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Off the Record (August 30, 2023)

FROM THE OCTOBER 14th, 1898 edition of the Mendocino Dispatch-Democrat (Ukiah): “All the speakers were given a generous share of applause and the presence of three men so noted for their honest and intelligent work for the people in the past, was a convincing argument in itself in favor of the claims of our party, that our ticket is clean, composed of men who are noted for their independence of corporate rule, and truly representatives of the people and their interests.”

QUICK! Name one elected official serving today who “is noted for his/her independence of corporate rule.” 

AS THE GREAT SLIDE accelerates, we see more and more stories like this one. A woman is standing on an Oakland street chatting with a friend. A lady steps out of a car and hands one of the chatting women a four-year-old boy. “She told me, ‘I had to get rid of him. I need to get him out of my hair. My boyfriend doesn’t want kids right now’.” The impromptu mom told reporters of her sudden possession of a child not her own. What has ensued is the new mom's attempt to get some financial assistance to raise the child whom she’s become very fond of. Most people would agree that it’s in the broad social interest to raise children in stable, humane homes, but dependent children in this society are routinely tossed overboard, but only after a very large apparatus of social workers, therapists, quasi-public private businesses, and public bureaucrats take a cut out of the kid first. 

HERE IN MENDO, the foster home process is dominated by an essentially private business which screens foster homes for the placement of parent-less children. The private biz gets paid very well to find homes and “train” foster parents. 

WHAT HAPPENS in practice, and as orphaned children desperate for a sane living situation are bounced from one temporary arrangement to another, is that many good people are discouraged by the qualifying process, which is unnecessarily lengthy for no other reason than protecting the placing agency from liability. A half-dozen certified testimonials as to the prospective foster parent’s acceptably responsible character should be all that’s necessary for a foster license.

BACK IN OAKLAND, the sudden mom was offered not enough money to bring up four-year-old, just about enough to feed and clothe a child that age, and about half what she’ll need to raise him when the “I Wannas” kick in around 8 or so. The net result? A huge shortage of homes for children who need them.

A READER WRITES: One ask I have is that you think about dividing the body of the paper into coherent sections. It is long and unwieldy, and I suspect that readers scroll through looking for their friends, and are likely to miss important news. Then you could put all kinds of things in the spaces between, like the New Yorker. My other thought is to remove the private conversations from your Comments section, which is starting to look like the listserve.

THE AVA’S a more interesting read for regular people than The New Yorker, which is aimed at sophisticates who have a lotta discretionary income. The American culture having passed me by, I have zero interest in most of it. Last week's New Yorker, for this long-time subscriber, did not contain a single piece of interest to me. I used to think the fault for my disinterest lay in me, a rural autodidact, but my urban autodidact friends agree the mag is about one-in-four, while the AVA is a four-bagger every week?

OUR COMMENTS SECTION? Not bad on the AVA site because we edit out the insults and gratuitous vulgarity. The MCN chatline, by way of contrast, reads like an open air asylum where one has to wade through the commenters to find one who seems sane. It shouldn't surprise me how many lonely loons there are out there, but cyber-tech has provided a neighborhood for them, which we are forced to live in, too.

KATHY WYLIE: My husband received a jury summons. When he tried to appear for service at 10-mile court in Fort Bragg rather than at the courthouse in Ukiah, he received the following info:

“The court is in receipt of your request to transfer your jury service to the Ten Mile Branch Court in Fort Bragg.

Pursuant to Standing Order 2023-06, effective August 15, 2023, the jury clerk may no longer grant a request for transfer of jury service between court locations. Jurors are required to report for service to the courthouse where they are summoned. The court shall hear any juror hardships at that time. Your service as a juror is very important and the court is willing to postpone your jury service to a later time to allow time for your appearance in the court location to which you have been summoned. A new date can be scheduled and you will receive a new summons for your new service date, closer to that date.

Thank you,

RH, Clerk IV - Jury Services/Family Support Superior Court of California,

County of Mendocino

This order, signed by Judge Nadel, is set to expire at the end of this year. I have no idea if it will be renewed.

