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Mendocino County Today: Monday, August 7, 2023

Near Normal | Remembering Paul | Chewbacca/Leia | CIF Resolution | O'Bidens | Hoophouse Permits | Trump Tower | Ukiah Graffiti | Apache Prisoners | Cultural Moron | Mogambo | If I Die | Frostie Sign | Safety Wall | Shields Updates | Lamarr/Stewart | Homeless Facts | Birth Certificate | Soccer Field | Ed Notes | Fund Sierra | Honest Realtors | Yesterday's Catch | Capitalism Road | Shooting Judge | Dog Parks | SF Postcards | Protest This | My Cousin | Pollution Test | Donald Tarbaby | Chet Helms | Baptist Biz | Elvis Spotting | Ukraine | Tried Adult | The International | Man Buns | Small Circle | Gross

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NEAR TO SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES are forecast to occur across interior valleys during much of the work week, while periods of overnight stratus followed by afternoon clearing occur along the coast. Later this week, moisture will spread northward across the region and aid in thunderstorm development across the interior mountains. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Clear skies & 54F on the coast this Monday morning. Breezy today & clear skies for a few days before the fog builds back in later this week.

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 99°, Covelo 95°, Laytonville 94°, Yorkville 93°, Boonville 92°, Fort Bragg 67°, Point Arena 65°

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by Mike Geniella

Paul Dolan

At least 500 people gathered Friday at Dark Horse Vineyards in Ukiah to celebrate the life of wine industry leader Paul Dolan, a man who achieved national recognition for his advocacy of biodynamic farming practices.

Dolan was remembered not only for practicing what he preached, but also for helping Mendocino County transition from largely bulk wine production to widely recognized organically grown wines. He started as a young winemaker for the then fledgling Fetzer Vineyards, but Dolan became known throughout California’s premium wine industry for his role in recognizing the value of sustainable agricultural practices, and the growing consumer demand for organic food and wine products.

“Paul never lost sight of his vision,” said Steve Dorfman, a longtime friend and current executive with Ciatti Company in Marin County.

Paul Dolan died June 26 from cancer at age 72 in Healdsburg where he lived with his wife Diana Fetzer.

Dolan, a fourth-generation descendant of the pioneer Rossi winemaking family in Sonoma County, held on to his strong ties to Mendocino County, where he and his two sons Heath and the late Jason Dolan acquired 160-acre Dark Horse Vineyards in 1998 in rolling hills along Old River Road southeast of Ukiah.

Family members said Dark Horse’s transformation since into a showcase of organic grape growing practices remained the focus of Dolan’s passion.

“For us, this is home,” said Dolan granddaughter Emma Dolan.

The site of the Dolan memorial is an open space surrounded by towering fir and redwoods on the western edge of the property with dramatic views of the Ukiah Valley below. Vineyards cover hills rising to the east. Dark Horse has been the scene of numerous charity events including the always sold out Pure Mendocino cancer benefit.

Dorfman was among the speakers at the Dolan memorial who recalled their friend, and mentor. Others included Raymond Willmers of Sonoma County, a lifelong Dolan friend and former head of sales for Mendocino Wine Cooperage.

Willmers recalled that Dolan even in the face of death was talking of writing a new book about regenerative soil practices. “I just looked at him with amazement. He never let go of his passions,” said Willmers.

Fetzer and Dolan family members attended, including John Fetzer, Mary Fetzer Skade, Sheila Fetzer with sons Jake and Ben Fetzer.

Brief presentations also were made by Congressman Jared Huffman, Assemblyman Jim Wood, and Mendocino County Supervisor Glenn McCourty. Other North Coast wine industry leaders present included Martha Barra, John Mattern, Glenn Proctor, and Guinness McFadden.

Dolan family members, however, captured the crowd’s attention by speaking about Paul Dolan with wit and warmth, and a recognition of his tendency to ‘preach’ about his advocacy of sustainable farming practices.

Emma Dolan recalled that “my grandpa was known for getting on a microphone, giving a piece of advice wrapped in a wise, allegorical speech that oftentimes took way too long.”

The crowd chuckled when the college student added, “I will do my best to encapsulate what he did so well without taking too much of your time.”

Emma Dolan said she had to write a term paper for an English course relating texts that all had themes of nurturing loved ones, nature, and family. “It could not have been more obvious to me that I had to write about my grandpa.”

Paul Dolan always said children are like grapevines.

Emma Dolan quoted her grandfather as saying, “As a winemaker and a farmer, you can try to give the vine the most ideal environment made up of the best nutrients, weather, and surroundings but beyond that you can only hope that the grapes transform into a wine that fully expresses the beauty and richness of that place.”

Paul Dolan felt the same about his children and grandchildren, she said. 

Emma Dolan recalled her grandfather saying over and over, “As a father, or grandfather, you can give your kids the best love and support, the most advice and help, and try to pass on strong values and morals but, at the end of the day, you can’t make every decision for them, and you can only hope they grow into the possible versions of themselves.”

“It is kind of a running joke in our family that every speech he gave seemed to morph its way into that lesson regardless of where it started,” she said.

Granddaughter Megan Dolan acted as emcee of the Dolan memorial. Daughters Nya Dolan Kusakabe and Caia Dolan spoke of his devotions to environmental causes, and his belief in the philosophy of Austrian Rudolph Steiner.

Caia Dolan said her grandfather loved the Steiner quote, “To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take a real interest in the world.” 

Surviving son Heath Dolan sat in a front row with Diana Fetzer, Dolan’s wife of 38 years, sisters Caia Dolan and Nya Dolan Kusakabe, and Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan, who was the wife of Dolan’s late son Jason. Other Dolan grandchildren present were Sadie and Cash Dolan and Colin and Clayton Kusakabe.

Ken Oster, married to Teresa Fetzer, and Dolan nephew Jesse Eisenbiese from Pennsylvania played guitars and sang songs in honor of Dolan including a spirited version of ‘Amazing Grace’ that left many in the crowd teary eyed. 

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Chewbacca lifts Princess Leia in one arm, a super-size bottle of champagne in another (1980).

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I received the attached letter from CIF' counsel for the proposed accommodations to ticket prices for all small, high poverty schools. I am grateful for the responsiveness to our formal equity complaint and I hope that it helps small, poor district's throughout the State.

Accommodations include the ticketing company providing an ipad and software to any school upon request to make cash sales on site, so parents that don't have internet can access electronic tickets and schools don't have to front ticket costs. But more importantly, there will be a request process for free play off tickets for small, high poverty schools.

Thank you for your support of this measure. It is one step to create equity in a well-meaning school athletics institution driven by unintentional inequity of wealthy districts having more opportunity and access than our under-served kids. Thanks to Jennifer Nix for her advocacy. This is a start...

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District


TO: Jennifer E. Nix, General Counsel

Schools and Colleges Legal Services

Re: Update on Equity Complaint-(Name Correction)

Dear Ms. Nix:

I write to update you on the status of the California Interscholastic Federation’s (“CIF”) investigation and proposed resolution to the complaint submitted by your client, Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District. The CIF has spent an extensive amount of time reviewing this matter and engaging in a good faith effort to find a solution to the concerns raised. In the spirit of resolution, the CIF responds as follows to the issues identified in your correspondence and at our meeting on April 7, 2023.1

1. Translation of Price Board – Many schools, if not most, currently translate their notices, handbooks, and numerous miscellaneous documents for students and families. The translations are performed by the school site or school district office. In the event a school is unable to translate its playoff price board into Spanish, the school may request assistance from the CIF for a translation template for its school’s playoff price board.

2. GoFan - Fee Pricing Signage – Attached is a copy of the English and Spanish GoFan QR Code.

3. Gate Cash Box – For security and safety reasons, many schools have elected to go “cashless” for their ticket sales, and these schools no longer have cash present at their ticket kiosks or entry gates. In the past year, the CIF received approximately seven requests from schools for the use of a cash box for regional competition. In each instance, arrangements were made by the CIF Section with the schools for the use of a cash box.

During our meeting of April 7, 2023, Superintendent Simson voiced a concern about electronic ticketing causing tickets to be oversold for playoff events thereby preventing the visiting school from purchasing tickets at the gate of the host school. The “overselling” of a championship game as a result of electronic ticket sales has never been a concern raised by any member school. The possibility of electronic overselling of playoff tickets is unlikely since the CIF permits only 80% of tickets for a playoff event to be sold online. As such, sufficient tickets should be available for fans of the visiting school who did not purchase game tickets ahead of time at their home school or via GoFan. In addition, as specified below, the use of the GoFan Box Office system will also assist in addressing this concern. We encourage your client to take advantage of the Box Office system that is available free of charge from GoFan.

4. GoFan’s Box Office System – As we discussed during our meeting, GoFan offers several means by which tickets for championship games can be purchased. One such means is the GoFan Box Office system (“Box Office system”) that is available free of charge to all member schools. The Box Office system can be used for the cash purchase of playoff tickets directly at the school site and also allows for credit card sales at the gate for individuals who do not have smartphones. The Box Office system has worked successfully, and its convenience has been appreciated by member schools.

5. Free or Reduced Ticket Prices – In a sincere effort to address Superintendent Simson’s concern regarding a perceived inequity in playoff ticket prices, the CIF researched this issue extensively. During our April 7, 2023 meeting with you and Superintendent Simson, we asked for a general estimate of how many high schools are impacted by this issue. This number is fundamental to the determination of the extent of the problem and the cost of any resolution. At that time, you were unable to provide an estimate of how many schools were possibly impacted by this issue other than Anderson Valley High School. Subsequent to our meeting, you sent the CIF a formula to use as a means of having us calculate the number of schools possibly impacted by this issue.

