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Mendocino County Today: Friday, August 4, 2023

Warming | Robert Pardini | Raid Lawsuit | Tub Wanted | Mental Contracts | Willits Valley | Tight Skunk | Seeking Peace | Opioid Money | AVA Thing | Ed Notes | Van Gull | Public Records | Poultry Team | Fair Time | Super Support | iPhone Basics | Westport Fundraiser | Storm Assistance | Parade Planning | Rental Sought | Queenie Relocated | Cleaner Coast | Wine Right | Elise Drexler | Senior Benefit | Unfair Practice | Yesterday's Catch | Unattached | Farm Quarters | Growing Food | Wayne Trouble | Medical Marijuana | Low Rider | Altamont Fallout | Not Afraid | Jailhouse Heat | Celebrity Accomplice | Dump Trump | Witch Hunting | Elite Journalists | Shell Logo | Facebook Files | Orwell/Huxley | Ukraine | Jet Rings

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AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES follow a warming trend today through the weekend. Isolated thunderstorms will be possible in far northeastern Trinity County today and Saturday, otherwise dry weather is expected for the next 7 days. Widespread and more persistent coastal stratus is forecast through Friday. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): It was foggy all day yesterday, the satellite shows fog very close by, but I have 50F under clear skies this Friday morning on coast. Our forecast calls for clear skies ( call me skeptical for today ) into the weekend with breezy conditions starting Sunday.

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Robert Wayne Pardini, also known by many as Mancher, passed away peacefully July 25, 2023.

Robert was born October 22, 1938 in Fort Bragg, the youngest of Ernest and Annie Pardini’s children. Robert lived in Navarro where his family ran the Navarro Hotel. He later moved with his family to Boonville, where Robert attended school and graduated.

Robert worked at various ranches and logging companies in the Valley until he started his own business, Robert Pardini Logging, in 1973. He then moved into earth moving, and the local rock quarry. Robert loved running equipment and was an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He was always “the face” at the Redwood Drive-In coffee shop with stories to share, and would be there to help out a friend or anyone. Robert is a significant part of the history of Anderson Valley.

Robert married his late wife Cecilia Pardini on July 25, 1958 . He is survived by his brother Donald, three children Cindy, Danny, and Eddie (Gina), grandchildren Nathen, Daniel, Aaron, Sarah, and Rhett. 

As per Robert’s wishes there will be no services. We just ask you to remember his stories as you have coffee with friends. 

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CALIF. POLICE TRESPASSED ON NATIVE LAND, destroyed $100,000 worth of pot, lawsuit says

by Lester Black

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies raided the farm in July of last year, destroying 113,361 plants worth more than $100,000, as well as multiple greenhouses, according to the lawsuit filed by the farm owner, Gary Cordova. The farm was located in Covelo, a small Mendocino County town that sits within the Round Valley Indian Reservation. 

The sheriff’s department said the farm was violating the state’s medical marijuana laws, according to a search warrant attached to the lawsuit, but Cordova says that the farm was fully legal under the Round Valley Indian Tribes’ laws. 

Hila Fichtelberg, the office manager for the Emerald Law Group, which is representing Cordova, confirmed that he is a member of the tribe. Cordova’s attorneys were not available to answer further questions about the lawsuit.

Neither the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office nor the Round Valley Indian Tribes immediately responded to a request for comment from SFGATE. 

It’s not clear whether Cordova’s farm had the support of the local tribe.

Local tribal law also requires law enforcement to contact tribal police before any raids are conducted or marijuana is destroyed. The sheriff’s department did not consult with Round Valley officials before the operation, according to the lawsuit. 

Cordova filed a claim against Mendocino County in January, seeking damages related to the raid, but that claim was rejected the same month, the lawsuit said.


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I’m in search of some kind of plastic rain water barrels, livestock water tank or similar tub that I can use for cold plunges (ice baths) for our student athletes at the high school - if anyone has something or multiple things lying around they could donate and we could clean up and use for our training room, we would really appreciate it! Thanks! 

AV Panther Coach John Toohey

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BERNIE NORVELL: Anchor/RCS contracts

The Anchor/Redwood Community Services mental health contracts are an interesting story for sure. If a Supervisor or Supervisors have an issue or concerns with the contracts, by all means, let’s get them right. Who doesn’t support that?

Here is my rub. These contracts are renewed every year. So why the rush job? We have all year every year to deep dive into the language. Most, if not all of them don’t contain much new information. The 90 day extension proves the county feels they need only 90 of the 365 days the contracts allow. It is without doubt at this point that all of Anchor/RCS employees are on a 90 contract. That must be good for morale but I guess they at least have a contract. This is more that the union has. This also means the crisis respite facility that the City of Fort Bragg wrangled for two years to get opened is on a 90 day contract. What happens to our respite if RCS doesn’t like the new language and. worst case, they walk? Unlikely, but not impossible. Putting out an RFP could be fruitful, but if you were an outside the area provider, how long or how deep would you have to look into county business over the last few years to decide, no thank you? 81 days and counting!

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Willits Valley (Jeff Goll)

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As many readers know, Robert Pinoli, Skunk Train CEO, lost in court recently after attempting to claim eminent domain over property belonging to Mendocino County resident John Meyer. That’s good news. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Pinoli is appealing the verdict, thus delaying his payment of approximately $250,000 to Mr. Meyer for reimbursement of Mr. Meyer’s attorney fees and court costs. This has left the Meyer Family in a deep financial hole. 

I don’t know John Meyers. But I know what Mr. Pinoli did, and continues to do, is wrong. I hope readers will consider making a small donation or even a big one — to the “Help John Meyer’s Family Survive Being Railroaded” GoFundMe site. When we all help a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Cynthia Grant


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LARRY R. WAGNER: Where else than on the Mendocino Coast could you take these two photos within 20 minutes? Both seeking peace in their own ways.

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“At the Dec. 13 Board of Supervisors meeting last year, just five hours in, board members decided to use the county’s $63,285 subdivision opioid settlement funds received in November as part of fiscal years 2022-2023 “ongoing funding needs” to cover employee health insurance premiums, wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments instead of what the funds are intended for: preventing problematic use of opioids, overdose deaths and harms through harm reduction strategies and supporting first responders, training, and cross-system collaborative efforts and/or research.”

Full story:

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Dear Editor,

Mendocino County made the news recently, unfortunately in a bad way.

I have seen the effects of opioid addiction and its effects on our community first hand. The very first medical call I responded to as a volunteer for Redwood Valley Calpella Fire department was two people who were overdosing on fentanyl. They had been given Narcan and CPR was in process. When our engine arrived on scene, I was on standby to take over administering CPR. In the end, we were able to revive one and the other passed away. I straightened out their clothes, closed their eyes and put a blanket over them. 

Opioid addiction, mental illness and homelessness are inextricably intertwined. Mendocino County led the state in opioid related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021. We also rate high in terms of homelessness per 100,000 residents. 

We have multiple crises on our hands, resources are stretched thin. But I believe it is short sighted to use opioid settlement money to fill budget shortfalls. We are being pennywise but pound foolish. The $63,000 is a bandaid on a multimillion dollar budget deficit that would be better spent on drug addiction services which would likely save more money on reducing the need for law enforcement and other costs associated with drug addiction. 

One of the justifications for the misappropriation of funds I have read is that the County has spent money on drug abuse through insurance claims from when the County was self insured. This is pure conjecture. The BOS does not see information related to health care claims of employees. If they did, it would be a HIPPA violation and violate people's right to medical privacy.

I agree with Dr. Marvin Trotter. Mendocino County needs to invest more money into residential substance abuse treatment facilities and outpatient rehab treatment support. Support Ford Street and the expansion of their programs with opioid settlement and Measure B monies instead of spending so much on the PHF facility planned for Whitmore Lane. 

Adam Gaska, Candidate for 1st District Supervisor

Mendocino Organics / Mendocino Meats

(707) 272-5477

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THERE SEEMED to be lots of Trump today. Oh, yes, he was indicted again, this time for trying to overthrow “our democracy,” which is only a democracy at the school board-supervisor-city council level. Elections at the state and federal level are funded by large blocs of money operating only occasionally in the public interest. Really, did you or anybody you know have a vote in the selection of Congressman Huffman, State Senator McGuire, Assemblyman Wood? You Democrats out there, was Biden your guy? Trump? His genius was to foist himself on US by appealing to the latent cruelty that's always been burbling away beneath America's roiling surface. He said today before his pre-perp walk, “I'm being arrested for you.” Pure delusion, but half the country believes him.

BOILED DOWN, Trump obviously leaned on officials to declare him re-elected. Just as obviously he incited the January 6th riot, which was a riot not an insurrection. An insurrection would have featured armed people with a plan. This was a mob with no plan, not even a plan to march on the capitol before the orange demagogue gave the mob the idea of marching on a suspiciously under-defended Congress, from which the corporate bag ladies and gentlemen hauled ass as the mob broke in. (I understand why someone like Schiff and the rest of the Democrats would make a run for cover, but why did the Trumpers run? Afraid of their own people? Would the mob have dared string up Pence?)

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘Jerusalem’s Gate’ by Robert Stone, a novel set in Israel where fanatic forces converge with apocalyptic results. Wonderful portraits of unhinged American mystics, the most fanatic and dangerous of the individual lunatics loose in the stolen land of Israel presently run by Old Testament zealots and modern-day racists.

A CALLER who wouldn’t divulge his name, speaking a kind of conspiratorial whisper, claimed, “I know a woman who went for a dip in the Navarro two weeks ago and got necrotizing fasciitis.” I had to ask him to spell “necrotizing fasciitis,” which I thought at first was a Repulican with a death wish, but I soon learned from Doctor Google that it is a rare form of “flesh-eating, gangrenous strep.” Doc Google said it’s not contagious, and as battered as the Navarro is I’m unaware of anybody else suffering flesh-eating bacteria, not that I’d necessarly be informed by the County’s slo-mo Health Department.

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Old Dodge van, Mendocino Headlands (Jeff Goll)

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Been really busy with about 10,000 different, unnecessary, bureaucratic, pencil-pushing water district matters to attend to, but I wanted to get this off to everybody.

Ballot Initiative Would Overhaul Open Records Laws

Really, really good news today regarding the California Public Records Act.

As most of you know, I was successful this spring, working with Supervisor John Haschak, to get the County to rescind its blatantly illegal CPRA Ordinance.

While researching the issue back then, I found numerous flaws, loopholes and in some instances, gaping holes in the existing statute. I made some notes to myself about returning to these matters when I had some time, thinking that I would contact our state legislative reps and feel them out on sponsoring curative bills on open record laws.

It now appears that probably won’t be necessary.

Just heard from Consumer Watchdog this Wednesday morning— have always said they’re the best at looking out for the best interests of citizens— and they have filed “a new ballot initiative that would overhaul California’s open records laws to combat government corruption and protect the health and well-being of Californians.”

