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Mendocino County Today: Monday, July 17, 2023

Cooler Haze | Arena Cove | Cheer Campers | New Neighbor | Dynamite Cache | Supe Williams | Rossi Windmill | Smartphone Help | Ed Notes | Silver Trophy | Food Bank | Navarro Driftwood | County Budget/Hiring | Headlands Return | Crime Comments | Stump Ferns | Sally Schmitt | Love Me | Board Meeting | Yesterday's Catch | Fentanyl Danger | Cannabis Trail | TWK Affirmations | Rearrangements | Writer's Duty | Banned Books | Forbidden Delights | Harry Dean Stanton | Anchor Steam | Dangerous Species | Demon Aliens | Muddy Waters | Voting Cornel | Enjoy Life | Ukraine | Hockney Birthday

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A BRIEF PERIOD OF SLIGHT COOLING trend through Tuesday, followed by another warming trend during mid to late week. Northerly breezes will drift smoke from the wildfire in Southwestern Oregon toward Mendocino and Lake counties today. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 52F under clear skies this Monday morning on the coast. The NWS is calling for haze & patchy smoke today & tomorrow? No idea why? Otherwise mostly clear skies this week, they say.

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Death Valley 126°, Ukiah 108°, Laytonville 106°, Covelo 105°, Yorkville 102°, Boonville 96°, Fort Bragg 62°

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Evening at Arena Cove (Jennifer Smallwood)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

I received these outstanding pictures today from Athletic Director, John Toohey, of our Anderson Valley High School girls holding their own and thriving at the Fort Bragg Cheer Camp!

Thank you to Yesenia Pena and the chaperones that made this happen. We need experiential learning in all realms and this was an outstanding experience for the students!

Sincerely yours,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

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I sit here on a Sunday morning having breakfast outside at the Redwood Drive-in downtown Boonville. It's a beautiful summer morning. I am looking across the street at what used to be The Summit House, a family home here on Main Street. The house was sold about a year ago. We all wondered who had bought it and how it would go. (Well I did anyway) the new owner quickly ripped out every living bush and tree, gutted the house, putting plywood where windows used to be. Then the new owner erected a 8 ft Grey metal fence around the property. The effect was abnoxious and offensive! Right downtown! 

So apparently code was violated, so our new owner took down half the fence and posted a sign. ATTENTION! THE OWNER OF THIS PROPERTY IS ARMED. 

Well Howdy-Do neighbor! We are glad you are here!

NOT! I'm sure Disco Ranch has to let their customers know they need not fear for their safety. OR DO THEY?

Lisa Nunes


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Found this in my strip on a job in Navarro California today, was told it was for storing dynamite, pretty cool. ED NOTE: Wonder where in Navarro.

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“At the June 20, 2023 Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting, direction proposed by Supervisor Williams and supported by the full board, to address the reality that we are at an estimated 70% assessment county wide (property tax represents ~71% of our discretionary revenue):

GENERAL CONSENSUS OF THE BOARD to direct staff to publish a progress indicator on how many parcels have been assessed, total dollar amount assessed, and staffing levels of appraisers in each Edition of the CEO Report, with a goal of closing the gap and reaching 85 percent (currently at or around 70 percent) over the next 24 months.

I expect the first progress numbers to be included in the CEO report on July 25.”

ms replies: I don’t. I hope I’m wrong.


Williams: “At the June 20, 2023 Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting, direction proposed by Supervisor Williams and supported by the full board, revised mental health contracts such that Redwood Quality Management Company will no longer be paid to provide oversight of Redwood Community Services. Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services will provide direct oversight. A competitive bidding process will open next year. Williams stressed and his colleagues seem to support structuring the RFPs to invite competition.”

ms notes: This would be an improvement, theoretically, if it happens, which I doubt. It should have happened years ago. At this late date it is far from implementable. To de-privatize the ASO [Administrative Service Organization] functions now, all these years after CEO Angelo turned the function over to Schraeders, renewed year after year on a no-bid contract, Mendo will have to hire specialized administrators who will be hard to get, presumably people like the highly-paid admin staff now employed by Ms. Schraeder. If Mendo was serious about this they should have had a plan in place before bringing this function back in house. Otherwise they risk returning to the days when the state sent millions of dollars worth of audit-exception bills to the County (years after the fact) demanding the return of large amounts of service reimbursements. This is another example of an oversimplified theoretical proposal that may have merit in the abstract but has not been thought through. Has Dr. Miller submitted a plan on how this will happen and how and when it will work? PS. How’s that lawsuit against Ortner going? Does Mendo really expect to get any money out of that defunct outfit now? Or is it just costly posturing so that Mendo can approach the state with hat in hand asking that they not demand their money back?

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On Saturday we asked, “Why did Supervisor Williams help push through an ill-considered and rash consolidation of the Treasurer and Auditor’s offices, an historical separation of functions that provides an essential check on the County’s revenue generation and expense tracking?”

Williams replied:

“The board has never forced consolidation of ‘offices.’ We combined two elected department heads, an effort that started in 2007 under a different board. One of these offices ran the pension plan for decades. Soon after I joined the county, I was informed one-third of pensions were in error, from 1979 through 2019. The other department had been unable to produce a balance sheet. I don’t see a history of checks on revenue generation and expense tracking. In fact, record keeping appears to be inline with the public’s jaded perception. Interestingly, the people closest to the money are screaming the loudest about eyes on the problem. ‘There’s nothing to see here, go away.’ We’ll see about that.

ms replies: We could debate Williams’ claim about the missing balance sheet, which wouldn’t be of much help as far as budget management goes anyway. What the Board needs and has never asked for is an effectively annotated department by department montly budget vs. actual report, prepared by the departments on a timely basis, compiled and presented by the CEO’s office each month. An after the fact balance sheet from the Auditor would be nice, but its main value is to verify what the departments have already reported, with an annual estimate of whatever fund-balance carryover there is for reserves/future budgeting.

As far as the office consolidation question goes, the record is quite clear: 

December 14, 2021 Agenda Item 5h:

“Discussion and Possible Adoption of Ordinance Repealing Mendocino County Code Section 2.16.041, Adding Section 2.16.070and Amending Chapter 2.36 for the Purpose of Consolidating the Offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector 

Ordinance Summary

“This ordinance would repeal, add and amend specified sections of the Mendocino County Code to consolidate the offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector into a single office, the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector, which consolidation would be operative on January 2, 2023. The ordinance also applies updated office qualifications and continuing education requirements to the office of the auditor that are consistent with State law.” 

From the Minutes: 

Item 5h: “Board Action:Upon motion by Supervisor Williams, seconded by Supervisor McGourty, IT IS ORDERED that the Board of Supervisors adopts ordinance repealing Mendocino County Code Section 2.16.04, adding section 2.16.070 and amending Chapter 2.36 for the purpose of consolidating the Offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector; and authorize Chair to sign same. The motion carried by the following vote: Aye: 4 - Supervisor McGourty, Supervisor Mulheren, Supervisor Gjerde and Supervisor Williams No: 1 - Supervisor Haschak.”

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Windmill and Trumpet creeper at Rossi & Sons Hardware (Jeff Goll)

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iPhone Tech Support
Thursday, September 7th, 1 to 3 PM at the Anderson Valley Senior Center

Attend this FREE training and make your smartphone work better for you! The 2-hour presentation will be run by 2 people - the presenter and a helper to help participants during the presentation to stay on track.  All participants will get a workbook after completing the training. Presented by California Connect:

Learn how to:

* Make your smartphone louder and easier to hear
* Send or receive text messages
* Connect Bluetooth devices
* Operate the basic functions of your smartphone...and much more!

Space is limited, register now! Registration in advanced is required (Please no drop-ins) - to reserve your spot contact:

Anica Williams
Anderson Valley Village Coordinator
Cell: 707-684-9829

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Minal Shankar

MINAL SHANKAR'S plans for Ukiah's once crucial Palace Hotel were not only doable, she was poised to do them, and had the resources to do them, and had high end contractors ready to begin work on the Palace at the beginning of summer. 

Jitu Ishwar

HOW Jitu Ishwar somehow bought into the Palace while it was in receivership is not known, but it seems obvious that Ms. Shankar assumed she could buy him out but couldn't, probably because Ishwar wanted way too much money for his share and Ms. Shankar refused to be robbed.

NOW we learn from Mike Geniella's fine report on the collapsed Palace deal that Ishwar allegedly has a syndicate of local heavy hitters ready to pick up where Ms. Shankar left off, but other than a vague statement from a Ukiah attorney that they exist and have the resources to begin the revival of the Palace, all we're left with is what we've had for forty years — the decaying hulk in central Ukiah of what was once a thriving anchor for not only Ukiah but the entire county. 

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dished out some wild COVID-19 conspiracy theories this week during a press event at a Manhattan restaurant, claiming the covid bug was a genetically engineered bio-weapon that may have been “ethnically targeted” to exclude Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.

THIS story is “mistaken,” Kennedy said the next day. “I have never, ever suggested that the COVID-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews. I accurately pointed out — during an off-the-record conversation — that the U.S. and other governments are developing ethnically targeted bioweapons, and that a 2021 study of the COVID-19 virus shows that COVID-19 appears to disproportionately affect certain races since the furin cleave docking site is most compatible with Blacks and Caucasians and least compatible with ethnic Chinese, Finns, and Ashkenazi Jews.” 

SAVE THE SWALLOWS: Gentleman George Hollister, a close observer of the natural world, reports: "I had/have many swallows this year, more than I have had for quite a while. Bird boxes for BlueBirds have been partially occupied by Violet Green Swallows. I had a record number, for me, of them this year. For this year I had Violet Green Swallows, Cliff Swallows, Barn Swallows, and a pair of Purple Martins. Something to keep in mind, their population numbers depend on available food, and nesting spots. All these birds compete with each other for food, too. Swallows take food from the air, so don’t compete with Blue Birds that take food on the ground. They are all insect eaters, and good to have around. Yes, they do leave piles of poo. Get over it. Clean it up, and be happy for the insect control. My Swallows have been nesting here and at times traveling to other locations for food. In those other locations, they may go unnoticed."

SARAH OWEN KENNEDY: "We had a family of swallows this year. They do nest in bluebird boxes. We usually get more than one family, and we get bluebirds and flycatchers too. I believe they are barn swallows."