The formula offered by Superintendent Simson is based on the below suggested definition of “High Poverty School.”

• 75% or more of its students qualify for FRPM; and

• 75% or more of its students are “unduplicated”; and

• The District’s poverty rates are above the state average (currently


It was requested that those schools meeting the three factors identified above receive free or discounted playoff tickets as follows:

High Poverty Schools with fewer than 500 students = no cost

High Poverty Schools with fewer than 1000 students = 50% discount

High Poverty Schools with fewer than 1,500 students = 25% discount

In an attempt to determine the number of schools that meet the above criteria, the CIF printed the CDE’s online list of schools qualifying for Free or Reduced Priced Meals (“FRPM”). This list consists of approximately 10,370 schools and is not organized in a manner that is useful in determining which schools meet the above identified criteria. Despite the CIF’s best efforts, this task proved extremely lengthy, difficult, and unproductive.

Given the absence of data confirming the number of schools that could possibly be impacted by this issue, but in order to ensure that schools with ADA under 500 with families that actually experience difficulties in purchasing playoff tickets for their school’s contests, the CIF Executive Director will be recommending to the CIF Executive Committee the implementation of a pilot project which would make funds available for High Poverty Schools with less than 500 ADA that make the playoffs and meet your proposed criteria. The pilot project would be implemented through the CIF Foundation to fund a limited number of playoff tickets for High Poverty Schools under 500 ADA that qualifies for playoff competition. The proposal will be recommended to the CIF Executive Committee at its next meeting in August 2023 and is subject to CIF Executive Committee approval.

The tentative terms of the pilot project are as follows:

A. For High Poverty Schools with ADA under 500 that qualify for post season competition and demonstrate that the school is unable to provide tickets for its school’s families to attend a playoff or championship game, the school Principal may request a limited number of tickets from the CIF after the following steps have been completed:

1. The Principal shall first request funds from their own school district to pay for the requested tickets;

2. If the school district is not financially able to provide the tickets, the Superintendent shall:

i. Verify that the funds are not available, the school’s enrollment is less than 500 ADA, and that the schools meets the following criteria:

• 75% or more of its students qualify for FRPM; and

• 75% or more of its students are “unduplicated”; and

• The District’s poverty rates are above the state average (currently 12%).

3. After the above steps have been completed, the Principal may submit a playoff ticket request form to the CIF.

The CIF believes that the pilot project should remedy the concern raised by Superintendent Simson regarding High Poverty Schools under 500 ADA that meet the criteria she proposed.2

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call.


Diane Marshall-Freeman

Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP

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A READER COMMENTS: I’d love to see some statistics about how many legal vs. illegal cannabis grows are dealt with by code enforcement. Otherwise its just more hot air blowing down supposed hoophouses. When I worked at the county, they had no problem rubber stamping 14 hoophouses at a time for anyone that wanted them. The county just seemed to want the permit fees. I would approve dozens per day, and mostly in Redwood Valley. Pretty bad practice to assume that all greenhouses and hoophouses are for cannabis. Wait? What ever happened to all the “Treat cannabis like all other agricultural crops” talk?

ADAM GASKA REPLIES: I looked into this a year ago when phase 1 people were complaining it was impossible to get permits for hoophouses/greenhouses. So I looked it up and found it to be untrue. There were a handful of people getting permits quickly and easily. What I also realized is that the county was handing out 1500 permits a year for the four years I looked at. I brought it up the supervisor McGourty and John Burkes at a RVMAC meeting when John was invited to give an update on what CE was doing about unpermitted cannabis grows. One of the issues was they were permitting people to put up hoophouses who weren’t trying to get permitted for cannabis. So if and when CE came, they actually had a permit for the hoops but not the weed inside, so they couldn’t slap a big fine on them. It seemed foolish the county was handing out the permits for $500 a pop just to lose one of the large hammers they had to deter people from growing cannabis without a permit. I brought it up to Glenn that by giving them a permit for the hoop now then to try and say they couldn’t use it down the road if they went for phase 3 permitting was setting the County up for litigation. So now we have thousands of hoops being abandoned. To take them down requires a $1500 demo permit. They should probably officially waive the fee and tell people to just clean them up.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

One of the biggest mistakes Ukiah makes, and has been making for decades, is allowing graffiti to deface streets and buildings. 

It’s as if our leaders appreciate graffiti, admire the stuff, encourage young vandals to make the city uglier, and offer monthly cash prizes for the worst examples. 

Graffiti is contagious. The more gang-inspired rubbish permitted, the more produced. The city ought not stand aside idle and helpless as the scourge spreads. 

Spray tagging is hostile taunting, not Egyptian hieroglyphics. Punks that deface local businesses and civic areas should be made to clean up their vandalizations, with their own tongues if necessary. 

One successful law enforcement strategy is to target “minor” crimes. Pluck the low-hanging fruit because it often contains rot, worms and maggots. 

Similarly, cops should not allow minor offenses to go uninvestigated. A smalltime criminal is a criminal nonetheless. A guy committing a minor offense is also a guy with outstanding warrants carrying drugs in one pocket, a knife in another, with a pistol tucked in waistband. Put him out of business. 

Nor can Ukiah allow abandoned buildings to sit empty and do nothing but deteriorate and accumulate nothing but broken windows and graffiti. The message becomes clear: No one cares about this neighborhood. Soon enough it gets a reputation, and drugs and vandals are next. 

Allow decay to flourish and the assumption is that punks and gangs are in control of that part of town; in Ukiah —that part of town— is rapidly spreading. What to do? 

Have the punks clean their messes up, and make it stick by having it ordered by the courts and supervised by the Probation Department. Next, have teens interested in a career in law enforcement spend two school mornings a week cleaning things up in return for class credits. 

Don’t let graffiti and other quality of life crimes flourish; we already have the Burning Bridges Homeless Headquarters on South State Street leading the way in destroying Ukiah.


My favorite weekend summer sounds are the roars, tire screeches and throttled-down turns that come Friday and Saturday nights from the Fairgrounds. I sit on my back deck and smile at their robust power half a mile away. 

It’s so retro I can hardly stand it. When I think of local heroes who once gunned their engines and spent the next few miles making left-hand turns around the Ukiah Speedway I think about their history. 

If we can make a museum exhibit out of a handful of hippies who washed up here in the 1970s, why no tribute to the old gas-hounds who have been thrilling Ukiah crowds since the 1930s? 

Go ahead, call Sandy MacNab and Bob Neilson and get some tips, pointers, photos and assistance in assembling fitting displays to the notorious legends, some still alive, and put on a Grace Hudson Museum show. 

For a soundtrack, record 15 minutes of tire-screeching action from any Friday race.


Ukiah schools are getting walled off, fenced in, and given the illusion something is being done about the non-issue of mass shootings at schools. 

The shooting hysteria is mostly a product of dishonest media cooking the statistics and calling the resulting numbers “an epidemic.” 

In the past decade an average of 10 students have been killed per year nationwide out of more than 50 million students. During the same stretch hundreds of kids have drowned in swimming pools. (In Ukiah, a youngster drowned at the Todd Grove Park pool a few years ago despite being surrounded by teachers and assistants; I best remember a young DJ as a promising Pony League lefthand hitter and first baseman.) There have been zero shootings. 

We need flotation devices and lifeguards more than we need fencing and security guards.


The pair of Swallowtail butterflies flitting about our backyard reappeared a month or more ago, much to our delight. 

It started 20-plus years ago when we kept noticing two Swallowtails twirling and dancing about our semi-neglected property that includes a tree called a butterfly bush. It has longish branches, purplish flowers and a pair of butterflies who dip, dive and hover around it all day long. 

Every year I wonder if, 20 years on, it’s the same two. Not likely, but then how probable is it that whenever one pair vacates the yard two more show up right on time to take over the assignment? 

Equally unlikely, but I’d love to hear a better explanation.

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Apache Prisoners, 1880

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To the editor:

The culturally moronic Tommy Wayne Kramer has once again revealed his prejudice/ignorance/downright meanness in his uneducated and sloppy criticism of the “Something’s Happening Here” display currently at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah.

Mr. Kramer often slams the counter culture movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s and is occasionally justified, but here his hatred of all-things-different highlights his lack of understanding of Art, societal shifts, and geez, just about everything else.

He tries to make the case that those who migrated to Mendocino County in those years contributed little or nothing to the artistic, governmental, and food-producing in our fair county.

In his poorly thought out article he asks the reader if they do not agree with him to “tell me I’m wrong.” Well, Tommy, you are wrong!

Richey Wasserman

Point Arena

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Grace Kelly, Clark Gable, and Ava Gardner in Mogambo (1953)

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Unable to say goodbye

Because it was sudden & unexpected

Please know that I had reflected about every minute we connected

Maybe it was a brief moment in time or all day long

Life goes by so fast it is meaningful to ask what have I done so my memory lives on?

Hopefully we shared laughter & tears, our hopes & fears

If we are friends because of grief I pray my presence brought you peace

For those who remained through all the pain thank you for being my friend through thick & thin

If I ever do leave unexpectedly please remember me by encouraging unity

Don’t allow others to drown, under the idea they are on their own, please pick them up & offer a hand

Honor life & friends because it is all we have in the end!

— Mazie Malone, Healer, Writer, Serious Mental Illness Advocacy & Support

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by Mike Geniella

To the surprise of Ukiah locals, an iconic neon Mr. Frostie sign that hung for decades along South State Street in Ukiah is refurbished and now on display but no longer in the Ukiah Valley.