“I’M BEATING BIDEN in the Polls by the biggest margins ever. I assume that means there’ll be another Indictment & Arrest coming down the tracks very soon. These Radical Left Democrats, Communists, Marxists, and Fascists are destroying our Country but, have no fear, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” -Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

THIS STATEMENT reflects Trumpian reality, and resonates with Orange Man’s base. But there are no “radical left “Democrats. Bernie would be about as far left as Democrats go, and he’s the tamest socialist in the history of socialism. Communists and Marxists? If, combined, there are a hundred thousand in all the USofA I’d be surprised. Fascists? Lots and lots, but they are the American version outside any of the intellectual traditions. I think, though, that Orange Man, in wild, nonsensical statements like this, is talking in code, that decoded his statement, which he often repeats, means he sympathizes with people who feel that everything has gone awry in the country, from lawlessness to gender bending, and only he can set  US straight.

AT RANDOM: The Caltrans “interchange” on 101 at Redwood Valley wiped out 169 acres of pleasing semi-rural landscape and tripled the number of roads at the site.

SUPERVISORS get elected, bumble through their terms, then disappear from the public life of Mendocino County.

TOM LUCIER, the amiable Willits Republican and mortician known around town as “The Jolly Reaper” is still collecting North County corpses, but he’s as silent as his clients. Colfax? McCowen, Shoemaker? Carrie Brown? And on and on. Norman deVall still keeps a public eye on things, as does Johnny Pinches, but other than these two the rest of the former county leadership is long gone. Can’t say that they’re missed, but collectively, the silent ones represent how unserious they were and are. 

CHRON PROSE “Many San Franciscans have come to believe their city is in crisis.”

ANY EDITORS left at the Chron? Street chaos is a matter of belief? How about starting with recognizing the obvious: San Francisco is in crisis, evidenced by fleeing businesses, conventions, tourists, and residents; and by the inhumane conditions on the streets in mid-Market, Civic Center, the Tenderloin, south of Market, many tourist areas, and on public transit; and by rising crime; and insane public school policy. SF “residents” are concerned because the tax base is evaporating before their eyes.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST. Both the following passages describe Biden's visit to Maui:

(1) THE NEW YORK TIMES: “President Biden toured the scorched remains of Lahaina, a coastal town on the Hawaiian island of Maui, on Monday in his first visit since devastating wildfires killed more than 100 people and left behind scenes of twisted metal and hollowed-out homes. Mr. Biden, who broke away from his summer vacation on Lake Tahoe in Nevada, met with survivors of the fires and with emergency workers and state and local officials. The president hugged Gov. Josh Green, a Democrat, and walked arm in arm with him to Marine One for a 20-minute aerial tour of the wreckage. Sporting a green and yellow lei, he told community members, “the entire country is here for you.”

‘The devastation is overwhelming,’ Mr. Biden said as he stood near a 150-year-old banyan tree, a cherished landmark in Lahaina. He said the tree symbolized the resilience of the Maui community.

The president, who was joined by Jill Biden, the first lady, also sought to assure residents of Maui that they would be involved in the recovery process. ‘We will be respectful of the sacred grounds and the traditions,’ he said, ‘and rebuild the way the people of Maui want to build, not the way others want to build’.” And respectfully on...

(2) THE RIGHTWING BRIT TABLOID DAILY MAIL: “The President's motorcade was met with screams of ‘fuck you’ after he finally arrived in Maui — two weeks after the inferno which left 850 people missing and destroyed the historic city of Lahaina. Biden compounded the anger in a garbled, meandering speech about the deaths of his wife and daughter in 1972, before comparing the horrific blaze to a kitchen fire at his Delaware home in 2004. The 80-year-old capped off his disastrous five-hour tour by asking a rescue team whether their boots were reinforced, noting the ‘hot ground’ beneath their feet in a tone-deaf attempt at humor. Hawaiian residents and politicians have unleashed a torrent of criticism over Biden's failure to visit the island sooner and a paltry $700 offered to each affected family.”

