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Off the Record (October 5, 2023)

DISTRICT ATTORNEY EYSTER is telling persons close to him that he will be running against sitting judge Clay Brennan for a seat on the Mendocino County Superior Court. Brennan has been sitting as judge of the Ten Mile Court where he exists in a kind of judicial exile, precluded from presiding at judicial headquarters in Ukiah. He and Eyster have been at odds for years. 

DA EYSTER doesn't deign to respond to AVA inquiries these days — our relationship has waxed and waned over the years, and at the mo we're apparently in wane mode. I called last week to get a yes or no out of his liege on whether or not he intends to run for judge against Clay Brennan of Ten Mil Court. No call back.

BRENNAN got his Superior Court sinecure through his mom, an influential federal judge out of the Bay Area. These positions are sinecures defined, defined, I tell you! They're seldom contested anywhere but especially in Mendocino County where the legal eagles flock tightly together, many of them undoubtedly yearning to land a Superior Court slot for themselves some rosy day.

WHAT KIND OF JUDGE IS BRENNAN? The only complaints I've heard about the guy are from Eyster. It's not like our over-large contingent of judges — 9 for a population of 90,000, and got that way by a major fraud on The People — ever has to sort out complicated matters because the people appearing before them are almost all people of no means and less hope. (We used to have two Superior Court judges, but about 40 years ago, Mendo County's far flung justice courts were magically declared Superior Courts, meaning part-time judges suddenly got full-time pay, big pay and emoluments as Superior Court judges, elevated by state fiat on the grounds that only people trained as lawyers could function as judges. Huge swindle for Mendocino County forcing all of us to Ukiah where their majesties dwell. Fort Bragg still has a functioning court but all the serious stuff goes to Ukiah. In 1920, for instance, even murder cases were heard in the communities they occurred in.)

I DO KNOW that Brennan is pretty much confined to Fort Bragg, which seems to mean he's not highly regarded by his judicial peers, which to me is a major plus for the guy. I also know he has an expensive ex-wife he maintains in high style in a big house on Ukiah's Westside. The guy would probably be screwed if he lost the big pay that comes with his easy gig on the Mendocino Coast.

IS EYSTER ELECTABLE? He's been elected and re-elected District Attorney, which means in a county-wide election, which elections for judge are, he would have a huge advantage in name recognition over Brennan. The only people opposed to Eyster would be the defendant community, and they tend overwhelmingly not to vote.

DOES THE DA have a “judicial temperament”? Given the number of pure psychos and drop-fall dummies this county has suffered on the local bench that question is almost funny, but Eyster is not a difficult emotional read. He's a bombs away and the rocket's red glare kinda dude who takes crime personally, which is what you probably want in a prosecutor, but could he be fair as a judge? We'll see because he's probably a shoo-in against the hapless Brennan. 

AND ANOTHER MENTALLY ILL person goes off to state prison because there's no place else to put her. Defendant Rachael Diane Seivertson, age 34, generally of the Ukiah area, was sentenced Wednesday, September 20th, in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 96 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Rachel Seivertson

MS. SEIVERTSON was a Ukiah street person of the apparently "non-reimbursable" class that comprise local untouchables, untouched, that is, by the County's multiples of helping professionals because the helping pros can't get paid for helping them.

JUST GUESSING HERE, but like many of the Ukiah Valley's free range mental cases, Ms. Seivertson seemed to be self-medicating, as the euphemizers disguise drug and alcohol-dependent people. In her case, when she sucker-punched a Ukiah police officer with a big rock in her hand that won her her second trip to the big house, Rachael was probably speeding, maxed out on methamphetamine. If she'd been on the latest drug of choice, fentanyl, she'd have been zonked out, immobilized, not combative.

THE LAST STATISTIC I saw, about a third of state prison inmates suffer from mental illness. Prison is not a therapeutic environment. The best prisons can do is segregate their vulnerable inmates from the wolves, like they do with the ever increasing numbers of cho-mo's. It was Charles Dickens who said that the quality of a social order can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable people. By this standard, the U.S. is a failed state, and Ukiah flunked the civilization test years ago.

A FORT BRAGG MAN died a week ago Sunday after a tandem kayak carrying him and his son capsized in a cove south of Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino County, officials said.

The two were in the 53-degree water for about 40 minutes before a state parks lifeguard and a bystander helped them onto a rock outcropping, Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department officials said.

The lifeguard and other medical personnel performed CPR on the father, later identified as 70-year-old Gordon Bruce Spence, but were unable to revive him.

Spence and his son took off in the kayak around 9:30 a.m. Sunday from Russian Gulch State Park Beach, about a mile and a half north of Mendocino.

JOHN REDDING: Yes, the County is in rather poor shape. But the SEIU bears some of the responsibility because they reflexively endorse candidates only on their end of the political spectrum. They seem shocked that they get the same outcome year in and year out. The BOS is in theory a non-partisan seat but in reality it is hyper-partisan. It's up to the voters to change that. The SEIU could even lead the way.

ED NOTE. Yup and double yup. And here we go again, with the cold, dead hand of the local, active Democrats attempting to shove Trevor Mockel into the 2nd District supervisor's seat. Mockel's bona fides consist of one laughable fide — he worked for State Senator McGuire, who seems to have contacted supervisor Williams to support Mockel and his single fide, and Williams dutifully persuaded his inattentive colleagues, all of them active Democrats, to endorse Mockel prior to Mockel's even becoming an official candidate! I asked Williams why he did that. His answer? He didn’t answer. If Mockel, with his see-through resume, actually becomes supervisor, we can thank the Democrats who call all the political shots on the Northcoast. 