Since 1948 the Frosties sign, crafted in the shape of an enormous ice cream cone, stood 20 feet above an old hamburger stand in the 700 block of South State. 

The refurbished sign was formally dedicated at 11 a.m. Sunday at a new site on the Lake County fairgrounds in Lakeport. Donors Sandra and John Mayfield, a legendary Ukiah Valley business couple, will be honored for their generosity.

The Lake County site was not the Mayfields' first choice. The sign had been offered to the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah, but apparently, directors there overruled the fair manager and rejected the donation. The Mayfields offered to cover the costs to make the weathered and worn sign operable again, this time with a string of LED neon lights instead of the hard-to-replace original neon.

When Janeane Bogner, a Ukiah native, learned of the sign’s plight, she quickly acted on behalf of the Lake County Fair. Bogner has been a board director of that fair for 30 years.

Bogner and her husband Ronnie, another Ukiah native, moved to Lake County nearly 45 years ago but they remember the Frosties sign well.

“It was a landmark,” said Janeane Bogner. “Everybody who grew up in Ukiah drove by it for most of their lives.”

Mr. Frostie closed years ago, and the building was eventually torn down but the neon sign remained because of the city's refusal to allow its removal. The old Ukiah Grange building behind was later remodeled into business offices by the Mayfields. But the Frostie sign remained out front, looming 20 feet above State Street, and reminding passersby of Ukiah’s small-town heritage.

The Bogners and the Mayfields are old family friends and share a common interest in local heritage.

Ronnie Bogner recalled that he and his wife visited the Fresno County Fair a few years ago and were impressed by a collection of vintage neon commercial signs that have been refurbished and installed in an outdoor museum-like display on the fairgrounds there. “We really liked that they captured moments from the past,” said Bogner.

When the Bogners learned from the Mayfields about the uncertain fate of the Frosties sign, and how it had been rejected for placement in Ukiah, they acted. “We will take it,” Janeane Bogner told the Mayfields.

Ronnie Bogner had once worked on neon signs, and he knew the basics. Bogner enlisted a group of volunteers to help refurbish the sign and place it on a new footing in Lakeport.

Rick and Ryan Mayfield, two family members who are contractors, volunteered to take down the faded 6 by 10 foot sign. They delivered it to Jim Filippi’s shop for rewiring for LED lighting and a fresh paint job. Bogner and Filippi removed the neon glass tubing and transformers inside, emptied accumulated water from the inside, and removed frayed old wiring.

“Restoring it was a very labor-intensive task,” said Ronnie Bogner.

Bogner and Filippi spent hours on the sign. “No one had any idea about how to put on ‘neon LED’ to replace the glass tubing.”

They were finally given a price of $5,542 for just the neon LED, not including freight.

“The Mayfields were willing to pay up to $10,000 to relocate and refurbish the sign but this was crazy,” said Bogner.

Bogner spent more time researching and finally found a place in Montana that delivered the needed new lights for $2,400.

“The total price including paint and tools will probably be less than $4,000,” he said.

The sign’s original pole has been modified and placed over strong new steel support at the Lakeport site. A bronze marker donated by Gary Galeazzi and Eddie Eversole and honoring Sandra and John Mayfield is at the base. Tony Velasquez, a building truss installer, used his equipment to set the Frosties sign up 20 feet, the same height as it was in Ukiah.

Janeane Bogner said at Sunday’s dedication ice cream cones donated by Bruno’s Smart Shop in Lakeport will be served. “We are expecting a whole lot of people, including the Mayfields, and their grandchildren.

The Frostie sign will be a new attraction at the Lake County Fair, which runs over the Labor Day weekend.

“I cannot wait to see the sign lit up, and welcoming visitors,” said Janeane Bogner. “We are pretty excited.”

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by Jim Shields

It’s amazing how many bright people we have in this county to educate us on the causal factors of what at first may appear to be unfathomable dilemmas.

Case in point, how do we work our way out of a failed criminal justice experiment with “catch-and-release” policies seriously undermine basic public safety.

This week, Jerry Cardoza, of Ukiah, offered his expert insights on the issue:

“Hi Jim, I am a big fan of your common sense columns. I was a state Parole Agent for 35 years and was in charge of the Parole Agents supervising all (700) parolee’s in Lake and Mendocino counties for 15 years. Some background on the sentencing laws. In 2011 the federal courts ordered California to release 40,000 inmates due to overcrowding. Rather than the chaos that would have occurred with the immediate release of these prisoners, the legislature changed the laws (AB 109) wherein “non-violent, non-serious and non-sex” offenders were kept in the county jails rather than being sent to prison. At that time, Mendocino County contracted with me to develop a plan how to accomplish this task (the Community Corrections Partnership plan). This plan has worked well. The real problem occurred in 2014 with passage of Prop 47 (by the people, not the legislature) when the threshold for many crimes was raised, making some prior felonies now misdemeanors. So, in addition to the problem of ultra liberal legislators, we the people brought this on ourselves. I’m not confident the politicians will fix the problem. It will probably only occur when the people get fed up enough with crime to pass another Proposition changing the laws. Keep up the good work!”

Mr. Cardoza has succinctly captured both the legislative/legal history and consequences of the issue. Good people who consider themselves progressives or reformers argue that everyone needs a second chance to make good. Hard to dispute that argument. But the reality and tragedy of these changes is that it’s undeniable that some of these new laws and policies seriously undermine basic public safety as crime rates have soared. Citizens have become victims in the name of reforming punishment.

Cardoza, who is widely recognized as an experienced professional in the criminal justice system, provides insights that resonate with everything that Sheriff Matt Kendall has shared with me on this issue. Kendall’s takeaway is the only viable solution is for people to get involved politically to correct what’s gone wrong and restore balance to the system. It’s a problem that is going to work to solve.

I’ve heard it said that problems are the price you pay for progress. Well, I guess it’s time to start progressing.

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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 Supe 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— have always said they’re the best at looking out for the best interests of citizens— and they have filed “a new ballot initiative 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 state Attorney General on 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.

According to Consumer Watchdog, he 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 this development.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Hedy Lamarr and James Stewart in Hollywood Park, 1940

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by K.C. Meadows

We’ll begin with a little exercise today, and we’re calling it “Does this sound like your town?”

Read along and nod if any of this sounds familiar:

“Downtown businesses had long complained about people sleeping in their doorways at night. Encampments within city limits sprouted and became sanitation hazards, and some homeowners reported finding people sleeping on their front porches who were unwilling to move on.”

“A shocking 56 percent of (homeless) respondents reported using meth three or more times weekly.”

“(The city) cleared its largest encampment of homeless people … and the outcome of the clearing has been seen repeated in other areas of the city, over and over again — some people take shelter that is offered, but many continue to scatter about to another place in the city.”

““Right now is ten times worse than 20 years ago. Twenty years ago (it was) much easier to handle the homeless, now it’s much much harder.”

“Beyond tent encampments, nearly half of those living without shelter in February’s count were sleeping in their vehicles.”

Nodding your head “yes” yet? Congratulations. You must live in any one of 200 or more towns in California.

For the third consecutive year, this newspaper has joined with nine sister publications around the north state for our “State of Homelessness” edition.

The idea is this: By publishing stories offering a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening on the homeless front elsewhere, maybe we’ll learn a little more about what’s happening locally — and even notice we’re probably ahead of the curve in some areas and behind it in a few others.

If there’s one thing that should be obvious by now, it’s this: No one city or town or county is ever going to “solve” homelessness. It’s a multi-layered, incredibly complex crisis that didn’t start because of any one town, and no one town is ever going to end it. Until there is a concentrated, and substantial, effort that covers factors as varied as mental health and housing and addiction and, yes, crime (just to name four) on a statewide and even national level, you are never going to see this problem “go away,” regardless of how badly you want to cling to some repeatedly disproven narratives:

“They’re all from somewhere else and they come here for the great benefits. If we kicked them out and made them go back to wherever they came from this wouldn’t be a problem. We need to stop enabling and the city needs to get serious about cracking down on the homeless.”

For every homeless person you see, your community probably has an equal number of people shouting this nonsense, blissfully ignorant of things like the law and restrictions on what cities are legally allowed to do. It’s stunning — especially considering the level of news coverage these issues have received.

One example: A statewide UCSF study showed 90 percent of unhomed Californians are from — wait for it — California. And 75 percent of them live in the same county where they became homeless.

In other words, while some homeless people go from town to town looking for a better deal, an overwhelming majority of them stay within 5 or 10 miles of where they originally became homeless. We’re guessing you haven’t seen that figure quoted in your favorite local quality-of-life Facebook group lately.

Every year, we get a lot of feedback to this series. We always expect (and receive) some “There you go, being part of the problem again”-type comments — but we also get a growing number of “Thank you for this. I learned it’s not just happening locally and that it’s more of a complex issue than I believed” responses.

We can never adequately address problems until we first acknowledge what the problem actually is, and learn to tell the difference between a fact and a narrative. For as much as our state spends on homelessness every year — nearly $10 billion in the past three years alone — it should be obvious that we’re not getting enough bang for our buck, and what we’re doing isn’t working.

Let’s be smarter. That starts with recognizing the facts.

And for the record? Those first five paragraphs described the scene in Fort Bragg, here in Ukiah, Chico, Eureka and Santa Cruz, respectively, and were taken directly from the overview stories you can read today.

Bet you thought it was your town.

