Cool Day | Michael Owens | Remembering Reno | Boonville Images | Stone Case | Adult Classes | Housing Improvements | Young Dancer | Fish Restoration | Retain Bragg | Football Game | Trailer Parks | Hulbert Interview | Indian Days | Grocery Outlet | Mockel Campaign | Anti Joe | Museum Carriage | Motorcycle Tales | Yesterday's Catch | Seeker Haikus | Favorite Audit | Watertower | Swift Thoughts | Albro Mural | Raining Man | Brief Life | Injust Universe | Trump Bill | Damning Politicians | Current Affairs | Rich Richer | Corporate Coup | Shorts Tat | Your Leader | Ukraine | Eerie Sense
EXPECT A COOL AND DRY DAY, although a thunderstorm is not completely out of the question, especially over parts of Trinity County. Temperatures trend toward normal this week with gradual decrease in humidity into the weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 56F this Labor Day morning on the coast. Foggy mornings with clearing skies for the next few days then less fog is forecast for later this week.
MICHAEL 'MIKE' OWENS
Born and raised in the Anderson Valley to Billy and Wanda Owens, ‘Mike’ died in his sleep last week at his Boonville home. He was 58, and a 1983 graduate of Anderson Valley High School. Mike was a skilled electrician, generous in lending his many friends and neighbors technical help with their building problems. Always a popular presence in the Boonville community, he is survived by his parents, a son, Jesse, and three younger brothers, Bobby, Ricky and J.D.
DUNCAN JAMES COMMENTS on Reno Bartolomie’s mini-memoir:
From a person who worked with him during the last seven he served as Sheriff I can say without a doubt he was a great person and Sheriff. Through the arrests of Charles Manson in Leggett on July 14, 1967 and many members of the Manson family in late 1968 in Philo, including Susan Adkins; the Hells Angels; Jim Jones, and many others, his main concern was protecting the people in this county. To me he was a very special guy who taught me many things during a portion of the time I served as District Attorney. He is always in my mind and heart. Duncan James, Mendocino County District Attorney, 1969 through 1979
IMAGES OF BOONVILLE
Brad Alpert's Gate, South Boonville. Don't know if Mr. Alpert promised Mrs. Alpert a rose garden, but the Alperts have a beaut behind Mr. Alpert's fine gate.
Pearl Thomasson's Antiques, or the building housing them, is for sale. Way back, I believe, this structure housed the Zittleman Market.
Glen Ricard's unique open air slum art display continues to delight Valley residents and tourists alike. Good job, Glen! Lots of people wondered how you got away with that kindling pile smack on 128 now in its fiftieth year, but darned if you haven't had the brilliant idea of an inside-out art house.
THE END OF THE TALE
by Joan Vivaldo
The end of the Black Bart Trail Burglar’s tale came Monday morning, 8/21/2023, in Courtroom A of the Superior Court of Mendocino.
Judge Keith Faulder approved a Mental Health Diversion, wherein Douglas James Stone, Jr. agreed to one year of additional mental health counseling for PTSD, with regular reports to the court, in return for the dismissal of the remaining charges against him. Mr. Stone submitted documentation from five mental health professionals attesting to his PTSD; the Court found the information acceptable. The Assistant DA in charge of the case had no objection. I had no objection.
There are other victims from Mr. Stone’s troubled times. I attended every court session and never saw or heard from another victim. They had ample opportunity to protest the diversion, but did not. Mr. Stone has completed some PTSD counseling already, and is intent on benefiting from an additional year.
Research reveals that PTSD is common among health care workers, police, fire fighters, paramedics and veterans. Half of the men in US prisons have PTSD histories. The condition actually changes the way the brain functions and includes such symptoms as nightmares, unwanted thoughts, anxiety, depression, memory loss, mood swing, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. It is so prevalent among firefighters that the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) has a facility in Maryland for treatment. It is cruel recompense that those who act to save and defend the rest of us are damaged for their valor. Had Mr. Stone been badly burned, we could have seen the damage resulting from his firefighting career. Mental damage is not as easy to detect.
Mr. Stone’s behavior at my Redwood Valley home in April 2020 as a burglar was bonkers. It was the behavior of a man not in his right mind. In my opinion, the Mental Health Diversion is the best resolution for all concerned.
There was a break-in around April 17, 2020, when I was not home, Then, at approximately 10:30 pm on 4/24/2020, Mr. Stone jimmied open the sliding glass door lock and walked into my home. I said: “I have called the police.” He said: “Oh, I thought there was a fire. Sorry.” He then turned and left, partially closing the door behind him. Both he and I were lucky. Neither wanted to harm the other. We avoided escalating the situation.
The financial cost that I suffered from the break-ins was minor. The terror was extreme, but passed after a few months. The benefits, in the form of lessons learned, exceed the cost. Please allow me to share:
1. If you want to have a gun for home protection, get one adequate for the task, learn how to use it and care for it. I had my Grandfather’s 22 automatic, which had been in a drawer for 70 years. In my moment of crisis, I recognized more skill was needed with this tiny gun if I were to execute a preemptive strike, which I considered my best option. With a few more moment’s thought, I realized that I could not murder another human being – although a shootout was morally feasible.
2. Have the gun handy. I had the luxury of 10 minutes to consider my options. Put the gun somewhere you can get it quickly, consistent with keeping it from being used accidentally.
3. Keep a telephone near you. My phone was downstairs, I was upstairs. I didn’t want the burglar to see me, since surprise was to my advantage. I waited until he could not see me to get the phone and call 911.