According to Consumer Watchdog, the initiative, filed with the Attorney General Wednesday, “would strengthen California’s Public Records Act and the Legislative Open Records Act to make state government agencies more responsive to public requests for government documents and increase state legislators’ public reporting of meetings with lobbyists and investigations into their misconduct.”

The process requires the California Attorney General’s office to prepare a title and summary for the initiative. Once qualified for the ballot, the measure will appear on the November 2024 ballot.

Here’s the rest of the story from Consumer Watchdog.

The initiative received 70% approval in a statewide poll, a virtually unheard-of level of voter approval according to leading pollsters.

“The poll results demonstrate that voters are aligned in the belief that the public should have greater access to government documents to ensure effective oversight of public officials regardless of their political or ideological leanings, gender, or age,” said Paul Maslin of FM3 Research, a major statewide opinion research and strategy company that conducted the poll. “It is extremely rare in our experience, particularly in the recent polarized environment, to see such broad support as this for a measure across partisan and ideological lines.”

Some of the many abuses and loopholes the initiative addresses include:

• In another common tactic to thwart access to public records, Mendocino County recently charged $84,001.22 to produce records by dramatically overstating its costs and required that a “deposit” be paid up front. Research identified seven other counties—Los Angeles, Shasta, Siskiyou, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Santa Cruz and Ventura—that passed local ordinances purporting to give them the authority to impose excessive fees on the public. The initiative would end this abuse by capping charges at the “actual” cost of producing records, not to exceed 10 cents per page.

• The California Public Utilities Commission has consistently resisted consumer advocates’ requests for public documents relating to the safety and integrity of California’s public utilities. Following the devastating wildfire that destroyed the town of Paradise, records showed that the government knew that PG&E’s power lines were not properly maintained and posed a serious threat to public safety but did not disclose the dangers to the public. Passing this measure to strengthen open records laws is essential to making sure the public has the information it needs to hold government agencies and corporations accountable.

• The City of San Jose has been repeatedly sued for “perpetually extending its own deadline” for responding to public records requests. Such tactics, which often delay records long past the time they are relevant to the public debate, would be barred under the strict deadlines for the release of records set by the initiative.

• Finally, though Californians have a Constitutional right to access public records, there is no minimum document retention period applying to state agencies. Records are routinely deleted and destroyed—sometimes in as little as 60 days for email communications—before the public and journalists have the opportunity to access them. The initiative would set a five-year minimum retention period for all public records.

The major provisions of the initiative include:

• Requiring legislators to disclose on their websites lobbying meetings, fundraising events, and public events paid for with public or campaign funds.

• Requiring that records relating to investigations into legislators’ misconduct be provided to the public upon request.

• Establishing standards to ensure government agencies conduct thorough searches for public records.

• Prohibiting agencies from deleting or destroying public records for a minimum of five years after a record is created.

• Requiring agencies to provide requested public records within 30 calendar days of a request.

• Providing that members of the public who sue public agencies to enforce the law have the same access to discovery as in any civil lawsuit, and making the appeal process less onerous on the public.

• Clarifying that the definition of public records includes documents maintained by private contractors and vendors relating to their work on behalf of the public.

• Limiting the ability of companies to file preemptive lawsuits to deny access to public records.

• Making available to the public communications and other records exchanged between government employees and entities outside of government about policy decisions, and limiting public agencies’ use of the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine to bar access to public records.

• Requiring public agencies to publish annual reports that provide information about delays in access to public records.

For sure, I’ll keep you up-to-date on all this.


Jim Shields

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After a long summer of raising Cornish Cross Meat chickens this team earned many awards! Nayely's Chicken Meat Pen won FFA Champion Pen! Jose's Chicken Meat Pen won Reserve FFA Champion Pen! Great teamwork!

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The gates opened promptly at three, and the whir of the Ferris Wheel began at the same time. For thousands of people, the Redwood Empire Fair marks a weekend of family fun, stiff competition, thrills and nostalgia. 

Patients of Ukiah Post-Acute Nursing Home were escorted by staff into the Flower Building, where they were thrilled to discover they had won First Prize in their division for the construction of a “cowardly lion.” 

“We won!” they exclaimed, seeming both delighted and surprised. 

Out at Dynamite Kettle Corn, owner Teddy Archer finished popping up his first of many batches of the sugary delight. Archer, a Ukiah native started working in the catering business with Five-Star Catering back in 2002. In 2010, he bought the equipment for making kettle corn and took it to the Dixon County Fair without even a trial run. He never looked back. 

The father of three sons is on the road almost continuously from May to September. 

“I just got back from Oregon and I’ll be headed to Humboldt County after we’re done here,” he notes, adding that the Original Kettle Corn flavor is still his top seller, followed by Caramel and Cheddar. He’s also purchased a pizza and funnel cake truck and will soon be adding cinnamon rolls to his repertoire. 

“Once you start, you pretty much get sucked in,” he smiles. 

In Carl Purdy Hall, Brad’s World of Reptiles is filling a third of the exhibit area. It’s been a few years since they’ve been at the Fair, and they’re delighted to be back, notes Olivia, lead exhibitor and animal keeper. 

She and her co-worker Manuel have been setting up for several days. They arrived from another fair in Oregon and met the animals here. They were transported from Corvallis, Oregon, the home of the organization. 

Fifty animals are on display at the Fair, including a number of snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles and insects, as well as a place to sit and view videos about the animals. 

“We’re an animal sanctuary,” Olivia explains. “Our main focus is on education and conservation,” adding that every single animal exhibited at the fair is a rescue animal. “Not a lot of rescue agencies take in exotics, and owners of animals like snakes don’t often realize they can live as long as a dog,” she continues. 

Additionally, she notes, some states don’t allow ownership of these animals, and if they do, not every landlord or apartment complex allows pets like exotic reptiles. “We like to serve these underrepresented animals- some of which you would not see in most zoos,” she explains. Take Ally, the alligator. “She is 35 years old and we’ve had her for 30 years,” says Olivia. “It’s not unusual for them to live to 80 in captivity.” Ally seems perfectly fine with her life at the Fair. After a soak in her pool, Olivia let her out for a walk on the concrete flooring. After that, Ally took her spot on her special display area. “She lets us know exactly what she wants,” says Olivia. “If she’s hungry, or tired, she tells us. They are incredibly intelligent animals.” 

Brad’s World will be open during the same hours as Carl Purdy Hall. 

Children under 5 are always admitted to the Fair for free. Grandstand shows are included with fair admission. The Redwood Empire Fair opens at 3:00 on 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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WE ARE THANKFUL that Mrs. Simson, our Superintendent/Principal has visited us at the fair twice! She plans to come to the junior livestock auction on Saturday. We appreciate your support!

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Thursday, August 10th, 1 to 2 PM
Anderson Valley Senior Center

After a wonderful lunch, join AV Village volunteer Jesse Espinoza for a presentation on the basics of using your iPhone. Please let us know what things you would like him to cover in advance, so he can better prepare his presentation.  Bring your iPhones and questions. (Registration NOT required for this presentation)

Remember: our events, gatherings, activities, etc. are open to everyone, regardless of Village Membership. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or a member - contact us (

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The Westport Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its Annual Fundraising Event on Saturday, August 19, 2023 from noon to dusk. Enjoy an afternoon of fun and live music on the spectacular Westport Headlands while helping support the Westport Volunteer Fire Department. Admission is free. 

Live music will be provided by Steven Bates and his band, Momma Grows Funk, West of Nowhere, Moon Rabbit, Sue Sisk and Friends, and Erin and Riley. 

Food trucks will have meals for sale. Local craft beer, wine, coffee, sweets and non-alcoholic beverages can also be purchased. 

There will be plenty of fun activities for the whole family, including the chance to watch a Cornhole Competition sponsored by Epic Graphics. Craft merchants will have their wares for sale, and there will also be a silent auction of some very special items. A helicopter from Reach/CalStar may pay us a visit if weather and availability cooperate. (Sorry, no dogs.) 

The Westport Volunteer Fire Department provides year-round initial 911 emergency response service 24/7 for medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, traumatic injuries and fires on the Northern Mendocino Coast. Our response area covers roughly 120 square miles. 

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In response to recent winter storms in Mendocino County, Visión Family Center, a program of North Coast Opportunities (NCO), is providing direct assistance to eligible individuals who experienced hardship from the storms and cannot access federal assistance (FEMA) due to immigration status. This funding, in partnership with Catholic Charities Santa Rosa, is designated to help impacted individuals and households recover certain financial losses including housing, food, wages, and transportation costs.

To be eligible, the applicant must:

have lived OR worked in Mendocino County during the time period December 27, 2022 to January 31, 2023,

provide proof of work or residence (can be a paycheck, letter from employer or landlord, etc.),

provide a photo ID (of any kind),

and have experienced a financial setback due to the storms including but not limited to loss of work due to road closures or flooding, loss of food due to power outage, loss of wages, transportation costs, etc.

Those who qualify may receive up to $4,500 per household based on the following:

$1,500 per adult, up to two adults maximum

$500 per child, up to three children maximum

Multi-family households can apply as separate households 

To learn more or to apply for assistance, please contact our Spanish-speaking staff at (707) 802-8186 or and mention the SAI program. 

Visión Family Center is a project of North Coast Opportunities located in Ukiah, CA. NCO is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO reacts and adjusts to community needs, including disaster response and recovery.

For more information visit or call (707) 467-3200.

(North Coast Opportunities)

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THE FORT BRAGG LABOR DAY PARADE begins at noon on Monday, September 4.

Who will be in it this year? Do you currently live in Fort Bragg? If so, it could be YOU. The theme for this year’s parade is “In the Garden with Paul and Babe”. Imagine if Fort Bragg was a tree (we have plenty of them) and that tree has branches that represent you and your family, then we are all in the garden with Paul and Babe. Can you show your support for the name of our town by attending the planning meeting on August 6, and/or being present to walk in the parade with our group?

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Desperately need a Studio Cabin/Cottage/Apy

I am a senior female looking for a studio cabin/cottage/apt. 400 sq ft up to $1,100 per month between Cleone and Little River. I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I have an excellent rental history and a FICO score over 800. I need a ground floor place, no major stairs.

My previous home became uninhabitable and I have been living in a Motel since Dec 7, 2022. It has been difficult finding a rental. I have lived in Fort Bragg for seven years and need to find a place soon.

Please send me a message to my email address

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RHODY’S CAFÉ at Botanical Gardens

It’s high time we introduce you to the new Cafe Manager… Meet Lynn Derrick, who many of you may know as Queenie!

Lynn has had a career in the kitchen since 1978 and was the mastermind, owner, chef, dishwasher, and more at Queenies Roadhouse Cafe in Elk, CA for 22 years.

