Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023

Showers | Coast Light | Weed Bust | Tom Mason | Tentative Parole | Harvest Celebration | Linda Jupiter | Chanterelle | Ed Notes | Healdsburg Mayor | BOS Chronicles | Storm Clouds | Colfax Quote | Computer Images | Lost History | Yesterday's Catch | Rid Vermin | County Prayers | Kept Asking | Glyphosate Not | How Slow | Backlash Politics | Reader Travels | Keeps Runnin' | Extra Weight | Psychopath Society | Quanah Parker | Aggressively Tacky | Ukraine | Gene Conley | Flat Broke | Lotto Ticket

* * *

PERIODS OF LIGHT RAIN will continue through the week as the upper level low off the California Coast stalls and eventually moves east. Moderate rain is possible again tomorrow and into very early Sunday morning with dry weather returning late in the weekend. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): Clear skies & 53F this Thursday morning on the coast. We might see an isolated shower today otherwise clear. Some rain is forecast for Friday & Saturday then clearing going into next week.

* * *

Man, to be grateful, here I is. (Randy Burke)

* * *


On November 9, 2023, at approximately 11:23 a.m., a silver Dodge Ram hauling an enclosed trailer was pulled over for speeding on Hwy 101, just south of the Ridgewood Scales near Willits. What initially appeared to be a routine traffic stop soon turned into a bust for marijuana.…

* * *


8/29/50 - 11/5/23 

Tom Mason

Tom passed away peacefully with family by his side. Born in San Francisco, his family then moved to San Carlos when two weeks old. He grew up attending schools there and spending his summers at the Russian River where his grandparents had a home. Tom was an avid sports fan enjoying the SF Giants, 49ers and Warriors. He also enjoyed playing sports himself with baseball being his favorite. He even played a year of college baseball while at Chico State University. When he no longer played sports himself he belonged to a Fantasy Baseball League, coached youth sports and was often heard voicing frustration during a Giant's game. A graduate of Chico State University with a degree in political science and a JD degree from Hastings School of Law, 

Tom worked for Legal Services and then opened a private practice eventually becoming Mason and Morrison law firm. His primary focus was criminal defense where he felt he could have the greatest impact on helping clients most in need. Helping others was a priority in all aspects of his life. He enjoyed working with kids whether it was coaching his own sons' teams, coaching Mock Court for the Ukiah High School team, being president of Ukiah baseball leagues, or being on the board for the building and development of the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center. He loved it all! 

Tom is survived by his wife Sue of Ukiah, son Matt of Ukiah, son David of San Jose and sister Pat of San Francisco. A celebration of life is scheduled for 12/6/23 from 2:00-5:00 at Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley. 

Donations to any local organization that improves the lives of children or others in need would be welcomed. Arrangements are under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary.

* * *


A former Point Arena resident sentenced in 1990 to up to life in state prison for the murder of an unsuspecting victim in 1989 was tentatively approved for parole on Tuesday by a panel of appointed commissioners from the Board of Prison Terms.

Cameron Whitlock

Cameron Neil Whitlock, now 60 years of age, was convicted by a Mendocino County jury in April 1990 of murder in the second degree using a firearm causing the death of a well-known and respected Mendocino Coast contractor, Wallace Herbert Kuntz. Mr. Kuntz was 58 years of age at the time of his untimely death.

Whitlock was also convicted by the jury of robbery in the second degree and vehicle theft.

Kuntz was working at a housing project on the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria when he was killed. The investigators at the time said Kuntz was sitting in his pickup truck getting ready to drive home for the day when Whitlock walked up to the driver’s side window and out of the blue shot Kuntz in the head.

Whitlock then climbed into the truck, shot Kuntz again, and drove the victim’s truck about two miles down the road with the contractor’s body slumped over and still inside.

Investigators at the time said that Whitlock pulled over, dragged the contractor’s body from the vehicle and covered it with brush. Whitlock then torched the brush, engulfing Kuntz’s body in flames in an effort to dispose of the body.

Originally sentenced to 21 years to life in state prison in May 1990, the defendant’s sentence was reduced to 20 years to life in September 2022 because a sentencing enhancement proven and lawful in 1990 – alleging that Whitlock had served a prior state prison sentence and had not stayed free for five years of a new felony offense — was repealed by the Legislature in 2021 to reduce the length of prison sentences and speed up the release of all levels of prison inmates.

Whitlock had previously made application for release on parole and had his applications in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2013, and 2017 denied.

Whitlock also filed a petition in April 2019 claiming that the Legislature’s repeal of California’s long-approved version of the felony-murder rule applied to his case, incorrectly claiming that he could no longer be found guilty of murder under California’s modified definitions of murder. That petition was opposed by the District Attorney and denied in May 2019.

Appearing on behalf of the District Attorney at this week’s parole hearing was Deputy District Attorney Ivan Abrams.

Appearing with DDA Abrams to oppose parole was retired Sheriff’s investigator (and the DA’s former Chief of Investigations) Tim Kiely.

As they had at all prior parole hearings, members of the Kuntz family also appeared at the Tuesday hearing to speak against the inmate’s release back into the community … to no avail.

Once a panel decision tentatively approving parole of an inmate serving a sentence of up to life is final, generally after the 120-day decision review period, Governor Newsom has the statutory authority under Penal Code sections 3041.1 and 3041.2 to review parole suitability decisions.

Up to 90 days prior to a scheduled release date of any inmate convicted of murder, which means Whitlock, Governor Newsom has the authority to reverse or modify the Board’s decision without referring it back to the Board of Prison Terms for additional review.

* * *

* * *


With a heavy heart I am letting you know that our dear friend Linda Jupiter died today, peacefully, surrounded by her dearest people, at the time and in the manner that she felt was right given her serious and complex illnesses. There is no memorial gathering planned at this time. Linda was a light to so many of us — an advocate and activist, a great support to her friends and family and community, a person who loved life and did all she could to have a full and meaningful and joyful life, who laughed easily and often, spoke truth as she saw it, supported who and what was important to her, lived with integrity and love. Below is an obituary which she wrote for herself in collaboration with her sister Carla Jupiter and brother-in-law Steve Antler, who were her tireless and loving support through her illness. We were all most blessed to live in community with Linda — with love.

* * *

Linda Jupiter was born in New York City on March 26, 1944, and left us on November 14, 2023, in Fort Bragg, CA, following a short but complicated series of illnesses. Linda moved to LA to start her adult life in 1967, traveled through Europe and points east and upon return settled in San Francisco in the early 1970s, becoming part of that city’s transformation into a welcoming and safe place for gay people. After moving to Ft. Bragg in 2010, she brought her energy and activism to the north coast, becoming a force in our local community for progressive politics. In the 25 years she lived here, she was a mover and shaker for any number of organization and causes: a mediator for VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program), a constant participant with the Grassroots Institute, a membert of the Latino Coalition, the MCJC (Mendocino County Jewish Community) Justice Group, stood with Women in Black for Peace, a long-time organizer of our Martin Luther King Day celebration, assisted in Anne Turner’s Citizenship and ESL classes, co-facilitated the MCJC Elders’ group on Zoom, and, with others, fought for years to keep our hospital’s obstetrics department open. She created Jupiter Productions, a book production company, which, in turn, allowed her to hire many local people as editors, indexers & art directors, adding much needed jobs to the community. Linda loved living in her light, comfortable house in the middle of Ft. Bragg, close to everything she needed. Her years here, she maintained, were the best of her life. She is survived by her daughters Annie Jupiter-Jones and Ingrid Scantlebury, son-in-law Alejandro Alcantar, granddaughters Justice Kaya Alcantar, Havana Mia Alcantar, and Rio Bella Alcantar; grandsons Jarid Dyon Scantlebury and Aren Malik Scantelbury, as well as her sister Carla Jupiter, brother-in-law Steve Antler & co-parent Diane Jones. She will be sorely missed by her family, and her many friends, colleagues, and fellow activists.

* * *

Mendo Mushroom Time!

