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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023

Beach View | Clearing | Ivan Wood | AVUSD News | Giauque Case | Philo Felines | Local Nonprofits | KZYX Birthday | Mental Crisis | White House | Our Town | New Settlers | Turtle Heart | Dress Codes | Realtor Gathering | Vertical Mural | Featured Artist | Sheriffs Luncheon | Ed Notes | Creepy Image | Crackpot Realism | Yesterday's Catch | Speed Cameras | SF Jazz | Mexico City | Ancient Mariner | Your Mind | Complete Siege | Operation Llama | Human Animals | Cake Plus | Israel’s 9/11 | McGas | Ukraine | Greatest Calling | 80s Mom | Airline Lunacy | Kristen Modafferi | California Hills

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Ten Mile Beach (Jeff Goll)

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LINGERING SHOWERS will end early this afternoon. Much colder temperatures will develop tonight, with areas of frost and localized freezes inland. A sharp rebound in tempertures will occur on Thursday with building high pressure and light offshore flow. Light rain will arrive with the next front on Friday through Saturday. The unsettled pattern will remain with additional chances for rain, potentially heavy at times Sunday into at least early next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Wednesday morning I have a foggy 51F & .27" more rainfall. Clear skies into Friday then a slight chance of showers later Friday into Saturday. Another shot of rain on Monday.

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Ivan Wood, 67, of Pocahontas passed away Thursday, October 5, 2023, at St. Bernards Five Rivers Medical Center. He was born in California to the late Thomas “Jack” Wood and Bernice Curbow Wood on May 18, 1956. Ivan Wood grew up in the Anderson Valley and was a graduate of Anderson Valley High School. 

Ivan Wood

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Bernice Wood; Stepmother, Mary Cotton Wood; mother-in-law, Martha Clover Todd; sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Clyde Doggett; sisters-in-law, Patty Greer and Louise Casey.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Gale Wood of Pocahontas; children, Matthew Clover Wood of Pocahontas, Jacob Wood of California and Jackson Wood of Louisiana, Emily (David) Break of Imboden, Chris Ray of Pocahontas; grandchildren, Chloe, Carl and Caton Break of Imboden, Cody and Joe Ray of Maynard; siblings, Patsy (Tony) Barragan of California, Thomas “Buddy” Wood of Oregon, Sarah (Willie) Jones and family of Maynard, Melissa (Jeremy) King and family of Pocahontas, and Damion (Paige) Clover and family of South Dakota, Diane Mercer Boner of Iowa; beloved fur babies, Abbie and Beatrice.

There will be a visitation service held on Friday, Oct 13, 2023, 4:00 – 5:00 P.M. with a memorial service starting at 5:00 P.M. All services will be held in the chapel of McNabb Funeral Home. 

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Dear Anderson Valley Unified Community,

Anderson Valley Unified School District received some good news Monday. It will be good for every student at the school, to every parent/guardian/grandparent, to every community member that wants to improve their health and wellness. In short, it is good for Boonville and provides a level of equity in education for our students in relation to state of the art facilities that they have not had for the past 50 years.

Track News Announced at Big Assembly in Panther Gymnasium

Yesterday, we received a grant for $4.7 million dollars from Caltrans to construct an all weather track and soccer/football field on the Junior/Senior High campus. I have been with you two and half years and we have worked together to create equity in education harnessing support from our officials and community members that kids deserve to go to school in facilities just as nice and safe as Healdsburg, Ukiah, and Mendocino. Yesterday was the first step. We will get this done one track, one gym, one dome, one shop at a time. I am a person of fierce hope and belief that our kids deserve that. I sat out on that field two times a day, and said my good wishes for the project to come together for kids. Nothing changes in this world, unless you believe it can change. Together, we will get it done.

A tremendous note of thanks to all of the community members who supported the effort and also to Congressman Jared Huffman’s office for their Letter of Support and to Chris Ventrano for supporting the grant writing process.

Here is the grant award description:

“Anderson Valley Track to Health and Fitness (AVTHF) will provide beautification, enhancement and expansive community fitness opportunities at the present site of 18200 Mountain View Road in Boonville, California. The project centerpiece is a state-of-the-art, all-weather running track and soccer/football field with a rubberized, artificial running surface for track and field athletics, as well as exercise for the whole community. The new track and field will provide a consistent surface unencumbered by adverse weather conditions. The track will be a venue for safe and equitable sporting events for high poverty youth at Anderson Valley Junior Senior High School, accessible for independent soccer league participation, a location for fitness charity/tournament events, and most importantly a place for all residents to achieve their individual wellness and recreation goals, since there are no gyms or workout facilities within a 20-mile radius. The all-weather track will be available before and after school hours including 100% during weekends and summer months.”

Superintendent Simson With Coach John Toohey

You know, I dream, and while this award makes me joyous, I am sad that the Skatepark Award was not funded, which I was certain was a “slam dunk”. I am confident that a local pathway funding source will be found for the skatepark/community park. It just takes one or two donors to make that so… 

We have had lots of hard days in the last two years….Kids without toilets, septic systems dug up, leaky roofs, broken air conditioners, but we have always had the belief that our kids deserve better. We are one step closer to our kids experiencing Better.

With deepest appreciation,

Louise Simson, Superintendent

AV Unified School District

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REDWOOD CLASSIC in Boonville: Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, 2023.

Hi Everyone,

We are preparing for the upcoming Redwood Classic Boys' Basketball Tournament! I am excited to share the details of our tournament format and schedule to ensure everyone is well-prepared for this exciting event.

Tournament Format:

We will have a 12-team tournament divided into 4 pools, with each pool consisting of 3 teams.

Every team will have the opportunity to play a total of 4 games during the tournament.

The first 2 games will be scheduled for either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the pool your team is in.

The remaining 2 games will be played on Friday and Saturday.

Tournament Dates:

The Redwood Classic Boys' Basketball Tournament will run from November 29th through December 2nd, 2023.

Game Times:

The first game of the day from Wednesday to Friday will tip-off at 12:30 PM.

The last game of each day will be scheduled for 8:00 PM.

On Saturday, games will start at 9:30 AM and conclude at 5:00 PM.

There will be 6 games played each day

Tournament Philosophy: 

Our tournament format has been designed with the aim of satisfying our community's desire for a larger tournament while also maintaining the desire for competitive balance. We also want to showcase some of the best basketball teams in the area, and to ensure a set number of games regardless of how you place in the early rounds (an issue in previous 16 team tournaments). We feel as though this format satisfies many of those issues. 

Pool Alignments: 

The pools have been aligned with competitiveness as the primary consideration, and then scheduling logistics second. We have strived to ensure that every team will have, at some point in the tournament, if not throughout the tournament, competitively matched games, with opportunities to take on an ever increasing challenge as cross-pool play begins. 

Ideas? Issues? See a mistake? Let me know! I am sending these brackets out to our teams early this week. Thanks Everyone. 

John W Toohey

Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School

Teacher - Athletic Director - Head Football Coach


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(Part two of a two-part article on the life, disappearance, and search for justice for Chris Giauque – a skinny kid from the Bay Area who built a cannabis empire while fighting for legalization and the tenacity of a parent unwilling to let the legacy of his child fade into the night.)

The Mystery

In the quiet, secluded landscapes of northern California, a chilling mystery haunts the memory of Chris Giauque. Over twenty years ago, late in the afternoon of Saturday, August 9, 2003, Chris left his Salmon Creek home in Southern Humboldt and never returned. On that Saturday, Chris headed out on a journey to meet with a business associate, Ben Lomax, to collect a substantial sum of money owed to him for income generated from a property in the Spyrock region of Mendocino County.

Chris’s father, Bob Giauque, learned of his son’s disappearance two days after his failed return from his scheduled meeting with Lomax. According to Bob, his son’s wife, Becca, notified the family that Chris was missing only after she, Lomax, and a lawyer, reported Chris missing to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

Prior to the sudden disappearance of the cannabis mogul, things appeared to be looking up for the 36-year-old. Having recently been released from federal prison, Chris was eager to start a new chapter in his life and tie up loose ends from his time away. Two weeks prior to his last meeting in Spyrock, Chris had joyously married Rebecca in a grand outdoor wedding in Trinidad, surrounded by friends and family. …

The rest of Part 2:

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Chris Giauque Homicide Case

Listed below are two articles published on the Redheaded Blackbelt (one last week and one today). Readers might find my response to some of the comments interesting. To put it bluntly, they are a direct hit to what really occurred. MendoFever also published an article last week and I presume that they will do so again this week.

(Bob Giauque)

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Part 2 of Making a Difference in our Community

this Sunday, October 15, 4-5:30 PM, Anderson Valley Senior Center

Refreshments served

Come and get acquainted with several of the wonderful nonprofits in our Valley, some you may know and some you may not. Each organization will give a brief overview of what they do and how you can pitch in, if you feel so inclined.

The following organizations will be participating: Anderson Valley Arts, AV Elder Home, AV Foodshed, AV Housing Association, AV Land Trust, AV Jr/Sr High School Service Learning Team, AV Education Foundation, AV Ambulance/ Fire and Hospice of Ukiah.

More info & to RSVP: Anderson Valley Village, (707) 684-9829,

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by Mazie Malone

We as families and individuals living with Serious Mental Illness bear all the hardship and struggle to gain support, treatment and our sanity within a system that fails us at every turn. There also resides stories of inspiration, determination & sheer luck in accessing services, those tales are palatable to everyone & much less frequent. Although the statistics will make you believe people receive necessary care, I am here to point out quite vividly no they do not! If you have an illness no matter physical or mental it requires treatment, whatever the choice of treatment is, when you're lucky enough to even make the choice, the services are beyond inadequate.

The challenges are not insurmountable, they definitely feel that way, and it is extremely frustrating to have to exist within a set of limits that you did not create, the system did. The boundaries set forth are very difficult to maneuver alone, I tried, so many times I tried. All my efforts were met with disdain & rejection. The mental health complex is like a maximum-security prison locking up families on the outside of its walls, trying to claw their way in. People need support and access to care and services as a family unit, when they are fortunate enough to have that connection. So many of our street level people have lost that necessary family system because of Serious Mental Illness & Addiction which can cause episodes of anger & rage along with many other behavioral & mood disturbances. Supporting & advocating for the individual also means caring for the family as a whole which will ease the burden on the community and the meager resources we have.

Have you ever had to ask for help in a Mental Illness Crisis? What happened? What could be done to create a better experience for you and your family member? Do you feel comfortable calling Law Enforcement for help? Have you called 988, for yourself or a loved one?

When my loved one experienced paranoia and delusions, it was scary and devastating and I truly thought as naive as I was that when you called for help, in a crisis, help arrived. Boy was I wrong, it did not. I got the run around the it's someone else's job, not our responsibility, no intervention, only complete ignorance of the devastation we faced. I am not comfortable with the idea that we as families are on repeat in a never-ending cycle of the failures of the mental health care system. There are many stories of this fact but in particular the one that haunts me is when I was told by the ER doctor in no uncertain terms, he had his first psychotic break! WTF? Those were the scariest words I had ever heard, and I honestly was not even sure what exactly they meant but I knew it was bad! What I did recognize was the cold matter of fact way the ER doctor made it seem like no big deal happens all the time! To her of course it happens all the time at the ER during her 12-hour shifts. It is an unfortunate condition to become indifferent to the suffering of those you are charged with helping. It was such a confusing time with no one to help us through the tangled maze we were trapped in.

I truly hope if you find yourself or your loved one in a crisis due to Mental Illness you get the necessary support or intervention. Whatever you do, stay strong, reach out and do not give up! Things do get better; it takes patience and perseverance!

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Navarro Home on Rt 128 (Jeff Goll)

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An original adaptation of the Thornton Wilder classic 

Mendocino Theatre Company is proud to announce Green Space Players’ adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s classic play, Our Town, directed by Director of Education, Lorry Lepaule and starring a cast of eleven local young actors. The play runs October 25, 26, 27, 28, at 7:30 and Sunday, October 29 AT 2:00 PM. Tickets are $15. 

