Cool Day | Smoky Sky | County Agenda | Fiesta Latina | CHP Bully | Second Bridge | Bogus Count | Apple Tree | Asha Kreimer | Arena Sunset | Unfair Treatment | Del Mar School | Mockel Example | 1980 Cover | Bombing Bari | Yesterday's Catch | Suspect Selfie | Purdy Good | School Gardens | September | Pelican Flock | Bizzaroland News | Seagull Flock | Shutdown Fallout | First Sight | Ukraine | Purple Onion | Saddest Noise | Eastham 1941 | Tireless Grandstander | Friendly Darkness
DRY WEATHER will persist into early Saturday, along with cool nighttime lows and near normal daytime highs. A wetter pattern will develop late in the weekend and into early next week, with locally heavy rainfall possible across Del Norte and Humboldt counties on Monday. Southerly winds will increase on Sunday with windy conditions persisting to Monday. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this last day of summer I have a foggy 53F. Autumn starts at 11:50pm tonight. We might have some more haze today. Clearing skies will give way to rain chances starting midday Sunday & going into Tuesday morning with Monday being the main target of some healthy showers.
COUNTY AGENDA NOTES
by Mark Scaramella
BASED ON NEXT TUESDAY’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AGENDA, you’d never know there was any kind of financial crisis, or expired employees contract, or tax collection backlog, or any real issues at all.
Tuesday’s main agenda consists of two ag parcels requesting ag tax exemptions, discussion of a Redwood Valley “Community Action Plan,” a Willits area pot combining district, two “mini” block grants, abandonment of a swimming hole (“park”), discussion of “licenses vs. easements” for Sherwood Road, formal appointment of the current Pension system boss ($173k/year), the Legislative platform, Supervisors reports , and maybe a CEO report (which, if there is one, won’t be posted until Monday).
The Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector is listed on the consent agenda, but only concenrning rubberstamping some bond measure tax rates. The Assessor isn’t on the agenda at all.
There are also three closed session items: appointment of an Ag Commissioner (a slot that has until recently been filled by a part-time loaner from Sonoma County), appointment of an acting County Librarian; and “initiation of litigation: one case.” Nothing about contract negotiations with their employees.
Item 3f on the consent calendar is: “Approval of Amendment to BOS Agreement 20-122 (PA Agreement 20-81) with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW), Effective August 29, 2022, Extending the Termination Date from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023, Changing the Terms of Exhibit A, and Increasing the Total Insurance Reimbursable Compensation by $150,000.”
But that’s intentionally misleading because the attached contract says:
“Contractor shall provide the following services:
A. Provide legal, advisory, and/or representation services to the County of Mendocino. for the case Harinder Grewal v County of Mendocino and other personnel related legal services. B. Provide timely status reporting on litigation, in a manner deemed acceptable to the Risk Manager and/or her designee, on Harinder Grewal v County of Mendocino by the fifteenth (15) of every month. C. Provide electronic copies of any and all documents or pleadings related to any cases to the Risk Manager, and/or her designee.”
“Now, Therefore, we agree as follows: 1. The maximum amount set out in the third Amendment, BOS Agreement No. 20-122, will be increased from $600,000 to $750,000; 2. The termination date set out in BOS Agreement No. 20-122A4 will be extended from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023.”
Which still won’t be enough because the case will not be over by then. So they’ll be back near the end of the year for more (insurance) money for LCW.
The case of former Ag Commissioner Harinder Grewal’s wrongful termination allegation against the County and various named employees is being handled by the formidable Duncan James of Ukiah and his staff attorney, former County Counsel Doug Losak. It was filed back in 2020 and has gone through many costly legal processes since then. After numerous delays, a jury trial is now set for January 29, 2024. But 1) they may still settle this case before then (it should have been settled in 2020), or 2) the trial date may be delayed again between now and January.
Among the other routine items on the Consent Calendar is Item 3q:
“Acceptance of Report of Findings for the Code Enforcement Division’s Directed Enforcement Efforts of Illegal Cannabis Cultivation in Redwood Valley.”
“In total of 137 primary and secondary sites investigated, a total of 52 sites were determined to have violations of illegal cannabis cultivation and/or related non-permitted cannabis infrastructure. No other violations of Mendocino County Code were investigated or pursued during this effort.”
It’s possible that Supervisor Haschak will pull this item for discussion.
Surprisingly, there’s nothing on this particular Consent Agenda about giving more money to Redwood Community Services, retroactively or not. But don’t worry, they’ll be back soon.
CHP BULLY ON ALBION RIDGE
To whom it may concern,
Recently while motoring up the Albion Ridge about mile post 2.5, returning from our beloved Village Hardware Store, downtown Albion, I passed a CHP cruiser going down, West. A bit unusual but no biggie I thought.
I was going well within the speed limit, in my own lane etc. The next moment or so he's on my bumper. I'm going slow past the dump as the road is bad and my old pickup empty, rides rough. He's right there and finally lights me up at the "donut shop", after following me about 2 miles. I stop and ask right away, "just why are you pulling me over"?
He says, "I thought your brake lights were not working". Of course I had no reason to brake going mainly up hill until I did coming to a stop. Not that he could see my brake lights going in the opposite direction his reported reason for the traffic stop.
He then says, "your brake light on the rear of your cab is not working".
I calmly stated, "that is not a brake light, it's a cargo light". It is operated by the switch on the dashboard.
