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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024

Showers | Pup | County Fees | Seed Exchange | District Confusion | Mendo Map | Comptche Broadband | Noyo Entrance | Living Wage | Rau Mystery | Variety Show | Vote Cline | Outcome/Process | Sako Recommends | Swag Lamp | Landline Hearings | Sequoia Loggers | Fish Rock | Bridge Tolls | Wrong Highway | Inner Mechanic | Rusty v Ariel | Youth Fountain | Seeking Condors | Yesterday's Catch | Four Friends | Driverless Car | Freezer Plug | Gonzo King | Vitamin Pep | Risk Nothing | Method Emerges | Unhoused Encampment | Covid Policies | Yadda Yummy | Jewish Identity | Race Differences | Ukraine Solidarity | Batman's Nana

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SHOWERS will continue across the area today. These will diminish tonight and mainly dry weather is expected Thursday. Late Thursday into Friday morning a few clouds and showers are possible as a low moves by west of the area. Dry weather is expected for the weekend with light rain and snow expected early next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): That was quite the gully washer from 4:30am to 5am this morning leaving a 24 hour total of .99", most of it early today. A sprinkly 48F on the coast this Wednesday morning. A few scattered showers maybe today then clearing for the rest of the week. Colder systems & smaller rain amounts are forecast for next week right now.

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Wet pup at waterfall overlook (photo by Elaine Kalantarian)

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by Jim Shields

As you are all aware, the Board of Supervisors back in early December held a full-scale hearing on proposed fee increases wished-for by 16 different departments.

Historically, the County typically holds these fee adjustment hearings twice a year. By any other standard these so-called fees are just thinly disguised taxes. The fee increases were set out in a 23-page, single-spaced spreadsheet. In prepared remarks, CEO Darcie Antle told the Board, “The proposed fee changes reflect the ongoing efforts of all departments and offices to meet full cost recovery, per Board direction. The proposed changes are projected to bring an additional $3.2 million ($1.7 million in General Fund Revenue and $1.5 million in Non-General Fund) in revenues to the County.”

Antle stated that the proposed increases are needed to close a deficit which, of course, at this time is an unknown but very fluid number that changes from meeting to meeting because the County has not completed the mandated audits of its books for the past two years. At different times the deficit has been estimated to range anywhere from $7 million to $15 million.

For County bureaucrats to even remotely consider raising fees at this time when people, all across Mendocino County, are being hammered economically on a daily basis, is unconscionable and demonstrates a disconnected reality breathtaking in its magnitude.

Looking at just one area of the proposed fee increases, Scott Ward, a retired long-time planning and building professional, submitted these comments on the proposed fee increases:

“The proposed increases in Planning and Building fees will negatively impact the cost and feasibility of development. including the affordability of much needed housing in Mendocino County. The proposed fee increases are not based on the actual time spent on processing, issuing, and conducting inspections of the permitted work.

“Government Code Section 65583(a) requires ‘An analysis of potential and actual governmental constraints upon the maintenance, improvement, or development of housing for all income levels… including… fees and other exactions required of developers and local processing and permit procedures…” Based on the Planning and Building memo supporting this agenda item, the required analysis and nexus study have not been done as is required by state law.

“High planning and building permit fees can impact property owners ability to make improvements or repairs, especially for lower-income households. Government Code Section 66020 requires that planning and building permit processing fees do not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service or impact. unless approved by the voters: agencies collecting fees must provide project applicants with a statement of amounts and purposes of all fees at the time of fee imposition or project approval.

“During my nearly 30-year professional career working for Planning and Building Departments, I have gained an in-depth knowledge and understanding of how much staff time it takes to intake, process, review and issue planning and building permits. As a former building official, plans examiner and building inspector. I know how long it takes to conduct inspections on work authorized by building permits. For the last 9 years I have owned and operated a small consulting business whose primary focus is planning and building permit acquisition. Most of my clients are in Mendocino County. I have submitted well over 1200 planning and building permits to the Mendocino County Planning and Building Department over the last nine years.

“Based on my professional experience and my current experience as a consultant, it is my professional opinion that the current fees and the proposed Planning and Building Department fee increases exceed the reasonable cost of providing service.”

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I also just received these comments from Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig of the Petit Teton Farm in Boonville. They too hit the nail on the head regarding these unwarranted, and in some cases, probably illegal fee increases.

Here's their thoughts:

“Hi, Jim,

We started to write this after reading your column, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want,’ in the AVA about a month ago, but the article motivated us to look at all our state and county fees for doing business. We are shocked! We’ve never collated them before and they're mind boggling. These are the county and state fees required to open our doors to do business every year. They amount to over 20% of our annual revenue! They do not include income taxes, federal and state payroll taxes, farmers market fees, liability insurance. and worker's comp. We may have missed some. No wonder that after 20 years of doing business we’ve yet to break even.

(We would be happy to continue this conversation with you. by phone or email, and to share our numbers.)

Yesterday we received the revised county bill for maintaining our commercial kitchen which we had been warned, back in December, was coming. The bill is double what we paid the previous year; from $357 to $708. This week, we also received the county bill of $50 to maintain our farmers’ market scales which they at least test. The angering thing about these fees is that the state also bills us for the same ‘services.’ We pay the state $500 to maintain our commercial kitchen and $95 to just use our scales which they never test. In other words, we pay twice for the same governmental oversight.

A lot of happy talk comes from our local politicians about encouraging small businesses to thrive, but their actions speak louder. By this double billing, and the county aggressively ‘adjusting up’ fees to small businesses to make up budgetary shortfalls, they are making it ever harder to survive. In our opinion the county could be aggressively looking at those who pay no fees or taxes for renting their properties to weekend tourists, and those whose properties need reassessing or who never received revised tax bills. But we get it, it’s easier to saddle existing small businesses with increased fees than work to find the scofflaws.

A little about us. We run two very small businesses, a farming one which includes canning and raising animals, and a micro cannabis one. We understand the need for government oversight and we are not libertarians. Our businesses involve farming, always risky business. But there must be balance. Based on the bill we just received there's no telling how much all the other fees will rise. Covid and the county cannabis regulations took care of a lot of small businesses. Now, with the budget disasters becoming obvious, the board is flailing to raise money by sucking the remaining businesses dry. We refuse to go down without a fight.

We always appreciate your common sense articles in the AVA which is why we chose to write to you. We feel there are many folks out there like us, but there is little way to organize as a group except through publications such as yours and the AVA. Let us know if you have any questions about our businesses and the fees we pay, or would like to discuss this issue further.

Thanks for all that you do!”