Green Space Players (GSP) is the new youth program of Mendocino Theatre Company. In addition to play profusion’s such as Our Town, GSP also offers year round classes & workshops for youth and adults. More information can be found at 

About The Our Town Project 

The GSP adaption produced depicts selected scenes from each of the three acts of the original play. These have been developed through a series of classes and workshops with Lorry Lepaule conducted over the period of the past six months. 

Although Our Town is frequently done in high schools as an American classic, it is not always the easiest play to appreciate or to perform. The story takes place more than a 100 years ago, there are no great conflicts or exacting plot devices and no props or set to speak of. Rather, Our Town, widely considered to be one of America’s greatest plays, is a simple and moving character study, a story of plain folks living their lives and finally experiencing mortality. This young GSP cast, with their insight and semifinal intelligence, makes this protocol of Our Town a seems humorous, but always endearing and poignant slice of life. 


Our Town consists of three disaffect parts: ACT 1: Daily Life; ACT 2 Love and Marriage; and ACT 3 Death and Eternity.ACT 1 begins at daybreak in Grover's Comers, New Hampshire, on May 7, 1901. The Stage Manager (who is the narrator of the story) gives the layout of the town and focuses on the houses of the two families who provide much of the Acton of the play, the Webb and Gibbs families. Dr. Gibbs is returning home from delivering twins, Joe Crowell delivers the morning newspaper, and Howie Newsome makes his rounds delivering milk. The Webb children, Emily and Wally, and the Gibbs children, George and Rebecca, appear for breakfast in their houses and get themselves ready for school. The second part, Act 2, takes place three years later beginning on the morning of July 7, 1904. The town is abuzz about George and Emily’s wedding. The embers of love between George and Emily first seen in the play’s first act have now blossomed and hope is in the air. Act Three opens in a graveyard. The Stage Manager tells the audience that nine years have passed. When the funeral procession enters, Mrs. Gibbs reveals that it is the funeral of her daughter-in-law, Emily. 

GSP Cast And Crew In GSP protocol Emily is played by FT Bragg Advocate Local Hero, Sara Rose. The rest of the eleven member cast is as follows: Katan Sosnovec as Stage Manager, Mr. Morgan, Sam Craig; Ethan Zartman as Doc Gibbs; August Haye as Joe Crowell, Wally Webb, Constable Warren Joe Stoddard; Alexander Foreman as Mrs. Gibbs; Zarayah as Rebecca Gibbs and Mrs. Soames; Vale Gauthier as Mrs. Webb; Aiden Miller as George Gibbs; Silas Faulk as Mr. Webb; Colter Peckham as Simon Samson; and Mason Ogelsby as Man Among there Dead. 

The Our Town producFon team consists of: Stage Management and Sound by Zachary Taylor; Costumes by Susan Collins; Lifang by Dave Gealey 

Our Town runs October 25 - October 29 Performances are Thursday - Saturday at 7:30PM and most Sundays at 2:00PM Tickets Price: $15 

Please visit or telephone the Box Office at 707-937-4477 for more informant and to purchase Fetes. Tickets are on sale now. $15-$30. 

Mailing address: 

Mendocino Theatre Company 

PO Box 800 Mendocino, CA 95460 

Office Telephone: 1-707-937-4477 STUDENT 

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THE NEW SETTLER INTERVIEW (complete collection of 157 issues)

Beth Bosk & R.D. Deines, 1985-2017. Magazine. Complete run of the 8x11.5 inch journal, all in very good condition; earlier issues evenly toned. Reflecting the multifaceted experiences of Northern California's 'Emerald Triangle.' . . . The Solar Executive, who has built a legitimate million-dollar enterprise while government helicopters hover over the back-forty, searching for marijuana. The Dowser, great-great-grandson of an American president, who finds water without stepping between homesteaders and their karma. The Bioregionalist, who squeezes fish semen into a bucket of eggs, releasing the young males upstream as he celebrates the salmon as a totem. The Schoolteacher, whose conscientious conversations about herbal abortifacients with her students make her the target of a witch hunt. The Eagle Scout, who exchanges his Boy Scout uniform for woolen cargo pants and becomes the Robin Hood of the Headwaters forest. In the midst of runaway history. The natural builders who made the region a bastion of treading-lightly-on-the-landscape, and stuck around in later decades." 

Packed for mailing in 4 Medium Priority Mail boxes.

Price: $1,250.00 

represented by Bolerium Books, S.F. 

Alexander Akin (

Or contact us directly. We'll deliver in Mendocino, Humboldt, Sonoma counties —beth bosk 707.937-5703

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“MOST PEOPLE were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too.” 

“It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.” 

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” 

“Why do old men wake so early? Is it to have one longer day?”

― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

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THE RECENT DISCUSSION of dress codes in the local schools reminded me of the time in the early 70s when I was stationed at the US Air Force Plant Represenative Office at the McDonnell-Douglas plant in St. Louis. It was a good example of the unintended consequences of dress codes. At that time, one of the “mod” male clothing styles in vogue was the wide-collared print shirt with double knit pants.

(Approximation of Outfit)

My “wardrobe” at the time was mostly the US Air Force formal dress uniform: coat & tie at the office, plus a few casual street clothes. Civilian coat and tie was in limited supply. My girlfriend at the time, Chris, a St. Louis high school music teacher, wanted me to take her out to dinner for her birthday at a fancy-ish restaurant in a St. Louis suburb. I put on my “mod” outfit for the occasion. When we got to the restaurant the maitre-d said they had a dress code that required men to wear formal coat and tie. I didn’t really like the place much due to its faux formality, so I gladly turned to Chris and suggested we change plans and go to a less formal eatery. The maitre-d didn’t want to lose a customer so he suggested I go into their coat room and use their loaner coats and ties. Upon entering the large closet, I discovered that they had only one coat and tie left on the rack, a large red XXXL blazer and a long and very wide blue tie. I told Chris they didn’t have anything my size and again suggested going elsewhere. But she and the maitre-d had their minds made up that we would eat here. By this time the situation had become somewhat of a joke. So I smiled and tied the giant blue tie loosely around my neck. My print shirt had no top button so the tie just hung around my bare neck and dangled down to below my belt. Then I put on the giant red coat which hung down to my knees. The sleeves extended well beyond my hands so I rolled up the cuffs.

It was a clownish outfit, to say the least. The maitre-d didn’t bat an eye seeing that his dress code had now been met, goofy as it obviously was. He motioned us into the dining area where I soon saw why the oversized coat and tie were all they had left: All the other men in the dining room had similar on ill-fitting red coats and blue ties. We all got a big laugh out of it as I sat down to eat at the only available table, grinning at my fellow redcoat clowns. But the maitre-d and Chris didn’t see the humor. Chris never let me forget my fashion faux pas for the rest of the time I dated her.

(Mark Scaramella)

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CARS REimagine

by Anne Fashauer

A couple of weeks ago I attended the California Association of Realtor’s annual conference, entitled REImagine! I had never attended one of these events previously; in fact, the only similar event I did was to go to a Century 21 event in my first two years working in real estate. Between the craziness of the Covid market, which was so hectic, the loss of my mom and then the slow-down in the real estate market of the past year, I was feeling the need to be re-inspired. I reached out to my good friend Sheri to see if she would join me and with her yes, we went.

This year the event was held in Anaheim, quite close to Disneyland. We booked a hotel just a five minute walk away, which was great because it ensured we at least got a little exercise at the beginning and end of each day. We waited too long to book our flights, so we ended up flying out of San Francisco instead of Santa Rosa, but the timing of the flights was good as we both drove down and back in between the worst of the traffic.

Sheri has attended quite a few of these events over the years. She has been involved in her local Realtor’s association and those roles often required attendance at the business end of things. While the rest of us were going to workshops or checking out the expo floor, officers and committee members from the various associations were in their own meetings, starting early in the morning and often running into the evening. From the minute we got in the car together and really, until we got in the car to drive home, all our talk was about real estate (we finally ran out of that on the way home and talked about our grandchildren!). Sheri is super professional, wise beyond her years, very inspiring and just a lot of fun. We have known each other since we were in grammar school in Elk, so pretty much all of our lives, though there were years in there after high school where we weren’t in touch. When I started in real estate I worked at Century 21 in Mendocino and she was my office-mate.

We arrived in Anaheim on Monday afternoon and walked down to the convention center to check that out and see how long a walk it was. We also found a convenience store to get a couple of gallons of water since neither of us was interested in drinking the stuff out of the tap with the chlorine we aren’t used to tasting. We opted for dinner in our hotel and an early night in preparation for the coming few days. One oddity at dinner was the robot who delivered our food. We had lots of regular waitstaff as well and when we asked were told it was supposed to be more hygienic to have the food delivered by the robot; in any case, a human had to take the plates off the robot’s tray and set it in front of us. It made for an amusing time at least.

Tuesday was the first day, but an optional one. There were several paid events and Sheri and I had chosen the Broker’s Conference. This was a day packed with many different speakers, most focused on office management and recruitment, but a couple of updates on risk management and on the increasing use of artificial intelligence. 

Wednesday and Thursday were the main days of the conference. I noticed that Wednesday was better attended than Thursday and my hunch is that because we were in Southern California there were a lot of agents who drove in for the day. Sheri and I attended workshops mostly together on both days but we did a couple of separate ones and then shared notes. We also made our way through the expo, mainly to do the “treasure hunt” so we could be included in the raffle at the end of both days (we didn’t win anything, but there were some really nice prizes). After that was done, we then went to two District meetings where we saw our association in action and that was very interesting. 

The District we are part of includes Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Solano Counties. These one hour sessions at the end of the day brought together everyone who had attended various business meetings throughout the day to do reports to the whole. The big issue had to do with raising annual dues and it was contentious but civilized and it was fascinating to listen in. Instead of CAR being this amorphous blog out there I saw the people behind it and the work involved and I quite liked it.

On Wednesday evening we had signed up for a trip to Disneyland’s California Adventure. We boarded buses that dropped us off and were guided through the entrance and along to a special area set aside for us inside the park. There we had a tapas-style dinner and then were free to roam the park. We walked all over, but the timing wasn’t great - some of the rides were closed for the day and the ones that were open had 30-60 minute waits, which would have taken up most of our evening. We found that the carousel was only a five minute wait, so we decided to laugh it up on the whimsical characters there - I ended up on a skunk facing the wrong way!

On the Thursday evening Sheri and I were invited to join the our District for a lovely dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It was a chance to get to know some of these agents from other areas a little better plus we were very well fed. It was a wonderful end to a busy week. 

Overall, I am very glad I went to this conference. I felt a learned a lot, but most importantly, it did reinvigorate me and re-inspire me to dive back into my work as a real estate broker. The conference provided me with valuable insights into the latest trends and best practices in the industry, which I am excited to apply to my work. I am confident that these new ideas will help me better serve my clients from now and into the future.

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Grand Dame of Main Street, 1895 (Jeff Goll)

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Margaret Paul November Featured Artist at Cloud Nine Art Gallery

Event: November Featured Artist at Cloud Nine Art Gallery
Who: Margaret Paul, Fine Silver and Sterling Jewelry
When: Friday, November 3, from 5 - 8
Where: Cloud Nine Art Gallery, 320 N. Franklin Street, Fort Bragg

Join us for a celebration of Margaret's work. She will give a brief talk with a Q&A at 6pm. Enjoy a glass of bubbly, light refreshments and guitar background music as you view the remarkable original paintings, the woodworking marvels, the unique metal sculptures, imaginative photography, and silver jewelry, all on display at Cloud Nine.

In her own words: “After a decade of art adventures with ceramics, I discovered the wonders of working with silver. My love of antique sterling flatware led to creating spoon, fork jewelry. Along the way, I discovered precious metal clay and the endless possibilities therein. It's pure joy to create a .999 fine silver piece of jewelry from scratch. My latest “Wear Your Passion” series has been very popular.”

Cloud Nine Art Gallery is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12 - 5.

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We had a great turnout yesterday for our 1st Annual Deputy Sheriffs Association Community Luncheon. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and a huge thank you to Big Earl with Big Earl’s BBQ for preparing all the food. We hope to see you all at the next one!

