to the Ukiah Shelter and meet Marmaduke in person! Marmaduke is 2 years old and 108 pounds of goober-love!

For more about Marmaduke, head to  You can begin the adoption process on our website. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.

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48th Anniversary: 18th consecutive Revival Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration 2023

The Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration will be live at the Hill House in Mendocino next Sunday June 11, with 2 sessions, one beginning at 1 pm and a second at 6 pm. Sign ups will begin at noon and 5pm. Prepare your work with a 4 minute limit for each session. Attend either session or both. Yes, bring a friend!

Arrive during the noon hour or the 5pm hour, relax, enjoy the comestibles and company. Meet the poets whose voices you’ve heard broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX radio.

Marty Durlin produced a radio interview with Dan Roberts and Gordon Black regarding the event and definitions of poetry. What’s your definition? Give it a try:

The May issue of Real Estate Magazine devoted its cultural banquette to the upcoming Poetry Celebration 2023, thanks to publisher Zida Borcich. View it here:

Open Display Table. Bring some books, CDs for sale or trade.

Further Info: Hear Dan Roberts’ RhythmRunningRiver this afternoon, 3pm at, or contact Gordon:, or (707) 937-4107.

Now, rhyme something with June - or even better, don’t!

Gordon Black,

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11. You require proofreading.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Having a pristine, manicured lawn has never been much of a priority for me, which is lucky because A) I’m lazy, and 2) the yard refuses to cooperate.

And with California having outlawed lawn mowers my only other option is having a goat, who would also eat my car. I know goats. I had a friend out in Potter Valley who once had a goat, briefly.

Anyway, lawns and yards and gardens: Bah. Give me astroturf and a sixpack and you can have all the weed whackers, daffodils, Roundup and aphids you want. In fact I’ll give you some of mine.

In Ukiah I had to be proactive if I wanted to keep my yard at bay, but here in the Carolinas, or at least my few hectares of it, the job is considerably easier because the yard is tenacious. It fights back. It does not easily submit to cultivation, civilization, irrigation or propagation.

Our massive half-acre estate allows nothing to poke its head out of the soil except an old fencepost near the corner. Our yard is a determined and aggressive foe, and never have wife Trophy or I felt we were even making progress, let alone having our way.

Trophy says it’s the soil and I believe her, not that I’ve actually gotten down on my hands and knees to inspect the earthy material, but good stuff doesn’t grow in lousy soil, and our soil isn’t even soil, or dirt.

It’s clay. It’s that thick, unyielding purplish greasy-gray looking gunk that she says would be perfect for Mendocino County potters wanting to spin purplish dinnerware, but not really suitable for dandelions, grass or worms. So our yard is leafy leaves and tree debris scattered over a surface I’m too lazy to rake. What would be the point? To show off our glistening greasy gray clay soil-free non-garden?

Our yard is a dull, desolate tundra-like expanse of thistle and scrubby vegetation that looks the moonscaped grounds at the Grace Hudson Museum.

This is not a compliment.

But at least my yard is its own miserable fault. The geniuses at the Hudson Museum converted a lush, green, people and dog-friendly park into an unintentionally hilarious and astoundingly expensive dull patch of weeds, thorns and crabgrass no different than other vacant lots around town, minus the empty beer cans. And minus the visitors.

On a recent visit back to Ukiah I realized yet again what a shockingly flowerful home we have, thanks 100% to Trophy and 100% to the guys at Down to Earth Landscaping. Bright riots of rich yellow roses and deep gold California poppies remind me how different NorCal and NorCar can be.

But along with the blossoms and blooms our Ukiah yard is a playground for teams of gophers, voles, moles, prairie dogs, woodchucks and meerkats. Kudzu forever has its way. Rodent armies have built caves and tunnels under my yard that I will someday spelunk if I can get an online archaeology license.

Closer to the deck, where I feel safer walking, is my barbecue area, built on sturdy cement and home to my rusted old charcoal-fed Weber grille. It’s where California summer dinners go to die. Our outdoor evening menu is variations on burnt meat, warm beer, cheap wine and Tums. Good thing breakfast is still the most important meal of the day.

North Carolina dinners are mac ‘n cheese along with a side dish.

The yard down south suffers no nonsense from underground critters. A gopher would die under the garden, unable to penetrate the wall of solid clay. Tunnels? They’ll need power tools and dynamite.

