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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, July 9, 2023

Cool | Totem Pole | AV Events | Pet Gumby | Laytonville Confrontation | Elk BBQ | Collecting Taxes | Manzanita Stand | Ed Notes | Boont Fling | Marco Radio | Augie Matchbook | Adventist Bound | Yesterday's Catch | Mask Judging | Toad Hall 1977 | Redding Questions | Teacher Framing | Head Turning | Cassette Surgery | Imperial Support | Blindly Grabbed | Seventh Grandchild | Warning Signs | Cargo Hooked | New Battery | Phone Addicts | Gloria Swanson | Attacking Jenin | Free Assange | Dam Catastrophe

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MAINLY DRY WEATHER and seasonable temperatures will occur across much of interior Northwest California through early next week, while marine stratus impacts much of the coast. Warmer conditions are then expected during mid to late next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Another overcast 54F on the coast this Sunday morning. This looks like our new pattern for a while. The satellite does show a lot of clouds right onshore though? Forecast is for sunny days.

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Totem Pole, Sun House, Grace Hudson (Jeff Goll)

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Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
Sun 07 / 09 / 2023 at 7:00 AM
Where: Hendy Woods State Park

AV Grange Pancake and Egg Breakfast
Sun 07 / 09 / 2023 at 8:30 AM
Where: Anderson Valley Grange , 9800 CA-128, Philo

The Anderson Valley Museum Gathering & a chat with Eileen Pronsolino (2 pm)
Sun 07 / 09 / 2023 at 1:00 PM
Where: The Anderson Valley Museum , 12340 Highway 128, Boonville

The Deadlies
Sun 07 / 09 / 2023 at 2:00 PM
Where: Anderson Valley Brewery , 17700 Boonville Rd, Boonville

Community Sing
Sun 07 / 09 / 2023 at 4:00 PM
Where: Lauren€'s house


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Gumby is a happy and friendly dog who would fit into any family. Gumby would enjoy the company of another dog friend in his new digs. Mr. Good Looking already knows a few basic commands and walks nicely on leash. To help Gumby build up his confidence, some fun training or agility would be great for this delightful dog. The shelter recently re-introduced our popular canine Play Groups, and the report is: Gumby is a play yard ROCK STAR! This handsome Husky mix is 2 years old and 67 pounds. You can read more about Gumby by heading to

If you see a dog or cat you think might be the ONE, you can begin the adoption process on-line. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453. 

Our new facebook page is up and running--take a peek and share, share, share our posts!

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POLICE CONVERGED ON LAYTONVILLE LAST NIGHT to Calm a Hostile Crowd Accusing a Man of Sex Crimes Against a Minor

by Matt LaFever

An altercation involving at least 20 people at Laytonville High School this past evening prompted an emergency law enforcement response. 

Reports from the scene indicated a crowd of adults and teenagers had gathered to confront a Laytonville man with accusations that he had committed sexual crimes against a young community member and told him they would hold him there until law enforcement arrived.

The man reportedly began to make suicidal statements after being confronted with the unproven allegations and attempted to flee the area. The crowd intervened and kept him detained until law enforcement arrived on the scene. 

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and Fish and Wildlife deployed to the situation with full lights and sirens. Upon arrival, officers quickly calmed the crowd and as of 11:09 p.m. are processing the scene and taking statements.


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THE ELK VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT invites you to its 17th Annual Summer BBQ on Saturday, July 29, from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Greenwood Community Center on Highway 1 in downtown Elk. Come out and help them celebrate 67 years of service to the community.

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by Mark Scaramella

Watching the Board of Supervisors’ blasé attitude toward the County’s core function of property tax collection it’s hard to escape the feeling that Mendo is on the verge of imploding and nobody has any idea how to stop it. 

All the Supes and top staff seem to agree that Mendo isn’t collecting the taxes that are owed in at least three main categories: 

• Unassessed parcels not on the tax rolls, which some say might be 30% of the parcels in the County (many of them abandoned pot grows), but nobody really knows). 

• Then there are assessed property owners who have simply not paid and are in some kind of default. 

• And lastly there are parcels that are underassessed because of either improvements since their last assessment (added structures, etc.), or have not had their assessment increased upon new ownership.

Let’s call these categories: a. Unassessed, b. In Default/late, c1. Underassessed-improvements, c2. Underassessed-Ownership change.

No one knows how much these uncollected taxes add up to, but it’s assumed to be in the tens of millions. 

The majority of property taxes the County collects go to schools, the County gets its own large chunk, and special districts get the rest. So if Mendo isn’t collecting taxes due, not only is the County shorted, but so are schools and special districts. 

The last time the Board discussed this problem at their June 21 meeting they asked staff to try to decrease the number of unassessed parcels from an estimated 30% to around 15% in two years. They asked that the CEO report include a bi-monthly report on how that’s going (which we doubt will ever occur). That’s all they requested.

But weak as that is, it only addresses the unassessed parcels; and does nothing to collect from tax default parcels or the underassessed parcels.

At that meeting County employee told the Board that the County needs to prepare an “improvement plan” since everyone seems to agree that there are a lot of uncollected taxes in the County and that County employees have been hard-hit by the tax collection deficit because it translates to no cost of living increase. 

The Supervisors not only didn’t respond to that employee, but they didn’t really address the problem. Their vague request to decrease the percentage of unassessed parcels that no one knows the number of is hardly an effective benchmark. Nor does it focus on the right parcels/owners.