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I had a good time at the 1st Annual Deputy Sheriffs Association Community Luncheon this Saturday. It was a good opportunity to meet our local deputies and hear first hand about the job they do. 

Law enforcement is a fundamental component of public safety. The officers that work keeping our community are doing a very hard, sometimes thankless, job and deserve our appreciation and support.

I had a good follow up conversation this morning with Sheriff Matt Kendall about the challenges his deputies, and all law enforcement, are facing. We are asking officers to handle more than what has traditionally been expected of them and in many cases, to do jobs they are not trained to do. Police officers are not social workers, they are not mental health workers but they are increasingly seeing these issues be put on their plate while often facing unfair criticism over how these situations are handled. 

One of the number one jobs of the County Board of Supervisors is public safety. Most of the Sheriff's Department funding comes from the County General Fund. As a supervisor, I commit to supporting the Sheriff's Department with the funding they need as well as work to find funding for programs such as the Crisis Response Unit in Ft Bragg. 

It's the BOS responsibility to act in the best interest of our community. When they have the ear of our representatives at the state and federal level, they need to remind them of what our priorities are, especially when they are not being sufficiently funded. Sometimes special grants or programs come out at the state or federal level with funding available. This money is not “free money,” this is our tax dollars. Our tax dollars should be first used to support priorities, such as public safety. Until those needs are fully met, we shouldn't take this “free money,” we should say “I appreciate the offer but have to respectfully decline. My community has priorities that are not being met. Please come back with the funding we need and we will gladly accept it.”

A County Supervisor's job is to be frugal with the taxpayers’ money and make sure our basic priorities are met before spending money on frivolities.

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PITY TREVOR MOCKEL, a young man who probably thought he'd won a ticket to ride when he briefly went to work at nebulous tasks for State Senator Mike McGuire, himself tapped by anonymous Democratic Party shot callers to run for state office out of Healdsburg. 

McGUIRE'S bona fides? None. He'd served on the local school board, but he had day-glo teeth, an eager manner, the vaporous, see-through personality commonly found in sociopaths, and he could be depended on to be on board for whatever schemes his installers told him to ratify. McGuire even came up with a scam on his own — The Great Redwood Trail — presently and forever a couple of miles of redwood-free pavement running through Ukiah's industrial backyard, planned to someday culminate in the town's sewage treatment plant.

PREDICTABLY, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, all five of them enthusiastic Democrats, have promoted The Great Redwood Trail, and metaphorically and, literally in some cases, swoon whenever McGuire, or his twin from cipherdom, State Assemblyman Jim Wood, another gift of Healdsburg, visit Ukiah to offload vague platitudes about how our Supervisors are steadfastly marching into a future of.... Well, Joe Biden.

McGUIRE'S been term-limited out of his State Senate sinecure, but don't worry about the little fella. Like our resonant reps of yesterday — please stand — Wes Chesbro, Dan Hauser, Patti Berg — McGuire will land on some nebulous state board that pays a couple hundred thou a year for attending a meeting every month or so, time off for the Christmas holidays.

AS A PARTING gift to Mendocino County, McGuire had hoped to give us Trevor Mockel as 1st District Supervisor. Mockel's bona fides? None, but then the resumes of the five Mendo supervisors are similarly thin other than being local Democrats who faithfully attend the Labor Day Picnic in Ukiah notable for its absence of working people.

SO, McGuire called 5th District supervisor Ted Williams to direct Williams to endorse Mockel for the 1st District seat. Mockel would succeed one-termer Glenn McGourty of the Wine Industry and the Potter Valley Diversion. Prob was Mockel hadn't even signed up to run for the seat, but Williams, eager to run an important errand for a State Democrat, directed his four lockstep colleagues to a joint announcement that they were four-square behind Trev, nevermind that he wasn't yet a candidate, and nevermind the Board of Supervisors is supposed to be free of partisan taint.

WILLIAMS' GAFFE was useful, though, in revealing how for granted Mendocino County is taken by the Democrats as their little fiefdom, on board for whoever and whatever the state party cares to shove down Mendo's inattentive gullett. 

THE 5TH DISTRICT supervisor has done us a favor. Maybe. 1st District voters are now aware that the Democrats, contemptuous of all democratic processes, tried to foist off McGuire's guy on Mendocino County simply because he was McGuire's guy.

THE GAZA STRIP, in which the Israelis have sequestered more than 2 million Palestinians, is about the same size as Anderson Valley, which has a year-round population of around 3,000 or so. Gaza, like Anderson Valley, is about 25 miles long and between 4 and 7 miles wide, totaling about 140 square miles. Also, like Anderson Valley, the Gaza Strip has one main road running down the middle of its relatively short length. What the Anderson Valley doesn't have is 2 million souls jammed into its 90,000 acres.

JUST IN: Gaza will become a 'tent city', an Israeli defense official has vowed, promising to raze every building to the ground in revenge for Hamas' terror attacks at the weekend as the military forms up on the border ahead of an expected invasion. In the early hours of Wednesday, Israeli forces conducted 250 airstrikes in just one hour across northern and eastern parts of the Gaza strip to pave the way for a massive ground operation. Now, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the outfit is sending 'infantry, armoured soldiers, artillery corps', plus 300,000 reservists 'close to the Gaza Strip to execute the mission that we have been given by the Israeli government'. 'That is to make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won't have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians,' he said. Meanwhile, Border Guard forces engaged in a gun battle with Hamas terrorists in the southern cities of Sderot and Ashkelon last night and into this morning, now four days after the Palestinian militant group launched its surprise attacks on the Jewish state. Elsewhere, three Israeli soldiers were killed in a confrontation with 'terrorist infiltrators' to the north on the frontier with Lebanon, where Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters and elements of Lebanon's Hezbollah had launched a smattering of attacks. 

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The celebratory image of the two hideous ‘partners’ in the Israeli bloodletting horror inflicted by some depth of evil too huge and vicious to even hear the cries of agony and desperation, let alone care, is bad enough, but the interlocking of their victorious gesture with the Star of David lays claim to the entire philosophically anguished realm of religious patriotism that is destroying the world. Kudos to the artist because I must say, that is just fucking creepy.

(Betsy Cawn)

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Twenty-three years after one of America's stupidest Presidents announced Star Wars, Reagan's dream has come true. Behind ramparts guarded by a coalition of liars extending from Rupert Murdoch to the New York Times, from Bill O'Reilly to PBS, America is totally shielded from truth.

Here we have a Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who gazes at the rubble of Lebanon, 300,000 refugees being strafed with Israel's cluster bombs, and squeaks happily that we are “witnessing the birth pangs of a new Middle East.”

Here we have a president, G.W. Bush, who urges Vladimir Putin to commence in Russia the same “institutional change” that is making Iraq a beacon of freedom and free expression. Not long after Bush extended this ludicrous invitation, the UN relayed from Iraq's Ministry of Health Iraq's real casualty rate, which was running at least 100 a day, now probably twice that number.

“Crackpot realism” was the concept defined by the great Texan sociologist, C. Wright Mills in 1958, when he published ‘The Causes of World War Three,’ also the year that Dwight Eisenhower sent the Marines into Lebanon to bolster local US factotum, Lebanese President Camille Chamoun.

“In crackpot realism,” Mills wrote, “a high-flying moral rhetoric is joined with an opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands. … The expectation of war solves many problems of the crackpot realists; … instead of the unknown fear, the anxiety without end, some men of the higher circles prefer the simplification of known catastrophe… They know of no solutions to the paradoxes of the Middle East and Europe, the Far East and Africa except the landing of Marines. … They prefer the bright, clear problems of war — as they used to be. For they still believe that ‘winning’ means something, although they never tell us what…”

Israel's hack legions here in the US recycle the usual mad nonsense about extirpating the terrorist seed, just as they did in 1982, when Henry Kissinger, the crackpot realist supremo, announced after that onslaught that he could see “a fresh beginning” emerging from under the rubble. True in a way. What sprouted from under the rubble was Hezbollah. Only crackpot realists think they can suppress that inevitable cycle.

(Alexander Cockburn, September, 2006)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Birmisa, Esquivel, Gonzalez

ROOT BIRIMISA, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, misdeanor hit&run with property damage.

EDWARD ESQUIVEL JR., Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, petty theft, narcotics, suspended license, resisting, failure to appear.

JUAN GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Battery with serious injury, resisting.

Jursek, Lawrence, Lopez

GERALD JURSEK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence, paraphernalia, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

JUAN LOPEZ, Ukiah. County parole violation.

Marks, Ricci, Vanhorn

JOHN MARKS JR., Ukiah. Petty theft, suspended license for DUI.

FALYNN RICCI, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, disobeying court order.

DANIEL VANHORN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

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Dear Constituents:

Every year, over one thousand Californians die in tragic speed-related collisions. These deaths are completely preventable. 

Speed limits aren’t just suggestions – the evidence is clear that lives are saved when vehicles slow down. A person struck by a car going 20 miles per hour has a 5% chance of dying, versus an 80% chance of dying when that car is traveling 40 miles per hour.

During my years in the Legislature, I spearheaded the push to allow a handful of California cities to pilot automated speed enforcement, a basic measure used by over 200 American cities outside of California. Time after time, automated speed enforcement has been proven to reduce speeding, crashes, injuries, and fatalities, especially on corridors with a history of injuries and deaths.

Automated speed enforcement also removes racial bias in traffic enforcement and reduces the chance that a police traffic stop can escalate into a dangerous situation.

When I left the Legislature, our coalition of transportation experts, first responders, emergency room doctors and families of victims killed by speed-related crashes worked with Assembly Transportation Committee chair Laura Friedman to continue our fight to save lives. At this moment, AB 645, the successor to my original bill, sits on the Governor’s desk. 

Please join us in asking Governor Newsom to sign AB 645 – to encourage him to keep us all safe.

David Chiu

San Francisco City Attorney

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SFJAZZ's 2023-24 SEASON features over 300 shows from September 2023 through May 2024 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood. 

Highlights this season include Samara Joy, Shakti, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Van Morrison, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Miller, The Manhattan Transfer's final tour, Chris Botti, Lila Downs, Chucho Valdés & Irakere 50, Julian Lage, Brandee Younger, Ravi Coltrane and many more!

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MEMORY AND REVOLUTION IN MEXICO CITY - Mexico City Streets Social movements claim public space in one of the largest cities in the Americas. by David Bacon The Progressive - October 9, 2023

Every morning, taxi drivers in Mexico City weave through traffic while tuning in to radio announcements of marches and demonstrations. Protests-colorful, loud, and insistent-are a constant presence throughout the metropolis of 8.5 million people. Over the years, it has been easy to step out of a downtown hotel in the morning, walk a block up to the Reforma (Mexico City's central avenue), and join the crowds with my camera. Much of the political life of the city is found in the street, and its social movements use public space often as a reminder of earlier protests and actions that gave form to Mexican politics. …

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A GRINGO IN HIS DEGRINGOLADE by Paul Theroux, consolation for all the old men out there:

In the casual opinion of most Americans, I am an old man, and therefore of little account, past my best, fading in a pathetic diminuendo while flashing his AARP card; like the old in America generally, either invisible or someone to ignore rather than respect, who will be gone soon, and forgotten, a gringo in his degringolade. Naturally, I am insulted by this, but out of pride I don't let my indignation show. My work is my reply, my travel is my defiance. And I think of myself in the Mexican way, not as an old man but as most Mexicans regard a senior, an hombre de juicio, a man of judgment; not ruco, worn out, beneath notice, someone to be patronized, but owed the respect traditionally accorded to an elder, someone (in the Mexican euphemism) of La Tercera Edad, the Third Age, who might be called Don Pablo or tio (uncle) in deference. Mexican youths are required by custom to surrender their seat to anyone older. They know the saying: — the devil is wise because he's old, not because he's the devil. But “Stand aside, old man, and make way for the young” is the American way. As an Ancient Mariner of a sort, I want to hold the doubters with my skinny hand, fix them with a glittering eye, and say, “I have been to a place where none of you have ever been, where none of you can ever go. It is the past. I spent decades there and I can say you don't have the slightest idea.”