So that was strike two for him. He then wants to know just why was I "driving so slow". I have to explain to him that the road is in very bad shape etc., etc.
I guess he was out of lies for the moment and then states, "I get it now". Well what I get is that this traffic stop was built on one lie after the other and when he could not think of another one he got back in his car and left. No apology or stating his name, just bad behavior and disrespect on his part.
So I ask just why did he pull a u-turn and go out of his way to come after me in the first place?
Was it my faded BERNIE sticker that he saw stuck to the left side of my front bumper when he passed me before the stop? A good chance it was.
If I had been a black person or brown skinned I would likely found my face in the dirt or worse.
This is "not" public service by any stretch and is entirely wrong, bad behavior and unacceptable on Albion Ridge or anywhere. This was about the 1st of September. He did not state his name so I do not know who he is but on the loose not tethered by right and wrong so look out neighbors this is a bad cop on patrol now.
And for the record I am not "anti police". I just expect much better.
CONTINUUM OF MEETINGS…
I saw a post about the last Continuum of Care board meeting and the meeting packet. The post I saw was trumpeting how the efforts by all the different agencies involved have been successful at lowering the number of homeless in our county. On the surface, the numbers look good, but I question if they are really that good when they are put into context with other statistics.
Here is a link to the meeting packet. It is at the very end that this year's Point in Time Count numbers are compared to past years numbers.
The PIT count happens late January. Overdose death count data is for that calendar year.
So in January 2021, Mendocino County had 893 homeless individuals. Over the course of 2021, we lost 72 individuals to drug overdose. Beginning in 2022, Mendocino County counted 830 homeless individuals, a decrease of 63. What portion of those 72 lost to overdose were part of the 63 no longer counted as being homeless? Are we actually succeeding in helping people integrate back into society as healthy, housed individuals or are we losing them through attrition? Are we following through from start to finish and tracking that with actual data to gauge our success?
Mark Scaramella Notes: The point in time count numbers are themselves suspiciously high and inaccurate. In 2108, Homeless consultant Robert Marbut reported, “The Point-in-Time Count (PITC) data is inflated.” … “The Point-in-Time-Count (PITC) was developed by HUD with the hope of ascertaining the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness within a community. Unfortunately, for a variety of methodological reasons, PITCs across the USA are often very inaccurate and vary widely in methodological rigor.”
“When PITCs are “incentivized” around the USA, like the giving out of grocery cards in exchange for participation, there is often over counting. In some cases, individuals change their name and information so they can receive another incentive. In other cases, volunteers give out more than one incentive to an individual or pocket the incentive thus inflating the numbers. Additional problems occur when volunteers count vehicles and building structures, and then apply nonscientific multipliers instead of counting actual people. These inflationary multipliers are oftenc based on assumptions and not on rigorous data modeling. When it comes to counting within encampments, the numbers are often highly inflated since “recent activity or presence of individuals” is often counted rather than counting actual observed individuals. Furthermore, because of weather and police activities, people often move between encampment sites which often means an individual’s “activity” ends up being counted multiple times at multiple sites rather than only once at the site where they are actually currently living. Additionally, extreme good or bad weather on the day of the count can also increase or decrease the number of volunteer counters thus affecting the overall efficacy of the count. Weather can also change the patterns of individuals experiencing homelessness. Finally, when the count time is extended past a 24-hour period, individuals are sometimes counted more than once at different locations.
“In order to get a number that accurately reflects reality, it is important to count actual persons during a very short and defined period of time in order to prevent double-counting. It is also important to not use non-scientific multipliers. These counts should then be validated against community meal counts since community meals/feedings can provide great cross-validating data.”
The Continuum of Care people have never addressed this or other findings and recommendations from the Marbut report.
In his report Mr. Marbut came up with his own numbers which were substantially lower than the Point In Time Count numbers. There’s no way to know how aaccurate the Point in Time Count numbers are. Even on their face a reduction of 63 (without explanation of how the CoC might be connected to that supposed reduction), 63 is only a 7% reduction, and as Mr. Gaska notes, they might include overdose deaths.
However, we don’t doubt the accuracy of the overdose deaths; in fact, that may be somewhat lower than the actual number, and they don’t count the number of Narcan saves most of which probably would have been overdose deaths if not for the fortunate application of the life-saving antidote.
What would be interesting to know might be how many of the 830 (or whatever the number is) homeless people are clients of Redwood Community Services.
EIGHTS YEARS AFTER ASHA KREIMER DISAPPEARED, One of Mendocino County’s Most Mysterious Missing Person Cases Remains Cold
Asha Kreimer was far away from home in the early fall of 2015 living on Mendocino County’s primitive coastline. Growing up in Australia, she moved to California’s Bay Area in October 2011 and fell in love with Jamai Gayle. The couple moved to Albion finding jobs and living the tranquil, rural life known to many on California’s North Coast.…
* * *
Comments on the Asha Kreimer Case
 It is very very hard to get somebody held under a 5150. And even harder to get them committed beyond that. I know because we tried to get a friend help and were refused. She then committed suicide the next day. I’m not sure why CA has made it so hard? Maybe too much emphasis on allowing the sick patients to diagnose themselves (a misplaced concept of “individual rights”)? Maybe not enough funding- or the funds get spent on overhead and administrative salaries? I want to put blame on this social worker but then again Mendocino County is severely dysfunctional and his office might pressure him into “saving money” over actually helping. I hope that the boyfriend and friend do not overwhelm themselves with guilt. They were young, they tried their best….it’s very hard to stop a mentally ill person from doing what they want to do. One moment is all they need….