Several factors have been mentioned which contribute to this expanding problem: Understaffing in the Assessor’s office, understaffing and inexperience in the Tax Collector’s office, the County’s new but still incomplete and problem-plagued property tax system (“Aumentum”), the collapse of the marijuana industry, and a deep-seated lack of understanding and attention from the Supervisors and the CEO.

So herewith we offer the AVA’s Tax Collection Improvement Plan for Mendocino County.

Phase I: Identify the top ten parcels or parcel owners in each of the four categories using available information from the County’s parcel mapping system, tax default/billing lists, local bank escrow officer input, and local groups like fire departments (some of which have their own parcel data and are familiar with property activity in their area). Then gather and assign a tax collection team to pursue each of the top ten taxpayers who owe taxes in each category, focusing on the low hanging fruit as it appears. Plus penalties and interest as applicable.

The County could also enlist the District Attorney’s office at some point since tax evasion is a crime.

Aside: If the Coast Reader who said recently that lots of Coastal area B&Bs and Hotels are being bought up by outside businesses or corporations, it’s likely that those properties are now underassessed and should be among the obvious top ten in that category and first to be attended to.

Phase II would then extend the experience from Phase I to tackle the next biggest (or longest time in default) group of properties. 

By breaking the problem down into identifiable, high-value chunks, the County can use its limited staffing and resources to focus on the most valuable targets first. 

We also think that the school districts, the County Office of Education and special districts should be willing to help because their own revenue depends on the County’s tax collection. 

If the County doesn’t get on top of this most basic function of government soon, they will find themselves spiraling down further, losing more employees, and more staff loss — falling further and farther behind, to the point that it will be impossible to ever catch up.

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Manzanita stand, East Willits (Jeff Goll)

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THERE'S A RATTLER-INFESTED site about six miles up the Ukiah-Boonville Road. I discovered it quite by accident while hiking with my outta control dog, whose previous owner called him Rothko but I called Roscoe. Roscoe had flunked obedience school. Twice. And he was a terrible racist, menacing any dark-skinned person who came near him. 

SO, I'd take him up in the hills where he could roam at will, well away from anyone he might display his Klan symptoms. Roscoe was embarrassing as hell in urban settings because the innocent souls he growled at probably assumed I'd trained him to be a race psycho. 

WE WERE TRUCKING along one day on a brief stretch of pavement which used to be the topmost leg of the old Ukiah-Boonville Road. Roscoe was about twenty yards in front of me when I suddenly spotted a half dozen rattlers sunning themselves on the crumbling asphalt. I yelled at Roscoe to stop although I knew he paid zero attention to my commands. But he trotted right on past a half-dozen or so snakes like they weren't there. I thought for sure they'd get him, but he was unmolested.

I'VE NEVER SEEN a rattlesnake in any other place. To make sure my experience with Roscoe wasn't a natural fluke, that I'd never see another rattler even at that seemingly snake-friendly place — hot pavement beneath a rocky bank — I went back two more times, each visit tying my heedless canine to a tree to prevent him from waltzing on through snake heaven. Each visit there were snakes. One snake, then two. 

ANOTHER SIGN we're in the End of Days. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf will now be published with a “trigger warning” over concerns about the “attitudes” portrayed in the 1927 book. The account of one family's summer vacations will include a disclaimer for American readers warning them about the contents of the book. 

PREDICTABLY DELUSIONAL, TRUMP, at a Moms for Liberty summit in Philadelphia vowed to “liberate our children from the Marxist lunatics and perverts who have infested our educational system.” Trump went on to promise to cut funding for programs that he deemed to be “pushing critical race theory, transgender, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content” if he were elected again in 2024. At one point Trump remarked: “Don't mess with America's moms. Our beloved nation is teetering on the edge of tyranny.”

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Crying (or) Flying saucer rock and roll.

"Phil has always been a fighter. He was getting in fights all the time. I told him that if he ever hit me then I would leave the band. He wanted to find out if I was telling him the truth, he hit me, so I left, and that is how UFO split up." -Michael Schenker

Here's the recording of last night's (2023-07-07) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and

Email your written work on any subject and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air.

Bill Mulvihill called to talk about his Mendocino Coast Music Archives labor-of-love project of collecting, digitizing and making available recordings of musicians of the Mendocino area in the 1970s. After that I played eight or so songs from the collection, for breaks in the reading. Go there and poke around. Much of the material was recorded by Rainbird (RIP) on a cassette deck at, among other places, the legendary Toad Hall (also RIP). For 1970s consumer-grade tape technology the sound quality is terrific. Colors, Dirty Legs, Horse Badorties, Gene Parsons Band, Lenny Laks, John Chamberlain, Judy Mayhan, and more all the time. it's a treasure trove of Mendo music history.

I read the results of my asking the MCN listserv for people's stories about parts of movies or songs or whatever in their lives that, when they hear it or think about it, it kicks them in the chest and they're crying all over again. Some of them were a struggle to read aloud without breaking down, myself. (I'm thinking here about the vivid story of Leslie Sutherland's mother's death.) That's in the show too, as are all the regular features, stories by Eleanor Cooney, Mitch Clogg (reporting from the V.A. hospital), R.D. Beacon, David Herstle Jones, Bruce Anderson, Mark Scaramella, Ezekiel Krahlin, John Sakowicz, Kent Wallace, Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis Bedrock), Del Potter, Rhoda Teplow, Charlie Engel, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jheri Cravens, Chris Skyhawk, Al Nunez, Keri Ann Bourne, Ryan Boosel of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, Harper's Weekly Review, some history (the so-called Indian Wars in general and Custer's Last Stand in particular, from an Indian, objective, standpoint), a ChatGPT story about Pantagruel in Paris; and Biff Rose's last will and testament that he posted to Facebook, putting his affairs in order, anticipating his looming departure from this world due to advanced liver cancer. And that's not all.