If we circle back to the beginning of this column, one of my most forceful personality traits is sloth. Grow grass when there’s Astroturf to pave the yard? I do not miss or yearn for the yard and garden we had in Ukiah with rodents digging tunnels and freeways. Instead we have chiggers digging tunnels beneath our skin, causing itching even when we’ve fled back to the safety of the house. I would happily trade you a thimbleful of chiggers in exchange for your gophers, moles, worms, flowers and lawn. I’ll even take your mower. Chiggers are invisible, which as any sci-fi fan or Marvel Comics student can tell you, is a magical power. My own experience suggests chiggers are able to time-travel, unlock doors and live without air, water or food other than the blood in your veins. I do not know what chiggers want once they’ve punctured my skin (invisibly, of course) except burrow into my corpuscles and marrow and activate the various itch functions in my brain. I do know that chiggers in my yard and county make it hostile territory. I’m not complaining.

Chiggerphobia allows me to own the worst yard on my block. If it weren’t for chiggers prowling around my dandelions I would have by now installed a nice curving path around a bubbling brook leading to a glistening pond and a Community Garden, a butterfly reserve, small shade-grown coffee plantation, a putting green and petting zoo. Bummer, huh? Just pave it all with indoor-outdoor carpet.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, June 2, 2023

Anguiano, DeFranco, Diaz


DANE DEFRANCO, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

BONIFFACIO DIAZ-RUIZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license, false ID.

Garcia, Hernandez, Hoff

DANIEL GARCIA II, Redwood Valley. DUI.

FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ, Ukiah/Willits. Loaded handgun not registered owner, loaced firearm in public, large capacity magazine, concealed weapon in vehicle.

BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. Burglary, taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

Long, Mohan, Salcedo

LEE LONG, Ukiah. County parole violation.

SANJAY MOHAN, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

CESAR SALCEDO, Stockton/Ukiah. Concealed loaded weapon, firearm without ID, fabrication of firearm from parts, under influence while possessing firearm.

Settles, Vega, Wakeland

JUSTIN SETTLES, Fort Bragg. Concealed dirk-dagger, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

CYNTHIA VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. Contempt of court-disorderly behavior.

KYLE WAKELAND, Redwood Valley. Pot for sale, suspended license, alteration of vehicle registration, probation revocation.

* * *


either you do it

or you don't do it


& all that apologetic

fresh lettuce sunset

self-effacing effusive




might make it

group therapy



goat husbandry



— Don Shanley

* * *

* * *


Ah yes, “the current mode of living”. I was fortunate enough to be born at a time that I could see the working remnants of “another mode of living” that didn’t involve electricity and automobiles. A great grandfather of mine was successful in business with a small factory he owned, and in the 1890’s built a victorian style small mansion for his family. Five bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 12 foot high ceilings so that hot air in summertime would gather up on the ceiling, leaving things a bit cooler below. The house had working shutters on the windows and almost each room had fireplace in it that was set up to burn coal or wood. It was a state of the art home for 1890 and he thought he was living like a king. The interior had a lot of machine carved oak woodwork and long banisters for kids to ride down on. It was grandma’s house when I was a small child, but by the 40’s it had been upgraded of course with modern plumbing, electricity, and central heat. 

The point of all this is that the lifestyle enjoyed by affluent people 130 years ago would be completely unacceptable today. My great grandma came from humble origins and she couldn’t have imagined a life more splendid than the one she enjoyed in the beginning decades of the 1900’s. 

But today’s woman would find her life with no electricity, no car, and a 2 digit phone number in a small town to be absolutely unacceptable. If forced to live like this today I can see a lot of American females going barking mad, hysterical, crying and whining constantly, and then maybe after a few months or years of this killing themselves and getting what they perceive to be misery over with. 

Yet people will repeat over and over about how much better we have it today. That we are so much better off than our forebears regarding lifestyles. 

What a bunch of gaslighting bullcrap!

* * *

I HATE SOLITUDE, but I'm afraid of intimacy. 

The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself which to turn into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company which I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls. It's already hard enough to tell the truth to oneself. 

— Iris Murdoch

* * *


There Is An Understandable Yearning For A Progressive President.

But like dreams of happily ever after endings, the fantasy is just that.

In 2015, Black Agenda Report co-founder Bruce Dixon coined the term “sheepdog” to describe the role that Bernie Sanders would play in the 2016 presidential campaign. Dixon presciently said, “Bernie’s job is to warm up the crowd for Hillary, herding activist energies and the disaffected left back into the Democratic fold one more time. Bernie aims to tie up activist energies and resources till the summer of 2016 when the only remaining choice will be the usual lesser of two evils.” The word stuck and since that time the question is rightly asked whether a particular democratic challenger is serious about getting the nomination or is merely a sheepdog who will herd supporters back into the hands of their party’s oligarchy.