* * *


Dear AVA,

Charmed and delighted that you shared the pictures of you and your lovely wife from 60 years ago, an endearing embrace of your years together. 

Also very much appreciated are the recent and occasional notes in the AVA from Jim Dodge, a literary hero of mine from whom I first learned that fup duck does not refer to a state of being and, lately, the finer points of the curiously popular game known as cornhole. Jim's vivid stories, poems and lessons on life contained in his glorious book “Rain on the River” provide daily reminders of independent living and a rewarding life. Basic precept #6, pp. 61, counsels: “Avoid living any place where you can't take a piss off the front porch.” I think of Jim almost daily as I practice his counsel, fortunate to live in a place that allows such freedom without fear of offending.

All best to you and the Major.

Jake Rohrer, Haiku Maui

P.S. Manila?

ED REPLY: Manilla? Was there for a few days in '63 on my way to Sabah, and then on to Sarawak, land of the hornbill, former headhunters, the White Rajahs, and my future wife. Manilla was the most unsettling place I'd been in my young life. The blast furnace heat and Manilla International was rather a shock. The terminal seemed to be falling apart. The urinals overran into the main, trash-strewn hallway and, as I sloshed up to one to relieve myself I suddenly felt a vibration on my upper back. I probably yelped as I whirled around to face a grinning little guy with a hand vibrator. It was explained to me that the back massage was a common service in the airport's men's room, and didn't seem to be optional. The cab driver wouldn't take me directly to my hotel but kept trying to sell me on a trip to a brothel. Downtown there were prosperous-looking people moving around with phalanxes of men carrying rifles. I was happy to leave for the much less fraught state of Sabah (North Borneo) on mucho cool Cathay Pacific Airlines where I couldn't help but see that the equivalent of Caltrans workers were almost all women. It was explained to me that hundreds of men had been murdered during the Japanese occupation in mass reprisal killings. The Borneo states were much less menacing than Manilla which, I'm sure, is much less menacing today from what I can gather.

MIKE GENIELLA: A $1.6 MILLION COTTAGE at Little River on the Mendocino Coast. Hope the county appraisers/assessors are keeping all eyes on sales like this.

ED NOTE: I don't know how large the lot is, but this house, in 1970, would have gone for about $25 grand.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS' surreptitious-like announcement that he is running for the state assembly reminds me of Johnny Pinches' unsuccessful attempt at state office a few years ago. Mendo doesn't travel well. But one would think that Williams would have made his big reveal before a cheering crowd of Albion bongs, not just Twitter-whispering it.

UNLESS WILLIAMS has somehow been anointed by the mystery bigwig Democrats who decide our candidates for us up here in the backwoods of the Northcoast, he has zero chance of election. Our state and federal reps, thanks to gerrymandering by Willie Brown and his state legislature gofers, come out of the population centers of Sonoma and Marin counties, Marin having brought us Congressman Jared the Bold fresh off his about face on Israel-Hamas, first signing onto a plea for the Israelis to lighten up their carpet bombing of Gaza then, when his major donors complained of his humanity, said he'd made a mistake opting for mercy and sent out a groveling letter of apology. 

W.H AUDEN'S “low, dishonest decade” has been extended from 1939 until now, as our fragmented country shows every sign of total dissolution with the elections of '24 in a presidential race between senility and dementia.

WILLIAMS, whatever his deficits, and they seem to be many, is certainly no less plausible than the two Healdsburg ciphers, McGuire and Wood, each as vacuous as the other, and exactly who installed them in state government in the first place? 

WILLIAMS FOR WOOD is your basic lateral political move, but Williams' hubris, given his destructive tours as Mendo supervisor, a county of amnesiacs where history starts all over again every morning, might just waft him outta here and into Sacramento, dependent, of course, on whether or not he's been tapped by Demo Central.

FROM THIS MORNING'S CHRON: “The Chronicle previously reported that in 2018, almost 33,000 pounds of glyphosate were used in Napa Valley. Napa Green’s ongoing certification program already asked participants to reduce their use by 5% each year. While Brittain didn’t have any data on how much participants have actually reduced their use of glyphosate since, she said certified members have shown mandated reductions.”

AND PEOPLE PAY forty bucks a bottle to drink this stuff? I don't even want to think how much Round-Up is dumped on Anderson Valley's vineyards, but it's lots and lots, and lots and lots of killer chemicals run off every winter into the fish-free Navarro.

JAY LYON, 71, marching in SF against the slaughter in the Middle East: “It is obscene that in this very city that we have people sleeping in the street when billions are sent to murder people with weapons. I am a Jew and I have never been prouder than I am now. So many Jews hate the occupation, we are not zionists. We hate the fact that zionists pretend that all the Jews in the world are on their side. The Jewish religion honors justice. And Zionism is not justice.” 

* * *

NO SOONER had 5th District supervisor Ted Williams announced he wanted to be elected to the state assembly, here comes:

Ariel Kelley, Healdsburg’s mayor, speaks during the Healdsburg Gala for the Arts at The 222 in Healdsburg, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023. (Abraham Fuentes / For The Press Democrat)


…Kelley said she’s already talked to two other prominent candidates interested in the Assembly race: Santa Rosa City Council Member Chris Rogers and Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party.…

* * *


by Mark Scaramella (from January 2011)

In December of 2010, CEO Carmel Angelo proposed significant and controversial budget and staff cuts in the Sheriff’s Department and the Board sent the Sheriff and the CEO into a chill-out session. A few weeks later Sheriff Tom Allman took another stab at convincing the Board to postpone the pending layoffs of five deputies (down from seven when two of them decided to take resident deputy positions in Covelo, the toughest area to police in the County). 

Response from the Board? Supervisor McCowen asked CEO Angelo what she thought. 

Predictably, Ms. Angelo said, No way. “At this point,” said Angelo, “we are looking at an $818,000 shortfall in the county general fund budget,” Ms. Angelo added. “If you delay the layoffs, you would be adding another $100,000 to $150,000 to the county's deficit. I would not recommend delaying this layoff.” And that was it. The Board was with their CEO. Cuts had to be made.

The Board treated Sheriff Allman more or less like just another ignorable person rambling on irrelevantly. Not one question was posed to Allman, no discussion about Allman’s decision to discontinue deputies being on patrol. The cuts would be made; the layoffs would apparently proceed, the seemingly spiteful operational changes would be made, and then, in the not too distant future, yet another round of layoffs would be forced on Allman since there’s nothing significant on the horizon that will change the Sheriff’s budget situation for the better, only for the worse. 

“We do this for public safety, to protect and serve,” insisted Sheriff’s Captain Kurt Smallcomb. “To lose 10% [of our uniformed staff] means now we have to worry about the safety of our own officers.” Since patrol deputies have been put on on-call status, instead of on-patrol, response times are increasing throughout the county. The five positions slated for layoff are made up of two corrections officers and three (presumably coastal) patrol deputies.

* * *

Later in January after some new board members were elected and seated …

Tuesday’s Board meeting included a rather heated exchange between newly elected Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg and Sheriff Tom Allman.

Allman’s budget deficit (based on an a somewhat arbitrary cost allocation from the CEO’s office) is still about $800k, down from about $1.1 million after a few recent layoffs of corrections officers and deputies, some reassignments, and a couple of sergeant demotions. 

The jail budget will be further worsened when the state sends dozens of lower-level prisoners back to the county jail in July which would probably overwhelm most of Allman’s efforts to reduce the jail population (and staffing) and put them back to over-capacity. “I hope three of you can get this,” Allman said to the five supervisors. “I hope three of you understand that by laying off correctional deputies … it's compromising the inmates' safety, the public's safety and our employees' safety.” 

Allman told the board that his budget was an easy target because “87% of it is general fund,” adding, “If anybody on this board can clearly, without emotions, with facts, come into the Sheriff's Office and say, ‘I think this is where you trim,’ my doors are open. But if you want to just, based on emotion, say, ‘Well, the Sheriff's Office uses the vast majority of the general fund, so we know we can cut there,’ then I would ask you to really, truly ask for the purpose of what the Sheriff's Office does.”