CHRIS SKYHAWK: I was endorsed by the SEIU during my 2018 Supe run and then endorsed Redding during his 2022 run, I might have something to offer here. I do believe the SEIU has some hands-on experience and the critique of the malfeasance of the current BOS is thoroughly legit as is the criticism of the stranglehold that local Dems hold on the breadth of the discourse we have here. I believe the biggest prob we have with regard to Supe. Williams is his complete lack of a guiding political ideology, and whose Narcissism rises to levels of Sociopathology, and voters who enable him by being willingly gaslit and not tracking him beyond the selective faces he chooses to show them

MARIE TOBIAS: What ‘The Moms For Liberty’ produces, is a vast sea of frothing batshit anchored to microscopic bits of truth, like one thing justifies the other. And when they demonize, attack, harangue, and pave over others in the name of their warm and fuzzy lord (Rupert Murdoch), they prove themselves motivated by the absolute worst propaganda, and political whack nuttery populating the media these days. These aren't advocates for rational choice, they're QAnon washouts.

Anyone pointing to this lot, as an example of anything but the harm caused by political propaganda on weak minds in the US these days, is simply not grounded in physical reality. A great big bag of seriously rotten oranges...

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘Crazy for Rivers’ by Bill Barich. You know you're with a good writer when he or she can hold your interest on a subject you have no interest in. I don't fish, but I zipped through ‘Crazy For Rivers,’ which is about a lot more than simply snagging trout and, as an additional bonus, is mostly about fishing the NorCal streams most of us are familiar with. Barich is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker who lives in Sonoma County. His novel Carson Valley, based on life in Alexander Valley, is the best fiction I know of about what it's really like to grow wine grapes.

I DON'T GET those bumperstickers that say, “This vehicle protected by Smith & Wesson.” Isn't that an incitement for a bad guy to shoot you first? And another sign I see in public restrooms these days: “Common decency requires that you wash your hands after using the bathroom.” Common decency? Isn't that a moral construct applied to basic hygiene?

THE WELL-KNOWN socialist writer, Barbara Ehrenreich, went to work as a waitress then wrote up her experiences for Harper's. Her story inspired a lot of mail, including this letter from Hannah Feldman of Baltimore: “As a waitress, I can back up Barbara Ehrenreich's conclusion that foreigners and ‘visible Christians’ often tip horribly. But I and my colleagues would add another category to that list: left-wing liberals. A ‘Power to the People’ button means you're about to get stiffed; a graying ponytail and a Greenpeace credit card mean getting run around like crazy for an insultingly low tip. Ehrenreich's own group of ‘faded ex-hippie types in shorts with long hair pulled back in braids’ triggers inward groans from the foot soldiers of the service industry. And socialists, for some reason, never tip at all. So, in reflection, I am happy to see anyone mention Ehrenreich's excellent account of the lifestyles of the poor and unknown. Perhaps some of your readers will realize that it is not enough to sympathize with the working poor; they actually must respect us when they see us in person and literally put their money where their mouths are.”

DAN LURIE, at last a strong candidate for mayor of San Francisco: 

“There is a hunger for change. There is a hunger for someone from outside this entrenched system to go in and hold people accountable,” Lurie told the Chronicle. “There is a sense of lawlessness and disorder in this city. … I do not believe that anyone so far in this race has the ability to stare down these very real problems, because they are part of this entrenched system. Full stop. Everything I have done has been about taking on the big challenges that San Franciscans care about.”

JAYNE THOMAS RECOMMENDS: “First, you HAVE to see this film!!!, The Saint of Second Chances. Anyone who loves baseball has to see it. I knew about Bill Veeck, but not his son. Second, we just watched a PBS 24 year old doc from their neighborhood series, The Fillmore. I bet you’ve seen it. Excellent, and very sad.”

MS. THOMAS' viewing recommendations are unerring, unerring, I tell you! As a baseball fan all the way back to Seals Stadium and the Pacific Coast League — Marino Pieretti! Roy Nicely! Dario Lodiganni! Steve Bilko! Carlos Bernier! — I, too, was aware of Veeck and long ago read his wonderful book, Veeck as in Wreck, but like Ms. Thomas I was unaware of his son and son's interesting life as both pere and fils are memorialized in this fascinating Netflix doc, The Saint of Second Chances.

I'VE ALSO SEEN The Fillmore, an interesting filmic history of how a vibrant neighborhood — a whole area of San Francisco really — was bulldozed in the name of "redevelopment" under the monarchical direction of Justin Herman. Herman's destruction of the Fillmore was rightly seen by the mostly displaced black residents of the Fillmore as "negro removal." Herman is fittingly remembered in the stark swathe of pavement at the foot of Market Street with the preposterous Valliancort "sculpture" at its north end in "Justin Herman Plaza." Precocious members of my high school class used to hangout weekends at the great but long gone jazz venue called Bop City, one of many quality jazz clubs in the Fillmore lost to redevelopment. Some of the high schoolers claimed they managed to get inside, but most admitted they listened to the music from outside on the sidewalk.