That question arises again now that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has announced his presidential campaign. Kennedy obviously has the advantage of name recognition, and he isn’t shy about making frequent references to “my uncle” and “my father.” Yet he is attractive to leftists in the party because he is willing to take positions in opposition to its established orthodoxy. He does make the obligatory references to Russia’s “brutal invasion” of Ukraine but he also points out what no one in the Democratic Party will say, that the war was provoked by U.S. actions and he calls the billions of dollars in allocations to the Ukrainian government a “money laundering operation for the military industrial complex.”

Yet Kennedy also falls back into line if pressured. He said that the CIA assassinated his uncle John F. Kennedy, and he points out the many CIA interventions around the world as a practice he would end as president, but he backtracks if criticized, making a lie out of his pronouncements. “The majority of people working at the CIA are good, patriotic people committed to their missions and the law. My own daughter-in-law was a field agent, and she is among the bravest people I have known.”

He certainly got the zionist message about Israel Kennedy praised musician Roger Waters for his opposition to the war in Ukraine but then deleted his comment on twitter because Waters also opposes Israeli apartheid. For good measure he added meaningless blather about the “aspirations of the Palestinian people.” After being called out when he ran for cover, he then deleted his comments which rescinded his first comment.

There is another issue aside from Kennedy’s willingness to back pedal when criticized for taking the positions he claims to run against. Will his supporters end up like those who worked for Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, or Bernie Sanders, who believed in their candidate only to be told that they had to support Mondale or Dukakis or Kerry or Clinton or Biden? One must ask, what is the point of going out on a limb yet again when history gives a strong indication of how this campaign will end?

The selective amnesia of many Kennedy supporters indicates another problem with what passes for left politics in this country. People here have been so thoroughly indoctrinated about the value of electoral politics that they believe it is the only way to bring about the changes they want to see. The end result is the search for a savior, the belief that we can vote our way out of a situation created by the oligarchy which controls both wings of the duopoly. It is comforting to think that the right president would end capitalist exploitation and imperialism but such a belief, while understandable, doesn’t hold water.

Would the military industrial complex suddenly disappear if Kennedy were president? Would the democrats and republicans who are bought off by big oil, big pharma, big agriculture, big healthcare, and other powerful interests suddenly throw off the shackles they happily accepted? Would their patrons allow them to do so even if they were so inclined? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, “No.” Both parties are run by capitalists who have not gone to a lot of trouble to maintain their hold on the system only to give it all up because some democrats can’t end their habit of engaging in wishful thinking.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. takes positions that need to be heard. It is good that a presidential candidate opposes U.S. interventions around the world and pledges to end the censorship that the state and big tech carry out. But there’s no savior, just the hard work of mobilizing left movements. Kennedy speaks of the need for a “peaceful revolution.” It isn’t clear that revolutions can be peaceful, but they certainly won’t come from U.S. presidential politics.

The question is the same. It doesn’t change every four years. How do we mobilize against interests that won’t be placated, whose imperatives are antithetical to human needs? They don’t care if leftists want to believe that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. can win the Democratic Party nomination and become president. They won’t be wished away.


* * *

* * *


President Volodymyr Zelensky personally thanked more than a dozen troops and asked Ukrainians to do the same in a speech Saturday night, amid speculation that the start of Ukraine's counteroffensive is imminent.

The governor of the Russian border region of Belgorod reported more shelling on Russian territory overnight. Dissidents are ramping up pressure as the conflict increasingly spreads beyond Ukraine's borders.

A Russian attack killed a toddler and wounded 22 people — including five children — outside Dnipro, a Ukrainian regional leader said. The attack is the latest in a flurry of Russian airstrikes and ground assaults launched this week.

* * *

* * *


by Caitlin Johnstone

The US military has released video footage of a Chinese navy ship cutting across the path of an American Destroyer in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, reportedly forcing the US vessel to slow down to avoid a collision.

A statement on the incident from US Indo-Pacific Command says the Chinese ship “executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner” in the presence of US and Canadian warships during a “routine south to north Taiwan Strait transit” by the naval forces of those nations, coming as close as 150 yards from the American vessel.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: what is a Chinese navy vessel doing in the Taiwan Strait, right where US and Canadian warships are peacefully conducting routine navigation exercises?

