Mendocino County Today: May 28, 2013

EULOGY FOR A VETERAN

(Author Unknown)

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

 

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

 

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the Gentle autumn rain.

 

When you awaken in the mornings hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight,

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

 

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die.

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JOHN DALTON, now 58, has been in federal prison for more than 17 years on marijuana-related charges. Dalton was put in prison by rogue DEA agents who seduced his wife, making her their informant. At one point, the DEA had Dalton's wife place a tape recorder under the couple's bed in their Redwood Valley home. And the DEA took Mrs. Dalton joy riding in government helicopters and engaged her in sexual relations in a so-called Ukiah safe house. When Dalton sued the DEA for "egregious government misconduct," federal judge Susan Illston, in a contorted ruling, found that outrageous government conduct requires "more than negligence or poor judgment," declaring that tax-paid seduction of a citizen's wife by government agents was merely "inappropriate." Dalton is presently incarcerated at the federal prison in Lompoc, Central California. We are re-printing Tim Stelloh's follow-up piece on the Dalton case this week because we think what happened to Dalton is an ongoing outrage, one of the worst miscarriages of justice we know of arising out of Mendocino County.

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THE SECOND MENDO judicial railroad was that of Mark Sprinkle, a Ukiah man sentenced to 45-to-life for what amounted to 90 seconds of sexual touching. Three underage girls, one of whom was the daughter of Sprinkle's embittered former girl friend, suddenly took off their clothes in Sprinkle's car. Instead of running from the vehicle Sprinkle stayed while the voluptuous 14-year-old daughter of his former girl friend rubbed up against him and cooed birds and bees questions to him that she'd known the answers to from a couple of prior years hanging around the Ukiah truck stop late at night. In a related persecution of the unfortunate Sprinkle, DA Eyster recently dispatched his second in command, Paul Sequiera, to argue against parole for Sprinkle as if he were some kind of playground perv. Sequiera attended the parole hearing because Beth Norman, Sprinkle's prosecutor, claimed she was still too afraid of Sprinkle to sit in the same room with him. Which, if true, should get her removed from her job as psychologically too precarious to do the work.

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THE GRAND JURY has found that the Leggett schools are dangerously short of students, so short that the schools may not survive. The two-school district consists of a school in Leggett and another school 90 minutes to the northwest at Whale Gulch. The school in Leggett has 70 students, Whale Gulch 45. Add in a history of administrative turmoil and Leggett may be compelled to revert to the days when Leggett-area students were bussed to Fort Bragg, Whale Gulch youngsters to Garberville and South Fork. The GJ reports that the new administration is an improvement over those of the recent past, but the funding picture remains grim.

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WayneMillerWAYNE MILLER has died at age 94. Some of us will remember him from the 1990s when Miller frequently represented the smaller, family-owned Mendo timber interests at public hearings. Miller was best known as a photographer. He organized the famous 1955 Family of Man exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art and provided the photos for Dr. Spock's best-selling, “The World Is Young.” Miller is survived by his wife of 70 years, Joan Miller, and several children, among them Dana Blencowe of Fort Bragg.

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MASSIVE ABALONE interdiction in Boonville Monday morning. A large number of Fish and Game wardens set up a roadblock at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Through traffic was diverted into the Fairgrounds parking lot for thorough vehicle searches. Other F&G personnel were stationed on 128 towards Philo to chase down motorists who, alerted by cell phone that the barricades were manned ahead, made sudden u-turns to avoid Boonville. A specially trained dog was also deployed to sniff out purloined ab. How much illegally taken abalone was confiscated is not yet available from Fish and Game, but it is known that the delectable mollusk is approaching endangered species status because of both poaching and the overwhelming harvesting it's been subjected to over the past decade.

ABALONE is called Venus's Ears in South Africa, el abulón in Spanish, bao yu in Chinese. It is assumed that much of the recent poaching of abalone along the Mendocino Coast is the work of immigrant Chinese, some of whom have been arrested for selling abalone to Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area where an abalone dinner runs from $80 up.