4. Place a flashlight by the telephone. The burglar turned off my power. He could see me with his headlamp when he turned toward me. I could not see him.
5. Put a wooden or metal rod in the track of a sliding glass door to prevent it from being opened.
6. Observe the burglar so that you can describe him to law enforcement. Note his appearance, clothing, weapons, vehicles, speech, etc.
I am grateful to Law Enforcement for responding quickly to my call. They encountered Mr. Stone on Black Bart Trail approximately 1.5 miles from my home. Law enforcement meshed the burglar’s description that I provided to Marissa of 911 with the description of goods taken at the first burglary provided to Deputy Denton, and took Mr. Stone to jail.
Marissa was my lifeline. She gathered pertinent information from me, dispatched Law enforcement timely, and stayed on the telephone with me during fright so great I thought my heart would burst.
The collective kindness of my Black Bart Trail neighbors supported me. One grandmother offered to sleep in her car in my driveway to block intruders. A male, legal, pot grower offered his female employee, a former high school wrestler, as a protector. Another loaned me a laptop after the first break-in, and, after the second, said I should have called him instead of 911, so that he could have shot the burglar as he drove down the road. Yet another installed a camera system at my home. Many offered me a bed in their home. A Round Tree Glass man gave me a break on the cost of replacement windows, saying I had suffered enough. All expressed their concern and outrage on my behalf.
Mr. Stone and I spoke in June 2023 about our experiences. He does not remember entering my home. He and his mother have apologized handsomely for my trauma, and I appreciate that they have suffered as well because of Doug’s PTSD and related issues.
Douglas James Stone, Jr. meets the judicial requirements of Restorative Justice as explained by Judge Faulder on 8/21/2023. The law allows that Mr. Stone’s aberrant behavior was triggered by PTSD, and is a defense against criminal charges. He is eligible for treatment to restore himself to health and contribute again to his community. He is already helping other PTSD victims.
Mr. Stone will be telling his story soon.
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EVERYTHING IS BROKEN
Because of a case that interested me, I attended a couple dozen sessions of the Superior Court of Mendocino over the past three years.
I saw a steady flow of impoverished young men charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Judges Carly Dolan and Keith Faulder surfed this tide with kindness, efficiency, and in Judge Faulder‘s case, humor. Surely, we as a society do not want young men driving drunk, knifing granny’s couch, disturbing ex-spouses, troubling diners at Burger King, etc. Law enforcement and our justice system exist to protect us from such abuses. To that end, daily, Mendocino’s residents are sentenced to jail, community service or fines.
I found the court system underfunded and overwhelmed. Because of crowded calendars, cases are frequently rescheduled. Defendants, 90% of whom can neither afford their own attorney nor the loss of income from a day’s work for court appearances, are effectively denied “equal justice.” Public Defender time spent with defendants is minimal. Plea deals, a morally dubious option, are favored. The DA seems incentivized to overcharge, and Court time is wasted reviewing and dismissing overcharges. Some of the Judge’s questions are answered by Public Defenders with: “I think so.” The length of time to resolve an issue is extraordinary and works to further damage the defendant and the victim.
Although I retreated from the wilds of Mendocino to the Doom Loop of San Francisco in 2020, I read the AVA, which has criticized the location of the new courthouse and the use of funds for new construction rather than improvement of the old courthouse. From my recent experience, a new facility is the last thing that needs funding. The DA’s office, and particularly the Public Defender function, needs funding. A handsome new courthouse will not help conditions. It will actually slow down Court processes since all functions beside the courtrooms, i.e., District Attorney staff, Public Defenders, and Law Enforcement will have to “commute” half a dozen blocks to the new location with their bulging files.
The Current Court Calendar, posted on the Mendocino Superior Court site, as of 8/30/2023 is for the week of August 1, 2023. The site instructs users to check the calendar after 5pm for current information. I made five trips to Ukiah from San Francisco based on the then-applicable calendar information shown after 5pm on Friday only to find the following Monday that the 9am case had been rescheduled for another day.
Our judicial system is yet another failed system. It joins the lack of affordable health care, clean and safe public transportation, affordable housing, effective homeless management, effective mental health treatment, ever-troubled education, prosecution of corporate crime, crumbling infrastructure, corrupt politicians — recently joined by SCOTUS, an electoral system that has outlived its time, beleaguered law enforcement, a carceral system that is a disgrace in the industrial world.
Can we not come together as citizens to redirect the billions spent annually on military/defense contractors? Let us elect local, state and federal representatives who will work to improve our people and country rather than support entities enriched by the slaughter and mutilation of the people of other countries.
FORT BRAGG MAYOR BERNIE NORVELL:
Orr Creek Commons Apartments —
I don’t want to say the answer is simple but it certainly is achievable. We had several similar issues in the city of Fort Bragg with some of our housing. For example, multiple calls for service, trash, trespassing and drug related crimes. When we have a plan in place efforts will be productive, and the Marbut report provides a workable blueprint. It begs the question, are the city of Ukiah and County on the same page with their strategy and approach aligned? If the answer is no, start there. Alignment is critical because it is difficult to enforce and clean up one area, while another runs amok. Implementing a zero tolerance for encampments, while utilizing proactive help by service providers works.
At the City of Fort Bragg, we started by having a sit-down with the management of the complex, explained our concerns and outlined our next step of issuing them code enforcement citations. Because these agencies rely on state and federal dollars to operate their business, it is less expensive for them to hire security than to lose funding – defending multiple code enforcement violations is not in their best interest. These housing complexes absolutely have to be good neighbors and should be held to that standard. The taxpayers, neighbors and residents deserve it!