Well I don’t know if this news will be as shocking to you as it is to me, but it turns out that China has somehow managed to place its country immediately adjacent to the Taiwan Strait, and is now only 100 miles from Taiwan itself. This narrow channel of water was the only space the US and Canadian navies were given to travel through, placing them dangerously close to Chinese warships, and to the country of China.

China has yet to issue a formal apology for menacing the US navy with the unsafe maneuverings of both its battleship and its geographical location.

Noting in its statement that it was acting “in accordance with international law” at the time of the incident, US Indo-Pacific Command says that its transit “demonstrates the combined U.S.-Canadian commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” adding that the US military “flies, sails, and operates safely and responsibly anywhere international law allows.”

Which is of course true. These are international waters after all, and the Chinese navy should therefore stay out of the way of US military vessels traveling through them, just as the US navy would stay out of the way of Chinese military forces traveling a few miles off the coast of California or transiting between the islands of Hawaii. The US is only asking for the same freedom of navigation it would afford anyone else.

We saw another incident of China’s aggressive and dangerous terrestrial placement on the 26th of May, when a US spy plane was buzzed by a Chinese fighter jet during peaceful surveillance operations over the South China Sea. A statement by US Indo-Pacific Command called the incident “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” which interrupted the “safe and routine operations” of the spy plane.

What the hell is going on here? What is a Chinese fighter jet doing all the way over in the South China Sea?

Obviously Chinese fighter jets have no business operating in that region, especially when their movements endanger the US spy planes who are flying their peaceful missions there. But as with the Taiwan Strait, the imperialist aggressions of the Chinese Communist Party have been so expansionist in nature that the South China Sea now sits immediately adjacent to mainland China.

Here’s hoping that China stops with its brazen aggressions against the US military forces who are minding their own business in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, stops endangering poor defenseless warships and spy planes by moving through waters and airspace they have no business entering in the first place, and starts respecting the rules-based global sovereignty of the United States of America.


* * *

* * *


Noah had the right idea

by Matt Taibbi

Rule #2: Memorize the animal adjectives list. 

A Thesaurus is a great tool, but the only time you should use it is to complete an already-sent mental signal, e.g. you’re staring at the word decorated, know it’s wrong, and flip through the book to remember you really meant festooned. (Festooned is a great word.) If you use a Thesaurus to pick a word from scratch, it’s almost guaranteed to end up a false note. Dr. Peter Roget, an obsessive who made lists to cope with depression, was aiming for utility, not cool, when he made his synonym-finder. He can still help with basics like glacial over slow or intrepid instead of brave, but even he never hoped to get you to lively. A lifetime of reading better writers is the only sure way to develop an ear for the right word in the right spot, but a few short cuts exist. 

Every aspiring writer with a sense of fun should memorize the list of animal adjectives that includes words you know like bovine, serpentine, canine,and elephantine,and ones you might not like zebrine, pteropine, corvine, vulpine, and a few hundred hilarious others. These are some of the coolest words in English, and good gateway drugs to the metaphors and bastardized usages you eventually need to layer over basic vocabulary. You can scour a Thesaurus for “lazy” and find phlegmatic, apathetic, indolent, limp, and others that feel close. If you know the animal list cold you can start with testudine, or turtle-like, and save a lot of time, in your description of the infuriating librarian with the runny nose who takes eight minutes to find your card file. 

I found the list when I read Lolita as a teenager and wanted to know why pedophile protagonist Humbert Humbert was calling his quarry’s sunbathing mother a “phocine mamma.” Teachers often say it’s a no-no to make readers look something up, but I got an extra laugh pausing to learn Humbert was comparing Lolita’s lounging mother to a seal. Writing should be fun, and if you don’t enjoy learning fun words, you’re probably in the wrong line. 

* * *

* * *


I hear of somebody who is going to settle down and

do their work,

painting or writing or whatever,

as soon as they get a better light


or as soon as they move to a new city,

or as soon as they come back from the trip they have been planning,

or as soon as...

it’s simple: they just don’t want to do it,

or they can’t do it,

otherwise they’d feel a burning itch from hell

they could not ignore and “soon”

would turn quickly into “now.” 