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You know people have got it figured out all by themselves that this County is saddling its citizens with backbreaking fees and charges to make up for years of fiscal mismanagement by elected officials and bureaucrats. 

As I’m always saying, problems just don't happen, people make them happen. The people who created this fiscal mess are not County residents, it’s the people who are supposed to be representing their constituents.

Something is radically wrong with that governing principle. And only the people can right that wrong.

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Adam Gaska writes:

Someone posted on the Redwood Valley Community page Facebook group that they believed they got the wrong replacement ballot since they were not able to vote for Supervisor. I asked where she was and she said Lorene Road which is down the street from me. I looked at the County GIS map of voting districts and all of Lorene Road is in the First district (mainly Potter Valley and Redwood Valley) and I told her. 

I knew the administrator of the page and asked if they would tell me the poster's name, which they did. So I looked the name up on the spreadsheet of First district voters that I had made from the County's voter rolls that I paid for as a part of my campaign. 

They did not show up on the First district spreadsheet I had. So I looked them up on the master list of the entire county voter rolls. They popped up in a precinct called Lennix that is in the Fifth district. I looked through this small precinct of 62 people and recognized quite a few names, as they are my neighbors. When I compared the County GIS map and the spreadsheet I realized pretty quickly that there are people in the First and Fifth in the Lennix precinct. 

I called my neighbors directly behind me as we had a conversation last election about how the boundary between the First and Fifth had moved very close to us but that we were still in the First. When they got their ballots for the midterm elections, they called me and asked about being in the First because they received Fifth district ballots. I looked at the County GIS map and confirmed that they are in the First. I told them to contact the Elections office and report it. They did and were issued new ballots. They were told the problem would be fixed.

The problem was not fixed and now there is a precinct of 62 people where roughly 40 of those people who should have received First district ballots have received Fifth district ballots. I have contacted as many as I know to make them aware. They have contacted the elections office and requested new ballots. 

Link to County GIS districts map:

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There are many people who do not know what district they are in, especially with the ballot fiasco. 

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THE COMPTCHE BROADBAND COMMITTEE and AT&T will hold a launch ceremony on new deployment of AT&T Fiber to residential and small business customer locations in the Comptche community tomorrow, Wednesday, February 21.

Continuing our efforts to connect more California communities to broadband, these new locations are in addition to the more than 3.1 million customer locations across California that currently have access to AT&T Fiber.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 10:00 a.m.

Chapel of the Redwoods Baptist Church

31201 Comptche Ukiah Road, Comptche, CA 95427

Jim Gagnon, Comptche Broadband Committee, Chuck Wilcher, Comptche Broadband Committee, Cindy Hollister, Comptche Broadband Committee, Tedi Vriheas, Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T, Donna Davis, Director, External Affairs, AT&T

Ribbon cutting ceremony; Interview with speakers

Fiber buildout b-roll: Video Link

Photo and press release with additional information will be available after the event.

Chris Collins

Lead Manager – Communications & PR

Regional Media Relations

AT&T Corporate Communications

m 469-260-8885 |

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Noyo Entrance Buoy (Dick Whetstone)

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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 be 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 First and Second districts will agree with me.

Julie Beardslee, MPH


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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.

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To the Editor,

I’m writing as a proud supporter of Madeline Cline for 1st District Supervisor. I have attended the candidate forums, researched the various candidates and Madeline stands out the as the best choice for our representative. Madeline’s policy knowledge and leadership skills are what we need to effect positive change in our community.

Madeline has shown her commitment to Mendocino County throughout her life. I am particularly impressed with the outreach she has done during her campaign, making sure to engage with the many communities across the county. As a Hispanic woman, I am excited that Madeline wants all voices to be heard and represented. It is time for our elected leaders to be truly representative and diverse, and that includes the next generation. Why would we continue to do the same things over and over and expect different results? 

Madeline's leadership style is characterized by collaboration, transparency, and a genuine concern for the well-being of our residents. She was born and raised here and has a vested interest in the county’s future. Her ability to engage with individuals in the community, listen to their concerns, and work towards practical solutions is a testament to her effectiveness as a community leader. Madeline will be a dedicated and a results-oriented Supervisor.

I have worked at the County for 4 years and seen the consequences of stagnant, directionless leadership. I’ve watched those in senior positions hide behind their titles in bad times, while younger employees picked up their responsibilities and finished the work that needed to be done. Luckily, we are moving in a positive direction with the County’s workplace culture, but these are the changes needed for us to attract and retain the best and the brightest the County deserves. I know Madeline will stand up for our county workers and get our County back on track.

Madeline is focused on addressing the issues most important to the residents of Mendocino County. She understands the impact our local housing crisis, water insecurity, community safety, and crumbling infrastructure have on our working families. She brings years of direct public policy experience, and she can be trusted to implement solutions that work and reflect what our community wants. Her deep understanding of the challenges our community faces, coupled with her vision, makes her the ideal candidate for 1st District Supervisor.

Additionally, Madeline's personal integrity and passion for Mendocino County set her apart as a candidate who truly cares about the people she aims to serve. I urge others to consider these attributes and vote for Madeline Cline for 1st District Supervisor.

Best Regards, 

Martha Moreno-Sanchez 

Mendocino County Public Health 

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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 Republican. She may be a conservative Republican, but I just don't know. Ms. Cline is also too young for public office. She is light on life experience. She has a thin resume. That said, Ms. Cline is smart, polished and well-spoken, especially for being only 26 years old. I would support her in four years. 

Here are Mr. Gaska's and Ms. Shattuck's positives: Adam Gaska is a life-long farmer. He is a family man. He knows more about water politics, 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 much 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 here in Ukiah, 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 local 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)

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Letter to the Editor:

We are lucky to be able to attend an in-person public participation California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hearing in Ukiah, as this is only 1 of the 3 sites chosen where you can speak to a CPUC Administrative Law Judge. During the hearing you can make comments and raise concerns. 

If you can't attend the in-person public participation CPUC hearing on February 22 at 2pm or 6pm at the Supervisor's Chambers on 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1070 in Ukiah, make sure to attend the virtual meeting in front of the CPUC on March 19 at 2pm or 6pm. 

Submit your public comment about AT&T California's application for relief from its Carrier of Last Resort Obligations to the docket at: 

Also submit your public comment about AT&T California's application to withdraw its Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designation to the docket at:

ETC is a telephone company that receives financial assistance from the federal government to provide high quality and affordable "Lifeline" telephone service to customers at all income levels.

If adding your phone number to the comment page causes problems with submitting your comment, the phone number is not mandatory, so leave it out.