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Movement of people in and out of Gaza was heavily restricted before the attacks, and now Israel has closed both of its crossings. Egypt’s remained open with limited traffic.

by Emma Bubola & Ben Hubbard

Israel’s defense minister’s order to place a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip came on top of a 16-year blockade that Israel, often along with Egypt, has imposed on the coastal territory.

The announcement by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday that Gaza would receive “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” after a major incursion by Palestinian gunmen left hundreds dead has led aid agencies to warn of an exacerbated humanitarian crisis.

Under the longstanding blockade, the densely populated strip, with more than two million residents, nearly half of whom are under 18 years old, faces severe restrictions on the movements of goods and people.

Most commodities in Gaza, from foodstuffs to construction supplies, are imported from Israel through official border crossings, according to the United Nations. Gaza gets most of its electricity via Israeli power lines, and produces some at a power plant in Gaza with fuel imported from Israel. It receives a smaller number of goods through its much shorter border with Egypt.

Electricity shortages are chronic, with power often available for only 12 to 15 hours per day. That undermines health services, water pumping and purification and the area’s fragile economy, aid workers say.

Movement of people in and out of Gaza was heavily restricted before the attacks, with Israel and Egypt granting small numbers of people permission to travel, mostly for work or medical care.

On Saturday, after Palestinian gunmen began their assault inside Israel, the Israeli authorities stopped supplying electricity, leaving Gaza’s residents with only about three or four hours of power per day, according to the United Nations’ humanitarian office, which said Gaza’s power plant might soon run out of fuel.

Now, Israel has closed both of its crossings with Gaza, the Kerem Shalom Crossing for cargo and the Erez Crossing for people.

“Before things were restricted, now they are blocked entirely,” said Tania Hary, the executive director of Gisha, an Israeli nonprofit that focuses on free movement of Palestinians in Gaza.

Humanitarian officials said that a complete blockade would create more severe suffering for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“Overwhelmed hospitals treating thousands of wounded will now have to do so without reliable access to electricity,” Mahmoud Shalabi, a senior program manager for Medical Aid for Palestinians, a charity based in the U.K., said in an email.

Egyptian officials have not said whether Israel’s announced siege of Gaza would affect their policy toward the movement of goods and people in and out of the territory.

Gaza’s border with Egypt remained open with limited traffic on Tuesday, and truckloads of food, construction material, fuel and emergency medical supplies entered over the weekend. But Egypt also heavily controls the movement of people and goods across its border crossing, opening and closing it in response to security conditions.

Even if Egypt left its crossing open, experts said, it could not fill the gaps left by the complete closure of Israel’s crossings. In 2022, some 32 percent of goods entering Gaza came from Egypt, Gisha said in a report.

(NY Times)

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by Amjad Iraqi

Palestinians and Israelis have grown accustomed to wars in the south in recent years. But the war that began in the early hours of Saturday, 7 October is nothing like the others. In a startling assault, scores or hundreds of Hamas operatives, under a hail of rockets, crossed the Israel-Gaza separation barrier into Israeli towns near the blockaded strip: some seem to have broken through weak points in the metal fences, others went by boat along the Mediterranean coast, some flew paramotors over the walls. A Hamas unit targeted the Erez Crossing, the only civilian checkpoint between Gaza and Israel, seizing it from army control for several hours. By sunrise, Palestinian gunmen were roaming the streets of Sderot, Nir Oz and other kibbutzim, breaking into civilian homes, fighting with security forces and firing in all directions. An overnight desert rave, inexplicably organized in the border region, was also attacked.

By the time the Israeli authorities realized what was happening, ‘Operation al-Aqsa Flood’, as Hamas has called it, had already inflicted a bloody toll. Horrifying stories are emerging of the shootings and kidnappings, with children among the victims. Abu Obaida, the Hamas spokesman, threatened to execute hostages if Israel carried out air strikes with no warnings to civilians. As of yesterday evening, nine hundred Israelis have been reported killed, more than two thousand wounded, and about a hundred abducted to Gaza. Among everything else, this was a disastrous Israeli intelligence and operational failure, regarded as the worst since the Yom Kippur War: it’s surely no coincidence that Hamas launched its incursion on the fiftieth anniversary of that conflict. News is still coming in, but it’s evident that, in terms of non-combatants, this is one of the deadliest massacres in Israeli-Palestinian history.

Disoriented and humiliated, the Israeli military has been rushing to match the death count, killing hundreds of Palestinians with relentless bombing. And it is just getting started. ‘I’ve ordered a full siege of the Gaza Strip,’ the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, declared. ‘No power, no food, no water, no gas, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.’ Other far-right ministers, some of whom have previously advocated for the direct reoccupation of Gaza and a ‘second Nakba’ to expel Palestinians entirely, are screaming for retribution. ‘Get out of there now,’ Benjamin Netanyahu told Gazans in a video statement – a cruel joke to two million people who have been trapped in an overcrowded enclave for sixteen years.

Palestinians are watching all this with a mix of astonishment and paralyzing fear. The sight of Gazans paragliding over Israel’s separation barrier, and walking on land from which their ancestors were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces in 1948, rejuvenated a sense of political possibility. Video montages of militants and armed drones in action have been widely shared on Arabic social media, providing front-row seats to the operation in mimicry of IDF public relations stunts. Other images have also gone viral: a Palestinian bulldozer tearing down a section of the barbed-wire fence; gunmen dancing on the roof of a captured Israeli tank; the Erez Crossing left damaged and burned.

But there is great terror, too. Gazans have been rushing to stock up on food amid the Israeli onslaught, saying goodbye to loved ones in case they never see them again. Families are fleeing from one neighborhood to the next to escape the bombardment. One journalist I work with in Gaza, minutes after submitting an article, texted to say he had to rush his family out of the house because the Israeli army had warned they were about to start firing on the neighborhood.

Many residents, afraid to speak out against Hamas, which has ruled the strip with an authoritarian grip since 2007, are fuming at the Islamist group for exposing them to Israel’s deadliest rampage since at least 2014. Inside Israel, Palestinian citizens are dreading a rerun of the events of May 2021, when Jewish mobs and police forces attacked Arab areas and arrested hundreds of people. A fresh surge of settler attacks, which have been escalating for months, is already underway in the West Bank, all under the army’s watch.

A number of analysts are describing Hamas’s assault as a ‘game changer’. This isn’t an overstatement. The attack will probably do little to roll back Israel’s siege of the strip, which will surely be reinforced with even more cruelty. What it has done, however, is shatter a psychological barrier as consequential as the physical one. Since the end of the Second Intifada, and especially under Netanyahu, Israeli society has tried to insulate itself from the military occupation it has imposed for more than half a century, maintaining a bubble that was only occasionally punctured by rocket barrages or shootings in southern and central Israeli cities. Israel’s mass protest movement, which has been agitating since January against the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, has consciously kept the Palestinian question off its agenda. Apart from a small bloc of anti-occupation protesters, most still clung to the illusion that the current structures of permanent rule could deliver safety for Israelis and remain compatible with their claim to democracy.

That bubble has now irreparably burst. But Israelis, who have been shifting politically rightwards for years, are far from questioning or recalculating their commitment to iron rule. For the far-right demagogues in power – foremost among them the finance minister Bezalel Smotrich and national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir – this is a historical opportunity to fulfil as much of their wish list as possible: the destruction of large parts of Gaza, the elimination of Hamas’s political and military apparatus, and, if possible, the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians into the Egyptian Sinai.

What does Hamas expect from this? Beyond a bombastic speech by its top military commander, Mohammed Deif, calling on all Palestinians to exact a price for a long list of Israeli crimes, it is hard to say. Since the Islamist movement’s takeover of Gaza sixteen years ago, after international sanctions and a civil war with Fatah ousted it from a democratically elected government, armed confrontations with Israel have been Hamas’s default method (and that of other groups such as Islamic Jihad) for negotiating prisoner releases, curbing Jewish worship or police harassment at al-Aqsa Mosque, and easing Israel’s restrictions on goods and people in Gaza.

In recent months, however, Hamas has come under increasing pressure from the Gazan public for failing to meet their basic needs, electricity in particular – a near impossible task under conditions of siege and repeated wars, made worse by corruption and the unequal distribution of limited resources. Beyond Gaza, Israel’s far-right coalition has galvanized the settler movement to assert its ‘sovereignty’ over the West Bank by launching pogroms, building more outposts and chipping away at the so-called status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites. The prospect of a Saudi-Israel normalization deal, vehemently encouraged by the Biden administration, is threatening to remove one of the last geopolitical cards the Palestinian cause still carries.

For Hamas, then, a minor adjustment to the blockade was no longer enough. A spectacle of shock and awe was needed to shake up the political architecture, and they have realized it with terrifying effect. Even with months or years of meticulous planning and secrecy, the degree of success was perhaps as surprising to them as to the Israelis.

But beyond the seismic psychological shift, it is unclear how this assault – against a nuclear-armed, Western-backed, heavily militarized state – can alter a balance of power that has been tipping against the Palestinians for decades. The United States has rushed to provide Israel with material and rhetorical support, and European states have quickly fallen in behind Israel’s defense, sweeping under the rug months of discontent with the far right’s madness. Arab autocrats are more eager to tap into Israel’s economy and security industries than provide Palestinians anything beyond financial aid. The fate of the Palestinian leadership still hangs on the breath of an octogenarian president, Mahmoud Abbas, while fratricidal rivalries continue within Fatah as well as between Fatah and Hamas. The Palestinians are losing leverage fast, and while it is too early to tell, Hamas’s feverish onslaught may not be enough to regain it. At worst, it will backfire catastrophically.

Even so, the assault of October 7 remains symptomatic of a larger untreated condition. In West Bank cities and refugee camps such as Jenin and Nablus, young Palestinians – many of whom were raised under the false promises of the Oslo Accords, signed thirty years ago last month – have been taking up arms and joining local militias unaffiliated with the major political parties. On the streets and online, Palestinian activists no longer care to tiptoe around diplomatic language or references to international laws that have failed them. They reject the amnesiac narrative that their grievances began in 1967 rather than 1948, and that their future lies in a quasi-state on only a fifth of their homeland rather than its entirety. They are tired of apologizing for the use of violence, however ugly, as if violence were not an inherent part of all anti-colonial struggles, as if it were more egregious than the oppressive system they are trying to dismantle, and as if their non-violent efforts at boycotts and diplomacy were not similarly crushed and demonized as ‘terrorism’. For them, the enemy is and has always been a settler colonial movement bent on their erasure. Invoking decolonization shouldn’t entail a zero-sum position that refuses to sympathies with what happened to Israeli families on 7 October, but neither should the killings be an excuse to consolidate Israel’s apartheid regime and abet its wrath.

(London Review of Books)

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by Norman Solomon

When Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations spoke outside the Security Council on Sunday, he said: “This is Israel’s 9/11. This is Israel’s 9/11.” Meanwhile, in a PBS NewsHour interview, Israel’s ambassador to the United States said: “This is, as someone said, our 9/11.”

While the phrase might seem logical, “Israel’s 9/11” is already being used as a huge propaganda weapon by Israel’s government -- now engaged in massive war crimes against civilians in Gaza, after mass murder of Israelis by Hamas last weekend.

On the surface, an analogy between the atrocities just suffered by Israelis and what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 might seem to justify calls for unequivocal solidarity with Israel. But horrific actions are in process from an Israeli government that has long maintained a system of apartheid while crushing basic human rights of Palestinian people.

What is very sinister about trumpeting “Israel’s 9/11” is what happened after America’s 9/11. Wearing the shroud of victim, the United States proceeded to use the horrible tragedy suffered inside its own borders as a license to kill vast numbers of people in the name of retaliation, righteousness and, of course, the “war on terror.”

It’s a playbook that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is currently adapting and implementing with a vengeance. Now underway, Israel’s collective punishment of 2.3 million people in Gaza is an intensification of what Israel has been doing to Palestinians for decades. But Israel’s extremism, more than ever touting itself as a matter of self-defense, is at new racist depths of willingness to treat human beings as suitable for extermination.