“We can't cut anymore,” Allman concluded. 

Apparently Supervisor Hamburg took umbrage at Allman’s use of the phrase “without emotion” and launched into what some have called an “emotional” complaint of his own.

“First of all, Tom, I want to say that your enthusiasm for your department is admirable. I'm glad that you feel so strongly about maintaining your department, about maintaining public safety in our County. I know you take this to heart. I'm sure you take it home with you. I'm sure it's a 24/7 obligation for you. But I have to say that I don't like hearing you tell me as a supervisor that if I don't see things exactly the way you do, then I'm operating on emotion.”

Allman denied saying that.

Hamburg went on. “That is what you said. You said if we come to you with good arguments, you'll listen to us, but if we just come to you with emotion — as if we only see things in this kind of irrational way, and you're the only one who's really standing up for the people of Mendocino County… And Tom, it just ain't true! We have different obligations than you do, and if you want to turn around and sue us because you don't think you're getting enough to do what you have to do, go ahead. And use our money to do it.” 

Hamburg then asked Sheriff’s admin specialist Norm Thurston how much the recent cuts shrunk the deficit.

“It will not affect the deficit,” replied Thurston directly, “because the cuts have been used to save deputy positions, so as opposed to having seven layoffs, we had four.”

Hamburg's voice rose again, saying, “So, in other words, all this rigmarole this board's gone through the last three months … before I was on the board just sitting out there listening… we have really gained no ground? We’re looking at what, a $700k-$800k deficit by the end of the year.”

Thurston: “Yeah.”

Hamburg then referred to a Press-Democrat article a couple of days earlier about Sonoma County considering the lay off of 500 county employees — including up to 100 sworn officers.

“Sometimes I wonder if certain people in our county don't read the newspapers,” Hamburg said. “We’re in a very serious recession. We have no money. You may want things to be a certain way, Tom, and you may think that's the only way they can be looked at, but it just ain't so! The money isn't there! Now, you want us to keep gutting every other county department so we can keep putting 87% of the general fund money into the Sheriff?” 

Allman had said earlier that 87% of his department's budget was general fund money, not that the county spent 87% of its general fund budget on the Sheriff's department. 

Hamburg continued, emphatically, “Our responsibilities are to look at the overall priorities and needs of this county, and that doesn't stop at your department. It doesn't. At least in the opinion of this supervisor. And that doesn't mean I don't care about public safety, Tom. It doesn't mean I don't care about my resident deputies [in Point Arena and Anderson Valley]; I care very deeply about it. But sometimes I feel you're being too much of a politician and not enough of a Sheriff, and not really working with — ” 

“Madam chair …? ” Allman interrupted. 

“ …with the whole group here,” Hamburg said.

Allman complained, “If this is going to continue, as Sheriff, I'm going to leave. If the Supervisor wants to chastise me, he can do it outside a public forum.” 

“Tom, I often feel like you're here chastising us,” Hamburg sternly interrupted. 

Allman addressed Board Chair Kendall Smith: “You either put me out of order or put him out of order, one of the two.” 

Hamburg quit: “I'm done.” 

“OK, Sheriff, go ahead,” Smith said. 

Allman quickly corrected Hamburg saying his department didn't use 87% of the County general fund, adding, “that's a great way of misinterpreting what I said.” 

Hamburg interrupted, “I’m sorry; 87% of your budget comes from the general fund.” 

“OK,” Allman said. “When I'm done, you can talk; when you're done, I can talk. Mr. Supervisor Hamburg, it's gonna be a long four years, I assure you, OK?”

Allman said the state constitution mandates that the County Sheriff investigate felonies, maintain the jail, provide security for the courts and serve civil papers. “I take my job very seriously because the people of the state, and the people of this county, demand adequate public safety,” Allman continued. Further deputy job cuts would have a “drastic impact on the Fifth District” because of civil service rules which mean that some patrol deputies such as the relatively recently hired Craig Walker in Anderson Valley, would be laid off before more senior deputies and they won’t be easy to replace in their resident positions. Allman suggested that he could discuss the question with Hamburg outside the board room, adding, “If we want to have public outbursts and you want to chastise me in a public forum, I honestly have better things to do. I don’t have to be here today. I'm not your boss, sir, and you're not mine.”

Hamburg paused then responded: “I often feel that when you come in to address the board that you come in in a spirit that is chastising me as a Supervisor and this board. We’re after the same thing, the best situation for the people who live in this County. That involves a lot of County services this County provides and yours are critical, but so are many of the other services that we provide and you have to have more cognizance of that. You are part of a team. You are one of however many department heads we have. And this board of supervisors — if we don’t work together through some tough times that are really going to be grueling and just come at each other all the time, it’s not going to work.”

Allman: “I don’t think I came at you today, Supervisor Hamburg.”

Hamburg: “Yes, I think you did, Tom. I think you did come after me. When you tell the board that if we don't agree with you, that we're operating on emotions, rather than on a rational basis, that is coming after us.”

Allman: “If I could remind the Supervisor what I stated, I stated, If you want to deal with facts, and that's what cops deal with, I will gladly show you the facts.”

Hamburg: “Excuse me, Tom, but the facts are that we are looking at an $800,000 deficit in your department this year! That is a fact! That's a fact! That's not emotion!”

* * *

This entire exchange was mostly heat, the only light being that we now know that it hasn’t taken Hamburg long to jump on the extremely weary “there’s no money” train with the rest of the Board. The trouble with the “There’s no money” approach is that whenever budget decisions have to be made, the Board defers to CEO Carmel Angelo and her simple percentage cuts for each department without asking questions about how her recommendations were arrived at or what actually drives the costs of the various General Fund departments. 

How, exactly, this entirely unproductive and unnecessary exchange would help keep resident deputies in the Fifth District or anywhere else is unclear. 

We never hear the Board ask Allman for any “facts.” How much money is the recently implemented no-patrol policy actually saving? How much money is being saved by having two cops in a patrol car when they do go out instead of one? How much money would be saved by an arraignment court at the jail? (For example, Allman said last week that he “has to have four people on duty to transport to and from Ukiah.”) What alternatives are there for handling the frequent flyers who are booked into the County Jail on “disorderly conduct” charges almost every week? If the DA isn’t charging as many pot cases as his predecessor how much money can be saved on the criminal justice system related to marijuana? What is the ratio of minor misdemeanors to felony arrests? How are they prioritized?


These questions and many others like them always seem to take a back seat to “There’s no money.”

* * *

(photo by Falcon)

* * *

OUR FAVORITE QUOTE from the late Supervisor David Colfax comes from his reaction in September of 2009 to Supervisor John McCowen’s bold move to put Board member salaries and benefits on the agenda as a matter of public information.

Colfax wasn’t having it.