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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* * *


Dear Editor,

This post is directed to the Fort Bragg City Council (Bernie Norvell), Fort Bragg City Manager Peggy Ducey, and to our Chief of Police (Neil Cervenka)

To the City of Fort Bragg, I’m very frustrated and pissed off because I’m tired of city leaders continuing to hide in the background while pushing other agendas past important ones that need immediate attention.

In 2019 we proposed two soccer courts for Bainbridge Park, in which we had a majority vote in favor of the two courts. We have the funds to create both fields and 4 years later they’re still not created.

The pickleball players (primarily adults) made a fair argument why they needed their own courts, after a lot of back and forth the city found a perfect solution to which you guys have created new pickleball courts for such group. I support the pickleball courts that were created but not before taking care of our youth…

Fort Bragg clearly has a drug issue. In the most recent months, our local Fort Bragg police department has had huge drug busts and overdoses. It’s not hard to find that our local youth is leaning towards these heavy & dangerous drugs because they don’t have enough positive outlets. With a bit of research, you will also find out that the drug dealers in our community are actually young locally base individuals. These drugs have taken lives in our local community & it needs to STOP! We need to continue to work together to create more positive outlets for our youth to keep our community safe and also less crime for our law enforcement agencies.

I’m not saying that two soccer courts will clear up all the drugs and crime in the community but I’m willing to bet that those courts will create another positive outlet for individuals to engage in a positive way and just maybe we have fewer kids trying to join gangs, use drugs or be a dealer…

So let’s stop the bullshit and pointing the finger that it’s individuals' fault why we have gangs and drugs in our community… how about we start pointing the finger at ourselves and we work together to get positive out let’s to our youth…

I have a high respect level for you Mayor Norvell as you are a man with high integrity and I support the culture change Chief Cervanka has brought to our department. So I’m calling you both out respectfully let’s get this job done NOW and start prioritizing positive change that will ultimately lead to a safer City of Fort Bragg.

Ricardo Garcia

Fort Bragg

* * *



Two ways to hike, and I've done both — a straight slog down the surf line from Petrolia to Shelter Cove, and on the up and down inland trail. The surf line route, and don't forget to check the tides, is about 30 miles. We did it with one night out and the tide in-coming the first day because we hadn't consulted the tide charts, which made for some thrilling passages along the rocks beneath sheer cliffs. “We” included Joe and Karen Pfaff and Alexander Cockburn. Over a fifth of Irish Whiskey that night we argued about George Orwell and the Spanish Civil War, conceding the discussion to Cockburn. When we woke up, the tracks of a large mountain lion were about 20 feet from where we slept. We passed no other people except near Shelter Cove where a kid with a surfboard on his head was headed to what he said was a great surfing spot five miles up the beach. Cockburn and I did the inland trail also in one night out. I thought it was more difficult in its frequent climbs, but the views were unsurpassed, and this time we had the entire bottle to ourselves. At the Usal end of the trail we met a loudly complaining group of about a dozen junior high kids and a half dozen adult supervisors. They had just left Usal and it was already hot, and they were carrying enough gear for a month. The trail is not recommended for trekkers who've never trekked. I joked to Cockburn that if we did it again I'd hire a couple of high school jocks as porters. I'd like to do the hill route again some time with a leisurely three nights out rather than the one night out forced march we did both times. 

SHARON DOUBIAGO, writer and poet based in San Francisco these days, is writing a memoir about her life in Mendocino with her star athlete son, Dan Doubiago, who dominated high school sports in this area before he went on to play football in college and then the NFL. Sharon writes: “I think I just finished Son! Only 40+years of work! Still have to go over the parts we haven't put together for his approval. That's always been the deal: nothing goes without his ok! So far, there have been only two parts he wants cut. I've done that to one high school part---the story of his loss of virginity. It's really surprising what he has okayed and the part he wants cut. I've done that, hard as it was to do. The other one, god, I'm going to try and talk him into it, but it too will go if he still demands it. It's a crucial place in the overall story and so shows his beautiful self, but it shows the crumminess of the other person who is now, after all these years, a friend. The story is sort of a central one in the book. And it shows Danny's beautiful self! I've made up a character for that part, the only thing I've ‘made up’ in the whole thing, and so we'll see if that works. If not, the delete button for sure!”

OUR INDEFATIGABLE superintend/principal, Louise Simson, reports: “Regarding the septic, we are going to order some additional earth and level out the mounds to make it safer for kids to use the fields without a grade change. Tomorrow they start ripping up the trench behind the original classroom wing to restore water to those rooms (unbelievable there was no water for years as the drain line was collapsed making water inoperable) and we have a toilet transfer line to repair to the vault from one of the classrooms. Our district painter is steady and productive and he has almost all of the portables repainted and will move on to the exterior of the main building. It is happening."

IT CERTAINLY IS HAPPENING, as the remarkable Ms. Simson takes on 50 years of infrastructure neglect. My experience with septic systems having been confined to single family dwellings, I was unable to grasp the magnitude of the septic work the superintendent has brought off at the elementary school until I did a walkabout the other evening to have a look for myself. It's quite a large-scale project, so neatly done its vastness, when the grass grows, will be invisible. All that is visible now are a few stand pipes. Both school sites are looking better than they've looked in years. It's just amazing what this woman has accomplished here. She has re-vitalized the entire school effort, physical and psychic. 

* * *



I’m Judy Wagoner & Danny Kuny’s granddaughter. Lisa Kuny is my mother. 

Over the last seven years I've progressively been losing my sight. I grew up in Boonville, even have a few newspaper articles about my writing, leadership and outreach projects.

I just knew I'd be a writer, or activist.... I caught meningitis at 21, and have been focused on my health. After a move to Virginia to reunite with my mother, I'm finally offered the surgery I need to correct my vision and achieve my goals. I hope to return to my community and give back one day! I have worked in between health issues, but have pushed my eyes to the limit. Emergency corneal transplant surgery is scheduled for end of August. However, I'm a single woman and aftercare hours are not covered. Anything even a share helps. 

Sierra Kuny

* * *

JON KENNEDY (Potter Valley):

Disclaimer: I've been a licensed Real Estate agent for over 18 years. Now to criticize real estate agents (not all of them) through a question. 

Do you think it's mildly comical when you see/hear a Realtor discuss how she/he can get you multiple offers over asking price for your home, in an attempt to get your business, then in the next marketing piece, she/he claims it's a great time for buyers to get a great deal on a home, in an attempt to get your business?

There are plenty of honest and no nonsense successful Realtors in the business, and then there are the ones I mentioned above. 

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, August 6, 2023

Delcampo, Hoaglen, Marizette

CESAR DELCAMPO, Ukiah. False ID, resisting, probation revocation.

LATOYA HOAGLEN, Laytonville. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, probation revocation.

TEVIN MARIZETTE, Ukiah. Attempted possession of pot for sale, conspiracy.

McCauley, Nelson, Rabano, Yeomans

NICHOLAS MCCAULEY, Greenwood, Indiana/Ukiah. Attempted possion of pot for sale, false ID, conspiracy.

JOHN NELSON, Covelo. Controlled substance.


DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, resisting, battery on peace officer, county parole violation.

* * *

THE NATURAL LAWS of capitalism do indeed lead inevitably to its ultimate crisis, but at the end of its road would be the destruction of all civilization and a new barbarism.

— Georg Lukacs

* * *


California judge, 72, is arrested for “shooting his wife dead in their $1.4 million home.” Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested late Thursday after police received reports of a shooting at their home in Anaheim Hills.

* * *


by Julie V. Iovine

For urban dog owners with a live-wire canine bouncing off the apartment walls, an enclosed dog park can feel like an oasis, offering off-the-leash exercise, an outlet for excess energy, a social experience for the dog and, often, for the humans, too. In fact, dog parks are perfect, save for one small thing: They are bad for dogs.

Rather than thinking of them as an oasis, we’d be wiser to think of dog parks as under-supervised and vaguely dirty watering holes during thunderstorms when there’s a good chance of lightning: high risk, and best avoided.

Debates on this subject run deep among dog people, frequently dividing along shocked-that-you-would and shocked-that-you-wouldn’t lines. Every once in a while, these debates flare into full view on social media.

The dogs can seem divided, too. To be sure, some seem to love dog parks, pulling at the leash to get there sooner and frolicking energetically for as long as they’re allowed to stay. But look closely and you’ll see all the dogs who get discombobulated. For many, the kerfuffle of the dog park is simply too stimulating: all that sniffing and getting sniffed, the rolling and ruckus-ing, the prodding and the chasing. Those loopy circles that dogs make in a dog park, called the zoomies? Those could be playful, or they could very well may be your dog screaming, “I just can’t take it anymore!”

As for the dogs that aren’t actively going berserk, they’re often busy coping as best they can, clinging to the edges of the park or sniffing at pebbles. Dogs are social animals, yes, and need exposure to other animals. But much like us, they’re not necessarily well suited to random interactions with a rotating cast of strangers, each with disparate social skills and reactive tendencies.

This mismatch between temperaments among random dogs — their varied abilities at handling conflict, coupled with the often sporadic attention being paid to them by their owners — can make for a highly combustible situation. Even small doses of stress can take up to three days to drain out of a dog’s system — and all that excess stimulation can lead to eruptions of seemingly inexplicable bad behavior long after the dog and its owner have gone home.

My first dog, Ruggles, and I went to a dog park ritually every morning, as much for me to see other dog owners as to let my dog play. For humans, dog parks are like mini-town greens — except muddy and smelly — where people can go to gossip, swap dog care tips and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded folks who are not embarrassed to share cute animal photos. Some people have even discovered romance at a dog park; personally, I found a real estate lawyer.