 I think you nailed the heart of the problem:
“Maybe too much emphasis on allowing the sick patients to diagnose themselves.”
And as you say the lack of funding and effective treatment options certainly plays into it. I think these factors explain the ease with which 5150s are lifted, inviting tragic consequences as in your friends situation.
I once called mental health to report a suicidal friend and was told all the reasons why they couldn’t do anything. I saw my friend later and he told me he was sitting there listening to the mental health worker’s side of the call. A few days later he hung himself. We have a severely broken system.
 Many people afflicted with mental illness are highly intelligent. But almost by definition lack the ability to see they need help which is why offering or coercing people into voluntary treatment is ineffective.
When your dis-ease tells you everyone else is the problem why would you agree to accept treatment for yourself?
Some mentally ill people are insulated from the worst effects of their illness by personal or family wealth and/or loving family members. But many who lack material resources or family support wander the streets in an ever deepening downward spiral.
Far from showing respect for their “rights” the current commitment to “voluntary” treatment is a cruel and inhumane practice that imposes immense suffering on many mentally I’ll people.
* * *
Mark Scaramella adds:
We have written about this troubling unsolved case before. Here’s a relevant excerpt from our previous coverage in 2017 about aspects of the case not fully covered in Mr. LaFever’s summary, particularly Ms. Kreimer’s encounter with police and the mental health staffer at Coast Hospital:
The chronology of the days leading up to Asha’s disappearance are still not entirely clear and some important details of the case are still under dispute. Police have not released anything on the case, citing privacy laws and an ongoing investigation.
What is known is that her boyfriend, a dreadlocked young white man from Albion named Jamai Gayle, and a visiting friend of Asha’s from Australia named Sally (last name unknown), took Asha to the “Access Center” in Fort Bragg Sunday evening, September 20 where she was reported to be suffering from a mental health crisis stemming from what her mother said was a bipolar disorder — but as far as is known she had not suffered any such “crisis” before.
The Access Center at the time was run by Ortner Management Group, the private, for-profit mental health contractor given responsibility for Mendocino County's publicly-funded mental health services that has since been terminated after a chorus of complaints from cops and local doctors.
Asha had been living in Albion with Jamai Gayle for three years. She was having trouble sleeping in the days leading up to her disappearance, and had been awake for four consecutive nights and shouting “incoherently” which precipitated the trip to the Hospital.
Asha’s behavior at the Hospital was described as so odd and potentially dangerous that the Hospital staff called the Fort Bragg police. Asha resisted being restrained and was then declared 5150 (danger to self or others) by a Fort Bragg police officer.
Asha’s mother, a practicing nurse in Australia, has since spoken to the Fort Bragg police sergeant who was on the scene at the Hospital and the mental health worker who arrived at the Hospital soon after Asha was brought in. The worker told Asha’s mother he couldn’t discuss details because of Health Privacy laws. But he broke down in tears while talking to Asha’s mother about the incident at the Emergency Room. “I think he felt responsible for a bad decision,” said Asha’s mother. “I’ve heard about incompetence there.”
The Fort Bragg cop told Asha’s mother that the scene at the Hospital was “a mess.”
Somewhere toward the end of the “mess,” Asha was released by the Ortner contractor rep, the same man who had broken down in tears, and released back to boyfriend Jamai and her young Australian friend, “Sally.”
“They did no blood workup, they made no written observations, they took no vital signs, because they said Asha refused to allow it,” her mother reported.
A CALL FOR AN INVESTIGATION into a Fort Bragg Cubs Incident
To Fort Bragg Cubs Football and Cheer Board Members
Subject: Unfair Treatment and Lost Outlet for player.
Dear School Board Members,
I hope this letter finds you in only a respectful manor. I appreciate and support your association, due to being a former athlete of 6 years along with my siblings also being involved with the association during our youth. Now, as an adult, I am writing this email to bring the attention of a matter of concern from the perspective from someone who is outside the association. Along with someone who has children and friends children attending the same school as all parties involved.
Specifically the incident of unfair treatment and removal of a jr Cub player this season. Which also now is pertaining to him not being able to play next season. With that being said it is important to know, that I am a local to this community going back generations, along with someone who has children who could potentially want to join the association. I firmly believe that it is crucial to address this issue in order to ensure fairness, equalness, and the well-being of all participants, coaches, and players.
This young boy was subjected to an unfortunate incident. And that incident involved two of his former female teammates and himself.
I want to take note, that if this situation was investigated more they would have known that this incident was not the first. This young boy has been previously antagonized and bullied by these two female players during school hours.
Also I want the board to be aware that this young boy, who just moved here about 2 1/2 years ago has a medically diagnosed behavioral problem, and passed the sports physical, was hoping this sport could be positive outlet for himself, along having high hopes of bonding with his new classmates, and teammates. Maybe even hoping to make friends. And in my opinion probably to be less bullied by being one of our small town new kids.
Reguarding the incident of these two female players who have previously kicked the boy in the private parts, not once, but twice. With at least one of those times, all three wearing their football jerseys. And as I remember correctly, when football players and cheerleaders are wearing any uniform, are they not to be on their best behavior.
So, with all that, building up to the most current event of him being kicked in the private parts, again, resulted into pushing his two former female teammates. Is that not a act of self defense?