REACHING The End of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?” The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?” The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?” The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”

A READER WRITES: “I’m convinced that Willie Clinton could have been spared all the agony his actions caused both him and the US citizens and also drawn worldwide notoriety to Boonville, CA, had he been able to contact a certain individual in that town if Clinton had had the remotest idea that he would be indulging in hanky-panky in the Oval Office. 

TALKING BACK to some of today's commenters from the metaphorical Grassy Knoll:

Lindy Peters: The FBI retrieved JFK’s body from Parkland hospital at gunpoint from the doctors who were just beginning their examination of the head wounds that had killed him. All subsequent information regarding his death was then released by the US government. Here is a press release of reporters’ questions before the FBI stepped in:

A newsman asked Perry: “Where was the entrance wound?”

Perry: “There was an entrance wound in the neck…”

Question: Which way was the bullet coming on the neck wound? At him?”

Perry: “It appeared to be coming at him.”…

Question: “Doctor, describe the entrance wound. You think from the front in the throat?”

Perry: “The wound appeared to be an entrance wound in the front of the throat; yes, that is correct. The exit wound, I don’t know. It could have been the head or there could have been a second wound of the head. There was not time to determine this at the particular instant.” [66] (emphasis added)

Now ask yourself. Why was Jackie going to the back of the limo to retrieve her husband’s skull piece if he was shot from behind?

ED REPLY: Never heard this before, Lindy, although my powers of recall are diminished. I thought the Secret Service was in charge of Kennedy’s remains. I have read there was a rush to get him back to DC, but at gunpoint?

COMMENTER: I personally find it rather disgusting that, after all is said and done, somebody is still trying to clean up the obvious regarding the murder of JFK. Oh well, what else can you expect in this crazy world? And so it goes…on and on.

ED REPLY: Too cryptic a comment to tell if the commenter means by “obvious.” Is the truth of that sad event obvious, or is the discussion is crazy?

SARAH KENNEDY OWEN: There are many other elements regarding the Kennedy assassination. The rifle that Oswald used was defective, an Italian-made reject from the Italian army. Oswald was a bad shot. And most important was the dissatisfaction being felt by certain people high up in US government circles who did not like Kennedy’s non-compliance with the Bay of Pigs fiasco or his lack of support regarding escalation in Vietnam. South Vietnam’s prime minister, Ngo Binh Diem was assassinated just days before (November 3, 1963) Kennedy’s death (November 22, 1963). Diem was assassinated with the so-called approval, or even full support, of these same individuals who felt let down and alienated by Kennedy. Kennedy was informed of Diem’s assassination after the fact and was reportedly horrified. There are many more interesting factors that contribute to the more-than-one-shooter theory, too many to go into here.

ED REPLY: Not to be argumentative for the fun of it, but Oswald’s mail order rifle, with scope, was in perfect working order. And gun guys will tell you that although the weapon was something of an antique, it was serviceable. Oswald had an easy shot at the president, the scope making the shot even easier. I was in the Marines at Camp Pendleton at the same time as Oswald though I didn’t know him; we all qualified with the M-1 in those days, so Oswald would have been a good shot. Heck, even I qualified, and it wasn’t easy for me because I hadn’t grown up around guns. I’ve gone back and forth on the assassination for years, but finally I think Oswald was that unique breed of American byproduct, the lone nut. He did it, and did it alone, although his unique to Russia-and-back hegira, and trips to Mexico to talk to the Cubans and the Russians, and his odd behavior in New Orleans where he leafletted for the leftwing Fair Play For Cuba group, means to me, and lots of other people, he was functioning as some kind of US government operative, which is why, I’m sure, some of the records on the case are still sealed..

GEORGE HOLLISTER: Oswald was shooting from a rest. Two hundred feet, from a rest, with a scope. If the gun is sighted in, that is an easy shot for a less than good shooter, even with a slowly moving target. Oswald was on a gun range shortly before the assassination. That suggests the gun was sighted in. Having been in the Marines, he should have known how to do that.

ED REPLY: That's right. On the day you're one for two, George, right about Oswald's marksmanship, wrong about your previous comment that Biden is responsible for the border chaos, which was in motion long before either Trump or Biden, but more chaotic, more porous under Biden. I think it's more the inevitable movements of people from essentially failed states to countries where they have a chance at a decent life, and who can blame them? The only true alternative is too Korean-ize the border, complete with troops and shoot to kill orders. I doubt even the most demented Maga would want that. The solution, if there is one? Immigrant village funded by US the length of the border to establish orderly processing of entry applications. Not likely to happen, but short of full militarization of the border what's the alternative? PS. Biden isn't responsible for anything. He's out of it, half-way, at least, to full dementia, whereas Trump is only a half-step more functioning. Election '24 will give the growing chaos everywhere a huge boost.

SARAH KENNEDY OWEN, Round Two: From Wikipedia: “Nelson Delgado, a Marine in the same unit as Oswald, used to laugh at Oswald’s shooting prowess, and testified that Oswald often got “Maggie’s drawers” meaning a red flag that is waved from the firing pits to indicate a complete miss of the target during qualification firing.” Also: “Vincent Bugliosi put forward the hypothesis that Oswald aimed the Carcano with open sights which reduced the time necessary to take three shots postulated by the Warren Commission…. However, with the M91/38 not being a very flat shooting rifle to begin with (up to 10 inches high at 100 meters) this rifle would have been shooting quite high and would have made hitting Kennedy extremely difficult. This would have been exacerbated by the steep downward slope from the sixth floor of the Depository building to the limo which would have made the shot go even higher than what Oswald would have been aiming at.” Not so airtight after all, even though there are arguments on both sides. Add to this the many other facts and “coincidences” and things begin to look pretty shady. at least to me.