You can also write a letter to CPUC Public Advisor’s Office 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102. For questions call 1.866.849.8390 or 1.415.703.2074

To connect virtually on March 19 check out for the 2pm meeting and for the 6pm meeting. To connect by phone call the toll-free phone number 1-800-857-1917 code 6032788# 

See also:

Annemarie Weibel


PS. Thank you to Marco McClean and the Mendocino Listserv Group for your proposal to take over what Mendocino Community Network/Mendocino Unified School District (MCN/MUSD) have done for many years. For people who want to read the information that Marco and the Mendocino Listserv Group were/are proposing to do see and click on item # 8.6A (2 pages) & 8.6B (91 pages including the survey that the group circulated & outcome of the survey).

Thank you Chuck for the link to the MUSD board meeting video about this issue:

Thank you to MCN/MUSD for having provided this incredible community forum for many years.

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Loggers on Giant Sequoia (1890)

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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.

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In response to Frank Hartzell's comment about bridge tolls, there are four ways tolls can be paid, having a Fast Trak account is only one of them.

None of them charge an extra fee. If you were charged more than the bridge toll, you should get in touch with them. I've used the One Time Payment and Toll Invoice and only paid the bridge toll, no extra fee.

Dobie Dolphin


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Reading your fine paper I noticed about half way through “The devil in the hole” article Gregg Stevens says, “A month or two earlier the water had been lapping at the Highway 49 bridge 60 feet overhead.” This is not possible as the American river corridor is serviced by highway 50, not 49. A small correction but to those who know it is somewhat jarring. To put it in Mendo terms, it’s like mixing up Highway 20 and 128.

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HICKS THREATENS LEGAL ACTION - TV ad funded by group supporting Ariel Kelley spurs cease-and-desist letter

by Jackson Guilfoil

On Thursday, the Rusty Hicks campaign for California’s District 2 state Assembly seat sent a cease-and-desist letter to TV stations airing an attack ad against him that he said was “patently false.”

The ad, which can be viewed at, pulls quotes from a Sacramento Bee Editorial Board article criticizing Hicks for declining to release the investigative report into his predecessor, California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman, who resigned after sexual misconduct allegations. 

The Hicks campaign alleges the ad is defamatory and the cease-and-desist letter threatened legal action if the stations do not take it off the air. 

“The advertisement falsely claims that ‘as Chair of the California Democratic Party, Rusty 

Hicks covered up a major sexual abuse scandal’ and ‘shield(ed) the guilty(.)’ These statements are absolutely false and a gross mischaracterization of Mr. Hicks’ actions because they suggest that, as Chair of the California Democratic Party (CDP), he attempted to conceal illegal or illicit activities,” the cease-and-desist letter said. 

Hicks initially decided to keep the investigation report into his predecessor private, posting “the further dissemination of this report will do further damage to the victims who were harmed and the witnesses who came forward,” on Twitter, now X. However, after the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board ran their piece criticizing the move, Hicks released parts of the report. 

The cease-and-desist letter was sent to Jenny Olszewski, the general manager of Redwood News. Olszewski and John Fish, Imagicomm’s regional sales manager, were included in the letter. Neither responded to a request for comment by the Times-Standard’s print deadline. 

The ad, created by a political action committee — North Coast Neighbors Supporting Ariel Kelley and Opposing Rusty Hicks for Assembly 2024 — was largely funded by Kelley’s sister, Shoshana Ungerleider, developer Bill Gallaher and Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager. 

Ungerleider and Hansen did not return a request for comment by the Times-Standard’s print deadline. 

Responding to the ad in a press release, Hicks issued a counterattack on Kelley’s campaign. 

“Sadly, it is becoming clear that Councilmember Kelley can’t run on her own record. So, she and her supporters — her sister, a highly controversial developer, and oil investors — have decided to lie about mine by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in dark money through an Orange County PAC. And in the process, they’ve chosen to potentially re-victimize individuals who have sought to move forward with their lives and attack our party too — all in hopes of scoring a political point or two,” Hicks said in the release. 

By referring to oil investors, Hicks is referencing Hansen, who through his company Valiant Capital, has roughly $35 million invested in Schlumberger which, as of 2022, was the world’s largest offshore oil drilling company. Kelley said she has no investments in oil or natural gas. 

While Kelley herself had nothing to do with the ad — candidates are barred from interacting with PACs lobbying on their behalf — she took issue with Hicks’ counterattack against her campaign. 

“If the evidence in the ad is correct, it feels incredibly damning. Sexual abuse should be taken seriously. Always. Trying to shift and attack me without addressing the abuse scandal and committing to creating a culture of safety within our party is problematic,” Kelley said via email. 

While the Hicks campaign argued the ad lied about his record regarding the sexual misconduct investigation, they did not argue about the other attack angle: that Hicks is a fairly recent Los Angeles transplant to Arcata, having moved within the past few years. Previous attack ads featured Hicks photoshopped into a Dodger’s cap and holding a sign reading “I heart LA.” 

If Hicks sues TV stations for airing the ad, he could face an uphill battle: proving libel to a clear and convincing evidentiary standard, while not impossible, is extraordinarily difficult, especially for public figures said David Loy, director of the First Amendment Coalition, a free-speech oriented nonprofit. 

“If it’s an undisputed fact that he delayed the release of this report, or refused to release it, you know, that’s one person’s cover-up, that’s another person’s careful, thought-out respect for the process,” Loy said. 

To prove defamation, Hicks’ lawyers would have to show that the ad clearly asserted a false fact with knowledge of its falsity and showed reckless disregard for the truth. 

“If you say just generally, ‘My opponent John Doe is a crook because he takes money from developers and votes for their projects,’ courts are generally inclined to view (the speech) as simply colorful rhetoric,” Loy said. 

The victor of the March primary for the Democrats will likely face off against Michael Greer, Del Norte Unified School District trustee and sole Republican running for the seat, this November. Yurok Tribe Vice Chair Frankie Myers, Santa Rosa Councilmember Chris Rogers and Mendocino County’s 5th District supervisor Ted Williams are also vying for the seat. 

(Eureka Times-Standard, via Ukiah Daily Journal)

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by Katy Tahja

Live in California all your life and if you love the out of doors there is a bird you’d want to seek out and observe — the California Condor. It’s big, it’s ugly, and to me it represents a different world that existed before human beings came along.

So where do you go to see a condor in the wild? My husband and I booked a room in Hollister and took off down Highway 25 to Pinnacles National Park. We’d never visited this park basically because it is out in the middle of no-place off the beaten path. That’s why the Condors like it.