NEXT IN NEWS: The cold Juanita and I got a few weeks ago wasn't just a cold but tested positive for covid. I'm better now, just a lingering cough mainly at night, past the quarantine period and properly masked and hand-sanitized when out of the house, but Juanita's still wiped out, gradually improving, though depressed: She'd just got a new job after losing her job of 15 years, passing through another job for a month, and her latest boss fired her over the phone because she was too sick to get up and so forgot to call in the night before, though she'd told him she was sick and had tested positive a few days before that and so was still within the posted quarantine period. The sound of her crying into her phone and begging him not to fire her will be with me for the rest of my life. Meanwhile, I just found out that they raised her apartment rent, not by much, but her bill-pay service didn't reflect that since then, so that has to be paid off over a few months now, on top of the increase, so basically it's gone up by a significant amount, as has the storage rent. Money my 94-year-old mother gave me to get my car fixed will be going there instead, and then that'll be gone. I've been at Juanita's, away from my day job for weeks this time. I'm probably how she got sick in the first place; I got sick first. Yesterday we did the waiting-on-hold and then the phone call with a Sonoma County social worker to start her unemployment process, which can take weeks to get rolling, and we still haven't got medical insurance since she lost her good job in March, meaning several more agencies to deal with, two separate counties and the state, plus money I owe my doctor, who I have to go back to sometime soon… That's much but not all of what's tangling me up right now, and I'm feeling increasingly overwhelmed in an unfamiliar and frightening way. Realistically, for a goal, we'd be fine on decent medical insurance, Juanita better and with work in her field(s) that pays at least what she was getting for 15 years up to March, but looking forward we'd still need hundreds of dollars more per month than we can reasonably make, and we don't live expensively; there's no way to cut out any vices we don't have. I'll be 65 in November. I understand that full social security retirement age is 67 now and there are powerful reasons for me to hold off for that, but I'm tempted to start it early out of desperation. Also everything everyone needs to live costs twice as much as it did just fifteen years ago. But you know that.

So I'll be 65, Juanita will be 60. Neither of us has ever been on any form of government assistance. Just a few years ago, there was KMFB paying me to repair things at the station and do my show and I got a cut of the advertising money my show brought in; KMFB doesn't exist anymore, since 2011, and KZYX hates my guts so I can't go there, even if they paid their local airpeople, which they don't, though they have money coming out of their ears, largely from government assistance, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year more than they realistically need, management paying itself very well including benefits (okay, sorry; it's easy to set myself off on that subject); Mendocino Theater Company paid me a little bit each month for a couple of decades for sound work and engineering, that spigot mostly shut off in 2020; and there was and is my beloved (not kidding, really beloved) day job in Albion since 1989, when I can get to it, but everything is different now. I'm throwing myself on the mercy of the court, I guess. If you have an abundance at this juncture, and you've enjoyed using my radio and teevee and teaching and publishing and event-recording work since the early 1980s, much of which I accomplished unpaid or barely-paid, or even if you haven't, or if you appreciate Juanita's helping you or someone you know on a project, we could use your help now. Mail a check in any amount to Marco McClean, Box 1497, Mendocino, CA 95460. I'll get it when I'm back in town and put it where it's called for and keep it relatively local. I'll probably send this whine out a few more times, so if it bugs you, I apologize in advance, and you know what to do: skip it. There's no pressure.

ALSO OF NOTE: The county is requiring better plans filed for the transmitter and antenna move for KNYO. Bob has contacted a structural engineer to cut that red tape. As things are, with the antenna rig at the original site, though lower, we reach almost the broadcast radius we had before the storm disaster, but the June-planned two-mile move and range-restoral/improvement has been pushed back even more weeks or months. KNYO can always use your help, short term or long term, via the big red heart at If you'd like to do radio (music and/or talk and/or theater and/or something as yet undefined) at KNYO, there are time slots open. Do it from the studio in town with KNYO's equipment, or from anywhere you have reliable internet access, using your own inexpensive readily-available studio machinery. The price of that has actually gone down.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, that don't really have anything to do with the show but arrested my attention, and I think you'll like them. Such as:

Roy Orbison – Crying. (The Man In Black in Douglas Adams Restaurant at the End of the Universe was based on Roy Orbison, not Johnny Cash.)

Our Town. (full 90-min. film) (via Lynn Keisewetter)

A hundred people screaming as loud as they can. My favorite is the one who is too shy to at first. The cameraperson prompts her a little, and she tries, but faintly, and then she's surprised to notice that her cheeks feel hot. Like, huh, how about that. Small steps. She'll be screaming like a teenager at a Beatles concert in no time. Nose up. Drop your shoulders. Sing from the diaphragm.

And here people jeer at and taunt a bull, and poke at it with long sticks, all from behind the safety of fences that are heavy enough protection from the consequences of their actions but not quite high enough, it turns out. Things go instantly from Hey! Ha-ha! Hey, ya dumb bull! Look over here! *poke, poke* to AI-EEE! AAAUGH! EEEE!