Lynn’s favorite thing about working at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and Rhody’s Cafe so far is the people. We have an array of fabulous guests from our loving local crowd to the international travelers. 

Hey locals! Lynn wants to remind you what a perfect spot we have to meet with friends, have lunch, and take a walk right in our back yard. Stop in and say hello.

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San Rafael, CA – The counties of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino, along with the Leave No Trace organization, have launched a collaborative initiative to help coast-seeking visitors contribute to a Cleaner California Coast.

The Cleaner California Coast initiative seeks to lessen coastal pollution by reducing litter through a coordinated messaging campaign focused on community and visitor outreach, education, and training. Over 10 million visitors each year come to the coastline of California and its neighboring counties of Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino. Over 55,000 pounds of litter were picked up from the sensitive coastal environment across the three counties last year alone. The Cleaner California Coast campaign empowers individuals and communities to create a cleaner California coast through the practice of Leave No Trace principles.

Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni initiated the three-county collaboration in 2022 with Leave No Trace, Marin County Parks, Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Regional Parks, California State Parks, the National Park Service, federally recognized tribes, non-federally recognized tribes, Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Mendocino, and the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin to identify a meaningful path for proactively reducing the growing litter problem along the coast.

“The intercounty cooperation of Cleaner California Coast is remarkable,” said Dennis Rodoni, District Four Supervisor for the County of Marin. “That all of these stakeholders from the three counties are committed to communicating uniform messaging along the Northern California coastline is powerful. It not only reduces competing messaging -- which can obscure clarity for visitors-- but it greatly increases the likelihood of visitors being exposed to these important principles.”

The campaign launch culminates a year-long process of extensive research, community planning, and collaboration with representatives from the three coastal counties. This messaging campaign exists alongside the ongoing Sonoma County Leave No Trace Initiative to enhance and complement other impact prevention efforts promoted by public agencies and nonprofits in the adjacent coastal counties. As visitors and trash exist beyond county lines, Marin and Mendocino Counties are pleased to adopt practices from Leave No Trace and Sonoma County to apply along the Northern California coastline. Together, the Cleaner California Coast initiative will be the framework that allows us to advance collectively.

By launching the coordinated initiative, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin counties’ creeks, bays, and wetlands that connect to the Pacific Ocean will be positively impacted by engaging the public and communicating pollution prevention practices: Bring Reusables (and refuse single-use plastics), Find a Restroom (Know Before You Go), Pack It Out, and Hang On To Your Cigarette Butts (and E-Cigarette Pods and Cartridges).

Community members can help reinforce these practices at an upcoming clean-up event:

Sonoma County Event: Sonoma County Regional Parks Beach Clean Up at Doran Regional Park: Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, 9:00 AM-Noon

Mendocino County Event: Mendocino Land Trust Second Saturday Beach Clean Up at Hare Creek (Park at Mendocino College, Coast Campus) Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, 10:00 AM - Noon

 Marin County Event: Environmental Action Committee Coastal Clean-Up Day: Help clean up our creeks and beaches in coastal Marin County, September 23, 2023, 10:00 AM – Noon

The website was launched earlier this summer, providing a broad scope of messaging that the three counties will use to educate and influence visitors during the summer season and beyond. Agencies and organizations partnering with the initiative can share the Leave No Trace-based messaging resources in English and Spanish and take advantage of a new stewardship education series that explicitly addresses visitation and human impact issues along the Northern California coastline.

To learn more and do more, please contact:

 Leave No Trace

Andrew Leary

Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships

Marin County Parks and Open Space

Max Korten


Environmental Action Committee of West Marin

Madeline Nieto Hope

Project Coordinator, Cleaner California Coast Initiative

Sonoma County Tourism

Devin McConnell

Sustainability and Climate Initiatives Manager

Sonoma County Regional Parks

Sarah Phelps

Marketing Specialist

Visit Mendocino County

Travis Scott

Chief Executive Officer

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Rivino Winery, Ukiah (Jeff Goll)

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by Marguerite O’Brien

This weekend the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is hosting its annual Art in the Gardens event, a celebration of flora that makes me think of the largely forgotten artworks of Elise Kelley Drexler. Elise was the second daughter of William and Eliza Kelley and is well known for her groundbreaking accomplishments as an independent female capitalist, investor, real estate developer, and philanthropist in the Bay Area from the 1890s through the 1930s. However, she was also an accomplished artist.

Painting of Wild Roses by Elise Kelley Drexler on display in the museum from the Margaret Kelley Campbell Collection.

In the Kelley House Museum archives is a collection of Elise’s art that demonstrates her attention to detail in her delicate linework. The collection contains one of her sketchbooks from childhood that begins with clumsy doodles and shows her meticulous practice to master perspective. Also in this sketchbook is a portrait of one of the famous Mendocino Outlaws, John F. Wheeler, the local dentist who was convicted of murder in 1880. It is clear, however, that portraiture was not where her talents lay, the sketchbook makes evident her love, and understanding of nature. Her attempts to get the shape of a tree branch just right occupy two pages, and inserted into the book are several sheets of intricately drawn flowers from the Kelley family gardens: heritage roses and water lilies from the Kelley Pond, all dated 1881 when Elise was only 15 years old.

After mastering her drawing skills, Elise began to study painting. She went to Europe as a teenager with her father’s sister and cousins, studying art in the great museums. We have three of her paintings, all highlighting flowers, one of which hangs on display in the Anne Kendall Foote Memorial Room on the second floor of the museum. This oil painting on wood features the bright blooms of wild white roses, set against a black background. Perhaps these flowers attracted Elise because they were introduced to the United States in 1866, her birth year, or perhaps because they came from Japan, one of her favorite places to travel. It is clear that roses were certainly one of her favorite subjects, showing up in at least half of the pieces in the collection. This is hardly a surprise with Mendocino’s rich history of heritage roses, which owes much to her sister, Daisy Kelley MacCallum, who planted over 200 varieties of roses in her own garden.

The Botanical Garden’s own Heritage Rose Garden is at its most beautiful right now, and I imagine attending Art in the Gardens would have been one of the highlights of the year for Elise.


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Good morning Department Heads and Elected Officials, 

During this time of labor contract negotiations and the creation of the County Budget, departments may have employees that wish to attend the Board of Supervisors meetings to support their employee organization and/or speak to the Board of Supervisors. This notice provides guidance on such requests. 

Employees planning to attend Board of Supervisors meetings on union business must be informed that this activity must be conducted on the employee’s own time, and requested in advance. 

Departments may approve requests by employees for the use of accruals, including personal leave, vacation, CTO/FTO, or unpaid time off. Requests shall not unreasonably interfere with a department’s operation, and Union members shall secure permission from their supervisors before leaving work assignments. Requests shall not be unreasonably denied. 

Please contact Deputy CEO Cherie Johnson, Assistant HR Director William Schurtz, or HR Manager Kao Saeturn, with any questions or for guidance. 

Thank you, 

Kao Saeturn 

HR Manager, County of Mendocino 

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To: California Public Employment Relations Board San Francisco Regional Office
1515 Clay Street, Suite 2206
Oakland, CA, 94612-1403 

Filed 07/21/23 

RE: Service Employees International Union Local 1021 v. County of Mendocino PERB Unfair Practice Charge No. SF-CE-2087-M
Respondent’s Position Statement 

The Respondent, County of Mendocino (County), is a public agency within the meaning of California Government Code § 3501(c), and employs members of Service Employees International Union, Local 1021 (SEIU Local 1021). SEIU Local 1021 is a recognized employee organization within of California Government Code § 3501(b), and is recognized by the County as an employee organization that represents employees of the County. 

The County and SEIU Local 1021 are presently engaged in ongoing negotiations for a successor contract. The parties’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) commenced July 1, 2022, and expired June 30, 2023, attached as Exhibit 1. The County has an Employer-Employee Relations Resolution (EERR) providing orderly procedures for the administration of employer- employee relations between the County and its employee organizations, attached as Exhibit 2. 

The County sees the PERB Charge as 3 separate and distinct issues, and responds as follows. 

Request to Dismiss or Amend Filing 

This Unfair Labor Charge is not proper and the County respectfully requests that the Public Employees Relations Board dismiss this filing on a procedural basis. 

In the filing, under Declaration, the charging party modifies the statement as follows: 

I declare under penalty of perjury that I have read the above charge and that the statements herein are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief and that this declaration was executed on 6/20/23 at Sacramento, CA. See verification of Patrick Hickey. 

The final page of the filing includes an image of a signed statement provided by Patrick Hickey, as written: 

I, Patrick Hickey, am a Field Representative for Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, Charging Party in the above-entitled action. I have read the foregoing Unfair Practice Charge of Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, and know the contents thereof, and I certify that the same is true of my own knowledge, except as to those matters which therein stated upon my information or belief, as to those matters, I believe them to be true. If called as a witness, I could testify competently regarding the matters alleged in the Charge. 

I declare under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California, that the foregoing it true and correct. 

Executed this 20th day of June, 2023 at Ukiah, California 

The signed statement from Hickey omits the specific language from the Declaration section that “the above charge and that the statements herein are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.” The County‘s position is that the discrepancy in language includes a material difference for which this Unfair Labor Practice Charge filing shall be dismissed, or require the charging party to amend the filing so as to resolve the discrepancy in the Declaration section. 

I. Threat to Change Working Conditions at the Library after Protected Concerted Activity 

The County denies the allegation that Melissa Carr, Branch Librarian and SEIU 1021- represented employee, complaining to the Friends of the Library Groups and the Library Advisory Board is considered protected concerted activity. The Friends of the Library Groups and Library Advisory Board are external groups that have no role in Library operations or the wages, hours, and other conditions of employment of SEIU Local 1021-represented employees. 

Furthermore, the alleged threat to take away workspace does not affect Carr at all. 

For the reasons stated, the County believes that PERB should not issue a complaint on this issue. 

II. Classification Change Without Notice and Opportunity to Bargain 

The County denies the allegation that the County failed to provide notice and opportunity to bargain regarding transferring the classification of Branch Librarian from SEIU unit to the Management unit. 

In July 2022, the Cultural Services Director contacted Human Resources asking for a review of the Branch Librarian classification for updating and minimum qualifications review. From July 2022 through May 2023, Human Resources intermittently worked on the classification with the department on the draft revisions of the classification. The result was a classification modification and title change. 

In May 2023, Human Resources prepared an agenda item to be brought before the Civil Service Commission for classification specification modifications and title changes to the classifications for Branch Librarian and Branch Librarian – Non-MLS to Library Branch Manager – MLS and Library Branch Manager – Non-MLS, and to reclassify incumbents. The agenda item is attached as Exhibit 3, and referenced as Exhibit C in the charging party’s filing. The Civil Service Commission agenda was published on Friday, May 12, 2023. It is Human Resources’ established practice to notify SEIU when there are any agenda items related to SEIU classifications going before the Civil Service Commission. Bargaining units have the opportunity to speak to the content of classifications at the Civil Service Commission meeting during the agenda item. 

