Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024

Rain | Burn Piles | Dave Nelson | Log Truck | Rural Roads | Saving Trees | Variety Show | Profiteer | Compassion | Lightning | Catch/Release | Cutting Onions | Pebbles Jefferson | Embers | Vote Brown | Oxygen Cart | Vote Cline | Wooden Start | About Madeline | Blood Donors | Tunnelvision | Raze Palace | Alioto's | Press Ishwar | Stop Stupid | Dear CPUC | Scary Costumes | Vote Ted | Belting Ringo | Vote McNerney | Police Proof | Wodetski Recommends | Yesterday's Catch | No H | Candy Wind | Coin Toss | Tam View | Willis Trial | America 1793 | Illegal Power | Target Practice | War Propaganda | Survivor | Getting Trump | Gunsmoke | 14th Best | Tragedy | Seriously Running | Cruel Putin | Donald Sneakers | Sudden Death | Napalm

* * *

RAINFALL (past 24 hours): Leggett 2.68" - Yorkville 1.76" - Laytonville 1.60" - Boonville 1.58" - Willits 1.43" - Hopland 1.26" - Ukiah 1.15" - Covelo 0.90"

ANOTHER ROUND of stronger wind, rain and isolated thunderstorms is expected late this morning through the evening with the focus more in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Light showers will continue on Wednesday with a brief break Wednesday night and Thursday morning before another system brings light rain and breezy winds Thursday night. Dry weather is now expected for the weekend with more rain early next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): After a fast & furious 1.47" from 5am to 11am yesterday I got another .21" in the next 18 hours bringing my 24 hour total to 1.68". Somehow the power stayed on for nearly all of us it looks like. A cloudy 53F this Tuesday morning on the coast. Some showers today, fewer showers tomorrow then generally dry for a while.

* * *

Burn Piles, Mendocino National Forest

* * *


by Mike Geniella

Family and friends are mourning the weekend death of retired Judge David E. Nelson, a longtime and respected member of Mendocino County’s legal community. Nelson died Saturday at a hospital in Napa. He was 77.

Nelson, a vigorous man who once played under Coach Bill Walsh at Stanford University in the 1960s, succumbed to lung related issues that developed after he fell and fractured a hip in late December. Nelson seemed to be recovering at a Napa skilled nursing facility where he watched the Super Bowl with family. But his conditioned worsened mid-week, and he was transferred to Queen of the Valley Hospital, where he succumbed surrounded by family.

Nelson grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, where he excelled in academics, athletics, and Midwest values. Nelson became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts of America. Nelson came West to attend Stanford University and play college football. Following his Stanford graduation in 1968, Nelson enrolled at Yale Law School where he received his law degree.

Nelson’s politics were decidedly liberal. He wa active in the local Democratic Party, working for election of candidates he trusted and admired. Nelson was a supporter of former County Supervisor Dan Hamburg, a fellow Stanford graduate, who tapped Nelson to be his chief of staff when Hamburg was elected in 1992 to Congress.

Nelson first practiced law as a public defender and emerged as a top criminal defense attorney who was widely admired for his keen intellect, quiet courtroom skills, and caring demeanor. Nelson loved local politics, cold beer, and good conversations with a wide circle of friends. His wife Judith Fuente and two daughters Jessica and Julia were his priorities. Nelson’s favorite place to retreat was a cabin and land in the hills west of Ukiah that Nelson bought when he and a group of other Stanford graduates arrived to live in Mendocino County. Their politics and energy helped transform the county’s political and social landscape.

Nelson was appointed to the Mendocino court bench in 2003, and twice elected to six-year terms without opposition. Nelson retired in 2016 and remained active in local politics. Nelson’s former law partner in private practice, David Riemenschneider was appointed to the bench in 2012.

* * *

* * *


LAST FRIDAY Haley Holt, a recent AVA reader from Pennsylvania, posted the follow request for advice on our website (

Holt: “I live in rural Pennsylvania but my heart is in Mendocino County. My husband and I go to Gualala twice a year. Hopefully, we will someday be permanent residents, but for now it is quite a travel adventure. The reason for my comment is that we are flying into Santa Rosa tomorrow (Saturday), renting a car, and then driving to our rental on the coast near St. Orres. I’ve read your paper daily since I discovered it on my last trip out there, and I love keeping up with the people, events, and wonderful stories. However, I’ve also been seeing your upcoming weather forecasts on-line, and I am very worried about the travel conditions on Saturday. I’m looking for advice on the safest route to get from Santa Rosa to Gualala Saturday evening, as I don’t know what to anticipate. Thank you so much in advance.”

Sheriff Kendall replied first: “If you’re headed to Gualala, Highway 1 at the Garcia River could — and I mean COULD — have flooding. There will be updates on the Caltrans website. If it is flooded you will need to take Fish Rock Road to Gualala. Fish Rock is a very crummy road, but if you take your time it should be fine. Also should have any current closures listed on it.”

Pete Boudoures disagreed: “I would recommend using Highway 1 via Jenner. You’ll be fine.”

Ms. Holt replied: “Thank you! Google maps is telling me to go on Skaggs Spring Road to Highway 1, but we’ve driven Fish Rock before and I think I’d rather travel the mountains than the ocean cliffs in the rain. We’ll go slowly if we need to go that way. I really appreciate your response and will check those sites. I can’t wait to be back there!”

On Monday Ms. Holt reported: “We made it to Gualala Saturday night on Fish Rock Road from Yorkville. It was not fun, and um, Sheriff Kendall, I’m sorry for calling your office last night while I was having a panic attack trying to drive that road. I have a new respect for people who chose to live and travel along that godforsaken road.”

Pete Boudoures: “I tried to tell you. 99.9% of people use Highway 1 and no, you wouldn’t be crossing the Garcia River [where it usually floods in heavy rain] since it’s north of your destination. You are lucky that a tree wasn’t down or you didn’t get stuck, because help wouldn’t be around.”

Haley Holt took Boudoures’ remarks to heart: “Thank you Peter! I know in the future who to listen to.”

Mark Scaramella adds: Fish Rock Road is a throwback to an earlier time in Mendocino County. It is mostly unpaved, unimproved and minimally maintained. It reminds me of the kind of roads our family used to take back to the Coast in the 50s to visit relatives. It’s good to experience Fish Rock Road (or its equivalents in the Covelo area) at least once just to know how difficult rural Mendo roads used to be. But it’s probably not a good idea to drive it in bad weather in a rental car you’re unfamiliar with (clearance-wise, for example). Highway 1 on the other hand is maintained by Caltrans and except for the occasional flooding where the Garcia drains into the Pacific (which is always posted on the various road condition website), it’s a decent route to Gualala because, as Boudoures notes, Gualala is south of the Garcia mouth. If one drives carefully (and preferably not at night) Highway 1 is a much easier drive, unless you get stuck behind a lumbering RV. In the early 20th Century Highway 1 was a much more daunting trip, especially driving south where in spots one can look out a passenger side window directly down the steep bluffs to the beach hundreds of feet below. Not for the acrophobic.

For a desciption of what driving Highway 1 was like a century ago, read about my father’s adventure driving a stud-dairy bull from UC Davis to Manchester in the 1920s here:

* * *

* * *


It’s getting close.

Friday, March 8 & Saturday, March 9 starting at 7pm 

Kids under 12: $5; Adults $15.

Presale tickets will be on sale at Lemons Market and AV Market starting the weekend of February 24th. We hold some tickets back so there will be tickets available at the door on show night until sold out. 

AV High school seniors will be in the parking lot with pre show food hot off the grill. If the weather favors, we imagine a tailgate party or two as well. The line at the door forms early but the ticket gals go along selling tickets in line, as do our Raffleers and ettes. It's a 50 50 raffle. Anyone remember the most money we ever gave away? We think it was somewhere over $600. Lets beat that this time. 

The Variety Show is the biggest fundraiser we have all year, and what a deal. You get a lot of bang for your bucks. It's best to come both nights as each night has totally different acts. How do they do it? Why there's a lot of Variety in them thar hills. Lindsay Clow is piloting the Senior bus again and those Seniors riding the bus get in first, (ONLY those seniors riding the bus), check with Lindsay or the senior center for bus timing. The Grange Auxiliary has our usual halftime goodies mostly home made. 

We've made it through a few rugged years recently and now it's time to get out there, catch up with your neighbors, enjoying a night with each other and then some. 

Take care and be there.

(Captain Rainbow)

* * *


* * *


Good afternoon Mr. Bruce Anderson. 

In previous years I had written to you about my daughter Ahilmar regarding her proud victories on 5k runs around our hometown. Today it is with pain and unbearable information that I write you. 

I received a phone call from my mother (Antonia Marin) that my little brother (Aslin Perez) had been in a car accident today. I do not recall the time, unfortunately. 

The reason I write to you is as follows.

Years ago I was raised in a very family oriented and a valley of families whom would always help each other in any situation. As I learned of my little brother Aslin’s accident, it tore me apart to know he suffered injuries to his right knee as well as his ancle because he was driving according to the weather, but felt the need to veer off onto the oncoming lane to avoid hitting vehicles whom where stopped for a dog near hwy 128 between Philo and Navarro. As he avoided colliding with any other vehicle he lost control of his tan jeep, hitting a tree. He made the right choice to not hurt anyone as his car lost control in the rainy weather, as a result he totaled his vehicle. 

The sad part is all whom he avoided including in his wreck left the scene. Where are the people of the valley I grew up in who would help another? Where have the people with good hearts gone? Has this valley lost hope of humanity? I would like to know that the valley I grew up in is still one big family but as the years go by it proves itself that humanity is losing its value. I pray when someone is hurt, even if you are just passing by, STOP AND HELP! You never know when you or a loved one is going to need help. If it is a flat tire, an engine problem, or a car wreck, stop and help be human.

Julio Joel Perez


* * *

* * *


by Don Francis

A sheriff’s deputy and his K-9 partner uncovered 10 pounds of methamphetamine last week during a traffic stop near Lakeville Highway, leading to one arrest, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office announced.

According to a statement from sheriff’s office deputy PIO Rob Dillion, the incident occurred at around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, after the deputy conducted the traffic stop near Lakeville Highway and Baywood Drive in Petaluma.

“During the traffic stop, the deputy learned the driver had a misdemeanor arrest warrant out of Mendocino County and was told there was a methamphetamine pipe in the vehicle,” Dillion stated.

The deputy brought out the K-9, which searched the vehicle for narcotics and pointed to “dog treat boxes” and “a cat litter box” believed to contain drugs. Ultimately, 10 one-pound packages of methamphetamine were located, according to Dillion.

Authorities said the driver of the vehicle, 41-year-old Angelina Gutierrez, was arrested and booked into Sonoma County jail on suspicion of felony transportation of a controlled substance as well as a misdemeanor arrest warrant. No bail was set and she was later released, Dillion said.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *

* * *


Recent research reveals that Pebbles Trippet, the longtime conscience of the medical marijuana movement, is related to an even better known political activist, Thomas Jefferson. Ms Trippet is a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson, Sr., the grandfather of the Thomas Jefferson who became America’s Third President. (Your correspondent is unclear about why this doesn't make her a direct descendent of POTUS Jefferson, but more will be revealed.)

Pebbles’ friend Laura Costa discovered the Jefferson connection, which came as news to Ms. Trippet. Costa reports, “It has taken some time to soak it in, considering their relationship to slavery, but considering her lifelong battle for Civil Rights she’s done well in combatting their crimes of centuries past.”

Pebbles recalls having heard about a different illustrious relative, a scientific innovator named Simpson. Costa has IDed him as “James Young Simpson, titled doctor to The Queen of Scotland, the first to use chloroform and nitrous oxide as a sedative for childbirth.”

Costa and other friends of Pebbles have been encouraging her to share her memories. “When you line up all her life events, trauma, tragedy, comedy and accomplishments, it’s quite a story. I feel like I’m writing a ‘Forrest Gump’ story, but it’s real.”

“The ‘Trippet Standard’ applies to much more than California Cannabis law. The Trippet Standard to me is the way by which she’s led her life of service, a ‘Standard’ we can all appreciate.

“Pebbles has once again delved into the local politics lending her support to the Cannabis Farmers of Humboldt County with her firm opposition to Measure A, on their March 5th ballot. Proposition #64 doesn’t need a regulatory backup. There is no need for Measure A and Pebbles would like to spread the word: “NO on Measiure A; it’s bad for Humboldt.” If Measure A is approved it will serve as a template to apply harsher cannabis laws in every county, don’t let Measure A bleed over into Mendocino. “If it succeeds here, it will succeed there.”

(Fred Gardner)

* * *

Woodstove Embers (photo mk)

* * *


Dear Family, Friends, and Neighbors,

Our community stands at a crossroads, and the upcoming election for County Supervisor is a pivotal moment for the City of Ukiah and Mendocino County. We are reaching out to endorse a candidate we genuinely believe in: Jacob Brown.

Jacob, a Ukiah native, embodies the resilience, dedication, and creative problem-solving we need in our county leadership. His unique background, from serving in the Marines to managing in the manufacturing sector, has equipped him with the versatility and pragmatic approach to address our local challenges effectively. As a committed educator and community advocate, Jacob champions fiscal responsibility, community involvement, and policies grounded in compassion and ethical governance.

Unfortunately, our current supervisor, Maureen Mulheren, while passionate, has overseen decisions that have increased burdens on our community. Recent votes have led to:

• The dismissal of Chamise Cubbison, our elected Auditor Controller Treasurer Tax Collector, undermining the democratic process.

• The relocation of the Veterans Assistance office disadvantaging our valued veterans.

• An outrageous 900% fee increase for Farmer's Market permits, impacting local food vendors and stifling small business growth.

It’s time for a change. Jacob Brown represents a leadership style that prioritizes the voices and needs of our community, fostering inclusive and sustainable solutions.

Please join us in electing Jacob Brown for County Supervisor. Together, we can ensure our county's leadership reflects our values and works tirelessly for the well-being of all its residents.

Thank you for reading this. Your vote can make a significant difference.


Barry Vogel and John Turri

PS, Although John and I do not always agree on somethings, this is one where we stand united for the betterment of Mendocino County.

* * *

Dr Love, 2015, Bristol, England

* * *


Dear Editors,

As we look toward the March elections, I am flabbergasted by some of the outlandish comments people continue to make about one particular candidate running for the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Madeline Cline. As a woman who has grown up and watched women continue to fight for the same rights as men, which includes respect, I continue to see women get treated differently. The worst part is that women continue to attack other women, and news reporters continue to objectify women. It has been disheartening to see Ms. Cline continually attacked for being young. It is interesting that Trevor Mockel is also young, but no one is talking about his age. Why are we allowing age discrimination for Ms. Cline? Is it acceptable because she is a woman? Are we afraid of change? We have multiple generations that live within this County and we should have multiple generations serving this County. I personally think it is time for a new approach and believe Madeline Cline brings something we have been wanting and waiting for.

I have personally had conversations with Ms. Cline. I have been impressed with her dedication, knowledge, and commitment to Mendocino County. It is rare to find a candidate that is dedicated to learning about all aspects of the County. Ms. Cline has spoken with several individuals at all ranks, including myself, about Behavioral Health and Public Health. She has taken the time to talk with current and former staff, and to understand current processes. She has also taken the time to learn about current legislature changes and potential legislative changes that will and could impact our County.

I just recently retired from Mendocino County after working for the County for 22 years. I keep hearing about the morale issues in Public Health, which was not the case when I retired two months ago. Public Health did have some morale issues over the years and lack of leadership and accountability; however, over the last year I have seen leadership changes, morale improving, and staff being held accountable. Yes, some staff may not like the changes, as it is holding all staff accountable and setting standards. Why if people leave the County is it the County’s fault and all the management is bad? It happens all the time in other businesses. People leave for a variety of reasons; it is easy to make accusations when the topic is personnel related, which means the employer can not speak to it without violating confidentiality laws. We can not ask for the County to hold employees accountable and then complain when people leave. However I also think people confabulate numbers to make things look worse, even when you are supposed to have math skills.

I have also seen age discrimination happening within the department, especially to younger women who are being discriminated against because of their age and maybe their gender. It is framed as a lack of education or experience, yet the staff have bachelors and/or masters degrees and the necessary experience. I think the saddest part is that people are making statements and assumptions without knowing people's actual experience. Why do these young women not deserve the respect?

I believe Madeline Cline brings with her education, experience, dedication and change. I keep hearing the community wants change, so let’s have faith in the change Ms. Cline brings. Lastly, I often wonder why people throw stones when they live in glass houses. I suppose people forget or assume their current or past actions have been forgotten or are hidden, but the truth is people remember.


Mary Alice Willeford

Former Mendocino County Employee


* * *

* * *


Madeline Cline has stated she was asked to run for Supervisor.

Her campaign manager works in the Executive Office, under the CEO. She is a registered lobbyist and career politician. Where has she been, for the last several years, to stand up to PG&E? Also she has the same donors that McGourty had for his election in 2020.

* * *



I’m reaching out to thank the many people who regularly donate blood and urge others to do so as well. I’m a patient in the later stages of acute leukemia and need infusions of platelets and red blood cells weekly to maintain myself. Most of the blood products come from the Santa Rosa blood banks, which are a four-hour round-trip for me. So, again thanks to those who donate and my wish for more people to join in. You are keeping me and many others alive.

Anthony Miksak


* * *

Kerry Wilson, Glenrothes, UK

* * *



I was disappointed to receive last week’s AVA with Mike Geniella's article dredging up once again the decades-too-late dream of refurbishing and seismic retrofitting the ruins of the old Palace Hotel.

Maddening as it was to have someone of his stature still pushing forward this fantasy at this late date, after decades of rot and ruin there, I thought, "for sure they read the back and forth between myself and my old buddy, Tommy Hine in the Mendo Fever website, and that you would include some opposing viewpoints". While I don't agree with Tom about a lot of things, he and I are on the same page when it comes to the possibility of EVER salvaging the crumbling brickwork that is the only thing of value (very little at that) left on the site. This view is held by virtually all the people that I know who have any knowledge or experience in the building trades; contractors, architects, material suppliers. No one thinks that there is any possibility of its resurrection. It is telling that Geniella cites as his main source this guy Carter who works for the outfit that is eager to spend anyone's money who is foolish enough to pursue the fever dream of this grand restoration. OF COURSE he's going to say that it is possible! That's his business! Never mind if it makes any economic sense to do so; his company will have already raked in their profits before ground is even broken there and won't care if it ever is. The building in Merced that he cites was probably in much better condition than The Palace and is in a small city six times Ukiah's population.

Anyway, I looked in vain in the letters to see if my conversation with Tom Hine was included; no, but there were several other Pollyannaish ra ra letters for the impossible dream.

So now, after 3 decades of inaction on it, you guys seem to be pushing for a whole new generation of people wedded to this kitsch idea of rebuilding this ruin, hardly an architectural gem even in its heyday, which will only result in preventing ANYTHING from being done there for years or decades more, 

What people fail to understand is that even if the brickwork weren't made with crappy lime mortar that is eroding as I write, the cost of seismically retrofitting this death trap of thousands of tons of unreinforced brick would be so much more than clearing the lot and building a modern seismic steel framed structure, that no conceivable use of the property would ever have the slightest hope of paying the mortgage on the project, much less turning a profit.

I had to laugh at the appeal in Geniella's article to developers to not think about profit but about the chance to “give back to the community.” Really? Give me a break! We're talking about tens of millions of dollars to do what they're talking about. Unless Warren Buffett plans to move to town and takes a special liking to the old ruin, it ain't gonna happen

Please, let reason have a chance to at least create some hope of this central chunk of our humble town to someday be put to some public utility. Tear It Down!

You really should carry some opposing viewpoints to this maddening mau-mauing of the rational amongst us who were so looking forward to the demolition of this dangerously unstable structure in the heart of town.

John Arteaga


* * *

Fisherman's Wharf, 1931

* * *



Again cudos go out to Mike Geniella and Dennis Crean for their follow through on the status of the Palace Hotel condition and the critique of the restorative actions to date. Their efforts to keep this situation fresh on UDJ readers’ minds is much appreciated. 

Recently, I have felt the ones who should be accountable for the hotel falling into disrepair were going to get off scot-free, and we the people would be required to foot the bill for their negligence. The alliances that appear to have been formed are pretty focused on demolishing the structure. Some have gone so far as to apply for a public grant to fund the destruction, and clean up. Also, it seems the applicants may not be doing a full disclosure on the current conditions to the grantees, and I think that should be called into question.

It is clear, Mr. Ishwar is counting heavily on the Guidiville public grant application to bail him out and thus be forgiven for making little attempt to protect the structure from the elements since his ownership. He must firmly believe there should be no consequences for his lack of action during the last four years. 

It is time the City of Ukiah requires Mr. Ishwar to make the necessary improvements to eliminate the safety fears. The scope of those repairs should be detailed in the Fire Department study completed that determined the Palace Hotel is a "public safety hazard". And if, in the future, it is deemed necessary to take the final step of demolition, it should be on Mr. Ishwar, he has earned it.

John Moon


* * *

Plastic Jesus, Los Angeles

* * *


CPUC Public Advisor’s Office

505 Van Ness Av.

San Francisco, Ca. 94102

I am writing the PUC to ask them not to approve Applications 23-03-002 and 23-03-003. Approval would threaten Public Safety. Approval would violate the public trust placed in a monopolies hands. This is the very thing the PUC was created to protect.

An obligation is incurred when purchasing smaller phone companies. Even more obligation is incurred when using Eminent Domain, tax subsidies for development and Interest free disaster loans to repair damage. ATT enjoys these government sanctioned policies because of the importance of connectivity.

The cell network does not replace this. ATT’s own cell phones and does not work everywhere Some people have difficulty with the tiny buttons and screens. We must have more than one system in place. Redundant, robust and *diverse* phone systems are what are needed.

Our 200 pair line is buried in trenches right alongside a transoceanic cable one mile from my house. ATT has chosen not to connect us. Towers where the cables come out of the ground have been in a state of disrepair for years.

If you call repair you are subjected to sales pitches for ATT’s cell service while on hold and in person with each representative you talk to. Calls to getting an adjustment on the bill for 5 weeks of poor connectivity are the same sales pitch. How is ATT billing these sales pitches? Is the frustration and weeks of disrupted service deliberate? Is it sales or repair?

Is ATT’s lack of maintenance deliberate? Towers where buried lines come out of the ground go unrepaired for years. Like PG&E’s lack of maintenance this could have life threatening results. Yet ATT’s purchase of Daffy Duck (Time Warner) shows a lot of cash available for something else.

The approval could open up folks to scam and unregulated repair which could be devastating to all users.

This area is subject to wind storms, fire and earthquakes. Land lines are an essential part of the strength and quality of life in California. Reverse 911 falls apart. Communities will suffer. Do not allow this to happen. Reject Applications 23-03-002 and 23-03-003.

Robyn Harper 


* * *

* * *


Dear Friends,

I just received my “real” ballot. Tomorrow I will vote.

It's just days before Election Day, March 5.

This is a personal letter from me asking you to vote for Ted Williams for Assembly District 2. (AD2)

People ask me why vote for Ted? "He's not a 'viable' candidate." "He will not spend money on glossy mailers or do phone banking with paid staff. He can't win.”

Here's my answer: 

Ted entered the race to represent Mendocino among the other candidates and their special interests.

Practically speaking, In AD 2 (5 counties), Mendocino will never have the votes to compare with the Sonoma voting population. Yet, Mendocino voter turnout will underscore to outside candidates how our support matters. Mendocino voters could be significant in this race. 

Since filing his papers, November 17, Ted has not spent his time seeking money or endorsements for his candidacy. As he has for five years, Ted is doing his job as County Supervisor 24/7. Ted continues to volunteer with Albion Fire, answering calls in the middle of the night to help people in dire need.

Ted is not out at fancy meet and greets. Ted shows up when we need him.

At Assembly District 2 Candidates Forums: Ted is giving Mendocino a VOICE at the table. Ted is loud for us. I have watched him and maybe you have too. 

In this race, Ted is the "ordinary person" running for office, truly independent of machine politics. No corporate support or otherwise organized interests for him to be beholden to. 

He's a Coast Club member working with us for years in our efforts to keep election outcomes blue! 

Our vote is our voice! Make our grassroots progressive values matter. Turn out! 

Thank you for your consideration. If you want to talk about the election, please contact me at Some of you have already.

Karen Bowers


P.S. Remember our Club Forum years ago: “Does our Hospital have a Future?” Jim Wood was asked this by Ted who served as our Club moderator. Now, Jim is leaving his seat at our table. Ted continues to work on keeping our Coast hospital from closure. 

There is more work to be done!

Look forward to Ted running for Assembly District 2 in 2026!

* * *

Flying home to Liverpool, 1963

* * *


Bay Area News Group reporter Will McCarthy’s “District 5 Senate race has twists, turns” calls attention to competition for the newly created district seat, with new district boundries, and “last-minute candidate switches” in the territory previously represented by Susan Talamantes-Eggman. [San Jose Mercury News, February 19, 2024]

Congressional Representative Jerry McNerney, who did not seek reelection in the newly created 9th Congressional District, is competing with California Assembly Member Carlos Villapudua (a fellow Democrat) and Republican truck driver Jim Shoemaker for District 5 state Senate representation.

McNerney has a decade-long record in the U.S. House, and has garnered endorsements from Planned Parenthood and the California Labor Federation, plus support from Talamentes-Eggman. Registered voters in the new district are 44% Democrat, 27% Republican, and 21% with no party preference — not unlike voters in our “rurban” Bay Area “fringe” counties.

Our current U.S. Representatives, Garamendi and Thompson, have long established productive relationships with McNerney, whose Congressional accomplishments include reformation of Veteran’s Administration treatments for traumatic brain injury (2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama), and protection of veterans benefits during the 2013 government shutdown. That same year McNerney introduced the Methamphetamine Education, Treatment and Hope (METH) Act to expand programs that combat methamphetamine abuse.

“In April 2018, McNerney, Jared Huffman, Jamie Raskin, and Dan Kildee launched the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Its stated goals include “pushing public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values,’ promoting the “separation of church and state,’ and opposing discrimination against “atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons,’ among others,” according to his Wikipedia page.

McNerney’s Congressional caucus memberships include International Conservation, Grid Innovation, Climate Solution, Medicare for All, and the “Freethought” consortium.

“After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, McNerney called it “a partisan body that is no longer a legitimate arbiter of our Constitution.” He said it had a “far-right minority agenda’ that is a “threat not only to our country, but to the world.” [Wikipedia’s “Congressional Freethought Caucus” page.]

We hope that AVA readers from the “Bay Area’s Backyard” and Sacramento-based regional networks will take a moment to support this important electoral opportunity and “get out the votes” for Jerry McNerney in California Senate District 5.

— Betsy Cawn The Essential Public Information Center Upper Lake

* * *

* * *



Due to feedback from several respected local progressives, I am changing my vote from Rusty Hicks for State Assembly for reasons explained below.

Instead of Hicks I suggest you vote for either our own County Supervisor Ted Williams, or Tribal leader Frankie Myers, or Sonoma Clean Power board member Chris Rogers. Here is brief info on these three alternatives:

Ted Williams (from Coast Democratic Club Chair Karen Bowers): “Ted Williams has been representing us and all of Mendocino County for five years. He works for us 24/7. Takes care for people struggling. He deserves our votes because he knows us and has been fighting for us every day.”

Frankie Myers (from Andy Wellspring, of Showing Up for Racial Justice Mendo Coast Chapter and member of the Coalition to Save Jackson Forest:) “I support Frankie Myers for our Assembly seat because he is an experienced leader of the largest Tribe in California and has coordinated well with local, state and federal governments. Frankie has supported great things for his people, the Yurok Tribe. Of local importance, Frankie came down to support the Pomo Land Back campaign in Jackson State Forest. Support truly progressive change for CA, make history with Native Representation, and restore the Redwood Coast!”

Chris Rogers (from ex-County Supervisor Kendall Smith:) “I’m supporting Chris Rogers for Assembly., as is Mike McGuire and Mike Thompson. I met Chris and found him very sharp, personable and knowledgeable on many key issues. He is on the Board of Sonoma Clean Power and is endorsed by the Sierra Club, Health Care for All-Calif, Humboldt Progressive Democrats, North Bay Building Trades Council, National Union of Healthcare Workers, and the Firefighters, Teamsters, Steamfitters and other unions.”

Why NOT vote for Rusty Hicks?

Karen Bowers, Coast Democratic Club Chair wrote: “Rusty is an opportunist who moved to Arcata to run for Jim Woods seat and set out to buy the seat working the party regulars. He took a pledge to not take $s from fossil fuels and broke it big time.

Helene Rouvier, Northern Vice Chair of the Progressive Caucus wrote Democratic Party officials: “There is a major conflict of interest and officer neglect by Party Chair Rusty Hicks. He pursues an Assembly campaign to the detriment of our Party and to Democrats across the state and nation. We call upon the Officers of the California Democratic Party to investigate Chair Hicks due to documented diversion of financial contributions from the Party to his campaign. In addition, Party fundraising in 2023 is also $8 million behind compared to the previous off-year fundraising cycle. This is the lowest fundraising total in a decade. It is evident that Hicks is not paying attention to his Chair duties; which will hurt our statewide efforts in 2024 and benefit no one except the Republicans.”

President, Dean Phillips as a protest to Biden’s unconditional support and weaponry for Israel’s assault on Gaza that has killed 20,000 children and women. Biden will of course win this primary and I will vote for him over Trump in November.

US Senate Full Term, Barbara Lee. Tho the most likely winner is Adam Schiff, who has the Democratic establishment’s support, Lee was the only Senator who voted against Bush Junior’s Iraq War and is endorsed by Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, Peace Action, Pramila Jayapal, Gloria Steinem, Ben Cohen, Doloras Huerta, Ro Khanna and more.

US Senate Partial Term, Katie Porter, who is endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, the California Communications Workers of America Union and more.

US Representative, Jared Huffman, endorsed by California Labor Federation, Equality California, Sierra Club and more.

Member of State Assembly: Now changed from Rusty Hicks to County Supervisor Ted Williams, or Tribal leader Frankie Myers, or Chris Rogers (all described above).

Proposition 1, Yes, endorsed by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Equality California, SEIU, Calif Teachers Assoc, LA times, and more.

County Measure R, Yes.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, February 19, 2024

Brown, Heath, McFarlin

JAMES BROWN SR., Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

DANIEL HEATH, Redwood Valley. DUI with priors, petty theft, suspended license for DUI, disobeying court order.


Paulson, Sandage, Stone

JERROD PAULSON JR., Willits. Probation revocation.

VICKI SANDAGE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

SCOTT STONE, Conway, South Carolina/Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.

* * *



In 1993, the voters of California approved Proposition 172. It’s a half-cent sales tax to support and maintain law enforcement, fire service, district attorneys and corrections. In Sonoma County, the Board of Supervisors gave the funding to law enforcement. Fire agencies did not receive a fair share of Prop. 172 taxes. The supervisors let fire agencies in Sonoma County fend for themselves, apparently not worthy of board support.

There is a proposed change, but in the long term they are only to receive 8% of the funding. Last fiscal year, Sonoma received $53 million. Please research where the Prop. 172 funding went for yourself. You may find it under the Public Safety Fund Sales Tax. This issue of funding is not the taxpayers’ issue, it’s the Board of Supervisors’ attempt to make taxpayers pay for the lack of support. If the fire service received a fair share of Prop. 172 taxes over time, Measure H would not be needed.

We’re going to be taxed twice for the same thing. Hold the Board of Supervisors accountable. No on Measure H.

Henry Angeli


* * *

* * *


by Katie Dowd

With the game tied 19-19 at the end of regulation, the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs headed to the first Super Bowl with new overtime rules. Instead of sudden-death overtime, both teams would now have a chance to possess the ball, even if the first team to go on offense scored a touchdown. The 49ers, to the shock of just about everyone watching, elected to take the ball first — meaning they'd potentially give the Chiefs the last chance.

As fans know now, this was the worst call coach Kyle Shanahan could have made. The 49ers only mustered a field goal, and Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field for a touchdown, sealing the victory for Kansas City. 

The NFL's newly released "Mic'd Up" version of the game is painful to watch for 49ers fans. As the new overtime rules are shown on video screens around the stadium, fullback Kyle Juszczyk comments, “Even if we score a touchdown, they still get the ball. I didn’t know that.” On the 49ers bench, someone can be heard saying, "We score a touchdown, we win." 

“No, no,” linebacker Fred Warner corrects him. “Both teams get an opportunity.”

It seems even the referees would have strategized differently. With about two minutes left in regulation and the ball in quarterback Brock Purdy’s hands, mics caught referee Bill Vinovich commenting on the 49ers’ play-calling. “Your best play that you have in your book right now,” he said. “Cause you don’t wanna give Mahomes the ball back.”

After the game, the 49ers infuriated fans by publicly admitting they didn't know overtime rules had changed.

“I didn't even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “I didn't even really know what was going on in terms of that.”

“You know what? I didn't even realize the playoff rules were different in overtime,” Juszczyk added. “I assumed you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win. I guess that's not the case. I don't totally know the strategy there.”

Although players said they never discussed the rule change, Shanahan told reporters in the postgame press conference that coaches had.

“We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third,” he said. “If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. So we got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal and if we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”

Although hindsight is 20/20, Shanahan's catastrophic decision even flummoxed his lucky opponents. “There’s no situation where it makes sense to me,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said on his “New Heights" podcast Wednesday.

“You win the coin toss, that's what you get. You get the opportunity to have the advantage,” he added with a laugh. “And they handed it right over to us.”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

View from Mt Tam

* * *


by Marilyn Davin

We are all, alas, susceptible to lesser and greater degrees of regrettable moral lapses; it’s the price of being human. Most of these best-forgotten incidents fade away as time swallows them up and redeposits them into the fog of the past, where they lay dormant, silently waiting for some attorney to dig them up and throw them, under oath, right back into your face. Especially, these days, if you’re an elected official.

After two hours of watching the televised court proceedings alleging that Georgia’s election interference case against Donald J. Trump should be dismissed because of DA Fani T. Willis’ admitted affair with still-married prosecutor Nathan J. Wade, who Willis hired as part of her legal team in the election interference case. Hey, if the amorous pair used public funds from hard-working Georgians to finance their Caribbean trips, cruises and expensive dinners, they should be called to account. There’s far too much of that going around these days. But when the hapless Wade himself took the stand, defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who is defending alleged Trump co-conspirator Michael Roman in the case, dramatically peppered him with scores of questions so specific that I doubt I could have myself recalled the minute details of events routinely lived five years ago. Things like who paid for that dinner in Aruba and who paid back the non-paying party for his or her half, who made the plane reservations, who booked the hotel, who gave what gifts to whom. 

Fair enough, how those expenses were paid could together point to a misuse of public funds. But, standing tall and combative, (though her whiney, high-pitched voice could never be called thunderous), Merchant’s questions for Wade predictably shifted to the salacious: When exactly did the affair begin, did you stay overnight in Willis’ house (wink wink), where did you get together to presumably do the deed, on and on. Given the dry and technical nature of most Trump-related trials, this was high theatre. 

In a surprise and apparently unexpected move, Willis herself showed up to testify. Unapologetic and loaded for bear, she painted a credible picture of how she and Wade faithfully shared expenses for their private travel. She testified that their “romantic” relationship ended in August of last year. There was ultimately nowhere in the blizzard of times and dates aimed at both Wade and Willis that, in my view, uncovered a smoking gun that supported the pro-Trump defense team’s claim that Willis had hired Wade so that he could pay for their trips, dinners, and other activities on the Georgia taxpayer’s dime and, further, that Willis should be removed from the Trump case because of this perceived conflict of interest. 

Candidly, it was refreshing to see Willis stand up for herself rather than cower under aggressive questioning doubtless designed to get under her skin. In the course of living your own life, could you remember who paid for what, with what money, at an informal dinner consumed four or five years ago? 

I felt sorry for Willis, a clearly private professional black woman who lives with police protection because of threats against her (like having the “B” and “N” words spray-painted on her house) as she was asked about intimate details of her private life, including how her father taught her to always keep ample cash at home to use instead of plastic when possible. For those of us joined at the hip with our plastic, this may seem odd, but for many people this practice, especially for those who have lived through (or fear) perilous economic times, it’s a common hedge against financial disaster. When my mother-in-law moved to a care facility, for example, a thousand dollars were discovered under her mattress: low-denomination bills carefully collected and folded together over several years. Willis testified that she has “all her life” squirreled away cash in her home — not because she has to (“I make $200,000 a year”) — but because of ingrained advice from her clearly adored father as a sensible hedge against an uncertain future, especially as a single black woman: not as a way to hide expenses. A dramatic high note in all this was when, clearly pissed off, Willis said that she wasn’t the one on trial “…no matter how much you try to put me on trial. The ones [on trial] tried to steal the 2020 election.” 


I was a TV reporter back in 1979 when serial killer Ted Bundy’s trial in Florida became the first to be nationally televised. This was heralded as a great thing: Sunshine! Transparency! As a young reporter, I had my doubts even then as this trend proliferated and attorneys padded and dramatized their arguments, mugging for the cameras when they turned their way. Worse, the 24-hour news cycle was in its infancy and the Internet hadn’t been born yet so TV reporters, constrained by their half-hour noon, 6 pm and 11 pm newscasts, predictably lifted a handful of the most dramatic sound bites from all those hours of tape and led with them. It was the birth of American trials as theatre.

We’ve come a long way since a group of President Kennedy’s alleged paramours (there was no news coverage of it that I’ve ever found) demonstrated in front of the White House, publicly calling out his bed-hopping ways. At the time it would have been unthinkable to reveal such a personal thing about the President. Today, our elected officials are and should be held to reasonable standards of ethical conduct, to say nothing of general decency; but everyone also deserves some modicum of personal privacy. If Willis used her positional power to misuse public funds in the course of her affair with a subordinate, she should suffer its consequences. But prurient questions about the nature of her affair, which was after all between two middle-aged consenting adults — one single and one in the process of divorce — should stop at the bedroom door. 

I didn’t watch every minute of the Willis trial but saw enough of it to conclude that if the conflict of interest charge, the real issue, proves insufficient to remove her from leading the election interference/racketeering trial against Trump and his co-defendant, that she keeps both her edgy moxie and whatever’s left of her private life to herself. And however tempting to amass clicks and viewers with splashy headlines, those of us with pens, audio feeds, and cameras in the courtroom should take the high road and report only the relevant facts of a case, letting any titillating, irrelevant details fall away, relegated to the fog of the past. 

* * *

* * *


by Ralph Nader

Among the puzzling questions that the media chooses to ignore is asking high government officials why they are exercising the illegal use of power that violates the rule of law which they are required to obey.

This week, the Veterans for Peace (VFP) made it very easy for reporters to pose questions by sending an open letter (See to the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, invoking several U.S. statutes that require the “termination of provision of military weapons and munitions to Israel.”

Josh Paul, a former senior official in the State Department’s office charged with reviewing weapon transfers to foreign countries, said: “The Secretary and all relevant officials under his purview should take this letter from Veterans for Peace with the utmost seriousness. It is a stark reminder of the importance of abiding by the laws and policies that relate to arms transfers.”

What laws are being violated by the State Department daily as it approves ships and cargo planes full of weapons of mass destruction to be used in Israel’s war crimes and genocide against hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s civilians, mostly children and women?

These are the laws highlighted in the VFP letter:

• The Foreign Assistance Act, which forbids the provision of assistance to a government which “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

• Arms Export Control Act, which says countries that receive US military aid can only use weapons for legitimate self-defense and internal security. Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza goes way beyond self-defense and internal security.

• The U.S. War Crimes Act, which forbids grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and unlawful deportation or transfer, perpetrated by the Israeli Occupying Forces.

• The Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.

• The Genocide Convention Implementation Act, which was enacted to implement U.S. obligations under the Genocide Convention, provides for criminal penalties for individuals who commit or incite others to commit genocide

Under these laws, the State Department has a “Conventional Arms Transfer Policy” which, the letter notes, “prohibit [U.S. weapons transfers when it’s likely they] will be used by Israel to commit … genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, [including attacks intentionally directed against civilian objects or civilians protected] or other serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights laws.”

The VFP letter continues, “Dozens of authoritative complaints and referrals made by hospital administrators in Gaza, as well as by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Palestine Authority, South Africa, Turkey, Medicins san Frontieres, UNRWA, UNICEF, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the World Food Program have confirmed that there is an ongoing human rights and humanitarian disaster due to Israel’s cutoff of water and electricity, deliberate destruction of sewage infrastructure and delaying of aid shipments by Israeli forces.”

If you are wondering why these laws are not being enforced – the answer is that individual citizens or groups of citizens do not have any “legal standing” to sue Secretary Blinken, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only a Committee of Congress, backed by a Senate or House Resolution, can take the State Department to federal court. That action to enforce Congressionally passed and enacted laws is not likely to happen in this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire.

Mike Ferner, VFP National Director, observed “Just as any good soldiers can recognize when they are given an unlawful order, we believe some State Department staff are horrified at the orders they’re given and will decide to uphold the law, find the courage to speak out and demand an end to the carnage.”

There is a related serious matter, pointed out by international law practitioner, Bruce Fein who said “The United States has clearly become a co-belligerent with Israel in its war against Hamas-Gaza Palestinians by systematically supplying the IDF with weapons and intelligence without conditions. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, nationals of a co-belligerent state are not regarded as protected persons if their state has customary diplomatic relations with an allied nation [in this case, Israel].”

For decades, the State Department has had an independent Office of the Legal Adviser. The present occupant of that post, acting legal adviser Richard C. Visek has been publicly silent. I am sending the Veterans for Peace letter to him and asking him to respond to this letter and to the American people who pay his salary.

* * *

Semi O.K in Istanbul, Turkey

* * *



Right on time, a Republican Congressman has announced that Russia is placing nukes on the moon to bomb us. Of course, he was condemned by other Republicans, and the issue was downplayed by the Biden Administration. But the idea lingers; the fear has been sparked. It is all theater to suppress citizen objection to US instigated wars, vigorously aided by the MIC owned press. Comments like: ‘We must fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here’ are standard. VP Harris defends US global leadership in defense of global engagement, and asserts that the US is the defender of longstanding rules and norms that have provided for unprecedented peace. Consider Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Palestine, Indonesia, Syria, Kosovo, Lebanon, Yemen, and many African countries. The US has had troops on the ground or fomented trouble or sold arms to support conflicts in all these countries.

Our government has used propaganda to sway us since WWI. Both parties are captives of the military/industrial/congressional complex. We are a nation that profits from war. US Administrations violate ‘rules based order’ whenever it suits them. We people are kept frightened. We are kept busy earning to be part of the American dream. When not working, we are entertained by an abundance of crap and sports. As a nod to soma and the Brave New World, more and more states are approving marijuana. This is in addition to booze and both legal and illegal drugs. Our leaders prefer a docile population.

The Mexican/American war was started by America for vast territory. The Spanish American war was started by America (the Maine blew up by itself) to take Spanish possessions. President Wilson promised to keep us out of WWI, then used early psyops to demonize Germans and suck us into the war, which brought America out of a recession. FDR embargoed Japan’s oil, an act of war. He transported weapons to England before our entry in WWII, and that war brought us out of the Great Depression. America took advantage of the devastation of Europe to control the world’s oil and currency. When challenged, the US government destroys the challenger – e,g., Qaddafi in Libya, who pushed for a Pan Arab Africa, and leaving the dollar. More recently, PM Khan of Pakistan was imprisoned with US help because he would not support the US sponsored war in Ukraine. America purports to be for democracy and freedom until our leaders don’t like the result, e.g. oil rich Venezuela. After Maduro won the presidency, our administration recognized Juan Guaido, who wasn’t even running for president. It is all American imperialism. This, too, is the reason for our unwavering support for Israel. They are the tip of America’s spear in the oil rich Middle East.

Hitler made his position on world domination clear. Has Putin? Why are Romney and Biden and others saying Putin will take Europe over? Putin has a vast country to the east to cultivate. Unpopular though it is in the US, the Eastern Russian provinces voted to be with Russia. Crimea voted to be with Russia. Of course, the US claims that the votes were rigged. Many in this country say the same about our elections.

For President, we have a choice of Trump, who channels the id of America, and Biden, who facilitates genocides for imperialists. 

Protest endless war! Stop the genocide in Palestine. Stop the slaughter in the Ukraine and Russia. Stop the China baiting. Bring the troops home from their 800 bases around the world. Vote for candidates who will work for peace and Americans.

Joan Vivaldo

San Francisco

* * *

Robert Crumb - "Survivor" Sketchbook Page Original Art (circa early 1960s)

* * *


Matt Taibbi: When Russia was an active nuclear adversary, that was a real threat to counter launch if something bad happened and bad things did happen. We had a couple of very near misses where we were almost in nuclear war with the Russians, and yet we weren’t asked to take the threat nearly as seriously as we are now. So what happened between 2012 and now? I mean that gets into the activities of this week. What I spent a lot of time on this week, obviously people who watch this channel, who follow Racket know that on public and now today, as of Thursday on Racket, there was a series of exposes basically about Russiagate, but there were two main revelations.

One is that there was a surveillance campaign that included at least 26 Trump aids and associates. It was directed by the CIA, it started before the FBI investigation. And the other one is that they cooked the intelligence for the intelligence community assessment that said that Russia had done an influence campaign specifically to help Trump, which is the last surviving myth from that era. But the interesting thing about this, and as people have pointed out, everybody from Bartiromo to Dan Bongino to Aaron Maté to Chuck Ross, to a million other people have covered this stuff because this has been floating out there since 2018.

But I think one of the interesting things is that Russia was kind of an incidental part of the campaign against Donald Trump. I mean if you look at the early Steele dossier reports and what we were told, they didn’t have a direction to go in as late as the spring of 2016, and they coalesced around this Russia theme that summer, but not before then, because they didn’t have a real predication to be worried about Russia in conjunction with Trump. So this whole thing, this whole Russia thing, it’s not like it’s fictional because obviously there’s been tension dating back a long way, including the Maidan Revolution and all that. But in this specific circumstance, I think it’s just an accidental consequence of this weird PR campaign.

Walter Kirn: But there are a couple of aspects to it that I’d like to question you about. As a consumer of Racket in public, I’d like to ask you a few questions about it. One, how early did it really start? What’s the earliest you can trace it to, the surveillance of the Trump world?

Matt Taibbi: So we know for sure that there were people who were “bumped” or approached by informants in March of 2016, but we’ve had people tell us that it was as early as December of 2015. I mean there’s some stuff in the public record. A lot of this stuff is in the public record, it’s just that people haven’t looked at it because it hasn’t been stressed. But for instance, in the infamous texts between Counter Intelligence Chief Peter Strzok and his lover/FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, there’s a reference to what they call OCONUS lawyers, which is overseas, it’s an acronym-

Walter Kirn: Outside of the Continental US or something like that.

Matt Taibbi: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So that refers to 2015. We’ve been told that that’s the case. And then also, there was a series of public stories involving the New Yorker and The Guardian, which quoted the GCHQ, Britain’s version of the NSA, saying that the genesis of all this was late 2015 when the British picked up stuff. So looking in retrospect, it reads like they were pre bunking these revelations a little bit, like they were setting the stage for... But we can... Certainly, it was before the FBI thing started.

Walter Kirn: And it was before Donald Trump’s nomination, which... So were they all betting on the Donald Trump horse? Had they set up this international intelligence effort to surveil Donald Trump in the hope, in the fear that he would be nominated? Or was it only him that was being surveilled? Were there similar efforts with other possible Republican nominees?

Matt Taibbi: Well, I think, unfortunately, this is one of the remaining polls in this story is we just don’t have a good grip on the why of this. Why did they start doing?

Walter Kirn: You see, because the legend is that Trump is so unique, so particular and peculiar in his possible relations to the Russians that he required extraordinary measures. But if they were doing it to other people too, and we just haven’t heard about it because they didn’t need to use those files, then that blows all to hell the notion that it was just Trump. If they had another program for Ted Cruz, say.

Matt Taibbi: Right. And so what we were told was that the question was asked, was this done for some national security objective? The answer was a definitive no, they were just trying to take advantage of a rookie, inexperienced political campaign. They specifically pick people like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page who they thought wouldn’t see this kind of thing coming.

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

“We are going to have the most diverse and inclusive civilizational collapse in history.” — Oilfield Rando on “X.”

Hark! We are informed this Presidents’ Day by The New York Times that a poll out of the University of Houston, led by one prof of poly-sci named (get this name) Brandon Rottinghaus, ranks “Joe Biden” at No. 14, way above average among the forty-six demi-gods elected to run the US government since 1789. It’s a helluva good bit of news for a nation in need of reassurance in these dark days, don’t you agree? They’ve got him sandwiched between John Quincy Adams and Woodrow Wilson, beating out the likes of Andrew Jackson, Grover Cleveland, James Monroe, and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Trump is ranked dead last, of course.

“Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of presidential leadership and is gearing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall,” the report states.

Gearing up? I’m sure. If gearing up means calling a lid on your life an hour after breakfast. And what do you suppose they mean by “a more traditional form of leadership.” Arranging serial overseas military humiliations? Selling favors to all comers from foreign lands? Inviting transsexuals to cavort on the White House lawn? Abolishing control of US borders? Running a $2-trillion annual deficit? Mandating unsafe and ineffective so-called “vaccine” shots on millions? Cancelling the First Amendment? Stealing elections? Conspiring to jail his political adversaries?

We’re also informed in recent days by the Department of Justice that “Joe Biden” is not mentally competent to answer for anything in a court of law, should someone inquire into the signal irregularities emerging from the fugitive annals of his long career. Of course, “Joe Biden” running for reelection is one of the greatest gags ever put over on the American public. But more astounding yet is that half the country persists in pretending to believe it. They are egged on in every possible way by persons in high places of government fearful of going to prison if the Democratic Party loses its grip on the levers of power.

Since “Joe Biden” is not actually calling the shots, one naturally wonders who is responsible for all the dubious achievements of the past three years. I guess we’ll find out when Mr. Trump wins that election in November, an outcome increasingly guaranteed unless “Joe Biden” (or, let’s face it, our Intel Community) takes the final decisive step of bumping off the Golden Golem of Greatness. What have they got left? AI-contrived photos of Mr. Trump having sex with a manatee in the intercoastal waterway off Mar-a-Lago?

In New York City, the Woke lunatics did a victory dance after Judge Arthur Engoron, beaming his Joker smile, laid a $350-million fine on Mr. Trump for conducting a set of normal real estate transactions with a bank that profited from doing business with him. Many are still trying to figure out how that amounts to a crime of any sort. Don’t suppose that the check is in the mail, though. There is an appeals process that leads, you may be sure, to a dismissal of that inane judgment and the puerile hypotheticals that the case derived from. And, by and by, you also might expect a countersuit for malicious prosecution when all that smoke clears. New York Attorney General Letitia James, lacking impulse control, is for the moment enjoying the fulfillment of her campaign promise to “get Trump.” Waiting to see how much she enjoys losing her law license in the days to come.

Every reaction provokes an equal and opposite reaction, Newton’s Third Law states. It manifested shortly after Judge Engoron’s end zone dance when a call went out over the Internet for America’s truckers to refuse loads inbound to New York City. We’ll have to stand by to see how that develops. No more bok choy, Texas beef, or Meyer Lemons for you, “progressive” denizens of the Five Boroughs! Embrace the suck! The genius part is that, unlike the 2022 Canadian truckers’ action in Ottawa, the American truckers will not be cluttering up New York’s streets with their rigs, license plates on view, leaving them vulnerable to such pranks as the shutdown of their bank accounts. All they’ll do is sit innocently at home back in Kentucky and Missouri, enjoying a break from the rigors of the highway. Is that a crime? Arguably no more than doing a normal real estate deal in good faith with a willing lender was a crime.

The truckers have promised to include Washington DC next in their delivery boycott. The K-Street lobbying gang won’t be buying any influence for a while over platters of grilled branzino and Mariscos Molcajete. Maybe there will be a few Cliff Bars left in the Farragut Square 7-Eleven and they can do business in their cars. As for “Joe Biden,” his minders have probably laid in enough Ensure for a well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory to get by for a few weeks — until the magic moment when, alas, he must needs be thrown under the bus of expediency to keep their game going.

* * *

* * *


Since I don’t watch the corporate news media (that’s my wife’s domain), please tell me if there is no mention of Biden’s incompetence. Even as dumb as many of my fellow Americans are, surely half of their number cannot be believing that Biden is seriously running for president again!

* * *



As President Vladimir Putin continues the cruel Russian military’s attack on Ukraine, news arrived on Feb. 16 of the death of the unfairly imprisoned, popular Russian political opponent opponent, Alexei Navatny. Putin had him assassinated. So far a strange cabal of Republicans, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, has thwarted passage of Ukraine aid sorely needed to continue the brave resistance of the Ukranian people to Putin’s brutal invasion.

Former Pres. D.J. Trump backs the tyrant Putin and opposes aid to Ukraine. How on earth can any true American back this clown, maniac in his vain, dangerous, unAmerican effort to regain the White House?

Frank H. Baumgardner, III 

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


by Tony Wood

“Sudden death syndrome” was the explanation the prison authorities gave to Aleksei Navalny’s mother when she arrived at Corrective Colony No. 3, in the remote village of Kharp, just north of the Arctic Circle, the day after his death. Medically, this was total nonsense, but it was also brazenly false in a deeper sense: ever since Navalny survived a poisoning attempt in August 2020, it was clear that the Putin regime had signed his death warrant. Imprisoned in January 2021, he was kept in appalling conditions, often in isolation, and deliberately denied medical attention. Whether they killed him quickly or slowly, there is no doubt who is responsible for Navalny’s demise. Yet even though his was a death many times foretold, the news that came on February 16 was still a profound shock, and a demoralizing one for Putin’s opponents.

Navalny shot to prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s as an energetic anti-corruption campaigner, gaining popularity for his scathing denunciations of the greed of the ruling United Russia party. In the broad coalition of oppositional forces that took shape during the protests in 2011-12 against electoral fraud and against Putin’s return to the presidency, Navalny stood out as the most politically astute, able to channel popular grievances while continuing to hammer his main message. Over the next few years, his Anti-Corruption Fund produced a string of hard-hitting and irreverent documentaries detailing the illicit wealth of Putin’s top functionaries.

In 2013 Navalny stood for mayor of Moscow, coming in second with 27% of the vote – an impressive score in a rigged electoral system, and a sign of substantive popular support. From this point on he was the foremost oppositional figure in Russia, around whom any alternative to Putinism would have to coalesce. This of course made him the regime’s top target.

In 2020 he fled to Germany for treatment after narrowly surviving an assassination attempt. His return to Russia in January 2021 coincided with the release of a film about Putin’s lavish new palace on the Black Sea coast. He was arrested immediately, as he must have known he would be. His courage in accepting that fate was admirable, as was his attempt to turn his personal ordeals into a blow against the regime. At his sentencing, he denounced the trial as ‘not a demonstration of strength ... but a demonstration of weakness’, since ‘you can’t imprison the whole country.’

He bore his judicial ordeals and imprisonment with an impressive combination of dignity and humor, describing severe physical and mental hardships with playful irony. A biting wit was always a central part of Navalny’s political repertoire, as was his clever use of social media. The attempt to poison him in 2020 seems to have involved security agents smearing novichok on his underwear; Navalny took to referring to Putin – in the tradition of Peter the Great, Alexander the Liberator or Yaroslav the Wise – as “Vladimir the Pants-Poisoner.”

Ideologically, Navalny moved from Russian nationalism in the 2000s through pro-market neoliberalism in the early 2010s to a more social-liberal outlook at the end of the decade. Some of his early stances were certainly ugly – he is on record expressing outright chauvinism towards migrant workers and people from the North Caucasus – and the 2014 platform of his Party of Progress would simply have cleaned the facade of actually existing Russian capitalism. But in the course of his rise to nationwide prominence, he took a more progressive and welfarist turn. In 2018 he opposed the government’s move to raise the retirement age, and in 2019 launched an initiative to press for higher salaries for public sector workers. How deeply he held these new convictions is hard to tell, but there can be no doubt that Navalny aspired to do more than change the faces at the top: he saw the need to offer an alternative to Putinism as a system.

In 2022, Navalny took a principled stand against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, immediately denouncing it as a “war of aggression waged by our little tsar” and calling for mass demonstrations. Given his former nationalist views, it’s possible to imagine an earlier version of Navalny backing the war. Instead, he stood out as the leading voice of an anti-war movement that was rapidly stifled by the government. A year after the war started, Navalny put out a fifteen-point plan that included demands for the withdrawal of Russian troops, recognition of Ukraine’s 1991 borders, reparations for war damage and a full investigation of war crimes. He was also clear about the scale of change required to bring these things about: his program called for elections to a constituent congress and the transformation of Russia into a parliamentary republic.

The news of Navalny’s death on Friday led to impromptu vigils across Russia, as people gathered to leave flowers and signs at memorials to the victims of Stalinist repression, or at the feet of statues to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov and Osip Mandelstam. Close to four hundred people were arrested on 16 and 17 February alone, a level of repression not seen since 2022, when almost twenty thousand were arrested during protests against the invasion of Ukraine.

In 2023, according to the human rights organization OVD-Info, more than half the criminal cases brought against opponents of the war ended in prison terms, and the average sentence was double that of the previous year. Just before Navalny’s death, a five-and-a-half-year sentence was handed down to Boris Kagarlitsky, a socialist opponent of the war. He and hundreds more are likely to languish in jail for most of Putin’s next presidential term, with pro forma elections due in mid-March.

The proximity of the elections raises the question: why now? Was Navalny killed before he could pose any problems for Putin’s inevitable re-election, or as a warning to the broader population against any form of dissent? The first idea seems a stretch: though Navalny had urged people to turn out en masse at noon and cast ballots against Putin, he knew that the vote will be rigged. The second is more plausible: since Navalny was widely seen as a viable presidential challenger, for the regime to eliminate him just before the election might be a timely reminder that there can be no alternative to Putin.

But the reality is probably more banal and grim: when the regime imprisoned Navalny they had already decided to kill him, and it didn’t matter to them precisely when or how he died. According to Navalny’s lawyer, he had seemed in good health on Wednesday; so either someone murdered him on Friday or the compound cruelties inflicted by the prison system abruptly took their toll.

It remains to be seen if Navalny’s killing prompts a new wave of unrest in Russia or a retreat into stunned silence. In the meantime, his death highlights once more the Putin regime’s willingness to resort to the most basic forms of brutality, as well as its vindictiveness towards those who challenge its hold on power. That grip may seem as secure as ever, but regimes that rely on repression have a way of being caught out by unforeseen swings in the popular mood. In Russia, that change will come too late for Navalny, but he did more than most to make it imaginable.

* * *

Napalm, Banksy, 2004


  1. mark donegan February 20, 2024

    Whatever happened to Janelle Rau?  I would like to know exactly in detail.  I don’t want a single detail of this last year and board forgotten.  A lot of light was shined on the inner workings and very human people who have given us their best.  Everyone makes mistakes I think will be highlighted as Ms. Cubbinson’s case moves through the system showing just about everyone but her, made one.  Hoping First District will vote Carrie Shattuck to the board.  Our best shot for continued visibility and accountability.  Adam Gaska is very impressive and would also be a great supervisor with his knowledge of water issues alone.  Making it right with veterans by giving them THEIR house back of which there are none on this board should be immediate.  And my favorite mutt in the fight, Ted Williams, for Assembly and Supervisor.
    my two cents for now.
    I have other work for my next 3 minutes.

    Goldie Locks

    • Lurker Lou February 20, 2024

      If you get details about Janelle’s “retirement,” please do share them here on AVA. I’m very curious too.

  2. Marshall Newman February 20, 2024

    No question, Fish Rock Road is an adventure. The pavement disappears for several miles and – as Mark Scaramella points out – it is a throwback to Mendocino County of an earlier era.

    A few years ago, I visited Milliard Redwood State Natural Reserve, located a couple of miles past Ornbaun Springs on Fish Rock Road. While a beautiful place of mostly second-growth redwoods, there was absolutely nothing there but a lone picnic table in a turnout. I later looked it up online and the only thing listed under “amenities” was “picnic table.” I just checked a couple of websites, and that picnic table remains the only amenity.

    • Haley Holt February 21, 2024

      I made it here safely and wouldn’t actually change a thing about that experience. When we depart tomorrow, we will definitely NOT revisit that route, but as Mark said, it’s worth it to drive it at least once. I’m a bit thrilled that I made into the paper as an actual story A very nice woman at Cove Azul said “Wait, you drove Fish Rock the whole way from Cloverdale? Tonight? Are you f—-ing insane? Only locals use that road, and only BADASS ones.” Then she high-fived me. Worth it, Mark, indeed 😊

  3. MAGA Marmon February 20, 2024


    Does Marilyn Davin really believe a single word she wrote? She and Chuck Dunbar must have gone to the same spin master’s school. This case should have never advanced to court. Fani just like Letitia Peekaboo James of New York both ran “Get Trump” campaigns for their elected offices in deep blue jurisdictions. Both of them charged Trump and co-defendants with crimes that are entirely made up, but with Democrat Juries and Democrat Judges they prevail for now, but fortunately both the cases will be thrown out by the Supreme Court, 9 to 0.

    MAGA Marmon

    • MAGA Marmon February 20, 2024


      Now some Winery owner in Napa Valley says that Fani paid a $400.00 tab with cash. Yeah she did, lol.

      MAGA Marmon

    • Cotdbigun February 20, 2024


    • Marshall Newman February 20, 2024

      “You just keep thinking, Butch. That’s what you do best.”

  4. MAGA Marmon February 20, 2024

    Big shootout 4 houses up from my little home this weekend, that is definitely something we don’t like. One of the involved parties had his arm blown off.

    On my block we don’t put up with any of that shit. Please Clearlake PD, ratchet it up here in the Avenues, especially here on 33rd and Boyles.

    MAGA Marmon

  5. John Sakowicz February 20, 2024


    To the Editor:

    During this political cycle, I have made $100 campaign contributions to each of the following: Adam Gaska, Carrie Shattuck, and Jacob Brown.

    In the 1st District, I would vote for either Adam Gaska or Carrie Shattuck over Madeline Cline.

    Here are the negatives: Ms. Cline is a Trump Republican. She is opposed to a woman’s reproductive rights, and she supports gun rights. In other words, she is the worse of Mendo’s rednecks. Furthermore, Ms. Cline is too young for public office. She is light on life experience. She has a thin resume.

    Here are Mr. Gaska’s and Ms. Shattuck’s positives: Adam Gaska is a life-long farmer. He is a family man. He knows about water, water rights and drought than just about anyone in Mendocino County. Meanwhile, Ms. Shattuck is opinionated, outspoken and confrontational. She is fearless. The current Board of Supervisors cringe when they see her during public comment…and that’s a good thing given their incompetence.

    In the 2nd District, I would vote for Jacob Brown over Maureen Mulheren.

    Here are the negatives: Ms. Mulheren blew up her insurance agency and is otherwise unemployable except for politics. Politically speaking, she is little more than an “influencer” on social media. Worse of all, she is a fraud. While sitting on the Board of Supervisors and making $90,000 a year, plus benefits, she collected three federal Covid PRIME grants and one federal Covid SBA loan. The corporate entity she used to collect this money is Mulheren Marketing, a shell company with no real assets, no real revenues, and no real employees (unless you count family members).

    Here are the positives: Jacob Brown is as loaded with integrity as Ms. Mulheren is devoid of it. Mr. Brown is a disabled Marine combat veteran. He served in the USMC for eight years. His service included a deployment to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. Back home, Jacob ran a business — a superintendent at Mendocino Forest Products, overseeing the treating plant, sawmill, and log yard. He also was a manager at Granite Construction. He is now a full-time educator at our high school.

    Please vote. Mendocino County has never needed a good Board of Supervisors than it does right now.

    John Sakowicz
    1st District Supervisor Candidate (2020)
    Mendocino County Employee Retirement Association (2012-2017)
    Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (2000-2004)

  6. Stephen Rosenthal February 20, 2024

    Kyle Shanahan made so many blunders during the Super Bowl it’s difficult to single out any one costing the 49ers the game. Eddie DeBartolo would have stormed onto the field amidst the confetti and fired him. Al Davis would have waited until they were boarding the airplane for the flight home, canned him on the tarmac and told him to catch a commercial flight.

    Commenting on the post Super Bowl obituary, I stated that I’m confident the 49ers will never win a Super Bowl with Shanahan as their coach. Here’s why: he will never be introspective enough to recognize his faults and he’s too arrogant to admit to them. That’s not what being a professional is about and certainly not a winning combination.

    Having said that, if Shanahan can swallow his ego and hire Bill Belichick as Defensive Coordinator and de facto Associate Head Coach, I’m open to reconsidering. Of course, Belichick would have to check his ego as well. I’m not optimistic.

  7. Stephen Rosenthal February 20, 2024

    With the exception of Adam Gaska, the candidates for Supervisor in District 1 are keen on political speak and bereft of solutions. A few weeks ago I challenged the 3 other + Mr. Invisible District 1 candidates to produce a white paper similar to Adam’s (water issues facing the County and beyond) on any subject of their choosing as long as it is of vital importance to the County. I’m still waiting.

  8. Julie Beardsley February 20, 2024

    Dear Editor,
    I think the public should be aware that Supervisor Mulheren is refusing to put the living wage proposal for IHSS workers on the BOS agenda because CEO Darcie Antle told her not too. The tail should not be waging the dog, and this is exactly why people in the 2nd district should vote for Jacob Brown. The CEO’s office should not running the entire county, because these staff lack the expertise. Jacob Brown and Adam Gaska have the intelligence and courage to stand up to bad ideas. I hope voters in the 1st and 2nd districts will agree with me.
    Julie Beardsley, MPH

    • mark donegan February 21, 2024

      All you say might be true, but it is not fully correct in regard to the agenda item/s. I myself know of other factors in play you did not mention. Slamming Mo seems to be the only thing Mr. Brown and supporters have set on the table. He does not have the experience/knowledge of county workings to be nearly as effective as Mo. Her attendance record speaks for itself. He came out of nowhere pushed forward due to personality conflicts some like yourself have with Mo. He’s a good man standing on a poor platform. Totally agree about Madaline and Trevor not having the experience of Adam overall and Carrie locally.

  9. Julie Beardsley February 20, 2024

    In response to Ms. Wilford’s comments about women, I would love to support someone who has had more experience than 3-4 jobs of less than or close to a year each, but unfortunately Ms. Cline lacks this experience. And yes, her campaign manager is a member of the CEO staff. I think this CEO is doing a poor job. Ms. Cline is clearly taking marching orders from the powers that be and I’m looking for change. I worked in the County of Los Angeles CEO’s office for many years and I believe I have an idea of how local government should be run. And it’s not like this.
    I hope Ms. Cline gets some more experience under her belt, because the county is in crisis and we need real leadership. Trevor Mockel is well intended, but I think he lacks experience also.
    With due respect to you MAW.
    Julie Beardsley, MPH

Leave a Reply

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