The best advice I could give is to get started. Look at your current plan and figure out what is not working and change it. If the situation is bad or getting worse, throwing more people and money at it won’t fix it. That is a guarantee.
I will say it again, we at the city of Fort Bragg are an open book and love it when other cities ask about what we are doing. We will share our successes and failures. All anyone has to do is ask. We have by no means solved it here in the city, but I believe we are winning.
WILL THERE BE ANY FISH TO FIGHT OVER?
Coastal fishery-dependent communities like Fort Bragg and Eureka have suffered great economic harm from the loss of Eel River salmon and steelhead. With only a few thousand fish left, facing extinction in our lifetime, fishing remains closed.
The Eel-Russian River facility proposal says it will take care of Round Valley Indian Tribes’ water and fishing rights. Are we going to restore a handful of fish for just one group?
Most groups are excluded from the negotiating table. Will there be terms and conditions for a full restoration? Meanwhile, this year’s fish are being cooked right now below Scott Dam. Will there even be fish to negotiate over?
While PG&E’s looming deadline is to submit a decommissioning plan for its two aged-out dams by January 2025, an even more immediate deadline is Oct. 31. That’s when the Eel-Russian facility proponents will report to PG&E on some of these haunting questions.
We will learn more on Halloween.
COACH TOOHEY on Saturday's away game at Tomales:
It went well, it did, but it didn't start well.
We had some major ball security issues in the first half with some bad snaps, and the players were a little gobsmacked initially by the increase in physicality Tomales offered over the teams we faced in the scrimmage last weekend. We found ourselves in a 30-0 hole in the first half.
However, our center Dominic Sanchez, who had been struggling with slippery hands, adjusted his grip and technique and we made some personnel adjustments to get more movement on some specific blocks and we came out in the third with three straight scores. That brought the game within striking distance. We got a stop and it looked like we were on our way for a fourth score when a handoff was mishandled and turned over to Tomales who turned it into points.
We traded another touchdown with them, and we also managed a field goal in the fourth. The players really responded well for their first game and we ended up outscoring Tomales 29-14 in the second half, the final score being 44-29. We were very competitive through the third and most of the fourth.
Kicker Ivan Camarillo hit two extra points and a 30 yard field goal.
QB Jack Spacek had a lot of big runs and two touchdowns and first year running back Eric Perez scored two on the ground as well.
We have some defensive discipline issues to work through and we have to clean up our run blocking technique, but we have a pretty solid foundation moving forward.
We head up to Laytonville this coming Friday night, the game is at 6.
MAKE TRAILER PARKS NON-PROFITS
With more frequency we are hearing about trailer parks that are in jeopardy and thus putting residents at risk for homelessness. What is a solution? Government entities should purchase them and perhaps transfer operations to nonprofits. The state and counties are spending huge sums to temporarily provide housing for the homeless. Put some of this money into preventing homelessness by doing what I am suggesting. As an Aug. 27 article shows, many of these residents are marginal in terms of age and health (“ ‘Where are we going to go?’ ”). Let’s get creative and big picture about this.
MEET LINDA HULBERT [Anderson Valley Village interview]
1. How long have you been in the Valley?
Since I was born, in 1939.
2. Where did you grow up and where were you coming from when you moved to the Valley?
3. Did you have a career or a passion project so far in your life that you would like to tell us about?
My passion and joy in life is my two daughters, Jenny and Melanie and my great grandchildren, Dominick and Bailey. I've worked over the years as a bank teller in my early work life, then as a legal secretary in Anderson Valley for Judge Richard Kossow, and in Ukiah for the County Probation Office.
4. What are you most proud of?
I'm very proud to our beautiful property in Philo. It's been in the family since the mid-1900's but built in the late 1800's.
5. Luckiest thing that has happened to you?
My marriage to John Hulbert, the best years of my life.
6. Favorite place to be outside of the Anderson Valley?
I have been to Hawaii several times to visit my daughter Jenny both on Kauai and on the Big Island where she's lived most of her adult life. I would go again.
COASTAL COMMISSION APPEAL HEARING WEDNESDAY, September 6 in Eureka at 9am in regards to Grocery Outlet market
by Annemarie Weibel
I thank community members Toni Rizzo, Andrea Luna, and J. Holden for your comments. The issue is not whether we want a Grocery Outlet in Fort Bragg or not, but that the developer and the City come up with a project that abides by the policies and standards of the City’s Local Coastal Plan (primarily with policies of the City’s Coastal General Plan or Land Use Plan (LUP). In order to understand this project it helps to know the history of Grocery Outlet's attempts to set foot in Fort Bragg. In 2014 the City processed a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for a Grocery Outlet at Hare Creek mall (across from the Boatyard Shopping Center) in front of the ocean. It became clear that this project warranted an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). At some point the developer lost interest in the project.
The current proposed site is somewhat better as it is not in front of the ocean, but has other drawbacks. Here again the developer and the City felt that they could get away with an MND. After a group of people sued the City for approving a permit when the project warranted a full EIR the developers indicated that they could have easily contested this suit but, in consideration of the time it would take, they asked the City to withdraw their permit, so they could conduct a full EIR. Much to the chagrin of many, the City granted the EIR study to the De Novo Planning Group. They already had a working relationship with the developer and put in a bid far below that of the other bidders. The City was warned that the resultant EIR would be like the MND dressed up as an EIR. That is exactly what occurred.