ED REPLY: Noop. To get out of boot camp without being “set back” recruits had to “qualify” at the rifle range. There was a full week of “snapping in” — getting accustomed to firing the M-1 with a sling from different positions. Then a week of live fire at the end of which you had to fire a minimum of 190 out of 300 to pass. I was sweating bullets, you could say, because on final exam qualifying day I just squeaked through with a 195 or I would have been set back for another two weeks of the same snapping in and live fire preparation. As it was, boot camp was fifteen weeks of, uh, maltreatment, and I wanted no delay in moving on. A Maggie’s Drawers was a total miss, common the first couple of days of live fire. A guy would emerge from the butts — the trench below the targets to wave a white flag if you missed the target area. I'm sure Delgado had his share of Maggie’s Drawers, we all did except for the experienced gun guys. They qualified “expert” because they'd grown up with guns. Guys like me and, presumably, Oswald, only squeezed by, but we were pretty good shots with that particular gun. By the end of boot camp, we were “lean, mean killing machines.” Re Bugliosi, there'd be no point in going scopeless to save time, and many experts using that same model rifle have cranked off three shots in plenty of time to do the ugly job.

SARAH KENNEDY OWEN: Re Kennedy assassination: In experiments to see if expert shooters would be able to get three shots in the time needed, many were able: that is true, however, there were also quite a few experts who failed. Since Oswald was not available to test his ability, it is really impossible to know whether he had that kind of ability. I am sure the experts who were chosen to perform this experiment were chosen for their skill in that area. If Oswald was not very confident he could do it in the seconds needed, he might have used an open sight to decrease the time the gun took to get the three shots (this was the hypothesis quoted on Wikipedia) which would have decreased the accuracy of an already iffy gun at that distance and the difficulty of the angle from the sixth story. The gun used was apparently a very cheap model (see advertisement pictured on Wikipedia showing it sold for less than any of the other models on the page of the 1963 newspaper). I’m really talking way over my head now, since I am not familiar with guns, but it seems the proof one way or the other narrows down to a few things, the gun and Oswald’s ability being foremost among them.

ED REPLY: An FBI sharpshooter, among others, got off the three shots from the same model rifle even faster than Oswald had. The three bullets came from Oswald’s gun, as established by ballistics tests, which are considered irrefutable evidence for murder in any court. (And that's it from The Grassy Knoll today.)

AT $20 PER HOUR, California's new minimum wage for fast food workers, a full-time fast food worker could earn a gross annual pay of almost $42,000 per year if they work full time. Subtracting maybe 25% for taxes and deductions leaves maybe $31,000 net per year. If that worker pays $2,000 a month for rent, that's $24,000 per year, leaving about $7,000 for such basics as car/gas, utilities, food, cellphone, etc. And that's for full-time employment, which a lot of fast-food workers don't have. They typically assemble two or three jobs to get full time employment. It's better than $15 per hour, but California is still too expensive for a conventional $20 an hour earner to live in if they want the bare minimum of the "American Dream." And never forget that every dollar a low wage worker receives goes directly into the economy, not hoarded or invested in tax-avoiding corporate bonds and schemes. (With math assistance from The Major)

BECOMING FRIDA KAHLO, a three-parter on PBS, despite its oozingly pious intro, is absorbing. A truly great artist in her own right but inevitably associated with her famous artist husband, ol' whatshisface, Kahlo was a liberated woman way ahead of her time and place. She was also a communist, as was the love of her life, Diego Rivera, a fact the doc, in typically nambo pambo PBS fashion, plays down while playing up Rivera's left convictions. Also in typical nambo-pambo PBS style, Kahlo's most vivid paintings are partially covered, reducing their power, although the viewer can discern the impact of them despite the lib-lab interference, which is especially annoying given that Kahlo wasn't the hustling shlock merchants dominating, for instance, SF MOMA. I kept wondering, “Where's Frida's most famous boyfriend, the great Trotsky?” He enters part three of the film; I'll be interested to see how the filmmakers present him.

YEAH, I CHECK Fox News once a week or so just to see what the Magas are currently hysterical about. (News Max is for people who've gone all the way goose step).This morning, Fox's Ken and Barb were aghast at several Border agents cutting back razor wire to free several people with small children impaled on the evil barrier. Good for the agents behaving humanly in an inhumane context.

A NETFLIX DOC called Ice Cold presents an interesting glimpse of contemporary Indonesia via a murder trial of a young woman accused of poisoning her best friend at an up-market coffee shop, poisoning her with cyanide, of all methods. I suppose cyanide is available from nefarious Dark Web sources, but the last time I heard of anyone using it to kill was former Anderson Valley volunteer fireman, Leonard Lake, who popped a cyanide pill as he was being questioned by police. 