On Monday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described Palestinians as “beastly people” and said: “We are fighting animals and are acting accordingly.”

Indiscriminate bombing is now happening along with a cutoff of food, water, electricity and fuel. Noting that “even before the latest restrictions, residents of Gaza already faced widespread food insecurity, restrictions on movement and water shortages,” the BBC reported that a UN official said people in Gaza “were ‘terrified’ by the current situation and worried for their safety -- as well as that of their children and families.”

This is a terrible echo from the post-9/11 approach of the U.S. government, which from the outset after Sept. 11, 2001 conferred advance absolution on itself for any and all of its future crimes against humanity.

In the name of fighting terrorism, the United States inflicted collective punishment on huge numbers of people who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. The Costs of War project at Brown University calculates more than 400,000 *direct *civilian deaths “in the violence of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.”

Early in the “war on terror,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had fashioned a template to provide approval for virtually any killing by the U.S. military. “We did not start this war,” he said at a news briefing in December 2001, two months into the Afghanistan war. “So understand, responsibility for every single casualty in this war, whether they’re innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rests at the feet of the al Qaeda and the Taliban.”

Rumsfeld was showered with acclaim from the U.S. media establishment, while he not only insisted that the U.S. government had no responsibility for the deaths caused by its armed forces; he also attested to the American military’s notable decency. “The targeting capabilities, and the care that goes into targeting, to see that the precise targets are struck, and that other targets are not struck, is as impressive as anything anyone could see,” Rumsfeld said. He lauded “the care that goes into it, the humanity that goes into it.”

Even before its current high-tech attack on Gaza, Israel had amassed a long track record of killing civilians there, while denying it every step of the way. For instance, the United Nations found that during Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” assault, 1,462 Palestinian civilians died, including 495 children.

There’s no reason to doubt that the civilian death toll from the present Israeli military actions in Gaza will soon climb far above the number of people killed by the Hamas assault days ago. As in the aftermath of 9/11, official claims to be only fighting terrorism will continue to serve as PR smokescreens for a government terrorizing and inflicting mass carnage on Palestinians. Deserving only unequivocal condemnation, Hamas’s killing and abduction of civilians set the stage for Israel’s slaughter of civilians now underway in Gaza.

Absent from the New York Times home page Monday night and relegated to page 9 of the newspaper’s print edition on Tuesday, a grisly news story began this way: “Israeli airstrikes pounded Gaza on Monday, flattening mosques over the heads of worshipers, wiping away a busy marketplace full of shoppers and killing entire families, witnesses and authorities in Gaza said. Five Israeli airstrikes ripped through the marketplace in the Jabaliya refugee camp, reducing it to rubble and killing dozens, the authorities said. Other strikes hit four mosques in the Shati refugee camp and killed people worshiping inside, they said. Witnesses said boys had been playing soccer outside one of the mosques when it was struck.”

Along with releasing a statement about the latest tragic turn of events, at we’ve offered supporters of a just peace a quick way to email their members of Congress and President Biden. The gist of the message is that “the horrific cycle of violence in the Middle East will not end until the Israeli occupation ends -- and a huge obstacle to ending the occupation has been the U.S. government.”

(Norman Solomon is national director of and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of many books including ‘War Made Easy.’ His latest book, ‘War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine,’ was published in summer 2023 by The New Press.)

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Russia has fired a fresh wave of drones at southern Ukraine overnight, as UN Security Council members condemned Moscow’s bombing of a village wake that killed 52 people.

Vladimir Putin’s forces launched 36 Iranian-made attack drones, targeting the Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, the Ukrainian military reported, adding that air defence systems destroyed 27 drones.

Odesa Governor Oleh Kiper said unspecified “logistics infrastructure” in his region had been damaged but that no injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, in Monday’s UN Security Council meeting, members from around the world condemned Thursday's strike by a Russian Iskander ballistic missile on a cafe in Hroza in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The village lost over 15 per cent of its 300 population when the memorial service for a Ukrainian soldier was targeted, with Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko saying every family was affected by the strike.

"This is one of the deadliest strikes by Russia against Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion last year," said US deputy ambassador Robert Wood, stressing his country’s support for investigators gathering possible evidence of war crimes.

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Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed.”

Native American Proverb: “A woman’s highest calling is to lead a man to his soul so as to unite him with Source. A man’s greatest calling is to protect woman so that she is free to walk the earth unharmed”.

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On airline lunacy…

by Matt Taibbi & Walter Kirn

Matt Taibbi: Walter, how are you today?

Walter Kirn: Terrible. I’m in a New York City hotel room.

Matt Taibbi: You have a complaint?

Walter Kirn: Oh, I have so many. I’m in a New York hotel room, and as I tried to reduce the sound for this podcast by turning down all the heat and turning off the fan and the bathroom and so on, I realized that the actual sound that I was trying to turn off was the vibration of New York City itself. I come from Montana, and I’m not used to living inside a dryer, is basically what it feels like here. But that’s not my complaint. New York’s throbbing energy is, in a way, a source of dynamism.

My problem has to do with the airlines, and I wrote a whole novel once, ‘Up in the Air,’ about air travel, and that was published in 2001 back when it was possible to believe that a man was addicted to the pleasures of air travel, but that’s no longer a valid premise. So I get on the plane in-

Matt Taibbi: No longer in the scope of the probable.

Walter Kirn: No, no, no, no. So I get on the plane in Bozeman, Montana, yesterday, come to New York, and first of all, I have to endure the incredibly intricate class system that comes with boarding a plane now. They have about seven levels of priority for boarding, the top four of which don’t include me, okay?

And then finally, I get there, I’m Sky Priority, which sounds like a big deal and would’ve been before ranking inflation on airlines. Now, it’s just steerage-plus. So I get on there, full of resentment at all the people who boarded before me, and a slight feeling of superiority toward the people who are behind me, who are still struggling, and sit down.

And as soon as everybody on this incredibly crowded plane is sitting down, as soon as everybody’s buckled in, they make the announcement that there’s a maintenance issue, surely one that they knew about before we all got on. They had us all fighting each other and resenting each other for boarding priority. And then once we’ve boarded, we find out we’re all captives. That we were actually competing to enter a tarmac-bound Gulag.

Matt Taibbi: A negative situation. Yeah.

Walter Kirn: A negative situation. So once my sense of superiority to the people who were behind me and my resentment toward the people who are in front of me has cooled somewhat, I find out that we’re all equal again, because we ain’t moving. Okay?

Now, the plane wasn’t starting its day in Bozeman, Montana. It had just landed, and so one would think that the maintenance issue that they just discovered was probably a real problem for the plane as it was in the air half an hour before. But in any case, they announced that they don’t have maintenance people in Bozeman, Montana. I guess there are airports where they don’t have wrenches, and they’ll have to confer with Atlanta about the maintenance problem. Headquarters. So we just sit tight.

Matt Taibbi: This is Delta?

Walter Kirn: Yeah. Yeah. Usually not the worst of our American airlines. As we sit there, they use the Disneyland technique. The Disneyland technique is to make lines appear shorter by folding them back on each other, so that waiting three hours to get on the ride doesn’t get your goat as much as it might otherwise.

And on Delta, they use the every-five-minute-announcement technique to make the hours go by. So they give you this sense that you’re really on the inside about their maintenance problem, and they tell you things you don’t need to know. Like, “Just got off the phone with Atlanta. It’s not a big problem, but we’re doing our best,” and et cetera, et cetera. So they give you this faux feeling of-

Matt Taibbi: Steve’s patched things up with Melissa-

Walter Kirn: Exactly.

Matt Taibbi: ... in the side office. They’re thinking about having a baby again. And-

Walter Kirn: Right. Let me tell you about the party that the crew and I had at the Comfort Inn last night in Dallas. So they string you along for about an hour, and of course, every seat is filled. So I’m next to this older woman, and as the author of a novel about air travel, I turn to her and in my frustration say, “These people are just shining us on. We’re never getting out of here.” And she freaks out.

There’s an arrogant side of me that in a disaster situation, it wants to control it by being more pessimistic than everyone else. “We’re here all day,” is what I tell her. I can tell from the cheerful announcements that it’s only getting worse. So she hates me, and I’m trapped by the window, and she’s trapped with me.

Anyway, after over two hours, we finally take off, fly to Minneapolis. We only have very little time to make our connections. I run to my new gate, and once again, I go through the class system, the sorting process, and I’m happy to be one of the early people, earlier people, in the top 40% of boarding. That’s what I would call myself. That’s where I’ve managed to get in America after 60 years.

I get my Comfort Plus seat, which I upgraded myself to, thinking I deserve a treat. And as soon as we’re all buckled in, they tell us that we’re not going anywhere. And once again, we go through the same protocol of friendly announcements from the cockpit, the pilot, kind of our best friend, siding with us.

The trapped passengers against the Borg of Delta Airlines and the entire air traffic control system. This time, it’s not so much a maintenance issue. It isn’t one at all, in fact. It’s that the luggage went on the wrong plane. Who would want to take off in a plane that doesn’t have their luggage on it?

So in other words, everybody on the plane is suddenly like, “Yeah, I hope they solve this. I’m willing to be patient because I just found out that my suitcase is on another plane, and I’d prefer that it be on this one.”

Matt Taibbi: Well, it’s a little bit of a Sophie’s choice depending on your situation.

Walter Kirn: That’s true. We should have voted. Okay. I should have gotten up in the aisle. Like that lady who saw the alien or whatever on the plane, I should have gone, “Okay, who wants to go to New York without their luggage? They deliver it to your hotel if you have a hotel. And who wants to sit here and wait for them to sort this out? Because I can tell you that a lot of people aren’t going to get their luggage anyway, okay? They’re going to tell us-”

Matt Taibbi: Exactly. It would have been Athenian or the Roman Senate. You would’ve had your toga on, making the address.

Walter Kirn: Yeah. I call for the essential feat of air travel to be accomplished, getting us to New York. You who demand that we get there with our things should quiet down. 100 years ago, there was no guarantee you could get off the ground at all. That would’ve been my Ciceronian argument to the Senate.

So then finally, after an hour, we get into the air, and we land at JFK well after midnight. What I didn’t know about-

Matt Taibbi: Awesome.

Walter Kirn: But what I didn’t know about JFK Airport is that it only gets busy after midnight because it’s an international airport where flights come from all over the world, and people are leaving bright and early in the morning from, I don’t know, wherever, the Middle East or New Zealand. Time zones confuse me, but they all seem to land at JFK at 12:15 AM.

And so you come out after this incredibly brutal day into a kind of, I don’t know. It’s like a late-night -

Matt Taibbi: It’s like Tangiers or something like that.

Walter Kirn: Yeah. It’s like Tangiers of international passengers. God bless them all coming to America with high hopes. I always feel bad for our country when I realize that JFK is the first thing many people in the world see of it. They’re expecting this streamlined experience of American competence, and they come out into this sea of gypsy cabs-

Matt Taibbi: Scammers and hostility.

Walter Kirn: ... and scammers, and policemen yelling at taxi drivers, and taxi drivers yelling at people who are just standing on the sidewalk. I mean, there was a taxi driver who was ahead of me who didn’t have the ability to yell at anybody in his car, so he just started yelling at people on the sidewalk. I don’t know why.

And it’s my privilege, when I come to New York, especially when I come to be on the Gutfeld show on Fox, that they send a car for me. But at this point, I’d almost rather they not, because the chore of synchronizing your emergence from the terminal with the car’s arrival at the pickup spot is almost impossible. They keep the cars in some staging area that I can’t even imagine. I feel so sorry for those poor drivers. And then they have one shot at recognizing you among the throng, at which point, if they miss you, they have to go around through the entire cycle again and come back.

So I got here at 1:30 in the morning to this hotel that feels like a laundromat dryer because outside is Times Square humming and throbbing, and that means I’m bright and bushy-tailed and all those things for our show this morning. That’s-

Matt Taibbi: Excellent, Walter. I love it. I’m terribly sorry about that experience, though. I mean, yeah. You’re right. They keep adding all of these levels of these classes that you can belong to. There’s one new one per year now, right?