Marco McClean,,

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Warmest spiritual greetings,

My Final Networking Message in this Absurd Postmodern American Social Experiment

Awoke fully rested at Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in sunny Ukiah, California, and then took care of morning ablutions, followed by a trip to the Ukiah Food Co-op for an Italian Paninni sandwich and a cup o’ joe. Ambled on toward the Ukiah Public Library, and am right this instant seated in front of computer #5, tap, tap tapping away. Will wander around the Mendocino County seat aimlessly chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantram on Sunday, and then early Monday morning, am being driven to Adventist Health-St. Helena for an upgrade of the Medtronic Pacemaker to an ICD. Will remain there overnight, to be picked up and returned to Ukiah Tuesday morning, to the homeless shelter. After 14 months of being homeless after the cannabis trimmers put me out of the place in Redwood Valley, I have a whopping $650 in the SBMC checking account, Food Stamps, and my clothes. The Federal Housing Voucher has gotten me no housing, but I am welcome to go around and look at vacancies and submit rental applications. Nobody responds to my continuous offer to leave the homeless shelter and be active, insofar as radical environmental or peace & justice direct action is concerned. Whereas I am already Self-Realized, I don’t need anything from anybody anywhere of a more serious nature. I may leave this world at my earliest convenience. I don’t need it, and I don’t need you. We are both off of the proverbial hook!! Perhaps we ought to celebrate this fact, and to hell with everything else. Yes? Let me know. :-))

Craig Louis Stehr

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, July 8, 2023

Alonso, Anderson, Bloyd

MIGUEL ALONSO, Eureka/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-under influence.

KRISTOFER ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

BRANDON BLOYD, Navarro. Under influence.

Cook, Dye, Foster, Franklin

KELLY COOK, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

THOMAS DYE, Willits. Disobeying court order.

JES FOSTER, Ukiah. Robbery, resisting.

JENNIFER FRANKLIN, Fall River Mills/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs. 

Hanover, Heiner, Jimenez

GORDAN HANOVER SR., Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, paraphernalia. (Frequent Flyer)

ROBIN HEINER, Fall River Mills/Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia.

HERNANDEZ JIMENEZ, Eureka/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

Lopez, Owens, Rodriguez

ALEXIS LOPEZ, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, kidnapping, false imprisonment. 

WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Parole violation.

MANUEL RODRIGUEZ, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, leaving scene of accident with property damage, parole violation, offenses while on bail.

Skomsky, Vega, Simpson

JOSHUA SKOMSKY, Lower Lake/Ukiah. DUI.

CYNTHIA VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. Disobeying court order. 


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Departing a grocery store with only a bag in hand, an older gentleman, perhaps in his late 80’s and following behind his equally aged wife, gave me a very wide berth and paused before entering. It was totally unnecessary and as I attributed his act to old-fashioned politeness I paid him a thank you.

Moments later I looked back over my shoulder and there he was putting on his mask before entering.

I felt foolish and a bit egocentric for having thanked him in mistaken belief.

I then felt feelings of annoyance that another codger is a slave to the mask mandate. For life.

But I checked those sentiments, for his life is most likely not much longer, and he still has his wife with him, and he’s out shopping and life is good and normal for him, and if he thinks this prolongs it, who am I to judge?

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Still waiting for answers to these questions:

Who was Las Vegas shooter?

Why has Ray Ebbs not been questioned about his role in J6?

Who leaked the Dobbs decision?

Who blew up the Nordstream pipeline?

Why is a big chunk of US aid to the Ukraine unaccounted for?

And now we have this -- Who left cocaine in the White House?

I stopped before list became too long but feel free to add your own.

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Dear Editor,

Guns, bombs, and fireworks are in the news in July.

The Chicago Tribune reports a feel-good story: “Boy injured in Highland Park shooting throws out 1st pitch at Brewers game.”

Another Tribune headline reveals the true status of the problem: “A year after Highland Park, mass shootings remain a persistent issue in Illinois.”

Is a baseball story all we can do to fix the Bakhmut-like AR-15 slaughter in our streets? Turn a lemon into bloody lemonade?

Also, we read about “U.S. cluster bombs for Ukraine” (Washington Post). This is a cluster-win for the World War III industry, but how is it not a cluster-fail for 168 million voters who have no say in it?

The softer variety of pyrotechnics are out of control as well. Here’s a west coast headline: “Fireworks suspected in dozens of Bay Area fires.” (Mercury News) And another a little further north: “Worst fourth for illegal fireworks.” (Sacramento Bee).

Here’s how we can fix all these problems with a minimum of effort. Just turn our heads the other way when things blow up and call it physical therapy for the neck.

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah

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REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, this nation's affluent urban and suburban classes understand their bread is buttered on the corporate side. The primary difference between the two parties is that the Republicans pretty much admit that they grasp and even endorse some of the nastiest facts of life in America. Republicans honestly tell the world: "Listen in on my phone calls, piss-test me until I'm blind, kill and eat all of my neighbors right in front of my eyes, but show me the money! Let me escape with every cent I can kick out of the suckers, the taxpayers, and anybody else I can get a headlock on, legally or otherwise." Democrats, in contrast, seem content to catalog the GOP's outrages against the Republic, showing proper indignation while laughing at episodes of The Daily Show. But they stand behind the American brand: imperialism. They "support our troops," though you will be hard put to find any of them who have served alongside them or who would send one of their own kids off to lose an eye or an arm in Iraq. They play the imperial game, maintain their credit ratings, and plan to keep the beach house and the retirement investments if it means sacrificing every damned Lynndie England in West Virginia.

― Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

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NOTHING WAS EVER IN TUNE. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Bach, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.

— Charles Bukowski, ‘Women’

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by Maureen Dowd

Even my Republican sister is not immune to Joe Biden’s gregarious Irish charm.

She met him at media holiday parties over the years and was so impressed that she got seduced to the other side for a time, voting for the Obama-Biden ticket in 2008 and writing in Biden’s name for president in 2012. She sent out a Christmas card one year with a picture of herself cheek to cheek with Biden — and some of her Republican friends stopped speaking to her.