Colfax: “The problem I have is once again joining with the Ukiah Daily Journal and certain segments in the County that are fascinated, intrigued by the abuses, perceived or otherwise, including the Grand Jury in that at the very top of the list. I am sick and tired of taking crap from these people and these organizations! And for you to come on the board after, what is it, eight and a half months now? And to join in that kind of fascination with this is just filthy. I agree with you if you have genuine interest in this. Rather than grandstanding your willingness to give up, oh, five, ten, fifteen, twenty percent of your salary for which you have made no effort to make sure that this board is adequately compensated for the work that members of it do, and we do earn our money. But perhaps your circumstances are different from other people's circumstances so it's really a bit petty, a bit of a pet peeve of a concern in my opinion, of having made no effort as a Supervisor to get increased compensation. I ran on a platform eleven years ago saying we need to increase the compensation of members of the board of supervisors. And that has been opposed by some of the worst elements in this community for all those years. Now, bottom line, and my reason for raising this, the clerk of the board has done a good job of presenting this information. I'm requesting the CEO's office, since Mr. McCowen has made this request of our Clerk to do this, I want to see the exact same document for each and every member earning more than members of the Board of Supervisors. By name! Now, do you have any problem with that?! [Silence.] Sure you do! Because we're not going to put names on it. We're going to have positions. But when you go down and you start talking about the great benefit that I have for my, uh, for paying contributions, uh, to pay for my contribution to employers insurance of $11,000 which takes my money up to a certain level, that's not my income, that's the county's charge of doing business, the cost of doing business! So some of these numbers are not accurate, they are not more accurate, Supervisor McCowen. They are misleading. But I will accept the fact that there's a format that's been presented and it is now part of a public document that has me just absolutely outraged! That addresses five members of the Board of Supervisors. But it somehow is not addressed to the people who in my opinion, and this is now my 60th birthday, by the way, so I can take off a few weeks. But it infuriates me that this would go forward without any effort made to run it by, and to do so in the name of members of the Board of Supervisors. One supervisor apparently requested this. And yet it has real implications for this whole organization. Make sure we get it out there and quickly in the same format for those who in my opinion are grossly overpaid in this organization. And it's not the members of the board of supervisors! So I think that it's a pet peeve [shaking angrily]. I'd rather see you work in behalf of advancing the interest of the members of the Board of Supervisors. Moving us up to below the median salary for this organization. To perhaps just what the ordinary employee in this organization gets. Then I would have more respect for your fascination with this. Frankly, I consider this another element of the grandstanding you've done since being on this board with these items, and I don't… if this is taken as personal, and overreactive, I've had too much of an investment in this organization and wasted too damn much time bickering over a crappy salary connected to a not terribly rewarding job. … I don't like having my contribution to workmen's compensation added into the line item about [illegible] out of this organization. That's not what it's all about at all! It's what I see in my paycheck. It's not terribly, terribly exciting to put it very mildly.”

(Mark Scaramella)

* * *


I'm still without vehicle and my files of local photos are dwindling so last night I decided to "contemporize" and try Chat Gpt 4 and its image generator DALL-E 3. They say 90% of Fortune 500 companies use a "knowledge conglomerator" like Chat Gpt in some form for their businesses and after trying it, you do have instant access to a world of information (it searches the web in real time).

There is an image generator, DALL-E 3 that creates images via text prompts and on my very first try and very basic prompts, created these images of the Golden Gate Bridge and Boonville. I was surprised at the attempts it made for: "Golden Gate Bridge with realistic rainbow" after I prompted it for an image of Golden Gate Park. The Golden Gate Bridge with Northern Lights was its first attempt. The realism and text formation in the "Downtown Boonville on Rt 128" is more interpretive, or as they say in the tech realm, DALL-E 3 was hallucinating its command. The second image of Boonville I used the Cosmic Dream option and cosmic dream it is.

This new technology is eye-opening in its ability to gather scores of Terabytes of information and form endless images with a command, minimizing humans previous efforts to "craft" these results. Maybe that's why depictions of space aliens show them as soft, partially-formed beings; too much technological assistance. Chat Gpt is in the cyber world of assistance, DALL-E 3 creates interesting images from 1's and 0's but Northern California's (and all) terra firma and ocean is beyond AI's ability to truly comprehend that reality. Well, this is fun, but back to digital (Ha) photos soon.

* * *



The article in the Nov. 5 Towns section headlined “A brief look at the history of the Coast Miwok” caught my eye, since so many of us know so little about the Indigenous people and culture of our area. Sadly, after a few generic paragraphs about building boats out of tule reeds and citing a couple of native words, the article launched into Gen. Mariano Vallejo’s arrival in 1834, with specifics about colonization and enslavement of native people. Exactly how did Vallejo “employ” native workers? And why was the word put in quotation marks in the article?

Having fast-forwarded to the arrival of European colonizers, could you now feature pre-colonization history with stories from the remaining Miwok people in our area? Surely local Indigenous people and those who chronicle native ways could speak eloquently about the thousands of years of culture and history of local Indigenous people, and of their situation and challenges today.

Ellen Skagerberg

Santa Rosa

ED NOTE: In fact, Vallejo was a benign figure by the standards of the times which, admittedly, weren't those of Westside Ukiah. One of his best friends was the intriguing, bilingual figure of 6'7" Chief Solano of Suisun. There's lots of books and studies of the early California interface (sic) of settlers and Native Americans, available from your local library.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Baltazar, Cornwall, Gunter, Keech


TINA CORNWALL, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

CLINT GUNTER, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.


Munoz, Pike, Ramirez, Yeomans

ORLANDO MUNOZ, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

CARRELL PIKE JR., Hopland. County parole violation, failure to appear.

GLORIA RAMIREZ, Point Arena. Grossly negligent discharge of firearm, felon-addict with firearm, paraphernalia, probation violation.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, county parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)

* * *

* * *


Dear Sheriff Matt Kendall,

I appreciate your references to scripture, but truth be told, Mendocino County has never in its history experienced such an abject failure of leadership as we are now experiencing. Please refer to my above letter where I enumerate all the ways our Board of Supervisors has failed us and what the future may yet bring with a growing budget deficit, chaotic financial reporting, uncollected taxes, a qualified audit, wrongful terminations, the misappropriation of voter-stipulated public funds, a freeze on applying for new federal and state grants, and a plunging credit rating.

It may interest you to know that for several years as a kid I attended Catholic schools and wanted to be a priest, and I am also no stranger to scripture. A few Bible verses on failed leadership immediately come to mind.

Jeremiah 23:1-4 – Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.

Proverbs 16:12 – It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

Proverbs 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Proverbs 29:12 – If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may create joy, and not grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

1 Timothy 3:1-2 – This is a true saying: If a man desires the office of a bishop, he must desireth good work.

I pray for our county, Sheriff.

I pray for new leaders. I pray for five new District Supervisors, a new CEO, and a new County Counsel.

And I pray that our children and grandchildren forgive us for burdening them with cuts in services and millions of dollars in new debt.


John Sakowicz


* * *

MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES (with apologies to St. Matthew/Jesus Christ and Thomas Paine): 

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

— Jesus of Nazareth, “The Parable of the Closet” (Matthew 6:5-7)

* * *

“Yet, with all this strange appearance of humility, and this contempt for human reason, a man may venture into the boldest presumptions. He finds fault with everything. His selfishness is never satisfied; his ingratitude is never at an end. He takes on himself to direct the Almighty what to do, even in the government of the universe. He prays dictatorially. When it is sunshine, he prays for rain, and when it is rain, he prays for sunshine. He follows the same idea in everything that he prays for; for what is the amount of all his prayers, but an attempt to make the Almighty change his mind, and act otherwise than he does? It is as if he were to say—thou knowest not so well as I.”

. . .

“Most parts of the New Testament, except the book of enigmas, called the Revelations, are a collection of letters under the name of epistles; and the forgery of letters has been such a common practice in the world, that the probability is at least equal, whether they are genuine or forged. One thing, however, is much less equivocal, which is, that out of the matters contained in those books, together with the assistance of some old stories, the Christian church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty.”

— Thomas Paine, ‘The Age of Reason’

* * *

* * *


by Mario Cortez

A first-of-its-kind winegrower sustainability certification program in Napa Valley is changing its rules to require that vineyards eliminate the use of synthetic herbicides.

Napa Green, a nonprofit established in 2004, announced Tuesday it will require members to phase out their use of Monsanto-made weed killer Roundup by 2026, and all other synthetic herbicides by 2028. The program currently has around 90 participating wineries.

“It’s not enough to just ban Roundup, or glyphosate, because alternatives exist,” said Anne Brittain, Napa Green’s executive director.

The move makes Napa Green the first of about 20 sustainable winegrowing certification programs worldwide to phase out synthetic herbicides. It also represents a change in position for Napa Green. Last year, Brittain told the San Francisco Chronicle that she feared banning Roundup would alienate growers. 

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with repeat exposure. Because the potent herbicide can be bought at hardware stores for people to use on pesky weeds in their backyards and home gardens, its use isn’t limited to massive agricultural settings.