On May 12, 2023, the County received an emailed request from SEIU representative, Patrick Hickey, requesting to meet and confer about the proposal before the Civil Service Commission meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, regarding the Branch Librarian classification. Mr. Hickey requested that the item be pulled from the agenda pending the opportunity to request and review information, and discuss the proposal and SEIU’s concerns related to it. Mr. Hickey’s email did not state the specific reasons for the request for meet and confer. Later that day, Mr. Hickey sent a letter requesting to meet and confer on the proposed changes to the Branch Librarian classification which would ultimately result in the bargaining unit change from SEIU Local 1021 to the Mendocino County Management Association. 

The agenda item in question was withdrawn from the May 17, 2023, Civil Service Commission meeting agenda so that this issue could be further assessed. 

The proposed classification modification included a tracked change of bargaining unit in the Additional Information section added to all published approved classifications. Additional Information is included on all Mendocino County classification specifications that is a summary of pertinent information associated with the classification specification, some of which are not under the purview of the Civil Service Commission such as: class code, FLSA status, bargaining unit, dates adopted/revised. This information is determined by the HR Director. In the draft classification specifications, this additional information also showed changes and additions, to include bargaining unit. 

The established County practice for classification specification modification was being followed: Human Resources determines modifications of classification specifications, receives concurrence from the departments affected, makes recommended changes to the Civil Service Commission for approval, upon approval takes the request for approval of the classification specification to the Board of Supervisors. If there is a change in the classification salary or bargaining unit, a letter of intent is sent to the bargaining unit representative prior to the Board action to contact Human Resources if they would like to meet further on the matter. 

The County is under no obligation to meet and confer regarding the proposed classification modification of the Branch Librarian. Under the EERR, Section 1. Statement of Purpose states: 

It is the purpose of this Resolution to provide procedures for meeting and conferring in good faith with Recognized Employee Organizations regarding matters that directly and significantly affect and primarily involve the wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment of employees in appropriate units and that are not preempted by federal or state law. However, nothing herein shall be construed to restrict any legal or inherent exclusive County rights with respect to matters of general legislative or managerial policy, which include among others: The exclusive right to determine the mission of its constituent agencies, departments, commissions, and boards; set standards of service; determine the procedures and standards of selection for employment; direct its employees; take disciplinary action; relieve its employees from duty because of lack of work or for other lawful reasons; determine the content of job classifications; subcontract work; maintain the efficiency of governmental operations; determine the methods, means and personnel by which government operations are to be conducted; take all necessary actions to carry out its mission in emergencies; and exercise complete control and discretion over its organization and the technology of performing its work. 

The County has an obligation to meet and confer over the change in bargaining unit if requested. However, SEIU’s request to meet and confer was premature, as the proposed classification modifications as drafted had not yet been approved by the Civil Service Commission. The content of the classifications are the basis of the determination of the appropriate bargaining unit assigned. Until the Civil Service Commission approves the classification modifications as presented or as changed upon direction of the Civil Service Commission, the classification modifications are not finalized and ready for meet and confer. 

Under the EERR, Section 9. Policy and Standards for Determination of Appropriate Units, Subparagraph f states: 

The Employee Relations Officer shall, after notice to and consultation with affected employee organizations, allocate new classifications or positions, delete eliminated classifications or positions, and retain, reallocate or delete modified classifications or positions from units in accordance with the provisions of this Section. The decision of the Employee Relations Officer shall be final. 

For the reasons stated, the County believes that PERB should not issue a complaint on this issue. 

III. Policy Regarding SEIU-Represented Employees’ Requests to Attend Board of Supervisors’ Meetings 

The County denies the allegations that the County had a long-standing practice of allowing employees to attend BOS meetings during work time without taking personal accrued leaves and without such advanced notice, Saeturn’s June 5, 2023, memo announced a new policy, Saeturn’s memo discriminated against employees supporting the Union or engaging in protected concerted activity, and that the County unilaterally implemented changes without providing a notice and opportunity to SEIU to bargain. 

SEIU Local 1021 asserts that in a memo issued by Kao Saeturn, HR Manager for the County, on June 5, 2023, to Department Heads and Elected Officials, “The memo does not apply to employees that attend the BOS meetings for any other purpose. Saeturn’s new policy allows employees to continue to attend BOS meetings for purposes other than supporting the union and engaging in protected concerted activities without taking personal accrued leaves, discriminating against union supporters and employees who engage in protected concerted activities.” Saeturn’s memo did not relay a new policy, it only restated the County’s longstanding practice. 

SEIU Local 1021 misunderstands Saeturn’s memo to mean that employees are allowed to attend Board of Supervisors meetings “for purposes other than supporting the union and engaging in protected concerted activities without taking personal accrued leaves...” In fact, Saeturn’s memo intended to provide guidance to departments so they may act consistently in facilitating employee attendance at Board of Supervisors meetings. The County’s practice is that attendance at a Board of Supervisors meeting, for any reason except approved department or County business, must be conducted on the employee’s own time, meaning through either of the use of accruals or unpaid time off, and requested in advance. Board of Supervisors meetings are regularly scheduled to occur twice monthly on Tuesdays, starting at 9:00 A.M. Employees of the County regularly attend and participate in Board of Supervisors meetings for non-union purposes, and it is commonly understood by employees and departments of the County that attendance at a Board of Supervisors meeting that is not for approved department business, is conducted on the employee’s own time, and that any time away from performing work assignments is subject to advance approval by a supervisor. Requests from employees to attend Board of Supervisors meetings for non-department or County business are regularly made and approved with short notice. This practice applies regardless of an employee’s membership in an employee organization, pertains to all items that go in front of the Board of Supervisors, and is not limited to the reasons of “supporting the union and engaging in protected concerted activities.” 

SEIU Local 1021 asserts “Saeturn’s memo only applies to SEIU-represented employees that wish to attend BOS meetings to express support the Union and engage in other protected concerted activities.” The County interacts with eight (8) unions and employee organizations and Saeturn’s memo addresses employees across all employee organizations. Saeturn’s memo does not name SEIU Local 1021 or any particular employee organization, only referencing employee organizations in general. At the time of Saeturn’s memo, the County was engaged in ongoing negotiations for successor contracts with four (4) other employee organizations, and Saeturn’s memo addresses all employee organizations. 

On June 5, 2023, Saeturn issued a second and separate memo five (5) minutes after the first memo, attached as Exhibit 5. This memo provided guidance specific to two departments with employees that served in SEIU Officer roles authorized to attend Board of Supervisors meetings as paid release time per MOU Article 4.15, and was intended as guidance for the departments to act in compliance with SEIU Local 1021 rights. These two departments employed the SEIU Local 1021 Mendocino Chapter President, and their likely designee, the Vice President. MOU Article 4.15 Union Release Time Bank states: 

Additionally, the County shall grant up to 8 hours per month of paid release time for the president or other designee on the executive board of the bargaining unit, to attend meetings of the Board of Supervisors whenever an agenda item affects the Union or bargaining unit employees. The Union president or executive board designee shall provide notification in writing to his/her appointing authority or designee prior to attending the Board of Supervisors meeting with as much notice as possible. The appointing authority or designee has the right to deny the release time for operational reasons in which case a different executive board member may be designated. 

Saeturn’s two June 5, 2023, memos were issued in response to specific requests for guidance from departments that had received requests from employees to attend an upcoming Board of Supervisors’ meeting scheduled for June 6, 2023. 

On June 5, 2023, at 10:12 AM, Hickey initiated an email exchange with Saeturn. Hickey wrote: 

“If any employee is discouraged or prevented from attending the Union Action at the Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow, this will constitute an Unfair Labor Practice against the employee’s right to engage in Protected Concerted Activity. 

While it is not our intent to be disruptive and we have suggested that employees notify their supervisors about their participation, they are under no obligation to do so, unless doing so would constitute an imminent threat to public health. Please correct this directive.”

In the email reply at 12:28 PM from Saeturn to Hickey, Saeturn wrote: 

“The notice to departments did not include any suggestion or direction to discourage or prevent any employee from attending a Board of Supervisors meeting, nor did it not state that any employee was required to notify their supervisor they will be attending a BOS meeting or participating in any concerted activity. The County has no desire to discourage or prevent any employee from attending a BOS meeting or participating in any concerted activity.”

Please don’t read into this notice to departments for more than it is. Departments received requests from employees disclosing they would be attending an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting, and requested guidance specific to this topic. The message in this email is to departments that if an employee states that they plan to attend a BOS meeting, this activity must be conducted on the employee’s own time, unless it is during the employee’s regular break or lunch, and requested in advance. The departments have a duty to serve the public, but any requests will not be unreasonably denied. 

SEIU Local 1021 asserts “Prior to Saeturn issuing the June 5 memo, the County had a long-standing practice of allowing employees to attend BOS meetings during work time without taking personal accrued leaves and without such advanced notice.” The County did not engage in making any unilateral changes, and in fact, only clarified the County’s established practice for departments. 

SEIU Local 1021 asserts that “The County did not provide the opportunity to SEIU to meet and confer over Saeturn’s memo before it was implemented.” The County did not implement a change in policy and was under no obligation to meet and confer, and Hickey made no mention or request to the County to meet and confer over this alleged new policy. 

SEIU Local 1021 asserts that employees have been allowed to attend BOS meetings during work time without taking personal accrued leaves and without such advanced notice. 

Hickey contradicts this assertion in an email to Mendocino County Chapter SEIU Local 1021 members on May 29, 2023, one week prior to Saeturn’s memos. Hickey wrote: 

“We have a right under California Labor Law to work collectively to address our workplace concerns, so we are protected doing this on work time. To be paid for the time you may need to request PTO or vacation time, but you can attend regardless.”

SEIU Local 1021 asserts the Saeturn memo as the County making “unilateral changes,” when in fact, as recently as the week prior to the Saeturn’s memos, Hickey’s email demonstrates his understanding to be in line with the County’s practice as stated in Saeturn’s June 5, 2023, memos. 

At no point prior to this Unfair Practice Charge had Hickey informed the County that an alleged change in policy had taken place, nor did Hickey request to meet and confer. In fact, ten days after Saeturn’s memos, Hickey communicated a policy consistent with the County’s direction as stated in Saeturn’s memos. On June 15, 2023, in an email blindcopied to Mendocino County Chapter SEIU Local 1021 members, Hickey wrote: 

“We have a right under California Labor Law to work collectively to address our workplace concerns, so we are protected doing this on work time. This will not be paid time unless you request PTO, vacation or ask to flex your hours, but it is important that we have all hands on deck.”