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AS FISH AND GAME frisked likely ab poachers at the Boonville Fairgrounds, Rick Adams of Boonville, showed  us the humongous abalone he took near Elk. At least 13 inches across, Rick's ab is the biggest we've heard of this year.

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WillitsCokeBottleA PHILO MAN, David Severn, has found a pristine, six ounce Coca Cola bottle near the Navarro River stamped at its base, “Willits, Calif.”

A code on the side of the bottle indicates its vintage as 1935-45. Was Coca Cola bottled in Willits? Anyone?

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SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG doesn’t communicate much with the AVA, but this weekend he sent us two strange messages:

FIRST: “Calling The Major: Dear Mark (aka The Major): There is a good deal of speculation that you are using the name ‘Paul Baum’ to inhabit the MCN list serve. Is this true or not? It would be good to clear the air. Thanks, Dan”

THE MAJOR REPLIED: “Dear Dan (aka The Supervisor), It is instructive that you feel this question is worthy of your time, much less mine. I will say that I have never felt the need to use a pseudonym since I have no reason to hide my identity. As I would hope you know by now, I have never hesitated to put my name on whatever I publish. Also, most of what I’ve seen on ‘the listserve’ is of no interest to me from people I don’t much care for. But you have my permission to conduct a full inquiry if it’s that important to you. Best, Mark Scaramella.”

THE SUPERVISOR immediately posted the Major’s response on the listserve with the introduction: “Mark's assertion (‘I...never hesitated to put my name on whatever I publish.’) means little. Just because he publishes articles his [sic] name on them and [sic] doesn't mean he's not a troll (in his sparetime). I'm sorry that Mark doesn't care for us.”

NOTE HAMBURG’S clubby use of the word “us.” We all know who he thinks “they” are.

BUT THE SUPERVISOR did not bother sending the Major his second unbelieving observation. “If he wasn’t going to believe my answer, why did he ask?” the Major wondered.

SECOND MESSAGE FROM HAMBURG: “Mark, The ‘Mendo Broadband Denied’ piece (5/22) is a good example of misleading journalism beginning with the headline. Had you spoken with someone from the BAMC or better yet, the California Emerging Technology Fund which wrote the Padilla bill, you could have provided a more complete picture. SB 740 will likely pass out of the Senate this week. It has been raided by the telcos (an important fact you fail to mention) in ways that are unfavorable to us. But there is an active strategy being employed to resurrect the funding and definitions of ‘unserved/underserved’ on the Assembly side. It's a much more complex situation than you relate to your readers. Dan”

TO THAT, the Major replied: “I was simply reporting your useful update on the subject at the Supes meeting, and adding what happened that same week in Assembly. I have no doubt that the subject is more complex than that snapshot portrayed. Perhaps you failed to read beyond the headline in your attempt to find a complaint when none is called for. We’d be happy to have you (or someone from the Broadband Alliance) provide an updated assessment of whatever ‘more complex’ developments have occurred since then. We were under the impression that Carole Brodsky was working on a story along those lines which we’d be happy to have (since she’s written about it for us before).”

LATER the Major added, “It looks like The Supervisor really did not read the report before he complained, just the headline he objects to. I quoted Hamburg saying that ‘the telecom lobbyists in Sacramento are trying to squelch our efforts. But we have some good political support on our side and we are fighting the battle.’ Then I simply added, ‘But later in the week, news out of Sacramento reported that funding for Padilla’s broadband infrastructure bill (via the California Public Utilities Commission) had been cut by $100 million, and the bill was amended to substantially restrict the definition of ‘underserved’ to include language that would limit funding to areas where no big telecom company had applied for a permit which isn’t very many areas in California.’ Hamburg says I failed to mention that when it’s right there.”

THE MAJOR CONCLUDED, “I thought I was helping by giving a bit of coverage to what The Supervisor himself reported, which the other local media have ignored. Instead, Hamburg complains that I didn’t say enough about the issue without telling us much about what he thought should have been included. Oh well, no good deed goes unpunished. I wonder if The Supervisor has noticed that the Fort Bragg Advocate hasn’t even mentioned the Broadband meeting Hamburg attended in Fort Bragg.”