Still, earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that California could not place a Prop. 65 cancer warning label on Roundup. That was because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a state health agency have both concluded that glyphosate is not carcinogenic (although an arm of the World Health Organization previously found that the substance was a probable cause of cancer).

A 2022 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found 80% of adults and 87% of children in its sample had traces of glyphosate in their urine, demonstrating how ubiquitous the product’s main active ingredient can be. In wine production, migrant workers and people of color, who largely work as field laborers, are the most commonly exposed to these herbicides .

“Not only does glyphosate get into the water system, but it destroys the biological activity in the soil and in our environment,” said Phil Coturri, whose company, Enterprise Vineyards, manages grape-growing properties in Napa and Sonoma counties. Coturri has been farming without herbicide for over 40 years, instead making use of cultivation tools like tractors, tillers and herds of hungry sheep, among other tactics.

But no alternative method is perfect. Gas powered tools spew carbon emissions, and their motors can generate loud noise in idyllic wine country. Some mowers don’t cut down below the surface, while plows cause significant soil disturbances. Buying the equipment can be expensive and there is always the potential for injury in rocky or hilly terrain, too. 

“In the long run this is all better for peoples’ health and the environment,” Coturri said, though it can also be expensive. Foregoing chemical herbicides costs him up to $800 an acre, he estimated.

That cost can lead growers to use other synthetic weed killers such as Roundup. While organic herbicides do exist, they are not nearly as effective as ones containing glyphosate.

Lifeline, a popular alternative to Roundup, can be even more harmful to humans, Brittain claimed. Some producers have done away with Roundup, only to mix herbicides to match its effectiveness. The compounding effect of mixing herbicides can make the cocktail even more harmful and lead to increased herbicide resistance.

Napa Green will allow for some leeway for growers that have conditions that make it difficult and more costly to implement alternatives to weed killers, such as rocky soil, narrow vine rows and slopes of greater than 5% grade. These growers may submit a request to use varying methods, which will be considered by a committee. The nonprofit will distribute $60,000 in grants to help growers make the switch. 

The Chronicle previously reported that in 2018, almost 33,000 pounds of glyphosate were used in Napa Valley. Napa Green’s ongoing certification program already asked participants to reduce their use by 5% each year. While Brittain didn’t have any data on how much participants have actually reduced their use of glyphosate since, she said certified members have shown mandated reductions.

Beth Milliken, owner of Spottswoode Winery in St. Helena, supports the transition. While her winery has been pesticide free since 1985, and Napa Green compliant, she believes Napa Valley is the perfect place to make this push.

“Napa Valley is an industry leader. Why fall behind on protecting our water and air when we can be ahead?” she said. 

Brittain recognizes some growers might ultimately seek the most cost- or time-efficient weed management method. But the growing interest in such programs can ultimately nudge some vineyards to make a switch. So far 25 growers have begun to transition to be certified Napa Green, and another 45 are working in the process. 

“We see the peer pressure. We have Napa Green signs that bring people in (to vineyards) and people take notice of what works for their neighbors' fields,” Brittain said. 

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

* * *

THE PRIDE FLAG IS GONE. Library Books Are Under Review. It’s a New Era of Backlash Politics in California

by Alexei Koseff

HUNTINGTON BEACH — The winds of change blew swiftly and relentlessly into this oceanside city in northern Orange County.

Not long after winning election last November, the new conservative majority of the Huntington Beach city council adopted an ordinance that prevents the rainbow LGBTQ+ flag from flying at city hall during Pride Month.

Then this summer, the council dissolved a human relations committee formed after two notorious hate crimes by white supremacists in the mid-1990s; rewrote a declaration on human dignity to eliminate any reference to hate crimes but recognize “from birth the genetic differences between male and female”; and took away the ability to select who gives the invocation before its meetings from an interfaith council also founded in the wake of those 1990s hate incidents.

Last month, council members passed a ban on government mask and vaccine mandates in a city that has none, then placed measures on the March ballot that would add the flag policy to the city charter and require voter identification at the polls.

Hardly a few weeks pass anymore without another contentious vote pushing the community to the right — and right into some of the country’s fiercest cultural battles. Claiming a mandate from voters, Huntington Beach’s conservative council majority has set out to erase any vestige of progressive governance or “wokeism.”

They’ve been cheered on by constituents including Cari Swan, a local activist who helped organize an unsuccessful recall attempt against five members of the previous city council for passing liberal policies that she considered out of step with Huntington Beach’s values.

“The left kind of brought it on themselves,” Swan said. “They were poking the bear and the bear fought back.”

But now an opposition, growing fearful of just how far and how fast the conservative council may go to reshape their community, has galvanized around their latest move to create a citizen review panel to monitor library books for sexual content.

At a tense meeting last month, public comment dragged on for five hours as hundreds of residents filled the council chambers, frequently shouting at the conservative majority for promoting a book ban. Opponents have since launched a campaign against the March ballot measures, effectively turning the election into a referendum on the council members and their vision for Huntington Beach.

“They have just come in and taken a wrecking ball to the city with all of these things they have passed,” said Carol Daus, a library volunteer who has lived in Huntington Beach for more than three decades. “Now the community is divided. There is no place for the middle.”

How did the political center fall out, even in this swingregion of California where the close partisan divide might have once invited moderation instead of conflict?

Welcome to the era of backlash politics.

Lacking power at the state level — where Democrats are so dominant that they can dismiss these cultural concerns without so much as a debate — conservatives are leaning into local governance as a form of protest against liberal California.

Their efforts can also be seen in Shasta County, where far-right activists took control of the government for not doing enough to fight coronavirus pandemic mandates and then got rid of voting machines at the center of election fraud conspiracies, and in school boards across the state, which have been roiled by fights over the rights of LGBTQ+ students.

It tracks with a growing repolarization among California voters. After decades of steady gains in independent registration, the trend has undergone a sharp reversal over the past five years as more voters embrace the Democratic and Republican parties again. Surveys find an increasing number have a favorable view of their own party and an unfavorable view of the opposition.

“It almost feels like you have to overcompensate for some of the damage being done,” said Gracey Van Der Mark, the Huntington Beach council member who proposed the library book review committee. “The more radical they got to the left, the more I felt myself pulling to the right.”

Many residents and former officials in Huntington Beach have watched with shock and horror as the city of nearly 200,000 emerged as a leader in this movement. They emphasize that the community historically leaned conservative, but not overly partisan, and had long been on the same page about maintaining its suburban beach town vibe.

The 2020 presidential election split fairly evenly, with Donald Trump beating Joe Biden by fewer than 4,000 votes. Several Democrats were elected to the nonpartisan city council, which began taking steps that might have once seemed unthinkable, such as flying the rainbow flag for Pride Month for the first time.

The Trump era and the pandemic deeply unsettled the community, however. Huntington Beach was the site of regular protests — in support of Trump and against pandemic restrictions, occasionally violent and sometimes led by white supremacist groups, recalling its history as a magnet for skinheads in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The unsuccessful recall effort two years ago tapped into a sense among many conservative residents that they were losing their community. Local activist Russell Neal said the then-council’s decision to fly the Pride flag exemplified how progressives encourage moral weakness to bring people under control of the government.

“The whole transformation of culture goes together as a cohesive package,” Neal said. “The fundamental form of slavery is slavery to sin and when they’re slaves to sin, presto, they’ll find themselves slaves externally.”

It’s a message that can be heard at meetings of Republican groups around town and at Calvary Chapel of the Harbour, an influential evangelical church overlooking a marina on the northern edge of Huntington Beach. The conservative council candidates campaigned from the stage there last year, with Pastor Joe Pedick telling congregants he was voting for the foursome. One of the intern pastors is running for city council next year.

“We look for those types of leaders” who will “stand up for righteousness,” Pedick said after this past Sunday’s service, where a guest speaker preached to hundreds that Planned Parenthood is the source of all wickedness in modern American culture and that Democrats are demons.

