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Off the Record (November 2, 2023)

A READER WRITES: I dread the new courthouse.

All the preliminary designs I have seen vary from ugly to unremarkable to warehouse distribution center vibe. It will be a high security concrete bubble for our over paid legal wizards, intent on keeping the public, unless shackled, out of view. The 4 acre lot is mostly parking.

The construction of the new courthouse will leave yet another once grand, beautiful building to decay in the heart of downtown. I often wonder what our county/state leaders are thinking when it comes to the current courthouse. If it is too expensive to rehabilitate for the state, with endless deep pockets, how exactly do they imagine the volatile, cyclical housing and development industry is going to pull this off?

The current courthouse could easily be doubled in size if the state was at all interested in creative solutions. Buy the block to the west between School and Oak and build a new office building. A glass and steel overhead connection could bridge courtrooms with the new office building. The entire facility would have closer access to the large, underused city parking lot one block west. The city could then in fact build a proper parking garage there and ease the daytime parking congestion as well as make some money.

I’m sure a new building is preferred by the judges and lawyers and staff. Everyone these days seems to prefer ugly/bland/new over character/beauty/age.

The old courthouse has been allowed to decay to the point that suitable updates and repairs aren’t easily feasible. But if the state doesn’t have the money to fix it, no one else has it either. The city doesn’t want to tear it down and create a park – that will just draw more homeless people. God knows what will happen to it.


David Svehla Writes: Random Comments on the AVA...

Thursday Oct. 18..Happy very belated birthday to Mr. Scaramella, rightful thorn in the side of Mendo Bureaucrats! ... The on-rushing New Ukiah Courthouse is the height of public hopelessness. The skatepark is the height of public hopeFULLness!... One Frank Baumgardner, of Santa Rosa who frequently congeals your letters section would win an Oscar for “Histrionic Woketard” of the year were The Academy to award one (and I detest the word “Woketard.” Along those lines there seems to be quite a bit of Anti- Israel sentiment from your contributors. A Good Week 2 U! - From the sunny autumnal City…

FROM THE NYT: “If someone were to start running even once or twice a week, instead of not exercising at all, that’s where we should see the most benefits” in terms of mental health, said Karmel Choi, a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who has investigated the relationship between exercise and depression.”

I RAN for about 30 years, even doing five marathons, until I realized my knees hurt all the time and, aerobically speaking, I belatedly came to understand that walking fast and hiking were physiologically just as therapeutic and as aerobically satisfying and a whole lot more interesting in the scenic sense. A daily 2-3 miles on foot, an OCD push-up regimen every morning, and here I am age 84. Mental health bennies? I understand that in my case they're debatable.

BUT I DO NOTE that in all the prescriptive mental health talk in Mendocino County that physical exercise as a crucial means of keeping your head straight is seldom, if ever mentioned. And eyeballing the people who are doling out the advice and the meds are obviously in poor physical condition and, in their private lives, probably cripplingly neurotic and pill-dependent.

COUNTY COUNSEL CHRISTIAN CURTIS is leaving when his contract is up in May of ’24. I asked my supervisor, Mr. Williams, for confirmation and he replied, “In all probability.” On the subject of probabilities, it’s not unlikely that Curtis’s departure is a Williams-Eyster twofer — Cubbison and Curtis. The DA has made it clear he resented hell outta the fact that Curtis makes more money than he does.

MY COLLEAGUE, Mike Kalantarian observes, “I've never heard anyone correlating baseball's decline with the advent of television before, but I agree, as I still prefer listening to baseball on the radio. There's an unhurried quality to the sport that is a throwback to the ways of days gone by. I'm out of step with modernity on many things, by design, and I like it that way.”