It was all wonderful until my dog’s ear was ripped off, and the attacking dog’s owner refused to pay the vet bill — or even remove the dog from the park. Such incidents are all too common.

When I was raising my goofily hyper Labrador, Sammy, I remember reading dog-training books with page-long lists of all the things I had to deliberately introduce him to, such as pointed hats, men with beards and open umbrellas. These books also insisted that my dog should meet dozens of new people before he turned 4 months old. This philosophy — that young dogs need to be socialized, and quickly — morphs naturally into a handy rationale for going to the dog park, once the dog is old enough. (Dog parks typically require — but rarely enforce — vaccinations for dogs.) This kind of exposure and stimulation is important for young dogs but it’s best administered gently, in small doses. There’s absolutely no reason any of it should lead to hanging out in a thunderdome of rowdy pooches.

Then there’s the promise of happy exhaustion — another dog park myth. Who hasn’t heard the mantra: A tired dog is a good dog? But tired dogs, like tired people, can be time bombs: stressed, worn out and often unable to catch up on the 14 or so hours of rest a day that dogs require to keep an even keel.

The solution to overstressed dogs may also be the solution for overstressed dog owners: Skip the dog park. Stop worrying so much about socializing your dog in exactly the right way. She may enjoy running around with other breeds sometimes, but studies suggest the truth is that she’d be happiest of all just playing with you.

A 1996 study by the experimental psychologists David S. Tuber, Michael B. Hennessy, Suzanne Sanders and Julia A. Miller looked at levels of the stress hormone cortisol when dogs were put in a novel environment to see what soothed them more, the presence of a kennel mate or a human caretaker. If you’re surprised by the fact that the human soothed the dogs more, just think about how they often react when you get home at the end of the day. They nearly collapse with joy and relief.

Dogs want to be with us wherever we are. If they didn’t, they’d still be wolves. That goes for parks and city streets, which are great places for dogs to explore. So forgo the dog park: You have nothing to lose but your urban guilt, and maybe a real estate lawyer or two.

(Julie V. Iovine is a journalist and dog trainer in training, and is on the board of the Animals & Society Institute.)

* * *


by John King

If you’re dismayed by the physical changes to San Francisco in recent years — from glassy towers pushing high to shuttered stores on forlorn streets — here’s an easy way to turn back the clock.

Find a souvenir shop, search out the postcard rack and make your selection.

The tourist view of San Francisco conveyed in the 4 by 6 inch images on display is a place defined by cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge. People live in the Painted Ladies, drive to work down Lombard Street and do their shopping in Chinatown. The Transamerica Pyramid tops the skyline.

Part of this reflects the waning role of postcards in an age where travelers post updates on Facebook and Instagram, or text selfies to friends. But even if that wasn’t the case, the locked-in-time aspect of today’s mass postcard selection might not be that different — because the imagery that connotes this city internationally has deep, intrinsically place-specific roots.

“It’s pretty much the same as it ever was,” said Ken Glaser, president of Smith Novelty Co., the main purveyor of San Francisco postcards. “People still love Lombard Street and Alcatraz.”

Any local who knows today’s terrain can quickly spot the signs of inadvertent nostalgia. One example is the card illustrating Powell Street north from the cable car turnaround: it includes two rows of diminutive ficus trees that look as though they were planted the week before — trees now so thick and tall that they prevent sunlight from reaching the ground.

Another card presents downtown and the skyline from an aerial perspective, with the Embarcadero in the foreground. All the towers built south of Market Street the past 35 years are absent. So is the Embarcadero’s Rincon Park from 2002 with its enormous bow-and-arrow sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, “Cupid’s Span.”

Even when the view seemingly hasn’t changed, look closer. On one rectangle, behind the inevitable cable car, the center of attention is the ornate Sing Chong Building from 1908 at Grant Avenue and California Street … sporting a neon blade sign for the Chinatown Wax Museum that closed in 1983. 

There’s no effort to hide the musty aspects of postcards that rarely sell for more than 50 cents and often have copyright dates on back. It’s as simple as supply and demand.

“We used to sell 10 or 15 million postcards a year. Now it’s maybe 3 million,” Glaser said. “It’s a generational thing. People take a picture and send it out themselves.”

Business isn’t hurting for Smith, with its San Francisco product line that ranges from icon-adorned photo frames to Alcatraz onesies stamped in red with the phrase “rejected: too cute.” “Things like magnets and keychains,” Smith said, “those are our bread-and-butter stuff.”

That view is corroborated by Nick Hoppe, who owns six Fisherman’s Wharf shops including Pier 39’s Only in San Francisco. There you’ll find slots for 112 different postcards — but they’re easily missed amid the shelves of fog-fighting hoodies, the spinning racks of personalized street signs, the tote bags and snow globes and touristy knickknacks galore.

“Postcards have been out of favor ever since the internet began,” shrugged Hoppe. “People still send them off, and they don’t take up a lot of space. But it’s nothing like it used to be.”

The cards that do reflect a changing city are niche items found in specialty shops, the work of artists who create and distribute their own.

One is Tim Keefe, whose “San Francisco Tim” line of postcards and prints can be found at Coit Tower’s gift shop and Book Passage in the Ferry Building. His offerings include Mission Creek, Cupid’s Span and the City Hall dome illuminated for Gay Pride Month. 

“I want to show people more than the icons,” explained Keefe, who drove cabs for 18 years. That said, “the Golden Gate Bridge in fog is clearly my top seller — it’s the number one icon on the planet.”

Another artist, Rondo Fish, distributes his postcards in bookstores and stationery shops including Patrick & Co. on Market Street. They’re rendered in a variety of formats that include watercolors and tablet drawings, with subjects that include the east span of the Bay Bridge and the structure that replaced the Transamerica Pyramid as the city’s tallest building.

“A vendor said, ‘Why not do Salesforce Tower,’ so I figured I’d print some up,” said Fish, whose day job is mechanical engineering. How has the card sold? “Not very well.”

If postcards were still a tourist must, the easiest way to announce “Look where I am!” would the mass market array be much different? Probably not.

Consider this: San Francisco Travel last year surveyed 2,420 visitors about the specific spots they went to during their time here. Golden Gate Bridge came in first, followed by Pier 39. Close behind were Alcatraz, Lombard Street and Ghirardelli Square.

San Francisco isn’t Las Vegas, where ever-gaudier spectacles demand attention. Nor is it Chicago or New York, cities associated with endlessly updated architecture of skyscraping drama.

The Bay Area’s largest city north of San Jose is known for its ever-shifting cultural stew, such as the flourishing of the Castro in the 1970s, but also a timeless confluence of city and nature. The steep hills, the blue bay, the crooked streets and cabled transit. These hooks that pull in today’s tourists also drew prior generations.

No matter how much we locals fixate on the here and now — downtown travails on one extreme, hot new microhoods on the other — the core of San Francisco’s appeal goes deeper.

This place resonates in memories and continues to entice newcomers because of the physical texture, the constant recalibration of present and past. The setting, the sensations, the sense of potential discovery — these lures captivate people of all classes and creeds, whatever experiences they seek upon arrival.

It would be great if mainstream postcards conveyed more of San Francisco’s 21st century landscape, or the wider range of attractions. But the city portrayed in those souvenir racks has its own reality — one that likely will linger when postcards become obsolete.

(SF Chronicle)

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* * *


by Joseph Holsworth

My cousin died last week. He fell victim to the opioid crisis — a fatal overdose of fentanyl.

I don’t want you to see my cousin’s name on a spreadsheet somewhere and think of him as just another statistic. So, I’m going to tell you his story. At least what I know of it. It seems important to bring life to a person who was only trying to escape pain.

I remember him decades ago as a tall, thin, blond young man. And handsome; he looked like a young Jared Leto. He was into theater and wanted to be an actor.

He was 20 years my senior, so he was more like an uncle than a cousin. He wore all black, had very pale skin and seemed sad even though he always made funny faces to make me laugh.

As a kid, I was obsessive about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had over 60 of the action figures at my collection’s peak. My cousin would always take the time to play with me and my turtles. Not just because he was being a good big cousin, but because he actually wanted to play.

I have always wondered if he kept that youthful exuberance later in his life. 

Always the actor, he taught me how to set up big theatrical scenes with my toys. While most kids my age were just banging their action figures together until pieces of plastic started to fall off, my cousin and I set them up as players in a whole Shakespearian play — complete with tense diplomatic relations, betrayal and battle. I still credit those elaborate setups as the beginning of my development as a storyteller. 

I wish I’d told my cousin that.

He made me feel like being a silly little kid in a family that tended to make their kids grow up a little too fast. And that’s who he’ll always be to me — that black-clad cool guy with the silky hair and animated countenance who could make anyone smile.

Darker days would follow. But these fond memories from my early childhood are the only ones I have of him. That’s because he was diagnosed with HIV in the early 1990s and was subsequently estranged from the entire family.

He came out as gay shortly after his diagnosis. This wasn’t met with verbal disapproval among my family members. But he was the first of us to come out as gay; the men in my family were all traditionally masculine in appearance, demeanor and vocation. He no doubt felt, at best, an outsider.

Generally, my family accepted his homosexuality — certainly not a given in the early 1990s.

The HIV diagnosis, however, was another story.

From the moment he told us about his illness, everyone in the family was afraid of him. His mere presence, in their minds, meant exposing themselves to the risk of infection. My mother, who is a kind and maternal woman, refused to have him around because she was afraid that I might somehow get infected. In her defense, we knew little about the disease at the time, including how it spread.