Now as a parent, we have no manual. We try to teach our kids how to handle situations as best they can. Yet if we teach our children to stand up for themselves they recieve punishment, if they tell a teacher, they end up being bullied for being a teller. If our children be the bigger person and do nothing, is there is a chance that a situation could possibly happen again. Maybe?
The decision for that is between us parents and our children, privately. Yet when a situation occurs, we all seem so quick to have our own opinions of what we think is right. But, is there a right way? Can you answer with out being bias?
Obviously this boy had, had enough. And maybe he acted out at a practice I am not sure. But I'm assuming frustration and him obviously feeling no team support. Along with maybe there is a possibility he didn't want to say anything that would end up causing him to be bullied more by his own teammates.
I imagine being a coach is hard. Handling other children besides our own is hard, as a coach, parent, teacher, ect. But, to give up a child with a medically diagnosed behavioral problem. Is crazy to me.
And honestly in my opinion that boy probably felt proud to be apart of of a team. Even though from what I understandstand as a outsider, but fellow cubs supporter, that he was mostly on the sideline with minimal game time yet still kept quiet about his girl teammates bullying him.
I thought used to think cubs association had a no bullying policy. And I once thought it gave encouragement to our youth to not give up when things get hard. To stay healthy and active. Maybe providing an outlet not only for physical activity and needs. Along with teaching the meanings of being a team. Creating a brotherhood. Or sisterhood. Now I'm not so sure. Guiding our youth in a direction for growth and to learn self discipline. Installing positive coping mechanisms.
This incident ended with the two girls crying wolf about being hurt to school Faculty. Im assuming them obviously having intent and high hopes with bully mentality, for the boy to recieve punishment and repercussions from not just school but at football.
Giving those girls, his teammates, bigger bully egos. No Consequences.
And with one of those girls coincidentally being and assistant coach's daughter. Makes me question favoritism?
This incident, while unfortunate, makes me question what the association represents. Is this incident grounds for the removal of a player from the team? While the other two players remain on the team, and whom also are first string.
And now when I take my children to the park i see a boy, who is no longer on a team, walking with his head down. With feelings of embarrassment, confusment, sadness, and anger written all over his face and tears. Sitting alone. Once again on a sideline. And as I sit and watch my children play on the playground. I can hear other children laughing and making fun of that boy.
I would like to highlight how this all has taken place in the public eye. Im sure which is only adding to the boys mental health. And with mental health at a all time high. It is important to recognize that he should not be the only one held responsible, for all parties actions, especially when it was involving multiple players. And to add to this, this child has behavioral problems, and the sport of football is supposed to be a positive outlet for him as well as many other children in the united states. And by taking away this outlet, we are inadvertently denying him a valuable opportunity for growth, self-discipline, and personal development. Which in fact could possibly guide him down a hard road in the future. Is that what we want for out local youth?
As responsible members of the board, I implore you to reevaluate this incident. Instead reconsider that boy, and give him another chance to be on the team. And then let focus on educating all players, including the assistant coach's daughter, about the importance of respect, fair play, and responsible conduct on and off the field. By addressing this incident in a mature and constructive manner, maybe we all can provide a valuable life lesson for everyone.
Furthermore, I would like to request that boy be given the chance to continue participating in football, with appropriate measures in place to address his behavioral challenges. By creating a supportive environment and involving coaches, parents, and players, aupporters. I am confident in your association that you can guide not just this boy, but all athletes towards growth, discipline, and improved behavior while allowing to continue benefitting passion for sports.
I believe it is essential that we embrace the principles of fairness, inclusivity, and sportsmanship in our decisions and actions. By reinstating that boy on the team, we not only provide him with a valuable outlet but also send a strong message about our commitment to fairness and personal growth to your payers, and future players.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns i know this email with long so appreciate it if you took the time to read it all.
If no action takes place I understand. I'm a local, and just wanted to share a different perspective of an outsider. I chose to not say my identity due to personal reasons. I have young children whom or may not want to join cubs association in the future. And I do not want my feelings to effect their eligibility to join possibly.
RANDY BURKE (Gualala):
Re: Del Mar School and Eugene Scaramella,
I assisted in the reconstruction of that edifice, and as Sea Ranch would have it, it is a long story as to how the edifice was resurrected.
The apple trees in front of the landmark were planted by Jann Anne Strand from bare root trees from Fort Ross, Russian original grove.
NO THERE IN MENDO
To the Editor:
Recently, I renewed my subscription to The Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA). It's the best $25 I'll spend this year. The AVA's "Mendocino County Today" is my go-to brief for county news every day.
That said, if I have to read another cliche-laden "report" from Trevor Mockel, then...then, I don't know what I'll do. For now, I think I'll start screaming from the roof of my house. Maybe I'll bang my head against a wall, then soak my head in a pail of ice water.
While falling asleep last night, I wondered why this Mockel dude bothers me so much. I concluded it's simple. Really simple.
Mockel epitomizes what's worst in Mendocino County politics.
Here's a candidate for the county's highest office who has failed at every job he has ever had, who was never more than a "professional intern" in any one of those jobs, who speaks in cliches, who offers no real platform, no real solutions for real problems, and who frightens young children with his impersonation of Dan Aykroyd's Beldar Clorhone (later Conehead), and yet...and yet the Democratic Party Machine endorses this guy.
The Democratic Party machine endorses this guy -- and refuses to withdraw their endorsement -- even after all the evidence is in that Trevor Mockel has no resume, no credentials, no skills, no experience.
Gertrude Stein said it best: "No There There."