BASEBALL left me behind, too. I don't follow it anymore. I watch the last five minutes of Warrior's games, all of the Forty-Niners schedule, but no baseball. I think baseball's neo-reliance on electronics, pitch counts, steroids, too many guys who don't belong in the big leagues, jumbo scoreboards, fans chattering on cell phones throughout games… All of it has left me yearning for baseball circa 1960 before all the non-baseball kicked in, the game's decline simultaneous with the decline of the country. I do miss the ballpark at 3rd and Townsend, though, where I could sit at the very top of the stadium and look out at the magnificence of much of the Bay and the east hills of Berkeley and Oakland. 

I RECENTLY FOUND myself following a car in Fort Bragg whose rear window contained this message: “It must really suck to be you.” Oh, I dunno. Being me has an occasional compensation. 

BUT I WOULD say the incidence of random expressions of unprovoked hostility and just plain bad public behavior seems ever on the rise. In a recent 12-hour period during which I took two long walks around San Francisco, I saw all kinds of interpersonal collisions of a type rarely experienced 30 years ago or so. Standing at the corner of Haight and Masonic drinking a cup of coffee and evaluating the passing parade, in the space of ten minutes I counted six audible profanities, most of them heedlessly tossed off by young people who looked as if they’d been well cared for, if not properly raised. Down the block, and only minutes later, I was trucking along when I heard whispered sexual invitations. Knowing they were unlikely to be aimed at me unless this particular perv was blind, I looked to my left where a guy about forty, sailing along on a skateboard, was abreast a nicely dressed young woman hissing obscenities at her. I told man-boy to leave her alone and he sped off on his skateboard, never once looking in my direction but undoubtedly on the alert for his next victim. A couple of hours later, at the entrance to Golden Gate Park, a young couple tossed a frisbee into a park pond for their large dog to retrieve. The dog tore up several water lilies. Deeper in the park a bum was pulling up flowers, making himself a freesia bouquet. Waiting to cross the street at 16th and Mission — a solid block of bold dope dealers, junkies, freelance low-lifes, street creeps, and loitering young thugs — a carload of teenage boys drove by and yelled “Faggot!” at me and the rest of the men and women on the corner. I was asked for money 35 times as I walked along across the City. I bought two cups of coffee and a glass of lemonade without any of the three clerks looking at me as they handed me my purchase. A deranged old lady, speaking in tongues, latched onto me at the foot of Market Street where I was sitting on a bench watching the commuters run for the ferry boats. I offered her a dollar to go away, but finally had to jog a block up Market to shake her. On the bus back towards the Haight, a drunk pestered a teenage girl, repeating over and over, “You know, baby, you really spark my plug.” I asked him to leave her alone. “I’m kicking your ass as soon as this bus stops,” he said, resuming his spark plug pitch. He didn’t notice when I got off the bus. In three days I didn’t see a single well-behaved child. 

THIS OLD HEADLINE from the Press Democrat has been current for thirty years: “Returning a river,” subtitled “Counties that depend on the Russian River fear a cut in diversions from the Eel — but in Humboldt County, it’s a long-overdue move to restore a natural resource.” 

SO WHAT IS The Prob? For the sake of now nearly extinct runs of the salmon and steelhead which once provided livings for many Humboldt County residents, the Eel River needs to be returned to its natural flow without being diverted at Potter Valley to become the Russian River and, then, 52 billion gallons of the water stored behind the Coyote Dam in Lake Mendocino a few miles north of downtown Ukiah. The water piled up behind Coyote Dam is mostly owned by Sonoma County. 

TO BUILD Coyote Dam back in the 1950s, money was raised by the downstream beneficiaries, Sonoma County and northern Marin County. Mendoland, with its usual far-sighted sagacity, essentially donated Lake Mendocino’s water to the developers who suburbanized northern Marin and all of Sonoma County. (Only the late Joe Scaramella voted against the deal to basically give away in perpetuity Lake Mendocino’s water to downstream users.) 