THE INDONESIAN judges and prosecutors — no juries in Indonesia — aren't what anyone might confuse with Solomon, but the Indo defense attorney is quite good. Expert witnesses for the prosecution include an old man whose expertise was founded on phrenology, which he'd mastered by studying photographs of American movie stars. The defense's experts included an Australian forensic chemist, a Chinese, who the prosecution and the judges simply had deported! (Chinese have historically been persecuted throughout Indonesia and Malaysia.) 

THE CASE riveted the attentions of Indonesia's vast public spread out over something like 18,000 islands, proof that cyber-saturation has penetrated even the most remote global populations. There is literally no evidence and even less evidence of motive against the young defendant, but popular opinion, whipped up by televised demagogues (kinda like here, actually) was at first unanimous in the girl's guilt until her noble defense attorney, almost singlehandedly, using that same omni-present media, managed to convince a good part of the population that his client was innocent, a heartening turnaround translating to Mr. Pollyanna that if complete evidence is allowed, people will make rational decisions. No jury here, though, and the kid got twenty years. The defense attorney, on his deathbed, declared that justice is for sale in Indonesia, as it often is here.

LISA MONTGOMERY: Note to pervs everywhere: There's a new series on HBO (or 'Max' as it has pointlessly been re-branded) masquerading as a radical dating show that's really just a vehicle for gawking at strangers' wangs, boobies and wobbly bits — uncensored. Now, don't get me wrong: I like nudity. I like being naked. I like seeing my sculpted-veteran boyfriend naked. And I'll happily admit I'm partial to a smattering of on-screen smut. Who isn't? But as soon as I started watching this fetish freak show, titled Naked Attraction, I felt sicker than when I opened a can of warm sardines after a new year's bender. Here's the “premise” of this tawdry porn-fest: One unlucky-in-love guy or gal goes, as the trailer teases, “back to basics, [starting] where a good date often ends: naked.” Like the fat kid in a candy store, the contestant stands (at this point clothed themselves) wide-eyed before an array of colorful pods which open incrementally to reveal six figures, all totally starkers, in various sizes and states of shavery. First, screens rise to waist level, exposing a lineup of kitties or c**ks. Next it’s chesticles and pecs. Before finally we're allowed to see that largely irrelevant part of the human anatomy: You know: the face.

NEARLY ONE-THIRD of California’s wildfire fighting force is made of incarcerated people, more and more of them women, who put their lives on the line to save forests, people, homes, businesses and entire communities across the state. They got paid less than $5 a day for this dangerous work and found that upon their release from prison, they were prohibited from becoming firefighters. — Jeffrey St. Clair

SHERIFF KENDALL spoke about Fort Bragg’s CARE unit at the Supervisors Tuesday meeting (under "public expression"):

There's been a lot of talk about homeless issues and things like that. I had the opportunity to meet with Chief Cervenka this week regarding some of those issues, specifically Fort Bragg’s CARE response unit. There are a lot of different issues that surround these problems. If we look at them like a wheel, there are several spokes in the wheel. In some cases a proactive response has done very well for us with some of the behavioral health things. Fort Bragg's program is different from what we put in with our dual response unit [crisis van]. But there is overlap. We are having some discussions. I am talking to the Chief there and our deputies on the coast. If we try to build out the wheel there are a lot of spokes to put in place. I am not 100% on everything that's going on with this. But so far everything is looking pretty good. The difference between a proactive response and a reactive response is the personnel time that is saved. We don't have people digressing to places where they should not be. There are a lot of things that bring these issues together. Narcotics abuse, behavioral health. Problems with the social fabric. There are several things I've seen over the years where I could have predicted the outcome based on the environment people were in. When we start looking at all of these things and taking a deeper dive we will get more of a proactive approach to stop the problem before it becomes a problem. We will continue working with Chief Cervenka on these things. And I will report in. We will see what we can do together. … The fact that we have been able to reduce the transport of 5150s by almost 60% in two years is part of that proactive versus reactive approach. It is good for my deputies and it frees us up to deal with things like the weekend we just had. You can only get 5 gallons of work in a 5 gallon bucket, not 12. We will have more information on this in the next month or so. I'm a little busy right now. As we slow down heading into winter I think we will have time to get deeper into this. When the weather changes into winter we will have more interactions with folks which will give us more data to work off of.

JONAH RASKIN'S EXCELLENT ‘MUSINGS ON COMMUNISM & ANTI-COMMUNISM.’ “I am not now, nor have I ever been…” was an excellent look back at a terrible time in American history, and reminded me that around age twenty or so when I got to know communists as a wide-eyed member of the Congress On Racial Equality (CORE) in San Francisco. All I knew then about the left was what I'd read in Dos Passos' USA Trilogy, but even as inchoate as my political thinking was, and it was hardly thinking so much as emotional horror at race hatred and its manifestation in the Bay Area as strict segregation, all I knew first hand was that my black high school teammates lived in Marin City, and we never saw each other outside the fields of play. Now that everyone's a liberal, it's hard to imagine how thoroughly retro and vicious race relations were in the late fifties, early sixties. Those first CORE demos never drew more than three or four hundred or so foot soldiers, the boldest of whom were arrested and roughly handled by the forces of law and order. One demo at Auto Row on Van Ness saw my brother and my then-girlfriend lock themselves into a shiny new vehicle in the sales window of a dealership where no black people were permitted to hold jobs where they were visible — ditto for all the Frisco hotels. The cops had to cut bro and girlfriend out with bolt cutters. There were so few “reds” that SF still maintained a Red Squad into whose files your name and photograph would be lodged if you were a recurring presence among the bolshies. I managed to acquire an FBI file, a copy of which I still have somewhere which, among other major errors in my modest contributions to racial righteousness, the feds placed me at the infamous events in Selma, 1965. In fact, I was in a tiny village on the South China Sea in the Borneo state of Sarawak with the first wave of Peace Corps volunteers. My leftwing associations a few years earlier had gotten me quite a grilling by the Peace Corps before they cleared me for placement overseas. I've never met a communist I didn't like, and now that they're extinct, I miss them.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR STONERS: A massive Danish study based on nearly 7 million health records drew a strong correlation between heavy cannabis use and increased risk of schizophrenia in young men. 