The language change between Hickey’s two emails demonstrates Hickey’s understanding that attending Board of Supervisors meetings is only on paid time is consistent with Saeturn’s memos. 

For the reasons stated, the County believes that PERB should not issue a complaint on this issue. 

Request for Dismissal of Charges 

The County denies SEIU Local 1021 allegations, inclusive of bargaining in bad faith, failing to provide the Union with a true opportunity to meet and confer over the aforementioned unilateral changes, unilaterally implementing such changes, discriminating against Union supporters, and interfering with protected rights of public employees and the Union. 

For the reasons stated above, the County believes PERB should not issue a complaint. 

Kao Saeturn
Human Resources Manager
County of Mendocino – Human Resources
501 Low Gap Road, Room 1326, Ukiah CA 95482
Telephone Number: 707-234-6606 E-mail Address: 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, August 3, 2023

Cabrera, Hamshar, Lawson, Mendoza

ROSA CABRERA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

BRIAN HAMSHAR, Hespera/Willits. Battery with serious injury, concealed dirk-dagger.

NOLAN LAWSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ANTONY MENDOZA-MEDINA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

Norland, Rodriguez, Wilson, Wood


LUIS RODRIGUEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

JOHN WILSON, Eureka/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

KYLEE WOOD, Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.

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Just sitting here at The Ukiah Public Library waiting to be picked up by a Building Bridges Housing Navigator to see an apartment today. Frankly, after 17 months sleeping at the homeless resource center, am not attached to anything at all. Contact me if you wish to do anything of importance on the planet earth. I’m available. Meanwhile, chant OM, identify with the Divine Absolute, and free yourself from the wheel of samsara right now!

Craig Louis Stehr

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This picture was taken in Berrien County, Michigan in July of 1940 and shows a one bedroom home that was rented by a family of seven for $1.75 per week. This particular family made their living working as farm hands wherever they could find work. Many of the larger farms had living quarters like this that could be rented to migrant workers.

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If you’ve ever talked to much older people who grew up on mostly self-sufficient farms, they tell a much different story. Back in the 1980s, my next-door neighbor was a elderly woman who was raised on a farm. When I talked about my little garden, she informed me with bubbly enthusiasm, “Oh, when I was a girl, we made a BIG garden!” She also told me about how, “Oh, we had such a good time in winter!”

Of course, people in the country had no refrigeration back then (unless they had an ice house), but they had a variety of canned goods: green beans, tomatoes, carrots, corn, pickled peppers, pickles, peaches, pears, apples, berries, jams and jellies, etc. Some fruits and vegetables will keep well into winter in a root cellar: apples, pears, onions, squash, carrots, beets, turnips. rutabagas, and cabbage. When my neighbor talked about “a good time in winter,” I always pictured the ladies pulling pies, bread, rolls, and cookies out of the oven. I recently learned that my in-law’s family always had pie for dessert, seven days a week. The way this was explained to me was that the family had fruit trees. When you have fruit trees, there is always WAY too much fruit for the family to consume in a year’s time, unless you get creative. So the grandmother of the family canned all the apples and peaches. Once a week she made seven pies, so she would have one for dessert every day. If company came over, she would always offer them a piece of pie. She was thus able to use all that fruit.

There is a short story by Mark Twain that I once ran across (and haven’t been able to find since) about the idyllic food situation on a Missouri farm in the 1800s.

You might also want to read James Whitcomb Riley’s poem, “Out to Old Aunt Mary’s.” Old Aunt Mary’s nephews had no complaints about the food.

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by Alexei Koseff

Turn off Highway 99 in rural Elverta, drive five miles down the road and you’ll find a dusty lot crammed with cars on this scorching Friday evening. Behind the wooden fence, for a $10 entry fee, awaits a gathering akin to a block party crossed with a high-potency farmers market.

Alongside shirtless young men displaying jars of weed and decorative bongs, there are tacos and smoothies for sale. A woman in cannabis leaf-patterned shorts peruses the merchandise, while another with a severe black bob offers dab hits near the front. The DJ occasionally interrupts his mix of throwback hip-hop tunes (do you enjoy Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage”?) to sell tickets for a raffle raising money for one vendor’s comatose employee.

Next to his booth, a table gives out free cannabis for veterans, who don’t have to pay to get into the event. Neither do patients with a doctor’s recommendation, like Dannie, a barber who was shot three times in his left arm and smokes cannabis to manage pain often inflamed by cutting hair.

Dannie, who agreed to be identified only by his first name, said he carries a medical recommendation because it’s safer should he ever get stopped by the police. But he still prefers buying weed at these clandestine pop-ups, where the products are more potent than at a dispensary.

“I’d rather spend my $30 on something that lasts,” he said.

This is just one of four unlicensed cannabis “seshes” in the Sacramento area that Bette Braden will host this week, as she does every week. The events started eight years ago for medical marijuana patients in an era of looser regulations, before California legalized recreational sales.

Since 2016, when voters approved Proposition 64, the initiative that authorized a commercial cannabis market in the state, Braden has come to view her seshes as both a business opportunity and an act of protest. Like many longtime advocates, she believes all weed use has a medical purpose, and considers it immoral that high taxes and a lack of dispensaries have made it inaccessible to many patients.

“The laws are so hideous,” Braden said, as she supervised from a camp chair near the entrance. “I used to be an activist. Now I’ve gone over to the underground.”

‘No one really cares about the medical side’

Frustration runs deep among medical cannabis patients and advocates who — by persuading voters to pass Proposition 215 in 1996 — paved the way for legal weed in California, but now feel left behind in a post-Proposition 64 era. In a profit-centered system focused on recreational sales, they argue there is little consideration for patients and their unique needs.

Collectives that once provided cannabis and community largely dissolved nearly five years ago, as California transitioned to a new regulatory framework based around licensed growers and retailers. Dispensaries, which are still prohibited in many parts of the state by local rules, have not widely embraced a replacement program that allows them to donate medical marijuana to patients who cannot afford to buy it. Medical identification cards, which can cost several hundred dollars to renew annually, confer few tangible benefits.

“No one really cares about the medical side, and that’s a mistake, because that’s where the value is,” said Richard Miller, who has promoted patients’ rights at the state Capitol for nearly two decades as a member of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis and Americans for Safe Access. “I’ve been feeling over the past year like my work is a failure.”

The shift to treating medical marijuana users more like customers is especially tough for older patients with limited incomes and those with chronic conditions who need a large amount of cannabis for treatment. While California physicians can recommend cannabis for conditions including arthritis, glaucoma, migraines and seizures, most health insurance plans do not cover medical marijuana because it remains illegal at the federal level.

“My life is being messed with. I should not have to continue to…search out ways of finding the only medicine that has ever helped me.”

bonnie metcalf, who uses cannabis to ease pain from an immune disease

So some cost-conscious patients seek other ways of getting their supply, such as the underground seshes sprouting up around the state. That further bolsters an illicit market that California has struggled to bring under control and alarms advocates who want patients to have high-quality, safe medicine.

“There are some things in this world that should not have a f—ing price tag. And feeling good when you’re sick is f—ing one of them,” said Bonnie Metcalf, who lives in Sacramento County and suffers from sarcoidosis, a disease of the immune system that fills her body with lumps of inflamed cells called granulomas.

With an $1,100 monthly disability payment her only income, Metcalf said she cannot afford dispensary prices and relies on friends and Braden’s pop-ups for cannabis.

“It ain’t funny no more. My life is being messed with,” she said. “I should not have to continue to do this, to have to, you know, search out ways of finding the only medicine that has ever helped me in a way that I can still have a value to my life.”

‘It’s nothing but pain’

Metcalf’s body is snap, crackle, popping as she rolls into the living room in her motorized wheelchair for breakfast. An excruciating tingle runs from her neck and shoulders down through her hips and legs, she said, like a limb that has fallen asleep. It’s a dull, aching, don’t-fricking-talk-to-me kind of feeling, the same agony she wakes up to every day “until I get some pot in me.”

“As soon as I hit this reality, it’s nothing but pain,” Metcalf said. “It’s the first thing I think about. Because how can it not be?”

Metcalf does not like the side effects she experienced with pharmaceuticals — she took a steroid for her lungs that she said gave her diabetes — so she primarily sticks to cannabis and meditation to treat her sarcoidosis.

“It’s very strange, because there’s a point you get to where you don’t give a f— that you have pain. You’re so euphoric,” she said. “People would say, ‘Oh, you’re just doing it to get high.’ Well, yeah, dude, I would rather be in a euphoric state of mind than, you know, I can’t get comfortable. You can’t eat. Your muscles are constantly spasming. I’m on hot water bottles. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”

Cannabis has been part of Metcalf’s life for decades: Now 61, she said she first smoked weed at the age of 8, when an older teen gave her a joint at the park, and became an activist for cannabis access as a teenager.

While living in San Francisco in the 1980s, she worked with cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, Metcalf said, advocating for them to be able to use cannabis in medical settings. She collected signatures for the initiative that legalized medical marijuana and, after it passed in 1996, moved home to Yuba County, where she opened her own cooperative. Metcalf said she would drive a bus of patients down to San Francisco twice a month so they could see a doctor and get their paperwork in order.

That ended after 11 years, when Metcalf became too disabled to run the collective any longer. Despite her activism, however, she now refuses to get a doctor’s recommendation or a medical card or shop at dispensaries. She’s furious at how Proposition 64 commercialized cannabis in California, prioritizing getting high over medication and pushing aside longtime activists, growers and mom-and-pop businesses with expensive licenses and regulations.

“The system that exists is bulls–t,” she said. “These rich people are paying more for packaging and branding than they are worried about medicine for people. They don’t care. It’s not a medicine to them. It’s just another money-making scheme like beer or cigarettes.”

After eating a sausage scramble with green onions, Metcalf follows a meditative routine to help her mind vibrate above the pain. For her daily sacraments, she burns a bay leaf, a bundle of sage and a stick of palo santo, waving them around her body and each door in the house. She takes off her shoes and sits in the backyard for a few minutes, sticking her bare feet into the dirt to ground.

Finally, it’s time to medicate. Metcalf said she can no longer smoke weed because of the granulomas in her lungs. Instead, she takes two daily doses of FECO, a highly-concentrated cannabis extract — one in the morning to relax her body and one in the evening to help her sleep.

Back in her room, Metcalf turns on a playlist of affirmations by the musician Toni Jones and says a silent prayer (“May all beings live in peace, harmony, love and bliss”). Then she dips a fork into her jar of FECO and puts a dab of the oil on her tongue. She spits a chunk back into the jar, then bites another piece off the fork, until she estimates that she has half a gram.

The sensation starts in her head. She can feel her blood pressure calm. Her eyes relax and she sees the world in a whole different way. Everything is sparkly.

“It’s like a rain. It just starts raining,” she said, as the relief slowly washed down her body, loosening her joints before arriving, finally, at her feet.