Running as a slate last year, however, the conservatives focused their platform not on cultural issues but on fighting high-density development in the city, including a state requirement to plan for more than 13,000 new units in the next eight years, as well as on reducing homelessness and crime. They swept the four open seats last November, receiving at least 12,000 votes more than their closest competition, and celebrated the results as a mandate, though with lower turnout, each won the support of less than a fifth of Huntington Beach residents.

“Our voters have no more appetite for progressive governance or the wokeism,” said City Attorney Michael Gates, a staunch conservative elected to a third term last November after campaigning with the council candidates.

So opponents are flummoxed by how much the city councilfocused this year on issues that never came up in the campaign. They have come to seethe housing and homelessness message as a bait-and-switch — though to what end, they’re not sure. To simply undo the work of the previous council? To boost future runs for higher office? To create a laboratory of conservative policymaking that could become a playbook for other communities?

“It’s a banana republic down here,” said Dan Kalmick, one of three Democrats on the city council who regularly oppose the conservative majority. “This isn’t Republicanism. This is nihilism.”

The political divisions have consumed city government — sometimes quite literally. The conservative majority chose adjoining offices on the same hallway in city hall, booting the Democrats to the other side of the building.

Council meetings are filled with open hostility and executive staff have fled for neighboring communities. While a potential budget deficit looms, the council majority recently approved a secret $7 million settlement with a political ally who sued the city after the final day of his popular air show was canceled in 2021 due to a massive oil spill.

“That whole philosophy, you would think it would be small government and fiscal prudence because they are Republicans. But they are ones who are Republicans in name only,” said Democratic Councilmember Rhonda Bolton, who slammed the conservative majority for advancing policies such as voter ID and the library book review committee without considering how much they might cost to administer or defend in court. “What I’m seeing is Trump ideology, MAGA ideology, and in that respect, no original ideas.”

The conservative council members say they are responding to concerns raised by constituents during more than 100 town halls they held on the campaign trail.

One of their first major steps, about two months after taking office, was adopting a policy that allows only flags for the United States, California, Orange County, Huntington Beach and the military to fly on city property. Councilmember Pat Burns, who introduced the ordinance, said it was a move to unify the community behind symbols that represent everyone equally. He said he has nothing against LGBTQ+ people, but believes the rainbow flag — the only flag previously approved for display in front of city hall that was not included in the new policy — promotes divisive identity politics that are actually counterproductive to LGBTQ+ acceptance.

“They’re such a small population and why would we recognize anybody special?” Burns said, adding that it would be like him asking for an NRA, white or Christian flag in front of city hall. “We’re all marginalized in some way or victimized in some way, but we don’t get months or parades or whatever.”

Known as the Fab Four to their fans, the council majority, along with Gates, have become rock stars to local Republicans, who hooted and hollered for them at a Veterans Day ceremony on the beach.

Supporters spun off groups like HB Lady Patriots, which aims to bring a patriotic education back into Huntington Beach schools and was active in promoting the library book review proposal. Gates said he hears from officials in other communities who want to replicate their policies, including Fresno County, which recently voted to create a panel to screen children’s books in the libraries.

“We’re willing to be the tip of the spear on this,” Van Der Mark said, attributing everything the council is doing to a philosophy of fighting government overreach. “We want to make Huntington Beach the city that protects your individual liberties and freedoms.”

Van Der Mark’s sunny fourth-floor office at city hall is stacked with books that she finds obscene. Many of them are sex education manuals, borrowed from the Huntington Beach public library and filled with sticky notes to mark offending passages — discussions of masturbation, explanations of fetishes, images of erect penises and gay sex.

She’s particularly perturbed by a picture book called “Grandad’s Pride,” currently on order for the library, which features a drawing of a Pride parade where two men in leather are kissing in the crowd; she equates it with promoting bondage to kids. Van Der Mark also returns again and again to a page in a sex education book that describes how to use lubricant to insert a tampon if it does not fit.

“The lines are so blurred that we don’t even know where to stop and where to start,” she said. “I don’t need to learn how to stick a finger up my vagina with K-Y jelly. We survived without that kind of graphic information. And if you want it, then you go talk to your mom.”

It’s the type of sexual content that her library book review committee, which the city is in the process of establishing, could move to the adult section or prevent the library from acquiring in the first place. Though a challenge process for library books already existed — there were five in the previous five years, including one by Van Der Mark herself — she said more robust steps are necessary to protect young readers from damaging material, even if it appears within the context of an educational or creative work.

“This one page is going to stick in their brain,” she said. “We should have one area that is completely safe for all children.”

Her crusade has mobilized library supporters — the central branch, a concrete marvel with a spiraling atrium, is beloved far beyond Huntington Beach — and First Amendment groups, who sent a letter to the council in October warning that the plan would infringe on free speech. Daus, the library volunteer, worries that the vague language of the ordinance could allow the committee to impose its own morality on the entire community, especially with LGBTQ+ books.

“It’s feeling like a China or a Russia or a Hungary,” Daus said as she toured the children’s room, which has a reading area designed as a pirate ship. The sex education section had only three books on the shelf.

Among the conservative council majority, Van Der Mark seems to especially rankle the opposition. She was a divisive activist even before her election, which she winkingly acknowledges in her office with a framed wall hanging of her entry in the OC Weekly’s Scariest People of 2018 list.

That was the year Van Der Mark got kicked off two school district committees after troubling comments she had made online resurfaced. In 2017, Van Der Mark joined alt-right protestors, including some with ties to white nationalist groups, to crash a racial justice workshop in Santa Monica. Beneath a video of the incident posted by Van Der Mark, she referred to Black attendees at the meeting as “colored people” who were doing the bidding of “elderly Jewish people” there. Her YouTube account also had a playlist of Holocaust denial videos titled “Holocaust hoax?”

The comments have continued to follow Van Der Mark through her rise in local politics. This summer, as the council majority voted to eliminate the human rights committee, Democratic Councilmember Natalie Moser publicly questioned whether Van Der Mark was a Holocaust denier, leading the conservatives to censure Moser.

“She was masking a face of radical extremism and she did it to infiltrate a government institution so she could become legitimized,” said Gina Clayton-Tarvin, a liberal school board trustee who initially appointed Van Der Mark and who finished fifth in last year’s city council election. “It’s a total threat to democracy, because they are acting in ways that are quasi-fascist.”

Van Der Mark said she has never doubted the Holocaust happened; she was unfamiliar with the conspiracy theory, she said, until she spoke with one of the Jewish organizers at the racial justice workshop she crashed, whom she said sent her the hoax videos as an example.

A 49-year-old grandmother and daughter of immigrants from Ecuador and Mexico, Van Der Mark said she was largely apolitical until around 2016, when she was pulled into advocacy against the local sex education curriculum. She acknowledged that, in the early stages of her political awakening, she attended all types of rallies “to find the truth,” not necessarily aware of who she was affiliating with, but she denied harboring any racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic sentiments.

“If I would have known they were there, I might not have gone,” she said. “But I can’t regret going, because had I not gone out in search of the truth, I would not be where I am today.”

As Van Der Mark prepares to take over as mayor next month, critics worry that she will unleash even more extreme policies. Van Der Mark said she has tried to explain herself to opponents but they remain hostile, perhaps because she betrays their idea of what a Latina politician should be.

“I want to be able to offer this little safe haven that I found for my family, for other people,” she said. “The other side is trying to push conservative values out. We’re saying, ‘no, no, no, this is our city.’ We want to keep it. Why do you want to change it? If this is not a good fit for you, there are other cities that may be a good fit.”

Feeling like strangers in a strange land, some liberals in Huntington Beach are considering leaving.

Daus and her husband have started to explore a move to nearby Long Beach or Pasadena, where a daughter lives. An incident in June when a neighbor had their rainbow flag ripped down and torn to shreds unsettled Daus.

“These are the things that just make you go, you know, do you want to live around this? Or would you rather be in a more welcoming, inclusive neighborhood?” she said. “If I wanted to live in Florida, I’d live in Florida.”