The biggest bird in California this species almost went extinct before the last survivors in the wild were caught in the 1990s and placed in captive breeding programs in zoos. Every Condor in the park was zoo born or the offspring of those zoo programs. Today there are more than 560 Condors in California with 330 returned to the wild and 210 in captivity. These birds have recently been reintroduced to native lands along the Klamath River. Pinnacles has about 70 of them gliding through the peaks.

I felt sorry for the rangers, who must be asked 100 times and day “Where’s the best place to see a Condor?” We were asked by the ranger “Do you know what a turkey vulture looks like circling in the wind?” We nodded. “Well, look for something three times that size in the sky.” And sure enough, there they were, over the peaks.

With strong binoculars you could see the number tag every bird has attached, then use your smartphone to look up its age, parentage, siblings, and more on a webpage. I was amazed to see some birds were 26 years old! I was also fascinated to hear they would fly to Big Sur if a dead whale washed up as that was gourmet dining for them. They also visit Mt. Hamilton. There are additional groups of Condors in the Ventana Wilderness nearby.

Pinnacles National Park may be unique in that there is a east entrance off Highway 25 and a west entrance off Highway 101 but no road bisects the park. Why? A volcanic extrusion of magma forced up over 2,200’ of spires and pinnacles riddled with caves in the three miles through the center of the park. So if you want to see ALL the park, as we did, you have an hour long auto jaunt around the south end of the park to see the whole shebang. It’s worth it. In this area of California it’s usually rolling green hills and a gentle terrain full of ranches and farms. Then comes the Pinnacles sticking out. Where did they come from? I was fascinated to read that because of the San Andreas earthquake fault, just east of the park, you can find formations exactly like the park’s down in Lancaster 195 miles south! How many thousands of years have passed as the park’s landscape has inched along north leaving its original landscape behind. Mother Nature rocks!

The natural world inside the park is diverse and blessed with water. The Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s built stone buildings, campgrounds, trails and a fire lookout and their handiwork survives. There are Peregrin and Prairie Falcons, Golden Eagles and 14 species of birds, 70 different butterflies, 500 varieties of moths and, astoundingly, 400 documented species of bees. Add to that my favorite critter, bats, with 14 species there. Those pinnacles and caves provide lots of hiding and nesting places.

So if you’ve never visited Pinnacles National Park it is indeed worth a trek. And a final note about dining in Hollister. Being a fan of good beer our first night we dined at Mad Pursuit Brewery. It was the night of the play-offs for the Super Bowl and packed with 49’rs fans so we ate outdoors. Just minutes before the end of the game the power went out all over Hollister and if you ever want to hear a collective wail of despair, there it was. People rushed out with their cell phones to catch the score and luckily power returned in about a minute and everyone went back in to enjoy the end of the game.

Next night we ate at Chillin’ and Grillin’ Alehouse where they had 40 beers on tap from all over the state and an astounding 140 beers in bottles and cans from all over the USA. Talk about a decision crisis! I chose a good porter from Goose Island Brewing in Chicago. We would recommend these dining establishments to anyone.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bruhn, Cook, Espaniola, Garay

RICHARD BRUHN, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon, domestic abuse. 

THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


ZANDER GARAY, Ukiah. Criminal threats.

Lawrence, Maxfield, Rich, Williams

DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

CHARLES MAXFIELD JR., Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, offenses while on bail.

NIA RICH, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, arson of inhabited structure, false imprisonment.

CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license for DUI, failure to appear, probation revocation.

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IF ALL MEN KNEW what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.

— Pascal

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This is a parking lot in San Francisco near the U.C. Med. Center on Pill Hill. I went to my doctor for my annual check-up. This lot is really close to his office. 

When I went to leave the lot, this driverless car pulled in the exit and blocked my car. Two young women then entered the back seat of the robot car and closed the doors. I waited for it to leave. And waited, and waited. It didn't move, so finally I got out of my car and looked in the driver's seat of this robot car. No one driving. I banged on the passenger rear window. No response. I knew they were in there because I had seen them enter. Cars started backing up behind the robot, no one could get in or out. 

It may look like there is room to exit but if you look at the second photo from behind the robot, you will see that there is a car right beside mine and my passenger door is open. Everyone is blocked and the robot is not moving. 

I considered that perhaps the passengers were explaining to the robot where they wanted to go, but that is not how these cars work. That is done when you order the ride on your cell phone using their app.

I considered just using my car to push it out of the way and backward onto the street but it was too late for that, as cars were piling up behind it. From this I concluded that this was not a smart car.

When it finally woke up, it tried to both back-up and make a left turn at the same time. This left me just enough room to exit the lot and I don't know what happened after that. But having seen a few road rage incidents I know that some drivers would have taken a sledge hammer to it.

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by Paul Modic

“Gonzo journalism” was popularized by Hunter S. Thompson, and means injecting yourself, your antics and behavior, into the story and making it as much about you as about the alleged subject. 

Perhaps gonzo journalism predates Thompson, maybe it’s anyone’s journal, anyone’s life turned into a story, but Thompson was good at it, pioneered it in popular culture, and had many articles, columns, and books published in his illustrious drug-fused career. (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, and The Hell’s Angels are a few examples of Thompson’s work. He also once took the job as night manager at the most famous strip club in San Francisco, The Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre, to research a book about pornography.) 

He used to smoke my finger hash back in the ‘90’s. I had been whining to my girlfriend about how difficult and stressful it was trying to sell weed, she took six ounces down to San Francisco, sold it to a friend of hers, a hairdresser who was Don Johnson’s brother’s roommate, my weed ended up at Johnson’s annual party in Aspen, and it was smoked by him, Jonny Depp, Kevin Costner, Thompson, and others. 

Those six ounces turned into pounds and soon she was selling all my weed as well as the neighbors’ and somehow my finger hash got up to Thompson. (Even after we broke up she continued moving weed, until she lost her grubstake in a bad deal, six pounds were lost, at four big ones per, and she got out of the biz.)

That’s an example of gonzo journalism: it starts out being about Hunter Thompson, and the description of a term, then devolves back into my “journal entry.” (Gonzo also became a more generalized, undefined term meaning odd, weird or eccentric, like “You’re going all gonzo on me man,” and stuff like that.)

Another local Southern Humboldt connection was Andy Barnett, who once somehow got the gig to be the guy taking the mic around the audience for questions for Thompson after one of his talks in Colorado. (I also met his ex-wife at a party at Keith and Star’s house in Whale Gulch in that era, and she thought the drugs had held him back creatively.)