WHAT WE HAVE HERE is a failure to communicate. I read a transcript of Biden’s remarks in Maui and they were, objectively, the verbal wanderings of a man deep in his senescence, The liberal media, — Maddow; MSNBC; NPR, the NYT, etc., in Democrat lockstep on all issues, most notably Biden’s functioning, pretends Biden is all there. The fascist media, of course, gleefully seizes on Biden’s every stumble. No, the truth doesn’t lie somewhere in between, Biden is out of it.

I GOT a comment from a woman today who said I should get off my admiration for the Confederacy! I had to wonder if she reads my newspaper. Another guy declared I’d gone MAGA. 

BUT ON THE ISSUE of Biden’s functioning, the rightwing is obviously correct, the lib media is lying by omission. Biden is gone.


The effort to change the name of Kelseyville has been going on for more than two decades, most recently with a growing number of adherents who came together in 2020 to form the activist organization called “Citizens for Healing,” supported by local Tribes and many kind citizens who assembled the extensive history of brutality inflicted by the Kelsey brothers from 1821 through 1861. Definitive historical studies and published records of their ignominy are easily found on the sections of their website:


It has been painful to watch the public criticism pf the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector (ACTTC) in multiple forums, not just the BOS meetings. I can’t say if she is qualified or not but it seems like it would a difficult transition for anyone to go from being the second in command of one office to being thrust into running two offices and losing most, if not all, senior management of both offices and the institutional knowledge they held. Since the BOS and ACTTC are both elected offices, they are colleagues. With co-workers like that, who needs enemies? I am surprised that the ACTTC has stuck in there, to be honest.

The Great Redwood Trail Agency (GRTA) did just solicit for a General Manager. Applications closed July 14th. Salary is $120-140k with a good benefits package.

THE THREE AFFIDAVITS used as the basis for an August 11 police raid on the Marion County Record, a small Kansas newspaper that was investigating corruption in the police department, were not filed until three days after the search warrants were executed. Many civil libertarians are blaming the judge for blindly signing the warrants. “Too often the warrant process is just a way for police to launder their lack of probable cause through a compliant judge,” Jared McClain told the Kansas Reflector. “Until we start holding judges accountable for enabling the abusive and lawless behavior of the police, incidents like this are just going to keep happening.”

MENDO JUDGES have been blind-signing search warrants for many years, probably since the founding of the county in 1850.

WE’RE ALL ENJOYING the Trump Gang’s bookings, but he may have the last laugh, especially if he runs against that other long-time grifter, Biden.

TRUMP says he’s 6’3” and 215, which are exactly my dimensions, and I ask you my friends which of us is being truthful? Looking at the omni-indicted former leader of the free world, I’d guess he comes in at a little over 250 and he’s about 6’2”.


On Line Comment: “It has been painful to watch the public criticism of the Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector (ACTTC) in multiple forums, not just the BOS meetings.”


TYPICAL WILLIAMS. He just can't resist a gratuitous slam at Ms. Cubbison that he and his incompetent colleagues blame for the fiscal problems they themselves created by merging two county functions into one understaffed office. 

NOW THAT DR. DOOHAN is ensconced in Lake County, Mendo's traditional public employment jv team, she's managed to move on from serving (sic) as Mendo's Assistant Public Health Officer to Dr. Coren during the covid lockdown, a lockdown applied to Mendo's small businesses as Walmart and Costco operated with simple mask orders. Doohan got her assistant job from former Mendo CEO Angelo, which Doohan faithfully performed mostly from her home in San Diego. Doohan and Angelo, by the way, were involved in an attempt to pick up a few bucks in a real estate deal in Redwood Valley that was abandoned when its suspicious coziness became public.

ALL OF WHICH makes me wonder why outback counties need a public health officer at so much pay. What do they do? During the covid emergency our guy, Dr. Coren, since invisible and barely visible during the covid hysteria, issued weekly unreadable state communiques that went on for pages and pages and were read by exactly no one. Couldn't the “job” be rotated among Mendo's working medical people for much less money than people like Coren and Doohan get for doing not much of anything?