So I was surprised recently when I discovered my sister writing a letter to President Biden, a plea that she had started in the middle of the night, after mulling over the matter for quite a while.

“I watched as you told the nation that you had six grandchildren and you loved each one of them,” she wrote. “I believe that. What I cannot believe and what I find unconscionable is that you refuse to admit or accept the fact that there is a beautiful little 4-year-old girl living in Arkansas by the name of Navy Joan who is your seventh grandchild.”

Peggy wrote about Hunter’s high-priced lawyers going down to Arkansas to make sure Navy could not use the Biden name and to slash child support payments.

“She has the Biden blood running through her veins, and all she is going to have as a reminder of this are some of Hunter’s original paintings; sounds like a lousy trade-off, if you ask me,” Peggy wrote, referring to the agreement that assigned some of Hunter’s artwork to the daughter he has never met, even though DNA testing in 2019 established his paternity.

In his 2021 memoir, Hunter wrote dismissively about Navy’s mother, Lunden Roberts, whom he met when he was spiraling into addiction and going to Washington strip clubs. He wrote that the women he had sexual encounters with during his drug “rampages” were “hardly the dating type.”

“I had no recollection of our encounter,” he said of Roberts. Yet he put her on the payroll of his consulting firm as a personal assistant while she was pregnant. About three months after Navy was born, Hunter took away Roberts’s company health insurance.

“As she grows up, knowing that her father and paternal grandparents wanted nothing to do with her,” Peggy wrote, “she will probably be able to see a video or two showing her half sister Naomi getting married on the South Lawn and you watching the fireworks on the balcony with little Beau. And if she misses that, there will be plenty of schoolmates to remind her that she wasn’t wanted. Kids can be mean that way.”

She asked why Hunter couldn’t act like Tom Brady, who treats his son by Bridget Moynahan, the actress he was dating before he married Gisele Bündchen, the same as the two children he and Gisele had. (Not to mention Arnold Schwarzenegger, who says in a new Netflix documentary series that he has a great relationship with the son he had after a tryst with his family’s housekeeper that broke up his marriage.)

“Mr. President, many years ago, you lost your daughter in a horrendous car accident,” Peggy continued. “I know you still carry that pain with you every day because I have watched your face when you speak about her. Please do not throw away your granddaughter.”

My sister and I often disagree about politics, but this is not a political issue to us. It’s a human one. Joe Biden’s mantra has always been that “the absolute most important thing is your family.” It is the heart of his political narrative. Empathy, born of family tragedies, has been his stock in trade. Callously scarring Navy’s life, just as it gets started, undercuts that. As Katie Rogers, a Times White House correspondent, wrote in a haunting front-page piece last weekend about Hunter’s unwanted child, Biden is so sensitive “that only the president’s most senior advisers talk to him about his son.” Rogers said that “in strategy meetings in recent years, aides have been told that the Bidens have six, not seven, grandchildren.” Jill Biden dedicated her 2020 children’s book to the six grandchildren.

What the Navy story reveals is how dated and inauthentic the 80-year-old president’s view of family is.

Once you could get away with using terms like “out of wedlock” and pretend that children born outside marriage didn’t exist or were somehow shameful. But now we have become vastly more accepting of nontraditional families. We live in an world, where people are searching out their birth parents and trying to find relatives they didn’t know they had.

I have sympathy for Hunter going into a “dark, bleak hole,” as he called it. I have sympathy for a father coping with a son who was out of control and who may still be fragile. With Hunter, his father can seem paralyzed about the right thing to do.

But the president can’t defend Hunter on all his other messes and draw the line at accepting one little girl. You can’t punish her for something she had no choice about. The Bidens should embrace the life Hunter brought into the world, even if he didn’t consider her mother “the dating type.”

The president’s cold shoulder — and heart — is counter to every message he has sent for decades, and it’s out of sync with the America he wants to continue to lead.

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THE MOST RENOWNED BAR in Charlestown (Boston area) in the 60s and 70s was the Blue Mirror, known universally as “the Blue Zoo” because of the nature of its patrons. Fights at the zoo went on until the first blood speckled the sawdust. “No blood, no cops,” the proprietor liked to say. But that was a hard rule to enforce. For many longshoremen still carried their general cargo hook, a lethal foot of curved steel used to lift bales of cotton or bags of cement. When a longshoreman went into a tavern he would twist his hook through the belt loops of his pants and generally it stayed there all night. Occasionally, if sufficiently drunk or backed into a corner, a man would use it as a weapon. One night, during a brawl at the neighboring D&H (whose initials stood for its owners, Driscoll and Hurley, but were generally said to mean Drunk and Happy), a docker drove his hook through his opponent’s lip and out the middle of his chin. The injured man staggered to the bar and knocked back a shot of Irish whiskey, which dribbled out through the hole in his chin.

— Anthony Lukas, Common Ground

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Students are addicted to their phones. This is an addiction that begins at home. One can hardly go a day without seeing little kids at the grocery store, in the car, at the park, etc staring at their parent’s phone. Many parents have simply outsourced the responsibility (and joy) of parenting, seemingly uncaring about the damage they are doing.

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"I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Demille" ~ Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

For more than two days this week, the Israeli Defense Forces attacked the Jenin Refugee camp in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. The assault started with cruise missiles and air strikes, continued with drones, tanks, tear gas and sniper units and finished up with fires and bulldozers demolishing Palestinian houses and businesses.

Using anodyne language strikingly similar to Putin’s description of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the attack on one of the world’s most defenseless and impoverished areas as a “special operation,” a targeted raid against alleged terrorists. Let’s recall that last year’s IDF raid on the Jenin camp, where an Israeli sniper fatally shot Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the head, was also called a “targeted action.”