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* * *

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT! I shouted, “Ask him that…no, no, look what he answered! Why don’t you ask? Why don’t you do it?” The only one who said something, believe it or not, was Barbara Walters, because she tried, she said something. But the others… nothing, nothing. That day, if I were a citizen, I would have grabbed them and screamed, “You traitors! You were there for me, to represent me, and you betrayed me, as a citizen, you bastards! You parasite of powers, you are worse than them! At least they risk… You risk nothing!” Journalists don’t risk. At least the leaders risk! Not only their life, because once in awhile they get shot, but their reputation, all the shit that is thrown on them, the accusations, nothing is forgiven to them. For Christ’s sake! And the journalists…who do what? Nothing! 

— Oriana Fallaci

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Dear Editor,

In every aspect of doubts and notions even in superstitious beliefs a method emerges; the same with fishing, hunting, and safety.

Sincerely yours,

Greg Crawford

Fort Bragg

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The "Cob on Wood" encampment of unhoused people under a freeway and railroad overpass is home to over 200 people, who the city and CalTrans are trying to force to leave. (Copyright David Bacon)


by David Bacon

For the people evicted from Wood Street, Oakland, the largest unhoused encampment in northern California, housing is a human right.  Residents had even painted their assertion in bright colors on a placard at the gateway to their dwellings.  But the California Department of Transportation ("CalTrans") disagreed.  It owns the land under an enormous freeway interchange called The Maze, where over 300 people lived for years.  The U.S. Constitution, CalTrans asserts, does not recognize a right to housing.…

Heavy equipment was brought into the Wood Street encampment to frighten residents into leaving without more protest. (Copyright David Bacon)

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July 2, 2022, the New York Times printed an article entitled, “New York City Quietly Drops Color-coded Covid Alert System, as Cases Rise.” 

On 1/19/24, CalMatters printed this headline: “California ends COVID isolation rule for asymptomatic cases as winter infections climb.”

On 2/14/24, The New York Times printed the following article: “Isolation time for Covid-19 Might Be Cut to 24 Hours.”

The CDC does not require masking in medical or healthcare facilities.

Studies have shown that symptomatic and asymptomatic infections are contagious from two days before any symptoms to up to 10 days after symptoms appear.

All these changes in protection guidelines will result in almost unlimited spread of the virus, most dangerously by staff, patients, and visitors in hospitals and healthcare facilities where the most vulnerable will now be exposed to infection. 

The Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland” would be in good company today: 

Spread the virus on toast like warm butter,

Rising cases will make lives much better.

We love health mandates and blueberry pancakes,

Hospitals too sick so homes are safe places.

There’s nothing new under the sun,

It’s time for tea and sticky buns.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon


(Dr. Gordon writes about politics and health, and his articles have appeared in: The Mercury News, Counterpunch, Z Magazine, Countercurrents, Scoop Independent News, Anderson Valley Advertiser, Socialist Viewpoint, Multiracial Unity Blog, Scientific American, The Oakland Tribune, The Journal of Family Practice, American Family Physician and Dissident Voice. He may be reached at

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by Eli Zaretsky

The history of the American university is full of examples of wealthy, powerful men – often called “trustees” – bullying the professoriate over what to teach and how to teach it, so there is nothing new in the recent successes of Marc Rowan and William Ackman in toppling the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. What is new is the extent to which this was done in the name of fighting antisemitism or protecting the rights of Jews. The incidents point to the terrific pressure to curtail support for the Palestinians that has emanated from Israel and the American Jewish establishment. The pressure also comes from outside the Jewish community. Jürgen Habermas, for example, has argued that because of Germany’s special responsibility to the Jewish people, Germans should not raise the question of genocide regarding Israel’s current behavior.

Naturally, this has produced a reaction, at least among a portion of American Jews. Last month, the New York Times published a piece by Marc Tracy under the headline: “Is Israel part of what it means to be Jewish?” It included a discussion of the diasporic theories of Rabbi Shaul Magid, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth and author of The Necessity of Exile: Essays from a Distance. According to Magid, “Israel has become the substitute for Jewish identity ... we have at least a 2000-year history ... We have to grab a hold of that and basically take it back from those who took it away from us.” Whereas many Zionists claim that a Jew can achieve realization as a Jew only by living in Israel, diasporism, as Tracy puts it, “holds the inverse: that Jews must embrace marginality and a certain estrangement from Israel the country, and perhaps even Israel the place.’

One of the epigraphs to Magid’s book comes from Eugene Borowitz: “Anybody who cares seriously about being a Jew is in Exile and would be in Exile even if that person were in Jerusalem.” As Magid’s intervention shows, the question of loyalty to Israel rests on a prior question: namely, what is a Jew? This question is also relevant to the German situation, since it is unclear why German responsibility to the Jews should be equated with responsibility to Israel.

Not for the first time, there is a crisis in Jewish identity. Many Jews, including myself, abhor Israel’s current policies, the occupation, the dispossession and many other aspects of the Zionist project. And yet, they want also to affirm their identity as Jews. This suggests there is a conflict at the center of Jewishness itself. Zionism v. diasporism, however, is not adequate to describe this conflict. Diaspora and Zionism are not alternatives but complements, in that they are both versions of national identity, but Judaism cannot be reduced to a national project. Diasporism, furthermore, is a transparent effort to integrate Judaism into the post-colonial paradigm, whereas the prior question is what distinguishes Judaism, not what it has in common with other peoples.

Around 1910, the philosopher Ernst Bloch faced a similar dilemma, when many of his fellow Jews, torn up by antisemitism, became Zionists. Bloch opposed Zionism, claiming it would substitute “mere nationality” for “chosenness’. By “chosenness’, Bloch explained, he meant Judaism’s oppositional intellectualist culture, which embodied a clear opposition of “the good and the illuminated against everything petty, unjust and hard’. Chosenness v. nationality may be a better starting point for understanding the current dilemma.

The Hebrew sense of being chosen is grounded in the special character of the Hebrew idea of God, as having created the universe ex nihilo. This was not a uniquely Hebrew idea – we see it in ancient Egypt (Akhenaten), in Persia (Zoroastrianism) and later in Islam – but prior to Islam, no people pursued it with such sustained passion as the Jews. From the Hebrew point of view the alternative was a God that emerges out of some primal matter or archē, and therefore retains a connection to some non-divine substance, which reveals itself in the form of magic, polytheism or idolatry. This points to the contradiction built into Hebrew identity from the beginning: a universal God who created everything and everyone but chose one obscure, tribal, enslaved people to carry his message.

This contradiction deepens when we consider the Bilderverbot, the ban on images, which fostered an intellectual as opposed to a sensuous relation to God, and therefore was in tension with ideas of blood, race and national belonging. Kant appreciated the significance of intellectuality for Judaism. In The Critique of Judgment he wrote:

Perhaps the most sublime passage in the Jewish Law is the [second] commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.’