THIS DIVERTED EEL RIVER WATER, is stored behind Coyote dam and released all summer long to feed the burgeoning grape industry and communities from Novato to Cloverdale. With suburban sprawl having reached Ukiah, and PG&E abandoning its responsibility for the diversion, a mad scramble has ensued to keep the Eel diverted. (The Russian, by the way, usually dried up altogether above Ukiah in the summer days before the diversion. Push has come to shove; the Eel is dying for downstream suburbs with, of course, wine people and other self-alleged “stewards of the land” clamoring for more of the Eel, not less.

THE AVA, as a public service, points out the vulnerability of the diversion tunnel itself. It was hand dug by Chinese labor. (Chinese labor did much of Mendocino County’s heavy lifting from 1880 or so until the anti-Asian pograms of 1910-20.) The stone and brick-lined conduit carries the purloined Eel a mile or so through a ridge and on into Potter Valley’s old power-generating plant, then on through the lush fields of Potter Valley into the upper Russian. The next major earthquake, however, is more likely to demolish the tunnel.

WITH or without the diversion, Sonoma and Marin counties are obviously going to have to begin to draw more water from Lake Sonoma, a much larger reservoir than Lake Mendocino and one whose waters are virtually untapped as the burgeoning ‘burbs continue to enjoy the free flow of the Eel and the Russian. Mendocino County might also demand the ’55 deal with Sonoma County be re-done. Former Supervisor John Pinches, introduced that motion which, natch, died for a second.


Re: your Oct. 6 comment about the PBS film ‘The Fillmore,’ do you know the book ‘Harlem of the West: The San Francisco's Fillmore Jazz Era’? Full of great pics, interesting text, maps of where all the clubs used to be, including “Bop City,” which is among the featured venues. Lots of greats turn up in the photos--Ellington, Coltrane, Chet Baker, plenty more. The two authors of the book contributed to the movie, which preceded it by five or six years. Harlem of the West - The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era Paperback

As for the patrons, everybody's got a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful: jobs aplenty, at least during the war, and the neighborhood a landing spot for lots of folks from the rural south. And there's a kid from Mill Valley named John Goddard who haunted the scene, too.

My copy was passed on to me by Fred Gardner. I was a lunatic free jazz zealot back in the 70s, lately calmed down enough to appreciate the likes of Chet Baker.

JAMES MARMON remembers the quake of '89: 

I just got off my shift in Upper Lake where we were building a bridge on Highway 29. I had been under that bridge all day stripping the forms, fresh concrete. I was in the shower when the earthquake hit getting ready to watch the A's and Giants World Series Game. My Company was located next to the pancaked freeway in Oakland, my boss got into one of our of his cranes and immediately got into rescue mode. The next day, our cranes and other equipment were called back to Oakland. Our operation in Upper Lake was put on hold for several months


People rushin' everywhere

If they'd only slow down once they might find something there

Green trees and timber land

People workin' with their hands

For sure a different way to live

Gonna keep my cabin at hand

Retreat and live off the land

All around Ukiah, woah

The mountain streams that rush on by

Show the fish a-jumpin' and reflect the open sky

The fresh clean smell of the pines

Symbol of unchanging times

All around this sacred land

Strangely, though, I've found my way

Right here I'm gonna stay

In this land Ukiah, woah

The fresh clean smell of the pines

Symbol of unchanging times

All around this sacred land

Strangely, though, I've found my way

Right here I'm a-gonna stay

In this land Ukiah, woah

Oooh, Ukiah

Oooh, Ukiah

Oooh, Ukiah

Oooh, Ukiah

Oooh, Ukiah

(Doobie Bros)

JUDGE CLAY BRENNAN Announces Re-Election Campaign

[Fort Bragg, CA] - Judge Clay Brennan has officially announced his candidacy for re-election as Superior Court Judge. First elected by the people of Mendocino County in 2006, Judge Brennan has heard thousands of cases from the bench in Fort Bragg, earning the trust and respect of the coastal Mendocino County community he serves. 

“Today, I am announcing my candidacy for re-election as Superior Court Judge," Judge Brennan stated. "Over the past 17 years, it has been my privilege to serve the people of Mendocino County by ensuring that our legal system remains fair and just for all. I am committed to continuing this mission, promoting transparency, and upholding equal justice for every member of our community.”