“As long as my mind is high, I can control the body,” she said. “I can choose to disconnect from the pain. I can choose to put it in the background.

‘Our whole system fell apart’

Though it was the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana with Proposition 215, California has always had a fraught relationship with it.

The Compassionate Use Act allowed people with a valid doctor’s recommendation, as well as their caregivers, to cultivate cannabis for their personal medical use — opening the door for collectives where patients unable to grow their own medicine could pool their resources to pay “caregivers” to do it for them. Compassionate care programs offered weed to the sickest and poorest patients for minimal or no cost.

But federal pressure from the “War on Drugs” remained, and the state was reluctant to jump into regulating medical cannabis until 2015, largely leaving the task to local jurisdictions. Writing recommendations became a lucrative business for some unscrupulous physicians, while illicit operators took advantage of the enforcement gaps to open hundreds of what were functionally retail dispensaries, enhancing skepticism about the legitimacy of the medical marijuana system.

That changed in 2019, after the passage of Proposition 64, when California began requiring collectives to get licensed like a commercial dispensary. Unable to complete the expensive and complex process, many shut down. More than 60% of cities and counties in the state still ban cannabis retailers, even for medical use, though starting in January, they can no longer prohibit medical cannabis delivery.

“Overnight, our whole system fell apart,” said Valerie Corral, founder of the groundbreaking cooperative Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz. “They were so busy counting tax dollars that they put us all out of business.”

Corral received a license, but she sold it after it became clear opening and operating a dispensary would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that her donation-based organization did not have. Now she grows cannabis and works with local dispensaries to donate it for free to patients — the result of a 2019 law that, after a multiyear effort, established a replacement to California’s traditional compassion programs.

Leona Powell, a former member of Corral’s collective who smokes weed daily to deal with lingering pain from a 1978 airplane crash, said she misses volunteering in the garden and connecting with other patients at weekly meetings, where they would share information and potluck dinners. Living primarily on Social Security payments, the 75-year-old Powell said she relies on donated cannabis from a local dispensary, because she otherwise cannot afford the price of a standard eighth of an ounce, which typically costs $40 or more plus tax.

“That’s only a couple of joints. That’s two days’ worth. Now what?” she said. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

Efforts to formalize the medical marijuana system in California also lagged. In 2003, the state established a medical identification card for patients, mainly as a way to defuse interactions with law enforcement, but made it voluntary. Few people applied for one, perhaps afraid to register themselves with the government — though some activists did as a political statement.

At its peak, in the 2009-10 fiscal year, counties issued 12,659 annual medical cards, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. Surveys at the time estimated hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, medical cannabis patients in California. By last year, the number of medical cards dropped to just 3,218, among the lowest on record.

Advocates say there is little reason to get a card, which carries an annual fee of as much as $100, on top of the cost of the doctor’s recommendation. With the card, patients are exempted from the state sales tax on their cannabis but not other state and local taxes, so they would need to spend hundreds of dollars per month at a dispensary to realize any savings. Californians can also get medical cards before they turn 21, when it is legal to buy weed for recreational use, and cardholders can purchase more cannabis per day.

“There’s a tendency to be dismissive of cannabis users” among the medical establishment, which is then reflected in policy, said William Dolphin, a University of Redlands lecturer who researches and writes about medical cannabis. “We’ve seen across the country a desire to wash their hands of it.”

The state Department of Cannabis Control points to extensive testing and labeling requirements in the licensed market as a major benefit for patients, ensuring that Californians with potentially compromised immune systems are not using products tainted with hair, rat feces, heavy metals, illegal pesticides or mold.

In May, the department awarded UCLA two grants to study medical cannabis use in California, including what conditions patients are treating, what products they prefer and how they are accessing them.

“If they’re turning to the unlicensed market, we want to understand why they’re doing that so we can craft policies to bring them into the licensed market,” said Devin Gray, a policy analyst with the department’s policy and research division.

‘We sell products to stay alive’

Even dispensaries and other organizations dedicated to the philanthropic tradition of compassionate care are struggling amid a broader industry downturn.

Kimberly Cargile owns A Therapeutic Alternative, which opened in a converted house near downtown Sacramento in 2009 to serve medical marijuana patients. These days, it also has a license for recreational sales — and one of the only compassion programs in town, allowing low-income patients to receive cannabis for free.

Cargile said many dispensaries are reluctant to establish these programs because of the expense. Hers, serving an estimated 200 people, runs between $1,000 and $2,000 per month for staff time to manage applications, intake stock and consult with patients.

That’s a bigger sacrifice than it used to be. After a statewide surge in cannabis sales during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Cargile said sales dropped by $3 million, or 20%, at her dispensary over the past two years. She’s been looking for savings everywhere she can to stay afloat, though the compassion program will remain a priority for as long as she can manage.

“We’re doing everything we can to stay true to our mission,” she said. She doesn’t want a cancer patient to feel forced to turn to “dirty” products on the illicit market.

“The whole entire reason I’ve dedicated my life to patients’ rights is because I want them to have access to high-quality, lab-tested products to treat their symptoms,” Cargile said.

Jude Thilman, who runs Dragonfly Wellness Center in Fort Bragg, said it is financially impossible for cannabis businesses to focus solely on medical use anymore. That has meant dispensaries providing less education for consumers, manufacturers of therapeutic products shutting down because they cannot adapt to new rules and a heritage slowly disappearing. Of the seven medicine makers that Thilman personally knew before Proposition 64, she said five have gone under and the other two are operating illegally.

“We sell products to stay alive,” Thilman said, “and then we sell products to help people.”

Medical donations through compassion programs increased over the first three years of the 2019 law, according to data collected by the state Department of Cannabis Control, though the reach remains relatively small. Last year, 440 dispensaries reported donating cannabis products to patients, fewer than a quarter of California’s nearly 2,000 licensed retailers.

Retailers reported 13,278 donations in 2020, 41,775 donations in 2021 and 47,371 donations in 2022. Each donation is counted separately, so the number of patients served is likely much lower.

Advocates said they initially benefited from an oversaturated commercial market, with businesses donating more products that they could not sell. But in recent months, as a dramatic price drop caught up to growers and decimated cannabis communities, supply has been scarcer.

“What’s been heartbreaking is that extinction of all the small farmers who have been our most loyal donors,” said Ryan Miller, who founded Compassionate Veterans, until recently known as Operation EVAC, a program that combines peer support sessions with free cannabis to prevent suicides. “The corporations are not stepping up, to be honest.”

After his pioneering San Francisco collective had to stop handing out cannabis to patients in 2019, Joe Airone, known as Sweetleaf Joe, turned his attention to logistics for compassion programs, helping find and deliver donations. He said his efforts connected more than 3,000 patients with 1,600 pounds of free medical cannabis last year — but without more support, such as tax write-offs, for participating businesses, securing donations is getting more difficult.

“All of our partners are taking a financial hit to do this,” he said. “There’s no incentive to do this. Zero.”

‘How much are you really helping people?’

In spite of the triple-digit heat, Metcalf was among some 400 people who attended the underground marketplace in Elverta that Friday evening. After visiting with Braden, she stopped by a booth for The Sisters Edibles, where she sometimes buys gummies.

Metcalf eyed the table stacked with tubs of colorful CBD-infused bears and worms, packaged by the generous handful, available for $10 each or three for $25. It was a fraction of the cost of what she could get at a dispensary, where a tin with 10 doses would be $20 plus tax.

“If you limit it, how much are you really helping people?” said the owner, Jen, who said she started taking cannabis three years ago to treat her migraines and moved into manufacturing her own products to supplement her veteran disability payments. She declined to share her last name out of privacy concerns. “I have so many people who come up to me and say, ‘I can get out of bed now.’”

Metcalf continued on to find some weed for her caretaker. At another small booth, she held brown mason jars to her nose, inhaling the scents of dried cannabis flowers. Dank. Like a cheese.

“That has a nice little sweet kickback smell,” she said. “I’ll take a half.”

With only two $20 bills, Metcalf was $10 short of the price for half an ounce. The vendor, who asked to withhold his name so as not to jeopardize applications he has submitted for cannabis delivery and manufacturing licenses, waved it off.

Touched by his generosity, Metcalf asked for his number. She knew a lot of people who might want to order from him.

“Do you have a medical card?” he asked. He said he didn’t charge patients delivery fees.

Metcalf, a self-proclaimed outlaw, shrugged at the idea and threw up her middle fingers.

* * *

On Line Comment;

Maybe I should write a book about the wonderful “medical providers” who used that medical excuse to amass fortunes. I know too much about it and too many scammers big and small who really just used sick people to make hella stacks and become ballers. Some of them now have big farms with all the proper permits of compliance, such respected “legacy” posers and such….it really became quite a disgusting greenrush for the green money. I knew one guy who went fugitive after a big bust and when they finally caught up to him claimed that he was helping out sick people…paraded a . bunch of them down at the courthouse in their wheelchairs and on their crutches for his cause. Sure- he gave a little bit away in his new role as “medical provider” but really….like I said I know too much. Check your heroes, everybody…And yes- the sick folks should be gettig free weed if they are unable to grow their own. Interestingly that wonderful “legalization” that made us all so “free and safe” contained a provision that allowed counties or cities to ban all weed growing. Some did. In Tehama County medical gardens were allowed by state law until “legalization”. Then the county voted to ban grows and the next year helicopters began raiding sick peoples’ gardens. Then the abatements followed. For sick people. “Legalization” that was pushed by former “medical providers” who were looking to expand into mega-grows in SoCal and Oregon. It’s a pretty sick story of greed and bullshitting for sure…

* * *

* * *


by Laya Neelakandan

Mick Jagger said he was left “scared s–less” to perform in the wake of the infamous and deadly 1969 Altamont show.

In newly surfaced recordings presented on an episode of the iHeart podcast “Stones Touring Party,” the legendary Rolling Stones frontman spoke about his state of mind as the band prepared to return to the scene of one of rock music’s biggest disasters.

“Either I stopped touring or I didn’t — it was as simple as that,” Jagger said in an interview recorded decades ago with journalist Robert Greenfield. 

“A few people said don’t go — friends of mine — they said, ‘You’ve really got to be more careful, you can’t go.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s more or less what I do, so I’ve got to do it.’ If I don’t do it, what am I going to do? There was a few places that it did get scary, and there was a lot of guns confiscated and stuff like that. Don’t say I wasn’t scared — I was scared s–less.”

The 1969 Altamont show was a free concert hosted by the band with Hells Angels members hired as security. The show took place on the Altamont Speedway between Livermore and Tracy on Dec. 6, 1969. 

During the show, 18-year-old fan Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by Hells Angels security — all while the Rolling Stones played on stage, unaware of what they were witnessing. Jagger was also punched in the face by a concertgoer upon arrival at the venue.