Trevor Mockel is diffuse, unsubstantial, unimportant, and unsubstantiated.
File under "Only in Mendocino County".
A CRIME AGAINST COMMON SENSE
HERE'S A BIZARRE comment by Darryl Cherney in the wake of the 1990 Oakland bombing of Judi Bari:
“If Mike Sweeney had made the bomb, we’d have been killed.” The old hustler seemed to haver great respect for Sweeney's gifts, although he was almost killed by the pipe bomb Sweeney built that exploded in the car his girlfriend was driving.
SWEENEY was Bari's ex-husband, although they still shared a property they'd bought in Redwood Valley. Sweeney went on to become Mendocino County's lead garbage bureaucrat, a position he created for himself with a big assist from the Democrats of the day, people like Wes Chesbro and then-Mendo supervisor, Richard Shoemaker.
CLEVER little dude, Sweeney was a classic case of reinvention, even for Mendocino County, a unique jurisdiction where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day. A former communist of the Maoist persuasion, Sweeney wasn't just any ex-husband; he'd been around bombs since his days at Stanford as a member of the commie-cult that placed bombs throughout the Bay Area, and occasionally murdered people, including at least one cop.
ONE would have thought that with these bona fides, Sweeney, presently a resident of New Zealand, would have been suspect number one in the murderous attack on his wife. Never happened. The vaunted federal sleuths managed not to see him, let alone investigate him, meaning, obviously, that the reinvented recycler was close to the feds during the Redwood Summer period of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
THEY'RE pretty much invisible these days, but a claque of extremely nasty people surrounded Judi Bari after the car bomb that almost killed her, comprising a kind of cult who assisted the FBI in not finding the bomber. The cult's party line was that either the FBI itself or Big Timber carried out the attack, the assumption being that Bari was important enough in her resistance to extractive capital that she had to be assassinated.
THAT THE BOMBING was a fancy case of spousal abuse was a forbidden opinion at all lib venues because it was harmful to Bari's ongoing federal case against the FBI. She had made herself the center of Mendo activism with the forests as backdrop.
BARI would later say that she was certain her ex had tried to kill her. I think she knew the instant the bomb blew up beneath her, but for the sake of their two young children and to save themselves long stays in federal prison they — two smart, cunning people — decided to pin it all on much grander, far more lucrative suspects: Big Timber and the FBI.
WHY DOESN’T THE FBI re-open the Bari bombing investigation? Or, perhaps, open it up for the first time? There's no statute of limitations for attempted murder.
AN FBI man had appeared at the bomb scene within five minutes of the blast. In the ensuing legal wrangling, which continued for nearly ten years, agent Johnny On The Spot testified that he just happened to be in the vicinity because he was on his way to a nearby store to buy something for his child. Subsequently, agent Spot amended his testimony to admit that he was a member of the FBI’s special Bay Area anti-terrorist unit and was simply monitoring the movements of Earth First! leaders because Earth First! was a “known terrorist organization.”
THE DAY BEFORE the bomb went off in Oakland, Bari had stopped by the Mendocino Environment Center in Ukiah to address a “press conference” having to do with the forthcoming Redwood Summer festivities. Sweeney slipped the pipe bomb beneath Bari's driver's seat that morning at 106 West Standley. The device, wherever it was placed in her car, was designed to explode at least twelve hours away when Sweeney knew Bari would be in Oakland or thereabouts, far from the bomb's creator. And the Bari-Sweeney children would for sure not be in the car. Whatever else one might say about Sweeney, or Bari for that matter, they were responsible parents.
MIKE SWEENEY, confident that he was in the clear, went so far as to build a post-explosion replica of the bomb for display at the MEC, telling the curious that his reconstruction of the device would help people understand events. Sweeney’s replica was later discovered on Elm Street in Ukiah by a person who didn’t realize it was a fake; the Ukiah PD was called and the bogus pipe bomb was hauled off to be destroyed.
BUT SWEENEY quickly feigned ignorance of the device, pretending not to know that the 12 hours on the timer had to expire before the pipe bomb was armed, ready for blast off. He had explained that “whoever” built the bomb would also have had to have been aware of the Subaru's driver's seat design wherein a piece of metal hangs from beneath the seat; the bomb, fastened to a piece of plywood, couldn't simply be shoved underneath the driver's seat, the plywood had to be cut to fit around that odd piece of dangling metal. And who would know that other than the man who made the bomb?
AT THE TIME of the attack on her, Judi Bari and Mike Sweeney still lived on the same Redwood Valley property. Sweeney, quite a handy little bugger for a Stanford man, had built, with Bari’s assistance, the house the couple lived in. He had almost all the stuff he needed to make bombs right on the premises and, obviously, he had ample opportunity to measure the space beneath the driver’s seat of Judi Bari’s car for a custom-made explosive.
IF MIKE SWEENEY didn’t have a history of bombs, he would be a lot less plausible as a suspect in the attack on his ex-wife. But he does have, shall we say, an explosively verifiable history unlike that of most ex-husbands. He bombed the old Sonoma County Airport and, farther back, belonged to that Maoist sect that was engaged in a number of violent episodes, including pipe bombs and the murder of a prison guard. Additionally, Sweeney’s former wife, Cynthia Denenholtz, who was also a member of the Stanford Maoists, had also reinvented herself, no questions asked, as a Sonoma County magistrate. Ms. Denenholtz, with whom Sweeney had two little Maoists, had had to get a restraining order against Sweeney to prevent him from stalking her when they divorced. She has told reporters she was very frightened of her former comrade.