According to Kant, this “commandment alone can explain the enthusiasm that the Jewish people in its civilized era felt for their religion, when they compared themselves with other peoples, or explain the pride which Mohammedanism inspires.’

The contradiction between Jewish chosenness, on the one hand, and universality, on the other, deepened with the rise of Christianity. The Christian claim that Jesus, the Messiah, was a Jew buttressed the Jewish claim to being special. At the same time, the Jews rejected this claim, which led to their being especially derided by Christians. Jews thought that the Christian apparatus of God having a son, of Mary and the Holy Ghost, of relics, saints, martyrs and so on, was a digression from the main point, which was to be naked before God. But many Christians – such as Augustine, Luther and Pascal – thought similarly, as did Muhammad. And Jews were in no position to criticize the idea that God had a son, much less an only son, since the idea that God had a chosen people was a version of the same idea.

The hegemonic ideas of European and American culture, such as freedom, progress and peace or reconciliation, were profoundly shaped by Christianity – not by “our Judeo-Christian heritage’, which is a Cold War neologism, akin to the idea that the Hebrew Bible is the “Old Testament’, but by the “good news” of God’s sacrifice. Judaism survived in the quasi-secular form of oppositional or critical intellectuality, as Bloch claimed. Roughly speaking, I would identify three currents of contemporary thought that remain inflected by the original Jewish sensibility: intellectuality, messianism and cosmopolitanism.

Intellectuality. What’s distinctive about the Jewish tradition of intellectuality is that it has nothing to do with calculation or instrumental reason. Freud, in Moses and Monotheism, called it Geistigkeit, meaning a disposition to conceptual thought about the sacred, and the rise in self-esteem that comes with it. Freud traced Geistigkeit to the conceptual leap of the original monotheism. Walter Benjamin regarded Adam as the first philosopher. His concept of “aura” – fundamental to the whole of modern film and media studies – is a direct descendant of the Bilderverbot. Both Freud and Benjamin paid dearly for their Jewishness. Benjamin died by suicide while fleeing the Nazis. Criticism of psychoanalysis has been plagued by antisemitic tropes, such as the idea that it is pessimistic, anti-social or sex-obsessed.

Messianism. While Marx’s theory of capitalism does not have particularly Jewish roots, what would Marxism be without its messianic dimension, according to which the proletariat, which was nothing, shall be everything? Certainly, this has Christian roots as well but, as Weber wrote in Ancient Judaism, the ancient Israelites generated the idea of a paradise in the past (the Davidian monarchy) projected into the future. In Weber’s words, “this did not happen only in Israel; but nowhere else did this expectation move into the center of religiosity with such obviously ever-increasing force. The old covenant of Yahweh with Israel, his promise in association with the criticism of the miserable present, made this possible.’

Cosmopolitanism: Many modern Jewish thinkers were able to affirm aspects of their Jewish identity while breaking loose of the Jewish community. Spinoza was excommunicated by his synagogue. He rejected the idea of creation ex nihilo in favor of a quasi-atheistic conception of God as the totality of the universe. Yet Einstein, asked to describe his religion, said he believed in “Spinoza’s God’. Isaac Deutcher’s 1958 essay “The Non-Jewish Jew’, which has been adopted as a talisman by many secular Jews, gives six examples: Spinoza, Heine, Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Trotsky and Freud. They were all Jewish by birth and their thinking began with Judaism but, in Deutscher’s words, all “went beyond the boundaries of Jewry. They all found Jewry too narrow, too archaic, and too constricting. They all looked for ideals and fulfilment beyond it, and they represent the sum and substance of much that is greatest in modern thought.” In Freud and the Non-European (2003), Edward Said (a Christian Arab) praised Freud for putting Egypt (i.e. “otherness’) at the center of Jewishness. Jacques Derrida, born in Algeria in 1930, was a schoolchild when the German occupation of France led to the introduction of new anti-Jewish legislation. Derrida lost his French citizenship, but his work forged an enduring critique of all forms of identity, including Jewishness.

Given this history, how can we explain the grip that the nation of Israel continues to exert on so many Jews today? The answer lies in the second crucial event in Jewish history, after the rise of Christianity: the Holocaust. The Holocaust was both an event of mythic proportions and an event that has been understood in mythic terms. Fundamentally, the Holocaust cannot be restricted to the Nazi regime. From the 1880s on, every European country was debasing Jews in a new way that identified them with the rise of capitalism, and from Germany eastwards, Jews were being killed with some regularity. Israel today is composed overwhelmingly of refugees or the children of refugees, half from Europe and half from Middle Eastern countries. Every Jew since the Second World War has been told the story of the Holocaust. It shapes Jewish identity as much as the Nakba shapes Palestinian identity.

I believe it is possible to affirm Judaism today while recognizing that, as Bloch warned, Israel is devolving into a “mere nationality’. At the same time, it is impossible to imagine a future for Palestine that does not preserve a place for the Jews qua Jews, whether in a single state or in two states. A true universalism, as originally imagined by the Jews, recognizes difference, but we are as far from that as ever.

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Statement of the Ukraine Solidarity Network on the Second Anniversary of Full-Scale Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Two wars dominate world politics today–and the U.S. is involved in both, although in very different ways. Washington enables Israel’s genocidal onslaught on Gaza with weapons, funds and political support while providing direct military backing through airstrikes in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. In Ukraine, however, the U.S. opposes Russia’s also-genocidal attack on its culture and people, and has provided weapons, funds, and political backing to the Ukraine government. Washington’s double standards and hypocrisy are obvious to the millions of people around the world who have taken to the streets in solidarity with Palestine.

The staggering cynicism of the Biden administration–denouncing Russian missiles that destroy schools and hospitals in Ukraine while sending weapons to perform such atrocities in Gaza–may lead some activists to conclude that U.S. backing for Ukraine delegitimizes its people’s struggle against Russia. Yet a closer look shows that both Ukraine and Palestine are facing wars waged on them by powers that seek not only to subjugate them militarily but to erase them as a people with their own national identity.

Consider the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He justified the 2022 invasion by claiming that Ukraine is led by Nazis, is not a “real” country and therefore has no legitimate claim to national self-determination. Then look at the map that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held up at the United Nations General Assembly in 2023–one that showed Israel with Gaza and the Occupied Territories on the West Bank completely erased. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov even likened Israel’s war aims in Gaza to those of Russia in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has lined up behind the U.S. in supporting Israel, which has made many in the Palestine solidarity movement skeptical about supporting Ukraine’s resistance against Russia. However, even if Zelensky backs Israel at the same time he is attacking workers’ union rights in Ukraine, the Ukrainian people have the right to defend themselves against Russian imperialist invaders and to get the weapons they need anywhere they can. Regardless of what their President says, Ukrainians are worthy of our solidarity, just as the struggles of American Black people, other oppressed groups and workers deserve international support no matter what the US President says. The same is true for Palestine: it is possible to criticize Hamas’ politics and actions while supporting the struggle for self-determination for Palestinians and the international movement to support that goal. In particular we support worker-to-worker solidarity, including aid convoys, to Palestine and Ukraine.