“I think it affected all of us very profoundly. The only thing we were very upset about was being accused and held responsible for what happened,” former guitarist Mick Taylor said in the recordings. “You can’t really blame anybody in that kind of mass hysteria.”

But despite Jagger’s fear, the band returned to America in 1972 for another tour.

“You’re always open to being shot on stage — you’re always aware of that,” former Stones bassist Bill Wyman said in the tapes.

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

I smile to hear that anyone believes that I would be afraid to fight a man in a ring with gloves on his fists. Once I crossed the Andes mid-winter on foot, that was indeed danger. I had then not the gloved fists of a man to fear, but the might of snow slides and I say with truth that I was not afraid then. Why should I fear now?

— Luis Firpo

* * *


by Kwaneta Harris

For the past seven summers, I have lived in solitary confinement without air conditioning. A trip to medical during a heat wave helped put the climate crisis into perspective.

Even some of the most right-wing evangelical Texans acknowledge that climate change is real. They may debate the cause, but at a certain point, it becomes hard to argue with the effects. I know this because many of the guards who watch over me in my solitary confinement cell in a women’s prison in Texas are in this demographic. And they, like me, have had a front-row seat to the unfolding crisis.

Over the past seven years in solitary, I’ve seen magazine images of the aftermath of hurricanes and wildfires. These climate disasters have a way of feeling impossibly distant from inside these four cinder block walls. But a trip to medical after fainting during a heat wave last year helped put everything into perspective.

I have lived without air conditioning in this cell for the past seven summers. I wasn’t even allowed to shade my window from the sun. On a hot day in July, cells regularly reached 110 degrees. I’d heard stories of it getting up to 129. When the temperature would start to spike, I’d lie on the cement floor in wet underclothes and try not to move. In these conditions, women in my unit who are over 50—myself included—experience heart issues at alarming rates. These incidents are never reported as heat-related. Prison officials just explain it as a woman over 50 having a heart attack or stroke.

Guards don’t come into the cell blocks when it gets this hot. With their thick uniforms, many succumb to heat exhaustion. They do everything they can to stay in the air-conditioned parts of the prison. This environment might help explain the more than 7,000 vacancies for corrections officers in Texas prisons. The staffing shortage means we may not even get a reprieve to shower or for recreation. Nor is there a break for eating: In solitary, all food is served to us in our cells. For those in general population, staff shortages mean brown bag meals in your cell. Sometimes, there’s no one around to notice if we pass out or die.

When I fainted last year, I had to convince the guards to take me to medical. They’re always accusing people of faking symptoms so we can get into the air conditioning. At the infirmary, I saw images of Hurricane Ian’s aftermath playing on the television: houses torn apart, families standing in the rubble of their dismantled lives, water swallowing towns whole, and wind blowing away the temporary and feeble machinations of humankind. As I sat, sucking on ice cubes, I watched news anchors interview people who had lost everything and were barely hanging onto life. Outside the prison, grass fires burned.

These fires typically go unnoticed until the smoke drifts over to the building. Then, guards start yelling for help and run to the burning grass, where they begin stomping like an uncoordinated cowboy Riverdance troupe. Eventually, someone comes out with a fire extinguisher and sprays chemical foam on the ground. The guards who have ruined their shoes finish their shifts in their socks. The administration tries to blame these fires on us. How could we start a fire outside from within our cells, you might ask? Better not to ask questions like that in prison.

The recent summer heat wave finally brought conditions too dangerous to ignore. Between mid-June and mid-July, at least nine incarcerated people in Texas died of heart attacks or cardiac events in uncooled prisons where the outdoor heat indexes were above 100 degrees, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of prison death reports and weather data. The Tribune documented another 14 deaths due to “unknown causes” during the extreme heat, with prison staff often finding the deceased unresponsive in their cells. Two women recently died at Lane Murray Unit, where I’m incarcerated, though the causes have not yet been confirmed.

Officials recently installed temporary air conditioning in my unit following demands from the incarcerated population and staff. It offers a light breeze—enough to break the sweltering heat but too weak to actually cool my cell. Thousands of incarcerated Texans are suffering through much worse. Roughly 70 of the state’s 100 prisons do not have air conditioning in most living areas, according to a 2022 report by the Texas Tribune. State lawmakers have refused to provide funding to address this issue, and their inaction is costing people their lives.

Our collective futures will be filled with more and more scenes and stories like this. The United Nations recently announced that there was no way to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius—a target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just a few years ago. We’re already over 1 degree.

But climate change will trigger extreme weather events that extend far beyond heat. During the Great Texas Freeze in 2021, our cells dropped to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Prison officials gave us heat intermittently. They gave us blankets. We put on all the clothes we had at once. There was no water or electricity, which we are used to in prison. But the timing of these outages is critical. Being unable to flush toilets or turn on the tap or a fan in the summer is excruciating and nauseating.

Once, we had so much rain that the entire facility flooded. Sewage was knee-deep on the first floor. The prison kept us in our cells and did nothing to help us clean. We shared bath towels and passed around a mop and bucket as the mess receded.

Everyone agrees addressing climate change will cost money. But there’s so much hesitation to spend it—on this particular problem, at least. According to recent data, Texas spends over $3 billion annually to incarcerate more than 120,000 people in state prisons.

That money could be helpful to transition our energy system away from fossil fuels, provide low-carbon housing, insulate homes, or invest in bike lanes, greenways, and reforestation. People recoil at this sort of spending. But there’s always more money for prisons—because incarceration “keeps us safe.” The reality is that the devastation of the climate crisis will do far more harm than the folks who are locked up.

Before being sent to solitary, I worked in the fields doing the same unpaid forced labor as my enslaved ancestors. Sometimes, this meant picking, planting, and tending crops under the authority of armed white men on horseback. Mostly, we “cleared the fields,” chanting aloud to entertain our captors as we used dull gardening hoes to uproot the grass that would otherwise die in the drought and ignite from the heat.

We were human lawnmowers working against the intensifying forces of nature. But with so many little fires everywhere, we’ll eventually all get burned.

(First published in The Appeal, a nonprofit newsroom that exposes how the U.S. criminal legal system fails to keep people safe and perpetuates harm. Kwaneta Harris is an incarcerated writer in solitary confinement in Texas focusing on the intersection of race, gender and place. She focuses on illuminating how different incarceration is for women. She is working on a book about youth transferred to adult solitary confinement.

* * *

* * *


How sweet, the arraignment of Donald Trump! When he was (not) elected, I predicted he’d never be inaugurated. I said he’d be gone by that Christmas of 2016, so offensive were his offenses. I was confident (the more fool, I) that a tsunami of shock and revulsion would sweep him away as with 2011’s Fukushima monster.

Seven years later, the sweeping is just gathering speed. Two short motorcades, one tiny jet flight and a few minutes in a D.C. courtroom are today’s sweepery, and I join Harvard’s Laurence Tribe in worrying that the infamously slow wheels of justice will claim another unnecessarily long block of time and leave the mad goon still at large come election day 2024.

Even so, it’s not likely he’ll prevail in that election, and, as a “looza,” his trials will go on, but (see paragraph one, sentence two, above) I have countless reasons to not trust my personal crystal ball. Should he legitimately win, his legal jeopardy would become so much invisible ink, and I’d face a decision: Join whatever Minutemen vigilante force that would form to rid us of him and his wretched army of zombies or change my citizenship and home. Should Donald Trump win the presidency of the United States in 2024, I can see no other rational response—but I have little confidence that our citizenry has enough initiative and juevos (Spanish: “eggs” and slang for “testicles”) to do the only rational thing: eject him.

(Recall that in 2003, in the face of a worldwide outpouring of anti-war protest, virtually every city and town in the world, way overshadowing any other demonstration in world history, we ((meaning everybody)) stood down and became passive in the face of our attack, occupation and destruction of the sovereign nation of Iraq. America, with the help of a few friends, did that war crime—MEGA-crime—and has not owned it yet except in learned writings.)

This is my country. I love it and would die for it, but our timidity and stupidity are albatrosses—desperately burdensome. The American flag remains a symbol to me of goodness, righteousness and security, but it has been dragged in the mud so much, for damn near eighty years now, it’s barely recognizable.

The concerns aside, I hope the teaser we got today is a preview of the orgasmic joy it will be to see that unspeakably creepy creature sent to prison.

* * *

* * *


It’s not just the obscenely wealthy owners of the mass media who are protecting their class interests, it’s the reporters, editors and pundits as well. 

by Caitlin Johnstone

Iraq war cheerleader David Brooks has an article in The New York Times titled “What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?“, another one of those tired old think pieces we’ve been seeing for the last eight years that asks “golly gosh could we coastal elites have played some role in the rise of Trumpism?” like it’s the first time anyone has ever considered that obvious point (the answer is yes, duh, you soft-handed silver spoon-fed ivory tower bubble boy). 

One worthwhile paragraph about the media stands out though:

“Over the last decades we’ve taken over whole professions and locked everybody else out. When I began my journalism career in Chicago in the 1980s, there were still some old crusty working-class guys around the newsroom. Now we’re not only a college-dominated profession, we’re an elite-college-dominated profession. Only 0.8 percent of all college students graduate from the super elite 12 schools (the Ivy League colleges, plus Stanford, M.I.T., Duke and the University of Chicago). A 2018 study found that more than 50 percent of the staff writers at the beloved New York Times and The Wall Street Journal attended one of the 29 most elite universities in the nation.”

Brooks is not the first to make this observation about the drastic shift in the socioeconomic makeup of news reporters that has taken place from previous generations to now. 

“The class factor in journalism gets overlooked,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said on the Jimmy Dore Show in 2021. “Thirty or forty years ago, fifty years ago, journalists really were outsiders. That’s why they all had unions; they made shit money, they came from like working class families. They hated the elite. They hated bankers and politicians. It was kind of like a boss-employee relationship — they hated them and wanted to throw rocks at them and take them down pegs.”

“If I were to list the twenty richest people I’ve ever met in my entire life, I think like seven or eight of them are people I met because they work at The Intercept — people from like the richest fucking families on the planet,” Greenwald added.

Journalist Matt Taibbi, whose father worked for NBC, made similar observations on the Dark Horse podcast back in 2020. 

“Reporters when I was growing up, they came from a different class of people than they do today,” Taibbi said. “A lot of them were kind of more working class — their parents were more likely to be plumbers or electricians than they were to be doctors or lawyers. Like this thing where the journalist is an Ivy League grad, that’s a relatively new thing that I think came about in the seventies and eighties with my generation. But reporters just instinctively hated rich people, they hated powerful people. Like if you put up a poster of a politician in a newsroom it was defaced instantaneously, like there were darts on it. Reporters saw it as their job to stick it to the man.”