The library fight diverted her attention, though, and the housing market is tough, so now she may wait to see what happens with the March election. The campaign to defeat the proposed charter amendments has provided some comfort and motivation. While she’s not ready yet to put a sign in her yard, she is getting bolder. At a kickoff event last Saturday afternoon, where hundreds gathered at the park outside the central library, Daus ran a table soliciting people to write op-eds in the local media.

Attendees picked up lawn signs and postcards from other booths. The three Democrats on the city council spoke, as did former elected officials. Under a canopy, Shirley Dettloff, who helped write the city’s human dignity statement when she served on the council in the 1990s, signed up volunteers.

“We wanted the city to be known as a city that protected people,” Detloff said. “I was just surprised that anyone would take that on as an issue.”

At the end of the event, dozens gathered around a 33-foot-by-24-foot rainbow flag lying in the grass and chanted, “Vote no! Vote no! Vote no!” The homemade flag is a project of Pride at the Pier, an LGBTQ+ community group that formed this spring after Huntington Beach passed its flag ban. In May, demonstrators unfurled the enormous flag over the side of the city’s famed pier in protest.

Kane Durham, one of the group’s founders, said this year has raised difficult questions for LGBTQ+ residents about whether they will continue to be welcome in Huntington Beach. He fears the council might next use the updated human dignity declaration, which states that “sex carries advantages and disadvantages that warrant separation during certain activities (i.e. sports),” to prevent trans athletes from participating in the city’s youth sports programs.

Though he does not live in Huntington Beach, Durham has become a vocal activist on behalf of other transgender and nonbinary people whom he said do not feel safe putting themselves out there publicly. For his efforts, he said he’s been doxxed and subject to online rumors calling him a pedophile.

“Too many Californians are in this blue fantasy bubble. We think that it won’t happen here, even while it is happening here,” Durham said. “There are so many people there who are frogs in a boiling pot of water.”

Months of angry council meetings have hardly swayed the Fab Four off their path. They dismiss their opponents as a vocal minority searching for relevance and reject the notion that their actions have divided the community like they accuse their predecessors of doing.

“If just who shows up to city hall’s a reflection of the city, none of us four would have been elected,” said Tony Strickland, who is finishing up his year in the rotating mayorship. “The voters have the final say.”

That will again be the case in March, the first real test for the council majority of how sustainable backlash politics can be in transforming a community.

Even some allies already seem to have grown weary of what’s happening in Huntington Beach.

Pano Frousiakis, a young Republican activist, ended his own campaign for city council last year and worked to elect his conservative rivals so they could regain control of a community that he had always considered “our little oasis in California.”

Though he’s happy with the overall direction of the council, Frousiakis concedes that “the past few months have been getting a little bit off-track.” He established a political organization this year, the HB Patriots, and is running again for city council in 2024 with a message about getting back to local quality-of-life issues.

“Unfortunately, I feel that our residents get sidelined as a result of that. I feel sidelined as a resident,” he said. “The other issues that are being talked about, that’s why I vote for president.”


* * *

* * *


Say, where you gonna go?
Girl, where you gonna hide?
You go on leavin' out your heart
And all it's sayin' down deep inside

Whoa, lord
From here I can feel your heartbeat
Oh, you got me all wrong
You ain't got no worry
You just been lonely too long, oh

I know what it means to hide your heart
From a long time ago
Oh, darlin'

(It keeps you runnin', yeah it keeps you runnin') it keeps you runnin'…

Oh, I know how you feel
Hey, you know I been there
But what you're keepin' to yourself
Oh, you know it just ain't fair

Are you gonna worry
For the rest of your life?
Hey, yeah, why you in such a hurry
To be lonely one more night?

Well, I know what it means to hide your heart
From a long time ago
Oh, darlin'

(It keeps you runnin', yeah it keeps you runnin') it keeps you runnin'…

— Michael McDonald

* * *

* * *


The average human has to be conditioned to pull the trigger; it is not a natural response to easily kill another human.

The average human is also traumatized by doing this.

Makes me wonder about the 15 black kids that stomped another child to death in Las Vegas.

How is it no one stepped in and stopped this?

By all accounts the child they murdered was a good kid it would appear our society is churning out psychopaths all over the place.

I was sitting in a restaurant watching the boob tube wafting for a table and a mix of videos came on of people doing stupid stunts and messing up came on the majority of them the people bounced up no worse for the wear but a few of them looked like they really hurt and all I could do was cringe.

The kind of cringe that makes you knees or some other body part feel funny.

The weirdest part everyone around me was laughing.

All I could think of was this is not a scripted episode of the three stooges this is real people getting hurt there is nothing funny about this.

Another odd reality adjustment was the scene in Pulp Fiction where one of the characters accidently blows a black kid's head off in the back of the car and everyone laughed.

I again cringed; there was NOTHING funny about this.

Give me a stupid Mel Brooks movie and I laugh all day long.

Young Frankenstein

Blazing Saddles

Some Benny Hill please.

A side of Cheech and Chong.

Airplane 1, not Airplane 2!

* * *

Quanah Parker

QUANAH PARKER in 1890. By this time the Comanches have moved to reservations. They couldn't adapt well to reservation life, as they weren't farmers, and their government benefits arrived scarcely and when they did arrive they were of poor quality. Quanah Parker was a very popular Comanche leader, both prior to the reservation life as a distinguished warrior, and while on the reservation, helping his people fit into the European civilisation. He would go on to successfully push for the leasing of Comanche land to American livestock owners as a means to generate revenue. The land leasing paired with farming provided his people with a stable living, which made him beloved in his community. He built a mansion on his land, called "The Star House", which was visited by many notable people, such as Geronimo (who was his neighbor) and Teddy Roosevelt.

* * *

MAUREEN CALLAHAN: Lauren Sánchez is ready for her close-up. Not since David Geffen posted from his private yacht at the height of quarantine have we seen such an aggressively tacky, tone-deaf display of wealth, this time in the pages of Vogue. This isn't just a fawning profile of Sánchez and fiancé Jeff Bezos - it's slobbering, non-critical, and as superficial as their pneumatic physiques. Here is Sánchez, 53, on her wardrobe: 'I've always found it interesting that people say, 'Well, Lauren, you definitely dress more for men.' I actually dress for myself.' 'But it works for Jeff,' says Jeff, employing that most insufferable narcissistic tic - referring to oneself in the third person. Sly observations are sprinkled throughout, but this is otherwise an Anna Wintour special: Questions without teeth, controversies ignored, scandals and extra-marital affairs elided...

* * *


Russian forces are pummeling Ukrainian units that have crossed over the Dnieper river to the Russian-occupied left (or eastern) bank of the river in Kherson, an official said Wednesday.

The Kherson area, in southern Ukraine, is partially occupied by Russian forces after an offensive to take the city of Kherson last year prompted Russian forces to withdraw to the eastern bank of the river.

Ukraine reported Tuesday that its forces had established a foothold on the eastern bank of the river. The announcement could herald the start of an advance toward Russian-occupied Crimea, with Ukraine saying on Wednesday that it was starting to push back against Russian forces on the eastern bank.

A Russian-installed official, Vladimir Saldo, said in Google-translated comments on Telegram that Ukrainian units had been able to cross the river — confirming for the first time that this had taken place — and said that initially Ukraine had sent “more manpower than our means of destruction were able to destroy.”

“Additional forces have now been brought up,” he said, claiming that Ukrainian forces were blocked in the village of Krynki where “a fiery hell” awaited them. “Bombs, missiles, ammunition from heavy flamethrower systems, artillery shells, and drones are flying at him [Ukrainian forces] ... Over the last two or three days alone, the enemy’s total losses amounted to about a hundred militants.”


* * *


There have been a few posts lately in which most of Gene's career has been discussed. His basketball career and his AWOL attempt to fly to Jerusalem tend to come up. Here's something that generally doesn't. He was the only Brave I know who was Indian. He was born in Muskogee, OK, but he was no Okie. His mother was a Cherokee, and he was a member of the Cherokee Nation. 