MOTIVE? Let’s say Madam Bari could be quite vexatious and leave it at that. But former spouses are killed every day in this country, and what else is new? The ex-husband or boyfriend almost always is the culprit in the murder of an ex-wife or girlfriend, but most don’t ordinarily go to quite such complicated lengths to punctuate a lost love.
SO WHY didn’t the FBI focus their attentions on Sweeney from the beginning? Because he set them up too, it looks like. Or was working for them. The latter is more likely.
SWEENEY undoubtedly wrote both the Argus snitch letter a year before the bombing of Judi Bari and the famous Lord’s Avenger letter four days after the attack on his ex-wife. The Argus letter offered to call the Ukiah PD the next time Judi mailed off a packet of dope to a friend, which she did regularly. Only a person with intimate knowledge of Bari’s daily, even hourly, movements would be able to expeditiously snitch her off when she was about to mail pot. Sweeney was the only person who enjoyed that kind of required proximity.
THE MENDOCINO ENVIRONMENT CENTER was Sweeney’s office for years; he even had a key to the place whose non-profit status he used to parlay state recycling grants into a tax-paid career for himself as Mendocino County’s main garbage man. His presence at the MEC aroused no suspicion nor would he be likely to arouse suspicion if he were seen in or around his ex-wife’s car parked outside as he placed the bomb in her car.
HERE’S what I think happened: Sweeney made the bomb, stuck it beneath Judi Bari’s driver's seat at the MEC the day before it exploded in Oakland. Knowing that the device was triggered and timed to go off far south of Ukiah, Sweeney called the FBI and told them Bari was headed down 101 with a bomb in her car. The feds duly claimed they'd gotten word that “heavies” were headed south to presumably do something heavy. Bari had left Ukiah about 2pm and arrived after a meeting in Oakland at the Berkeley home of a creepy character named Kemnitzer about midnight. Ten hours would have elapsed on the bomb’s clock and it would have been activated early in the morning as Judi slept.
SINCE the “movement” seldom moves before noon, Judi Bari was not up and around to go anywhere until 11am or so, and as soon as she swerved into another lane as she drove through Oakland on her way to Santa Cruz, the motion device ignited the explosive. Sweeney had planted the bomb and alerted the FBI that his ex-wife was carrying it. Which is why the FBI almost immediately arrested her and Darryl Cherney without looking at the wreckage of the car where there was a hole in the floorboard directly beneath the driver’s seat in which Judi Bari had been sitting. The false arrest federal suit that followed successfully claimed that Bari and Darryl Cherney had been falsely arrested. Which they had based on the physical evidence.
THAT FALSE ARREST cost the taxpayers about $4 million. Bari and Cherney had raised many thousands of dollars to bring the suit. They said they would plant lots of trees if they won. Not a dime of the settlement went to anywhere but to Cherney's marijuana farm in Southern Humboldt County and Bari's two daughters.
FOR FULL DOCUMENTATION OF ALL THIS and more go to the AVA’s Bari Bombing archive: https://theava.com/archives/1235
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, September 21, 2023
YANI BEATY, Fort Bragg. Witness intimidation, harboring wanted felon.
KIAHNA FELIZ, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BRADY GOFORTH, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
KEVIN GUERRERO-SAHAGUN, Ukiah. DUI.
KELLY HENDRICKS, Point Arena. Failure to appear.
DOMINIK IDICA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JESSICA JIMENEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RITA LAVENDUSKY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
PAUL SCHOCK, Philo. Under influence, probation revocation.
THOMAS THORSON, Nice/Ukiah. County parole violation.
TWO AVA CORRESPONDENTS at the Orpheum theater… nothing remarkable but having stumbled onto the selfie a year later (thanks, Google), the action in the backdrop caught my attention as being well you know at a glance I would have sworn the young chap had just dispatched the senior citizen pictured in mortal decline…The women seem to be almost pointedly looking away… the kid indifferent to adults feeds from a bag but look at the other man on the top row— something has turned his attention to the presumed murder…and note how the fellow top center has fixed his attention on the apparent homicide. I ask, what does the readership make of it?
ALL ABOARD! BROCK PURDY BANDWAGON HAS ROOM FOR YOU AS 49ERS QB WINS AGAIN
by Scott Ostler
Brock Purdy is proving to be a tough guy for the NFL and all its experts to get a handle on.
Flash in the pan? Game manager? Star in the making? Labels are proving difficult to stick on Purdy.
Thursday night looked like it could be a breakthrough opportunity for him. Not in the eyes of his teammates and most Bay Area fans, who are convinced he is what San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan proclaimed him to be, the Real Deal.
But the world outside the Bay Area is a tougher sell, and they needed to see the kid in a brighter spotlight, like Thursday Night Football.
If Purdy could dice up the visiting New York Giants, surely his bandwagon would be loadin’ up. The Giants aren’t very good, but if the 49ers could win this one, it would be difficult to deny props to a kid with a 10-0 record in NFL games that he has started and finished.
Purdy did just that, carved up the Giants in a 30-12 Niners win, making them 3-0.
So can we crown him now? Probably not. He’s certainly the most interesting quarterback to come along in many years, all things considered, but some in the jury are demanding for more evidence.
The Giants are convinced. Purdy punished them, passing 25-for-37 for 310 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 111.2.