Another issue is where this project would be located.
Certain community members who have not followed this project closely, might not be aware of all the issues with this project. I am listing the two appeal contentions that were not understood to be valid issues. Yes, we do have Pomo Bluffs, the Coastal Trail by the headlands, Glass Beach, Pudding Creek, etc. but we also need to serve the current access. EIR's need to address issues of recreation. The Ca. Coastal Act Section 30001 (c & d) addresses that projects can not ignore and erode long existing access to harbor/river and Section 30001.5 (c) addresses the need to maximize public access to and along the coast.
1. “The approved development prioritizes a general commercial use (grocery store) over an existing visitor-serving use that provides public opportunities for coastal recreation (existing informal parking lot on the subject site used for coastal access parking), inconsistent with LUP policy LU-5.6.”
LU-5.6 states as follows: “The use of private lands suitable for visitor-serving and commercial recreational facilities designed to enhance public opportunities for coastal recreation shall have priority over private residential, general industrial, or general commercial development, but not over agriculture or coastal-dependent industry.” The parking areas including the currently unimproved southerly parking lot have been used for parking trucks whose drivers rest overnight at nearby hotels and also park along the narrow N. Harbor Drive, or for trucks that are involved with the new building across the street from the new project. In addition people who wanted to use the nearest point of coastal access located at the Harbor Lite Lodge parked their vehicles there. This trail descends down to Noyo Harbor/river/beach. In summertime especially there is often not much parking available at Noyo Harbor. The planned retail store conflicts with the existing visitor serving priority use as an informal parking lot. There will be no parking possible in the store's parking lot for anyone other than shoppers. One space is designated for an RV.
2. “The approved development as conditioned does not maximize public access, because it will displace coastal access parking, does not include substitute coastal access parking, and does not include sufficient access amenities or mitigation for maintaining safe access to the coast with increased traffic associated with the development, inconsistent with LUP policies C-1.2, C-1.3, C1.4, C-1.5, C-6.2, C-9.3, C-9.7, C-14.1, LU-5.7, and OS-16.7.” See Appendix pages 3-5 for wording of these LUP policies.
It is unfortunate that the outdated and highly deficient traffic study was conducted over 3 days in July of 2019 (not a holiday, or Salmon BBQ). A newer study used the same data already provided and it did not reflect the increased traffic during Covid to the hospital, Clinic, and medical facilities. The Mendocino Coast Clinic offered free Covid vaccinations and tests that resulted in a recurring line of cars (over 300 vehicles) that wound down South St. to S. Franklin St. and onto North Harbor Drive. Neither did the traffic study include the Danco 69 unit housing project, the Parents & Friends building, the Cypress Crisis Respite program, the new building across the street, nor how all this increased traffic will slow down emergency vehicles (police, ambulance) who travel on South Street. In addition, it is now possible to turn left onto Main Street from N. Harbor Drive. (In Albion, Caltrans has plans to realign streets entering Highway 1 next to the Albion River Bridge). Also it will not be easy for these huge delivery trucks to get from Main Street to N. Harbor Drive and back again, nor will it be easy for them to drive into the parking lot and turn around to back up into the delivery area. With all these issues it seems to me that we will just be waiting for the first accident to happen. Also there will be a lack of sidewalks leading up to the project for the many older, and low income people who live in the neighborhood. We haven’t had much traffic in the past in this area as the former Social Services building has been empty for the last 13 years.
The County of Mendocino Coastal Element Section 4.4-3 lists that “the County shall develop an evacuation route for the Noyo Harbor area, in addition to North Harbor drive, by re-opening the road west of Agostino’s for emergency use only.” Community members and even one City Council member advocated for that, but it fell on deaf ears. A local resident in her comments to the Coastal Commission pointed out that “Harbor Drive is the only road that goes into the Noyo Harbor and Fishing Village. There is only one road in and out of the Noyo Harbor, with one lane going each way. There is no room to expand this road. To have a Grocery Outlet right at the top of this road, when the Noyo Harbor just secured a lot of grant money to expand on the harbor, is a bad idea. The Noyo Harbor has just received a lot of grant money to expand the harbor for locals and tourists to visit. This will result in more traffic on Harbor Drive, going by the proposed Grocery Outlet store. The harbor is part of the community, Fort Bragg has had a long and rich history with fishing and logging, and looking to expand the harbor is a wonderful idea. To look ahead and plan for additional traffic to the harbor, not trying to navigate the nightmare of more traffic due to a grocery store at the mouth of the road going in, is looking at the future and making this important decision now before it happens.”
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More and more and more utter nonsense and costing the taxpayers a bundle and the poor a better life.
* * *
I agree with Sam. I wasn't thrilled about the former proposed location but I think the new location is reasonable. A Grocery Outlet will help the hardworking families who have trouble making ends meet with the high grocery prices at the other stores. This is more important than providing a parking lot for those who wish to hike down to the harbor. I suspect that lot is not heavily used. It seems that certain people have to oppose everything they don't like even if it benefits others who are not as well off. Hopefully the CC will see through this nonsense.
TREVOR MOCKEL on the campaign trail, August 28, 2023: “Great opportunity to sit down with The Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance Executive Board.”