My parents were only trying to protect me, I have no question about that. But looking back on it now, I can’t help but think about the role that universal reaction of fear played in how the rest of my cousin’s life would turn out. I can only try to imagine the level of alienation he must have felt. It is no wonder he turned to drugs to curb a little bit of the pain.

As for the rest of his life, it’s all guesswork for me. Like many tragedies of human suffering, the opioid crisis too often strips its victims of the agency to tell their own stories. My cousin never got to tell his story to anybody who would really listen. This is for me, perhaps the greatest tragedy of all.

Silence is perpetuating the ongoing misery of drug addiction.

I’m not a politician who pretends like they have an answer to the drug crisis. I’m only a writer. More accessible and affordable treatment has to be somewhere in the answer — but other than that, I have no idea.

As both a past abuser of drugs and alcohol and a student of the human condition, my hunch is that most people have a predilection toward needing some type of fix for what ails them. That fix can sadly come in the form of a substance like booze or heroin. Or it can be something like exercise or the acquisition of material wealth.

I don’t know exactly why my cousin turned to heroin and then to fentanyl. The why of it seems inconsequential to me. His addiction, like most of our addictions, was undoubtedly a reaction to the increasing fear of facing this cold and complicated world alone.

I know this world pushes the “others” to the peripheries of society and existence. As a gay drug addict with HIV, my cousin was extradited not just from common society, but from his own family. I can’t help but think that if we fostered a society of unconditional love and acceptance, people like him would still be alive.

This is my humble way of saying goodbye, and I’m sorry. I could have contacted him as an adult, but I never did. I’m one of the only people in our family who would have accepted him if only I’d made the smallest effort.

If you know someone like my cousin, and you surely do, reach out and show them they’re loved. Mine was named Todd White. He was 60 years old. He would have made a wonderful actor.

Joseph Holsworth is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and teaches theory and criticism at UC Santa Cruz.

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* * *


by Michael Goodwin

It is an article of faith in the political world that Democrats’ legal jihad against Donald Trump has the perverse goal of assuring he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

The Dems’ reasoning is that prosecuting Trump will make him unbeatable in the primaries and unelectable in the general election. 

It’s a clever, jujutsu-style move that aims to elevate the opponent before flattening him.

And the plan is working, with Trump’s GOP support growing into a dominant majority while he has been indicted three times by Democratic prosecutors.

A fourth set of criminal charges, by a Democrat in Georgia, waits in the wings. 

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and potentially fatal cracks are starting to appear in this one.

Indeed, it’s possible the plot could backfire and help return Trump to the Oval Office. 

The key problem is the political weakness of President Biden, who has stretched his 2020 victory over Trump into a claim that only he can beat Trump in ’24.

Despite Biden’s dismal approval ratings and obvious mental and physical decline, the party has not challenged that claim, with primary opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. receiving only nominal support.

President Biden’s primary opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is receiving only nominal support for the Democratic bid for the 2024 election.

Biden family business 

But serious threats of a different sort are gaining momentum and moving toward center stage.

The first is the irrefutable evidence that Hunter Biden got preferential treatment from his father’s Department of Justice. 

That was a given before the collapsed plea deal, which would have let Hunter walk with no jail time despite two tax charges and one gun crime. 

But the rigged, stymied probe described by IRS whistleblowers took on a whole new dimension when federal Judge Maryellen Noreika discovered an immunity provision hidden in the weeds of the agreement. 

Regarding to the Hunter Biden probe, President Biden claimed “my son has done nothing wrong.”

The deception and outrageous gift by federal prosecutors highlighted the stark contrast with the hammer-and-tongs way the same Justice Department goes after Trump and other Republicans. 

The differences are so pronounced that there is no possible explanation other than corruption.

As such, they fuel a widespread belief that Attorney General Merrick Garland is abusing his power to protect the president’s son and punish the president’s political opponents. 

Even more alarming, this is exactly what Biden wants from his AG.

He said so publicly. 

In April of 2022, the president sent the message through a New York Times article that he was frustrated because Garland was not prosecuting Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Three months ago, the president told an interviewer that “my son has done nothing wrong” even as Garland’s office considered what charges to bring.

And in April of 2022, the president sent the message through a New York Times article that he was frustrated because Garland was not prosecuting Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Presto — the lap-dog AG turned his boss’ wishes into commands, creating a pattern that oozes dirty double standards. 

If there is any good news amid the disgraceful partisanship, it is that Biden and Garland are losing control of the narrative. 

Despite their best efforts to hide the truth with the immunity agreement and the aid of a compliant left-wing media, polls show most Americans believe Hunter got favorable treatment because of his name. 

Devon Archer, the former family friend and partner of President Biden, forced the White House to backtrack on one of Joe’s more outlandish claims.

Even more important, a growing body of evidence shows Joe was deeply involved in Hunter’s influence-peddling schemes. 

The latest proof involves the testimony of Devon Archer, the former family friend and partner who forced the White House to backtrack on one of Joe’s more outlandish claims — his long insistence that he never even discussed his son’s businesses with him was changed to “he was never in business” with his son. 

Moving the goal posts is a sign of guilt, not innocence.

Besides, how does the White House define “was never in business?” 

Does it mean the president didn’t make any money from the deals?

Or does it just mean he never signed a formal contract? 

The timing of the move suggests that Hunter is involved with White House decision-making because it came just before Archer revealed that Hunter put his father on speakerphone during more than 20 meetings with potential foreign clients while Joe was vice president.

Dubious dialing down 

House Dems comically tried to downplay the calls by emphasizing that Joe didn’t talk business, as if a substantive conversation was necessary to prove he was doing something unethical and probably illegal. 

But as Archer noted, Joe didn’t have to say anything special.

His mere presence on the calls meant the vice president of the United States gave the arrangements his blessing and, by implication, pledged to use his “brand” to protect the family’s clients. 

That’s all Hunter had to sell, and Joe’s chit-chat was a signal he was on board.

That’s why the clients paid the Bidens millions of dollars. 

A Ukrainian energy firm however put Hunter Biden and Devon Archer on its board, and its owner allegedly told an FBI informant that he paid each of the Biden’s $5 million to shield the company from political pressure.


As to what official actions Joe took to help them, his shilling for Burisma is best known, though some details remain in dispute.

What’s certain is that the corrupt Ukrainian energy firm put Hunter and Archer on its board, and its owner allegedly told an FBI informant he paid each of the Bidens $5 million to shield the company from political pressure. 

It is a glaring example of malfeasance that the FBI never probed the bribe allegations or Joe’s phone calls to the business meetings, which might have been recorded in the White House. 

The Burisma case also illustrates the major issue: Did Joe Biden get money, directly or indirectly, from the deals he blessed? 

Tony Bobulinski’s assertion that Joe was the “big guy” slated for a secret 10% cut in a China deal is relevant, even though Joe was a private citizen when they met in 2017.

Bobulinski said the millions the family eventually got from the deal was for work done in 2015 and 2016, when Joe was VP.

WH financial forensics 

My view is that GOP investigators will do the work Garland’s Justice Department won’t do, and find money trails leading to Joe.

Hunter’s text-message complaint to his daughter that “unlike Pop I won’t make you give me half your salary” is a starting point. 

Earlier subpoenas of bank records showed numerous shell company accounts, with foreign money going to nine Bidens, and that is probably the pattern the family used repeatedly.

As lawmakers and others have noted, that’s not the way legitimate companies do business. 

Because there’s no chance in hell Garland will investigate Biden, GOP probes take on added importance.

Congress can’t prosecute the president, but the evidence produced against him could upend next year’s elections. 

Although polls detect some softness in Trump’s primary support in early states, the biggest threat to Dems’ scheme of propping him up would be proof that Biden sold his VP office to America’s adversaries, including Russia and China. 

Impeachment in the House would be certain and even if the Senate fails to convict, a collapse of voter support could force Biden to abandon his shaky re-election bid. 

If Kamala Harris, RFK Jr. or California Gov. Gavin Newsom gets the nomination, the Dems might live to regret their scheme to make Trump their opponent. 

Instead of beating him, they could end up helping to elect him.

* * *


“Without Chet, there would be no Grateful Dead, no Big Brother & the Holding Company, no Jefferson Airplane, no Country Joe & the Fish, no Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the list goes on.” (Barry Melton, Country Joe & The Fish)

After discovering her talent, Chet drove to Texas to pick up Janis [Joplin]. They hitchhiked back to California together to make sure her voice was heard. After forming Big Brother and the Holding Company, Chet suggested Janis to complete the band. Chet contributed to the band’s success in various ways, including booking their performance at the Monterey Pop Festival back in ‘67.

* * *


Last vignette: there’s an overabundance of (mostly Baptist) churches in my area. Most churches have just a couple dozen parishioners, others hundreds, others thousands.

It’s such a fantastic business that acres of forest are leveled to build parking lots around energy-intensive plane hangar sort of structures, without windows, requiring massive heating and AC.

The small pastors milk their flock by paying themselves and hiring all family members as church officials. They sell cheap editions of Bible commentary in many tomes that the faithful need to pay in installments – they’ll never read them, but in most cases they will be the only books at their home, covers looking good in their fake leather and gold lettering.

The bigger pastors are the entrepreneurial types, grifting on a much bigger scale. Learn it for a few years in an established pastor-businessman’s place of business, I mean church, then open their own brand.