Judge Brennan’s intent to run for countywide re-election has already drawn considerable support from his fellow Superior Court Judges. A website published last week lists support from current Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge Jeanine Nadel, Ann Moorman, Cindee Mayfield, Patrick Pekin, Victoria Shanahan, and Carly Dolan, as well as retired Judges Eric Labowitz, Jon Lehan, James Luther, David Nelson, and David Reimenschnieder. 

“We’re fortunate to have such a compassionate and fair-minded judge serving our county,“ says former Mendocino County Supervisor Carre Brown, who also endorses Brennan. “Judge Brennan’s commitment to equality and his tireless service are remarkable. He has always been a tremendous fit for Mendocino County.”

Since 2011, Judge Brennan has presided over the Ten Mile Courthouse in Fort Bragg, providing coastal residents with the ability to resolve disputes within the community. His calm and respectful temperament on the Fort Bragg bench has earned the support of community members on the coast and throughout Mendocino County. 

“We support Judge Clay Brennan for re-election as a Judge of the Mendocino County Superior Court,” said Jim and Diane Larson. “Judge Brennan is fair and just to all who appear before him, and he runs his courtroom with palpable respect, both for the community and the rule of law.”

According to Brennan’s campaign, the list of more than 200 endorsers featured on the website is only the first step in what promises to be a robust re-election effort. 

“At the end of the day, it’s been the honor of my life to serve Mendocino County and the Ten Mile Court with a commitment to equality and respect,” said Brennan. “I’m more than willing to outwork anybody to make sure I can continue that mission.”

Community Leaders Endorsing Clay Brennan for Mendocino County Superior Court Judge:

Current and Former Mendocino County Superior Court Judges

Hon. Jeanine Nadel, Presiding Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Cindee Mayfield, Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Ann Moorman, Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Patrick Pekin, Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Victoria Shanahan, Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Carly Dolan, Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Eric Labowitz, retired Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. Jonathan Lehan, retired Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. James Luther, retired Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. David Nelson, retired Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court; Hon. David Reimenschneider, retired Judge, Mendocino County Superior Court.

* * *

Current and Former Public Officials

Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County 4th District Supervisor; Mari Rodin, Mayor, City of Ukiah; Juan Orozco, Councilmember, City of Ukiah; Susan Sher, Councilmember, City of Ukiah; Carre Brown, former Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor; Norman DeVall, former Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor; Richard Shoemaker, former Mendocino County 2nd District Supervisor; Kendall Smith, Former Mendocino County 4th District Supervisor; Mary Anne Landis, Former Mayor, City of Ukiah; Dave Turner, Former Councilmember, Fort Bragg; Karen Oslund, Former Mayor, City of Willits; Holly Madrigal, Former Councilmember, City of Willits; Steve Scalmanini, Former Councilmember, City of Ukiah; Dave Turner, Former Councilmember, City of Fort Bragg; Chris Dewey, Former Police Chief, City of Ukiah.

* * *

Mendocino County Legal Professionals and Attorneys

Steve Antler; Ron Britt; Ashley Burrell; Ginevra Chandler; Mark Clausen; Kevin Davenport; Dan Haehl; Lisa Hillegas; James Jackson; Debbie Johnson; Tom Johnson; Bart Kronfeld; Jim Larson; Jone Lemos; Edie Lerman; Les Marston; Cristina Mathews; Brian Momsen; Tim Morrison; Colin Morrow; Cheryl Murphy; Hannah Nelson; Maggie O’Rourke; Tom Owen; Amanda Pekin; Ryan Perkins; Erik Petersen; Greg Petersen; Robert Petersen; Doug Rhoades; Alexander Rich; Norm Rosen; Pano Stephens; Brandt Stickel; Mary Anne Villwock; Phil Vanucci; Barry Vogel.