In the most brutal assault on the West Bank in decades, the IDF “targeted” Jenin’s entire population and the fragile infrastructure the camp depends on for its survival: power plants, pipelines, electrical lines, cell towers, sewage treatment facilities, roads, schools, mosques and clinics. Israeli soldiers and snipers used Palestinian homes in the camp as bases of operation. Ambulances and journalists were prevented from accessing the refugee camp while the onslaught was taking place.

The UN, which oversees the Jenin camp, was given no warning of the impending attack. Like the Palestinian Authority, it has proven impotent against Israeli aggressions. Jenin has no army, no air force, no air defense system. It can be attacked at will with little risk to the invading force.

The early assessments gave a bleak picture of the scale of the damage: at least 13 killed, more than 100 injured, including women and children, more than a quarter of the camp’s 15,000 residents were forced to flee their homes, 80 percent of the camp’s buildings destroyed, damaged or burnt out. Dozens of Palestinians were seized by Israeli forces, interrogated and dumped in Israeli prisons. One Israeli soldier was killed, the apparent victim of friendly fire.

The real target seems to have been Jenin itself and not just its people and physical structures, but what Jenin represents to the world, the image it depicts about the nature of the Israeli occupation and the enduring Palestinian resistance against it. Jenin exists; therefore it must be destroyed. Yet, against all odds, it persists, surviving every attempt to extinguish it and its persistence aggravates its occupiers. Who better than the Israelis to understand what their policies have inflicted and the kind of resentment it has inculcated over the decades?

In the eyes of the Israeli state, anyone who lives in Jenin camp is suspect. For 70 years, the “camp” has housed people evicted from their homes in Haifa and the Carmel Mountains during the Nakba and forced to live in old British army barracks outside the Jordanian town of Jenin in the northern Jezreel Valley. After the Six Day War, Israel seized control over the entire West Bank, including Jenin, and has yet to relinquish it.

The war that gave birth to the Jenin camp has never ended for those who live there. Indeed the noose has been tightening on them ever since and every act of resistance becomes a justification for a new round of reprisals by the Israeli state, each more vicious and insidious than the last. In the early years of the occupation, the people of Jenin could travel across the Green Line into Israel to see their families, work or seek medical treatment. Now the Apartheid Wall separates them. Travel is restricted by an onerous permit system. All movement is under surveillance.

The economy of Jenin has been the victim of a planned demolition, as lethal as any bomb. The unemployment rate across the West Bank is 16%. In Jenin Camp nearly one-in-every-four residents lacks full time work. The fruit and vegetables of the fertile Jezreel Valley are barred from sale in Israel.

Even before the latest bombing, everyday life in Jenin had been pushed to the extremes: the power grid regularly failed, as did the sewage system. Many houses lacked ventilation, adequate lighting, air conditioning and functioning toilets. Medical care is primitive and many chronically residents are unable to routinely get dialysis or chemotherapy treatments. Roads and doors can close at any moment. Yet, to resist this untenable state of affairs is to become a target: to be bombed, shot, seized, detained, renditioned to an Israeli prison and held without charges or trial for years. And now the people who were driven out of their homes and into Jenin camp are being driven out of the homes they were once driven into.

Jenin is a microcosm for the entire Palestinian experience of dispossession, exile, loss and resistance. The raids on Jenin reconfirm Edward Said’s prescient warnings about the Oslo Accords, as giving the illusion of a Palestinian state, a fragmented state over which Palestinians would have no real control. Said predicted, accurately it turns out, that the Palestinian Authority would function like a Vichy government, controlled and financed by the occupying powers. Militants would inevitably fill the void, Said argued, and become the pretext for ever more savage repression by the IDF. And so it goes.

The international powers who signed off on Oslo and countless UN Resolutions refuse to enforce their own agreements, even as they are breached again and again. For its part, the US, Israel’s primary financial underwriter, endorsed the Jenin assault as it was happening. While bombs were blowing up Palestinian apartment buildings, Biden’s White House issued a statement sanctioning what the UN says constitute war crimes: “We support Israel’s security and right to defend its people against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups.” After the Israeli tanks rolled out of Jenin, the US announced the sale of 25 F-35s to Israel, in a deal financed by the Pentagon.

What we’re seeing is the ever-expanding reach of the Occupation, from IDF incursions to the rampages by settlers who have illegally built towns on Palestinian land. Peace agreements come and go, but the violence and land theft go on because none of the accords address the root cause, the original crime of dispossession, disenfranchisement and dehumanization. When the UN is helpless and the Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for “security” in the Occupied Territories, acts as a subcontractor for the Israeli state (many of its units trained by Shin Bet), serving only to police Palestinians and not secure them from external attack, is it any wonder paramilitaries have risen up to defend neighborhoods and families against such blood-soaked incursions?

The Palestinians have been walled in, but the Israelis haven’t been walled out. The IDF comes and goes as it pleases. The flood of settlers continues to rise, expropriating Palestinian land, houses, orchards, and fields, regardless of any lines on maps or rulings by international tribunals. When the settlers go on killing sprees, as they did earlier in the year at Huwara, Netanyahu has told them, “Let us commit the violence for you.” He has delivered on his promise with apparent impunity from international law.

Yes, the Israeli special military operation in Jenin is now over. But Jenin still exists, more defiant than ever. Hence, the normal military operations will continue, as will the resistance.