So let’s burn more acres, debt and energy for this. Truly visionary, compassionate and wise guys, these Baptist pastors…

* * *

THERE ARE NUMEROUS ACCOUNTS of Elvis returning to Tupelo to visit family and friends, and to show friends where he was born. 

Mr. Booth, owner of the Tupelo Hardware Company, recalls one of these occasions.

Elvis and a few other boys walked into the hardware store, and Elvis bought a few guitar picks from Mr. Booth. The boys stood around for a while, then left. Mr. Booth turned to Leon, an employee, and asked "What was that thing?" Elvis was dressed to impress and distress. He sported a bright yellow shirt, crazy pants, a cowboy hat, and "big" hair. "That hair was well-greased and it stood up so high, I'd never seen anything like it," reports Mr. Booth. Leon knew who the boy was, Vernon Presley's son, Elvis. Mr. Booth shook his head, saying "He sure is a different stripe." A year or so later Elvis would be back in town, and by then Mr. Booth knew exactly who Elvis Presley was.

— Sharon Colette Urquhart's 1994 "Placing Elvis: A Tour Guide to the Kingdom"

* * *


Ukraine struck two key bridges linking the Russian-occupied Kherson region to Crimea on Sunday. A Russian official said Kyiv used advanced Storm Shadow missiles supplied by the United Kingdom.

Kyiv has repeatedly targeted Russia's routes into Crimea, the peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014 despite international outcry.

An important air base in western Ukraine was targeted as waves of Russian missiles hit the country overnight. On Saturday, a Russian bomb hit a blood transfusion center in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ukraine's president said.

Ukraine is using unmanned vehicles to attack faraway Russian targets by air and by sea. An attempted drone attack briefly halted traffic at an airport in Moscow on Sunday, according to the city's mayor.

* * *

* * *


Arise ye workers from your slumbers

Arise ye prisoners of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

And at last ends the age of cant.

Away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise

We’ll change henceforth the old tradition

And spurn the dust to win the prize.



So comrades, come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.


No more deluded by reaction

On tyrants only we’ll make war

The soldiers too will take strike action

They’ll break ranks and fight no more

And if those cannibals keep trying

To sacrifice us to their pride

They soon shall hear the bullets flying

We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.


No saviour from on high delivers

No faith have we in prince or peer

Our own right hand the chains must shiver

Chains of hatred, greed and fear

E’er the thieves will out with their booty

And give to all a happier lot.

Each at the forge must do their duty

And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.


Arise ye pris’ners of starvation

Arise ye wretched of the earth

For justice thunders condemnation

A better world’s in birth!

No more tradition’s chains shall bind us

Arise, ye slaves, no more in thrall;

The earth shall rise on new foundations

We have been naught we shall be all.



’Tis the final conflict

Let each stand in his place

The International Union

Shall be the human race.


We want no condescending saviors

To rule us from their judgement hall

We workers ask not for their favors

Let us consult for all.

To make the theif disgorge his booty

To free the spirit from its cell

We must ourselves decide our duty

We must decide and do it well.


The law oppresses us and tricks us,

The wage slave system drains our blood;

The rich are free from obligation,

The laws the poor delude.

Too long we’ve languished in subjection,

Equality has other laws;

"No rights", says she "without their duties,

No claims on equals without cause."


Behold them seated in their glory

The kings of mine and rail and soil!

What have you read in all their story,

But how they plundered toil?

Fruits of the workers’ toil are buried

In strongholds of the idle few

In working for their restitution

The men will only claim their due.


We toilers from all fields united

Join hand in hand with all who work;

The earth belongs to us, the workers,

No room here for the shirk.

How many on our flesh have fattened!

But if the norsome birds of prey

Shall vanish from the sky some morning

The blessed sunlight then will stay.

(Adaptation of Charles H. Kerr translation from the original, for The IWW Songbook (34th Edition).)

* * *

* * *


by Phil Ochs

Look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed

They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed

Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain

But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends.


Riding down the highway, yes, my back is getting stiff

Thirteen cars are piled up, they're hanging on a cliff.

Maybe we should pull them back with our towing chain

But we gotta move and we might get sued and it looks like it's gonna rain

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends.


Sweating in the ghetto with the (colored/Panthers) and the poor

The rats have joined the babies who are sleeping on the floor

Now wouldn't it be a riot if they really blew their tops?

But they got too much already and besides we got the cops

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends.


Oh there's a dirty paper using sex to make a sale

The Supreme Court was so upset, they sent him off to jail.

Maybe we should help the fiend and take away his fine. (*)

But we're busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends


Smoking marihuana is more fun than drinking beer,

But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years

Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why

But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends


Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed

They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed

Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain

But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game

And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody

Outside of a small circle of friends

* * *


  1. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023

    RE: Mendo Budget Blues…

    “Five Mendocino county departments are projected to come in at more than $200,000 over budget. The mid-year report notes that the Cannabis Department is in the lead by far, with projections of being over budget by $662,000, due to shortfalls in revenues from cannabis fees
    The Sheriff’s Office is the second-highest over-budget department, with a projected overage of a little more than half a million dollars. Animal care, facilities, and the Executive Office are also over budget”

  2. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023

    RIP Paul Dolan.

    I had the opportunity to meet Paul on multiple occasions. An outstanding gentleman and great to have conversations about importance of soil health and biological diversity. He will be missed.

  3. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023

    RE: GRAFFITI, Willits new love affair

    I think we can all see that the Velvet Bandit’s art work, is in line with the famous Banksy. Protest Art in Graffiti style. I agree that most of the spray paint around is haphazard “tagging” or gang affiliated territory marking. There’s always an anthropological explanation for human behaviors. I had some tagging of people’s personal logos on my Telephone line switch box next to my house (Yes, landlines still exist). My kind neighbors down the street asked if I wanted to cover it up with art, and I agreed that it would be a good idea. So, I got out some green and red paint that matched my house trim, and painted a crude Picasso like redwood forest over the graffiti. My neighbors noticed right away and thanked me the next day on my prompt and fun cover art. We can all be good neighbors and do our part for the community, no matter how big or small. Something I have learned from growing up in Sacramento, is that graffiti “artists” are far less likely to tag their signs on a Mural or actual art work, than an ugly blank concrete wall. This is why local murals are extra important and essential to community well being. MORE ART PLEASE!

    -Rye N Flint

    • Mazie August 7, 2023

      My fave art is from the homeless peeps on the trail a testament to their existence and maybe a plea for help….I take photos of all the interesting stuff I find. The city does come and spray over the drawings on the blacktop they mostly use chalk!! It is always interesting…and sometimes beautiful.

  4. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023

    RE: “If we can make a museum exhibit out of a handful of hippies who washed up here in the 1970s, why no tribute to the old gas-hounds who have been thrilling Ukiah crowds since the 1930s? ”

    Did I miss the hippie exhibit? Was it hiding behind all the steam powered logging equipment? Talk about retro! Come check out the Museum in Willits!

    The age of Fossil Foolery is over. Electric Vehicles are winning! #winning

  5. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023


  6. Rye N Flint August 7, 2023


    The wonderfully funny comedian turned truth teller, Jon Stewart, lays out the problem on his new Apple TV series:

    • Elizabeth Mitchell August 7, 2023

      I hope that Bruce Anderson and anyone else arguing about the proposed Fort Bragg name change will watch all 16 minutes of this clip before the debate. Jon Stewart describes the history of race in the United States from the 1600’s to the present in his usual style. You will laugh and feel like hell while you’re doing it. I have family roots in South Alabama, a frightening place. Just about anything related to the Confederacy makes me gag, including the name Fort Bragg. Do the right thing and change it. Life will go on. The Noyo name is beautiful.

      Rye N Flint: I have no idea who you are, but thanks. Posting this was a public service.

  7. Mazie💕 August 7, 2023

    Re: the state of homelessness……
    Back in the day they called homeless peeps HOBOS ….
    Now they are referred to as transients
    A bad word
    Do you think it might be in place to deflect identification as one of us, our family, our community?
    That article a plea for more money more services
    If we have 30 organizations providing services for these issues, homelessness, addiction, mental illness
    Where does the problem lie? Why are people not receiving help? Because truly who the $@?! Wants to be sick and homeless? The Manzanita building should be purchased by the County to provide more safe respite for street people. It would reduce crime and garbage and the trail graffiti!!! ….

  8. Kirk Vodopals August 7, 2023

    I wish that Trump and Biden and all their most enthusiastic cheerleaders just marched out to the Capitol and squared off at high noon. Bang! Bang! Both sides drop dead. Problem solved.

    • George Hollister August 8, 2023

      Great, even if fanciful, end to a major, and destructive political diversion.

  9. peter boudoures August 7, 2023

    Re: hoophouse permits

    When the ag department was still involved there wasn’t such thing as a hoop house ag exempt. All structures needed to be engineered, after many of us were done with that process [concrete inspection, electrical inspection, final inspection] they decided to make under 1000sqft pvc hoops ag exempt with a permit fee. I don’t mind looking at a clean setup of ag exempt hoops but when plastic is blowing in the wind and trash is all over the property it gives growers a bad reputation. Treating weed like any other crop doesn’t mean trash should be blown all over the county. The Central Valley doesn’t look like hell.

    • Kirk Vodopals August 7, 2023

      C’mon, this is Mendocino County. Half this place would have to be cited for violations if you went after crappy hoop houses and junky dumpholes. So many struggling “farmers” out there.