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THE EDITOR SPEAKING HERE: Hamburg's four colleagues are hardly head over heels for the Boonville newspaper, but they don't hesitate to communicate with us on the public's business. I confess that I've always considered Hamburg something of a rum character, the kind of “liberal” who rides down out of the hills after the battle to shoot the wounded. I agree with the local yobbos that Hamburg seems to think he's above the rules. And I wonder how much tax-free money he's made over the years in the dope business while sanctimoniously last week lecturing Indians on the too muchness of casinos. And anybody who signs up for Adi Da is a nut by definition, and our supervisor is an Adi Da guy.

I DON'T READ the Mendo listserve. The Major looks in once in awhile simply to see what's fretting the crackpots — “Was it a chem trail that took down Building 7? Will tinfoil keep the CIA out of my molars?” — and to see if Hamburg, our supervisor, has said something of general interest about the public's business. For Hamburg to suggest that we'd go to the trouble of adopting a pseudonym to contend with a handful of outpatients on an obscure listserve is really insulting, but his constituents, not all of whom worship at his clay feet, might legitimately wonder why their supervisor doesn't communicate directly with us on the public's business.

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Linton
Linton

SUNDAY'S UKIAH PAPER always runs a feature that asks random locals an innocuous question then runs the answer with the local person's photo. It's an ancient newspaper gambit to sell a few more papers. Rarely does the random person say something interesting. But last Sunday, this kid Christopher Linton, student, Ukiah, was asked what he was doing for Memorial Day. He replied, “Go to the 101 Bar and Grill for the White Trash and Iron Assault concert. Plus some camping.” The kid probably assumed he had to say something plausibly wholesome after honestly answering what his holiday plans were.

MEANWHILE, as the meat is thrown on the coals, the beer put on ice, and White Trash and Iron Assault tunes up, in every graveyard in Mendocino County rest the remains of young men cut down all the way back to the Civil War, many of them dead before they were even old enough to enjoy a legal beer.

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COMMENT OF THE DAY: What’s going on is as follows: America's central bank is trying to compensate for a floundering economy that will never return to its prior state. The economy is floundering because its scale and mode of operation are no longer consistent with what reality offers in the way of available resources at the right price, especially oil. So, rather than change the scale and mode of operations in this economy — that is, do things differently — we try to keep doing things the same by flushing more “money” into the system, as though it were a captive beast receiving nutriment. One problem with that is that the “money” is no longer money. That is, it's not really an effective store of value, or pricing reference. It remains for the moment a medium of exchange, but the persons exchanging it grow suspicious of what this “money” purports to represent. Does it stand for promises of future repayment? Hmmmm. Those promises are looking sketchy lately, especially since this is an economy that does not generate enough new real wealth to make the interest payments, let alone manage to pay back the principal. Is it a claim on future work? Some are afraid that the future work deliverable will be less than they expect. Whatever else it is, does it find respect in other societies where different money is used? — James Kunstler

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CRAIG GETS HIS FEEDBACK

Everyone: Thank you to everyone who responded to my networking emails recently, in which I stated that I have $600 saved and am able to relocate to the east coast for more radical political action. Particularly, I thank a friend in Pittsburgh who told me to stop bitching, stop asking others to give me anything, and start walking 3,000 miles across the north American continent if I wish to again be active on the east coast. Actually, that is the second suggestion that I do this, the first coming from Delaware a month ago. Obviously, if I had begun walking with my gear a month ago, I'd be somewhere in the middle of Iowa by now. Instead, I am at a long term Berkeley, CA shelter tonight. By the way, I am welcome to be here for another week, and then must either meet with a case worker to set up a payment plan, or go elsewhere. The payment plan is 1/3 of my income ($359 monthly social security retirement check) which they keep, 1/3 set aside in a non-interest bearing savings account for a future rental situation, and I keep the remaining 1/3 of $359 to spend on my needs for a month. I'd like to know if there is anybody reading this who would feel enthusiastic about having this arrangement; I mean, would you feel that this would be exciting for you? Please contact me if you are willing to offer me anything intelligent at all to change my situation to something worthwhile. For now, I will continue to spiritually center my mind and live from there, regardless of how it plays in postmodern America. But hey, you know that I really don't want to ask anybody for anything. Fuck, that would indicate that we are actually living in a conscious society together. Sincerely, Craig Louis Stehr Craig Louis Stehr Email: craigstehr@hushmail.com Mailing address: c/o NOSCW, P.O. Box 11406, Berkeley, CA 94712- 2406 Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

