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Mendocino County Today: Monday, July 24, 2023

Cooling Interior | Peachland Sky | Philo Towing | High Expectations | AV House | Tippett Resigns | Teacher Dolan | Todd's Point | Ed Notes | Trophy Winners | Law Enforcement | Westport Berries | Headlands History | Ukiah Fair | Boonville Fair | 1915 Class | Yesterday's Catch | Flock Hornblower | Gender Based | Conversation Loss | Little Exercise | Niner Predictions | Hated Brunch | Florida Curriculum | Grandma Bell | Gender Bent | Ukraine | Ask Me | One-Two Punch | Record Idiocy | War Film | Being Poor

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TEMPERATURES will continue to slightly cool today with quiet, seasonable weather continuing through the week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 50F under clear skies this Monday morning on the coast. The fog is out there, (check my Facebook pages to see satellite shots & full forecast) we might see some tomorrow morning but in general we are expecting mostly clear skies this week.

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Peachland Road (Steve Derwinski)

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E&J TOWING & RECOVERY, formerly Starr Automotive, is open for business at the same old site in central Philo. The bona fides of the new owner? Impeccable! He's James Maki, a first cousin of the much-missed Bob Maki, who responded so promptly and so efficiently to the Anderson Valley's automotive disasters for so many years we took him for granted as a community amenity as steady and as reliable as sunrise. Bob is at his Boonville home enjoying a well-earned retirement from those 3am winter calls he unfailingly answered. Triple A? It's complicated, and I don't want to make it even more complicated by attempting to explain the new procedures which, I'm sure, James Maki can explain to you card holders.

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At the suggestion of Beverly Dutra, I am sharing our Athletic and Parent/Guardian/Student Handbook. John Toohey has done a great job on re-establishing high expectations for the athletic programs, and we are holding the line with weekly grade checks for no student to play with an F and the Board just moved that up to a D- with Superintendent and Board discretion. This is far more stringent that most districts that base eligibility on the last semester but we require week by week eligibility. 

The no cell phone policy will be a challenge, but the parents/guardians need to help us, help their kids to get the best education possible without the distraction of this device that didn't exist 20 years ago...

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District

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BILL KIMBERLIN: This is a Mid-Century Modern house above Anderson Valley in the Mendocino wine country. It is in a forest location that has been brightened up with some tree trimming. You get a pond with Koi fish big enough for a small rowboat. Lots of acreage to roam around on and it is priced in the high five hundreds.

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I had a serious mental health crisis last Thursday night, behind the stress of being on the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board. 

I sent the following to the Board and the County Clerk Assessor Recorder:


Unfortunately, for mental health reasons, I find it necessary to resign my position on the Board of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District, effective immediately.

I genuinely believe that I am leaving the District better than I found it. There is much more work to do, but at this time, I need to step back, regroup, heal and rediscover joy in living.

I apologize to the people of the District who voted for me and placed their faith in me. I ask for kindness and forgiveness, but this is something I must do to take care of myself.

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Catching up on my AVA reading, I'm up to July 5. I was really sad to read Paul Dolan's obituary. He was truly an all-around nice guy. I went online to read his other obituaries. They were all extremely positive about him as a person, but nobody mentioned that he was a great teacher. I took his introductory winemaking course at Mendocino college in the early 80s. He was empathic in his teaching methods. He made sure that students understood what he was saying. I also learned from him that I really did not want to make wine! However, he was the inspiration for me planting 100 vines in front of my house on the top of Spyrock. I was young enough and dumb enough not to know that our frost free day was early June and that if I were lucky, I might have enough grapes to eat once every 10 years, but the leaves are always pretty in the fall. When the class ended, I think everyone was very sad to not have that one day a week with him. What a great guy. RIP Paul.

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Todd's Point (Dick Whetstone)

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STEPHEN ROSENTHAL to Supervisor Ted Williams: “…I’ll give you one thing: you’re quite skilled at avoiding uncomfortable questions and making it appear that you are providing a detailed explanation.”

EGGSACTLY. I give Williams high marks for wading in to refute his critics on our comment line, the only supervisor, apart from John McCowen, to do so. Ever. But comrade Rosenthal is correct; Williams is indeed a master of seeming to provide knowledgeable refutations of this or that criticism without doing so. I'll read the Supervisor's response three or four times in fruitless searches for meaning, and come away, brow furrowed, as uninformed as I began. Maybe Williams is a secret comedian. Maybe he enjoys tossing out bafflegab to his mystified constituents, which would be very funny, at least to me, if that's what he's up to. But I've never gotten so much as a whiff of irony outta the dude sooooo… And like Mr. Rosenthal I would like an explanation of the uniquely premature, extremely weird endorsement of Trevor Mockel for Supervisor, naturally seconded by his four snoozing colleagues with no questions asked. 

HERE'S PROBABLY how the Mockel endorsement went down: State Senator McGuire told Williams he wanted Mockel for a Supervisor's sinecure, 80-plus grand a year for two meetings a month and maybe five phone calls a week from duped constituents. Mockel, who seems to be more or less unemployable, is a former aide to McGuire, and the way the monarchical Democrats of the Northcoast operate, and Williams being one of their most loyal serfs, Williams snapped to, “Yes, sir, Senator. No prob getting the Mockel endorsement from the other four. Hell, they don't even read the agenda until they show up for meetings. They'll wave Mockel right on through. Er, who is he again?”

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, USAF ret., a man with the powers of recall as formidable as the proverbial elephant, occasionally responds to Williams, citing chapter and verse. Williams either doesn't respond, a sure sign he's been caught jiving us again, or he launches another one of his bafflegab rockets. The guy's an interesting case, for sure.

THE ICO out of Gualala, or, as the weekly paper might prefer, “MendoNoma,” is a welcome read here at the ava mostly, I'll confess, for signs of unconsciously funny headlines of the plodding, off-putting type. How boring can they get? The ICO seldom disappoints. “Sonoma Supervisors approve long-awaited LCP,” and a metaphorical chloroform-soaked rag slaps the reader into an instant coma. “Mendocino County appraised valuation on the rise — more tax revenue on the horizon,” which is both untrue and boring. “Smart phones may fail in extreme heat waves,” good news for sure, but hardly worth five hundred words, or any words at all beyond the hed. 

THESE SNORERS were from page 3. I counted 10 more throughout. But darned if the dauntless Southcoast weekly didn't knock it outta the park with this rare bit of headline wit: “Pier Pressure: Point Arena committee seeks solutions for cash-strapped cove.” Not bad, and intriguing enough to get me to read the story by Noah Leffler. Promote the kid to headline editor immediately!

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by Jim Shields

I want to let everyone know that the overwhelming number of positive responses to my recent series on “Crime and No Punishment” appears to be showing some results.

I’ve called for the state of California and local governments to abandon the Pandemic-era failed experiment of emptying jails via “catch-and-release” policies that allow crooks and criminal misfits to avoid incarceration. It’s undeniable that some of these new laws and policies seriously undermine basic public safety.

Sheriff Matt Kendall issued a public statement supporting these moves: “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.”

One of the issues Kendall referred to was the fireworks over a human trafficking bill that occurred on Tuesday, July 11, when oh-so-politically-correct Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, deceptively 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. As Kendall pointed 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 that had already won unanimous approval in the state Senate.

Kendall also pointed out that, “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 whom 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.”

Recently in Laytonville, we experienced what Sheriff Kendall was concerned about with the vengeance factor when a crowd of 25 to 30 of 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 and restored order.

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 injured seriously. Most of those assembled at the school arrived there in response to information sent out on social media.

Needless to say, Sheriff’s detectives are actively continuing their investigation and gathering evidence.

A long-time Laytonville resident, C. Darr commented, “Thank you Jim, you have put in print what so many of us citizen’s have been desiring to express. I thought maybe it was only Laytonville experiencing this insane ‘let the criminals have their way crap.’ I was told, ‘You can’t arrest crazy people even when they trespass!’ And what happened to all the promises to help the mentally ill in our county. We are seeing more drug abuse and mental illnesses then ever before. And I have lived in Mendocino County for 60 years!!”

Heather McKenzie, of Mendocino County, asked, “Most California citizens are aware of the lack of punishment, if any, so what do we collectively do about it?”

For certain, people are starting to get involved and engaged with local government representatives in attempting to come up with solutions.

For example, this Thursday I received this notice from the Willits Chamber of Commerce:

This Is An Important Event — Please Attend

City Of Willits

Shoplifting Forum

Aug. 2, 2023 at 2 p.m.

Willits Community Center (City Hall)

City Manager, Brian Bender

Police Chief, Fabian Lizarraga

Discussion of the Shoplifting issues our Merchants have been experiencing.

Shoplifting is one of those crimes that is plaguing the entire state not just Mendocino County due to “catch and release” policies.