Dear Dredd Scott,
We really, really, enjoy your dj-ing a lot. You have so much inside knowledge and experience concerning the wonderful world of music and the musicians themselves. You are very funny sometimes and that levity of yours is like a breath of fresh air. I remember one year you mentioned you play the ukulele. Too cool! I have played guitar for 40 years and when you jokingly mentioned once, after someone’s garage burned down due to a honey oil explosion, that might be a good name for a band. My wheels started turning. I dreamed of a small band called The Garage Bombers, or perhaps Bobby Butane and Honey Oil Heads. Or sumpthin’, with you on ukulele, me on guitar/bass, of course. Stage names other than B.B. might include Freddy Flamehead, Smoky Sam. We could both write a song called. I Forked up. Or a variation. Make it 10 or 14 minutes long. We could open for the main event with the one and only song we write (maybe). Just a thought.
However that is not the reason we (my wife and I) are writing this missive to you. Regretfully and with a small amount of reluctance, we are boycotting the KOZT morning hour from 6 to 9 A.M because of your bumbling version of a newsman. We really really hate this guy. Every single day he reports on CalTrans duties. CalTrans does not make “news.” CalTrans maintains our highways. And to have that idiot telling us to “get ready” for a five minute delay is ridiculous. Just how does one get ready for a five minute delay?
Joe Regelski is the most idiotic newscaster on the west coast.
Then once again, every single day he repeatedly tells us that there are no “incident reports” coming in be it from… etc. He reports on his newcast that, Gee there are no reports. He does not want to inform us of what our local criminal element is up to? Irresponsible. He says all the police departments must send their incident reports to him. As if he was their boss too. That’s not how a responsible newscaster gathers news. He goes to the source, not the other way around.
His voice inflections are tedious. Like when he says..”So-ans-so tellin’ the kozt” in that stupid tone of voice of his. He is the dumbest radio newscaster ever. My father was a newspaper editor. I know! We as a unit with some Fort Bragg colleagues, family and friends in Caspar and Point Arena are boycotting your morning show because of him!
Why oh why does he have to come on every 20 minutes for… ? and repeats what he just said 20 minutes ago? Let’s face it, Dredd, he’s using you as his “prop.” We are starting a Joe Regelski Hate Club! Buttons and t-shirts forthcoming. I just wish that once or twice when he gets done with his drivel and expects (demands?) that you expertly follow with a song immediately. Heck Dredd, why can’t you once or twice count to three before you resume music?
Make him sweat.
Joe Regelski is a sheepdip. Same news every single day, every single week. Heck I can tell you what his news will be this Friday...So boring.
My wife and I only tune in when we can enjoy your wonderful program uninterrupted.
All our love,
From the northern Mendocino County chapter and genesis of the Joe Regelski Hate Club.
PS. Why doesn’t “Dumbass Joe ” report on the local sewer department? We listen to KMUD or Lafever or anybody else. CRIKEY!
We are about to mobilize our sign-carrying protesters in front of some of your sponsors.
PPS. Rogelski idolizes numbers. His milemarkers, the tepid Dow Jones Index…
PPPS. Come on everybody: 1, 2— 1, 2, 3… We Hate Joe Regelski.
PPPPS. Come on Dredd. What’s wrong with him? My cousin’s family in Caspar said that once he heard at a local party that Joe, when he was a baby his mother accidently dropped him and he hit his head on cement. Is that true, Dread?
Rebecca Aum wrote (Coast Chatline):
Yesterday around noon, I was waiting to turn left going south at the light in front of McDonald's. There was a large group of motorcyclists going north. The arrow light turned green for the southbound lane to go but the motorcycles did not stop, many of them kept coming. The light changed again so the southbound traffic that was turning left had to wait for the next light. So dangerous.
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Marco here. One time I was in the old Community School parking lot talking with Bob Blick and a kid tore through there on a motorcycle, over the curb and down, on the way to race around in the high school football field. Bob said, "You know what doctors call a motorcyclist who doesn't wear a helmet?" I said, "I dunno. What do doctors call a motorcyclist who doesn't wear a helmet?" He said, "Organ donor."
Last week I saw an educational public-service video titled The Human Crayon. A human crayon turns out to be a motorcyclist in tennis shoes and street clothes. Included was an animated graphic of a foot dragging on the pavement, grinding away the rubber, the toes, the rest of the foot, and so on up the leg. At this point the rider is on his side, still sliding and grinding along. Like a red crayon, hence the term.
Sometimes I'm on the freeway going through Santa Rosa when there's traffic and cars and trucks have to slow down below the speed limit even in the fast lane. Motorcyclists zip through the narrow spaces between them, riding on the lines in the road as if the cars are standing still.
I had a minibike that I mowed lawns to get, just at the end of grammar school. I removed the governor so it could go like 30 instead of only 20. No helmet, of course, nor football knee pads or anything like that. Barefoot, sometimes, actually, in cutoff jeans. My first motorcycle was a weird art project of a chopped Honda that was terrible to ride; it shook and vibrated like crazy, you'd turn one way a little and it would want to go the other way. It was terrifying. On my way back from buying it through a newspaper want ad (remember those? 8 to 16 full pages of want ads in every newspaper?), going through Sacramento on Highway 80, I went by a golf driving range and a golf ball bounced on the road, over the car in front of me, and whizzed past my face. No helmet, no goggles, bugs in my teeth, you know.
I came to the coast on a somewhat more stable motorcycle in 1979, a normal unmodified 650, I got a job in a restaurant, got a place to live with my girlfriend Julie for $200 a month, a small house but a whole real house. It's weird that I don't remember what kind of car Julie had, to get to her work, but she had a car. The bike had fiberglass cases on the sides and behind the seat, that I used for dry clothes and shoes to change into whenever I had to ride to work in the rain and arrive soaked and shivering and shell-shocked from the cold. One morning I was hurrying to work, late, going too fast, and the engine locked up. The back wheel just /stopped turning/. Somehow I wasn't killed. I left the bike on the side of the road, walked the rest of the way to work; it took the whole walk for my heart and brain to settle down. Earl, the other cook that day, /really wanted that bike/. He offered me $500. I said, "Are you sure? Did you hear me tell you that I just almost got killed and also the motor is ruined?" Yes. Okay. He paid someone to pick it up and take it away and fix it. He rode it around for a few months, quit his job, was just about to take it to Southern California, where he'd been accepted into a master class for classical guitar, and he got creamed by a car at the intersection of Highway 1 and the Comptche Road, which miraculously only broke his foot and scrambled all the bones in his left hand.
Motorcycles. Think about them and all the human crayons and human crockery on them everywhere. And they're so loud. You kids. Quit cutting the corner. And quit screaming in the alley and hitting the house with your goddamn ball. People are tryna sleep here.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, September 3, 2023
ESPERANZA BIENVENU, Covelo. Controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, resisting.
KEENETH BUTTREY, Willits. Failure to appear.
EMERSON CALDERON, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
TEVIN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Controlled substance, reckless evasion/opposite to traffic, resisting.
GERALD JURSEK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, failure to appear.
RICHARD MENESES-GUERRERO, Willits. Domestic battery.
STACIE MOUNTS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JUAN VELASCO-TOVAR, JR., Willits. Domestic battery, child neglect, concealed weapon in vehicle.
CARLOS WHITE, Covelo. Attempt to keep stolen property, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, paraphernalia, conspiracy.
MY FAVORITE AUDIT
by Mark Scaramella
There’s been another interesting mini-discussion about audits and auditing in the comments section of our website lately since some readers seem to think Mendo is undergoing some kind in-depth state investigation of County finances that will magically uncover the state of Mendo finances, and everything will be clear and the Supes can give the employees a raise of some kind.
I doubt it. Audits are seldom what people think they are.
In my 25-year long professional career in both the US Air Force and private industry before joining the AVA I had several audit experiences. Here’s just one.
In one of my many former jobs I was Senior Logistics Systems Staff Engineer for an engineering and manufacturing company in San Jose in the 1980s. Somehow we landed a large contract from the Army to refurbish and modify hundreds of multi-purpose flat-bed equipment trailers that the Army had stockpiled from the 60s and 70s. They were to be refurbished and modified to allow for newer equipment to be mounted on them. The Army provided us with drawings of the original trailers and a description of the modifications they wanted made to accomodate the designs and configurations of newer (mostly larger and heavier) equipment that the Army was using and hauling around.
The contract required the Army to ship the trailers to our manufacturing facility for refurbishment and modification. This was supposed to be cheaper than buying new trailers. But when they arrived we discovered that not only were they in much worse condition than the Army had told us (wear, tear, road-damage, and weather exposure had taken their toll), but they weren’t all the same. The Army had modified many of them in the field to suit their operational needs.
When we told the Army that it would cost a lot more than we had bid, they reluctantly told us to go ahead. But by that time the contract was ours, sole-source, and many (but not all) of the trailers had been delivered — nobody knew the extent of work that would be required until each trailer was evaluated.
We proceeded with the work which of course was much more costly than anyone had anticipated.
After the work was completed, I was asked to organize a claim for the millions of additional dollars we’d have to charge the Army.
Using commercial programmable database management software which I was an expert with at the time, I organized the work into 19 separate claim categories which were common to most or all of the trailers, plus there were 247 special add-ons which applied to only certain individual trailers. Each claim component included man-hours by engineering and manufacturing labor category with various accompanying hourly rates and overhead rates, plus materials and overhead, all of which had applicable rates and factors applied to each cost.
After about a month of set-up, data collection, and programming, I ran a detailed report on old-fashioned computer fan-fold paper listing each cost item with a sub-total for the “miscellaneous” cost, plus a separate sub-total for each of the 19 major claim items. As best as I recall, the total came to something around $6 million, which was more than our original contract bid.
The last page of the inch-thick pile of paper with all the cost details and sub-totals, had the sub-total for 19th item and below that a “GRAND TOTAL” for the entire claim.
Unbeknownst to me, when our company’s admin staff processed the claim through our attorney and contracts process, they broke the report down into 20 separate claims each with its own sub-total (or separate claim total).
Somewhere in that processing, which took months of haggling and disputation about what we had or had not included and whether it was justified and required, sombody read my report’s “grand total” as the cost for the 19th claim item. So, again, unbeknownst to me, when the Army added up all 20 of the claims, they thought what I had labeled as the “grand total” was the cost of the 19th item, producing a ridiculously high and laughably incorrect new “grand total.”
At first the Army contracting officer tried a standard claims contracting practice of offering us 60% of our (incorrectly overcalculated) claim on the spot, assuming that we had overpriced our claim. (We hadn’t, but we certainly weren’t making a competitive bid either.) After more haggling, our contracts manager said we’d accept 75% of our claim and the Army agreed, thinking they were getting a 25% discount.
But unbeknowst to all involved that 75% agreement was based on a wrongly over-priced total.
Before the deal was finalized, the Army required that the Defense Contract Auditing Agency (DCAA) “audit” our claim.
DCAA had a reputation for doing pretty hard-nosed IRS-style audits and I (like the rest of our project team) was nervous about the DCAA audit.
DCAA sent in an experienced CPA to conduct the audit and he, of course, immediately noticed that the numbers didn’t add up. How did we get a grand total that was more than the individual items added up to? (He was the first government person to actually look at the inch-think computer print out.)
The DCAA auditor came into my office cubicle and asked me to explain the discrepancy. I took one look at the summary sheet that he had assembled from my report and noticed that he was incorrectly using my “grand total” as the cost of the 19th item. I got out my copy of the computer print out and pointed out that the last item cost was the sub-total for that item, not the grand total.
After some discussion, we realized that somewhere in the breakdown of my report into separate claims, someone had picked up that incorrect number and created a new, much larger, “grand total.”
After some simple math, the error was corrected, and the Army was so happy that the corrected (lower) price had been found, that they quickly offered 80% of our corrected claim value and we accepted it and that was it. The DCAA auditor was called off and the deal was finally done after years of work and subsequent haggling.
The point? We avoided a nerve-wracking detailed audit, the kind of detailed audit that might have created even more accusations and charges of overcharging and angry responses from us saying it was the Army’s fault and perhaps even a court case. In the process, I learned a few things about what a real audit involved, and was very relieved that we didn’t have to go through one. In fact, I was so confident in the numbers we had assembled (admittedly we had included every single cost that we could reasonably include) that I started another claim log in case we had to file another claim for the cost of the audit itself.
Fortunately, we never had to do that.
SWIFT, TAYLOR THE SINGER
To the Editor:
I just came back from Metallica's concert at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. The concert was attended by a lot more than just a handful of LA celebrities. Metallica drew roughly 78,000 fans to each of their two shows at the stadium over last weekend, beating pop superstar Taylor Swift's previous record of drawing roughly 70,000 fans to each of her six shows.
Metallica was performing at the stadium as part of their M72 World Tour.
It got me thinking about Taylor Swift.
Taylor Swift sucks. Nobody cares about her made-up world of love triangles, betrayal, pain, self-consciousness, and too many dates. It's pure discography. Meaningless. Vapid. Commercialized.
Yes, exploitative. Taylor Swift's legion of millions of fans, mostly young women and girls, all want to be just like her. They all want to be the what I describe as the phenomenon of "want me girls" or “pick me girls” -- the concept of “I’m not like other girls” and "I'm better than other girls".
Women – young girls in particular – have to strive for an abstract standard in which their individuality is defined by how unique their personality is or how well their personality appeals to men. They don't think about character. They think about personality. And they think about their bodies and how they look. In turn, women use these standards to bring other women down as a way to appear better than other women.
Taylor Swift epitomizes this standard.
It sucks. As the father of five daughters, I say it sucks.
‘PLAYA GODS, PLEASE STOP': My very muddy day at Burning Man
by Ashley Harrell
When it starts raining at Burning Man, don’t be on your bike near the man. I learned this the hard way about 4 p.m. Friday, when the sky opened above Black Rock Desert, transforming its dirt into thick mud. Just minutes before, a fellow Burner and I had, for some reason, decided we needed photos of the man — which was scheduled to burn Saturday night in a cathartic destruction ritual — and wheeled toward the towering figure.
As soon as we got out to the man, it began to drizzle, and that’s really all it took. Our bicycle tires started to accumulate mud. It also caked onto our shoes, making it challenging to walk. We were stranded near the man along with a few dozen other Burners, some of whom wore rain jackets and secured plastic bags over their boots. One guy ran by barefoot, wearing only blue angel wings and a Speedo. Another announced over a megaphone, “Playa gods, please stop, we want to go home.” We asked for a ride from a ranger in his truck, but we were told there is currently no driving allowed on the playa.
After about an hour of carrying and dragging our bikes and nearly hyperventilating, we reached Center Camp, and found it mostly deserted. We left our bikes there and set out on foot, but our camp was nearly a mile away. We still haven’t made it back. Instead, the lovely people at a camp called Ebb & Glow took us in, and fed us hot chocolate and ramen. Soon, we might try to slide back to our camp through the mud and rain. But the dance party next door is currently looking like the better option.
* * *
BURNING MAN '23. More than 70,000 Burning Man attendees in the Nevada desert are now stuck with nobody allowed to leave or enter the site following torrential rainstorms, more of which were expected on Sunday. The storms have transformed the event grounds into a muddy quagmire bringing the final weekend of the high-energy festival to an abrupt halt as freezing overnight temperatures began at nightfall.
* * *
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
BURNING MAN '23: Think of it tho. Here you are, a neo hippie stuck in a miserable remote desert with no way out, up to your knees in mud, more rain predicted, stoned out of your gourd on Oaxacan Red … You were seeking a Woodstock experience, but what you got is an Altamont experience.
“What a bummer,” as they used to say.
A diamondback rattler is slithering toward your tent, a scorpion has crawled inside your sleeping bag. Suddenly ‘Gaia’ doesn’t look so much like the nurturing ‘Earth Mother.’ Instead, it’s a hostile entity out to kill you.
Paranoia sets in.
HURRYING TO GO WHERE I DON’T NEED TO BE
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
It seems all my friends are sick and dying, but of course that’s not true. A lot of them are already dead.
Many of those not gone are sad, frail and ailing. They shuffle, figuratively, in long lines, slowly moving forward to the inevitable end, assuming the end is “forward.”
Casualties have been high over the years and experts predict additional losses. No remedies are at hand though some recommend dietary adjustments and/or regular visits to a gymnasium.
My social calendar is all about memorial services. Upon a recent return to Ukiah I immediately had three funerals (oops: “Celebrations of Life” the oft-repeated insult to those no longer here to dispute it) to attend within just a few days.
The problem with funerals, among many, is that the person I’d most like to talk to and spend time with is no longer speaking. Or blinking his eyes. Most funeral attendees don’t talk with me either, which works well for everyone, though on cold winter nights I’m prone to weeping bitter tears, along with an occasional moan in the general direction of the Cleveland Browns.
Beyond funerals causing distress there’s also the annoying loss of friends to drink with. I’m getting down to me, solo, alone, or in the words of the brilliant Ambrose Bierce, “In poor company.”
No reason to wonder what’s going on with all the disappearing people, because what’s going on is what we were promised starting half a century ago, although now it isn’t “going on” quite so much as “going out,” meaning the lights.
And yet I continue to live just like I did when my life was only half as long as it is now, which means I had twice as much time to not get things done back then, which I didn’t and don’t. I’d hustle along from one unimportant thing to another, always hurrying to get somewhere I didn’t need to be and when I got there I looked at my watch.
I’m the mouse in a glass box sharing quarters with a disinterested boa constrictor: me frantic, zipping and bouncing from one corner to another until I finally realize that ol’ Mister Snake has absolutely no interest in me. Why don’t I just sit back, relax and have a nice cold beer?
SPOILER ALERT: This will not end well, depending on whose side you’re on.
By almost any measure our lives are brief. Laid next to planetary eons, the galaxies, the Ice Age, Willie Nelson, sea turtles or any other epoch our lives are a quick flicker and gone. As we get older we sense it imperfectly but with certainty.
We are given limited time and yet we spend it churning through the hours and days as if to get them out of the way. We mark calendars, set clocks, then stand by while nervously chewing up the minute or the hour, the day or the week, the month or the year.
We waste our allotted time and we simultaneously plead and fight for more.
Then, prayers granted, health disaster averted, lightning bolt sidestepped, we make it our business to get down to Denny’s for the Early Bird Half-Price Dinner Special. And Happy Hour, 4 to 6 p.m. We gobble it down, wash it back, zip back home to watch the news, which is the same news they played for us last night and tomorrow.
We are a world of scattered maniacs stumbling through life in a rush to get it over with. Time is relentless, unswerving, steady in its mission, unstoppable in its goal. We know it in our marrow.
But when the black-robed, depthless shadow drifts near, we’ll sob and sigh and remember the roses not smelled, the friends cut adrift, small pleasures exchanged for purchased entertainment, family time postponed, quiet reflection elbowed aside so we don't miss a televised docudrama based on a true life story.
We are forever in a rush to get in line so we can hurry to our next exciting destination: a rest stop. Just gimme a sec, wouldja?
We spend all afternoon watching Florida State versus Texas A&M, not because we care or enjoy the game, but as a semi-conscious bridge to fill two hours until our microwaved dinner we’ll eat while watching TV.
We may hope for a merciful God, but we’ll probably get one with a sense of humor who snatches us up while we’re on the dream vacation we’ve been waiting for all our lives.
REVEALED: THE HUGE BILL DONALD TRUMP’S SCOTTISH RESORTS CHARGED the Secret Service for former US president's visit
Donald Trump’s Scottish properties charged the US Secret Service more than £20,000 for accommodation during his trip to Scotland earlier this year, with documents obtained by The Scotsman showing that the agency had to seek approval for payments that exceeded US government-sanctioned rates.…
AFTER YEARS of damning politicians as rogues and scoundrels, I sometimes suspect that, like everyone else, I expect too much of them. Not infrequently I find myself looking to some politician or other to be able, diligent, candid, or even honest. Apparently that is too large an order, as anyone realizes who reflects upon the manner in which they reach public office. They seldom, if ever, get there by merit alone. They are chosen for entirely different reasons, the chief of which being their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged. It is a talent like any other, and when it is exercised by a bishop or a movie actor it even takes on a certain austere and sorry respectability. But it is obviously not identical to a capacity for the intricate problems of statecraft.
— H.L. Mencken, 1920
REPUBS GIVE MORE TO THE RICH
The next time you hear Republicans rage about the National Debt, remember that the Estate Tax Repeal bill they are pushing gives $1.8 trillion to billionaires, including $88 billion to the Walton family, $72b to Elon Musk’s family and $46b to the Jeff Bezos family but $0 to 99% of American families. This exemplifies the heart & soul of the GOP: ever more for the already rich, nothing but culture war and conflict for the rest of us.
WE HAVE UNDERGONE A CORPORATE COUP, where poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where we, as citizens, are nothing more than commodities to corporate systems of power, ones to be used, fleeced and discarded.
— Chris Hedges
Alien: Take me to your leader.
American: The White House is that way.
Alien: I said take me to your LEADER.
American: Ohhh. Langley is that way.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 3RD SEPTEMBER
JUST IN: President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, saying the ministry needs "new approaches" as the war enters its 19th month.
Russia targeted port infrastructure in Odessa in overnight attacks, its latest following the collapse of a crucial grain deal. On Monday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin is set to discuss the deal with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Three people have died and others were wounded in Russian shelling on Ukrainian regions close to the front line. Several homes and a cultural center were also damaged.
Ukraine says it is focusing on consolidating battlefield gains as Ukrainian and US officials push back on claims the counteroffensive is moving too slowly. Progress has been limited, but this week Kyiv breached Russian defenses on the southern front.