I mean, the best thing to be is a baby who’s in the military, right? Because then you get boarded immediately. But they should eventually just stratify the entire country into 300 million different classes, and the very last person will be somebody named Edmund who’s always last.

* * *

‘TURN OVER ONE MORE ROCK’: The San Francisco disappearance of Kristen Modafferi

by Andrew Chamings & Katie Dowd

Meghan Modafferi has a memory from when she was 7 years old. She was walking the streets of San Francisco, handing out flyers to strangers, trying to find her big sister. She remembers her family went to Kinko’s to make more copies of missing posters with her sister’s face on them. While they waited, she wandered over to a big blue mailbox.

“I had a favorite stuffed animal,” Meghan said, “and I put it in a mailbox, and I closed it, and it disappeared. I was so upset.”

In the 26 years since then — 26 long years without her sister Kristen — Meghan’s childhood memory has become tinged with an adult awareness.

“Was I testing what makes something disappear and what allows it to come back?” she wondered. “I don’t know. I thought it would come back.”

The disappearance of Kristen Modafferi remains unsolved over two decades after she vanished from downtown San Francisco on a summer day in 1997.

The brilliant, spirited teenager flew to California from their family home in North Carolina on her 18th birthday. She planned on taking a photography class at UC Berkeley while working coffee shop jobs and seeing the West Coast before returning home. After 23 days in California, Kristen disappeared into thin air.

SFGATE recently spoke with Kristen’s three sisters, her mother and the retired detective who says he hopes the case will soon be solved to revisit one of the most mysterious and frustrating missing person cases in San Francisco history.

Born in Connecticut in 1979, Kristen was 10 when her family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. A gifted student, Kristen skipped a grade in elementary school and would go on to win a distinguished four-year scholarship at North Carolina State University.

“She was just very, very bright, and she was a year ahead in school,” Kristen’s mother, Debbie Modafferi, told SFGATE. “She always did well, sometimes too well, and would correct the teacher.”

Kristen’s sisters, Allison and Lauren, remember singing a cappella songs with her. Meghan, Kristen’s youngest sister, remembers making playdough and reading “The Phantom Tollbooth” with her big sister. “She would help me understand the jokes,” Meghan says. “I remember that really fondly.”

After completing her first year at NC State, a year younger than most of her peers, Kristen wanted to spend her summer in San Francisco, a city the family had previously visited together in 1994.

“I didn’t want her to go,” Debbie remembers. “I was a little leery about the whole thing.” But Kristen’s dad, Bob, thought it would be a good experience and convinced Debbie to allow it.

Kristen soon set about planning the summer of her life. She enrolled in a photography class at Berkeley and found roommates in Oakland through an early internet message board.

“The internet was still pretty new,” Allison says. “It doesn’t sound that much of a big deal now, but it was a totally different world. She created a summer program for herself and did all the research and signed up for classes and found a job out there.”

* * *

23 days in the Bay Area

Modafferi moved to Oakland on June 1, 1997. It was her 18th birthday, a twist of fate that would become tragically important three weeks later. Within a few days, she had lined up summer jobs at Spinelli’s, a coffee shop inside the Crocker Galleria, and the SFMOMA cafe. Early each morning, she caught BART from 19th Street for her 7 a.m. shift at Spinelli’s. After clocking out at 3 p.m. every day, Kristen went exploring, often with her camera in hand.

Although she was bright and precocious, Kristen also still possessed a teenager’s naivete. That worried her mother.

“I remember saying, ‘I don’t know, Kristen. I’m not so sure about this.’ And she said, ‘Oh, Mom. You’re not gonna stop me from going, are you? I really want to do this,’” Debbie Modafferi said. “I relented. I thought maybe she could have used a couple more years of maturing.”

One night shortly after arriving, Kristen went to a concert at Shoreline — a Live 105 music festival featuring Blur and Fiona Apple. Once the show was over, she realized she’d missed the last train home. Trusting Kristen split a cab with a young man she’d just met and stayed overnight at his apartment. In the morning, she went straight to her job at Spinelli’s. (The man was later tracked down and cleared by police as a suspect in her disappearance.)

Monday, June 23, 1997, was like any other. Kristen woke up early and left her Oakland apartment to catch the train into the city. At Spinelli’s, coworkers recalled Kristen asked for directions to Lands End beach, which would later strike detectives as odd; she’d just been there a day or two before for a summer solstice party. Although many news stories at the time reported that Kristen almost certainly headed to Lands End that day, an amateur investigator named Dennis Mahon, who later interviewed Kristen’s coworkers at Spinelli’s, told SFGATE that while Kristen had floated the idea of heading to Lands End after her shift, they said she was “noncommittal.”

What happened over the next 96 hours is a mystery.

About 30 minutes after Kristen left Spinelli’s, a coworker thought they saw her walking on the second floor of the Crocker Galleria in conversation with a blonde woman. The coworker didn’t recognize the woman, although they did think it was unusual. Kristen typically left work as soon as she clocked out. The next day, Kristen failed to show up for the first day of her UC Berkeley photography class. This was extremely uncharacteristic of her — but unfortunately, her new roommates and coworkers didn’t know her well enough to be immediately alarmed by her absence.

Three days after she was last seen, Kristen’s parents in North Carolina received a call from one of her Oakland roommates: They hadn’t seen Kristen since Monday. The Modafferis caught the first flight out to the Bay Area.

The missing person report landed on the desk of Oakland Police Department missing persons detective Patrick Mahaney. Though Mahaney is now retired from the force and working in private security, the case has never left him.

“At the time, we had over 800 open missing persons cases,” Mahaney said at a recent meeting at an East Bay cafe. “Those included runaways, which were probably 90% of the caseload. Another 5% were people who just wanted to duck away for a while. There were very few cases like Kristen’s.”

Because 18-year-old Kristen was no longer technically a child, her disappearance was grouped in with other missing adults.

“Something that was frustrating early on is that, because she was 18, the first questions that people had to ask were like, ‘Do you think she meant to disappear? Do you think that she doesn’t want to be found?’” Meghan Modafferi recalled.

There was no question in the family’s minds, though: Nothing seemed right or logical about the situation. It all happened so suddenly that Allison and Kristen left a story half-told on the phone a few days prior.

“I was like, ‘I’ll finish later. We’ll finish this conversation later,’” Allison recalled. “She didn’t run away. She didn’t have any reason to run away. … She was doing what she wanted to. She was having this dream summer, and someone or something interrupted it.”

When the Modafferis arrived in the Bay Area, they immediately hired a private investigator. The PI hit the ground running, interviewing roommates and coworkers before Oakland police did. “It was one of 25 reports I got that morning,” Mahaney said. “Then, I heard the PI’s involvement, so we put it in the priority pile.”

Meanwhile, Bob and Debbie Modafferi, and their three daughters, desperately tracked Kristen’s last known whereabouts in San Francisco. They canvassed the streets, handing out flyers with Kristen’s face on them and affixing them to posts.

Mahaney connected with the PI, and the pair shared notes. Kristen’s acquaintances told consistent stories; no one in her new circle of friends raised red flags. The roommates were cleared, and the blonde woman at the Crocker Galleria was never identified or found. It was a dead end. On a search of her room, a copy of the San Francisco Bay Guardian was discovered. In it, a personal ad was circled: “Friends. Female seeking friend(s) to share activities, who enjoy music, photography, working out, walks, coffee or simply the beach, exploring the Bay Area! Interested, call me.”

By the time investigators found the magazine, the Bay Guardian’s ad department had wiped its files. It was impossible to figure out if Kristen had placed the ad or if she was circling one she intended to respond to. Another dead end.

Mahaney also called in a bloodhound. Items belonging to Kristen were used as scent identifiers, and the dog was taken to the Crocker Galleria. The dog went out the door and headed west on Geary Street into the Tenderloin. It was consistent with their theory that Kristen may have taken the 38 Geary Muni to Lands End.

“She probably caught a bus and headed on down there,” Mahaney recalled thinking at the time. “So we ended up pulling the dog off after around 20 minutes.”

On July 10, a little over a month after Kristen went missing, an assignment editor at KGO-TV picked up the phone. The man on the other end of the line told the editor that he knew what had happened to Kristen: Two jealous “lesbians” had killed Kristen in a car near the old Tower Records store on Market Street in the Castro, before driving over the Golden Gate Bridge and dumping her body “by a wooden bridge on the way to Point Reyes.” The KGO employee reached out to police, who followed up on the tip.

The caller named two employees of a San Francisco YMCA as the killers. When Mahaney met with the women, he found them unlikely suspects, to say the least. They were soon cleared.

The call was highlighted in a 1999 episode of “America’s Most Wanted,” The person who made that call did not respond to a request for comment for this story, and SFGATE is not identifying him because he has never officially been named a person of interest or a suspect in this case.

In the months following Kristen’s disappearance, billboards showing Kristen smiling at her high school graduation alongside the text “Forever in our hearts” went up around the Bay Area. Mahaney says up to 17 search warrants were carried out on undisclosed locations, but an arrest was never made.

A spokesperson from the FBI’s San Francisco office told SFGATE they had no reason to believe foul play had befallen Kristen at all.

“The FBI diligently investigated the matter along with our colleagues at OPD,” the spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. “After investigating all logical leads, FBI special agents did not uncover any evidence of foul play. The FBI closed its case in 2010.”

Nonetheless, it’s clear that after all these years, Mahaney can’t shake the detailed description of Modafferi’s last moments described on that prank call.

“I made the analogy once,” Mahaney said. “When you take the cellophane off a pack of gum, you try to throw it away, and it sticks to your hand. We’ve been trying to throw it away for 25 years.”

* * *

The Last Photograph of Kristen

What’s believed to be the last known photograph of Kristen was sent to Dennis Mahon a few months after he spoke with the Spinelli’s staff in the summer of 1997. A coworker of Kristen’s told Mahon that she took the photo in a makeshift art gallery in SoMa. “She just took a picture of art on the wall,” Mahon said. “But she noticed she had snapped Kristen in the photo, over on the right-hand side.”

Wearing a green blouse, with a brown purse on her hip, Kristen can be seen taking in a piece of artwork. Mahon said that he immediately sent the photo to Kristen’s mother, Debbie, who told him she “cried for days” after seeing it.

As years turned into decades, life has gone on for the Modafferi family. The girls, now grown, have careers and friends and families of their own. They’ve had benchmarks Kristen never got to see. They wonder what kind of adult she would have become. (“Maybe she would have ended up working in a museum. One of her best friends from high school is a curator for museums in Chicago,” Allison suggested. “She definitely would have been a ‘Harry Potter’ fan,” Lauren added.)

It’s been seven years since Mahaney left the Oakland Police Department. Even after retiring from the force, he has accompanied detectives who are following up on leads.

In 2015, a cadaver dog reportedly alerted to the scent of human decomposition at Kristen’s former Oakland residence on Jayne Avenue. But after Oakland police dug up the area, the lead was ruled inconsequential. Mahaney says that the scent may have come from a broken sewer pipe or even an ancient Native American burial ground. He strongly believes Kristen never made it back to Oakland that day.

Mahaney said anonymous tips still come in every so often. When asked where he believes Kristen is, he didn’t hesitate. “I’d say she was dumped off a bridge in Marin County,” he said, referring to the location mentioned in the prank KGO call.

He worked at one point with a deputy in the Marin County Sheriff’s Department to identify and search every wooden bridge in the area. They didn’t find her, but even if Mahaney’s hunch were right, it was a needle in a haystack: Floods, animals and heavy brush could all wipe out any trace of a body.

For families who have waited years to learn what happened to missing or slain loved ones, hope has been renewed by recent advancements in DNA extraction and forensic genealogy. Nearly every week, police departments around the nation announce arrests in long-cold cases: a trace of decades-old blood or a scraping from under a fingernail can now lead to justice. But with Kristen, there is no crime scene. There is no body. All investigators have to work with are fading memories and best guesses.