Obviously, it’s a good thing Willits folks are getting together with local government reps and the police to try and figure out how to solve what is clearly a state government-created problem.

So that’s all good news, let’s see where it all goes.

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SCOTT WARD (Re Jim Shields’ ‘Crime & No Punishment’): The one party rule in the California legislature and in the governor’s office is responsible for the court’s inability to incarcerate criminals for a suitable length of time and hold them accountable for their actions. Elections have consequences.

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Sheriff Matt Kendall: There is a new wrinkle in this chasm of change. The state prison system has been calculating credits in some strange fashion that when explained makes no sense.

Our judges hand down a sentence based on the facts. Then the folks at CDCR are somehow allowed to change the sentence thus circumventing the orders of our judges.

A gifted mathematician armed with a Texas Instruments calculator and the good old abacus wouldn’t know if he was on foot or horseback trying to follow the logic on these releases. It’s pure alchemy. The confusion is truly a portion of how this is happening and it’s time for it to stop.

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Berries, Westport Landing (Jeff Goll)

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Beth Bosk:

A development company housed in Reno was prepared to build condominiums on the south side of Main Street, which would totally block views of the bay. The County informed a group gathered by Mildred Benioff that the only way to prevent this from happening without the very expensive incorporation of the town of Mendocino was to press the State into buying the headlands from Al Nichols, the editor of the Mendocino Beacon (and the last of the family line) who owned the entire fringe of the town. The State of California agreed to turn the free beach and the landscape into a new state park, but only if the county formed a new District that protected the architectural integrity. Hence, the Mendocino Historical District, protected by a local ordinance (which the County of Mendocino would enforce). The Ordinance was meant to be very picky: it prohibited the constructions of not only new modern-looking structures, but also additions to current houses and stores: anything that did not look like the buildings constructed in the 1870s. That included height: (two floors and an attic), fences, windows (no pane glass, and the color of the painted exterior. In return: the citizenry of Mendocino was give a limited home rule. A Board of five residents would make the decisions as to which construction complied. Alvin Mendosa, then, the manager of Mendosa's made the rounds of Portuguese flats (most of whom were related to him) and convinced a very skeptical old-timer community that a board led by himself would not interfere with whatever it was they considered to be maintenance of their houses and property.

Nick Wilson:

Thanks for your good brief history of the Mendocino Historical Review Board. However not everyone knows when these changes happened. In the early 1970s Mildred Benioff, together with Gerry Grader and artist Emmy Lou Packard, organized the effort to prevent the corporate takeover of Mendocino.

Al Nichols, heir to the Heeser properties including the western headlands and the Mendocino Beacon, didn't own the headlands south of Main St. Union Lumber Co. had owned it since buying out the assets of the Mendocino Redwood Company during the depression of the 1930s.

In 1968 Boise Cascade Corporation bought out all of Union Lumber's holdings. Under Boise's ownership there were proposals to build high-rise condos south of Main St., and that's what got locals working to prevent that. In 1972 Georgia Pacific Corporation bought out all of Boise's holdings, after Boise got in legal trouble over aggressive and deceptive real estate marketing in the Sierra.

So it was GP that owned the south headlands in 1974 when the state agreed to buy those lands for the new Mendocino Headlands State Park, which also included the former Heeser lands comprising all of the area now accessed by Heeser Drive.

Recognized for the quality of its architecture and the integrity of its natural setting, the Mendocino and Headlands Historic District was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The above is accurate to the best of my knowledge and memory.

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This year’s Redwood Empire Fair theme is a “Jungle of Fun,” and a jungle of free fun awaits fairgoers, including brand-new attractions. The Fair runs Thursday, August 3rd to Sunday, August 6th . 

A $5 discount on carnival wristbands is available until opening day. The unlimited one-day-use wristbands may be used any day. Discounted wristbands are $30 each and available at three Mendo Mill locations- Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits, Ukiah Taco Bell, Raley’s, Super Chavez Market, Creative Workshop and JD Redhouse in Willits. Wristbands must be purchased by 2:00 PM on Thursday, August 3rd. 

Opening Day admission is free for seniors 65 and up and children ages 6-12 until 6:00 PM. Children under five are always free. The Fair’s low-cost admission includes music, Speedway events, contests, Ag competitions, animal shows, building exhibits and street entertainment. 

While savoring your funnel cake, enjoy Mickey O’Connor, who perform juggling, physical comedy, unicycling tricks and stunts three times daily. Check your fair schedule at for performance times. 

Look for Flo the Clown’s painted face and pink outfit. She might be driving her tricycle or her Flomobile, making balloon animals or painting someone’s face! Flo strolls through the Fairgrounds three times daily. 

Comedy Hypnotist Chris Mabrey started in the business at the age of 9, and today offers an improvised, customized show that is different for every audience. HIs training with some of the world’s best hypnotists as well as possessing a degree as a psychotherapist make his shows both memorable and hilarious! Mabrey will perform two shows daily on the Willow Tree Stage. 

There’s even more free fun on the Willow Tree Stage. Enter the Pie Eating Contest on Friday at 3:30 PM. Start your intermittent fasting routine for Saturday’s corn dog eating contest at 4:00 PM. And there’s still a chance break the 62-dog record of Joey Chestnut! The the hot dog eating contest begins at 5:00 PM on Sunday. 

There is nothing better than Fair food, except for Fair Cupcakes! Enjoy decorating and eating Fair-themed cupcakes from noon to 3:00 on Saturday and return to decorate and enjoy Fair-themed cookies from noon to 3:00 on Sunday. 

Pardini Appliance continues to be the generous sponsor for the traditional Diaper Dash on Saturday, August 5th at 2:30 PM on the Willow Tree Stage. The winning dasher’s family receives a washing machine. 

The exhibitors raising rabbits, poultry, swine, sheep and cattle are among the hardest-working youth in our community. Visit the livestock barns and watch the showmanship competitions on Thursday and Friday. The livestock auction begins Saturday morning at 10:30 AM. 

This year, real racing pigs will delight audiences three times daily in the Fair Circle area. For more animal adventures, don’t miss Brad’s Reptiles, returning to the fair with their exotic collection of everything from poisonous snakes and tortoises! They can be viewed in Carl Purdy Hall from the Fair’s opening until the building closes. 

The Ukiah Idol competition was created as a local way to mirror the ultra-successful television show. Many of those who have graced the Willow Tree Stage have gone on to professional careers. “Little Idol and Junior Idol” finals take place Friday, August 4th at 5:00 pm. The Grand Finals take place at 3:00 PM on Sunday, August 6th. 

This year’s Fine Arts, Junior, Flower and Home Arts Buildings are displaying a wide array of foods, baked goods, collections, quilts, photography and fine art. Cash prizes and ribbons are awarded to exhibitors who express the Fair theme in different divisions. The buildings are a wonderful relief from the heat and showcase our talented neighbors and friends. 

Get ready for four exciting days of pulse-racing and purely entertaining motorized activities in the Ukiah Speedway grandstand. Throughout the weekend, enjoy Motorcycles, Side-by-Sides, Quads, Mudd Boggs, Monster Trucks, Truck and Tractor Pulls, Boat Races, Junior Mudd Boggs and Jalopies. The checkered flag drops every evening at 6:00 PM. 

Local rock favorite Warehouse 21 is returning by popular demand to the Willow Tree Stage Thursday at 6:00 and 9:00 PM. On Friday, enjoy Waylon and the Wildcats at 6:00 and 9:00 PM. Their high energy, rocking country sound makes you want to move your ba-donk-a-donk! Ukiah’s favorite DJ Ken Steely will be MC’ing Karaoke and Country Dancing on Saturday at 6:00 and 9:00 PM, including a karaoke contest with a $250 cash prize for the winner! Sunday, Banda Pacifica returns to the fair to close out the weekend with a 6:00 show. 

The Fair opens at 3:00 on Thursday and Friday and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. For more information phone (707) 462-3884, visit the Redwood Empire Fair’s Facebook page or 

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July 23, 1921 - Frances Buchanan and John Harvey Ferrill were married at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. A few family members and friends attended the small ceremony, and Marie Buchanan, sister of the bride, served as bridesmaid.

Frances was the daughter of Hugh and Mary (Donahue) Buchanan of Elk. John was the youngest son of Henry and Annie Ferrill, who operated the general merchandise store in Albion. Both Frances and John attended local schools and graduated from Mendocino High School in 1915.

After high school, Frances enrolled in San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University) to obtain her teaching degree. After her college graduation, she returned to Mendocino County to teach. Later, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she taught in the Oakland schools.

John attended college at the University of California at Berkeley. His studies were interrupted while he served in France for a year during World War I, but he returned to the university after the war and graduated in 1920. Immediately following his graduation, he accepted a position as a marine adjuster with the insurance firm of Johnson and Higgins, Limited, where he was employed until his retirement in 1962.