BOONVILLE SCHOOL SUPE, Louise Simson said that she has noticed that the traditional swallow nests at the north end of the Boonville gym “are still up there but they are not active.” 

SUSAN WALSH: Regarding the lack of swallows… My observation. I had swallow nests on my barn for a number of years. I have watched the ravens or crows or whatever they are destroy the nests to get the eggs and if that wasn’t successful they will perch on the roof waiting for the fledglings to try to fly and pick them off as a tasty meal as they exit the nest. I am so done with those nasty black birds. They have killed our pullets, they chase the bobcat off when it is hunting rodents, they have taken a gopher and mice from a cat, they worked at destroying the windows in my home and an outbuilding. They harass the horses when I feed and love to shit in the horse feeders and water trough. I dare not leave a storage container out with anything in it including nails as they will work to destroy it. They have taken the weather stripping off the horse trailer and are working diligently at getting the roofing paper pulled out from under the roofing on the barn. To all of those folks who feed them, don’t please. All you are doing is inviting more damage to wildlife and structures. The swallows do not have a chance.

ED NOTE: I'm for the swallows, and I hope they return to the high school as they do to Capistrano. Central Boonville is over-populated with crows and ravens, just about the only birds of any variety I see in and around my place except for hummingbirds, who I feed. Crows don't seem to have devised a kill strategy for hummingbirds. Between the crows, ravens and cats, and not to mention the numerous other man made hazards, birds seem to be fighting for survival.

NO SOONER had Cornel West announced that he'd run for president as a Green than the middle-of-the-road extremist, right on cue as they have at every election for sixty years, accused West and the Greens of “objectively re-electing Trump.” Nothing wrong with the Democrats that propel conscientious liberals to seek alternatives to SloJoe and vice-president Cackles, it's just these darn nitpickers who keep on getting Trump elected by going third party. 

THERE ARE MILLIONS of people like me who are repulsed by the weasels the Democratic National Committee shoves at us as alternatives to Trump. The Democrats have always deserved to lose to the fascists. This time around? The only person the Democrats have who seems to fully functional is Gavin Newsom, and it will be interesting to see how the DNC offloads Biden and Cack for the only person they have who can beat the orange fat man, assuming, of course, Newsom isn't saddled with an obvious nut case as vp. I'll go Green as I have since McGovern in '72. 

HERE’S DEMO THINK from one of the heavy hitters at the NYT: “West previously had planned to run with the People’s Party before switching to Green, which could mean the outspoken academic could siphon critical votes from Biden in swing states, potentially throwing the election to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, some Democrats said. In 2016, the Green Party played an outsized role in tipping the election to Donald Trump. Now, with Cornel West as their likely nominee, they could easily do it again. ‘Risky business,’ former Obama campaign guru David Axelrod tweeted earlier this week.”

CORNEL WEST: “Trump is leading us toward a second civil war, Biden is leading us toward a third world war. So I am not excited about either choice. I don’t want to just support a caretaker government against fascism every four years because sooner or later the fascists will still win. But the problem with the Democrats is that they’d rather lose than change.”

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"Voters do not vote for who they want. They vote against those they have been conditioned to hate. The oligarchy, meanwhile, is assured its interests are protected.

No Republican or Democratic presidential candidate has any intention of halting corporate pillage. They will not curb the fossil fuel industry or combat ecocide. They will not rebuild our decayed infrastructure and failing educational system. They will not reform our predatory for-profit health care system or restore our right to privacy by halting wholesale government surveillance. They will not institute public financing of elections to curb the legalized bribery that defines elective office. They will not raise the minimum wage. They will not end our permanent wars.

Third parties and independents, even if they poll in the single digits, are a threat to the corporate duopoly because they back reforms, such as increasing tax rates for corporations and the rich, which have broad public support. They expose the corruption of a system that, without funding from billionaires and corporations, would collapse. On nearly every major issue — war, trade policies, militarized police, suppression of the minimum wage, hostility towards unions, revoking of civil liberties, gouging of the public by big banks, credit card companies, big pharma and the healthcare industry — there is little or no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.

Monolithic power always confuses privilege with moral and intellectual superiority. It silences critics and reformers. It champions bankrupt ideologies, such as neoliberalism, to justify its omnipotence. It fosters intolerance and a craving for autocracy. These closed systems throughout history, whether monarchical or totalitarian, ossify into bastions of greed, plunder, mediocrity and repression. They lead inevitably to tyranny or revolution. There are no other options. Voting for Biden and the Democrats will accelerate the process. Voting for Cornel will defy it."

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Kenia Villa: I think that on Tuesday mornings at The River in Ukiah on Low Gap they do food distribution. It’s more of a community outreach so it’s less moldy food options. I believe the food bank can’t really turn away donations so it might be just what they had. This is more selective church donations and I believe they distribute a impressive amount of goods. Also if you’re ever in Ukiah during lunch time this summer you can take your kids to the park for a free lunch Mon-Fri. It looks like the next distribution is on July 27, 11-12 and the fairgrounds.

Geoff Hall: Believe me tons go to waste . We can't just give food away. What happens is somebody will eat something and then return it that's another thing or they'll eat something and say they got sick from it and sue us so if those problems could be amended in some way or trust was brought back in the society by some happenstance things would be a hell of a lot better.

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Yvette Fleury: I worked in several stores that sold food so I get it…. But I also know there’s a lot that could be donated to the food banks that isn’t.

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Hall: It's really not that the people in the stores don't want to give it away though I'd love to. If we had some help with it would be a whole lot better if there was more participation from an outside party it could happen probably

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Fleury: i believe management calls the food banks and they work it out. All I do know is that the economy is rough right now, and there is so much good food wasted in this country that no one should be going hungry or given spoiled food when they need help.

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Bruce Maclennan: Let’s look on the other side. I can remember a good man from Potter Valley that would go around to those stores and pick up bread and other things and distribute them to the families in an around Potter Valley. His name was Don Todd. Debbie & I used to run the food bank out of the PV Methodist church once a month for 20 years.

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Brook Stanley: I’m not sure if they still do it but the garden at the end of Mid Mountain would put out veggies at there stand. It was an honor pay system. Unfortunately people were taking advantage of it so they may have stopped. I know that doesn’t solve the problem you’re talking about, but it’s something and you’ll save some gas 

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Heather Sentz: So sorry. I've been in same situation during the fires when we lost all of our food and needed help replacing it. We were given boxes of expired canned food and staples, all of which you really couldn't make one meal out of. Can you contact a church in the area and see if they can help you? They might even bring it to you so you don't have to drive.

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Fleury: I’m also very surprised at Mendocino County…. When I’ve had to use the food bank here in the past, the donations were wonderful. And I know so much GOOD food goes to waste in stores daily. It was just sad honestly.

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Navarro Beach driftwood (Jeff Goll)

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Mendo budget/hiring woes [AVA 7/15/23, Williams' comment, excerpt]

Regarding Ted Williams’ comments in the June 15 edition:

“From time to time, I hear the fiction ‘hire more to bring in more money from the state.’ It simply doesn’t work that way. There’s a finite allocation for the county to carry out social services, essentially on behalf of the state. Hiring more people won’t increase, and as the director clarified on Tuesday, July 11, it’s not possible to use state dollars for wage increases at social services.”

The opacity of the social services system is baffling. On June 15, 2023, the Lake County Board of Supervisors were informed that a hefty portion of the Social Services department’s staff is “mandated” by the state, for which the department’s recruiting, training, and retention abilities falls far short of meeting the state’s requirements.

Comparing factors affecting Lake County’s employment success/failure rates, including “job hopping” propensities of younger workers, accommodations for “remote” or “hybrid” workplace locations, and higher starting salaries, our Supervisors were told that by granting an “across the board” pay raise of 10% by a one-time contribution from the county’s general fund, would result in the future reimbursable rate of cost from the state, raising the question of what the “finite allocation” from the state is and how it is allocated to mandated positions.

Based on wage increases approved in 2019 (but not implemented until late 2021) many, if not most, Lake County employees’ wages were raised to rates equal to 85% of the surrounding/competing counties — still short-sheeting the workforce but providing some relief from increasing costs of living. [The Board of Supervisors voted to give themselves and upper management staff generous raises following the workforce wage hikes.]

Impacts on those salaries include rising costs for CalPERS contributions and rates of inflation, which result in significant losses to the providers of state-mandated services in all three of the “self-funded” county departments (public health, behavioral health, and social services) at a time when further state-ordered programs (Cal-AIM and CARE Court) bring undefined new requirements on these same workforces.

Nonetheless, the functions of existing state-mandated social services bring in to Lake County $9,000,000 every month, which is then expended (mostly) in the local economy from programs like General Welfare, Unemployment benefits, CalFresh, CalWorks, “Welfare to Work,” and Medi-Cal.

Said to be “unfunded” but also mandated by the state are the services of the Public Guardian, Public Conservator, and Public Authority administrations, although it turns out that the “county” has funded those positions for decades. In order to add positions to these operation centers, the county’s general fund contributions are needed, but the elected officials are loathe to spend those funds on non-reimbursable costs for individuals deemed to be incapable of caring for themselves or, in the worst case situations, whose cost of “disposal” is not borne non-existent estates.

Also largely underfunded is the federally-mandated (state administered) Area Agency on Aging (Mendocino and Lake Counties combined), including the provision of “ombudsmen” to protect patients in licensed care homes. 

The Area Agency on Aging made a rare appearance (a couple of months ago) before the Lake County Board of Supervisors to explain the necessity for chipping in an additional $33K to add increased ombudsman capacity aligned with state-specified service demands. Although the Board of Supervisors were informed in no uncertain terms that the added general fund contribution was ordered by the state, they decided to make the agency wait until the conclusion of the June budget hearings to approve the allocation. (After the AAA presentation was concluded, District 2 Supervisor Sabatier mused that the Board of Supervisors does not understand the agency and its separately governed programs, but no further examination has been seen at their hearings to date.)