* * *

Mendocino County Community Leaders

Elizabeth Archer; Franz Arner; Paulette Arnold; John Azzaro; Carol Azzaro; Alexa Baldwin; Lucy Bayer; Myra H. Beals; Bruce Berry; Rachel Binah; Rob Borcich; Zida Borcich; Collin Brennan; Carole Brodsky; Sakina Bush; Mike Cannon; Karen Christopherson; David Coddington; Tracey Coddington; Andy Coren; Yvonne Coren; Catherine Cox; Dennis Crean; Lori Davey; Efron Davidson; Star Decker; Raven Deerwater; Heidi Dickerson; Kevin Dodd; Robert Dress; Vivian Duncan; Carrie Durkee; Lee Edmundson; Rochelle Elkan; SA Ephraim; Jonelle Farr; Katherine Fengler; Julie Finnegan; Matthew Finnegan; Cynthia Frank; Lisa Fredrickson; Marlene Freedman; Linda Friedman; Rella Gadulka; Pam Gaffney; Peter Good ; Dr. Buzz Graham; Mary Gustafson; Katherine Haley; Cathy Harpe; Dale Harrison; Howie Hawkes; Kate Hemlock; Ron Hock; Harvey Hoechstetter; Susan Hofberg; J. Holden; Pam Huntley; Jim Hurst; Kenny Jowers; Carla Jupiter; Linda Jupiter; Susan Kanaan; James Katzel; Pinky Kushner; Rachel K. Lahn; Dianne Larson; Annie Lee; Jacqueline Lee; Karen Lee; Tom Liden; Peter Lit; Janice Lombardi; Marilyn Magoffin; Darcy Mahoney; Irene Malone; Jim Mayo; Thais Mazure; Mitch Mcfarland; Peter McNamee; Donna Medley; Cathie Mellon; Adina Merelender; Sharon Meyer; Nancy Milano; Garth Miller; Richard Miller; Mary Misseldine; Eileen Mitro; Roslyn Moore; Geri Morisky; Louisa Morrison; Jeremiah Murphy; Karen Nobler; Sara O’Donnell; Karen Oslund; Jenny Otter; Carol Park; Gene Parsons; Susanna Pepperwood; Jane Person; Suzanne Pletcher; Michael Potts; Sienna Potts; Jeannette Rasker; Carole Raye; Kris Reiber; George Reinhardt; Lee Rider; Mitzi Rider; Burt Rodin; Teresa Rodriguez; Ruth Rosenblum; Linda Rosengarten; Robert Ross; Devora Rossman; Ian Roth; Linda Ruffing; Steve Rugg; Larry Sawyer; James Schoonover; Robin Serrahn; Steve Setera; Lari Shea; Zoe Sheppard; Jeff Simpson; Marilyn Simpson; Lauren Sinnot; Helen Sizemore; Michael St. John; Doug Solis; Judy Steele; Linda Jo Stern; Sharon Stewart; Sabine Swallow; Jim Tarbell; Judy Tarbell; Alison Thorton; Bonnie Tillotson; Jade Tippett; Paul Trouette; Dave Turner; Dibbie Tyler; Jeff Tyrrell; Lin Varnum; Paolo Vescia; Renee Vinyard; Lindsay Wansbury; Maggie Watson.

THE MERE RUMOR that DA Eyster might run for superior court judge against Clay Brennan has inspired such terror in Mendolib they've gone full high school in what they probably think is an effective pre-emptive strike at the fearsome district attorney, publishing a veritable Who's Who of "progressive" Mendocino County.

THE PROB with public lists of supporters is that they inspire counter-terror in many more people who spot one or more names among Brennan supporters and say to themselves, "If that bastard is supporting him, I'm voting for Eyster," which was my impulse probably fifty times as I scrolled through the roster of Team Brennan.