“THE GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL Agency (GRTA) did just solicit for a General Manager. Applications closed July 14th. Salary is $120-140k with a good benefits package. The GRTA board met last week, August 17th, and held interviews in closed session.”

THE ABOVE is a “job” made in heaven for Mo Mulheren, a true believer in the invisible entity which, even by the standards of the ethereal, does not exist and will never exist. The “job” is an obvious Democratic Party porker, and was probably created by the Trail's founder, soon to be termed-out State Senator, Mike McGuire, who, natch, is about to be appointed to the State Insurance Commission at big pay for showing up at a few meetings a year to ratify whatever extortionate schemes the insurance industry wants to foist off on Californians. These guys never leave. They just go on “serving.”

SOME YEARS AGO, I wrote a long story about a young man who died instantly when he stuck his head into an unmarked wine tank filled with nitrogen. Alabama is about to become the first state to execute a murderer by making him breathe pure nitrogen in a move the man's jailers insist is painless. Which a nitrogen exit is, as any winery can tell you, which is why wine tanks of nitrogen are usually clearly marked as potentially lethal.

KENNETH SMITH has been on death row for three decades. The authorities tried to kill him once before via the midnight needle but the anon executioners botched the drug proportions. They pulled Smith off the death table, keeping him alive for more years until now, having since been sold on nitrogen exits. 

SMITH was paid $1,000 to slay a preacher's wife in 1988, the preacher having commissioned his wife's murder. He committed suicide when the cops identified him as the mastermind of the crude plot. The State of Alabama has preempted God's authority as in “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord” to assume His death duties for their temporal selves.

AS I ARGUE at least once a year, keeping a man alive for 30 years just to kill him in the vague name of “'the people,” is sadistic, and killing him in private negates the alleged purpose of the death penalty, which is to deter other people from murder. There is no evidence that anybody is deterred, as the USA is world famous for the large numbers of murders which occur here every day. And certainly no one is deterred by non-public executions.

I'D MAKE STATE executions public. Hold them in football stadiums and filmed live on national television, with all proceeds to the families of the victims, with only one caveat — a member of the victim's family must carry out the execution. The government should not have the authority to kill its citizens, even the worst ones.

AS AN ESSENTIAL part of the Boonville weekly's policy of general magnanimity, when requested we remove booking photos from our archive except, as in the case of a Ukiah man who called up to say, “Take my picture down or I'm coming over there to kill you and your whole family, including your dogs. Then I'm going to burn your house down.” That was twenty years ago. Mr. Wolf punched his own wolf ticket by dying of a drug overdose, but is memorialized in an eternal booking photo on our website.

THE OTHER DAY we received a “courtesy request” from a high end Brit law firm asking us to take down the booking photo of a wealthy young woman who apparently maintains dual citizenships, American and British: “To Whom It May Concern,

We are writing to follow up on our emailed letter dated 8/7 regarding posts on your website. Said letter is attached hereto for your convenience. Please review and respond as soon as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely, Oanh Nguyen, Paralegal

AN AMERICAN law firm would have sent us an Or Else demand, to which we'd issue our usual reply: “We prefer the ‘Or Else’ option.” Which is where threatening lawyer letters invariably end. 

YES, since the Brits asked so nicely, we took down the young heiresses' mug shot.


Naseem Khayyata was arrested on drug charges in Mendocino County on August 14, 2016. 

Naseem Khayyata

FURNISHING MARIJUANA: Naseem F. Khayyata, 36, of Victorville, was arrested at 9:50 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of selling, transporting or furnishing marijuana, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him. From an inauspicious Mendo dope op, Khayyata moved to Mexico where he founded a much larger trafficking organization, so large he became fleetingly infamous from television reports on his moving large quantities of drugs across the border into Texas. He has just been sentenced to a ten-year stay in federal prison. 