* * *

* * *

THERE ARE FEW earthly phenomena more awesome than a flood, and there is no flood more awesome than several years’ accumulation of rainfall released over the course of an hour or two. The initial surge of water was 200 feet high, and could have toppled nearly anything in its path—thousand-ton blocks of concrete rode the crest like rafts. Seventy-five families were living in San Francisquito Canyon immediately below the dam. Only one of their members, who managed to claw his way up the canyon wall just before the first wave hit, survived. Ten miles below, the village of Castaic Junction stood where the narrow canyon opened into the broader and flatter Santa Clara Valley. When the surge engulfed the town, it was still 78 feet high. Days later, bodies and bits of Castaic Junction showed up on the beaches near San Diego.

The flood exploded into the Santa Clara River, turned right, and swept through the valley toward the ocean. It tore across a construction camp where 170 men were sleeping, and carried off all but six.

A few miles below, Southern California Edison was building a project and had erected a tent city for 140 men. At first, the night watchman thought it was an avalanche. As it dawned on him that the nearest snow was 50 miles away, the flood crest hit, 40 feet high. The men who survived were those who didn’t have time to unzip their canvas tents, which were tight enough to float downstream like rafts. Eighty-four others died.

When the flood went through Piru, Fillmore, and Santa Paula it was semisolid, a battering ram congealed by homes, wagons, telephone poles, cars, and mud. Wooden bridges and buildings were instantaneously smashed to bits. A woman and her three children clung to a floating mattress until it snagged in the upper branches of a tree. They survived. A rancher who heard the deluge coming loaded his family in his truck and began to dash to safety. As he stopped by his neighbors’ house and ran to the door to warn them, the flood arrived and swept his family out to sea. A four-room house was dislodged and floated a mile downstream without a piece of furniture rearranged; when the dazed owners came to inspect it, they found their lamps still upright on their living-room tables. A brave driver trying to outrace the flood could not bring himself to pass the people waving desperately along the way; his car held 14 corpses when it was hauled out of the mud. The flood went on, barely missing Saticoy and Montalvo, and, at five o’clock in the morning, went by Ventura and spent itself at sea.

Hundreds of people were dead, twelve hundred homes were demolished, and the topsoil from 8,000 acres of farmland was gone. William Mulholland, whose career lay amid the ruins, was still alive, but as he addressed the coroner’s inquest he bent his head and murmured, “I envy the dead.” After a feeble effort to put the blame on “‘dynamiters,” he took full responsibility for the disaster.

(Marc Reisner)

ST. FRANCIS DAM, before and after collapse


  1. Chuck Artigues July 9, 2023

    I admit it, it was me, I brought the cocaine to the White House.

  2. Elaine Kalantarian July 9, 2023

    The St. Francis Dam was a concrete gravity dam located in San Francisquito Canyon in northern Los Angeles County, California that was built between 1924 and 1926 to serve the city of Los Angeles’s growing water needs. It failed catastrophically in 1928 due to a defective soil foundation and design flaws, unleashing a flood that claimed the lives of at least 431 people. The collapse of the dam is considered to have been one of the worst American civil engineering disasters of the 20th Century….

  3. Lindy Peters July 9, 2023

    Hey Marco. UFO is the most underrated rock group of the 70’s. Michael Schenker was brilliant on his flying vee guitar. I never knew why he left the band. His brother Rudolph of course is a mainstay with the Scorpions. Michael’s live performances with UFO are legendary, often as an opening act they blew the headliners right off the stage. Just ask Rush!

  4. Rye N Flint July 9, 2023


    Sure feels like it. I haven’t got a good paying job, or my old job back at the county… and after watching the the last 3 BOS meetings, I think I can see why. I question my sanity when I am willing to go back to an employer that admitted to spying on employees and putting “people of concern” on special lists. It screams of desperation, which is what a lot of us are feeling. A lot of us also warned that this county would implode if Cannabis went away and was not supported or legitimized. But what good does “I told you so” do at a time like this. Well, thank goodness for Sonoma County. They offered me the same exact position at Environmental Health for $90k/ year and I am going to take it. Bye bye Mendo. I’m outta here. I can’t mend Mendo.

    The older generation wonders why my generation can’t afford to buy 1 house to live in? Maybe because wages for essential jobs were never brought up with inflation… We were too busy paying CEOs too much money to steal our money and now they own 50% of the homes in Ft. Bragg.

    Inflation goes up, but wages stay the same.

    • Eric Sunswheat July 9, 2023

      RE: Well, thank goodness for Sonoma County. They offered me the same exact position at Environmental Health for $90k/ year and I am going to take it. Bye bye Mendo. I’m outta here. I can’t mend Mendo.

      —>. Mendo is only for the ‘good people’ as Sheriff Mathew C. Kendall puts it. The federal poverty level in the city of San Francisco is $100K / year, so spend wisely.

      • Rye N Flint July 9, 2023

        Yes, and… Why doesn’t the Mendo BOS release their report about 50% of the homes on the Coast are owned by people in the Bay Area? We wouldn’t want to spoil the “aren’t we so lucky to live in Mendo” vibes.

        • Eric Sunswheat July 9, 2023

          —>. July 9, 2023
          Want to just…own a property? LOL — all of it’s taxed, right down to food and clothing. But emitting carbon is still mostly free. Taxes are the most basic thing we can do to reduce a harmful activity — since the beginning of civilization really, and yet here we are, facing seemingly perhaps the end of it, and we’re not taxing the agent that’s boiling the planet alive.
          But it’s even worse than that. I know, I know, maybe you wonder, baffled, how could it be? The truth isn’t just that we don’t tax carbon — it’s that we subsidize it. Last year, carbon subsidies skyrocketed. LOL. Think about that for a second — here we are, needing to cut emissions, now, hard, fast — and instead, for some reason, we’re subsidizing them. It’s a truism in economics that you get more of what you subsidize, so of course, carbon emissions are hardly likely to fall when we’re not taxing carbon, we’re still subsidizing it.