“ZOOM TROLLS have flooded recent public meetings from Santa Rosa to Ukiah to Walnut Creek, subjecting people to racist, anti-Semitic rants that are difficult to curb without impacting public discourse.” Santa Rosa Press Democrat last week. Some anonymous cretin zoomed into a meeting of the Mendo supervisors a couple of weeks ago, enlivening the turgid proceedings with an N-word barrage.

ZOOM may have been useful during the worst of Covid, so why not require people to show up in person? That would end the Zoom prob. How many people use it to get an unheard word in with the Supes anyway?


A Reader Writes: This is regarding an incident at the Fort Bragg Library with the Head of the Library, and a Clerk on his staff.

About a week ago, I hit a glass bottle left in the street by the sidewalk, and shattered it.

Apologetically, and somewhat embarrassed, I went inside, and asked the Clerk if she had a broom, and dust pan, I could use to sweep the glass. She said it would be best if the Head of the Library took care of it. I heard her say to him: “She broke a bottle on the street (that's all).”

I exited the library at the same time as the Head Librarian with broom, and dust pan.

I saw him go into the bushes, away from the street, and left of where the incident took place, and merrily called upon him, pointing to the street. He reacted negatively, and asked me to stop yelling at him, and asked me to stop asking him to do more things.

I was shocked. I told him my father had never even raised his voice.

Today, I arrived in my usual merriment, and asked the same Clerk for my book, not on the shelf. She asked me if I had received the letter.

Letter? What letter? “Is it bad?” I asked already sensing it was bad, my heart pounding. She said you better talk to the Head Librarian. He didn't ask me to go into his office, for privacy. No, .in public, and loud enough for patrons to hear, he said: “You have received a letter, and here it is. You are being banned from all branches of Mendocino County libraries, for one month.”


Not at ALL surprised.

As a Sergeant on the FBPD told me, “They have a rep.”

I was standing on the corner, on a public sidewalk outside the library on the corner of Laurel and Whipple smoking a cigarette and being a gardener, I started taking the snails out of the Iris and throwing them in the street.

A woman who worked at the library pulled up in her car and told me to stop smoking as a window “might” be open and to leave the cute snails alone.

I told her THE LAW says I need to be 20 feet from the entrance and snails are invasive, but the LAW was of no concern to her as this was about how she “felt.” I am NOT her husband, son or boyfriend and how she “felt” was of absolutely no consequence to me AT ALL and I sure as hell wasn't going to abide by what SHE wanted. But what she was doing, according to THE LAW, was harassing me on a public sidewalk.

She then started to berate me for throwing the cute snails in the street.

She didn't like her self-appointed authority being challenged and went in and told the head librarian.

He gave me a lecture on killing the cute snails.

I told him they are invasive and destructive as any gardener knows and as he worked in a library, maybe he should educate himself. THAT really pissed him off so he called the police as I had questioned his lack of knowledge.

The police came, rolled their eyeballs and we all had a good laugh and the police left.

The head librarian was furious that the police weren't going to remove me. The woman who had the head librarian call the police, then went out in the street and “rescued” the cute snails and put them BACK in the garden.

ASSESSOR-CLERK-RECORDER KATRINA BARTOLOMIE’S REPORT to the Supervisors (during last Tuesday’s “public expression”): 