John and Frances had two sons, John W. and William, who both served in World War II. John remained in the Navy, rising to the rank of Commander, while William became a Brother in the Society of Jesus following the war.

John H. Ferrill died in 1968 at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco at the age of 71, following a short illness. Frances died at 85 at St. Anne’s Home of the Aged in San Francisco in 1980. They are buried in the Santa Clara Catholic Cemetery in Santa Clara, California.

Mendocino High School Class of 1915. Members of the class of 1915 (not in order): Ruby Daniels, Oleva L. Nonella, Blanch H. Newton, Kathryn C. Boyle, Eunice H. Daniels, Lillian F. Alexander, Catherine F. Lammers, Frances Buchanan, Gladys R. McMaster, Yerda H. Matson, Charles C. Hurley, John H. Ferrill, Arthur W. Daniels, Ellen I. Branstrom, Charles E. Hee, George Bowman, Brian Dillingham, Archie A. Gordon, Jere E. Hurley.

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Mendocino Water Towers Tote Bag - Fifteen of Mendocino's iconic water towers are showcased on this unique tote bag, which makes a great gift, souvenir, or must-have on your next shopping spree. The original design is by local artist Michelle Noe. Enjoy identifying each tower (all are still standing) and get ready to receive compliments from those behind you in the grocery store line. The bag is 15" x15" x 7" and is made of sturdy canvas, perfect for carrying groceries or books. It is natural color with 23" long black handles. $20.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, July 23, 2023

Bright, Bursby, Caradine, Dishman

JORDAN BRIGHT, Ukiah. County parole violation.

TAILER BURSBY, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, kidnapping.

LEARTIS CARADINE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, county parole violation.

LEWIS DISHMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting.

Gaskill, Humphries, Iribe

GRETCHAN GASKILL, Hopland. Controlled substance while armed with firearm, loaded firearm in public, handgun-not registered owner, paraphernalia.

WILLIAM HUMPHRIES, Willits. Controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

NELSON IRIBE-BURGOS, Covelo. Failure to appear.

Junker, Langley, Lyon

JORDYN JUNKER, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, more than an ounce of pot, paraphernalia, probation violation.

MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)


Maxfield, Powers, Reyes, Yadon

CHARLES MAXFIELD JR. Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, registration tampering, suspended license.

JULIA POWERS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

FREDY REYES-RUBIO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

DAVID YADON, Willits. Controlled substance. 

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We’ve got a church across the street where a guy goes out front at 8:00 AM sharp on Sundays and blows a big sheep’s horn. No fancy getup or ceremony or anything, just the horn, always on time and never misses. Kinda cool. “Gathering the flock” and all that. I give him a big old thumbs up when I’m out in the yard, even though I’m not part of their flock.

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Fatuous Frisco (photo courtesy of Jonah Raskin)

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

The art of conversation, or at least practice, is as dead and gone as your grandmother’s DeSoto sedan.

This didn’t happen last week nor last decade but it makes no difference. We no longer sit and talk about wherever the conversation takes us; instead we watch what the television screen shows us.

I suppose it’s a big loss, but compared with some other things lost in recent times, Conversation would not appear among the ten most important.

This somewhat sad fact was apparent to me following a recent cross-country five-hour flight. I boarded a crowded San Diego-bound airplane in Charlotte, elbowed my way to Row 8, slung my leather carry-on box up among the others, and glanced down to find Seat D.

It was in the middle of a trio of chairs and I had to step awkwardly over a yellow Labrador dog while avoiding the knees of its owner. A few “oops” and an “excuse me” got me seated.

The Labrador was a seeing eye dog and my new neighbor was blind as you in a dark cave with a sleeping bag pulled over your head. I didn’t know just how impaired his eyesight was until he asked me, mid-flight, to help him find the restroom. It was more complicated than you’d think.

Of course I agreed to navigate to the bathroom 60 feet ahead, and proved it by stepping past him (name of Cody Kirchner by the way) and walking through filmy curtains into Business Class and boldly onward.

Then I discovered Cody hadn’t accompanied me; he was stranded 55 feet behind, pawing and flailing at confusing sheets of obstructive curtain, like stumbling through a big spider web in a dark room.

I retreated and apologized but for no need, he said, planting his right hand on my right shoulder as we strode smartly up the aisle. From there a stewardess held the lavatory door open but of course he couldn’t see it any better than he could see the curtains across the aisle. He groped. I took a forearm, nudged him through the door and left him alone to make sense of a tiny, unfamiliar room filled with odd buttons, locks, switches, handles and tissue dispensers.

Back in Row 8 we talked about our destinations and plans. He would deplane in San Diego, meet some teammates then go somewhere or other.

Teammates? I furrowed my brow quizzically, not that he noticed.

He explained. Cody is a member of the USA International Amateur Blind Soccer team and there were some upcoming west coast games.

The reader is invited to pause and read once again, perhaps aloud, the words “USA International Amateur Blind Soccer team.” Take your time.

Cody explained the soccer ball with rattles inside, protocols for approaching it while also avoiding onfield collisions, goalies with vision and a recent 1-0 victory against Canada. The best teams come from Brazil; the Americans are new to everything and have not yet hit their stride.

All this is a little beside the point when Cody talks about the first-in-a-lifetime thrill of running as fast as he can as far as he can for as long as he can, then collapsing on lush grass, smelling raw earth.

And the pride in pulling on a jersey that announces he represents USA on a world stage.

His dog, whose name I’ve regrettably forgotten, had laid his big blocky head on my shoes half an hour ago. It’s rare to the point of never that I’ve been so grieved to hear the pilot announce we were about to land.

He left the plane ahead of me and everyone else. When I last saw him he was standing still as a statue in the boarding area, big loyal dog seated beside him. “Need any help?” I asked. “Luggage carousel?”

Cody politely declined, saying his coach had been on the same plane and would soon take control. We said goodbye.

Everyone has a story and a life. Some guy, if you ask, is supposed to meet Jennifer Aniston for lunch, another guy had brain surgery last month and woke up speaking French. A woman’s grandma just won a Nobel prize, and her uncle was married to a WWII Navajo Code Talker.

Or we can lean back and watch onscreen flight entertainment choices.

Unsolicited review

We were looking for an experienced construction crew to do a modest but somewhat complicated project on our 120 year old house on the west side. Brian Bishop and ArcBishop Construction was (thankfully) recommended by friends.

Work quality was better than we’d anticipated, completed sooner than expected and all under budget. He did a variety of minor extra repairs without even mentioning them.

And Trophy the wife loved Brian’s dogs; she had them come over to play in the house while the work went on.

Five Stars, we say!

Another cool thing, says Tom Hine about striking up that airplane conversation: I told my wife that I was able to steal most of the guy’s pretzels off his tray table. The next morning TWK told her I was only kidding, and that it was really peanuts.

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25 PREDICTIONS FOR 49ERS SEASON: History Will Be Made. But The Superbowl?

by Eric Branch

I can’t sing, cook, dance, play an instrument, assemble furniture, understand algebra, change engine oil, speak a second language, recall what happened Tuesday and, in college, only thanks to a generous professor, I received a C-minus in “Physics For Poets.”

That said: I’m not totally terrible when it comes to forecasting what will happen during a San Francisco 49ers’ season.

Yes, it will be unfathomably sad when my family is left to trumpet this in the first line of the obituary. Still, given the vagaries of an NFL season, those are not words I expected to write when starting this annual exercise — making 25 49ers’ predictions before training camp — six years ago.

My biggest hits? So humbled you asked. In 2017, I predicted anonymous rookie tight end George Kittle would routinely be termed a “fifth-round steal” and would have 43 catches for 515 yards (actual numbers: 43 catches, 516 yards).

In 2019, I expected Jimmy Garoppolo would have 3,848 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (actual: 3,978, 27, 13).

In 2021, the crystal ball said rookie Trey Lance wouldn’t beat out Garoppolo, (a hottish take at the time) would complete 15 of 26 passes in his first fill-in start (He was 15-for-29) and would finish the season with 33 carries and 189 yards (actual: 38, 168).

Last year, I stated Nick Bosa would be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and have 17.5 sacks (He had 18.5).

You get the idea. And longtime readers might also have a question: Um, what about your whiffs?

Let’s get to the 2023 predictions!

1. A 49ers quarterback will suffer an injury. (Possibly in the next several minutes).

2. The 49ers’ season will end in uniquely heartbreaking fashion, meaning it won’t involve an overthrown would-be touchdown pass, a dropped would-be interception or a torn ulnar collateral ligament/concussion/Sourdough-Sam-at-QB situation.

3. The 49ers will finish 11-6, the same record as the Seahawks, and will win the NFC West title based on the conference-record tiebreaker.