    • Rye N Flint July 9, 2023

      Will Mendo have to go through the same cycle of life, death, and rebirth as Detroit?

      • Rye N Flint July 9, 2023

        Aka – The birthplace and death of the American Dream

  5. Rye N Flint July 9, 2023

    RE: Many parents have simply outsourced the responsibility (and joy) of parenting, seemingly uncaring about the damage they are doing.

    It’s true. When school shut down for the pandemic, my partner couldn’t handle the homeschooling and turned to the digital babysitter for her 10 year old. It has caused 2 years of living hell ! Her child had no boundaries, no respect, and no guidance. Just pure social media BS to inundate them with garbage. I’m glad I got them into counseling and the counselor was able to tell her what I could not get through. It was an awful experience and it made me realize that some parents don’t have the time and energy to be parents. But what can they do for support in a system of privatized healthcare and defunded educational institutions?

  6. Rye N Flint July 9, 2023


    The orange clown is a perfect demigod for the conservatives.

    “conservative (kən-sûr′və-tĭv) –

    Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.
    Traditional or restrained in style. ”

    Conservatives want to return to the white privileged racially segregated BS of the 1950s, but call it “tradition”. They lack the self reflection necessary to realize the world changes and views change, as people become more educated. Trying to cram everyone back into the simplistic box of conformity based on an idealized past isn’t going to work, Hitler tried it already.

    Conservatives are dragging us all down the hole. Excuses for corporate pollution. Outsourcing our jobs to the 3rd world. Letting CEOs pay no taxes. Tax cuts for the rich. Ignoring the pedophiles in the Churches, while accusing the Liberals of making their children gay. Funding a police state while defunding public education. Supporting war as our foreign policy, but not understanding why we have so many refugees trying to come here.

    The Qlown show. That’s what I call it on social media. So simplistic and wrong, I can’t believe they call themselves “the right”.

  7. Rye N Flint July 9, 2023


    Republicrat or Democan? 2 sides of the same corporate bribery system we call “American Democracy” and apparently it is so good for us, that we need to spread it to the rest of the world. Sounds more like a parasite or virus to me. Maybe that’s just me being a scientist.

    I still ask the questions: Why is money free speech? Why are politicians paid so much if they are public servants and representatives? Why can’t we do something to stop this?

  8. Mike Geniella July 9, 2023

    High marks for Mark Scaramella, and his continuing coverage of the wobbly state of Mendocino County’s leadership.

    • Rye N Flint July 9, 2023

      Here Here! Cheers Mark! Keep up the good work!

      • Bruce McEwen July 9, 2023

        Sure, it’s here but — not to put too pendantic a point on it — the exclamation you’re invoking is spelt Hear! Hear!, as in “listen to this person! “

  9. Adam Gaska July 9, 2023

    I brought up the tax issue 2 years ago and got a shrug. Then, they were 6 years or more behind on reassessing properties after they had sold so some years had already fallen off and were uncollectable. Many of those properties still have not been corrected.

    There are literally properties in Covelo were the property is being assessed for as little as $7 an acre so they are paying 70 cents to the county per acre per year. 111 acre parcel paying $8? And they wonder why they are broke.

    • peter boudoures July 9, 2023

      I wonder what the actual numbers are since you bring it up weekly. 2000 properties x 10,000 = 20,000,000. There are many many 100 acre ranches paying over 10k. How much is Mendocino redwood company paying for their 100k acre parcels? Redwood 1 holdings llc? Congaree river llc? I used to pay 16k for a 280 acre ranch. Let’s not pretend county residents aren’t paying.

    • peter boudoures July 9, 2023

      After 5 minutes of research this is what I’ve found. Number of parcels owned by each. Not clear how many acres since parcel size are all different. I don’t think these are assessor parcels but actual legal parcels.

      Top owners
      VACANT 1,199
      BEWLEY R STUART TTEE 48% 111
      UKIAH CITY OF 106

    • peter boudoures July 9, 2023

      So the facts are a total of 60,000 properties being taxed. I’m guessing a low 1000 dollars per year per parcel. That’s 60million dollars. I think it’s way more than that.

      • Adam Gaska July 10, 2023

        Timberland and rangeland are assessed fairly low, especially large tracts in Williamson Act. The larger the tract, the lower the per acre assessment.

        And actually, there are parcels out there assessed for $8 an acre. 111 acre parcel paying the county $8 per year. Some that are $400-600 and acre so $4-6/acre per year.

  10. Malcolm Macdonald July 10, 2023

    Re Mark Scaramella’s work on under-assessed properties, readers might want to look at my May 3, 2022 article in a somewhat similar vein.

  11. Adam Gaska July 10, 2023

    Another thought I had about the county tax issue is how it affects special districts and schools which is touched on by Mark.

    So the county is under collecting taxes due itself and schools including Ukiah Unified School District. So UUSD then looks at it’s finances and deems they aren’t as good as maybe they should be. This affects their decision making process on things like the Redwood Valley Elementary School campus. They feel like they can’t afford to reopen it or even upkeep it. So they abandon it and eventually try and off load it for under market value.

    It’s possible that the board of trustees would have still mismanaged the RVES campus but we will never know. So once again, the failings of Mendocino County government trickle out into the rest of the community wrecking even more havoc and driving down our quality of life.

    It is

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