* * *

SUBJECT: Advice from Tom Noonan

GO WINGNUT CRAIG, YOU ARE DEFINITELY A NUTCASE… J-CAT, SOCIOPATH, WHATEVER!!… $854 A MONTH AND NO MORE WHINING ABOUT YOUR N0N- EXISTENT “SOCIAL ACTIVISM,” YOU NARCISSISTIC, PRETENDING, USURPING USELESS BAG OF DUBLIN HORSE SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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EXCERPT from a long four-part story running in the Lawrence, Kansas, Journal World about the Mendo-Kansas marijuana connection:

TRAFFICKING FROM CALIFORNIA — According to court documents, the man in charge of organizing and shipping the larger quantities of marijuana from California to alleged conspirators here, such as Chad Bauman, a Lawrence businessman convicted of drug trafficking, and local twins Los and Roosevelt Dahda, also indicted in the case, was Wayne S. Swift, formerly of the Kansas City area. At some point, Swift moved to Hayward, Calif., about three hours south of Mendocino, connected with people such as the Soderlings, Keller and McMillan, and turned an auto parts business into a hub for drug trafficking back to Kansas. Swift’s business, the aptly named California Connections, had a Kansas City-area branch. According to court records, he was already shipping large crates of wheels and other parts between Hayward and the Kansas City area, and that provided a convenient cover for storing and smuggling drugs. Sometimes, the drugs would be mailed, but other times teams of couriers would mule the drugs and money cross country, with contraband hidden in secret compartments in the vehicles. In April 2012, investigators, aided by intelligence from the wiretap, were able to watch an alleged shipment of drugs from start to finish. Agents watching the California Connections headquarters in Hayward saw Swift loading a crate into a truck. A few days later, agents in Kansas City watched his business partner at the Kansas City branch unload it. The alleged transaction included many of the major players in the larger conspiracy, and recordings of their phone chatter throughout the deal would play a prominent role in the government’s case.

HIGH PROFIT MARGIN — The idyllic Mendocino area, situated on cliffs overseeing the Pacific Ocean and home to the Mendocino Headlands State Park, is home to an unusual number of out-of-state license plates and rental cars, according to Mike Sena, director of the Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. “They’re not there to go hiking,” said Sena, who coordinates efforts to combat drug trafficking in the region. The area is a hot spot for growing large amounts of high-grade marijuana. The local and state laws are different, with medical marijuana laws on the books, and there is minimal legal risk associated with growing the drugs, he said. In the past, drugs were smuggled up from Mexico. But with the ease and abundance of marijuana grown and supplied in Northern California, it’s a natural pick-up point for out-of-state smugglers, who buy up large quantities and haul it back to their respective areas, Sena said. Court records allege that Keller and McMillan operated a small growing operation in the Mendocino area, but at some point upped the ante on their operation, acquiring larger amounts of drugs from various area sources to supply to Bauman's drug-dealing operation in Lawrence. For local growers who supply medical marijuana shops, the allure of big money is sometimes just too much to resist. “There’s a huge profit margin,” Sena said. At times, court records allege that Bauman was facilitating the smuggling of hundreds of pounds of drugs via the California pipeline, which isn’t unusual, Sena said. “A few hundred pounds is no problem,” he said.

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WOMEN'S SOCCER CLASSIC - THE ABALONE CUP

Coming This August to Fort Bragg, Saturday and Sunday, August 10-11, 2013. Your team is invited!