      • peter boudoures August 7, 2023

        What’s so hard about citing the dumpholes? It’s one thing to be poor and another to trash the place. Put garbage bins at each turnout like canada. If you’re going to collect taxes and regulate then regulate. If not then stop taxing me.
        The legal farmers are getting caught in the fishnet. Now you have this Stephen guy who thinks he has the power of a Tiburon resident trying to take us out.

  10. Mazie August 7, 2023

    Re: Fentanyl OD… A beautiful tribute to your cousin.. Hugs🤗🤗 Mazie 💕

    • chuck dunbar August 7, 2023

      Yes, a lovely tribute, Mazie–

      These are honest, fine lines and good wishes:

      “…This is my humble way of saying goodbye, and I’m sorry. I could have contacted him as an adult, but I never did. I’m one of the only people in our family who would have accepted him if only I’d made the smallest effort.

      If you know someone like my cousin, and you surely do, reach out and show them they’re loved. Mine was named Todd White. He was 60 years old. He would have made a wonderful actor.”

      • Mazie August 7, 2023

        Chuck… yes… a beautiful reminder to offer love before it’s over 💕

  11. Sarah Kennedy Owen August 7, 2023

    The last verse of the Phil Ochs song:
    “Oh look outside the window
    There’s a woman being grabbed
    They’ve dragged her to the bushes
    And now she’s being stabbed
    Maybe we should call the cops
    And try to stop the pain
    But Monopoly i so much fun
    I’d hate to spoil the game.
    And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody
    Outside of a small circle of friends.”

    That happened right here in Ukiah in 1985, only it wasn’t a woman, it was a 15-year old girl, Rosie Marie Grover. It happened right under that friendly Foster’s Freeze sign we seem to treasure. How strange, our memories select what they want to select and “de-select” anything disagreeable. In that case, police dispatcher was called by Rosie trying to get a ride home, but that wasn’t policy so she was left to die. And life goes on, right up to the present, with same troubles now as then, in so many ways.

    • Mazie August 7, 2023

      Yes that was very sad, I grew up with Rosie, family friends, my dad and her mom dated when they were teenagers. Rosie was also killed on my birthday, in the creek behind my house, very close indeed. There was a creepy man in a brown car hanging out by the dental office, for at least 2 weeks before she was murdered. Never found out if it was him. Sadly her mother Marilyn has lived through the death of 3 of her children. There is a Rosie Grover FB page if you want to stay updated on the murderers possibility of release.. 😢❤️

  12. Sarah Kennedy Owen August 7, 2023

    Thanks Mazie. I’m sorry you had to go through that. You seem like a very compassionate person, so congratulations on turning this tragedy into action on your own part for the community. It takes a strong will to turn a bad experience into doing something positive for the community. Kudos.

    • Mazie August 7, 2023

      It was quite disturbing and sad..we moved soon after. Thank you for your kind words… Mazie 💕

  13. Jim Shields August 7, 2023

    Just a few quick comments on a couple of things that I haven’t had time to address because for the past couple of months I’ve been buried under a blizzard of totally meaningless paperwork generated mostly by the state Water Board. To continue my bitch for just a second longer, notwithstanding their repetitious flacking of emergency drought measures, constant chatter about “water resiliency” planning, and new procedures for reporting water production, usage, etc., there’s little or no sense urgency on behalf of either the state or this county to actually getting something done. Example? For over a year now, a well-drilling/water hauling ordinance drafted by a committee (that I served on, that actually did its work and accomplished the objective assigned to it) has been gathering dust in the County Counsel’s office. Last summer, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved/accepted the committee’s draft ordinance and directed that it be sent to the Planning Commission. Instead, it was re-routed to CoCo where it remains short-stopped. In the intervening moths, both yours truly and Supe Haschak have inquired at several BOS meetings as to the status of the MIA draft ordinance. Initially, we were told CoCo would have the review finished by February. Well, February’s come and gone several times now, and still no word on its status.
    Sunday’s Ukiah Daily Journal’s opinion page featured pieces that spotlighted three FUBARing issues that are clearly high on citizen lists of public concerns.
    • UDJ editorial by K.C. Meadows on the ever-worsening homelessness/mental health crisis/addiction/crime;
    • Tom Hines column dealing with local government ignoring graffiti, “minor crimes”, and abandoned buildings; and
    • Another installment of my series on “Catch and Release” criminal justice enforcement/sentencing policies.
    What appears to be high on County lists of concerns? One item for sure is the creation of a Department of Finance. Everyone is familiar with the background on this non-issue, issue, so I’m not going to re-flog it. There’s two bottom lines to this “concern.”
    • There’s no indication that this idea any traction at all with the public. It’s wholly created by the BOS (Haschak excepted).
    • There’s every indication to believe that the overwhelming majority of citizens would never entrust the responsibility of financial control to the Board of Supervisors, or any creature office or department under its influence. If this proposal would ever go to the ballot, it would a wipeout.
    Just goes to show, there’s priorities and then there’s priorities.
    Jim Shields

    • Rye N Flint August 7, 2023

      Thank you again Jim. I really hope that this water truck foolery stops soon. Moving water uphill on roads using petroleum to support blownout illegal cannabis grows, while annoying neighbors, not paying for road damage, while creating artificially high property prices that should be worthless dry zones, it so completely ludicrous to me. I see it happening on my partner’s road on McNab Ranch, and the answer at road committee meetings of the landlord that owns multiple properties that receives the water deliveries, is: “I’m just trying to pay my bills”. : face palm emoji:

      • Adam Gaska August 7, 2023

        Your neighbor is bad at math and eventually will be broke. Even if he is driving the truck his own truck that he owns and picking up the water for cheap/free, it’s likely not worth it to haul water for cannabis.

    • Ted Williams August 7, 2023


      What’s your proposed solution to Chamise Cubbison’s inability or unwillingness to perform the statutory duties of her elected position?

      • Jim Shields August 7, 2023

        As I’ve suggested, as well as Haschak and I believe Gjerde also, the Board should call in former officials responsible for fiscal matters (Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Assessor, CEO) and interview/question and, hopefully, learn from them how they did their jobs. This is critical information the BOS admits it is lacking. This process would include but is not limited to such things as assessments of their responsibilities and how they performed their duties, how they exercised fiscal oversight and the identification of internal financial controls, systems that were utilized (manual vs. electronic/software, etc.), staffing levels (classifications and job descriptions) narrative descriptions of interdepartmental and third-party (ex.: outside, independent audit) working relationships detailing scope of work and information disclosed and received.
        Since no one has explanations or answers to what caused the ongoing, untenable fiscal mess the county is in, you need to conduct an inquiry and start finding answers to all of the current unknowns prior to launching a substantially, momentous alteration to your organizational structure with this idea of a Department of Finance.
        As you are aware, at a recent BOS meeting you asked County Counsel Curtis, “Can you assure us we have accurate (financial) information now, that we can trust this data we have now?”
        Curtis succinctly responded, “No, that’s something the Board will have to take up.”
        Well, it appears that one of the things the “Board will have to take up” is finding out how you got from where the County once was to where it is now.
        By the way, when the suggestion was made at that meeting to open an inquiry by calling in former county financial officials to provide this much-needed information, it was cut off by Supervisor Mulheren, who complained, “We shouldn’t take another elected official to task, that’s something for the Grand Jury.”
        By the way, if the Board does decide to hold an inquiry, it won’t be necessary for former officials to attend in-person. That’s the beauty of zoom meetings.
        Jim Shields

      • Bruce Anderson August 7, 2023

        Ms. Cubbison obviously has the ability to do her job, and she has explained, on the record, the reasons for delays. Why would you even suggest she might be unwilling to perform her duties? You have been unfair to her from the beginning of all this.

        • Jim Shields August 7, 2023

          I agree with Bruce A. on the Cubbison issue, there’s no evidence of her inability or unwillingness to perform the statutory duties of her office. There is evidence, however, that the shotgun marriage arranged when the BOS consolidated the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller offices, was anything but a smooth transition. All the more reason for a public inquiry of former financial officials and the CEO about how they conducted the public’s business in previous years, as it’s unlikely this mess started last night. Let the chips fall where they may.

        • The Shadow August 7, 2023

          Spot on, Bruce. I’ve seen a lot of bonehead moves by the county over the years, but this ranks near the top. Let’s see, disregard the input of people who know, merge departments against advice, see everybody leave and then attack the person who stepped up to the plate in the midst of turmoil. And then wonder why county can’t attract and retain employees??

          God bless Chamise, I would’ve told them to shove it up their ass a lonnnngggg time ago…she is a true public servant. The ironic thing is the Board’s ill-informed intemperate move may be the thing that brings down the whole house of cards on top of them. And the rest of us unfortunately.

  14. Casey Hartlip August 7, 2023

    Mike Geniella’s reporting on Paul Dolan’s Memorial service couldn’t be more spot on. It was a wonderful event that Paul would have been proud to attend himself. The Dolan family is in very capable hands with Heath Dolan at the helm. I was somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t more mention of Heaths brother Jason who passed about 5-6 years ago after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis. He too was an integral part of Dark Horse Vineyards. God bless this wonderful family.

    • Marmon August 7, 2023

      How old was Heaths brother Jason who passed about 5-6 years ago after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis? I had a son who died of cystic fibrosis back in 1970. I understand these children are living into adulthood these days, that wasn’t the case back then.


      • Casey Hartlip August 8, 2023

        My wife……Jason’s mother reminded me he passed 8 years ago. He had received two separate double lung transplants about 3-4 years apart. He was able to father two children (twins) and was 43 at his passing.

        • Marmon August 8, 2023

          Wow! that’s amazing.


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