“I’m thinking Kristen’s up there somewhere going, ‘Come on, come on. Look a little deeper. Turn over one more rock,’” Mahaney said.

But for the Modafferis, there is a part of them that fears knowing what happened.

“Closure. Everybody talks about closure,” Meghan said. “It would be something to know what happened, but it’s also really terrifying to get confirmation that perhaps these horrifying things happened. So it’s not like closure would feel good exactly. The world is a dark, dark place when you look too closely.”

If Kristen did not fall victim to foul play, there is another possibility. Perhaps she did take the bus down to Lands End. She might have watched the sun sparkling on the Pacific Ocean and lifted her camera to her eyes to snap a few shots to bring to the first day of her photography class. In doing so, she might have lost her balance and fallen into the unforgiving sea.

“We talked to someone from the Oceanic Administration,” Mahaney said. “And they said yeah, if she fell in that night, she could be down in Monterey in three days. Under the waves there, there’s a bunch of caves. We tried to send divers in, but it’s just too dangerous. There will be skeletons in there from a hundred years ago. A thousand years ago.

“Hopefully that’s what it was. That would be the easiest way to go, you know.”

In 2014, Debbie and Bob Modafferi moved to Florida to enjoy their retirement. They had spent six sunny years there when Bob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. In the spring of 2022, the last of his treatment options failed.

“When Bob passed away and I was saying goodbye to him, I told him to please give hugs from all of us to Kristen,” Debbie said. “Please give Kristen hugs from all of us. I’m praying they’re together.”

“I think every time we hear about a very old case, a very cold case, we find some more hope,” she went on. “… But as the years pass, and now with my husband recently passed away, I don’t know. I’m still trying to hold up hope, but, you know, I’m 73 now. I was 47 when we lost Kristen.

“I was young, and now I’m not.”

* * *

Hopper, California Hills, 1957


  1. Ted Williams October 11, 2023

    “ A County Supervisor’s job is to be frugal with the taxpayers’ money and make sure our basic priorities are met before spending money on frivolities.” — Gaska


    • Mike J October 11, 2023

      The Ukiah homeless shelter is going to set a limit of three-month stays so we will be seeing even more elderly and infirm on the streets. Budgeting for construction of tiny home centers at selected sites is an immediate need.

      • Mazie Malone October 11, 2023

        Along with ongoing support and collaboration between all the necessary resources.

        • Mike J October 11, 2023

          Onsite facilities with crew providing:
          –medical detox from substance addiction;
          –psych crisis intervention
          –out patient psych med administration and supervision of med self administration
          –around clock private security and onsite manager

          • Mazie October 11, 2023

            Sounds like a winner !!! Could you imagine, the lives changed ? Well obviously you can…. Convincing the powers that be to get on board well thats why were here…. ❤️❤️❤️

            • Bruce Anderson December 2, 2023

              Mazie, me luv. Do you know where Craig is?

              • Mazie Malone December 2, 2023


                I do not …. Have not spoke with him…
                Maybe back at the shelter? …


          • Adam Gaska December 2, 2023

            That idea was floated months ago at a presentation at BARRA winery by Demos of Sonoma County. Mo and Haschak attended it. They lwft before the presentation ended. Many in attendance supported the idea but the two supervisors did not.

    • Mazie Malone October 11, 2023

      Guess that depends on what you consider frivolous, haha!


  2. Craig Stehr October 11, 2023

    “A spiritual revolutionary’s job is to destroy the demonic and return this world to righteousness.” ~Craig Louis Stehr

    • Mike J October 11, 2023

      That’s the approach that has transformed countries like India, or Uganda, into thriving centers of “demonic activity”, deluded by fixations of eradicating the demonic (ie Muslims, and Sikh separatists in India and gays in Uganda).

    • Mazie October 11, 2023

      You don’t destroy it, you transform it ….


      • Craig Stehr October 11, 2023

        The quotation referred to is from the Bhagavad Gita which details that Krishna as avatar incarnates from age to age “to destroy the demonic and return this world to righteousness”.

        • Mazie October 11, 2023

          Well thats a lot of time and incarnations to take care of business, so avatar or not the job is not being accomplished quite possibly because the aim to destroy evil is the wrong direction!!


            • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

              The way of righteousness, is attained through action, you can not destroy evil only transform it through right action. Too much evil not enough action to initiate transformation among the masses.


  3. Me October 11, 2023

    Ms. Simson, just an incredible person. I sure hope you all know what you have in her!! And appreciate all her efforts. It is amazing to watch. When leaders actually lead the way, miracles happen. Congratulations!

    • Marshall Newman October 11, 2023

      +1. AV is lucky to have her.

    • Bruce Anderson October 11, 2023

      She has worked literal miracles for the Anderson Valley schools. Simply an amazing person unique in public education.

  4. Shannon October 11, 2023

    Adam Gaska is obviously the best-qualified candidate for county Supervisor in the 1st district. He deserves your vote.

  5. Mazie Malone October 11, 2023

    Re; Sheriffs Community BBQ …..

    I also had the pleasure of attending the BBQ, the food was great! I also had fun meeting a few people I had not met before, Glenn McGourty, Trevor Mockel and Adam Gaska also got a chance to talk with Mo about the issues families face with Serious Mental Illness services and treatment. I enjoyed my conversation with Adam and think he is genuine and levelheaded; however, I am going to go against his proclamation handed down by Sheriff Kendall that offers of us the narrative that law Enforcement are not Mental Health workers and that they are increasingly charged with handling these situations.


    Law enforcements duty is to protect and serve! Period! If they continue this narrative, it is detrimental to all of us especially families who require assistance in the midst of a crisis due to mental illness decompensation! Our only option for services in these situations is police coming to our aid! You have to call Law Enforcement to even get the Mobile Crisis Unit to come help you, 1 MH worker 1 officer full uniform arrive separately. If law enforcement does not want to include themselves as mental health workers, then why are running the mobile crisis unit? Why are they fielding the calls for help? They have to triage the calls, figure out what is a necessary response! Families are afraid to call so instead of getting help they would rather suffer the consequences. Not only that often families especially newly thrown into the system of bullshit mental health services have no idea how to effectively explain their loved ones need for intervention to prevent cognitive decline and decompensation leading to crime. Causing unnecessary pain and suffering and a humongous drain of resources. Public safety also includes all people even those with serious mental illness and their families. You do not get the pleasure of saying we are not mental health workers while at the same time being the only resource for families in crisis. When LE goes on a call to respond to a mother’s cry that her teenager is being rude and misbehaving and talking back is that not a mental health service, it is certainly not a crime?!

    We do not need a crisis response unit in Ukiah, we have a Dual Response mobile crisis unit who apparently attends to 40 calls a month, 7 days a week a call and a 1/2 a day. In the best interest of our community, it is imperative that people like me having a loved one with a Serious Mental Illness receive appropriate intervention and response during a crisis. In order to have that occur we must stop using outdated ideas about what our roles and responsibilities are. Whether you agree or not times have changed, we have a lot more mental illness and addiction problems along with homelessness, which is only going to get worse, with wars and pandemics that seem to never end.

    We can take the pressure off law enforcement by having a better community service response. Not a dual response a multi-agency one where the burden is not on any one service provider. There are solutions however it does not release the need for Law enforcement to be adequately trained in Crisis response and provide appropriate. and necessary intervention when needed.

    It will cost the county more in lawsuits than to provide what we require. I for one have considered suing for the inadequate and dangerous situations we were thrown into with either no response or completely wrong one. If you have not heard yesterday, they signed SB43 into law, making the criteria for gravely disabled more diverse, upgraded the language which allows us to more easily 5150 a person in need of help that could not possibly understand they need it. A small step forward to help families.

    As far as frugality goes …….really……lol….brand new courthouse, brand new jail, brand new psych ward……………that’s not frugal at all………..


    • Chuck Dunbar October 11, 2023

      Keep on it, Mazie, your message is right-on, needs to be heard, acted on, and put into place.

      • Mazie October 11, 2023

        Thank you, yes,!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Marmon October 11, 2023

      What is the Senate Bill 43 in California 2023?

      Senate Bill 43 broadens eligibility to people who are unable to provide for their personal safety or necessary medical care. In addition, Senate Bill 43 encompasses people with a severe substance use disorder, such as chronic alcoholism, and no longer requires a co-occuring mental health disorder.


      • Mazie October 11, 2023


    • Adam Gaska October 11, 2023

      Whether we like it or not, traditional law enforcement is a hammer. They go and bust the bad guys. As they say, when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If a family is having a crisis with a family member that is having a mental health crisis, it’s a tough call on what the appropriate response is and who to send.

      After listening to the presentation by Chief Cervenka at the BOS meeting in the town of Mendocino, it seems as if there are a few key differences between the MRU in Ukiah and the CRU in Ft Bragg. CRU doesn’t just wait for a crisis to respond to. If LE sees a new transient in town, they will notify CRU. CRU will show up, engage with the person and try to figure out the appropriate services they need. They are trying a more inclusive wrap around approach which includes even driving people from jail to a substance abuse treatment center as opposed to the past where the person was supposed to figure out themselves how to get from jail to the treatment center.

      Individuals can only do so much. People that want to be cops may not want, or have the skills, to be the social worker. Both are needed. There are benefits to people specializing in a job. We just need to develop processes and systems that achieve whatever the goals are then we train people be the different components that are identified as necessary.

      As for the new courthouse, that was a state mandate. The old courthouse doesn’t meet current earthquake standards. It was decided it was cheaper to build a new one rather than retrofit the old one. It’s a similar story with the new jail. It was built to be used a few years while a larger one was built which never got built. More recently, the state has been pushing the responsibility of housing inmates onto county’s because they don’t want to house them in state prisons. In the meantime, maintenance in the jail has been deferred making it unsafe for workers and the inmates housed there.

      The PHF unit, I agree, is over kill. I think it’s money better spent catching people upstream before they have a pyschotic episode that requires being tossed into a padded room.

    • Matt Kendall October 11, 2023

      “If law enforcement does not want to include themselves as mental health workers, then why are running the mobile crisis unit? “
      Simple answer this was the only way we could keep the MH workers safe while they meet the person in crisis, in the field where the crisis is occurring.
      Law enforcements officers are trained in law enforcement, not mental health counseling. it’s not fair to the person in crisis or to the officer to be placed into a position they aren’t trained for, however we can keep the counselors safe while they complete the duties which they are trained to handle.
      It’s had a great effect and we need more of it.

      • Mazie October 11, 2023

        I understand that protecting MH workers and that is not even in question. Also not one person or family or service provider is asking law enforcement to provide mental health counseling, no one is asking that of you! We are insisting however that your response is appropriate for persons in mental illness crisis! Dual crisis response is not 24/7 which means 1/2 the time LE is responding to these calls with no mental health clinician for you to back up or your not responding leaving people in crisis. You can not have your cake and eat it too.



        • Matt Kendall October 12, 2023

          And when we aren’t trained for MH crisis how do we ensure a response is proper and measured? That is why many law enforcement agencies are stepping away from MH responses.
          People tend to forget if a man kills me because the man has severe mental health issues or because the man has robbed a bank, and is attempting to elude me, I am equally dead. My wife is equally a widow, and my children are equally orphaned.
          That being said lawsuits and peril for officers are much more frequent in response to MH cases because the public expects Law Enforcement to respond differently to MH than crime when often the dangers are equal.

          • Mazie October 12, 2023

            Sheriff Kendall,
            If we go back to the original point, which is the narrative of law enforcement not being mental health workers. We all know you are not and are not asking you to be, however it is your duty as public servants to effectively and appropriately respond when someone is in need and their only option for help is police. Its about the mind set the and the continuance of saying things that are harmful and not helpful to those in need in a crisis, all that narrative does is create a bigger gap in assistance in these situations. The crisis response needs to remove that narrative from its “toolbox” There is always concern for all responding in these situations the officers too however that is where education and Crisis Intervention Training is very beneficial. Also to assume or make it sound like all the calls for intervention and help are dangerous because people are mentally ill adds unnecessary stigma to people in immediate need of help. Families are requesting LE to have some knowledge and compassion and respond with dignity not an outdated ineffective mindset! I respect LE, I think you know that, no family should be scared of what LEs response will be in a mental illness crisis!



            • chuck dunbar October 12, 2023

              Well and properly said, again, Ms. Mazie. Keep On-Keep On. You are a strong, unrelenting advocate.

              “…no family should be scared of what LEs response will be in a mental illness crisis!”

              • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                Thank you I am passionate and relentless.!


            • Matt Kendall October 12, 2023

              Mazzie, we are in a conversation in which one does not have to be wrong in order for the other to be correct. I am often in conversations where everyone at the table is right.

              Where you stand on a subject is often dictated by where you sit and the experiences that shape your values and beliefs. I can only speak from my experiences in law enforcement.

              My question is and shall be for many years to come, how many failures in the system are blatantly seen before 911 is ever dialed?

              Was there any thought of dealing with problems while they were still small?

              What resources were put towards these issues? or did we wait until the house was fully engulfed in flames and the fire had been ignored until it became an issue for the neighbors?
              At that point we in law enforcement are expected to solve a problem that has been years in the making.

              We have thousands of success stories however one failure is all we see when the news reports on it.
              I don’t see anyone dissecting the problem and creating a timeline listing the failures leading up to the fire. What I do see are the dangers and liabilities that seem to be placed at the feet of law enforcement every time. That must stop if we want to get a handle on these issues.

              If firemen were sued and jailed for failures to extinguish, soon we would have a vacuum of firemen and the arsonists would be having a field day.

              That is simply a fact.

              • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                Dear Sheriff Kendall,
                I agree everyone has their side from their own experience thats reality. However it has nothing to do with wrong or right action or even false narratives. Besides no one expects LE to be mental health workers just the right response, its not hard. I honestly and wholeheartedly give same degree of failure of response on the other side of the coin, the whole entire system in fact. I mean we could definitely start with the crisis line failures and how the contract is set up through BH and RCS to not respond to someone in mental illness crisis in the field and the protocol is to refer you to police and then they refer you back to crisis. So there is absolutely no accountability and responsibility. All the way across the board. It is not a direct affront blaming LE for the entire systemic failure. Also in issues of serious mental illness most often it hits around the age 20 and at that point there is no intervention on behalf of adults who have no fault brain illness’s no matter how sick and out of touch with reality they are. There is none! Again no one is asking you to solve the problems only that you intervene appropriately when necessary. You have thousands of success stories about responding to a mental illness crisis or in general law enforcement duties? Was it a dangerous liability to go search for 4 days for Riley Hsieh who was in a mental illness crisis? LE Acted quite quickly to find him regardless of lack of knowledge and training in responding to these crisis situations. Oh and the liability thats all you see… ?


                • Matt Kendall October 12, 2023

                  Liability is far from the only concern on these issues, safety of the subject, the public, my deputies and general well being of the community have to come first.
                  That being said liability can’t be ignored. It would be foolish to pretend it doesn’t exist.

                  • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                    So when responding to any call those are all taken into account, great as it should be.

                    But rather than responding in a more cohesive educated way for all involved in the crisis which would decrease liability. You will stick to your “guns” with the idea that you have one tool and one job and your duty is protection no matter if the service is misguided and incomplete..? 😂💕

                    I get it the narrative is your liability… stick your guns… lol …

                    But just remember as I said back in 2020 I am not going anywhere, and I will continue to speak on behalf of all families of persons with a Serious Mental Illness.

                    Respectfully as always


                • Bruce McEwen October 12, 2023

                  I’ve always liked Matt Kendall and I much admire his going toe-to-toe w/the feisty Mazie Malone—when other officers would be rolling their eyes or tearing their hair out in exasperation at her determination and persistence. Our sheriff very assiduously addresses every complaint Ms. Malone confronts him with and this standup attitude is an outstanding quality in an officer representing a county where the other officers, the CEO, BOS, and a great many others merely answer w/ a tersely insincere, “thank you.”

                  • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023


                    I have no issue with our sheriff or any other LE person

                    Only issue is response to mental illness crisis

                    Yes a giant issue I wish to eradicate, as if you couldn’t tell.

                    I wouldn’t say he went toe to toe rather just doing his due diligence to make sure that not one person sees through the BS of crisis response in our county

                    Nor does anyone ask the right questions, because they simply do not know.


                  • Bruce McEwen October 12, 2023

                    You stay on point! You are the real schiznack, Mazie. My point is you wouldn’t get Jack shit from most county officers and in this Sheriff Kendall deserves credit . . . We know from Keive to Tel Aviv, once communications breakdown the bloodshed starts… and, ahoy Irv Sutley, the commandant sends his compliments and could we resume the recent discussion on the merits of the NATO 5.56mm as it applies to the IDF ‘s Tavor bull pup assault rifle which has amasssd on the Gaza border… the IDF traded their Galil in for the American M4 (a shorter version of what US Army doggies call an A-2 (meaning an M16A2), the marine infantry issue, right?

                    But a pix of a Hamas soldier in the Independent he carries a old M16 from my day, back when the flash suppressor wasn’t ringed and you could use it to twist the wires tight enough to snap open a case of C-rations

                    But no. The IDF has a new bull pup* in the NATO round and as we were discussing the best weapon for going house-to-house seeking out “terrorists”

                    It’s bound to see some lackadaisical observance of what’s called “the rules of engagement.”

                    *the term bull pup refers to a weapon designed for close range engagements in a closed space. The Tar-21, or Micro Tavor is the bull pup the infantry will carry into Gaza. See American Siniper movie to get an idea as to what’s going down tonight.

                  • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                    Hahaha…. Shiznack…..
                    I prefer all that and a bag o chips… 😂
                    I will take the compliment … thank you ..
                    Sheriff Kendall and I have interacted before and I do appreciate his willingness to engage …

                    Thanks for the lesson in terrorists & weapons..
                    A bull pup is that anything like the puppy bowl? lol..😂


                  • Matt Kendall October 12, 2023

                    Darn it we ran out of room to reply on this thread. LOL! I think everyone is missing the point. Mazzie and I are putting our points out from our point of view however we seem to agree on most things. This is one of those issues which everyone at the table is correct.
                    And at least she possesses the back bone to stand for what she believes in!!!
                    We could use a little more of that these days!!!
                    God bless you for that.

                  • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                    Well you can blame me for that….
                    And rest assured there will be more!!

                    mm 💕

                  • Marmon October 12, 2023

                    Mazie is an incredible human being. I used to have her passion.


                  • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

                    Thank you James!!!

    • George Hollister October 12, 2023

      “Law enforcements duty is to protect and serve!”

      Same for the fire department, and the armed forces. The point is, don’t expect any of these entities to do everything in the name of protecting and serving.

      • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

        Haha no one expects them to do everything, however it is perfectly reasonable and logical that when you are called to duty whatever the case/incident may be you perform said responsibilities with appropriate and necessary action.


        • Matt Kendall October 12, 2023

          Well Mazzie, we stirred up a hornets nest that’s for sure. I just got home and I’m signing off to deal with some livestock and my chores before it gets too dark.
          Take good care and god bless until next time.
          You’re a corker Mazzie.

          • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

            A corker ??? 😂😂😂👍
            Is that like a fine bottle of aged delicious wine ??

            Goodnight Sheriff 🚨👮‍♂️

            mm 💕

            • George Hollister October 13, 2023

              From The Cambridge Dictionary:

              “a person or thing that is especially good, attractive, or funny”

              • Mazie Malone October 13, 2023

                Well dam!!! Thanks George!!!


            • Matt Kendall October 13, 2023

              Old term my mother used a lot while my siblings and I were growing up.
              1. a worker or device that corks bottles
              2. Slang
              a. a remarkable person or thing
              b. an argument, statement, etc. that appears conclusive”
              I think it covered our conversation well, fairly certain you do as also. Term of endearment my friend.

              • Mazie Malone October 13, 2023

                Haha … well … thanks for the compliment..
                now thats settled go fight crime !!! 😂😂❤️


  6. Mazie October 11, 2023

    Adam G,,,,
    I recall what you said to me. You don’t know til you know, right!

    Great analogy, the hammer being the only tool and everything looks like a nail……

    Except it is wrong and untrue..

    Maybe even an excuse…. hmmm

    I may agree with everything looking like a nail to those whom only want to utilize the hammer.

    But that just means they are blind and only focused on what suits them, not the community as a whole.

    So I do not like it one bit!

    And no it is not a tough call on who to send when someone is in a mental illness crisis! You send a crisis team who is trained and can act appropriately for the person in need! Period!!

    As far as FBs CRU seeing someone that is a “transient” that might need services and directing and helping them get to those places is great however that is not the type of Crisis I refer to when speaking on these matters. The point being there is no need for a care response unit at this time because the dual
    crisis response can also function in this manner and should!

    The components are in place, we do not need more components we need to address the ones we have to work effectively for our families.

    Starting with the narrative that Law Enforcement is a hammer with one tool that only sees a nail.

    That is not true they just want to control the hammer if the burden of responding to mental illness crisis is an unwanted problem the only logical answer is to have a different response team that does not include police!!

    You do not get to control how the job gets done then also say it is not your job!!

    Just like the new courthouse, psych hospital and jail getting up to date with the times our thinking around these issues needs a massive restructuring!!

    Thank you, you’re welcome !


  7. Jafo October 11, 2023

    Does anyone know why 1,400 – 2,000 customers of PGE around Ukiah area were without electricity from about 7:30-10:30am yesterday?

  8. Jane Doe October 11, 2023

    Mark Scaramella,
    Great story 👔.
    You are a great story teller, in my opinion.

  9. Eric Sunswheat October 12, 2023

    RE: Marie Antoinette’s last-ditch effort to save her head.
    —>. July 8, 2023
    Marie Antoinette never actually said “Let them eat cake.” At least, there’s no evidence to prove that she did.
    This is in part a translation issue. Supposedly, she said, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” or, “Let them eat brioche.” Granted, brioche is a sweeter, richer bread made with eggs and butter, but it’s not quite the sort of thing you would decorate for your wedding.
    But there’s also no evidence that the queen ever said “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” either…
    As noted in The Encyclopedia Britannica, the first person to put the phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” into writing was likely the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau around 1767.

    • Mazie Malone October 12, 2023

      Thanks Eric…love it …
      Good thing is no one hates me yet … lol
      And if I had some cake I would share !!
      My head is staying put!!


  10. Eric Sunswheat October 12, 2023

    Vehicle registration license renewal sticker DMV letters should contain update info on relevant new drivings laws, as well as existing ones which need focus for safety, not more zombie speed cameras which discriminate against cars without set cruise control.
    RE: Every year, over one thousand Californians die in tragic speed-related collisions. These deaths are completely preventable. Speed limits aren’t just suggestions… — David Chiu, San Francisco City Attorney
    —> April 15, 2023
    I’d written about the requirement — as of Jan. 1 — that anyone 70 or older who wants to renew has to go to a DMV office for a knowledge test and an eye exam. The requirement had actually been in place since 1978, but was temporarily lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it possible to renew online with no hassles.
    My column explored the question of whether, as some insisted, this was a case of age discrimination.
    Many people argued that you should be judged on your driving record, not your age. I dug up statistics suggesting that older drivers, by percentage, have fewer accidents than those in their 20s and 30s. But that’s somewhat misleading because they tend to drive fewer miles…
    And a lot of people said it would be more useful, past a certain age, to require driving, rather than written, tests…
    I was told that in some instances, depending on driving records and other factors, you might be able to take the test online or qualify for something called the e-learning course, which is a roughly 45-minute driver’s ed and testing program… But you’ll still have to go to a DMV office for the eye exam.
    Now let me get back to test questions that irked so many readers… One example: What is the fine for abandoning an animal by the side of the road? Say what? I don’t know any senior who would do anything so stupid and heartless.”…
    “I missed a question about oil tankers and railroad crossings,” said Arthur Siciliano, 87, of West Hills. “Again, what does that prove about my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?”

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