Given that Lake County’s Medi-Cal dependent population numbers “37,542” individuals (according to Lake County News, July 7, 2023, “Tens of thousands of Lake County Medi-Cal Recipients Required to go Through Redetermination Process”), and Lake county’s total population in 2023 is 69,213 (according to <>, July 8, 2023) the existing workforce is additionally burdened with the tasks of processing every one of those redetermination applications as well as their regular duties, carrying the full load of state-mandated cases despite staff shortages.

Many of the remaining 31,671 residents live in straitened circumstances, depending as they do on Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (the total population of adults over the age of 60 being stated as 37.8% by the Area Agency on Aging’s program coordinator, who has been expending much of her time on the additional ombudsmen case load due again to “state mandates”).

With roughly 2,200 “consumers” of registered In-Home Support Services (also reimbursed by federal revenues) — added to the number of people “participating” in “meals on wheels” home-delivered “nutrition” products (providing no more than 1/3 of the individual’s “recommended daily allowance” of prescribed dietary intake) — unknown but estimated by me as in the several hundreds receiving the largesse of local non-profit senior centers (which are reimbursed for the costs of those meals at roughly one-third of the actual expenditures by these mostly volunteer organizations) — the bulk of Lake County’s “dependent” residents are short-changed by the failure of the government’s recognition that the “workforce” is inadequately compensated, resulting in further stresses on the whole system.

Eight years ago, following the mega-disaster of Lake County’s “Valley Fire,” the county administration first attempted to eliminate public services such as Sheriff’s patrols (and deputies available to intervene in crisis situations, like attempted murder and domestic violence), library services (fortunately protected by voter-approved tax revenues), and others, claiming that the county was anticipating a $5 million shortfall in general fund revenues.

The fire’s displaced lower-income residents were disbursed to other parts of the state or left to fend for themselves in a highly competitive “housing market” (with rapidly rising rental rates and individually costly application requirements). Indeed, one of the county’s Social Services’ mandated functions, its “Housing Authority,” has struggled to relocate “persons experiencing homelessness” under further state mandates (such as the Governor’s 2022 edict requiring the miraculous construction of “new housing” accommodations by all incorporated cities). The Lake County Board of Supervisors, during its June 15 review of the Social Services budget requests, suggested combining that staff function with its newly hired “Economic Development” director, not understanding that “placement” of dependent persons in subsidized (but largely unavailable) housing units is a function of determining their eligibility for supplemental income support — again, an underfunded capacity of the Social Services department.

In 2018, the much ballyhooed “fiscal crisis” management plan adopted in 2016 was abandoned in favor of a new 10-year “vision” for “re-imagining” the county (“Vision 2028,” to which all of the elected officials were required to “pledge allegiance” during its formal “adoption”), explicitly calling for “support [of] the county workforce, through targeted training, retention and recruitment initiatives.” (The Valley Fire’s FEMA-sponsored “long-term recovery” process was declared “over” by then newly elected District 5 Supervisor Jessica Pyska in 2021, despite the ongoing presence of unhoused individuals lacking the means of entering into the bastion of respectably ensconsed voters, taxpayers, and neighbors.)

Both counties, meanwhile, have expended millions of dollars on “encouraging” the producers of state-permitted cannabis products, and further endangered the homeowners and enterprise operators in unrestrained landscapes (minimal CEQA compliance) adjacent to free-wheeling “growers” — even as county law enforcement and code enforcement staffs struggle to keep up with the results of bank foreclosed properties occupied by variously harmful (presumably transcient) persons.

Whatever it takes to clearly identify the county-level mandated services, their workforce requirements and county management costs, both Boards of Supervisors have failed to analyze and explain the impacts of their distribution of “discretionary” funds despite the state constitution’s taxation rules for spending of tax revenues on public health and safety FIRST (Article XIII, Section 35), to which each of the elected officials declares an oath of fealty when they are inducted into office.

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CHRIS SKYHAWK: Yesterday was an epic day for me. I picked my way down to the bench at the Navarro Headlands. 

It was my first time there since my stroke. I used to go there often with my family and children to play. I haven’t been there in years. It was lovely to listen to the waves, the noisy oyster catchers and the beautiful hawks gliding along watching everything.

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by Jim Shields

This week’s column was easy to write because I didn’t write a single word except for this brief introduction.

Last week, I said the state of California needs to abandon the Pandemic-era failed experiment with emptying its jails via “catch-and-release” policies that allow crooks and criminal misfits to avoid incarceration. Some of these new laws and policies seriously undermine basic public safety … The only answer is for county officials, mainly the judges, to abandon the policy of emptying the county jail. To hell with the state Legislature and their idiotic laws that give free rein to criminals to carry out even more crimes and anti-social behavior at the expense of public safety.

Anyway, I received a number of very thoughtful responses from folks, including our Sheriff. Here’s what three of the responders had to say.

“Jim, you have taken the words right out of my mouth with what you said about people who do crimes but don’t get punished. As a small business owner and also a single mother who is raising a daughter age 4, my heart goes out to that woman who was treated so shabbily by the Ukiah Police Department after she was victimized by shoplifters and also assaulted. How can the police call that “mutual combat”? Something is terribly wrong and backwards in our society if the bad guys are allowed to roam free after committing actual crimes, or what used to be actual punishable crimes. As a business woman who provides a service but not goods or items, I count myself lucky that I don’t have to worry about shoplifters but what kind of message is being sent to the public that our government leaders don’t put much priority on protecting us from criminals.”

— Valerie Thompson


“I read or heard recently that the supervisors spent several hundred thousand dollars on new security upgrades and bullet proof glass to protect themselves from the public at their meetings. How much are they spending to protect the public from people who are caught breaking the law and then turned loose without being held in jail for at least a few days? Something wrong with that picture. What a crock.”

— Lance


I recently read a column by Jim Shields titled “Crime and no punishment”.  I found the article pretty much hit the nail on the head.  I believe we are currently in a moment when the pendulum has swung too far.  Over the past dozen years, we have seen legislation which removes personal responsibility from people, it’s just that simple.   If there is no personal responsibility, then who does the responsibility for behaviors fall to?

Laws protect the safety of society and ensure our rights as residents against abuses by other people, by organizations, and by the government itself. Our laws help us to create safer communities. One of the things our laws also do for us is remove the duty to avenge.  This duty has been well documented throughout time.  Trust me, I have arrived at many a tense situation where one subject was wronged or endangered by another.  In many cases all involved parties were happy to see law enforcement arrive before things went too far.  I am extremely concerned when the teeth are removed from our laws, and faith on our courts are gone, our residents will grow their teeth back and we will see duty to avenge played out across our nation.  We can’t have that. 

Many of our elected officials made several campaign promises to close prisons, these promises are coming true.  Not because we have less crime and fewer victims, however due to changes in legislation which decriminalized many behaviors.  If we want to close prisons let’s start by creating education and opportunities that reduce crimes, not simply ignore them.  

I have heard many people say drugs are a victimless crime.  To the contrary, there are victims constantly and many of the victims are the people addicted.  This is turning into slow and agonizing homicide for many.  Addictions are killing people in numbers that completely out of control, if people are dying from this how are they not victims?   Many of these addicted individuals have children, of whom many will suffer abuse and neglect.  These addictions also cause people to start dealing or committing crimes to feed their addiction.  Armed robberies, burglaries and assaults are often the spoils of addictions.       

This shift in policy and laws aren’t simply dealing with drug offenses.  This week we saw Senate Bill 14 come before the public safety committee.  This bill would have classified human trafficking of a minor child into the realm of a serious felony.  This would have made trafficking a minor a strikeable offense and allowed sentencing enhancements for those convicted of this crime in the same fashion arsonist and bank robbers receive sentencing enhancements for their crimes.  This would also keep repeat offenders incarcerated and make them ineligible for early releases.   California lawmakers in the Assembly Public Safety Committee blocked the measure. The public safety committee is well known for blocking measures that would increase prison time. On Thursday the public outcry was so intense, the public safety committee in emergency hearing reversed their decision and allowed this bill to pass.  News reports described this as “a sudden and spectacular reversal”.    

Many people have forgotten when a criminal is in prison, he isn’t victimizing a neighborhood and therefore it prevents crime.  There are people who belong in prison.  Some crimes are so heinous it isn’t safe for our communities or the suspects to remain on the street.  I understand this may not be a popular statement however this has been my experience and we are in a time when the truth isn’t particularly popular.  

Now to the point, and why I am bringing this up in Mendocino County.  I truly believe many of our residents are busy working hard, raising a family and putting supper on the table.  We are often too busy to involve ourselves in pouring over legislation and how it will impact our communities.  Let’s try to find some time to ask the hard questions of our state representatives and elected officials.  These are good people, I often think they simply aren’t hearing from all of us.  If we can all educate ourselves and come together with a reasonable voice, I am certain we can move beyond these issues.  The recent reversal on SB-14 is evidence voices are heard we simply need to speak.  

— Sheriff Matt Kendall

The fireworks over the human trafficking bill referenced by Kendall was set off Tuesday, July 11, when oh-so-politically-correct Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, argued that the proposed law would contribute to over-incarceration, would needlessly extend already-significant prison sentences, and would punish those at the lowest rungs of trafficking who may be victims of human trafficking themselves (Huh?).

As Kendall points out, by Thursday, July 13, the public outcry was so immediate and overwhelming that the Dems were forced to reconvene the Assembly into session, where they re-voted to approve the measure which had already won unanimous approval in the state Senate.

State Sen. Shannon Grove, of Bakersfield, a Republican, announced that the bill picked up 18 new co-authors — nearly all of them Democrats — following the Assembly’s re-vote.

One of the Assembly Democrats who changed her vote was Liz Ortega, of Hayward, who said she “made a bad decision” on Tuesday by voting “no,” but made the right decision by voting “yes” on Thursday. 

“Voting against legislation targeting really bad people who traffic children was wrong,” Ortega explained in a tweet.

Good for Ortega, I say. And good for the people who made it happen, you could say making it necessary, for Ortega — and others like her — to correct a wrong vote. 

Laytonville Man Arrested On Kidnapping, Rape Charges Involving Minor 

A large crowd (25-30 people) of Laytonville residents were responsible for capturing and holding a man believed to have sexually assaulted a young girl until law enforcement officers arrived on the scene this past Saturday night, July 8th. 

While the accused man was roughed up a bit by a few people in the crowd at the Laytonville Elementary School, he didn’t appear to be seriously injured. Most of those assembled at the school arrived there in response to information sent out on social media. 