OF COURSE if Eyster dared name his supporters it would be even more terrifying than the softy-wofties Mendolib has amassed on short notice, as Eyster, like most DAs, garners auto-support from the local forces of fear and guns. Mendolib thinks Democrats are the way forward while the rest of us believe the evidence of our senses that things have gone terribly awry in our land of souring milk and chemically fouled honey. And Democrats are half the problem. (I'm voting for Cornel West, having cast my last Democrat vote for George McGovern.)

COULD EYSTER beat Brennan? Probably. Judge elections are county-wide, and beyond the Mendocino Coast and the Westside of Ukiah nobody has heard of Judge Brennan, who presides in faraway Fort Bragg.

THE DA'S pursuit of Chamise Cubbison has seriously derailed him, and has probably killed whatever hope he may have had for a superior court sinecure.

I LIKED it so much as an example of why print newspapers have died I’ve kept a copy of Pete Golis’ column in a long ago Sunday Press Democrat. Pete’s think piece was called, “Why I Like High School Kids, and memorably begins, “Fifteen million Americans attend high school every day. Two weeks ago, two of them committed a horrific crime, and the other 14,999,998 did not.” Only because of the metal detectors at the door of the little red school house, Pete.

RECOMMENDED reading: “I Married A Communist” by Philip Roth. Roth’s wonderful (and very funny) novel provides a better assessment of the 1950’s political hysteria in 450 pages than the thousands of non-fiction books on the subject. The audio version is terrific too.

AMONG THE ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONSTRATION SIGNS over the weekend, “Queers for Palestine,” which is actually funny. Queers for Palestine is like Chickens for Colonel Sanders. Most Americans of whatever sexuality would not find life in the Arab countries comfortable. Which isn't to say that the Israeli attacks on Gaza aren't disproportionately monstrous given Hamas' not as monstrous attacks on Israel.

LIFE IN THE USA, a reader goes deep: “I think of it as the end of an era, a disintegration of what was before. What lies ahead is a mystery, but many people are certainly having a difficult time navigating the change. No surprise there, as it is not an easy thing to endure. I suspect the ride is rougher in this country because the fall is greater here than, for instance, in Zimbabwe. Here in Rancho Navarro we have a number of properties that are off grid. I think of them blithely going about their days and nights when we are in the midst of a long outage. Those of us on the grid consider it a major inconvenience, if not a minor tragedy, while they may not even be aware of their neighbors' anguish.”

THE PRIMARY lobbyist for PG&E is the former President of the CPUC, the California Public Utility Commission. The Board of the CPUC is appointed by Governor Newsom. All these government officials are supposed to work for you and me, the taxpayer, the ratepayer. But they don’t because California utilities are not public utilities; they are run for private profit. A few noble souls like the late Bill Bennett and my late friend Joe Neilands, fought the PUC all their days, but chalk up another outrage brought to us by the Democrats, not that Republican administrations have ever been any better.

DEMOCRATS who call themselves “progressives,” are Democrats embarrassed by the national party, especially the shuffling cadaver pretending to be president. But in all the years here in rural pwog country, very few progressives of the genuine type have gotten elected, one of the rarest was the late Phil Baldwin. 

I HOPE PHIL can hear my posthumous apology for supporting Dan Hamburg over Phil in some election a long time ago. As a scrappy Ukiah City councilman — the only one before or since (except, perhaps, for Steve Scalmanini) — I remember Phil introducing a resolution opposing the widening war in the Balkans. He also tried to persuade his colleagues to adopt a living wage ordinance. Additionally, and perhaps most boldly of all, the inside agitator introduced this bold resolution: 

“Whereas Lake Mendocino is a key recreational resource for the people of Ukiah, many citizens of Ukiah who are swimmers, sailboaters, hikers, picnickers, canoe and crew enthusiasts, runners, mountain bikers, rowers, and campers who appreciate the peacefulness of a quiet lake and these folk and lake’s fishery may appreciate and benefit from an occasional break from the noise and fossil fuel pollution generated by power boats and jet skis and the concept of sharing is a good one, the Ukiah City Council calls on the Army Corps of Engineers to institute a policy to close Lake Mendocino to internal combustion, water-going vehicles on Sundays and Mondays during the non-tourist season of September 15 to May 1, and during the tourist season May 1 to September 15, on Mondays and Tuesdays after 5pm.” The motion failed, of course, but Phil never failed for trying. 