Both Ukrainians and Palestinians are standing against imperialist aggression. As a statement by more than 300 prominent Ukrainian activists, journalists and scholars put it:

Watching the Israeli targeting civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Israeli humanitarian blockade and occupation of land resonates especially painfully with us. From this place of pain of experience and solidarity, we call on our fellow Ukrainians globally and all the people to raise their voices in support of the Palestinian people and condemn the ongoing Israeli mass ethnic cleansing.

We reject the Ukrainian government statements that express unconditional support for Israel’s military actions, and we consider the calls to avoid [Palestinian] civilian casualties by Ukraine’s [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] belated and insufficient. This position is a retreat from the support of Palestinian rights and condemnation of the Israeli occupation, which Ukraine has followed for decades, including voting in the UN.

For its part, the U.S. government backs Israel’s war to crush Gaza because it serves its interest to have a loyal, militarily powerful ally in the Middle East. It supported Ukraine–with plenty of strings attached–because Washington wishes to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. This calculated approach to achieving U.S. imperialist goals lies behind the Biden administration’s hypocrisy and double standards regarding Palestine and Ukraine. Factions in the Republican Party oppose even that support, some because they share Putin’s white nationalist ultraconservatism and some because they see U.S. confrontation with China as the main foreign policy objective.

We also support many other important movements for national liberation, from Western Sahara to the struggle of the Kurds in the Middle East and the fight for self-determination in Puerto Rico, Kashmir and beyond. We focus today on Ukraine and Palestine not because these and other struggles are unimportant, but because the major contending imperialist powers have made Ukraine and Palestine a testing ground for new imperialist wars of aggression and genocide. If they succeed, it will be a blow to democracy and national self-determination everywhere.

As the situation in Gaza grows ever more desperate and another year passes in Russia’s war against Ukraine, we seek to build links between these struggles of resistance and to put forward an alternative of self-determination and justice. As many Jewish participants in the Palestine solidarity movement have pointed out, the genocide against Jews in the Second World War is being used to justify both genocide against Palestinians today and the attempt to erase Ukraine.

Never again for Jews. Never again for Palestinians. Never again for Ukrainians. Never again for anyone anywhere.

Find out more about the Ukraine Solidarity Network.


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  1. Bernie Norvell February 21, 2024

    Fees. I spoke with a few local businesses in town who received their updated fee from the county. Enviromental health whose previous bill for a small two-person business went from $200/year to $811/year. My understanding is the county is dividing the entire cost of the department by the number of businesses and that is your new feel. This new structure was approved 4-1 with Supervisor Williams the lone no vote.

    • Ted Williams February 21, 2024

      In an email dated November 12, 2023, I requested the cost studies. On December 2, I sent a reminder. To date, my request has gone unresolved.

      • Jacob February 21, 2024

        All data related to updating fees is required to be made available to any member of the public (including our representatives on the BoS) for at least 10 days leading up to the public hearing to adopt the fees. How could the hearing have proceeded at all if the underlying cost studies were not available?

    • mark donegan February 21, 2024

      Good on you Bernie! Take care of that with the new board please. Mr. Ward has spoken to it as well. Doesn’t, like with many things the board has done, seem legal. Another pitch for Charlotte Scott, meetings run fine with her sitting there and I believe given the opportunity she would be helpful in steering the board away from liabilities and regressive ideas/ideals.
      For all its faults, having such a disastrous board has shown a lot of needed light on some of our darkest issues marking for the first time since I’ve been following the board, citizens more aggressively asking for specific agenda items. Including myself over the VSO house.
      I personally have had no trouble in communicating any and all my concerns to the remaining three sitting supervisors and to my knowledge they have extended that same openness to every county resident.
      This is a time, because of the election, we are being heard.

    • Jacob February 21, 2024

      Even Fort Bragg doesn’t try that nonsense, although some fees are unjustifiably high and I can’t recall you voting against them… There is no way to justify charging the entire department’s budget just to fee-payers. Please fix this when you represent us in Ukiah. I know you said you trust Darcie but I encourage you to think a little harder about who should be running the County. These are the kind of shenanigans the current CEO (and her predecessors) are subjecting the County’s businesses and residents to!

    • The Shadow February 21, 2024

      Remember when they tried to charge for public records requests? That was shut down legally. Planning fees are exorbitant. P&B increased around 30% just a couple years ago. If someone sued the county for those, I think the County would have a hard time proving that they did “not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged, (GC 66014 and 66016).” Outside fee studies are vital; otherwise, It’s really guesstimating on a department by department basis.

  2. George Hollister February 21, 2024

    Mendocino County is playing the role of the Troll in the Norwegian fairytale Three Billy Goats Gruff. The first to complain are the smallest billy goats who defer to the largest billy goat, who eventually knocks the Troll into the river. We might see that happen here. What we see here now is most people doing repairs and upgrades on their house do that without a permit. Higher fees means even fewer permits. The Troll does have friends who turn in their neighbors for building code infractions, which is a violation of rule #1 for being a good neighbor. But businesses have little choice, they have to pay the fees, or knock the Troll off the bridge.

    • Lazarus February 21, 2024

      County Building Fees:

      I had a drink with a one-time building official recently. The fee topic came up, and the option was, because of the higher fees, the County is turning people who would pay a reasonable fee into citizens who will skip the permitting process and do the job without a permit.

      Sure, if caught, the County could issue heavy fines and fees, but the truth is, the County does not have the staff to police their rules now.
      Nosey neighbors Goodie Two Shoes, etc., could nark out the offenders, but that might not end well for the informants, depending on who they informed on.
      And as they say,” what goes around, comes around…”
      Be well,

  3. Kirk Vodopals February 21, 2024

    Condors?! Twenty years ago I went for a hike up a steep ridge in Big Sur. Saw two condors hanging out on the peak waiting for the next updraft. Got within 75 feet of them. Thought they were vultures at first.

    • MAGA Marmon February 21, 2024

      Condors are vultures, so they keep their sharp eyes peeled for the carrion that makes up most of their diet. They prefer to feast on large animals, wild or domestic. It’s a good think you didn’t fall while walking up that steep ridge.