TAKE AWAY IMPRESSIONS from Tuesday night's [22 August] dialogue of the deaf in Fort Bragg, beginning with my impressions of the invincibly self-righteous atrocity monger, Professor Zwerling. He's obviously deeply in love with his lead role in Name Change Fort Bragg, herd bull to a half-dozen similarly virtue signaling heifers of the bipoc sub-species. Rather than do the actual work of signature-gathering to put Name Change to a vote, the professor will milk his manufactured issue for all the attention he can get before he does his inevitable slow fade.

THE PROFESSOR THUNDERED, “Fort Bragg High School and Fort Bragg Jr. High School are the only schools in this country named after a Confederate.” Something like that. The prof was consistently in high dudgeon over 150-year-old events, constantly reminding his trapped audience that slavery was bad, Indians got a very bad deal, which I'm sure was fresh news to everyone present.

THE TWO CITED SCHOOLS? A major marketing opportunity for Fort Bragg! I can see it now, “Fort Bragg — The Little Town That Said No To Cancel Culture.”

THE PROFESSOR has blown this whole farce into life out of carelessly cherry-picked history, annoying the overwhelming majority of Fort Bragg residents, and implying a huge insult to Fort Braggers that if they don't agree that Fort Bragg should change its name Fort Braggers are bad people, racist dog-pigs indifferent to long-ago crimes. The basic fact remains: The one area of American life where we've made enormous progress is in race relations, and the recent electoral showing of Fort Bragg where the town (and the country's) majority voted twice for Barack Obama, is proof of that progress. Viva Fort Bragg!

JOE GOMES: I was raised in the land of the Timberwolves, Fort Bragg cal. I consider myself part of the Wolfpack having lived a majority of my life there. Now there are some Johnny come latelys wanting to change the name. They are creating bad energy and vibes over past history. My family has a lot of history from Mendocino to Fort Bragg as well as a lot of your families. These morons need to move elsewhere, just saying.

CHUCK ARTIGUES: I attended the ‘Change Our Name’ debate last night. It was a standing room only crowd. Everyone was attentive and polite. Professor Zwerling dominated the evening if you count how many words were spoken. He fired volley after volley, quoting books and newspapers at every opportunity. Bruce Anderson mainly rolled his eyes and sighed.

Bottom line is, there was no ‘ah ha’ moment. No new ground was covered. No new facts unearthed. I don’t think anyone came away with anything they were not aware of before. No minds were changed.

One thing that dismayed me was that the ‘change’ people don’t want to let me vote. See I have Fort Bragg on my mailing address, but don’t live in the city limits. To my mind, if they want to change the name of the post office, then anyone with a Fort Bragg mailing address should get to vote. Democracy has never been furthered by limiting the size of the electorate.

Now I have a few friends on the ‘change’ side, and I will say now what I will say to them.

Stop telling people what needs to happen. Instead, like any good community organizer, go out on the street and talk to the people. Go door to door, set up a table in front of the post office or a grocery store. Ask everyone you talk to, “what do you think is important to improve life here in this little quirky town that we all love”. I think you will hear a list of issues, but not one of them will be that we need to change the name.


[1] I am always amazed at the freak show when I go to the store. Fat women dressed in way too revealing clothing. Tattoos everywhere (strangely enough I tend to see more women with tattoos than men). Nose rings. Lip piercings. Purple, blue and green hair. People dressed in their pajamas.

Humans, it seems, have lost any semblance of self-pride. Disgusting.

Then in the parking lot as I step into my nice 2007 Toyota Tacoma I watched these tattooed, pierced, false hair colored fatties climb into a 2022 Dodge Ram or a 2023 Chevy Tahoe and drive away and I wonder to myself “what the hell am I missing here.”

At least I live debt free. No mortgage. No car payments. No student loans. No credit cards. I am free in that regard. Most people are living lies. They act like they own everything and they are wealthy when in reality they are in debt up to their eyeballs and are one major disaster away from financial ruin.

I still have to send the county my annual rent check for the right to live on the land that I have paid for free and clear.