To clarify my comments [in Mike Geniella’s article about the groundswell of opposition against the Supervisors and the District Attorney], I do believe the “Acting Auditor,” who is also a Deputy CEO, does not have the depth of fiscal experience necessary for the position. (She’s also not a 20-something year old.) In Public Health, over the past 3-4 months, 20 critical, experienced, trained employees have retired, been fired, or moved on since Dr. Miller was appointed Interim Public Health Director. Why is the Executive Office not looking at this? Dr. Miller has replaced these critical people with very young, newly hired, inexperienced staff who have no program knowledge, limited understanding of county issues, administrative or supervisorial experience. There is no one left to provide training or guidance. I am very concerned that through ignorance there will be bad decisions (or no decisions) made, that will have negative consequences for public health and safety going forward. These staff will not question her decisions. And God help us if there is a real emergency. I also believe this CEO is in over her head, and is making poor decisions directing the county government. The Executive Office is running most of the county, without the expertise needed to oversee the departments.

FROM MIKE GENIELLA'S story this morning on the backlash to the Cubbison persecution: “Muchowski said when the board seats became filled with all Democrats, she and other longtime local political activists celebrated. ‘Finally,’ recalled Muchowski.”

RIGHT, VAL, all Democrats at last comprising the worst Board of Supervisors in County history, a board that is supposed to be non-partisan, regardless of outside political allegiances. And Democrats, here, there and everywhere are hardly synonymous with lib and/or progressive politics.

EXCELLENT CANDIDATES have been lib-bashed over the years because they were registered Republicans. And it's not as if the five Democrat supervisors are paragons of liberal enlightenment, as their pursuit of Ms. Cubbison has demonstrated. The DA appears, honks at them that Cubbison should be removed and the five Democrats vote, without discussion, to remove her, an expensive city lawyer assuring them that Cubbison's removal is perfectly legal, all of it a perfectly rigged process — rigged by DA Eyster and Supervisor Williams, I daresay. 

FROM the Mendocino Beacon of May 6th, 1899: “Philo, the name of this post office district established about 13 years ago, was submitted for adoption by C. Prather, its first postmaster. The simplicity and significance of the name were suggested to him. Besides, he had an esteemed relative who bore the name, Philo, and at one time his post office address was Philo, in the state of Iowa; and so the gentleman had several reasons for being wedded to the name.”

NOT BEING an animal person, I nonetheless don’t enjoy seeing beasts suffer. Noting a young woman striding through Golden Gate Park behind a drooling, panting pit bull straining at his leash and, it seemed to me, his breath, I saw that the dog’s teeth were tightly clamped on a tennis ball and his jaws even more tightly wrapped in a leather strap to keep the day-glo green spheroid in place, 

I ASKED the young woman what the point of the dog’s get-up was? “Oh,” she replied merrily, “it’s the latest cool way to walk pits. Everyone’s afraid of them, you know.”

EVERYONE'S afraid of their owners, I’d say, but refrained from arguing. One sees young psychos all over San Francisco walking pit bulls, and here’s one citizen who would like to see their owners pre-screened for mental health. 

AT A MINIMUM, dogs ought to be kept out of public parks where they dig up flower beds, menace passersby, destroy the play areas of children, and leave their deposits everywhere as their heedless owners coo at one another about the antics of their animals. I was very encouraged a few years ago by a report in the Chronicle that said Laotian immigrants were hunting dogs in Golden Gate Park, but the claim turned out to be unfounded.

HERE IN MENDO, especially in the heavily dope growing areas, packs of dogs have to be annually culled, and our animal shelters are overcrowded with unadoptable pitbulls abandoned by transient pot farmers.