Going into the game Purdy was rocking the NFL’s best quarterback rating, 86.6, a figure different from a passer rating because it takes into consideration strength of defense. By all measures, Purdy has been right there with the big boys through the first two games. This this game, at this point Purdy has to rank among the top five or six quarterbacks in the league.
He might not be spectacular, but vitally important to the 49ers, he is clean and efficient. No picks Thursday, so in his NFL career, including playoffs, Purdy has thrown 324 passes and only four interceptions. His last pick came against the Raiders in the second-to-last regular season game last year. So he has played seven straight games, including three playoff games, with no interceptions.
The Giants tested Purdy, and Shanahan, dialing up a flurry of blitzes in the first half. On the 49ers’ first series, with the nation watching, Purdy looked like a shooting star fizzling back to earth. In nine drop-backs, he was sacked once and was 3-for-8 passing, with one highball. Not impressive.
“There were some looks that were there, I was off, inaccurate, or some things just didn’t happen right within our scheme, and so, yeah, I felt like it was a little choppy at first,” Purdy said. “Then once we got into a rhythm, we sort of saw what they were doing … a couple drives into the game. Once we got rolling, we were putting some drives together.”
On the 49ers’ third drive, the 11th play was a nifty 9-yard looper to rookie wideout Ronnie Bell in the left front corner of the end zone, breaking a 3-3 tie.
“I thought he got much better as the game went on,” said Christian McCaffrey, who caught five Purdy passes on five targets. “I’m not a quarterback coach, I don’t always like to comment on quarterback play, but I know that as he started seeing things, he was rolling.”
What really got Purdy rolling, early in the second quarter, was a 17-yard pass play to McCaffrey on 3rd-and-13 at the Giants’ 31. Three plays later came the TD to Bell.
In the fourth quarter, Purdy iced the game and the cake with a 27-yard back-shoulder heave to Deebo Samuel in the right front corner of the end zone. Purdy was playing the corner pockets like Minnesota Fats.
Even with his favorite target, Brandon Aiyuk, out of action, Purdy had his regular-season high passing yardage. (He had 332 yards against Seattle in the playoffs.)
Purdy, though, is still hard to label, unless you stick with Mr. Irrelevant. How about Mr. Underpaid? It was a funny contrast Thursday between Purdy and Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones. Purdy is making $934,000 and change this season on his four-year rookie contract. Jones is making $40 million this season on a four-year contract he just signed.
But forget about the money. How do you rate Purdy? What do you make of him now?
When you decide, don’t bother telling the 49ers. They’ve made up their minds. They see what they see.
“We’re lucky he’s our quarterback, for sure,” McCaffrey said. “He makes a lot of big plays, he’s not afraid to throw the ball deep. You saw the one to Deebo, that was awesome. We just gotta go out there and keep making plays for him.”
Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away
Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing
As we danced in the night
Remember how the stars stole the night away
My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love
Remember how we knew love was here to stay
Now December found the love we shared in September
Only blue talk and love
Remember the true love we share today
The bell was ringing, aha
Our souls were singing
Do you remember
Never a cloudy day
— Al McKay, Allee Willis, Maurice White
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Fetterman reported to the senate today in shorts and a camp shirt. A billowy camp shirt.
He looks like the guy that would spend his time in the curtained off section in the old video rental stores.
He was presiding, so it meant he sat in the big chair. I swear he had a Big Gulp in the newly attached jumbo cup holder.
In other bizzaroland news, the American Ukrainian defense dept. spokestranny, the one who wears a blond Karen wig, was suspended for making unapproved threats of extrajudicial murder.
This is what happens when the entire planet is on drugs and you’re the sober one.
The lunacy is relentless
The standards are nonexistent
You can make this shit up, and make up even more!
JOHN REDDING: File this under "No S***, Sherlock."
The WSJ today has an article detailing the grievous harm the Covid school shutdowns have had on children. Quoting from the article:
"The Center on Reinventing Public Education, or CRPE, which is warning this time about the poor state of student well-being. “More than 8 in 10 public schools reported stunted behavioral and social-emotional development in their students because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it says, citing federal survey data. Nearly half of schools “reported an increase in threats of physical attacks among students.”
Yes, we have heard about the increase in bullying at our local public schools.
Everywhere, parents are pulling their kids out of public schools in favor of home-schooling, charter schools, and schools such as San Jose Sanchez del Rio Catholic school in Fort Bragg.
Those who foresaw and warned about the harmful consequences of the one-dimensional response to Covid by those responsible for public health should feel good about their stance.
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 21ST SEPTEMBER
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House this afternoon after speaking with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill about efforts to bolster US aid for Kyiv. The meetings come just hours after Ukraine faced a fresh round of Russian attacks on power facilities across the country.
The White House plans to provide a new Ukraine aid package, according to a US official, and Biden is expected to talk to Zelensky about battlefield needs. The Biden administration has been asking Congress for more Ukraine funding amid skepticism from some GOP lawmakers.
The Russian strikes on the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson killed at least two people, while attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv left more injured. Meanwhile, Ukraine said it carried out a "massive" missile strike against a Russian base in Crimea.
Poland said it will stop giving weapons to Ukraine as tensions rise between Kyiv and Warsaw over a temporary ban on Ukrainian grain imports to some EU countries.
THE PURPLE ONION was a legendary comedy club in San Francisco. It was a small, basement club that had its heyday in the 1950s and 60s -and helped launch the careers of Phyllis Diller, The Smothers Brothers, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Richard Pryor.