4. They will dismiss the Cowboys 27-17 on wild-card weekend (duh), beat the new “America’s Team” — the lovable Lions — 23-19 in the divisional round and fall at Philadelphia 12-10 in the sub-zero NFC Championship Game because long snapper Taybor Pepper, due to malfunctioning hand warmers, frostbitten fingers and bad chicken soup, flings the snap for the would-be, game-winning, 22-yard field goal toward Altoona.

5. Wins: at Rams, vs. Giants, vs. Cardinals, vs. Cowboys, at Vikings, at Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, vs. Seahawks, at Cardinals, at Commanders, vs. Rams.

6. Losses: at Steelers, at Browns, vs. Bengals, at Seahawks, at Eagles, vs. Ravens. Didn’t expect them to go 0-4 against the AFC North after throwing darts, um, I mean comprehensively breaking down the matchups.

7. After all the recovery-timeline angst about his surgically repaired elbow, Brock Purdy will fully practice for the first time two full weeks before he starts the regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.

8. Purdy will miss four starts due to multiple injuries — none involving his elbow — and Sam Darnold will replace him after beating out Lance for the backup job in training camp. Darnold will sport a 3-1 record as a starter, throw seven touchdown passes and two interceptions and position himself for a nice free agent payday in 2024.

9. Purdy’s numbers: 3,016 yards, 24 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 68.9% completion percentage, 103.2 rating.

10. The 49ers will deal Lance to the Buccaneers at the trade deadline for 2024 third- and fifth-round picks.

11. The 49ers won’t regret making Jake Moody the highest-drafted kicker since 2016. The rookie third-round pick will make 24 of 28 attempts, including kicks of 56 and 59 yards.

12. Bosa will become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, signing his contract extension two hours before the first practice of training camp Wednesday. The numbers: Five years, $162.5 million with a $41 million signing bonus and $92 million fully guaranteed.

13. Running back Christian McCaffrey will break Frank Gore’s franchise record for yards from scrimmage in a season (2,180 in 2006). McCaffrey will have 1,342 yards rushing, 861 receiving and score 17 touchdowns.

14. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw won’t finally realize first-round expectations. He’ll average 11.7 snaps while playing 11 games. He won’t have a sack.

15. More bad news about a highly drafted defensive lineman: Pass rusher Drake Jackson won’t make a big leap after a disappointing rookie season. He’ll have 4.5 sacks and his lack of development will prompt the 49ers to trade for a pass rusher at the deadline.

16. Bosa will join Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald as the only players to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards. Bosa will have 19.5 sacks, tying Aldon Smith’s franchise record.

17. Notable players who won’t make the 53-man roster: tight ends Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner, running back Ty Davis-Price and linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles.

18. The 49ers’ first draft pick, third-round safety Ji’Ayir Brown, won’t beat out starter Tashaun Gipson, but he’ll be too good to keep off the field: Brown will play 402 defensive snaps.

19. Rushing leaders: McCaffrey (1,342 yards), Jordan Mason (562), Elijah Mitchell (412), Khalan Laborn (202). Yes, this includes a bonus prediction, free of charge: Laborn, an undrafted rookie, will stick.

20. Reception leaders: McCaffrey (93), Brandon Aiyuk (83), Kittle (65), Deebo Samuel (55).

21. Best value draft pick: Brown. The 87th overall pick will make it clear he’ll be a starter in 2024. And for many years to come.

22. Worst value draft pick: Cameron Latu. The third-round pick will serve as the No. 3 tight end behind Brayden Willis, a rookie seventh-round selection.

23. Best free-agent signing: Cornerback Isaiah Oliver. He’ll continue the 49ers’ recent tradition of stellar slot-corner play, while counting less than $1.7 million against the salary cap this season.

24. Worst free-agent signing: Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. The $84 million man will make an impact, but he won’t completely fill the void that was created when DeForest Buckner was traded in March 2020.

25. Bosa, McCaffrey, Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner, cornerback Charvarius Ward, left tackle Trent Williams and fullback Kyle Juszczyk will be voted to the Pro Bowl.

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

I HATED BRUNCH. No matter how badly I screwed up in my life or how unemployable I was, I could always get a job as a brunch cook because nobody wants to do brunch. Few people are good at it. I would find myself cooking these massive brunches on weekends, often for cash off the books, often under another name. So for me the smell of eggs cooking and French toast and home fries in the oven was always the smell of shame and defeat and humiliation.

– Anthony Bourdain

* * *


Dear Ron DeSantis: Consider all the Valuable Skills the Enslaved Taught Cracker Slave-Holders (For Which they were never Paid)

by Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The new Florida history curriculum on slavery says that some enslaved persons learned skills while enslaved that later benefited them, provoking shock and outrage across the nation.

One of the things that is wrong with this way of looking at the issue is the white nationalist assumption that white slavers were repositories of useful knowledge that they sometimes deigned to pass on to the poor benighted enslaved from the backward Dark Continent. I will come back to this point below.

Governor Ron DeSantis, who ordered the new standards, defended this point before an all-white audience on Friday, saying, ”They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed being a blacksmith into doing things later in life. But the reality is: All of that is rooted in whatever is factual.”

Uh, just so you know, West Africa had a long tradition of producing blacksmiths and likely some enslaved artisans came already knowing all about it...When challenged to give supporting details, the Florida Board of Education gave a list of 16 persons. On investigation, it was found that more than half of them weren’t enslaved, the rest didn’t learn any useful skills while enslaved, and one of them appears actually to have been white.

The curriculum puts an emphasis on those slaves who worked as tradesmen and artisans (for no salary) as opposed to vast majority, who toiled as field hands and often were worked to death, as Josh Marshall discusses. He sees a distortion of the record coming from such odd over-focusing on some things and neglect of others.

DeSantis’s sort of discourse ignores that the enslaved were strictly forbidden to learn to read and write English, and the few who did so had to resort to dangerous subterfuges. Not sure how many “useful skills” the illiterate could learn.

Being someone’s property, having him rape you at will, and his ability to sell off your spouse and children whenever he liked, seem to me to outweigh any minor skills an enslaved person picked up. There is not good evidence that very many of them picked up very many marketable skills, and mind you that if the southern slaver states had had their way no enslaved Africans would ever have been able to try to put any of his or her skills on the private market, what with being owned and all.

But let us turn the real direction of useful knowledge, which was often from the enslaved to the ignorant and often unlettered whites who happened to own them.

Sylviane A. Diouf in her Servants of Allah explores issues in the enslavement of West African Muslims in the New World. She argues that because they traveled from town to town seeking knowledge and teaching it, the West African Sufi masters and Muslim clerics were disproportionately at risk of being captured and enslaved, since they were so much on the road. We don’t know what proportion of enslaved Africans were Muslims, but it likely was between 10% and 20%. Because of the large number of Muslim clerics among them, the Muslim enslaved were disproportionately literate in Arabic and in other languages written in the Arabic script in West Africa, such as Wolof, Mandinka and Hausa. She says that many slave-owners prized these literate Muslims, who often also had good book-keeping abilities, and depended on them in that regard, since many white slave-owners were not very literate or well schooled.

Some of the enslaved West Africans were highly educated royalty or scions of old clerical families schooled in Timbuktu, who were well versed in Greek sciences adopted into Islam. Many could have debated Aristotle with any white intellectual if the white person learned Arabic (Thomas Jefferson studied it a bit but remained blithely unaware that some of his own slaves may have been able to read it). Many white slave owners and proprietors of smaller farms wouldn’t have had similar knowledge. Some of the enslaved left behind autobiographies and other documents in Arabic, as with Omar ibn Said.

Judith Carney in “The African Origins of Carolina Rice Culture” discusses how historians have shown that rice cultivation in South Carolina depended on West Africans’ knowledge of the crop and their discovery of a distinctive strain. Wetland rice farming is much more productive that upland rainfall-based farming of the crop. Not only did enslaved West Africans know much more about rice growing than Scottish immigrants to the Carolinas but African women in particular possessed specialized knowledge of growing this crop.

She observes, “In 1453, decades before ships would reach India and Asian rice systems, the Portuguese chronicler Gomes Eanes de Azurara visited the mouth of the Gambia River and recorded the first European mention of West African rice cultivation: “They arrived sixty leagues beyond Cape Verde [Senegal], where they met with a river which was of good width, and into which they entered with their caravels. . .they found much of the land sown, and many. . . fields sown with rice. . .And. . .all that land seemed. . .like marshes.”

Senegambia was a region from which many enslaved kidnap victims were brought to North America.

She adds, “Wherever rice cultivation occurs in West Africa, women are involved. Rice is either a female crop or onecultivated with a sharply demarcated gender division of labour, men preparing the land for cultivation and women in charge of sowing, weeding and hoeing.”

It is therefore no surprise that in colonial South Carolina, too, “female slaves constituted the majority of ‘prime hands’ on Carolina and Georgia rice plantations.Women were especially involved in the tasks of sowing the seeds, weeding and hoeing, their group labour with long-handled hoes described by one observer of an ante-bellum rice plantation as a ‘human hoeing machine’.”