Mark your calendars for the Abalone Cup Soccer Tournament this August 10-11 on the Dana Gray Elementary and Fort Bragg Middle School fields. Lorraine Murphy, president-elect of Soroptimist International of Fort Bragg, comments, "I've been involved with this tournament since it began in 1985 and I am excited to have our Soroptimist International club take over management of this popular women's tournament." a. This tournament is for women's soccer teams and covers age-specific divisions from U-19 through Over-40 teams. b. There is also a division in which the excellent Open teams can compete. c.. Each team will play three games at a minimum (two on Saturday and one on Sunday morning) with section winners and runner-up teams going against other section winners and runners-up in their division for the age-group/division champion and runner-up spots. d.. Once again, the tournament will have its unique and sought-after Abalone Cup trophies for the winner of each of the age-group/divisions. With weekend temperatures for this tournament expected to be between 55 and 65 degrees, the tournament motto, "Soccer's Cool on the Mendocino Coast" is more than just a boast. It's a fact! Your team is invited to join the fun. For more information about the tournament, including an application for your team, please contact Lorraine Murphy at 707-964-9551 (Lorraine@jkmcpa.com) or visit www.mendocoastsoccer.org

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Road Notes; May 2013

San Francisco-Denver

by Jeff Costello

Picnic on Donner Pass — No meat.

Plaque I'd like to see at the Donner Summit: “They Bit off More Than They Could Chew

In Sausalito we had lunch with a friend of M's late husband. The guy is a Mormon with a rich history of womanizing, seven marriages, and big money made through less-than-honest business practices. This was in the Bay Area, where two of his many houses are. He drove up to the restaurant by the old Sausalito Boat & Tackle in a bright red Lotus, a $110,000 sports car. His attitude was distinctly patriarchal. Approval of me is perhaps pending, but I had his number in minutes, a rich phony hypocrite. The Lotus was the final straw for her.

Reno, a very sad place indeed. The glitzy casinos— cheesy, low-grade operations that do nothing to hide or disguise the overall bummer vibe of the place. The broken down losers on the street were never any kind of high rollers.

Across Nevada on I-80, it is difficult to find something decent to eat, but there is one good place in Winnemucca called The Griddle along the business loop. Recommended. Just down the street from the Winnemucca Inn, where I once had perhaps the worst breakfast ever. The grease-soaked fake hash browns were unfit for dogs. It may be worth noting that such places use the lowest grade of cooking grease the USDA will allow to be designated as food.

Wendover, on the Nevada-Utah border just before the salt flats, was nothing but creepy, even the sky. Weird noises and thumping on the wall in the motel. M, who likes to gamble a little, wouldn't even go into a casino there.

Utah. Weird. Mormons, and coming off the salt flats, like Arkansas with the alternating bible and pornography billboards, Utah's are alternating shady pie-in-the-sky business “opportunities” (Mormon) and strip/lap dance clubs. My friend Dave, a Colorado boy in Port Townsend WA, says, “Salt Lake is a slimehole, pure and simple.”

Terrible traffic in Salt Lake metroplex. Nevada and Utah, rivals for most boring states. And weird and dangerous. Highway 6 in Utah is the worst. Narrow two-lane road with very strong contrary winds across endless bleak desert, huge trucks coming the other way and assholes in big macho pickup trucks tailgating.

Highway 6 meets I-70 at Green River, where we stayed at a motel run by a one-armed man. The town's “best restaurant” — not very good — was full of hard core Americans — republicans, pro-war by default. It is scary but necessary to know this. The American tourist: Poodle-haired old women and the husbands traveling in RVs looking for satisfaction in retirement and of course not finding any. Worked all his life for a chance to see such as Mt. Rushmore and doesn't even notice all the garbage at the bottom of the sculpture, they never even bothered to clean up the rocks that got chipped off. And so it goes. Dave weighs in again on Green River: “That town is a real dump.” Crossing into Colorado, the land was alive, unlike in Nevada or Utah.

Into Colorado and over the 10,600 foot pass down into Denver, at its mere “mile-high” elevation. Through Vail, where Gerald Ford liked to ski. A lot of small towns with touristy knickknack shops along this route. One of them had a marina full of sailboats and a lake that appeared to be pretty much dried up.

Not a lot of friendly eye contact in Denver, I’ll have to call up recollections of living in Manhattan to deal properly with that. I’ve been in the land of fruits, nuts and flakes too long.

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