“Mostly the job is different now,” Taibbi said. “The fantasy among reporters in the nineties about politicians started to be, I want to be the person that hangs out with the candidate after the speech and has a beer and is sort of close to power. And that’s kind of the model, that’s where we’re at right now. That’s kind of the problem is that basically people in the business want to be behind the rope line with people of influence. And it’s going to be a problem to get us back to that other adversarial posture of the past.”

This is a major reason behind the freakish sycophancy and empire loyalism we see in the mainstream press. It’s not just the obscenely wealthy owners of the mass media who are protecting their class interests — it’s the reporters, editors and pundits as well. 

These are typically fairly wealthy people from fairly wealthy families, who become more and more wealthy the more their careers are elevated. As insiders of the mainstream press have attested, it’s widely understood by employees of the mainstream media that the way to elevate your career is to toe the establishment line and refrain from spotlighting issues that are inconvenient to the powerful.

This identification with the ruling class feeds into the dynamic described by Taibbi in which modern journalists have come to value close proximity to those in power. These are the people they want to be sharing drinks with and going to parties with and invited to the weddings of; the “us vs them” dynamic which used to exist between the press and politicians switched, and now the press see themselves and the politicians they fraternize with as “us” and the general public as “them”.

There are other factors at play with regard to elite education. The number of journalists with college degrees skyrocketed from 58 percent in 1971 to 92 percent in 2013; if your wealthy parents aren’t paying that off for you then you’ve got crushing student debt that you need to pay off yourself, which you can only do in the field you studied in by making a decent amount of money, which you can only do by acting as a dependable propagandist for the imperial establishment.

Universities themselves tend to play a status quo-serving, conformity-manufacturing role when churning out journalists, as wealth won’t flow into an academic environment that is offensive to the wealthy. Moneyed interests are unlikely to make large donations to universities which teach their students that moneyed interests are a plague upon the nation, and they are certainly not going to send their kids there.

“The whole intellectual culture has a filtering system, starting as a child in school,” Noam Chomsky once explained in an interview. “You’re expected to accept certain beliefs, styles, behavioral patterns and so on. If you don’t accept them, you are called maybe a behavioral problem, or something, and you’re weeded out. Something like that goes on all the way through universities and graduate schools. There is an implicit system of filtering… which creates a strong tendency to impose conformism.”

The people who make it through this filtering system are the ones who are elevated to the most influential positions in our civilization. All the most widely amplified voices in our society are the celebrities, journalists, pundits and politicians who’ve proven themselves to be reliable stewards of the matrix of narrative control which keeps the public jacked in to the mainstream worldview.

Is it any wonder, then, that all the sources we’ve been taught to look to for information about our world continually feed us stories which give the impression that the status quo is working fine and this is the only way things can possibly be? Is it any wonder that the mass media support all US wars and cheerlead all imperial agendas?

This is how things were set up to be. Our media act like propagandists for a tyrannical regime because that’s exactly what they are.


* * *

* * *

THE NEW ‘FACEBOOK FILES’ Show Everything the First Amendment Was Designed to Prevent

by Matt Taibbi

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio went Gonzo on Twitter yesterday, releasing a string of documents subpoenaed by Facebook: The “Facebook Files” story Jordan went on to tell revealed a worst-case scenario for modern digital censorship, in which the White House not only strong-armed Facebook to remove content, but did so over exactly the kind of speech the Constitution was designed to protect, political satire. Not only that, but the White House’s demand had clear political motivation. A law professor would have a difficult time scripting an episode more directly offensive to the First Amendment.

* * *

WHAT ORWELL FEARED were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions."

"In 1984", Huxley added, "people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure."

In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

— Neil Postman

* * *


Russia said it downed seven Ukrainian drones near Moscow, the latest in a string of such alleged attacks, as senior Kyiv officials have warned the war is increasingly returning to Russian territory. Meanwhile, Russian drones targeted Kyiv for the eighth consecutive day.

Russian shelling targeted more than 20 settlements and killed a woman in the Zaporizhzhia region over the past day, Ukrainian officials said Thursday.

Wagner mercenaries who have moved from Russia to Belarus may try to destabilize NATO's eastern flank, the leaders of Poland and Lithuania warned Thursday. The presence of Wagner fighters in Belarus is a way for Russia "to test the reaction of Poland and the reaction of our allies," the Polish prime minister said.

Authorities across Russia have reported a string of arson attacks on military enlistment offices, according to state media reports and social media images verified by CNN.

* * *


  1. Ted Williams August 4, 2023

    Anchor/RCS contracts

    Millions. No bid. Poor outcome tracking. Lopsided contracts.

    • Marmon August 4, 2023

      I’ve been saying that for years, and the AVA can confirm. My biggest pet peeve is how the Shraeders threaten to pull back services whenever their contracts are in question. I think the BOS should call their bluff, they’re holding the County hostage.


      • Ted Williams August 4, 2023

        On the eve of voting on a prior major contract, I received a slurred speech threat of vendor walking from the county if I were to make any negative comments in session. Eye opener.

        • Marmon August 4, 2023

          “a slurred speech threat”

          She drank a little too much wine that night, heh? There’s nothing nice about that lady. Usually she uses Dr. Miller to relay her message like a she did a couple of weeks ago.


          • Ted Williams August 4, 2023

            It’s not personal for me.

            $27M aggregate of public money should require performance review. Why hasn’t there been one?

            • Bruce Anderson August 4, 2023

              Because, Supervisor, despite Mendo’s false rep as a caring, progressive jurisdiction, it isn’t.

              • Eric Sunswheat August 4, 2023

                Crocodile tears over the opioid settlement money to provide temporary treatment housing, is seemingly a farce.

                Most of the deaths are either accidental overdose or unintentional use, from often housed individuals.

                Most counties are in process to setting up unsupervised vending machines to dispense free Narcan and free fentanyl tests strips countywide.

                But most publicized in Mendocino County, is for the Sheriff to grandstand with another press release, about how in this large sparsely populated County, with a skeleton staffed Sheriffs office, once again, another fentanyl save is credited to their brave departmental souls.

                This scenario, structurally in terms of public policy, could be construed as complicity with China, for the deaths not prevented, instead of wise use of opioid settlement funds.

                • Rye N Flint August 5, 2023

                  Who needs to be called in to fix all these failed privatization schemes in Mendo County? The State Attorney? This is awful. Look at all this money being wasted, and no locals can find jobs? This is beyond disgraceful.

            • Jetfuel August 5, 2023

              Ted if it’s “not personal “ for you then please consider stepping down because you certainly do not treat your supervsorial appointment as professional.

              You are prima facia dysfunctional carry forward for this County.

              Start a trend, be a leader and resign!

              • Rye N Flint August 5, 2023

                Here Here. Do your job or quit. All of you. Now that Carmel Angelo isn’t around to hide all the misdeeds and act as a scapegoat, it seems the board is having a hard time doing their jobs. Which was my theory on why you rely on a CEO in the first place.

                It’s time for Mendocino to have some real Leadership, and there are plenty of “Qualified” individuals waiting to step up and take the reins.

                Speaking of terms and replacements, Here’s the info when clicking on the Biography link on Mendo’s Website

                Mo, Gjerde, McGourty-
                TERM OF OFFICE: 4 Years
                January 2021 – January 2025

                Haschak –
                TERM OF OFFICE: 4 Years
                TERM(S): JANUARY 2019 – PRESENT
                (term is through December 2023)
                CURRENT TERM COMMENCED: January, 2019

                Link not active, no Biography info avail to the public.


            • Carrie Shattuck August 6, 2023

              It’s curious, Ted, how you are always asking why there hasn’t been a review or follow-up on something that is within your job description. Why haven’t you done it? You’re on your second term and have stated before that previously you could say that you were new to the BOS but not anymore, although that’s exactly what I keep hearing from you. Hopefully you start taking this elected board seat personally., it’s your taxpayer money too.

        • Suzy August 5, 2023

          Didn’t Camille get arrested for a DUI a year or two ago. I tried to follow up on that arrest, but could never find out how it was (or wasn’t) resolved…. It seemed to be buried. No mug shot, no prosecution.

          • Rye N Flint August 5, 2023

            Doesn’t that count at pure speculation?

            • Maxine August 6, 2023

              Which is better? Rumor or Speculation?

              From July 31 MCT Comments
              “Rumor mill has it that this was racially motivated…”
              in reference to the good citizens of Redwood Valley.

              Personally, I don’t deal in rumor or speculation.

              • Rye N Flint August 6, 2023

                I also asked if it was speculation. I didn’t state it, like I did for myself.

  2. Harvey Reading August 4, 2023


    So what’s new? Noozepapers, and the rest of the media exist, and have existed, only to serve the wealthy by providing biased misinformation, with a little truth thrown in here and there. Sort of like the “education” kids receive from sports coaches in U.S. History and civics classes during their high school years. After all, we scum need to be guided and kept under control by our “betters”. It’s the Ameruckin way! We learned it from the limeys and the frogs.

  3. Dick Whetstone August 4, 2023

    Robert Stone’s book is titled ‘Damascus Gate’, not ‘Jerusalem’s Gate.’

    • Bruce Anderson August 4, 2023

      YEAH. Good catch.

  4. Dick Whetstone August 4, 2023

    I was at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont concert and I would have to say that problems were very much brought about their hubris. But they sure played good rock and roll.

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen August 5, 2023

      Actually the Grateful Dead organized the concert, then when they saw trouble brewing, flew off in their helicopter, leaving the Rolling Stones holding the bag. The Grateful Dead never played.

  5. Marmon August 4, 2023

    “It’s expensive when you, when all your tires, you know, when you lose your, your, your tires are ended up being flat because of those roads and bridges”

    -Kamala Harris


    • Rye N Flint August 5, 2023

      but but but… Those Oil companies NEED our tax dollar subsidies so your fuel can be artificially cheap. It’s called the free hand of the market Capitalism, right?

  6. Marmon August 4, 2023

    JUST IN: Steven Sund, the former Capitol Police Chief, tells Tucker Carlson that the January 6th crowd was “crawling with feds”. He also confirms there were both undercover FBI and DHS agents in the crowd that day.


  7. Rye N Flint August 4, 2023

    RE: CALIF. POLICE TRESPASSED ON NATIVE LAND, destroyed $100,000 worth of pot, lawsuit says

    The first of many lawsuits coming to Mendo County outlaw law enforcement departments. The cops and code enforcement are addicted to Pot money. They enjoy all their stolen, oop.. I mean civil forfeiture acquired SUVS, ATVS, boats, and dodge chargers, for so long that it’s hard to kick the habit now that Pot is legal.

    Unfortunately, their continued addiction is going to continue to come out of our pockets until we can collectively do something about it. Why don’t we start by having the Cannabis department enforce cannabis laws, and let the cops deal with actual crime. Let code enforcement start busting building and construction violations, like other California counties do. Hmmm?

  8. Rye N Flint August 4, 2023

    Guilty until proven innocent.

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