[2] Telling a child that he or she is in the “wrong” body — in other words, that he or she is a “mistake” or some sort of joke on God’s or Mother Nature’s part — is the absolute epitome of cruelty.

And introducing children under the age of 10 to sexual material is a form of psycho-social child abuse. The ONLY purpose it serves is to groom children for predators. It is rape of their psyches and murder of their innocence.

Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know a damn thing about child development. Read Piaget, for the love of God!

[3] I like churches as buildings go, and so sometimes wander into them on a whim and mosey around.

Sometimes, some musicians/choirs are practicing and I get to enjoy them and the wonderful church acoustics almost all to myself.

I wanted to learn stain-glass-making as a hobby at one point and who knows, maybe I’ll try that one day yet.

Perhaps the above approach to church is a kind of spirituality: A love of space, beauty, art, a sense of belonging, community (-gathering-space), and peace.

This seems very different than a claim of an interest in God or the cosmos-as-God, yet betrayed by a fundamental interest in religious rules and laws leveraged in and rationalized for the dominion over people and nature.

Sounds too much like the State and its own scriptures (“the law”) and popes (“the president”) and is perhaps what the State replaced, almost to the letter.

[4] I’ve seen the snakehandlers before. But much more often are the Pentecostals in my vicinity. They run up and down the aisles in their church and roll around on the floor and jump up and down as they speak in tongues. I never really spoke in tongues. They believe that speaking in tongues is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit and so not speaking in tongues is like not encountering the Holy Spirit. You probably already know that. But probably too it is strange to others in a more secular context.

[5] I have thought for a while that there is no way this country can reunite again. The opposing parties are just too far apart in beliefs.

I think that the next twenty years will see the separation of the US into two sectors, with no idea on how it will be done.

Precedent exists, however, the Balkans and India come to mind.

Two areas I can think of exist where separation is necessary to avoid collapse in the future, the USA and Israel. I do not think either will be peaceful.

[6] What do I think of Trump’s mugshot?

I like it.

A meme for our moment. A fake, wrapped in a fake, inside a fake.

I like Trump’s aggressively defensive stance, since the charges against him are ridiculously transparent.

That this is an attempt at character assassination is obvious to anyone but the accessories to this crime (about 40% of the US pop. at last count).

The character being assassinated isn’t Trump however, it’s his supporters. Trump is the cross to which they are being nailed.

Trump’s poor acting skills come through in the photo – just as they have in the 8 years leading up to it.

[7] I only go grocery shopping about every two weeks–if that often–so you would think that price increases would make a strong impression on me. Mostly, what I’m seeing so far is that the coffee that used to be $10 is now $14, and the cream that used to be $4 is now $5. I think these prices increases occurred several months ago and haven’t risen since then. That’s at Walmart, which is the only grocery store within about 30 miles of here. Well–sort of. I could drive five miles to the nearest little town, where every item costs about 50% more, but I try to avoid that. The next-nearest little town, which is about twenty miles away, has no grocery store at all.

I do about half my grocery shopping at Walmart and the other half at Sprouts, (Walmart’s meats and produce are disgusting.) The produce at Sprouts is good quality (mostly) and quite reasonable. Their meat, poultry, and fish is expensive, but at least it resembles real food. I haven’t noticed how much things there have gone up–except for salmon, which I have passed on several times because the price seemed outrageous. Some canned goods there are very high. I like their bone broth, both chicken and beef, and it runs about $7 a quart. It tastes like chicken and beef, while the broth from Walmart (which is much cheaper) tastes like canned water. I guess Sprouts has me conditioned to just bite the bullet and pay, in order to get food that has the advantage of being edible.

Another reason I don’t notice price increases all that much is probably because people my age don’t eat all that much. It’s pretty cheap to feed a person who eats like a bird. I might pay a lot for a package of lamb chops, but it will provide me with dinner for two or three days–and maybe even leftovers for soup. And my dog loves the bones.

I guess my appetite has decreased more than prices have increased.

Back in the 70s, when I was a young adult, I used to go into shock every time I went to the store. Every can of beans or corn seemed to go up by about ten cents a day.

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