We are still in the middle of the conversion of the Williamson Act properties in our new property system. We have been working with data from our old system and discovering in many cases that the data may not have been calculated correctly in the past. We do our part of the tax bills to be sent on through the Auditor's office. We had to do the assessed values so the taxes can go out on time. We encourage the Williamson Act landowners to call our office if they have any questions. We are writing a letter to the Williamson Act property owners that will be sent out in the next week and will be posted on the website with additional information as we discover it. We value our ag land in Mendocino County and we are doing everything to ensure ag growth in our county. We are still working with both the vendor and our information technology (IT) department to get accurate reports to allow us to provide updates for the Board of Supervisors on how many parcels were assessed and the assessed values. Our goal is to send supplemental notices and corrections out on a monthly basis. This will allow us to have a much better knowledge of the assessed value being passed on to the Auditor's office. We were able to send out approximately 1,050 notices in August and September. We feel that with this system that is an amazing feat. We are still moving forward and we continue to move forward on that. We are still trying to get accurate reports through the vendor and through our IT department. We will come up with a good report which looks really good, but the assessed values are just wanting. So we can't release anything until we have a better understanding and better knowledge of this. In November we will be staffed at approximately 86%. That's up from less than 70% that we had a few months ago. We have hired two new appraisers in the last month and they will be onboard by mid-November. Two of our current appraisers passed their appraisal exams last week, and we are recruiting for three employees, two in our personal property division, one clerical and one auditor-appraiser, and one clerical person in the real property division. We continue to discover unassessed structures. We will have them on the tax rolls as we move forward. We have been working with the Golden Gate initiative. We are excited about this. We are looking at our processes, procedures and workflows. They have interviewed staff and we look forward to their recommendations. We are also in the process of conducting an election and that will be November 7 for the city of Fort Bragg. We are working on our March 5 election. We are issuing petitions in lieu of filing fees for those candidates in the First, Second and Fourth districts. We are doing everything we can to get these assessed values out and published. It seems like every time we think we are going uphill, we go downhill. We are working with the CEO's office, County Counsel, the Auditor's office, and our vendor. … Part of our goal is to have a report that has partial numbers on it, of course, and the new owner’s name, the value that is currently on the roll, the new assessed value, and the difference. That difference may not be exactly what's going to hit the tax roll immediately because it has to prorate. Maybe they bought it in the last part of the fiscal year so only one month of that assessed value will hit the current tax roll and then it will be prorated from there on. That's what makes it so difficult. We can tell you that we assess another $30 million, but that's not necessarily what will hit the tax roll immediately. It will be the following year and stuff like that. It's difficult to produce an adequate report. During our supplementals we can at least know how many properties were assessed. So we have done 1,050 or a little more in August and September. By the next board meeting we hope to have better reports because IT is amazing. We get a little closer each time, but we are still not to where we are used to having our reports.

A READER WRITES: In regards to the Assessor Report: This is what happens when an office is combined and all the importance is focused on Elections. Ironically we have only found out about this because Bowtie Ted and his fellow Stupidvisors combined another office and then waged personal attacks on the elected Auditor/Treasurer-Tax Collector. Why? Because they don’t like her, it’s that simple. She held people accountable on their budgets and questioned the egotistical DA. Supervisors don’t like this.

* * *

Let’s talk about the Assessor’s Office which over 20 years ago was combined and since has been under the direction of Marsha Wharf, Sue Ranochak and now Katrina Bartolomie. Elections are its sole purpose in the minds of these three and they have allowed the Assessor to lose valuable knowledge and walk out the door. Staffing is at an all-time low because Ms. Bartolomie simply doesn’t care about this part of the office. She is only focused on it now because she has been forced to by Bowtie’s ridiculous rants against Ms. Cubbison. Bowtie Ted has praised this office in the past, REALLY! They are 2 years behind in reassessing properties that have sold. In the end Ms. Bartolomie figured out that if you kiss Bowtie’s back end, it keeps you out of the crosshairs.


Mendocino Air Quality Management District is opening our Woodstove Replacement Program on October 2nd. If you have an older, non-EPA certified stove you may be eligible for a voucher up to $5,000 to replace and install a new EPA certified wood stove or other home heating device such as a pellet stove, natural gas/propane heater. 

For more information please visit the District website and click on the Information/Grants section, or call the District at 707 463 4354.


[1] We took our 9 year-old grandkid cheerleader to cheer at a fifth year local football game. My observation:

Along one side of the stadium was a snack bar. It had all the junk food a sugar addict (like my granddaughter) could want – muffins, candy, etc. My granddaughter saw the snack bar and immediately said, “I need sugar so I can work the game”, forgetting she just had a lot of sugar from all the fruit we fed her for breakfast in order to hopefully prevent her eating junk food. We didn’t let her go the snack bar.

Many of the 9 year old cheerleaders and their brothers and sisters ran right to the snack bar with smiles on their faces. About 2/3’s of the cheerleaders were overweight, and a couple were obese. I hadn’t realized until then how out of shape and fat many of the families were.

Our society is so spoiled. You know how we’re about 9 missed meals away from civil breakdown? Well, yesterday I saw in full force how that will happen.

[2] JARBOE OF THE EEL RIVER RANGERS, an on-line comment: 

I have seen what you are talking about on Jarboe on, I actually have more information on him than is listed in that article. I was looking for direct descendants of his. I know he marries Cynthia Winchester (yes, the rifle people) and he spends his last two years as a justice of the peace for the city of Ukiah and dies in his mid-thirties in Ukiah. I even pulled his will, and his will he leaves his estate to his eight year old son who is noted, however he does not have a name listed for him and there is no birth record of this child. Even the estate in the will does not give a specific location, however having seen his will he was a wealthy man leaving behind 500 head of cattle on an 800 acre estate in Redwood Valley and nearly $20,000 (when that was a lot of money). That is where the trail ran cold, he is buried in Ukiah and nobody in his family is close to him and Cynthia Winchester (Jarboe) which she begins to go by after they got married disappears and I can’t find her anywhere or the two kids. There is one thing about Jarboe I have been able to disprove, if you run across histories of him you will find that when he died most people listed him as having a small funeral with few in attendance, however I find information at the Mendocino County Archive that shows his funeral was one of the largest in Ukiah history at the time with at least 300 people in attendance and to quote the article exactly says “Mourning the loss of a great man.” What a joke! I have been looking for other relatives of the Eel River Rangers as well as the local landowners who helped form them; it has been a very difficult task. It has all been in effort to help write a book about the Yuki People, of which I am a proud member. I was going to call the chapter on Jarboe’s relatives and other Eel River Rangers relatives “What if Hitler had children?” And, to point out the chapter would not include just bashing of relatives, but it would be to point out how bad people can create good people.