Leland Ferguson in Uncommon ground: archaeology and early African America, 1650-1800 shows that slaver farm owners often depended on the “pioneering” skills of Africans in clearing wilderness, and their knowledge of how to use adobe in making walled houses, woodworking knowledge of how to carve wood into water buckets and how carve a canoe out of cypress trunks, make baskets, recognize and use useful herbs for seasoning and healing, and their knowledge of pottery. West Africans were often used as coopers because of their woodworking skill in making staves and hoops for barrels. He sees African architectural techniques everywhere he looks in the archeology of the colonial Carolinas.

My colleague Jason Young has done amazing work on the Black potters of South Carolina and the African techniques they brought to bear, which can be seen if pottery in the Carolinas in the 1850s and 1860s is compared to that being produced in Africa itself.

So Florida and Ron DeSantis should put all that in their pipes and smoke it. They should be grateful to generations of enslaved Africans for having provided to their white owners an encyclopedia of useful skills whereby the pampered whites could go on to provide for themselves after the end of slavery.

Maybe they should even think about finally paying the arrears owed to the families of those kidnapped Africans for all their contributions to the building of America.

* * *

* * *



This is concerning June Keefer’s letter about “pressuring” children to go through life-altering procedures for sex reassignment . As a physician, I have learned much in my almost 40 years of practicing that has been surprising and often counterintuitive. The scientific method is painstaking and iterative. It often takes years to clearly define cause and effect of drugs and/or actions.

The debate on gender dysphoria is currently in the public sphere only because Republicans are dragging it into the spotlight as they lack any clear idea of how to improve our lives. This issue is extremely personal. There are no parents forcing or grooming their children to change their birth sex — just imagine how difficult and heartbreaking this process is.

This has been studied extensively by the scientific community and pediatricians, who have arrived at guidelines to help this extremely small minority of the population cope with an issue that has historically been something no one could talk about. This issue deserves to be left in the personal space and not abused by feckless politicians.

Dr. Gerry Lazzareschi


* * *


Russia once again slammed the port city of Odesa with strikes overnight, killing at least one person and wounding 19 others, including children, Ukrainian officials said.

The strikes damaged a historic cathedral and other cultural sites, according to officials. Kyiv has vowed to retaliate, but its military's air defenses are struggling to fend off the repeated attacks on Odesa.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko joked with Russia's president Sunday about a Wagner private military group "excursion" into Poland. But the tensions are serious surrounding Wagner's presence in Belarus, near NATO's eastern flank.

Near the front lines, Russian shelling killed two people in the northeastern Kharkiv region and pounded areas near Zaporizhzhia in the south, local authorities said.

* * *

* * *

IN THEORY both mainstream political parties compete to make your life better than the other does so you’ll vote for them; in practice both parties openly oppress and impoverish you while focusing on murdering foreigners, and compete for your vote based on your feelings about artificial wedge issues. They’ve rigged the political currency they’d normally use to obtain votes in a way that guarantees the continuation of the status quo in every meaningful way, so the gears of the empire keep turning uninterrupted while the riff raff argue about hot-button wedge issues which don’t affect power, like “wokeness”.

It’s important to keep a clear vision of how much better it could be, though. Imagine if they were competing with each other to improve your quality of life and give you a nicer country to live in, so that they could take credit so you’ll support them. That’s how it should be.

To be clear, when I talk about how both mainstream political parties are used to advance the same agendas I am not saying that they are the same. I like to compare them to the jab and the cross in boxing; they’re two different punches thrown from different hands, and they’re used in completely different ways. But they’re both being used by the same boxer, and they’re both being used to knock you on your ass.

The cross, which happens to come from the right hand for an orthodox fighter, is a damaging knockout punch. But in boxing it’s generally worthless on its own; it might be useful in a pub brawl, but against a skilled boxer you need to set it up with the jab.

The jab — the left hand for an orthodox fighter — is a swift, stunning blow. You don’t see many knockouts with it, but you see it land with great frequency because it’s thrown by the hand that’s closest to the other fighter. And the beauty of the jab is that it can be used to set up the cross — the famed “one-two”, the most common combination in boxing.

That’s how the two mainstream parties work together to knock the public on their ass. The “left” party sets them up, and then comes the crushing knockout blow. Democrats fight off all efforts to move the US to the left when they’re in power, then Republicans come in and move it even further to the right. Democrats refuse to codify Roe V Wade, and Republicans come in to kill it. Democrats “reluctantly” give Bush war powers, he uses it to invade Iraq. Democrats inch up the brinkmanship against China, Republicans do whatever horrifying thing they’re going to do when they take power.

I’m simplifying things here for the sake of the argument (Obama was a horrific warmonger etc), but the left hand can do damage in boxing too. Ukraine was more comparable to a one-two from a southpaw fighter; Trump set it up with cold war escalations and by arming Ukraine, and Biden followed with the left cross.

Over and over and over again you see this happen, and over and over and over again you’re told that the solution to this problem is for everyone to simply never vote for Republicans. This despite the fact that the population is continually herded into an exact 50-50 political split by domestic propaganda, guaranteeing a continual pendulum between the two factions as opinions shift slightly based on who’s in office.

Saying that all you have to do is never have anyone vote for Republicans is like telling a boxer to go into a fight and only worry about the right hand. If you go in against a skilled boxer with an educated jab and only focus on avoiding the cross, you’re 100 percent guaranteed to get smashed to pieces by both the jab and the cross.

No boxer would ever do this. Instead, they focus on their opponent as a whole. That’s how you have to be about the two parties; stop thinking about them as two separate, competing entities and start looking at them as two weapons on the same enemy. Stop staring at one hand and start watching your actual opponent. Start watching their movements, start making some reads, and start figuring out ways to put some leather in that fucker’s face.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

* * *

THERE ARE VERY FEW GOOD FILMS ABOUT WAR. “20 Days in Mariupol” is an Exception

by Chris Hedges

Films about war, shorn of the bone crushing fear, the putrid stench of the corpses, the deafening noise of explosions, the constant exhaustion and the nervous anxiety that comes with trying to understand what is happening in the terrifying chaos, are pale and inadequate reflections of the vast enterprise of industrial slaughter. And these are the good films, of which there are only a few. 

Most feature war films and documentaries, from The Sands of Iwo Jima to Saving Private Ryan, are war pornography. They romanticize those wielding the terrible instruments of death. They justify the unjustifiable. They pay homage to the war machine. They entice naïve young men and women into becoming cannon fodder. They distort the public’s perception of war, leaving those who return from war and attempt to speak the awful truth alienated and ignored. 

Those in war who do the fighting, endowed with a god-like power to kill, are a minority. The real face of war is the hardship and grief suffered by civilians caught up in the maw of destruction. Their stories are hard to hear. Their fate is hard to see, which is why images from war are always sanitized. If we truly saw war, it would be so shocking, so disturbing, so disgusting, war would be hard to wage. The best accounts of war, for these reasons, eschew scenes of combat. 

The documentary “20 Days in Mariupol,” a chronicle of the first 20 days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, captures what I witnessed as a war correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. It fails, as all films about war must fail, but it succeeds where few films about war succeed. It relentlessly rips back the veil on war - fatally wounded children and pregnant women torn apart by shell fragments; the frantic and doomed efforts of doctors to save them; the shrieks and lamentations of those cradling the bloodied bodies of the dead; the collapse of the social order once the fragile structures of a civil society cease to exist and looting and pillage become a way to survive. In war there are only predators and prey. 

War is ugly and tawdry. Violence creates nothing. It only destroys — human beings, animals, schools, homes and apartment blocks, hospitals, bridges. It is the purest expression of death. All the forces that nurture and sustain life — familial, civil, social, cultural, ecological — are slated for obliteration. 

Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov and his colleagues, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, documented the first three weeks of the Russian assault on the port city of Mariupol. The three Ukrainian reporters were the only ones from a foreign news agency to remain in the city. The movie draws from 25 hours of film, only 40 minutes of which were transmitted to the AP editors. Much of the footage, even if it could all have been transmitted, would never have been disseminated. It is too graphic.

The film focuses exclusively on Russian atrocities. It ignores those committed by Ukrainians. I covered enough wars to know there were some. The neo-Nazi Azov Regiment, and other fascist-inspired militias, played a major role in the fighting in Mariupol. These militias have been accused of terrorizing and executing ethnic Russians and those suspected of sympathizing or working with separatists. The Azov Regiment’s symbol is a black “Wolfsangel,” an emblem used by Nazi units in World War II. The regiment embraces the fascist ideology of blood and soil. The fascist militias are absent in the film. This is by design. The journalists do not address the plight of ethnic Russians, although Mariupol is a largely Russian-speaking city. While most in the city consider themselves to be Ukrainian, almost half also identify as Russian. These ethnic Russians usually blame the war in the Donbas, which has been raging since 2014 and where the city is located, on the government in Kyiv. 

What happened to the ethnic Russians and separatists the Ukrainians considered collaborators? Were Ukrainian military units using hospitals as bases of operations in violation of the Geneva Conventions? There were scenes of armed Ukrainian soldiers in hospital corridors. The documentary leaves these questions unanswered. 

It is not that what we see in the film is not true. Rather, it is that the film omitted what would not reflect well on Ukraine. When you depend on military units for protection and logistics you censor your reporting. If the reporters had reported on the abuses and atrocities carried out by Ukrainian units the protection they received would have been withdrawn. As much as I admire the documentary, the lie of omission is still a lie. It is the most common lie told in war. Only reporters who dare to report without embedding in military units are free to report the truth. But this is very dangerous and lonely work. This willful self-censorship is a serious flaw in the film, but it does not distract from the power of the visceral footage or the courage of the reporters.  

There are almost no scenes of combat other than the burning remains of an anti-aircraft battery, the thud and explosion of Russian shells, the billows of black smoke, the roar of Russian jets, the distant rattle of machine guns and the occasional Ukrainian soldier firing down a deserted street. 

The film, as all films about war should, focuses on the human detritus. We see elderly men and women, who have lost their homes and possessions, boiling snow to get water. We see bewildered civilians huddled in basements. We see the shelling of a maternity hospital and graphic pictures of wounded and dead pregnant women. We see the frantic efforts, which fail, to save gravely wounded children, including a 4-year-old girl named Evangelina. We see the wailing mothers and fathers who clutch the bodies of their dead children, kissing them one last time before wrapping up their small, pale corpses. We see the rows of corpses in the hospital basement. We see the tears of medics and doctors as they struggle fruitlessly to save lives. We see the heroic work of firefighters and then we see some of their dust covered lifeless bodies in the bombed out remains of their firehouse. We see the freshly dug trenches where the dead, including those of children, are piled one on top of the other, at first wrapped in green garbage bags and later dumped unceremoniously into the pit as exposed corpses. 

“War is like an X-ray: all human innards are visible,” a doctor says in the film. “Good people become better. Bad people become worse.”

We also see the daily life of war reporters. Reporters intrude into the lives of those who have undergone unspeakable tragedies and trauma. Many of those filmed feel as if they are being treated by the press like exotic zoo animals, on display for cameras and foreign audiences. They spit venom at the reporters. “Prostitutes,” one enraged father snaps at the journalists. There is a mercenary quality to our work, however important it is to tell the story. While we chronicle the horror we are usually numb, although what we see and hear comes back to haunt us, especially at night, for the rest of our lives.

By the 11th day of the assault, with the Russians blockading the city from all three sides, the AP journalists must, at great risk, defy the curfew to hunt for a wireless connection. The life of a war reporter is consumed by these kinds of logistics, trying to get from one location to the next, trying to find out what is happening, trying to get a satellite or cell phone connection so pictures and reports can be sent. 

War reporters have a privileged status. We have powerful institutions that support us. We do not go hungry. We have body armor and armored cars. Those with far less protection and resources ensure we are protected and evacuated so the story can be told. Reporters and photographers, of course, can be wounded and killed. But our chances of survival are enhanced by our status. Volodymyr, a police officer, takes tremendous risks to help extract the AP journalists from a hospital surrounded by the Russian forces. He assists the journalists in escaping the city with their footage. We accept this status. We rationalize to ourselves that we deserve it. But we also are acutely aware that those whose stories we tell are often abandoned and that no matter the risks, no matter how many atrocities we document the world is largely indifferent. By the time the Russians took Mariupol an estimated 25,000 people were dead.

“Thousands have died,” says Chernov, who narrates the film. “We keep filming, but everything stays the same.” He refers to the forlorn hope of  Volodymyr, who said that “the image of a dead child will change the war, but we have seen so many deaths, how can we change anything?”

War reporters live with profound shame and guilt, as Chernov admits in the film. Few war reporters are neutral observers. We take the risks we take because we want justice. We want those who ordered and committed these crimes to be held accountable. Stories I wrote for The New York Times documenting Bosnian Serb atrocities were used as evidence in the International Court in the Hague to prosecute war criminals. This is why I wrote them. Chernov says in the film that he hopes one day his images will also bring some of the perpetrators to justice.

There is a brief clip of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, claiming that the images transmitted by the AP reporters from the bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol were staged, carried out by actors. 

Brazen lies are always the official answer to the crimes we expose. The Israeli government has turned lying into an art form. Israeli soldiers indiscriminately murder Palestinian civilians, including children, and blame the Palestinians for their own deaths or Hamas for using them as human shields or insist the civilians were combatants. During the war in Sarajevo the besieging Bosnian Serbs tried to float the lie that Bosnian army snipers in Sarajevo were killing their own civilians to garner international support, as if a city being peppered with constant sniper fire and hundreds of shells a day lacked adequate numbers of wounded and dead. 

The film is mostly chronological. Each day is documented as the Russian forces tighten the noose. Those interviewed in earlier parts of the film appear later, sometimes as corpses. Death is a constant companion. You look for someone, even a friend, and find out they no longer exist. The film does a masterful job of communicating the randomness of death, the indiscriminate fury of modern weapons and the helplessness of those caught in war’s blood-soaked embrace. It isn’t war. But it comes as close as you can get.


* * *

BEING POOR is only romantic in books.
— Sidney Sheldon (1917-2007)

Cushendall, County Antrim, 1903


  1. Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

    As a step parent to a 12 Year old… THIS IS my biggest challenge.

    “The no cell phone policy will be a challenge, but the parents/guardians need to help us, help their kids to get the best education possible without the distraction of this device that didn’t exist 20 years ago…”

    You have no idea how addicted the kids are.

  2. Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

    RE: Poor in County Antrim

    Many of my Flint and McDonald ancestors were from Ireland. I was just going to give my copy of a book called “White Trash: 400 year history of class in America” to a friend of mine because they were asking when the term “racism” became a replacement for “classism”. well… about 400 years ago. It is an amazing book that answers the hot button issue of “How can poor white people have white privilege?” PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. It was a huge eye opener, and I won’t be surprised if it is banned in Florida.

    • Jeff Fox July 24, 2023

      Agreed. Great book. I’m not sure most people realize how much discussion went on between the “founding fathers” on the subject of what to do about the lower class whites and how to reconcile their vision of equality with the pesky problem of the landless “unwashed”.

  3. Ted Williams July 24, 2023

    “HERE’S PROBABLY how the Mockel endorsement went down”

    HERE’S ACTUALLY how the Mockel endorsement went down: I never discussed with Senator McGuire, the other sitting Supervisors, or anyone other than Mockel himself, who phoned me.

    The real, laughable story: AVA believes the individual free speech of county supervisors could constitute a violation of the Brown Act à la the majority ordered tiramisu!

    “This letter is to call your attention to what I believe was a substantial
    violation of a provision of the Ralph M. Brown Act, one which may
    jeopardize the finality of the action taken by the Mendocino County Board
    of Supervisors.

    On May 5, 2023, four Supervisors issued similarly worded endorsements of
    one specific candidate, Trevor Mockel. “

    • Bob A. July 24, 2023

      A better analogy might be all the cats ordered fish head soup and left behind a certain stink.

    • Bruce Anderson July 24, 2023

      Five elected supervisors acting in concert is not individually protected free speech. They arranged out of public view to endorse Mockel, a Brown Act violation.

      • Ted Williams July 24, 2023

        Bruce, except at least this supervisor didn’t arrange or act in concert. A candidate is free to ask for endorsement and need not consider whether he’s asked more than a majority of a legislative body.

        If you believe in your logic, you should escalate it and get an authoritative answer. Take that answer as a grade on overall board of supervisors reporting.

        • Stephen Rosenthal July 24, 2023

          Okay, let’s try this. I think Bruce nailed it, despite your conjecture that “It was only fair to let Bruce’s imagination run wild for a bit because the truth is rather dull.” You are on record as stating it is important to attract and employ highly-qualified dynamic personnel. Therefore, what qualities and accomplishments does Trevor Mockel possess that makes him “highly-qualified” to be a county supervisor responsible for, among many other things, overseeing a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars and making final decisions on the hiring of executive level county administrators? What was it about your “conversation” with him that caused you to endorse him? Why are you supporting such a “dull” character? Specifics if you please, Supervisor.

          Those are questions that I and I’m sure others would appreciate a straightforward answer to. But I’ll ask one last question, admittedly speculative. It seems reckless and unethical that all five Supervisors would simultaneously, enthusiastically and with virtually the same language endorse the nondescript Mockel, essentially a paid intern (apparently no longer employed) for State Senator McGuire, simply because of a “conversation” with him. If you don’t believe me, check out the endorsements at the bottom of this link:
          Do you honestly think we should believe you?

          • Ted Williams July 24, 2023


            • Stephen Rosenthal July 24, 2023

              That’s your answer to my questions?

              • peter boudoures July 24, 2023

                How will it benefit Ted and the other to have mockel by their side? What is the financial gain? The books suggest that each department is moving money around to help themselves out. Why don’t you press for more Clarity on where the money is being spent? 19 million on special services? Why aren’t you spending your time backing Adam or whoever else?

                • Maxine July 24, 2023

                  Bruce and Stephen,
                  The replies you have so generously received from this guy are ‘EGGSACTLY’ what we all should expect. Nothing.

                  Why do they want him as a colleague? What can one can expect from a Mockel supervisor? More of the same. Someone to go along with the established game plan. Mockel has referred to himself as “boring”, Williams mustered up the word “dull.” Message to voters: Nothing to see here. Business as usual. Just take our word for it and move along.

                  Hopefully, residents of District 1, like myself, are paying attention. If so, they will recognize these non-answers for what they are— a lack of transparency. We need to look for a new, smart engaged representative. So far for me Mr. Gaska seems to be hitting the mark.

                  • peter boudoures July 24, 2023

                    Adam will ask for the assessors office to do their job but he won’t have any power. He may bring in more money but he won’t know where it’s being spent. Hold the people accountable who touch the money. Looks like kick backs are the norm and the easy way to wash a few million but Ted doesn’t have proof because he doesn’t have any power. These supervisors make pennys compared to the cash flowing around. I don’t know why Ted wastes his time for 100k. Hey Ted airbnb your seaside estate and let these know it alls figure it out.

                  • Adam Gaska July 24, 2023

                    Thanks Maxine

                    Peter, you are right. The BOS doesn’t have the power to force the Assessor to do their job. The voters have that power at the ballot box.

                    What is being suggested won’t give the BOS to directly demand that the Assessor or ACTTC to do their job, accountability will have to come from the executive office who is held accountable by the 5 supervisors.

                    I would prefer that the voters chose the the Assessor and ACTTC. I believe in democracy. Instead of taking our power away at the ballot box, open things up so we can be educated and informed to make better decisions.

                    I also believe we need to hold department heads accountable for turning in accurate and timely budgets and accounting to be put together by the executive office and made available to everyone, BOS and the public. Those type of reports look like they were available up until fiscal year 2014 so it is possible. That will probably require some training. It will definitely take some leadership from the BOS to expect and demand such reports. If even with support in the form of performance goals and training department heads can’t furnish what is requested, then the BOS and EO needs to find new leadership for those departments.

                  • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

                    You can’t hold department directors accountable if you don’t hire new directors… That’s why you have 2 guys “temporarily” running 10 departments right now. Go to any restaurant in Mendocino county and look at who’s name is signed on the required Public Health statement. I will bet you most of them say “Trey Strickland, Director of Environmental Health” When was Trey pushed out of this county by Carmel A? 2020? Enjoy your super healthy food, because we only have 2 Health inspectors for the entire county right now. I guess our health policy is “Don’t get sick”. It all makes me sick.

                  • Ted Williams July 24, 2023

                    “What is being suggested won’t give the BOS to directly demand that the Assessor or ACTTC to do their job”

                    Adam, it’s about having internal process, ownership and responsibility to generate regular department reports. Relying on the ACTTC hasn’t been a solution.

                • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

                  “Relying on the ACTTC hasn’t been a solution.” -Ted Williams

                  Relying on the CEO and exec office hasn’t been either. How do you like your conductor now?

                  And back to that point, Since When did the foreman, Conductor, or CEO make 500 times more than the workers? That’s not fair compensation, that’s highway robbery. Check out Dr.Bronners soap company. David Bronner, CEO has set his salary at no higher than 5 to 1 over his lowest paid worker. Now that’s what I call leadership.

                  • Ted Williams July 24, 2023

                    Show me how the county CEO is paid 500 times more than the lowest paid worker?

                  • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

                    I was referring to Most CEOs. Our CEO Makes (only) 13 times more than the lowest paid worker

                    $316k divided by $23k = 13.7 Maybe my numbers are off a little.

    • pca67 July 24, 2023

      The real question is: why endorse this guy? His résumé is thinner than cellophane? Why not wait for other candidates to emerge? It may not be a technical conflict of interest, but perceptions matter and it is an accurate perception that it smells. BOS is making a Mockelry of the Democratic process.

  4. Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

    Thank you Caitlin Johnstone and the AVA for that amazing political Metaphor! 1 -2 and it’s a KO!

    Any binary system is static, which is why 3 is the “Magic key” to change and movement.

  5. Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

    Thanks again to the AVA. I was wondering who this Mockel guy was that I keep hearing about, but knew nothing about. I heard that all the supervisors gave him an endorsement right away… Uh, that’s a huge red flag if I’ve ever seen one.

    “Mockel, who seems to be more or less unemployable, is a former aide to McGuire, and the way the monarchical Democrats of the Northcoast operate, and Williams being one of their most loyal serfs, Williams snapped to, “Yes, sir, Senator. No prob getting the Mockel endorsement from the other four. Hell, they don’t even read the agenda until they show up for meetings. They’ll wave Mockel right on through. Er, who is he again?””

  6. Eric Sunswheat July 24, 2023

    RE: policies that allow crooks and criminal misfits to avoid incarceration. — Jim Shields

    —>. June 26, 2023
    The deal Newsom struck with lawmakers will kick-start his sweeping plan to revitalize San Quentin State Prison into a rehabilitation-centered facility and formally start the process of renaming it the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center.

    Despite early pushback from lawmakers who bristled at Newsom’s proposal, along with criticism from the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office that the plan lacked necessary details, the final budget includes what the governor sought: roughly $380 million to reconstruct certain parts of San Quentin.

    The plan will completely revamp the prison into a Norwegian-style facility that focuses on job training and other programming to better prepare individuals for reentry in a way that reduces recidivism rates.

    San Quentin’s transformation builds on Newsom’s multiyear initiative to overhaul the state’s criminal justice system, which he began with an executive order in 2019 that temporarily halted the death penalty and shut down the prison’s execution chamber.

    The Legislature also negotiated a deal with the administration that gives the state’s police training and standards board more time to comply with part of a law passed in 2021 that established a decertification process for officers who engage in misconduct.

    • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

      I’ve been inside San Quentin prison for Environmental cleanup at their old dry cleaner facility. It is not a nice place in any way. Old, rusty, dirty, and crowded. I’ve never worked in such a scary place. I couldn’t imagine being imprisoned there. How many are in there for non-violent drug charges? When are we going stop treating health issues as criminal problems? Outdated prisons and outdated policies are just another example of America’s inability to change the unconstitutional continuation of the 13th Amendment. If this is the “land of the free”, why do we have the largest prison population of any Nation?

      It states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      It should say: “People are not property, and property is not a person”

      Want to watch a really good documentary about the Military industrial Prison Complex?
      Here you go:

  7. chuck dunbar July 24, 2023

    Powerful writing– different subjects, but the same focus on man’s inhumanity to man– by Juan Cole and Chris Hedges.

  8. Harvey Reading July 24, 2023


    Excellent response to the fascisti.

    Why all the fuss about human sexuality anyway? What a loser of a species humans are; proof that if the god of the holy book exists, it cannot be much of a god if humans are the best it could do for a crowning creation…

    • Mike J July 24, 2023

      Asking if we are ready? Are we? With only 51% in some polling indicating that some UFOs are ET?
      We could see over the past few years a clear trend among almost all AVA commentators appearing to have been fully conditioned to the ridicule/denial reflex. My guess is that this disclosure period, now accelerating, will be awkward and somewhat messy.
      Fortunately most people that I actually know seem okay and ready for this. (Perhaps unlike most AVA commentators giving voice on this subject.)

      • Harvey Reading July 24, 2023

        LOL. You must be frothing at the mouth now. Can’t wait until the whole shebang falls through. Then you’ll have to create a new scenario…that will last until you think people have forgotten all the misleading information you peddled…like what happened after you made your assertion that ET was discussing trade with the liars at high levels of guvamint a while back. By the way, what’s with the talking to us like you’re some kind of leader? How many people do you actually “know”? Five or six?

  9. Marmon July 24, 2023


    The man who drowned near Barack Obama’s mansion on Martha’s Vineyard this morning “WAS NOT” Michelle.


    • Stephen Rosenthal July 25, 2023

      I was hoping it was you. Oh well.

  10. Marmon July 24, 2023


    “We’ve got American wannabe communists attempting to cancel a country music star for a song about protecting our own and meanwhile, we’ve got whiny female soccer players getting kuddos- from those same communists- for disrespecting our flag and anthem. What a time to be alive.”

    -Tomi Lahren @TomiLahren


    • Marmon July 24, 2023

      I hope my last comment did not misgernder anyone on the team



      refer to (someone, especially a transgender person) using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not reflect their gender identity.


      P.S. not all the ladies on that team were disrespectful, they are the ones we should be proud of.


      • Bruce McEwen July 24, 2023

        They weren’t all soccer commies—- oops, I mean soccer mommies!

    • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

      Carl Sagan already predicted this predicament… months before he died.

    • Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

      Every Conservative:
      “I disagree with them so I’m going to call them a communist”

      It’s getting old boomer. Go put some flowers on McCarthy’s B.S. and read a book on Marx for once.

  11. Rye N Flint July 24, 2023

    American Pie
    by Don McLean

    A long, long time ago, I can still remember
    How that music used to make me smile
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those people dance
    And maybe they’d be happy for a while

    But February made me shiver
    With every paper I’d deliver
    Bad news on the doorstep
    I couldn’t take one more step
    I can’t remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died

    So, bye, bye, Miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    Did you write the Book of Love?
    And do you have faith in God above
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Do you believe in rock ‘n’ roll?
    Can music save your mortal soul?
    And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

    Well, I know that you’re in love with him
    ‘Cause I saw you dancing in the gym
    You both kicked off your shoes
    Then I dig those rhythm and blues
    I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
    With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
    But I knew I was out of luck
    The day the music died

    I started singin’, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
    But that’s not how it used to be
    When the jester sang for the king and queen
    In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
    And a voice that came from you and me

    Oh, and while the king was looking down
    The jester stole his thorny crown
    The courtroom was adjourned
    No verdict was returned
    And while Lennon read a book on Marx
    The quartet practiced in the park
    And we sang dirges in the dark
    The day the music died

    We were singin’, “Bye-bye Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    Helter Skelter in the summer swelter
    The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
    Eight miles high and fallin’ fast
    It landed foul on the grass
    The players tried for a forward pass
    With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

    Now, the half-time air was sweet perfume
    While the sergeants played a marching tune
    We all got up to dance
    Oh, but we never got the chance
    ‘Cause the players tried to take the field
    The marching band refused to yield
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the music died?

    We started singin’, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    Oh, and there we were, all in one place
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again
    So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
    Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
    ‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend

    Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage
    No angel born in Hell
    Could break that Satan’s spell
    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died

    He was singin’, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    And singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    I met a girl who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news
    But she just smiled and turned away
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where I’d heard the music years before
    But the man there said the music wouldn’t play

    And in the streets, the children screamed
    The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
    But not a word was spoken
    The church bells all were broken
    And the three men I admire most
    The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died

    And they were singin’, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    And Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die
    This’ll be the day that I die”

    They were singin’, “Bye-bye, Miss American Pie”
    Drove my Chevy to The Levee, but The Levee was dry
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
    Singin’, “This’ll be the day that I die”

    Written by: Don Mclean

  12. Betsy Cawn July 25, 2023

    Dear Supervisor Williams,

    Thank you for engaging in the dialogue with AVA readers. I couldn’t figure out exactly where to “reply” to some of the discussion contained in today’s comments, but would like to offer these thoughts on the subject of the Board of Supervisors’ authorities and responsibilities, and what I can only think of our version of “the struggles.”

    Regarding the ability of the elected board of supervisors to require performance standards for departments (including Administration):

    Performance reviews must be based on specified requirements made known explicitly to the individual being reviewed. Clear direction and consistent follow up are primary requirements for management of all staff, from the highest to the lowest.

    Ultimate responsibility for meeting federal, state, and local laws lies with the elected (quasi-legislative, quasi-judicial) body — boards of supervisors in the case of counties, city councils in the case of cities.

    Identifying the sources of chronic losses (missed opportunities, failed projects and programs, staff shortages and turnover rates, competing agencies in need of operational funding to provide public health and safety functions, and overburdened workforce impacts) is also the job of the highest body of governance in either type of municipality.

    In the case of the two models of county management — Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer — the latter puts the elected officials in the position of hiring and firing appointed officials (including the CAO) and, in Lake County, department heads are “at will” employees subject to dismissal by the Board of Supervisors for any reason.

    Mendocino County chose the CEO model, which gives the CEO that authority, but the Board of Supervisors holds the ultimate responsibility for the CEO’s performance.

    The Board of Supervisors must have a unified approach to clearly defining the performance expectations against which the CEO’s competence is measured.

    State “Government Code” generally defines the legal authorities and responsibilities of county officials, and might usefully inform the Board of Supervisors of the basic responsibilities they delegate to their top employee.

    Certainly, the performance of all CEO subordinates should be one of those criteria. The issue of “independence” exercised by elected positions (Auditor-Controller, Tax Collector, Sheriff) cannot be passed off to the electorate when the Board of Supervisors lacks the ability to set performance requirements for the departments lead by those elected officials.

    In Lake County, department heads are required to explain their budgets and capacities to meet funding obligations, at least twice a year (during the approval of the proposed annual budget before the end of the current fiscal year, and during the adoption of the final budget a few months later. Lake County’s Board of Supervisors goes further to ensure that each department head not only meets the legal obligations for their department functions but also achieves the county management goals and anticipates obligations that will impact the department’s impacts on the entire administrative system.

    Our Board of Supervisors also takes responsibility for ensuring that all contracts are correctly structured for legal and financial compliance.* That requirement would be obviated by the delegation of that responsibility to a contract management function, which Lake County lacks. As a result, each department must manage specialized contracts for “professional and services” budget expenditures — and each has its own set of compliance requirements needed to satisfy state and federal mandates.

    If every contract overseen by the Chief Executive Officer is as loosely controlled as those megamillions going to external (outsourced) entities, such as Redwood Quality Management Corporation, but the Board of Supervisors cannot hold themselves or their staff (CEO) accountable for correctly documented expenditures, there is no one steering the ship of state.

    There are experts in this field of municipal administration — and many resources available from the National Association of Counties, California State Association of Counties, Regional Council of Rural Counties, and even the League of Cities. It might be worth your while to have the Administration (and all of the departments under the CEO’s umbrella) evaluated with fiscal and legal compliance in mind. Special management consultants also exist in areas of public administration. Please consider using the authority of the Board of Supervisors to take a professional look at the systems in place, and then adopt management goals that will achieve both the legal and professional needs of the taxpayers, voters, and stakeholders in the jurisdiction for which you are responsible.

    *I have to also note that the tendency to “micro-manage” the hundreds of complicated contracts by some of our supervisors is a source of aggravation, but where competent department heads are in place to develop appropriate tools to meet the legal and professional requirements under federal and state law, the results include greatly improved public support for taking corrective action and maximize the delivery capacity of specialized staff and associated management services. Is there anything preventing your Board from initiating a wholesale review of those obligations — starting with the CEO — and asking your department heads to support a sound process for working together?

    • Rye N Flint July 25, 2023

      Thanks again for your well written advice, Betsy. Always a pleasure to read your posts. I do have a possible answer to your last question.

      The lack of directors is preventing efficient operation of departments. (and creating a whole lot of low morale)

      How can you ask the Department Heads to do their job if there aren’t any left?

      • Betsy Cawn July 26, 2023

        Perhaps the first thing to look at is the “Human Resources” department. Exit interviews of outgoing personnel could be helpful in pinpointing problem areas. Examining the past practices of the Public Health Department (Howe’s case, the double PHO jobs, and why Dr. Pace quit), along with defining the federal and state requirements for maintaining the requisite services, for example.

        Clarifying the priorities imposed by the state (e.g., “mandated” welfare, unemployment, CPS/APS/Public Guardian functions) and how they are “managed” — in the so-called “self-funded” departments (Public Health, Mental Health, and Social Services) in line with assessing the job descriptions used to recruit employees, for a start.

        In reviewing the job descriptions for Lake County’s Social Services employees, and many others over the years, the requirements (education, certification, licensing, experience) reveal little about what the jobs entail. “Allocating” positions to satisfy state mandates, with administrative cost burdens leading to “ghost” funding — in the budget but unfillable due to factors such as non-competitive salaries and benefits — that remove precious fiscal resources from other uses (like hiring a professional management company to assemble a well-structured departmental system) are “untouchable” dead ends.

        To continue the ongoing futility of ineffective management by the Board of Supervisors and the CEO, and ignoring the unionized staff that is carrying the burden of public services, some by employees who themselves have to turn to Medi-Cal and “food stamps” for their survival, is folly.

        • Rye N Flint July 26, 2023

          I had no exit interview. But… they do have my resignation letter. Most people I know that left Mendocino county figure its just wasted breath on a system that does nothing anyway. I was going to initiate a Grand Jury investigation into the missing EH funds I heard about, until I saw what happens with the other Grand Jury reports. Noted, and filed away. No corrective actions taken. No solutions followed. Making the whole process a complete waste of our tax dollars… again.

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