— Charles Bukowski

* * *

ANNE SEXTON, "Her Kind" 

I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night; dreaming evil, I have done my hitch over the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite. I have been her kind. I have found the warm caves in the woods, filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves, closets, silks, innumerable goods; fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves: whining, rearranging the disaligned. A woman like that is misunderstood. I have been her kind. I have ridden in your cart, driver, waved my nude arms at villages going by, learning the last bright routes, survivor where your flames still bite my thigh and my ribs crack where your wheels wind. A woman like that is not ashamed to die. I have been her kind.


  1. Adam Gaska June 5, 2023

    In response to what happens with the diversion of the Potter Valley Project when PG&E abandons the project. That depends.

    If an agency takes it over, then they maintain it and run it. That’s the focus of the Russian River Water Forum. The Mendocino caucus met on Friday to make sure our delegates are all on the same page. On Tuesday the Mendocino and Sonoma caucus are meeting to make sure the Russian River interests are all on the same page before the next planning group meeting of all delegates on June 12.

    We don’t have a lot of time to figure this out if we hope to maintain all or even part of the PVP. It may require a vote to form a new special district to create the new agency. March and November 2024 are the next scheduled elections.

    If PG&E goes forward with decommissioning, I imagine it will be rendered inoperable during that process. I’m not sure how they would seal it up.

  2. Eric Sunswheat June 5, 2023

    Kennedy does not lie and backtrack on CIA if pressured, since the operations of the CIA are instruments of the leadership, not ground level agents. Kennedy is able to learn from and concede mistakes, not to be stonewalled by the thought police.

    Support the escalating momentum for rank choice election voting, as political reform extends from that. End the duopoly, to save the planet from AI and corporate citizenship, so humans and other species may exist, without necessity of living life on the moon or Mars, except as resource extraction and possible repository for banishment of obsessive accumulation billionaires.

    RE: He does make the obligatory references to Russia’s “brutal invasion” of Ukraine but he also points out what no one in the Democratic Party will say, that the war was provoked by U.S. actions and he calls the billions of dollars in allocations to the Ukrainian government a “money laundering operation for the military industrial complex.”

    Yet Kennedy also falls back into line if pressured. He said that the CIA assassinated his uncle John F. Kennedy, and he points out the many CIA interventions around the world as a practice he would end as president, but he backtracks if criticized, making a lie out of his pronouncements. “The majority of people working at the CIA are good, patriotic people committed to their missions and the law…”

  3. Jim Mastin June 5, 2023

    Thank you, Captain Rainbow!

  4. Chuck Dunbar June 5, 2023


    Concise for once (though this is clearly from a longer piece) Matt Taibbi writes an odd but sweet little piece on the value of animal adjectives. And a fine, funny example from “Lolita.” With a little thought, one could conjure just-right animal adjectives for Humbert Humbert. They’d be numerous, but not laudatory.

    • Jim Armstrong June 5, 2023

      “Writing should be fun, and if you don’t enjoy learning fun words, you’re probably in the wrong line. ”
      Sorry, but IMHO it’s not the only indication, Matt.

  5. Mike Geniella June 5, 2023

    Tommy Wayne Kramer just doesn’t get it. He continues his smug, arrogant attacks on the native landscaping at the Grace Hudson Museum although I suspect he has not walked through the maturing space since he was given a personal tour a few years back. The Wild Gardens, envisioned by former museum director Sherrie Smith-Ferrie with input from local tribal representatives, focus on the environmental legacies of the native Pomo people. We could all learn from the traditional native plant practices the museum embraced, with the help of a generous state grant. Ukiah landscape designer Andrea Davis and a team of volunteers are doing a beautiful job of nurturing the continuing emergence of the Wild Gardens. Take a walk through the Wild Gardens at the Hudson. Don’t miss the Evert Person Courtyard, where native landscaping and stone benches provide a serene retreat from the outside world.

    • Stephen Rosenthal June 5, 2023

      I’ve noticed a decrease in Tommy Wayne Kramer’s velocity. With the latest entry, it’s clear he’s lost his fastball. Too bad. He was once clever and entertaining and I looked forward to his columns. Not anymore.

  6. Bruce McEwen June 5, 2023

    I recommended Caitlin Johnstone to my neighbors from Taiwan. They had asked for a better reading of the news than CNN or FOX. Pertaining to the unfolding crisis. But it looks like the next time the mainland of China dares sail in the South China Sea one of our doughty naval captains will see fit to blow the impertinent scoundrels off the face of the water with a broadside of Trident nukes!

    • Bruce McEwen June 5, 2023

      We’re all in Admiral Karl Thomas’ hands, now…

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