[3] Just walking through a Walmart. The number of staggeringly obese people is alarming. Massive people. People so fat they can’t even walk and have to use the little scooters. The scooters barely moving under the stress of their incredible mass. Thin people are a minority now.

Even worse is the fat people, fat women especially, seem to believe they are still thin. They wear “daisy dukes” cut-off denim shorts showing off their flabby, cellulose ridden cottage cheese legs. They also wear tank tops and midriff shirts where their massively tattooed love handles flop over their “daisy dukes.”

At some point that woman put on those tiny shorts and short tank top, looked in the mirror and thought to themselves “Damn, I look good!”

Or, as my wife often says, “they just stopped caring a long time ago.”

Either way, I have seen things that my mind cannot unsee and I didn’t go looking for it.

It’s really bizarre. To be fat is becoming cool.

[4] It’s odd, I don’t talk about it much because I can see the eye rolling, the “tuning out”. People no longer can conceive of a supernatural God. They believe in the most utter BS, the most preposterous, obvious lies, but will not consider that just maybe there are things beyond their comprehension that truly exist. “Organized religion” has been so thoroughly demonized and infiltrated by evil agents, that jaded people are embracing communism, paganism and satanism. We are seeing this most plainly in the treatment of children, and the erasure of women…by women! I wonder why God chose to reveal Himself to me, as I am certainly not very virtuous, or worthy. I WAS searching, reading everything from “The Celestine Prophecy”, to Charles Stanley, so maybe that’s it, idk. But, yeah. Increasingly, Scripture makes sense, where before it was gibberish. To the degree you seek Him, you get “eyes to see, ears to hear”. And that involves admitting your own insignificance, sinfulness, and need for God.

[5] OPEN BORDER? There is no “Open Border” policy. The only significant differences between Trump’s policies and Biden’s is that Title 42 expulsions had to end because the pandemic was declared ended and they aren’t forcibly separating families that cross.

That’s it. Detentions and deportations are up because the influx from various countries around the world is rising. I wonder why all those people are struggling so hard to get to the US when all I hear from folks like you is that Biden is destroying the country? Evidently the rest of the world disagrees.

You cannot have an impenetrable border unless you are willing to create something like the DMZ between North and South Korea with mines, fences, guard towers and automatic weapons. And that’s more to keep North Koreans in than anyone else out. Even that isn’t impenetrable as was recently demonstrated. Is that what you’re looking for in the US? Because it sure seems like it. 

[6] For the last 49 consecutive months, over a million guns were purchased – mostly by people who know how to use them – many ex-military. That’s 49 million.

Add that to the 100’s of millions of existing weapons (and stockpiled ammo). When things go kinetic, we’ll be fine. The firefights will be asymmetric – no more set-piece battles.

With regard to 2nd Amendment and why it was written? We’re the last remaining “free” country not under authoritarian rule. We’re becoming less “free”, and it’ll be our choice whether we lose it all or not.

2nd Amendment, as long as it lasts, at least gives us that choice.

[7] Without significant reforms to reign in the donor class it is hard to see much of a future for the American political system. Americans will do fine, working around their corrupt government. The government system, however, will likely implode like that private submersible, from the unsustainable pressure of so much grift.

[8] A genuine draft (one that wasn’t patently rigged from the start) would finally put some spine in the US electorate. That’s why they got rid of it post-Vietnam. It was far more lucrative to just ruin the economy, such that the military was the best option for young men of modest means coming out of high school. I was one of them. Tightening up admissions standards and putting a stop to student loan extortion might be a better option for finding college aged recruits, but then a lot of college “educators” and administrators would have to find a real job again too. I think it’s more likely that the military will just continue to ramp up the “high tech” boondoggles. Far more lucrative for everyone involved, especially since actually “winning” a conflict is never the goal in the first place.

[9] The newspaper that was…

Lindy Peters: 

I delivered the SF Chronicle in Davis, California in the mid-60’s. The papers were dropped-off in a wired bundle at about 4 am and you had to wake-up and tightly tri-fold each paper, place a rubber band around each one and then load up a two-sided sack that slung over your shoulders via a strap on either side and San Francisco Chronicle emblazoned across the front. Then you jumped on your bike and had to finish your delivery by 6:30 am. I can tell you right now there weren’t any 12 page newspapers back then. And the Sunday edition? By God it must’ve weighed at least 3 pounds. This was 365 days a year through the cold, the rain, the barking dogs and no adults around to help you if you struggled out there. And during school year you did all this before your first class. It was truly a great first job that taught you time management, responsibility and resourcefulness. So along with the journalists and newspapers themselves, the entry level job known as the paper-boy has also vanished.

Mitch Clogg:

First job I got here, on this coast, was the 2 A.M. Chron, delivered, strangely, from the front seat of my Chrysler to the various woodsy subscribers. That was 1985. By the time I refilled the gas tank each day, there was little left for bacon & beans.

Marshall Newman:

Minor followup. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation,” published September 29, 2023, paid circulation to the paper has fallen from 63,091 to 43,538 – a decline of 31% – in one year.

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