Another item in his bio caught my attention. We know he had a drinking problem. It's curious how he overcame it. It was just a conversation with a fan who told him he was too good a player to compromise his talent with alcohol. And for some reason that worked. Gene never took another drink in his life. 

Born Nov 10, 1930 in Muskogee, OK

Died Jul 4, 2017 in Foxborough, MA

* * *


The paint of this splashed message near the Plaza de Armas was still fresh; but it looked as though the war had come and gone. The thousands of people in the parks and plazas could have been the dead and wounded left behind after a bitter conflict; most could accurately be described as refugees. And no buildings in South America looked more bombed and battle scarred than those in Lima. But the pocked facades were not the result of bullets or cannon balls: this was wear and tear. Class warfare proceeds without bugle calls; it creates stinks and murmurs, not the noisy grandeur of armies heroically wrecking themselves on battlefields.

Peru is too poor to fix its cracked buildings; and it cannot afford to tear them down. They are faded and broken, but some with porticos and balconies are still lovely, and those that have not been boarded up and left to rot are turned into dance halls and bars, and what looks like a bread line is a mob of Peruvians waiting for the doors of a once-elegant mansion to open and admit them to a violent movie or, in the middle of the afternoon, a dance. But I had the impression that Peruvian disgust was so keen that if it were to be combined with wealth, the city of Lima would be destroyed and rebuilt to match the misguided modernity of Bogota.

I walked from the cathedral (the mummy on view is not that of Francisco Pizarro: his skeleton has recently been found in a lead box in the crypt) to the university park and then made a circuit of the city, finally stopping at the Plaza Bolognesi, where I sat and reflected on the melodrama of General Bolognesi’s monument. It was the most bizarre statue I had seen so far. It was 80 feet high, and at its front was a copy of the Winged Victory; soldiers marched on its panels, and on one ledge was the statue of a man falling from a horse — the horse was there, life-sized, twisted onto its side. Another detachment of soldiers reconnoitered another ledge with drawn swords; eagles, wreaths, and cannons in marble and bronze lifted the column higher, and still it rose, with a large grieving woman pressing her body against an upper pillar; more rifles, more: flags. more troops — battles on all sides; defeat here, victory there — and higher up, two marble nymphs with wings soared, their feet sticking into the air, their wings out, their arms held high and reaching toward the top, where Bolognesi himself, in bronze, rushes forward, a pistol in one hand, a flag in the other, facing the wide avenue, the dance halls, the screaming children, the overloaded buses.

“Want to buy some pictures?”

It was a Peruvian, with an old photograph album: tin-miners, old cars, snowdrifts, churches, trains. They were 80 years old. I bought two old train photographs, a dollar apiece, and we talked.

“You will believe me, I hope, if I tell you I have spent some years in your country,” he said in Spanish. He was very ragged and wore a felt hat. “I lived in Washington, D.C.”

“How did you like it?”

“I should never have left. Lima is no place to live.” He reached into his rags and took out a tattered piece of paper. It was a coupon stating that he had filed a tax return in 1976. “I am fully paid up,” he said. “They will let me back if I choose to go.”

“Why don’t you choose to go?”

“I got into trouble here not long ago. There was a man who was drinking too much. He wanted to fight me. So I fought him. I cannot go anywhere — I have to appear in court. But who knows when they will hear the case?”

“You will be all right,” I said. “After the trial, you can go back to Washington.”

“No,” he said. He thought a moment, moved his lips as if practicing a phrase, and then said in English, “I’m flat broke. Like my country.”

— Paul Theroux, ‘The Old Patagonia Express; by train through the Americas’

* * *


  1. peter boudoures November 16, 2023

    It’s funny how the local community is convinced our elected officials are corrupt but if you bring up the people in the big house you hear crickets.

    • Marco McClean November 16, 2023

      I don’t hear crickets well, but I saw one yesterday, way out of season, while I was moving some wood. I didn’t want it to get squished, so I caught it gently and tossed it away into a shrub.

      The first time I remember noticing that my high frequency sense was diminishing was on a sound effects job maybe ten years ago. For one sound cue I made a collage of night sounds, played it in rehearsal, and the director said, “What is that horrible clicking?” It was crickets distorted like an electric guitar by being turned up too loud. Since then I put high-pitch sounds much lower in the mix in visual proportion (on my CoolEdit screen).

      One person’s barely noticeable crickets are another person’s horrible clicking. In the big world, more and more people seem to have actually become crickets turned all the way up all the time.

  2. Julie Beardsley November 16, 2023

    Regarding Supervisor Williams announcement that he is running for Assemblyman Jim Woods’ seat in Sacramento, how does he plan on doing his job that we elected him to do, and campaign at the same time? The County is in crisis. The Supervisors all seem to be dithering about what to do. Williams comments at the last BOS meeting about changing the light bulbs in the BOS room are akin to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Much chaos has been self-inflicted because upper level management does NOT talk to the people doing the actual work. Combining the Auditor Treasurer Tax Collect offices for example. Moving Public Health and Behavioral Health out of their former offices in Willits, and moving them into the Justice Building where people in crisis have to march past the police dept. Not a very “trauma-informed care” policy. Making the Willits home visiting team nurses meet with their families in a cement room with no rugs, furniture or windows that was formerly an evidence storage room. Wtf is wrong with these so-called “managers” who clearly have no clue. Money – your money – is being wasted on stupid ideas, ad-hoc committees and outside contractors. The boots on the ground will tell you what needs to happen. Fewer middle-management positions, put an end to managers creating a toxic work environment resulting in losing experienced staff, and talk to your employees! Supervisor Williams would do better to focus on cleaning up the financial dumpster fire that we’re in.

    • Lazarus November 16, 2023

      Good read Ms. Beardsley.
      For me “The Peter Principal” comes to mind.
      “The Peter Principle observes that employees rise up through a firm’s hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence.”
      Be well,

      • Chuck Dunbar November 16, 2023

        Julie Beardsley and Laz speak the truth.

        This part of Julie’s comments is the real deal–it’s a simple truth, costs nothing, works wonders to create trust and respect, results in good decisions, serves everyone well– as I remember my 18 years in County service:

        “The boots on the ground will tell you what needs to happen. Fewer middle-management positions, put an end to managers creating a toxic work environment resulting in losing experienced staff, and talk to your employees!”

    • George Dorner November 16, 2023

      Mr. Williams seems to be driven by the principle of “failing upwards”. If he can be elected to Mr. Woods’ position, he’ll be safely out of Dodge when the reckoning comes for the Cubbison brouhaha.

  3. Harvey Reading November 16, 2023

    “After decades of steady gains in independent registration, the trend has undergone a sharp reversal over the past five years as more voters embrace the Democratic and Republican parties again.”

    Showing once again, that species is overrated, by itself, and is on the road to extinction…with an end clearly in sight.

  4. Sarah Kennedy Owen November 16, 2023

    Good advice all around here, Julie. Not sure what you mean regarding the cement room with no rugs etc. Is it at the jail, or if not, where? In Willits?

    My one experience with the jail in Ukiah: we had our mail purloined about a year ago and called the Sheriff and were put in touch with a detective who told us to meet him at the Sheriff’s office for an interview. It turned out to be the jail! We waited (even though we were on time for our “appointment”) in the sepulchral “waiting room” which provided a cold steel bench and sad echoes from somewhere equally grim behind the locked steel doors. There was a phone there in case we wanted to get in touch with the mysterious inhabitants within. We waited a considerable time until finally a “detective” came out looking a bit surprised to see us. We spoke a while and were told there was nothing the detective or anyone else could do to catch the thieves, even though they had altered a $200 check to over $2,000 and successfully cashed it! Our bank took the hit but we still had to go through all of the rigamarole of changing our checks and credit card and were told by the detective not to use our mailbox any more, like we were stupid to use the mail at all, even through the post office! Pretty chaotic mess. There is plenty of clean up work to be done, all right, but it seems the powers that be just want to grab more power and money.

  5. Word November 16, 2023

    “Creativity is Intelligence having Fun”
    Albert Einstein

    “…WE now turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *