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Off the Record (February 8, 2024)

JIM SHIELDS WRITES: We have two Pineapple Expresses passing our way this week. Pineapple Express was the nickname airline employees, like I used to be and loved every minute of it, coined for winter tropical storms originating around Hawaii picking up moisture from the Pacific and then walloping the U.S. and Canada's West Coasts with heavy rainfall and snow. I worked graveyard and our last plane to unload was the first to arrive in the morning around 6am, the Honolulu to SFO flight. With Pineapple Express tailwinds accelerating it, the plane would arrive 30 minutes early. I worked for Western Airlines and our Meteorologists told us that a PE can carry up to 28 times more water than the Mississippi River. I have no idea how much water is in the Mississippi, but I know that PEs usually dump mega-inches on the West Coast. This first PE will continue until Saturday and as of this moment it has dropped 4.25 inches since 5am on Wednesday, Jan. 31. That pushed our season total to 32.19 inches of precip, which is about half of our annual historical average of 66.5 inches. We discovered during recent droughts that our ancient Long Valley aquifer recharges itself at 29 inches. Man, we get insanely high levels of rain here in the North County. Anyway, flood warnings have been issued for the Russian River near Hopland in the inland, and Navarro River near the town of Navarro on the Coast.

Hasta Luego.

Jim Shields, Editor & Publisher

The Mendocino County Observer

PO Box 490

Laytonville, CA 95454

(707) 984-6223- Phone

MISSY KEFFELER SCHAT (This is from my brother, Tim Keffeler owner of Myers Medical Pharmacy in Ukiah): There was a break in at the pharmacy Wednesday night when the business was closed and we were forced to close today. No one was injured. We are hoping to be open for business tomorrow, Saturday February 3 at 10am. Thank you for your understanding and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone.

LEW CHICHESTER (Covelo): In December when there was a well-advertised public event with CalTrans all the various candidates for this assembly position were invited to Round Valley for a meet and greet, question and answer session, at the American Legion Hall. Three showed up: Ariel Kelley, Rusty Hicks and Chris Rogers. All three are capable and intelligent. I tended to think that Chris Rogers was the more genuine, least Teflon coated politician type, but they were all OK. Interesting that Ted Williams, the most local candidate and a current Mendocino County Supervisor, didn’t show up. I bet he has never been here, and if elected to the state assembly, will never come.

NEVER COULD get into the little guy's fiction, but I've read his masterpiece, In Cold Blood, several times, and if you haven't you're missing the first explication of random violence in our randomly violent country. As we know, Capote was a great admirer of the mega-rich who adopted him as a kind of super amusing pet, and then cast him out when he wrote honestly about them. Now we have a filmic account of his adventures with high end decadence as this world and the writer’s place in it has come up for re-evaluation with the arrival of “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans,” an eight-part television series on FX. The impressive cast includes Naomi Watts, Demi Moore and Diane Lane as women who confined their subversions to bed, sleeping with men who were not their husbands, and to lunch with Truman — “Tru” — Manhattan’s most celebrated gay confidant.

WHY IS POINT ARENA BROKE, and getting broker as Mendocino County teensiest town, population 470 as of 2021 lays off people from its teensier city hall. Bossman Paul Andersen is presently ailing, but there must be someone among the 470 who can inform us.

IN NORTHCOAST District 2, The candidates vying for Jim Wood's loungy state assembly seat, occupied by interchangeable Democrats of zero distinction for the past half century, will be Mendo's District 5 Supervisor Ted Williams, fresh off his triumphs as a Mendo supervisor. We have Cynthia Click of Willits, a new name to us here at ava headquarters, about whom we know nada. Healdsburg mayor Ariel Kelley, already lushly funded by that doomed town's fuzzy-warms, and fresh off her tenure helping to destroy the coherent, charming little town as it metastasizes in huge up-market housing developments at both ends of its city limits. Then there's Santa Rosa councilman Chris Rogers, who has done his part in adding to the chaos that is the Rose City. And there's Yoruk “vice chair” Frankie Myers, who is probably the sole fully grounded candidate in the race. Michael Greer, a mystery man about whom we know nothing, and “Chair of the California Democratic Party” Rusty Hicks, endorsed by Wood, an endorsement we view as a warning that the guy is not to be encouraged. Hicks and Ms. Kelley have a ton of lib lab Demo money, and are to be avoided by all correct-thinking persons.

‘THE CANDIDATES for Mendocino County District 1 Supervisor are Madeleine Cline, Carrie Shattuck, Adam Gaska, and Trevor Mockel. Madeleine refused to “friend” us on Facebook, and we will forever feel the sting! Trained as a lawyer, strike one, the Potter Valley cowgirl will be an auto-yes vote for virtually free water for her PV friends and the wine industry, her base of support. The kid's smart and articulate, which would make her even more of a menace among the dull normals functioning, more or less, as supervisor. We like Adam Gaska and Carrie Shattuck, both of whom would make intelligent, responsible supervisors on a board that has become something of a regional joke.

BERNIE NORVELL, mayor of Fort Bragg, is the clear choice for 4th District supervisor. Norvell can point to a tenure in office during which Fort Bragg got a humane but firm grip on its roving population of homeless people, and can be counted on to bring that same commonsense, get 'er done savvy to the supervisors. Georgina Avila-Gorman, Norvell's opponent, is not ready for prime time.

DISTRICT 2 (Ukiah, basically) incumbent Mo Mulheren could be trusted to babysit your kids, but greater responsibilities will always elude her. Jacob Brown, clear-headed Marine vet, would get our vote if we voted in Ukiah, arguably the worst managed small town in California whose voting population seems forever stuck in high school, hence Ms. Mulheren.

I KNOW this is naive, but I wonder at the image calculations of the two corporate-owned political parties. Who are their ads aimed at? With millions of people now registered as independents, why are the dark forces funding, for example, a sleazy character like Adam Schiff, and spending millions on his tv ads? 

OF THE THREE Democrat candidates for the U.S. Senate, Barbara Lee has the best record, and simply on the basis of her solitary vote against the Bush Gang's war on Iraq ought to be elected over the principle-free Schiff. Katie Porter is also a decent Democrat you could vote for without feeling suicidal for having done it, but watch Schiff get the nod. 2024 just might well wrap it up for America. The Schiffs of the country have US just about dead. 

(AS TOTAL WAR looms in the Middle East, it was the original U.S. invasion, based on the Bush Gang's Big Lie that Saddam Hussain possessed "weapons of mass destruction" which has since ignited the entire area.)

THE CANDIDATES for the local state offices seem to hire the same public relations firms. Their ads feature the candidate with his/her husband and their 2.2 children, plus a big, shaggy family dog, prompting me to wonder at the degree of family pathology hidden behind that tired perfection. 

THE  ASSUMPTION of these political ads is that we’re all so stupid that these portraits of family perfection in a country where intact, traditional family units are in the minority are somehow grounds for a vote. They must work somehow or candidates like the odious Schiff, who gets money from a virtual Who's Who of evil hunks of money, wouldn't bother. 

THE STAGING of these done-deal “debates” like the one coming up in Ukiah among the candidates for state Assembly draw mostly local middle of the road extremists affiliated with the Democratic Party for a couple of hours of the pure tedium that seems to reassure them that nothing in the way of progressive change is possible. I've never heard so much as an interesting sentence from a Northcoast Democrat. 

THE NORTHCOAST'S active Republicans are widely viewed even by other Republicans as so purely 5150 they do well to simply avoid mass conservatorship. I wish the local Republicans would do more in public, though, because they're funny as hell, looked at from the comic perspective. 

READING the day’s police reports all these years, I’m still struck by the pure incompetence of Mendocino County’s criminal class, all of whom, in the course of a year, are eventually arrested late at night doing something so flagrantly dumb that they ought to simply surrender themselves annually at the nearest jail. 

HERE'S how it goes around here: Sometime shortly after midnight, the typical, drug-soaked low level offender and his girlfriend, climb into an ‘88 TransAm and go out on a midnight mission. The vehicle is without a muffler or current registration. A tail light is out. It might as well have a 50-foot neon sign fixed to its roof pulsating in vivid reds, whites and blues — “Major Felonies Are About To Be Committed By The Occupants Of This Vehicle.”

INSIDE their felony wagon, Mr. and Ms. Typical Mendo Crook toss a couple of five-to-life bags of crank in plain view on the back seat. There's an unregistered handgun or an illegally short sawed-off shotgun under the driver’s seat.

IT'S A WEEK NIGHT as the couple sets forth. The driver and his “old lady,” a grandmother at 35, are the only motorists out there besides a small army of cops with nothing to do except an occasional domestic violence call. (This country seethes beneath its battered exteriors.)

GIVEN the visuals presented by the Trans Am, the couple is soon stopped by half of local law enforcement's late night shift. In court, the crook says he thought the white powder was sheet rock dust, that the guns belong to his cousin whose name he’s forgotten “but I think he lives up on Spy Rock,” that he had no idea the TransAm was stolen, that he and his girlfriend were embracing, not fighting. The guy’s indignant as hell at being in jail and even more indignant that nobody, “especially my Public Pretender,” will assist him or give him a fair deal. The public pretender and the DA agree to sentences of 3-5 for both miscreants who get out in 18 months and repeat all of the above.

WITHOUT the Potter Valley diversion, water for large areas of Sonoma County and northern Marin would have to be rationed, and may have to soon be rationed anyway given the rate of development in both northern Marin and Sonoma County, the whole diversion show made possible by an old mile-long tunnel about the dimensions of a large culvert hand dug by Chinese labor at the turn of the century. 

The tunnel connects a portion of the Eel River to Potter Valley dug through an intervening ridge. The water flows into an ancient but functional power plant originally installed to illuminate Ukiah, the water spilling into the headwaters of the Russian River which, way back, was mostly dry in the summer months.

Sonoma County thinks its deal with PG&E to keep the Eel’s depleted waters flowing south for Sonoma County’s ever-accelerating growth is swell, which it is looked at from the perspective of pavement, strip malls and cookie cutter housing tracts. For the Eel, it’s always been bad news because the Eel needs more summer water if its once-lush fisheries are going to have any chance for re-birth.

Nobody cares whether or not one or all Mendocino County supervisors support the present arrangement because, as per ancient custom, Mendocino County is only marginally involved in water allocations. Sonoma County owns in perpetuity almost all the water stored at Lake Mendocino, much of which flows from the Eel River diversion upstream at Potter Valley. 

SoCo grabbed the water back in 1955 when the Coyote Dam was built. Their supervisors knew at the time that Sonoma County was short of water for development; only Mendocino County supervisor Joe Scaramella objected to what amounted to a giveaway of the ever more scarce and valuable waters diverted through Potter Valley’s old power station, into the upper Russian river, down into Lake Mendocino behind Coyote Dam and south to the suburban hell of contemporary Sonoma County.

As it becomes more and more obvious that demand for water is greater all the time while the actual supply of water remains the same, Sonoma County wants to take even more acre-feet out of the Russian River annually.

Factor in a large number of water thieves the length of the Russian River and pell mell development in northern Marin and everywhere in Sonoma County, both the Eel and the Russian rivers are in ever more danger of total death as fish habitat.

The Russian River is already a sort of help yourself quarry for sand and gravel operations from Healdsburg to Santa Rosa while south of Santa Rosa, the Russian serves as leech line for Santa Rosa’s accident prone sewage treatment system, which accounts for the river's Tidy Bowl-like hue as its flushes through west Sonoma 

ONE OF THE MANY SIGNS that Western Civ is winding down, is the automatic charge these days in divorce cases and custody disputes that one or the other parent is a pervert who has molested his or her own children. If not the actual parent conducting the pervo-rama, it's the new wife or the new boyfriend preying on the kids.

One of the reasons these kinds of hideous accusations have become routine is that most judges don't demand proof. The judge sits there nodding off as demonstrably false charges are routinely now made against each other by parted love birds. 

I'll never forget this case I sat in on at Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg. A Coast guy named Stanley Scott was packed off to state prison by Judge Lehan for having sexually molested his daughter when she was four years old. This guy’s estranged wife claimed that Scott had also molested his son, but that charge had been dismissed. 

Scott's ex-wife intensely wanted her ex maxed out. The couple and their attorneys, with the kids looking on, went vindictively on and on and on. Assistant District Attorney Mark Kalina recommended a mid-term sentence of six years in the state prison for Mr. Scott. The Probation Department, apparently doubting the charges, recommended 60 months of probation.

Prosecutor Kalina said Scott had “engaged in substantial sexual behavior with his two minor children. It's in the best interest of the minors, the family, the community, and even the defendant to send him to state prison.” 

Scott's attorney, Richard Petersen, got up and said, “I'm now going to have to whack away at the mother to show that she is unfit to have these children.”

Scott himself, conceding that he was depraved, told Judge Lehan that “Going to prison is going to make me more of a bitter man. She [his wife] is vengeful. There was this nice house we put together and she feels like she got kicked out because of this situation. She thinks she can move back in the house if I get sent to prison.” 

The matter was continued for 90 days for a “diagnosis” and “recommendations.”

I hadn't seen the evidence. I didn't know the family. But I've always wondered why were the Scott children, who were little kids, permitted to remain in the courtroom while their parent’s insanity played out? 

I even doubted that Mr. Scott had molested his own children until he said prison would improve him. But everything we know about family relations indicates that the sexual violation of their own children by the child’s natural parents is very rare. 

The Scott children, forced to witness this travesty were violated twice over. Wherever they are, I hope they've made relatively serene lives for themselves in a country where children are still fed into Moloch's insatiable maw.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Grower of the Week 

On September 8, 2000, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were investigating a crime in the Leggett area. As deputies drove past a residence on Highway 271 they noticed marijuana plants growing around the house in plain view. Deputies completed their duties and returned to the residence where they contacted a subject who advised he was growing six marijuana plants. Deputies gained consent to walk through the yard and surrounding area to search for more marijuana. While walking a path deputies located a trailer house which had several more marijuana plants growing around it. Dameon Osburn (age 29) exited the trailer and Deputies spoke with him regarding the marijuana which was growing around his residence. Deputies gained consent to search the surrounding area and located approximately 40 marijuana plants growing in various sites around the trailer. Deputies eradicated the plants and gained Osburn’s consent to search the trailer. Located inside the trailer were scales, packaging material, evidence of marijuana processing and concentrated cannabis. Also located was a pair of nunchakas. Osburn was arrested and lodged in the Mendocino County Jail on charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sales, possession of dangerous weapons, and possession of concentrated cannabis. Osburn is currently being held on $10,000 bail. (— Sgt. Matthew Kendall)

STEVE GARVEY, 75, has launched a bid for the California Senate seat formerly held by the late Senator Dianne Feinstein. The former LA Dodgers and Padres baseball player is campaigning as a “conservative moderate” who hopes to bring “moral integrity” back to Congress. Three of his seven children by different women, say those are qualities their father does not possess, as demonstrated by abandonment and/or years of abdicating his parental duties. Garvey's love children, Slade Mendehall and Ashleigh Young, wrote: “In our childhoods, multiple efforts were made through attorneys to arrange a meeting or even a phone call with Mr. Garvey, but he declined every opportunity.” Garvey's love life inspired a bumper sticker that read '”Steve Garvey is not my Padre.”

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘The Human Stain’ by Philip Roth, the third in a series of novels that began with ‘American Pastoral,’ moved into ‘I Married A Communist’ and on into ‘The Human Stain,’ all of them memorable novels. Read as a trilogy, or read as a sort of left-lib rendering of the harried white man’s America that John Updike presented in his masterful Rabbit series, you’ve got the true 20th century history of our country in these six books by two great writers. Supplement these six with ‘Moby Dick,’ Dos Passos’ ‘USA Trilogy’ and Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man,’ and maybe a little Jefferson or Paine, and you’ve pretty much got the whole American show under one roof. Those of you seeking more specificity, I’ll mention the stuff I happen to be reading: Murray Kempton’s ‘Part of Our Time,’ freshly re-released as part of that cheesy, wildly overpriced, Modern Library series. Early Kempton is a lot better than later Kempton, I’d say. He was better young than he was old when he became sorta tedious in a Henry Jamesian, Anglified, stuffy sense. I’ve also benefited recently from former state historian Kevin Starr’s ‘Endangered Dreams, the Great Depression in California.’ (Starr, incidentally, grew up in Ukiah at the old Albertinum, now Trinity School for disturbed youngsters. Up through the 1950s the West Ukiah facility was an orphanage run by an order of nuns.) I can also recommend in good faith a novel by Fielding Dawson published by Times Change Press of Sebastopol called ‘No Man’s Land.’ It comes with an afterword by Hettie Jones, whom some of you may recognize as the wife of Amiri Baraka, and a pretty good writer in her own right. Dawson has taught in prisons for many years, and has converted that experience into art in the form of a fine little novel. Times Change Press used to produce, and maybe still does, inexpensive books and pamphlets on a range of subjects — essays by Emma Goldman, for instance, and a fascinating book, complete with illustrations, called ‘The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935)’ to name two that represented a learning experience for me. All more or less sentient beings are encouraged to get Time Change’s list, assured you won’t pay more than ten bucks each for some hard-to-find reading. Located in an area where the rhetoric of consciousness is seldom reflected in its intellectual exports, Times Change, I think, can still be found at (707) 824-9456 or

HERE’S THE CHRON’S checklist for fun things to do in Santa Rosa: Look at the old train station and the nearby shops; the Snoopy Gallery; the Sonoma County Museum; and the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. Thumbsuckers will plunge both hands up to the wrist in delight at the Snoopy Gallery, but if you’re more or less an adult-type person on the lam from Frisco’s fertile fleshpots, cartoons depicting little kids and animals talking like neurotic adults don’t constitute an irresistible draw. The Burbank Gardens are plunked down in the middle of what was once a coherent little town but is now an hideous, unplanned, neo-urban mix of ugly buildings in a context of treeless pavement. The old eugenicist lived there all right, and it’s where he conjured his nasty and scientifically unfounded opinions on race all right, and it’s where he came up with the Santa Rosa Plum all right, but the property has been scaled back to the point that most of the neighbors’ gardens are bigger and better and far more peaceful. Moreover, the public gardens of Frisco, bums and exhibitionists included, are far superior. The Sonoma County Museum is well worth the visit, though. For a small museum it’s quite good, and its collection of paintings of the area is especially wonderful. But these scant offerings — none in walking distance of the other for your average ice cream cone slurping turista — are no reason to make this hideous provincial place a three-day destination, given that you can swerve in off the freeway any time to take in the museum, Santa Rosa’s only real attraction.

THESE REMARKS by Don Weisenfluh of Petaluma in a recent letter to the Press Democrat nicely sum up the nut of the water crisis: “Fact: Without water, development stops. Nature imposed this absolute limit, not the Petaluma City Council. Sonoma and Marin reached their limit years ago. There is no water to spare. Our water comes from the depleted Russian and Eel rivers. The federal government’s millions cannot save them from overuse and gravel mining. Yet our supervisors refuse to listen. Despite conservation efforts, Sonoma is hemorrhaging this finite resource on imprudent development. The premise, that as long as there is some water in the rivers it’s up for grabs, is proof of their total disregard for the community. This is a regional and possibly a state issue…”

FROM the Monday, September 4th, 1950 edition of Ukiah’s Redwood Journal Press-Dispatch: 

“Hendy Woods in Anderson Valley may be added to the system of state parks. Hendy Woods, the finest stand of redwood timber in the county, and one of the most beautiful in the Redwood Empire, will be included in the program of the state parks commission if plans being made by that commission carry through. Parks Commissioner Charles Kasch asked the board of supervisors Friday to pass a resolution requesting the park commission, as soon as reasonably possible, to have an appraisal made of both groves in the Hendy Woods.... How Hendy Woods escaped the axe and saw through the years since Anderson Valley was first settled is a mystery. It was named for Joshua Hendy of the Hendy Iron Works, many years ago. The family owned the Woods at one time far back in the history of the county. Hendy Woods doubtlessly has gone through the hands of many companies. At present it belongs to the Masonite Corporation and was at one time owned by the Southern Pacific Company.”


Chris Skyhawk: Does anyone at the AVA have a theory on why Ted Williams is running for Assembly? I am drafting a LTE that I may submit to you; I went to the forum last night here in Fort Bragg and I was stunned how awful he looks; like a potato that got left in water too long; further he is totally outclassed by his opponents; he was woefully unprepared; I left just scratching my head; I almost; ALMOST felt compassion for him, but he burned that bridge with me personally and with me collectively since I’ve seen how he treats the County.

* * *

Mark Scaramella: Williams’ ego lead him to file early, not realizing that better connected Dems in other areas of the District would run. Dumb. But now he’s stuck knowing he has about as much chance to win as Nikey Haley. So his head’s not in either job. He looked bad in the zoom interviews that Sara Reith and Matt LaFever did recently too. It looked as if he had to go through the motions knowing his chances were small, but the entire exercise seemed beneath him and bothersome. He clearly doesn’t like being supervisor much these days as the energy he showed early in his tenure has not produced much. That may have been a factor in his deciding to run for Assembly. He’s even stopped trying to propose things like he used to. (Readers may recall that time more than a year ago when Glenn McGourty casually said that if Williams wasn’t putting things on the agenda the meetings would be very short?) Most of what Williams proposed earlier has gone nowhere because even the occasional good idea gets absorbed by the pillow that County admin has become.)

* * *

Skyhawk: Ahh thank you; I would have to agree, he was able to easily glam and gaslight Mendolib; I believe he thought that would just carry over to the next theater; I still have contacts in SEIU where he is universally reviled; and he’s so out of touch that he doesn’t even realize that and his Personality Disorder does not even allow him to care.

A READER WRITES: “The Board of Supervisors is jumping from one error to another, from one very bad decision to another. Is common sense and a solid factual base with alternatives and consequences so out of date?”

JENNIFER CRUMBLEY is a terrible mother. Does that mean she should go to prison? We are in the midst of an unprecedented American trial: a parent criminally charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for the school shooting perpetrated by her then 15-year-old son Ethan in 2021. Four students were killed and seven were wounded at Michigan's Oxford High School. The slaughtered students were popular, bright, attractive and athletic, targeted by Ethan for those very reasons. The weapon and ammunition Ethan used had been bought for him by his parents as a Christmas gift. Taking the stand this week, Jennifer Crumbley exposed herself as a profoundly disengaged mother who ignored her only child's desperate pleas for help, in one instance mocking him. On the other hand, if defective parents were hauled into court, the courts would have no time for anything else.

THE REASON we’re burdened in Mendocino County with an over-large delegation of judges — 9 for a population of 90,000 — is that our former justice court judges were declared Superior Court judges by declaration of the State Legislature, i.e., mostly lawyers. This coup occurred 40 years ago in a big cash and carry favor from the legislature lawyers to their country cousin lawyers sitting as judges in Mendocino County’s outback justice courts. 

BEFORE THAT, non-lawyer judges were cleared out of the justice courts on the transparently false grounds that only persons with law degrees were capable of dispensing justice. We’ll pause here for bitter laughter. 

THESE CONSECUTIVE done deals — only lawyers as justice court judges, and then justice court judges elevated to Superior Court status — were presented as a “court consolidation” made in the interest of judicial efficiency. Remember that next time you drive from the South Coast, Fort Bragg or Covelo to learn when you sit down in the basement of the County Courthouse only to be told you won't be needed, the matter has been settled.

OF COURSE the only thing that got consolidated was a guarantee of life-time employment plan for a group of underemployed rural lawyers, several of them re-entered hippies. 

THE MENDO COURTS, all courts in fact, are run for the convenience of the judges and their supporting apparatus of some 70 (count ‘em) employees operating mostly out of Ukiah. Controversial cases that should be heard in Fort Bragg, are still shunted over the hill to Ukiah to spare the judicial apparatus, especially the judges, the emotional strain of looking out at a courtroom of directly affected citizens.

ACCORDING to the Mendocino County Superior Court’s mission statement, our 80-person judicial team “is to provide quality equal justice for all by applying the law and Constitution in an impartial and fair manner; to provide an accessible forum to all segments of our community; to resolve disputes in a peaceful, dignified and timely manner; to maintain community respect and a leadership role in the administration of justice.”

SOMETIMES, I guess, it works out that way, but after all this consolidation-for-efficiency, and as another gift to the sorely put upon population of Mendocino County, our royal family of life judges are bringing us a new County Courthouse at the foot of West Perkins Street, Ukiah, a neighborhood already replete with fast food franchises, a sprawling gas station, and a medical complex. And as an added convenience for themselves, the “leadership in the administration of justice,” Mendo branch, has designed their new courthouse for themselves, meaning only them and their gofers. All the other County functions presently housed in the old County Courthouse in central Ukiah will remain where they are meaning, for instance, the DA will have to jog up and down Perkins to make court appearances.

NOT A PEEP of protest from our supervisors or the Ukiah city council, although a new courthouse will seriously disrupt County government and what's left of Ukiah's civic center.

THE NEW COUNTY COURTHOUSE is one more swindle pulled off by a gaggle of highly paid lawyers on top of the swindles that made them judges. 

IF YOU WERE WONDERING why Supervisor John Haschak is so ineffectual and wimpy as a Mendocino County Supervisor, one explanation might be the political company he keeps. According to Rusty Hicks who is running to replace Jim Wood as our State Assembly rep, Hicks is most prominently endorsed by, among many other prominent present and past area Democrats: Wesley Chesbro, Patty Berg, Dan Hauser, Bonnie Neely (former HumCo Supervisor), Juan Orozco (Ukiah City Councilman), Coast Hospital District Board member Susan Savage, John Haschak, and of course, Jim Wood himself.

IF YOU LIKE THOSE POLITICAL CIPHERS, if you like their annoyingly bland records, if you like the fact that they stand for nothing but themselves, if you yearn for more of the same, you'll love Rusty Hicks.

(Mark Scaramella)

THE OTHER DAY a commenter said he didn't think Carrie Shattuck would be a “team player” if she were elected 1st District supervisor. Which, by itself, is a good reason to vote for her, especially in the monochromed, muzak context of Mendo politics, a dispiriting mix of Bidenism and opportunism that leaves most locals unrepresented at any level of government.

THE OTHER DAY a commenter said he didn't think Carrie Shattuck would be a “team player” if she were elected 1st District supervisor. Which, by itself, is a good reason to vote for her, especially in the monochromed, muzak context of Mendo politics, a dispiriting mix of Bidenism and opportunism that leaves most locals unrepresented at any level of government.

OUR SPECTACULARLY WRONGED former Auditor-Controller, Chamise Cubbison, was a “team player” until the DA kicked her off the team for daring to challenge his chiseling reimbursement chits.

HER CRIME? Protecting public money, which was her job until DA Eyster engineered her dismissal via our spine-free board of supervisors. And Ms. Cubbison was elected to office! So what we had was one power-crazed, vengeful elected official arbitrarily removing another elected official. If Eyster had swooped down on Cubbison with the armed perp-walk that seems to be a Mendo speciality, we'd have had the full Guatemala.

TEAM PLAYERS did this. Which is what happens when team play becomes the supreme value, that public dissent from someone on the team goes rogue and actually ventures an honest, independent opinion. One would have thought someone in Mendo's ruling public apparatus would have said, “Hey! I don't think we should do this to our elected Auditor-Controller just because the DA wants her out. She's worked for us for many blameless years, and she's always been a team player.”

DON'T WEEP for Chamise. She'll emerge from her humiliating ordeal a multi-millionaire in damages when she gets her job back, assuming she'd even want it back in the context of the viper's nest which is public employment in Mendocino County.

OUR GOOD FRIEND, Mr. Dunlap, commented: “Let’s all remember that a while back Trump bragged that if he were president, he could end the war in one day. How so? Giving in to Putin’s war goals, selling-out the Ukranians, ending our military weapons help to them…”

YES, that's probably how Trump would do it, and please excuse me while I slip into Big Think mode. Ukraine is at a stalemate with the Russkies, who have successfully occupied the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine that border Russia. I would call an immediate ceasefire with the threat of no more aid to Ukraine, cede the Russian-speaking areas to Russia with guarantees of safety to Ukranians who don't want to be part of Russia, with the deal enforced by Nato troops, not US.

WOULD THAT WORK? No, there's no way to compel Putin to do anything, although there are encouraging signs of opposition to him among the Russian population, which of course risks its collective neck in opposing him.

HERE IN FREEDOMLANDIA? Most of what's wrong could be cured with this basic fix: A return to 90 percent taxes on the wealthy, which taxation was in the halcyon days of the 1950s when public money was put to public purpose, and working stiffs could buy a house and send the kids to college with enough left over for an annual family vacation. Think of it! No homelessness, hospitals for the mentally ill, steroid-free chickens in every pot!

SCOTT WARD, Retired County Planner from Redwood Valley: “I will not pay a fee for my well or an additional parcel tax for this questionable endeavor. Tell Congressman Huffman to back off on his misguided plan to tear down Scott Dam. We are seriously considering selling our Redwood Valley family home and moving out of this failing dysfunctional, soon to be bankrupt County.”

A READER WRITES: Mushroom walks into a bar, sits down, orders a beer. Bartender: “Get outta here, we don’t serve your kind!” Mushroom: “Why not?! I’m a fungi…”


by Harvey Reading

Simple. I buy beans and rice by the 20-pound bag, cook them, and eat a couple or three bowlsful every day. I eat meat every other day and alternate between pork loin that I cut into chops and freeze and eat a half chicken breast every third day. On no-meat days, I make pancakes at lunchtime or sometimes late in the afternoon. I only go into Riverton about every three months, and my food tab runs between roughly $180-$240 per trip.

I quit eating out during covid, which wasn’t hard, since the Chinese smorgy where I ate closed down. I guess it was around 2012 or 13 when I gave up eating meat every day and took up cooking and eating beans and rice. Even before my eating habits changed, I never spent even close to $200 per week for food, including an occasional burger. That’s a lotta money, almost a thousand per month…for one person.

I had given up soft drinks years ago, and gave up booze before I was 40. I still roast, grind and drink three mugsful of coffee per day. One roast lasts about a week. I avoid cookies and prepared snacks, though on my tri-monthly trip to town, I do buy several packages of pastry at the Walmart bakery. They last me about two days, then back to the normal routine. Oh, and I also bake my own rolls, a dozen at a time. I eat one per day, cut in half and coated with a mix of strawberry jam and peanut butter. I also eat a couple or three bowls of heated rolled oats every day. I cook them in the microwave.

Since beginning my current pattern of eating, my weight has gone from 185 to 160, the latter my weight as a high-school senior. I feel much better, too. There are reasons that many people eat beans and rice to survive. They’re good for you, too.

I simply cannot imagine spending $200 per week for food!

A READER WRITES: "For medical reasons and rain-ravaged roads I have been confined to my small area most of the last two months and I am not living the nature-loving recluse lifestyle that I prefer. But I'm aging out on wilderness solitude and whatever I had garnered of self-sufficiency, and soon enough will happily age out of a self. Trump looks like the presumptive Republican nominee, so you are welcome to join my new organization, "Start the Steal 24," and maybe we can avoid a psychopathic narcissist for a leader. Dread and despair seem the order of the day."

I FIND IT TOUCHING to see plants growing up through cracks in the concrete. Wonderful! It brings tears of joy to my eyes when I see grass taking over an abandoned parking lot. What better sign of hope can there be than life’s power to beat the asphalt odds? Here in the northeast where I live, freezing weather makes more cracks than Chris Rock, and the abundant rainfall helps seeds to germinate in them. But even in the desert southwest I saw the same miracle occurring: nature trying, with silent eloquence, to show us the way things should be.

— Malcolm Wells

MOST OF US BORN HERE in Florida were always taught to worship growth, or tolerate it unquestioningly. Growth meant prosperity, which was defined in terms of swimming pools and waterfront lots and putting one’s kids through college. So when the first frost-bitten lemmings arrived with their checkbooks, all the locals raced out and got real-estate licenses; everybody wanted in on the ground floor. The greed was so thick you had to scrape it off your shoes. 

The only thing that ever stood between the developers and autocracy was the cursed wilderness. Where there was water, we drained it. Where there were trees, we sawed them down. The scrub we simply burned. The bulldozer was God’s machine, so we fed it. Malignantly, progress gnawed its way inland from both coasts, stampeding nature. 

Today the Florida most of you know—and created, in fact—is a suburban tundra purged of all primeval wonder save for the sacred solar orb. For all you care, this could be Scottsdale, Arizona, with beaches. 

Let me fill you in on what’s been going on the last few years: the Everglades have begun to dry up and die; the fresh water supply is being poisoned with unpotable toxic scum; up near Orlando they actually tried to straighten a bloody river; in Miami the beachfront hotels are pumping raw sewage into the Gulf Stream; statewide there is a murder every six hours; the panther is nearly extinct; grotesque three-headed nuclear trout are being caught in Biscayne Bay; and Dade County’s gone totally Republican. 

— Carl Hiaasen, ‘Tourist Season’


[1] My company’s clinics have done contract work with the US Army Medical Command for about a dozen+ years, doing fitness for duty exams (mental and physical) for recruits and questionable GIs. They would send in kids who had 10 or 15 traffic tickets, those with a history of being on psychotropic agents, etc. For the past year, the MEPs recruiting office now tells my office manager that they are letting in anyone they can get, without evaluations, and regardless of psychiatric status and even some physical issues. WHEN we go to war, image a bunch of ADD or schizoaffective blue hairs with ACDC tattoos doing the battle.

[2] Taylor Swift and Eminem – the dream team!

I bet Taylor Swift could really win the Presidential election without even having to cheat – that is how fucking stupid this country has become.

[3] Ten Jobs That AI Will Replace:

1) Tech jobs (i.e., coders, computer programmers)

2) Media jobs (i.e., advertising, technical writing)

3) Legal industry jobs (i.e., paralegals, legal assistants)

4) Market research analysts

5) Teachers

6) Finance jobs

7) Traders

8) Graphic designers

9) Accountants

10) Customer service agents

[4] Last night a friend of my wife dropped by. Both women loathe Trump and think he’s guilty as hell on the sex scandal, even after pointing out all the facts. My wife owned up and said she still couldn’t stand him. (I will have to hold my nose to vote for him as well.) But the other gal went crazy talking about how she was raped twice in the 80s, etc. I think older women were sold a bill of goods back in the day that didn’t pan out the way they expected and see Trump as the poster child of all that’s wrong with their lives now. I predict he will lose on account of this. His loathsome persona is not helping his case. Even now he projects everything as being about him, instead of doing what is necessary for the country and getting elected. I guess it doesn’t matter at this point as every single person running seems hell bent on starting WW3. Future historians, assuming there will be any, will just shake their heads in disbelief.

[5] THE ECONOMY, two on-line comments: 

[a] All the happy talk about the economy is simply election year bullshit by the Regime and their propaganda lackeys in the MSM. I spend $200 a week just trying to keep reasonably healthful foods in my refrigerator – and I’m just a single man with no family to feed. Christ, who the fuck would possibly believe that the economy has “improved” under Joe Biden?

[b] I currently work in the land planning and development field. Let me tell you, the economy is not good. I’m barely scraping along. Small, local home building companies have folded and laid off thousands. Even the big home builders are admitting that they need to lower their home prices or they are going to go out of business. The problem is they can’t.

What’s happening now is the “investor cash” is drying up and the true home buyers we need to be buying homes can’t afford it. We are in big trouble.

I only respond to what I see and observe and what I am seeing and observing is not a good economy.

[6] Women and men are both necessary for achieving success, otherwise God would have made men capable of having children. Why have two sexes when one will do? Two is inefficient. When a man became pregnant, evolution could figure out how to deal with it.

So God must have had some other reason for creating women. If you want to find out why, just ask Him.

BTW, in the past, women weren’t necessarily considered the weaker sex or needing protecting because they were the child-bearing ones. Pregnant women often worked in the fields. When they were ready to deliver, they laid down, delivered their baby, and went back to work.

The reason women stayed home and men went hunting was because men produced testosterone and were much more aggressive. They also tended to have more muscle, a major requirement in dealing with wild animals and other enemies. Human babies are kind of unique because they need much more time to mature than other animals, so women got nurturing hormones, and although capable of hunting, were less so than men. Imagine trying to hunt mammoths carrying around a baby.

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