[1] USA’s new business slogan? “Building our country by destroying yours!” 

[2] I often argue for population control because on a simplistic level it is the most rational and central solution to so many human problems…political, environmental, economic and historical.

Problem with population control as an actual, real-life solution is… it doesn’t account for people being monsters. It assumes a pretty utopian view of human beings’ ability to operate collectively and rationally. So my support for it is not totally fake, but more theoretical and less real.

Without population-control, I don’t see any ultimate outcome to current trajectories that is not chaotic and gruesome (though often, but not always, slow and incremental in human-time). But pressed, I will say gruesome chaos is probably the real, natural and right solution to current human situations, not any population-control program.

[3] My mom told me how embarrassed she was when her class went on a field trip, and she didn’t have a nickel to buy a Coke like the other kids did.

I was like, why was the school letting them buy Cokes anyway?

When I was a kid and went on field trips, we never went to the gift shop. Why would a gift shop be part of a field trip?

But I chaperoned for my kids at times, and they always shepherded them to the gift shop, which I found annoying.

How is learning to blow money on worthless trinkets part of education?

I don’t think we ever wore costumes to school, either. Halloween was a night time activity.

[4] I guess that the best city to be down and out in would vary over time. And season.

Where are people the kindest, the cops lenient.

Democratic cities? How about being down and out say in Berlin in the thirties? Or Moscow in February?

I was down and out in NYC back in the sixties and it wasn’t too bad, but maybe I’m romanticizing. You had the parks, subways, and the Port Authority bus terminal. One time I was short for a cup of coffee. Didn’t realize the price had increased, but I wasn’t clubbed or put in jail, thank God.

I wouldn’t choose London, maybe the Dickens’ influence. Scrooge wouldn’t give me a one pence.

Paris could be great. Hemingway said that ‘Paris was a moveable feast’, meaning that you could leave Paris, but Paris wouldn’t leave you.

Yes, the hardy, stout Lithuanians. But many peasants the world over probably cavort in a similar way. The simplicity and joy of the Earth connection, sweat into dirt, the sun making muscles look like chiseled marble.

I remember sleeping on a bench in Carl Schurz Park. Woke up, had a buck or two, got a container of coffee and a couple of chocolate coated cupcakes, went back and watched the sun rising over the East River. Sometimes down and out can be sweet.

[5] Since WWII the West lost the ability to understand violence. There is no targeted or precision strikes and winning of hearts and minds. There is only killing and destruction on whatever scale needed to make the other side surrender due to fear and exhaustion. Then spending years hunting and killing anyone with fight left in them. Sounds brutal but works every time tried. Otherwise stay home with your sword in the closet.

[6] “If we manage to avoid World War Three,”

I think the US is in the same situation that the Russian Empire was in 1905.

The hubris of the US military establishment is astonishing. Biden falsely believes that a 2 front war is “no problem” for the US military. He is a deranged old fool.

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the Russian navy was completed destroyed when its 2nd Pacific Squadron (which contained many new battleships) met the Japanese Combined Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. This sea battle and its aftermath shocked the world.

The US faces a similar fate. I think if the Chinese & US fight over Taiwan, there might be a result like the Battle of Tsushima, with the US losing its carriers.

There is nothing magical about US vehicles or equipment. The Bradleys are burning (along with all the German garbage) on the steppes of the Motherland. I wonder if this is why the US won’t supply Ukraine with Abrams tanks. The video of US tanks burning would be too much for the brittle egos of the Pentagon.

[7] I just got the word that a close friend of mine has died. Other than being very sad, I’m also just pissed off that a good guy had to pass away. God decides that, not me. But I am also generally pissed off now. Anybody wanting to say something nasty about anybody I might care about is going to get my full verbal fury. In a way, that’s good because it’ll help calm me down and work out my bad vibes.

I’m so pissed, I’m pissed about being pissed.

I’ve been so angry lately and I don’t like being angry. Oh, well, it’s on me I suppose.

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