Opened in 1952, the Purple Onion ran for roughly 60 years before closing its doors in 2012.
THE SADDEST NOISE, the sweetest noise,
The maddest noise that grows,—
The birds, they make it in the spring,
At night’s delicious close.
Between the March and April line—
That magical frontier
Beyond which summer hesitates,
Almost too heavenly near.
It makes us think of all the dead
That sauntered with us here,
By separation’s sorcery
Made cruelly more dear.
It makes us think of what we had,
And what we now deplore.
We almost wish those siren throats
Would go and sing no more.
An ear can break a human heart
As quickly as a spear,
We wish the ear had not a heart
So dangerously near.
— Emily Dickenson, 1764
BACK IN THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, in the 1950s, kids could order up their firepower out of catalogues and you'd see students heading to school on bus or subway, toting guns they'd be using later that day in ROTC session. Back then parents fretted over horror comics and switchblades. Let little Albert dip his nose too deeply into the blood-drenched comics being put out by publishers such as William Gaines of ‘Mad Magazine’ fame, and he'd surely be set on the slippery slope of crime and slaughter.
In fact Gaines was hauled before a committee run by that tireless grandstander, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who also held famous hearings at that time into racketeering and the Mob. Here's an hilarious extract from the transcript of the committee's encounter with Gaines, it appears in Frank Jacobs' very funny ‘The Mad World of William M Gaines,’ published by Bantam in l972. Gaines is being questioned by Herbert Beaser, one of the committee's counsels:
Beaser: Is that the sole test of what you put in your magazines, whether it sells? Is there any limit of what you wouldn't put in your magazine because you thought a child shouldn't see or read about it?
Gaines: No, I wouldn't say there is any limit for the reason you outlined. My only limits are bounds of good taste. What I consider good taste.
Beaser (probing): Then you think a child cannot in any way, shape or manner, be hurt by anything that the child reads or sees?
Gaines: I do not believe so.
Beaser: (still probing): There would be no limit actually to what you'd put in magazines?
Gaines: Only within the bounds of good taste.
Kefauver (doubtful): Here is your May issue. This seems to be an arm with a bloody ax holding a woman's head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that's in good taste?
Gaines: Yes, sir. I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher, so that the blood could be seen dripping from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.
(Murmurs, stirrings among spectators).
Kefauver (still doubtful): You've got blood coming out of her mouth.
Gaines: A little.
Kefauver: And here's blood on the ax. I think most adults are shocked by that. Now here's a man with a woman in a boat and he's choking her to death with a crowbar. Is that in good taste?
Gaines: I think so.
Hancock: How could it be worse?
Hennings (coming to rescue): Mr. Chairman, I don't think it is really the function of our committee to argue with this gentleman.
* * *
Jacobs reports that Gaines more than held his own in the initial hours of testimony, but then faded abruptly, seeming harassed and defensive. The reason was that he'd ingested a bracing dose of dexedrine, thinking he’d ride through the session on its coattails, only to find that the drug's effects had worn off abruptly, leaving him high and dry.
Growing up in southern Ireland, I remember following Kefauver's fortunes raptly in Time and the Saturday Evening Post, particularly his battle with Adlai Stevenson for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kefauver affected a bluff populist manner and a coonskin cap, so of course we teenagers much preferred him to the wimpy pointy-head from Illinois, Adlai Stevenson.
Kefauver held hearings on the Mob in 1950. Among those scheduled to testify under subpoena was Sidney Korshak, the Chicago lawyer who was one of the Mob's top fixers and liaisons with Hollywood. In the evening, Korshak had a 45-minute private session with Kefauver and then was excused. Kefauver never mentioned Korshak in his 1951 bestseller, ‘Crime in America.’ Three decades later, a New York Times story (cited in Dennis McDougal's recent book about Lew Wasserman, ‘The Last Mogul’ divulged that Kefauver's sudden decision to let Korshak slip through his fingers stemmed from a night the Tennessee senator had spent in the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Korshak had acquired infrared photos of the senator, wearing neither coonskin cap nor any other garments, in intimate disportings with two young female employees of the Mob's Chez Paree nightclub.
(Alexander Cockburn, July 1999)
“The cold, feeble dawn of a January morning was stealing in at the windows of the common sleeping-room, when Nicholas, raising himself on his arm, looked among the prostrate forms which on every side surrounded him, as though in search of some particular object. It needed a quick eye to detect, from among the huddled mass of sleepers, the form of any given individual. As they lay closely packed together, covered, for warmth's sake, with their patched and ragged clothes, little could be distinguished but the sharp outlines of pale faces, over which the sombre light shed the same dull heavy colour; with, here and there, a gaunt arm thrust forth: its thinness hidden by no covering, but fully exposed to view, in all its shrunken ugliness. There were some who, lying on their backs with upturned faces and clenched hands, just visible in the leaden light, bore more the aspect of dead bodies than of living creatures; and there were others coiled up into strange and fantastic postures, such as might have been taken for the uneasy efforts of pain to gain some temporary relief, rather than the freaks of slumber. A few - and these were among the youngest of the children - slept peacefully on, with smiles upon their faces, dreaming perhaps of home; but ever and again a deep and heavy sigh, breaking the stillness of the room, announced that some new sleeper had awakened to the misery of another day; and, as morning took the place of night, the smiles gradually faded away, with the friendly darkness which had given them birth.”
— “Nicholas Nickleby” Charles Dickens - 1838