According the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Trevor Wilson, 19, of Laytonville, was arrested and booked into the County Jail on charges of kidnapping for robbery and rape, contact with intent to commit lewd act with a minor, and lewd/lascivious acts with child under 14 with force. Bail was set $250,000. 

Sheriff’s detectives are actively continuing their investigation and gathering evidence. It’s known that detectives have reviewed security camera footage at locations other than the elementary school where the incident ended shortly after 11 p.m. with Wilson’s arrest. 

There are additional details regarding this incident that we are not publishing at this time due to the ongoing investigation. 

(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 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Bracken fern, tree stump, Elk (Jeff Goll)

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In a world now dominated by live-action, competitive cooking shows, the very idea of a hardbound traditional cookbook seems charmingly antiquated. Recipe databases mean you can Google anything and find a plethora of ways to make it, and you can watch YouTube videos guiding you on everything from the proper way to mince garlic to preparing a Turducken. Where’s the role of the expert in all of this? Many of today’s top-selling cookbooks are from chefs with established TV presences or, worse yet, they’re ghostwritten homages to TV shows like Sex and the City. (Did they actually eat anything other than cosmopolitans?)

Then along comes something remarkable like Six California Kitchens: A Collection of Recipes, Stories, and Cooking Lessons from a Pioneer of California Cuisine. Authored by Sally Schmitt and published last year just before her death at 90, Six California Kitchens traces the seminal chef and original owner of the French Laundry through the kitchens in which she learned and thrived. From her childhood ranch home in the rural Sacramento Valley to her retirement kitchen on the northern California coast where she learned to cook for just two again, Sally Schmitt’s professional and personal arc as a chef is a wonderful reflection of the Golden State’s emergence as a global food destination.

When the book was published, many foodies were surprised by her connection to the French Laundry, which she and husband Don owned from 1978 to 1994. Because the French Laundry is so deeply associated with Thomas Keller, many assumed he had founded it. Instead, it was the Schmitts who boldly took on what was truly a dilapidated steam-powered laundromat owned by a Frenchman in the 1920s. (The building dates from 1900 and was originally a saloon in Yountville.) Sally Schmitt is often credited with being the godmother of the farm-to-table movement. Her cooking style drew from her experiences on her childhood farm and centered on using locally grown produce; at a time when international “haute cuisine” with exotic ingredients indicated quality, Schmitt was doggedly a locavore who proudly featured California as a culinary experience in its own right.

In the fall of 2022, Oscar-winner Ben Proudfoot released a short documentary celebrating Sally Schmitt’s often underappreciated contributions to California cuisine. While names like Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck tend to dominate, Schmitt’s quiet commitment to technique and localism was revolutionary. Entitled The Best Chef in the World, Proudfoot documents two French Laundries, each pioneering but with very different values and aesthetics: the perfectionism for which Keller is famous and the family-first ethos of Schmitt, who eventually sold her restaurant and moved to the Anderson Valley to spend more time with her loved ones. Proudfoot notes that “Sally was saying … the goal in life really is about people and family. You should be constantly monitoring the balance between your job and your family and your friends.” 

Sally Schmitt

He continues: “She led a very high-quality life. And that didn’t necessarily include recognition or fame or money or awards.” Schmitt’s later years included restoring the charming Apple Farm in Philo, California with her daughter Karen and son-in-law Tim. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue to cultivate its heirloom orchards today. 

Six California Kitchens is beautifully laid out. It’s a hybrid cookbook, memoir, and historical homage to California; equal parts reminiscence and practical guidance. From the simple mustard potatoes of Schmitt’s childhood to more elaborate duck preparations for which she became famous—the confit dish at the Boonville Hotel, also run by her family members, is a standout that rivals even those in France—Schmitt emphasized balance. For years, the restaurant business has been dominated by outsized egos and frequently toxic work environments. Thumbing through the pages of Schmitt’s life work is a gentle reminder that food should always be about nourishment, and not competition. 

* * *

Coffee Pots de Crème

(Sally Schmitt, Six California Kitchens)

Makes Enough For 6 To 8 Ramekins, Or 8 To 10 Ovenproof Espresso Cups / Prep: 15 Min / Cook Time: 30 To 50 Min

When my children, and then grandchildren, would come through the blue door into the French Laundry kitchen, the first thing they would do is look for the leftovers from the night before. They were always happy to find these French “pots of cream,” little baked custards, which ended a meal so well. I made them first with chocolate, but I liked them so much more with coffee.

Preheat the oven to 325°F [165°C].

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, scald, and remove from the heat:

2 cups [480 ml] half-and-half

3 Tbsp instant espresso coffee 

1 cinnamon stick

In a medium bowl, beat gently to avoid having too much foam:

½ cup [120 ml] egg yolks (from about 6 eggs)

½ cup [100 g] sugar

Add the hot half-and-half mixture slowly to the bowl in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Strain the mixture into a large heatproof measuring cup. Fill the ramekins or espresso cups and place in a baking or roasting pan.

Pour enough hot tap water into the pan to come about two-thirds up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custard is barely set, 30 to 50 minutes depending on how warm the mixture was to start. It should jiggle in the middle.

Don’t pour in too much water because the ramekins will be difficult to lift out when they’re hot.

Let cool a little, and then lift the ramekins out of the pan, using a jar lifter if they’re still too hot. Then cool before serving, or refrigerate.

To serve, top each serving with:

A spoonful of softly whipped cream

Chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate curls

I think they’re equally good slightly warm or thoroughly chilled. If you don’t have grandchildren raiding the refrigerator, these will last a day or two.

(Reprinted from Six California Kitchens by Sally Schmitt.)

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* * *


by Bruce Anderson

In September of 1971, the Boonville school board meeting was held in the high school library. It was the first one I’d ever attended, anywhere. I got up to complain about the district haircut policy. The superintendent, leaning belligerently at me, said he had the right to say who needed a haircut and who didn't. He’d said that my kid had to get his hair cut or he’d cut it himself and kick the kid out of school. 

My kid had a big afro. The superintendent said he’d “seen those people hide razor blades up there.” The superintendent, you might say, was “proactive,” but retro in ways unique in my experience.

I told the Boonville School Board, none of whom I knew, that the great haircut battle had already been fought all the way to the Supreme Court and that hair had won, following up that remark with the empty threat that if anybody I was responsible for came home from school with a haircut I’d sue all of them. 

A man sitting behind me told me to sit down and shut up. A member of the school board explained, “It’s our school and we’ll run it the way we want.” After the meeting, I got in a fist fight with a man I’d never seen before. He hadn’t liked my presentation.

The people running the Boonville schools a decade later, and teaching in them, were still hippies in 1971. Or hadn’t been born yet. Or were still at home in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

By 1981, most of the hippies weren’t hippies anymore. A couple of them had even gotten elected to the school board. At a meeting that year, when I got up to complain about the then-superintendent holing up in his office and pounding down fifths of whisky all day — which was fine with me but I didn’t think the schools should be paying for it — one of the hippies on the school board told me “to sit down and be quiet. You’re becoming irrational.” Which I probably was. But I remember seeing her rolling around naked in the mud of a pond at the Albion People’s Fair (or whatever that debauched event was called), and didn’t think she was in any position, historically speaking, to pronounce judgement on another person’s rationality. 

Another decade flew by. It occurred to me as I sat through my three hundredth or so local and county school board meeting, that I could be attending these excruciating affairs for another 20 years, well into a fifth generation of acquisitive incompetents and educationally-lethal clowns. I imagined myself in the year 2040 being wheeled into the boardroom on my death gurney, brought to Boonville for one last school board meeting by a special welfare ambulance from Adventist Hospital, Ukiah. There’s an IV stuck in my withered right arm and I can’t raise myself to the sitting position or raise my voice beyond a barely audible whisper. Marti Bradford, still the school board president, her hair finally gray but her dazzling Martha Stewart smile still glinting as she says to me, “Project 2040 will be great for the kids of this community, you pathetic old communist. It will only cost us fifteen nine-year old vineyard workers and five billion yen over the next ten years. Please die and leave us responsible people alone at last.”

“But Marti,” I begin … She hurls the gavel at me as I gasp one last plea for fiscal restraint, “But Marti, the teachers and the bureaucrats will take the whole five billion for themselves…” I pass on to the other side as Marti briskly announces, “Item 4-A on tonight’s agenda is the kids’ senior sneak to Kazakhstan.”

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, July 16, 2023

Casini, Coleman, Cornejo, Fontaine


JACOB COLEMAN, Clearlake/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, parole violation.

BRANDON CORNEJO, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

DANIELLE FONTAINE, Mendocino. Misdemeanor hit&run with property damage.

Gutierrez, Hokafonu, Iribe

JAIME GUTIERREZ, Hopland. Domestic abuse, protective order violation.

ALTHEA HOKAFONU, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

LETICIA IRIBE-AISPURO, Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.

King, Lopez, Munguia

ELIZABETH KING, Covelo. Domestic abuse.

AMERICA LOPEZ-MUNOZ, Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment, no license, probation violation.


Raya, Spurling, Wynn


BRITTANY SPURLING, Clearlake/Ukiah. Under influence.

MARSHALL WYNN IV, Redwood Valley. Misdemeanor hit&run with property damage, suspended license for DUI.

* * *

DOPE, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: Fentanyl has massively changed the risk profile of any drug use. I only know one person who has overdosed in the last few years. He was gainfully employed, owned a home, had a young family. He chose to snort some cocaine one weekend while he was out with some friends (not my idea of responsible fun, but historically a fairly safe drug consumption pattern) and apparently it had some fentanyl cut into it and he got a hot pocket. That’s the extreme case, but even habitual opiate users have largely not successfully adapted to the reality of synthetics as potent as fentanyl.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Live! Laugh! Love! has been the constellation navigation Big Dipper guide to my carefree journey through life. 

Nothing but severe diarrhea touches me so deeply as the simple, affirming message of “Live! Laugh! Love!”

Together we can make a difference. It takes a village.

LIVE: To the max. Stay on the sunny side, have a song in your heart and Keep on Truckin’. When life gives you lemons, squeeze them into your wife’s morning coffee.

LAUGH: When your wife hucks her morning coffee all over the scrambled eggs and toast.

LOVE: Because that’s really all we have in this world, isn’t it? Love, love, love is all you need. Love, love, love. It couldn’t be more simple-minded.

And now, some additional affirming messages like those at boutique shops selling tiny soaps and smelly candles to encourage everyone to join hands in an ever-expanding world of inspirational conformity.

PRAY: That your previous prayers will hurry up and be answered so you finally own a Malibu estate and get the Mercedes convertible you ordered. 

ENDURE: Strength, resolve, courage no matter the obstacle. If the guy in front of you at Starbucks orders the last croissant (the one you had your eye on) demand to see the manager. 

SHARE: No thanks. The herpes you gave me in the 1970s was more than enough.

DANCE: Like no one’s watching? You must be kidding. Everyone got up and left the room.

SUSTAIN: This is about farming. Never eat GMO food or farmed fish. Demand everyone eat sustainable fresh-caught trout off the shores of the South Pole. In a week every wild fish in the world will be gone and then we’ll see how much you hate farmed salmon.

INSPIRE: Be who you are and inspiration will come from within. Inspire others to achieve their dreams no matter the odds, just like you did when you took first prize in the Reno Wet T-Shirt Mudwrestling Championship in 1978. 

BELIEVE: Your belief that “Live, Laugh, Love” is the path toward a better world explains all the silly tattoos on your arms. Slogans are magic, just like the “Question Authority” bumpersticker on your Subaru. 

Never forget: Change begins with you. 

CELEBRATE: Right. Take everyone to a big party at Chuck E. Cheese. If I’m invited make it Hooters.

BREATHE: Inhale the beauty all around us, breathe in the magic that is you, fill your lungs with the life-enhancing bounty that is everywhere. Breathe in deep, deeper, deepest! (Do Not Exhale for at least two hours.)

JOY: Definitely. Let’s go back to Hooters.

THRIVE: Be healthy! Be the very best you can be! Take more than your share. You’ve earned it.

RENEW: Your subscription to the Anderson Valley Advertiser. You grow very sleepy. Your eyes are heavy. You will subscribe to the AVA!

REFRESH: Good idea. First door, then a left. Sink, shower, toilet, bidet.

SIMPLIFY: Give ‘em PopTarts for breakfast, TV dinners for supper, and don’t forget to sign ‘em up for free school lunches.

DREAM: The recurring one where you’re trapped naked inside a box and when you finally get out you’re on a stage and have to give a long speech to a big crowd on a topic you know nothing about. 

EMBALM: It’s like sunscreen for dry, chapped lips. Always remember to look your best!

COMMUNICATE: Have you seen the new emojis with Marvel Super Heroes? OMG!

CREATE: But you want to touch Adam’s finger first, right?

GIVE: You give so much. You’re so caring. Let’s have a great big parade for you next week.

INDULGE: Life is one big adventure, so take yourself on another journey through the cruise ship dessert line. 

BLESSED: Not the icky religious way, more like where you get to win the lottery.

RELAX: No one’s done more than you to help the world, so sit back, relax, and have a nice tumbler of wine. (You may now Exhale.)

* * *

* * *

AS DYLAN THOMAS SAID at one point, "It's a writer's first duty to attack his country and assault everything it stands for." There comes a time when you can't do much else. There would be no way I could go back and work for Time Magazine now, I mean, you really make your own bed after a certain period. And if the times are on your side, you're a hero-if not, you're a fool. Look what happened to Tim Leary. The tide came in and went out ... and he went out with it. 

— Hunter S. Thompson

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Our newest window display features banned and suppressed books. The sign for the window is the same text as appears in the famous photograph of Lawrence Ferlinghetti standing next to a banned books display around the time of the HOWL trial: “All Books In This Window Have Been Censored Or Suppressed.”

In addition to our window, City Lights is fighting book bans by featuring banned books in our store with “BANNED” shelf talkers indicating which titles have been targeted.

Our new storefront banners also feature quotes from authors whose work has been targeted by censorship efforts.

* * *


by Joe Mathews

Ban this column! Please!

It might seem strange to call for the cancellation of one’s own column. Who needs to squelch such a piece when newspaper audiences are declining already?

But my request is no stranger than the effort to ban books that children might read in our schools and libraries.

Surveys show children and teens are reading less than in decades past. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found the percentages of American 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds who read for fun are at their lowest levels since 1984. That’s no surprise, given all the hours kids that spend on their screens.

Yet, this is the moment that culture warriors have chosen to launch book bans. They have targeted more than 2,500 titles, according to the American Library Association. Even more gobsmacking are the reasons the book ban supporters cite: preventing kids from learning about the most talked-about issues in our society — including identity, gender or sex.

Of course, the true reasons for banning books go beyond misguided notions of childhood protection. Book bans are tied to organized efforts to demonize LGBTQ+ people and to score political points by appealing to the resentment of educational elites.

You can see both strategies at the Temecula Valley Unified School District in Riverside County, where the board of education voted to ban a social studies textbook, part of the elementary school curriculum, that touched on gay rights topics. In doing so, board members called the late San Francisco supervisor and gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk a “pedophile.” They later fired the popular district superintendent.

State government answered this culture war blast with bombs. Gov. Gavin Newsom denounced the board members as “malicious actors” and threatened “legal repercussions.” State Attorney General Rob Bonta launched an investigation. The Legislature advanced a bill to make it harder to ban textbooks.

Such official action, reinforced by local teacher and parent protests against the board members, was understandable. But the top-down reprimands also felt like a missed opportunity — to provide children and young people a compelling reason to pick up a book and read.

When it comes to bringing the fascinating California drama of gay rights to life, we can do better than a textbook. If I were the governor or attorney general, I’d slow down the public denunciations — which mostly seemed to gain more publicity for the school board members — and instead send every household in Temecula a copy of former Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts’ terrific 1982 biography of Milk, “The Mayor of Castro Street.”

Yes, we should challenge book bans. But, even more urgently, we should seize upon them to get people reading. A number of librarians are doing just that — setting aside special shelves and stacks of banned books. Some are booksellers: The best-known banned books have had big boosts in sales.

Bans can make books dangerous — and fun again. As the novelist Katherine Marsh recently wrote in the Atlantic, this era of standardized curricula eschews the most captivating books, with unforgettable characters. Instead, teachers hand students short excerpts and ask for literary analysis. How appallingly boring.

If we want to engage students, we should have them read books that grab their interest — whether because they’re forbidden or messy or find beauty in surprising circumstances. And special attention should go to steering students toward readable and compelling books about love, gender, sexuality and sex, which are elemental, humanity-affirming aspects of life.

If such reading encourages actual sex, as the book banners fear, our society might be better off for it. Just as book reading has declined, so has sex among people, especially young adults, in the U.S. and around the globe.

According to UCLA, the percentage of Californians ages 18 to 30 who reported having no sexual partners in the past year jumped from 22% in 2011 to 38% in 2021. People are increasingly isolated, and isolation poses a public health problem. Sexual activity — the form of human connection upon which our species depends for its survival — can boost mental and physical health, happiness and quality of life.

Your columnist is old enough to remember when books and sex, and the leisurely enjoyment of both, were what summer was all about. This time of year was for shedding our American puritanism — and our clothes, and giving in to desires for beach reads and romance. (If only Americans could repurpose their puritanical fears of sex into righteous limits on guns and the violence they cause.)

So, this summer, let’s screw the censors. Read some good books — see lists of the most banned titles for ideas (I recommendThe Perks of Being a Wallflower). And while you’re at it, get cozy with a person, too.

And if you don’t have a book lying around, perhaps you and that special someone might find reading this column romantic. Especially once it’s banned.

(SF Chronicle)

* * *


Stanton was a prolific character actor with a drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent that were displayed in over 120 films and 50 TV episodes. "I've always felt I'm an outsider," he said. "It's true about the industry, but also about society as a whole. I don't blame anyone, but I think that society is negative in that people are terrified to be free. I was born on the edge of the mountains in Kentucky and although I now live in Hollywood I still feel more related to nature. It's an attitude. I have a pool, but it's to do laps in, it's not a status symbol."

* * *


by Peter Hartlaub

“Last of Steam Beer — An Institution Dies”

That front page headline on June 28, 1959 — the same day President Eisenhower halted a steelworkers strike and Willie Mays led the Giants to a 6-0 win at Seals Stadium — brought the bad news that steam beer-loving San Franciscans had been anticipating.

Anchor Brewing Company was closing for good.

 “The taps are running dry today on a full-flavored amber souvenir of San Francisco’s past,” The Chronicle reported. “There won’t be a drop of steam beer in Northern California after a few more days.”

Nearly 65 years later, the prediction of doom may be coming true. Anchor, legendary for its near-death experiences almost as much as its uniquely sourced beer, is facing perhaps its biggest existential threat in 127 years. Japan’s Sapporo has decided to shut the brewery down, claiming it has been a money-loser since the multinational beer giant took over in 2017.

If this time is really the end, it’s a confounding and frustrating one, arriving after Sapporo pledged to keep the pioneering brewery in San Francisco.

Anchor Steam is the city’s most iconic beer, and the ultimate San Francisco comeback story. It joins products like It’s It ice cream sandwiches, Buena Vista Irish coffee and the Oracle Park garlic fries on the Mount Rushmore of iconic San Francisco foodstuffs. And it clawed its way there in the most dramatic way possible, overcoming an earthquake, multiple fires, the near-extinction of steam beer and a flood of competition from IPA-obsessed craft breweries.

Anchor started in the 1860s at Larkin and Pacific streets in a downtown San Francisco that still had unpaved roads. When the brewery adopted its anchor logo in 1896, there were dozens of steam beer brewers in the city, using the unique method of brewing without refrigeration — in the earliest days the city’s fog and wind cooled the vats of brew.

Anchor Brewing Company incorporated in July 1905, and nine months later was destroyed by the earthquake and fire. But the business rebounded, and after the completed cross-country railways started bringing popular lagers from the East Coast in the late 19th century, Anchor reinvented itself as a workingman’s beer.

Anchor was shuttered again upon the start of Prohibition in 1920, then returned in 1934 at a new 1610 Harrison St. brewery, which produced just a few barrels before burning in a three-alarm fire later that year.

For the next 25 years, Anchor operated like a craft brewery decades before anyone used that term — with one or two brewers creating beer for two or three dozen mostly Bay Area establishments. Local bars in the 1940s and 1950s, including Double Play bar across from Seals Stadium, took out Chronicle ads announcing whenever Anchor steam beer was in stock.

When The Chronicle announced Anchor’s closure in 1959, it was the most micro of microbreweries, reportedly shuttering because Joe Allen, the 71-year-old proprietor and sole employee, had trouble lifting the barrels and bags of grain.

The Chronicle reported “hearts are broken” in places like the Old Spaghetti Factory on Green Street, which featured steam beer on tap in its marketing. Old Town Coffee House owner Court Mudge described a funeral-like mood in his Anchor-serving Sausalito restaurant.

“All day long people have been coming in here crying about the end,” Mudge said. “One old fellow got away from his nurse and came in for a last glass. The people are upset because they know they’re losing an honest product, one that’s 100 percent malt and one nobody else has made.”

But there were more lives to come for Anchor Brewing. Another owner stepped in as a bridge for a few years, before the most impactful moment in the brewery’s history: when Stanford student and washing machine scion Fritz Maytag spent $15,000 to bail out the debt-ridden operation.

He quickly fell in love with all of it: “There were five of us when we started bottling, including the office manager, who had to help,” Maytag told The Chronicle in 2015. “It was like a bunch of kids who started a theater group and ended up on Broadway. It was a thrilling experience for all of us.”

Maytag fine-tuned the brewing process to improve quality then scaled up quickly, moving Anchor from a warehouse under a twisted overpass at Eighth Street to a majestic brick building at Mariposa and De Haro streets in Potrero Hill, the fifth and final move for the brewery.

Anchor outlasted larger San Francisco-based brewers including Lucky Lager, Rainier and Hamm’s, then started creating new styles, including a lighter Liberty Ale, spice-filled Christmas editions and, in 2014, finally its first IPA. Anchor became a staple at San Francisco Giants games.

During its lean one-man-operation years of the 1950s, Anchor turned out just a few thousand barrels per year. By 1978, when Lucky Lager left town, Anchor was the last brewery in San Francisco and producing more than ever — topping 130,000 barrels after the turn of the century.

Maytag sold to a local group in 2010, who sold to corporate giant Sapporo in 2017. When the classic hand-drawn labels were changed for a simpler design, there was panic from locals (including the author of this column). But the beer tasted as good as ever. Workers unionized in 2019 and the new ownership opened Public Taps across the street, which operates as both a community space and experimental lab — where brews are tested on consumers and occasionally make the jump to commercial sales.

Which makes this week’s news even more of a gut punch.

Anchor announced on June 23 that they’re ending international sales, then early Wednesday news broke that it was shutting down entirely. Spokesman Sam Singer said the pandemic was particularly hard on Anchor, which sells most of its beer in bars and restaurants.

Anchor under Sapporo was bigger, and arguably better, than ever. But scaling it up for international markets didn’t make it any less vulnerable. No longer a business that could be passed between beer-loving locals on a handshake and five-figure check, it essentially grew too big to survive.

Or is it too big to fail? The brewery does 70% of its business in California, proving local demand has never waned. The facility is in great shape; on a recent tour for the Total SF podcast, brewmaster Dane Volek showed off an operation where new technology blends with ingredients and methods from the 1800s. The beer tasted better than ever.

ike the city it so strongly represents, Anchor’s time of death has been called before. And like only a handful of commercial products, it’s hard to imagine a ball game or trip to a dive bar without it. It’s a San Francisco landmark as much as any old movie theater, cable car or bridge in the city.

Can it pull off one more miracle?

“I think Anchor did become that — part of the color of San Francisco,” Maytag said in 2015. “Which after all, is a city that’s had a lot of color in its time.”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *


They eat almost everything and are mercilessly destroying their surroundings. And when they are done with their destruction, they move to other areas and start consuming again without limits. And the other one is just a fish with big teeth.

* * *


I once had a fairly long e-mail correspondence going with a woman named Dr. Jane, who said she was a retired professor at Oxford. She was a believer in aliens, and she thought that these aliens dealt closely with our “elites,” and had promised them some sort of “breakthrough” energy technology. I suppose that the fact that such a technology has not materialized suggests that our “elites” were double-crossed. But if there are aliens, and if they are working closely with our “elites,” I would have to assume that they are not the good guys. In fact, probably demons. Which actually sounds kind of plausible.

* * *

* * *


The two ruling parties have destroyed our democracy. Voting for one or the other will not bring it back.

by Chris Hedges

The Republican and Democratic parties have no intention of allowing independents and third parties into their exclusive club. A series of arcane laws and rules governing elections make it extremely difficult for outsiders to get on the ballot, receive exposure, raise money, comply with regulations that are designed to advance the interests of Republicans and Democrats or participate in public debates. Third parties and independents are effectively disenfranchised, although 44 percent of the voting public identify as independent. This discrimination is euphemistically labeled “bipartisanship,” but the correct term, as Theresa Amato writes, is “political apartheid.”

“One of the best-kept secrets in American politics is that the two-party system has long been brain dead — kept alive by support systems like state electoral laws that protect the established parties from rivals and by Federal subsidies and so-called Campaign reform,” the political scientist Theodore Lowi noted. “The two-party system would collapse in an instant if the tubes were pulled and the IV’s were cut.”

Amato was the national presidential campaign manager and in-house counsel for Ralph Nader in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Her book “Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny” is a sobering account of our political apartheid, based on her experience in the Nader campaigns. It chronicles in minute detail the nefarious mechanisms, especially the Byzantine rules that vary from state to state, to even get on the ballot. 

Third parties not already ballot-qualified and independents must collect valid signatures on a petition to run for president. Some states require a fee or a few hundred signatures. Others require tens of thousands of signatures. The Republicans and Democrats set the requirements in state legislatures, and then, flush with corporate cash and teams of lawyers, haul independents and third party candidates into court to challenge the validity of their petition signatures. These lawsuits are used to invalidate signatures to force candidates off the ballot, deprive voters the opportunity of supporting other candidates, as well as drain the campaign budgets of small competitors.  Republican and Democratic party state-level officials, either elected or appointed, administer the federal elections to serve their party’s advancement.  

The requirements to get on the ballot resemble the rules erected during Jim and Jane Crow to prevent African-Americans from being able to register to vote. Ohio, for example, demands that petition signatures be written from only one county on each petition, forcing circulators to carry around stacks of county petitions. The state of Washington requires a 10 day advance notice published in a newspaper before holding a nominating convention. West Virginia mandates that circulators first get credentials from the county clerk, in every county, which must be displayed while collecting signatures. Nevada requires that each petition be notarized. 

“To complicate matters further, in a Kafkaesque way, many of the election officials are afraid to say exactly what provisions of their state law mean; they do not want to be implicated in a legal battle — so they often claim that they do not know, that they cannot say, and that you cannot rely on anything they say,” Amato writes. “Alternatively, you may get different opinions, based on whom you ask, or encounter election officials who just don’t know the law they are enforcing, even in some of the biggest states, as we found in 2004 in California.”

Commissions and boards set up to monitor elections, such as The Federal Election Commission, are also composed almost exclusively of Republicans and Democrats. 

Amato describes mastering the Federal Election Commission campaign finance laws as equivalent to learning “a foreign language in a few days” and then trying to teach it to campaign staff and volunteers who have little or no experience with federal regulations.

The national, state, and local branches of the Republican and Democratic parties contract vendors and political consultants to work on each campaign cycle. This is usually not true for third parties and independents, who lack the resources and funds to build a permanent campaign infrastructure. The two ruling parties can also rely on Super Political Action Committees, or Super PACs, to raise unlimited amounts of cash from wealthy individuals, labor unions, corporations and other political action committees. The Super PACs can make unlimited “independent” expenditures on behalf of the campaign, although they are not supposed to give directly to the campaign or co-ordinate their activities with federal candidate committees. 

Republicans and Democrats, because they raise so much money, have no incentive to participate in the public financing system or create an alternative one that might assist third parties and independents.

“What do impoverished third-party and independent candidates have?” Amato writes. “They get federal financing for the general election only after the fact — if, and only if, they break five percent of the national vote total. The uncertain possibility of getting money after the fact is just about useless to the candidate running in the current election who cannot count on it, though it may be helpful to the party next time around.”

If third parties and independents are willing to subject themselves to an automatic and onerous federal audit, as well as meet a variety of precise financing requirements in at least 20 states, and agree to spending limits in all states and overall for their campaigns, they may be eligible to qualify for primary election matching funds.

As the book “Third Parties in America,” points out, the Federal Election Commission Act is “a major party protection act.”

Those that attempt to challenge the stranglehold of the Republican and Democratic party duopoly are attacked as spoilers, as being naive or egomaniacs. These attacks have already begun against Cornel West, who is running for The Green Party nomination. The underlying assumption behind these attacks is that we have no right to support a candidate who champions our values and concerns. 

“In 2016, the Green Party played an outsized role in tipping the election to Donald Trump,” wrote David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns,  “Now, with Cornel West as their likely nominee, they could easily do it again. Risky business.”

This is the same message that was repeatedly delivered by Democratic Party officials, the media and celebrities to discredit Ralph Nader, who received more than 2.8 million votes in the 2000 election, when he was a candidate. 

Independents and third parties do not yet pose a serious threat to the duopoly. They usually poll in the single digits, although Ross Perot received nearly 19 percent of the popular vote. They raise only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars available to the Democrats and Republicans. The Biden-Harris campaign, Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising committees, for example, raised $72 million from April to the end of June. Former President Donald Trump, raised more than $35 million from April to the end of June. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis raised $20 million in the same period. Cornel’s campaign has raised $83,640.28, according to Jill Stein who is managing Cornel’s campaign. 

Biden raised $1billion to fund his 2020 presidential race. The total cost of the 2020 elections was a staggering $14.4 billion making it, as Open Secrets pointed out, “the most expensive election in history and twice as expensive as the previous presidential election cycle.”

Third party candidates and independents are nevertheless dangerous to corporate-indentured Republicans and Democrats because they expose the duopoly’s political bankruptcy, dishonesty and corruption. This exposure, if allowed to persist, will potentially fuel a wider movement to bring down the two party tyranny. The Republican and Democrat parties, for this reason, mount sustained campaigns, amplified by the media, to discredit its third party and independent rivals. 

The government directed censorship imposed on social media, as Matt Taibbi exposed, is aimed at shutting down critics from the left and the right who attack the ruling power elite.

You will hear far more truth, for example, about the apartheid state of Israel and the suffering of Palestinians from Cornel than from any Republican or Democratic candidate, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who supports the Israeli government.

There are numerous problems with our electoral system: voter suppression, difficulties in registering to vote, the cumbersome process of often casting a ballot, the flawed mechanisms used to count votes, the 30 or 40 incumbents who run in each election cycle for Congress unopposed, redistricting, denying residents of Washington, D.C. voting representation in Congress, denying the right to cast a ballot for president or a voting member of Congress to the peoples of U.S. “territories”— such as Guam and Puerto Rico, the disenfranchisement of over three million ex-felons and the purging of millions of non-felons from the voter rolls, and the absurdity of the Electoral College, which sees candidates such as George W. Bush and Donald Trump lose the popular vote and win the presidency.

But these problems do not compare to the obstacles placed in front of third parties and independents which mount and run campaigns. 

The ruling corporate parties are acutely aware that they have little to offer a disillusioned public other than more wars, more austerity, more government control and intrusion into our lives, more tax breaks for Wall Street and corporations and more misery for working men and women. They use their control of the electoral system to force us to choose between mediocrities like Donald Trump — and major Democratic donors such as Lloyd Blankfein said they would back Trump if Bernie Sanders was the Democratic Party candidate — and Joe Biden. The only electorally viable candidates outside the two-party structure are the very rich, such as Ross Perot or Michael Bloomberg, who, as Amato writes, are able to “buy their way around the barriers of ballot access restrictions and nonexistent media coverage.” 

Voters do not vote for who they want. They vote against those they have been conditioned to hate. The oligarchy, meanwhile, is assured its interests are protected.

No Republican or Democratic presidential candidate has any intention of halting corporate pillage. They will not curb the fossil fuel industry or combat ecocide. They will not rebuild our decayed infrastructure and failing educational system. They will not reform our predatory for-profit health care system or restore our right to privacy by halting wholesale government surveillance. They will not institute public financing of elections to curb the legalized bribery that defines elective office. They will not raise the minimum wage. They will not end our permanent wars. 

Third parties and independents, even if they poll in the single digits, are a threat to the corporate duopoly because they back reforms, such as increasing tax rates for corporations and the rich, which have broad public support. They expose the corruption of a system that, without funding from billionaires and corporations, would collapse. On nearly every major issue — war, trade policies, militarized police, suppression of the minimum wage, hostility towards unions, revoking of civil liberties, gouging of the public by big banks, credit card companies, big pharma and the healthcare industry — there is little or no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.  

Monolithic  power always confuses privilege with moral and intellectual superiority. It silences critics and reformers. It champions bankrupt ideologies, such as neoliberalism, to justify its omnipotence. It fosters intolerance and a craving for autocracy. These closed systems throughout history, whether monarchical or totalitarian, ossify into bastions of greed, plunder, mediocrity and repression. They lead inevitably to tyranny or revolution. There are no other options. Voting for Biden and the Democrats will accelerate the process. Voting for Cornel will defy it.


* * *

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: "Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you, but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride."

* * *


The Russian forces thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack on the port of Sevastopol in the annexed-Crimean Peninsula, according to the Moscow-installed governor of the region. The drones caused no damage.

Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling of an administrative building killed three civilians in the village of Stepnohirske in the southern Zaporizhia region. “There are three wounded: two women and a man,” said Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration.

Moscow-backed officials in Zaporizhia, meanwhile, said Ukrainian forces destroyed a school in the village of Stulneve, while air defence forces intercepted a drone over the city of Tokmak.

Ukrainian and Polish officials said fighters from the Wagner Group arrived in Belarus from Russia, a day after Minsk said the mercenaries were training the country’s soldiers southeast of the capital.

Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, said a group of neo-Nazis was arrested in connection with a Ukrainian plot to kill Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-funded RT international television channel, and journalist and celebrity Ksenia Sobchak. The FSB did not say how many people were arrested, but Russian media later said seven suspects had been put in detention by a Moscow court.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had completed its planned spring call-up of 147,000 military conscripts, 12,500 more than in the previous year’s draft.


South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol made a surprise visit to Ukraine and pledged to expand non-lethal aid to Ukraine, including body armour and helmets. Yoon, who toured the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin and Bucha, said South Korea will provide humanitarian aid worth $150m this year, up from $100m last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in which they discussed the Black Sea grain deal. The Russian leader said the main objective of the deal, “namely the supply of grain to countries in need, including on the African continent, has not been implemented”. The agreement is due to expire late on Monday.

Ukraine criticised Bulgarian President Rumen Radev over his claims that Kyiv is to blame for Russia’s ongoing war and that supplying arms to Ukraine only prolongs the conflict. Blaming the war on Ukraine, which “was treacherously attacked by its northern neighbour, is one of the most common supporting theses of Russian propaganda and hybrid warfare in Europe”, the Embassy of Ukraine in Sofia said.

Brokering peace between Russia and Ukraine is beyond the remit of the G20 and such efforts will be best undertaken by the United Nations and through bilateral negotiations, India’s sherpa to the bloc told the Reuters news agency.

* * *

HAPPY 86TH BIRTHDAY TO DAVID HOCKNEY! A man who, when he was 82, sat down in the north of France and painted the arrival of spring in all its vigor and subtleness. 

"It begins with absolutely nothing on the branches and they end up covered in leaves... To show the full arrival of spring, you have to start in the winter and go into the summer a bit, and then you see all the differences and all the rich things that happen to each tree."


  1. peter boudoures July 17, 2023

    “Nobody, not the CEO, not department heads, not supervisor, can disperse county funds. Only the auditor can make a payment. I’d like the transaction log for the past five years. Every record. Where is it and why won’t anyone let me see it?”

    -Ted Williams

    • Ted Williams July 17, 2023

      Try piecing together the county’s healthcare chronology. Story goes, Auditor-Controller Lloyd Weer received communication from the state that the county’s healthcare fund had grown too large and to spend it down. The county reacted by offering a contribution “holiday”. Who at the state made the request? Can I see a copy of the communication? What was the fund balance at the time? When I joined the county, I was told there was a $2.5M reserve …. but later I heard there never was a reserve. Eh? If we can’t get a balance sheet on the entire organization, how about a transaction log of the health plan, 2013 to present, just so we can all understand exactly what has transpired.

      If the Auditor-Controller was running the financial management of the county health plan, which employee provided the audit of same?

  2. David Jensen July 17, 2023

    Harry Dean Stanton was a real treasure. I particularly loved his singing. His rendition of Everybody’s Talking At Me is a favorite, Cancion Mixteca is memorable, but the most touching is “Volver” from his final movie “Lucky.” He played the title role, a dying outsider in a Hispanic community who gets invited to a child’s birthday fiesta. A lonely man moved by the love around him, he spontaneously launches into a touching song: . For the context- .

    • Marco McClean July 17, 2023

      Two great movies that I think go together, both about epic old men: /The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot/, and Harry Dean Stanton’s last film, /Lucky/.

      • Marmon July 17, 2023

        One of the things I like about Ted is that he’s not a true Democrat. In the last 3 years he has exhibited a lot of conservative behavior. Keep up the good work Ted.


        • Marmon July 17, 2023

          the above post ended up in the wrong place, anyway I love Ted.


  3. Chuck Artigues July 17, 2023

    Ask a pregnant woman in Texas if there is a difference between republicans and democrats.
    Go ahead and vote green so we can have more christian nationalists on the supreme court.

    I’m not saying I don’t support third parties. They need to start small and build up, not a top down ego trip. Building a movement is hard and takes time.

    On the positive side, I made it to Anchor Brewing on Saturday and scored some Liberty Ale and Old Foghorn, then saw Neil Young at the Greek.

    • Chuck Dunbar July 17, 2023

      First paragraph–Perfectly made points, clear as can be.

      Third paragraph–God Bless Neil Young, a genuine American treasure. He’s been with us for the long ride…

      Thanks, Chuck

    • Eric Sunswheat July 17, 2023

      Say the name: Ranked Choice Voting.

      RE: Chuck Artigues
      JULY 17, 2023
      Go ahead and vote green so we can have more christian nationalists on the supreme court. I’m not saying I don’t support third parties. They need to start…

      —>. July 10, 2023
      The instant-runoff voting method is commonly employed for the election of single members using ranked votes. Conversely, the election of multiple members using ranked votes typically utilizes single transferable voting (STV).
      There exist other systems applicable for single-member selection or multi-member elections. Ranked voting in multi-member districts plays a part in national elections in Australia, Ireland, Malta, and the United Kingdom—specifically, the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments.[1]

      On the other hand, single-winner ranked voting is used in the election of national-level politicians from the states of Maine[2] and Alaska[3] within the United States.
      Ranked voting is also utilized in Slovenia,[4] and Nauru. For certain local elections in New Zealand, ranked voting is used.[5]
      Moreover, in the United States, some cities, counties, and federal primaries across 16 states, as well as 5 additional states’ overseas voters for federal elections, employ ranked voting.

  4. George Hollister July 17, 2023

    Swallows, along with all living things are part of the food chain. Ravens eat young swallows, and so do Jays. A few years back the Swallow population around my house suddenly collapsed during nesting season. Baby Swallows were starving and dying. I walked outside one opportune moment, and witnessed a Sharp Shinned Hawk pickoff an adult Swallow as it left the nest on its way to hunt. The incident happened so quickly, with no sound to accompany it, that the Sharp Shinned Hawk could have been the one decimating the Swallow population, without notice, all along.

    Ravens have an advantage by being generalists and very intelligent, they take advantage of the human environment. So do coyotes.

  5. Mike J July 17, 2023

    Re: the cited alien theory beliefs of the Oxford professor.
    In the 1980s agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations from Kirtland AFB in NM and other DOD/IC insiders had a disinformation campaign targeted to steer a nearby physicist (Dr Paul Bennewitz) away from obsessing on signals transmissions from Kirtland AFB. They fed him BS that already aligned with his developing views of evil aliens.
    Basicly, what developed was what UFO historian Jerome Clark called the Dark Side in Ufology: a fusion of dark views of the Greys with John Birch Society visions of evil, controlling elites.

  6. Eric Sunswheat July 17, 2023

    RE: …apparently it had some fentanyl cut into it and he got a hot pocket. That’s the extreme case, but even habitual opiate users have largely not successfully adapted to the reality of synthetics as potent as fentanyl.

    —>. July 5, 2023
    As overdose deaths have spiked, the Gwayakobimaadiziwin Bad River Harm Reduction program is offering the opioid reversal drug nalaxone, more commonly known as Narcan, for free through the mail along with fentanyl test strips.
    “Wisconsin has a very high opioid overdose mortality rate, and figuring out different ways of reaching people who are at risk is something that we’re experimenting with,” said Philomena Kebec, economic development coordinator for the Bad River tribe…
    Because Indigenous people are dying at more than twice the rate in the state, it’s really important that tribes and Indigenous people are at the forefront of the response for their communities,” Hurst said…
    Most individuals requesting naloxone are white, while Indigenous residents accounted for only 3 percent of orders…
    In addition, Milwaukee County has been filling vending machines with free supplies of Narcan and fentanyl test strips as the county is anticipated to set another record for overdose deaths for the fourth year in a row…
    Within the Bad River reservation, Kebec said they’re trying to identify the root causes of opioid use and take steps to prevent overdoses.
    “Naloxone is a great medication,” she said. “But what’s even better is if we can get people into the care that they need, so that they’re not at risk of overdose in the first place.”

  7. Sonya Nesch July 17, 2023

    RQMC, now Anchor (a better name) hires doctors and nurses to provide medical services to people, in addition to hiring support staff.

    Why do you think bringing in an outside corporation would be better than local people serving other local people?

    An outside corporation could bring in different medical providers, counselors and other staff unfamiliar to people receiving support services. How would you feel to walk into your clinic and find all new people? Some support staff have been working with the same people for years. An outside contractor could end that and hurt many people.

    How long and how difficult to you think it is to establish a trusting relationship with clients? Do you remember our County’s experience with the for-profit medical corporation Ortner?

    • Ted Williams July 17, 2023


      Why would the current vendor choose to not collect and present outcome data? Don’t you think the public deserves to know whether their millions are making a difference on par dollar for dollar with efforts elsewhere?

      • Marmon July 17, 2023

        How to Measure Progress Toward Mental Health Outcomes

        “There is a need for the wider use of objective, outcome-focused progress measures in mental health treatment and measuring mental health outcomes. For some clinicians, this will require shifting from measuring process to measuring outcomes”

        “Both clinicians and patients may track outcome measures. In behavioral health, patient reports are particularly important because it can be difficult for clinicians to actually “see” or observe improvements or identify any decline in mental health.”

        “It’s important to make a distinction between valid, behavioral health improvement-related outcome measures and patient satisfaction. A client may indicate that they’re satisfied with their treatment, and yet an outcome measure — like the number of times the patient has visited the emergency room because of feelings of anxiety — would tell an entirely different story.”

        James Marmon MSW
        Former Mental Health Specialist

        • Ted Williams July 17, 2023

          I can only think of one reason to not track outcomes.

          • Marmon July 17, 2023

            Process outcomes are meaningless if patient outcomes are negative. RQMC only shares process outcomes. Eight years into this ASO fiasco, one would think there would be some measurable success. Like I always told my co-workers, “If we did our jobs right, we would run out of work”.


            • Marmon July 17, 2023

              What is the difference between process and outcome measures in healthcare?

              Process measures can determine the volume at which cost-effective preventive services are performed, while outcome measures give a payer insight into the relationship between preventive services and healthier outcomes.


    • Marmon July 17, 2023

      Anchor is a much better name, because RQMC is a big anchor around Mendocino County’s neck. Time to move on, competition is good.


  8. Ted Williams July 17, 2023

    “This would be an improvement, theoretically, if it happens, which I doubt. It should have happened years ago. At this late date it is far from implementable. To de-privatize the ASO [Administrative Service Organization] functions now, all these years after CEO Angelo turned the function over to Schraeders, renewed year after year on a no-bid contract, Mendo will have to hire specialized administrators who will be hard to get, presumably people”

    …could be an A. A. Milne quote from a certain anhedonic character …

    • Bob A. July 17, 2023

      You made me run for my dictionary with anhedonic.

      Seriously though, it’s good to see you writing again in the hallowed pages of the AVA after such a long absence. Did the aliens at the BOS grant you an early release?

      • Ted Williams July 17, 2023

        Probably the most dangerous thing to happen as of late is a $25 early birthday gift to self, an AVA subscription starting Saturday.

      • George Hollister July 17, 2023

        Hear, hear. And it is OK to risk being wrong. We need the dialog.

  9. Chuck Dunbar July 17, 2023

    ED NOTES–The Democrats

    “This time around? The only person the Democrats have who seems to fully functional is Gavin Newsom…”

    For your consideration, Bruce: Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Governor, is a tough, get-the-job-done progressive. An experienced politician, ex-prosecutor, smart, and she speaks in real terms of working for the peoples’ interests. If Biden withdraws, I’d love to see her take on Trump and shred the guy.

  10. Sarah Kennedy Owen July 17, 2023

    Regarding the raven/crow/swallow situation.: Take heart, the crows may go away! We had a whole murder of crows living nearby in an oak tree. We could not hear them but the people who lived near the oaks must have gotten an earful. The crows have moved on and the ravens keep them out. However, I must say, I have never actually seen a crow or raven take babies out of their nest. That’s not to say it never happened. My biggest worry with the birds is the global warming situation, which makes it hard for the parents to keep the babies alive during the hottest days. Also, water is sometimes hard to get during a drought. If you look at the Capistrano swallows (and there is a beautiful book , written and illustrated by Leo Politi, “The Song of the Swallows”, for children, on the subject of the Capistrano swallows) you will notice that the mission where they returned had a huge fountain/birdbath which may have been what kept them coming back. Also, the practice of using pesticides on produce and grapes can kill a lot of delicious tidbits for the birds. So far, the birds do hunt in the vineyards and seem to be getting lots of food. But it could be that insect populations are going down, and thus the bird populations will diminish as well.

  11. Bob A. July 17, 2023

    Don’t worry, neither crows nor ravens lay eggs or have babies. According to something I read on the internet, their fledglings are spontaneously generated from smoke and lightning.

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen July 17, 2023

      Yeah I’ve never seen a crow or raven lay an egg either, lol. Probably a conspiracy by the right wing or left wing to control the weather and therefore, by encouraging lightning, breed more ravens and crows which will wipe out the “good” birds and make us all depressed and commit suicide. However, we do see the ravens teaching their young to fly. So I assume there is some kind of bond there. Is that all there is to sanity, reasonable observation?

  12. Mike J July 17, 2023

    Admiral Kirby addressed the Schumer “UAP Disclosure Act” bill today at the White House.
    In that bill of 64 pages, there’s all sorts of provisions that reference extraterrestrial tech and biological material and the act would give the government eminent domain powers to seize the tech and bodies. Kirby referenced AARO in the DOD and a commitment for transparency no matter the answer. Kirby refused to comment on what David Grusch has publicized. But, given Schumer’s bill, it would appear the Congressional gang of 8 is experiencing an entry into unfamiliar territory.

    The House Oversight Cmt will hold a UAP hearing on July 26 with reportedly 4 witnesses. A more serious hearing is also planned for by the Senate Select Cmt on Intel.

  13. Mike J July 17, 2023

    The biggest story in human history is about to become concretely evident to all except those who like flat earth society are in serious denial of an aspect of our existence.
    I would suggest studying the well vetted databases for close encounter of 3rd and 4th kind cases in order to avoid the lure of multiple and imagined narratives.
    The four works of published cases by retired Montana State University professor Ardy Sixkiller Clarke provides a good view of who is here and what they’re doing.

    • Bruce McEwen July 17, 2023

      Beam me, Scotty! I can’t endure another cycle of lesser-evil arithmetic to determine the lowest common denominator…. A policy to which all my more astute friends feel they are resigned to — I was particularly repelled by Chuck Artigues’s assertion that any attempt to abandon the corrupt DNC will automatically scuttle the ship of state ( or fools, as you please): so for the umpteenth time I recommend you blue dog Democrats to go read Blindness and Seeing by Nobel Laurette Jose Saramago —-

      • Mike J July 18, 2023

        Something like libertarian communism might be our future…..with AI as an enabling mechanism.
        (Jose was a self-described libertarian communist.)

        PS: Caitlin Johnston is talking about the UAP issue right now on twitter…..she seems very interactive with commentators.

  14. Bruce McEwen July 17, 2023

    I would like to ask R. Crumb the cartoonist if he ever lived on Finley Point on Flathead Lake back before the celebs found it. I lived in a teepee on a Yellow Bay property my cousin and I rented from and absentee landlord and there was a cherry tree of Queen Ann”s cherries growing as a volunteer near the lakeshore and, just past that tree was a mailbox with the name R.Crumb on it and my cousin and I were big fans of Zap Comics and I was just idly wondering whither or no our esteemed editor, or anyone from our exhaustively erudite readership, could comment on this particularly long lived mystery to me…. ?

  15. Norm Thurston July 18, 2023

    The Board of Supervisors continues to defend its consolidation of the Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector Offices (though I am not sure how the argument that it was not a combination, just an elimination of one department head, works).

    At the same time, they are rightfully concerned about the possibility of losing revenue due to parcels which have not been accurately assessed. One should remember that it was not too many years ago that the Office of Assessor was consolidated into the County Clerk-Elections Office. Would the current loss of revenues have happened if we still had an elected County Assessor? There’s plenty of room for speculation, but I think it is unlikely those losses would be happening if we still had an elected Assessor.

    • Ted Williams July 18, 2023

      These offices were not functional prior to the consolidation of two elected heads.

      The record keeping appears to be grossly deficient, hence the explosive reaction to asking for records.

      Time will tell, but I expect a story to unfold.

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