      MAGA Marmon

    • George Hollister February 21, 2024

      I was reading quite some time ago that during the California Spanish period there were large cattle herds being raised primarily for hides, and as a result there was much carrion, and many condors. Also, condors ate dead whales that washed ashore. The end of large cattle herds, caused by a prolonged drought in the mid 1800s, and whaling reduced abundant condor food. Condor populations are controlled by food supply. If we want more condors, the first thing to consider is to leave dead whales on the beach as condor food. We are seeing a return of large whale populations, and more dead whales. Just put up with the stench when whale carcasses wash up on the beach. The condors would appreciate it.

      • Harvey Reading February 21, 2024

        Thank you, George; now go lie down in the corner of the classroom for a good, long nap.

    • Marshall Newman February 21, 2024

      According to Clark’s journal, Lewis and Clark’s Journey of Discovery sighted (and shot) California condors (which they called vultures) on the lower Columbia River in 1805.

  4. Eric Sunswheat February 21, 2024

    —> Are you pro Science or anti Science?
    End of discussion (sic)

  5. Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

    In response to Martha Moreno’s endorsement of Madeline Cline, I would like to remind readers that Ms. Cline made a decision NOT to have her campaign materials translated into Spanish. This tells me Ms. Cline obviously doesn’t care about the Latinx community which is one-third of our population. This would have cost her about $200-$300. Ms. Cline’s major donors are a list of local Republican right-wingers, she’s raised more money than other candidates and she could easily have afforded to do this. Now you’ve got to ask yourself, why would these heavy-hitters want to back a person with such limited work and life experience? The county government is in dire straits, and we need a new direction. Ms. Cline as Supervisor will deliver more of the same, sorry old horse-pukky that’s gotten us into the mess we’re in. Adam Gaska has new ideas and has done the work. Vote for him for 1st district Supervisor, Bernie Norvell for 4th district and Jacob Brown for 2nd district. Let’s turn things around and get our county government back on track.

    • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

      Yes, for sure. I appreciate your comments about County issues, Julie. You know it from the inside, with your long experience at Public Health. I was especially disturbed to hear from you of the exodus of experienced, caring staff in that division due to poor treatment by management staff. I served in Children and Family services for 18 years and am now retired. Off and on during my service there, we experienced abysmal, even brutal, treatment by administrative staff who had no business being in positions of power. There was too often a strong element of power politics and narcissism that had no place in a workplace that needed good governence. The loss of a good number of fine staff was just one result of such mismanagement. Once in a while we had decent leadership, and it made a huge difference for the better.

      Like you, I hope the County can get back on track, treating staff with respect, paying them well, and providing solid helping services to clients in every division.

      • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

        Could not agree more. I’ve seen the incompetent, “yes men”, (and you know who you are), get promoted to positions of power while the people with real knowledge and competence get passed over. I never wanted to do anything other than to be the person doing the data and disease surveillance, and did that for almost 8 years, so this isn’t about me. But in my time at Public Health I saw Tammy Moss Chandler, then Director of HHSA, fire our very loved and effective Director of Public Health, Barbara Howe. Why? Because someone told Tammy a rumor and Tammy acted on it. I think she felt Barbara was a threat and used it as an excuse to march her out.
        Fast forward and Darcie Antle fires Anne Molgaard, who was doing a great job as Director of Public Health. Why? Because Anne was hiring competent people and this was too expensive. No warning, or admonishment of wrong-doing, just marched out. Why? I think Darcie felt she was a threat. (Anne would be a great CEO. She’s an attorney, with years of experience in government.)
        Dr. Jenine Miller finally got her wish and Darcie made her Director of Public Health. Jenine almost immediately fired Dr. Cathy Boyle, Director of Nursing – a 47 year veteran Family Nurse Practioneer with more expertise in pediatrics and child abuse than anyone I’ve ever met. Why? Because Cathy wouldn’t sign off on expenditures that she had never seen and were not a part of the Nursing budget. I think she was a threat to Jenine’s take-over of Public Health. This caused the Director of Maternal Child and Adolescent Health and the Home Visiting Program to move on. In her place, Dr. Miller hired a newly minted Public Health Nurse who had never even been on a home visit! Dr. Andy Coren left 6 months earlier than planned. I think it was because of the disrespectful way he was treated by Dr. Miller and Angle Slater, (a CEO staff member and Madeline Cline’s campaign manager, by the way). He was excluded from meetings, emails and calls ignored – because I assume Jenine and Angle felt they knew more about how to run a Public Health department than the Chief Medical Officer! And I left because I couldn’t stomach what was going on. After years of seeing good people fired or passed over, I couldn’t take it anymore and retired. These are just some of the highlights, and the good people who’ve left, (including Trevor Mockel), are too numerous to mention.
        Dr. Miller likes to surround herself with people who are not the most competent, but who won’t question her. There is no transparency and accountability. The County’s blather about “leadership from the bottom up” would be great if they actually put it in place. We need a real change to eliminate the cronyism and nepotism in this government. That said, the majority of the people who work for the county are some of the most dedicated people you’d ever want to meet. In my years as President of SEIU 1021, I hope I represented them well. They, and the people of this county deserve better. Public Health is really, really important and it should be overseen by people who actually know what they’re doing.

        • Lurker Lou February 21, 2024

          So that’s what happened to Anne Molgaard. That’s unfortunate. She is incredibly smart and effective. Any information on the more recent abrupt “retirement” of Janelle Rau?
          And is Bekkie Emery still there? I heard she was on bereavement leave but also heard medical leave for a couple months.
          Angle Slater will run right over the top of people in her quest to make herself look good. I’m actually not surprised to hear she is Ms. Cline’s campaign manager. My guess is she wants to stay in good with the old money Republican grape growers and gun owners.
          New BOS leadership can’t come soon enough. Vote Adam Gaska.

        • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

          What a heart-breaking, sordid story of mismanagement that undermined, and lost the services of, good, competent staff. How sad that this occurred because of managers who were feeding their egos and catering to the false needs of the bureaucracy, not focused on the delivery of critical services to the populace.

          This is one dark legacy of Carmel Angelo. During her tenure I watched the County get noticeably mean in its treatment of staff. Too many of those below her in admin saw her modeling mean-spirited actions, and then they engaged in the same. The culture got turned sideways–it was in fact really a loss of soul in the workplace. Thank you for telling us the truth of what occurred at Public Health, of all places. Thank you for naming the competent, professional ones, and also those who corruptly–and that is the right term–preyed on them. We all deserve better, and may this election begin a new path for better governance.

          • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

            I’ll add this: Such mismanagement—based largely on power issues, narcissism, payback and other personal motives—is really a form of corruption. It’s less obvious than traditional corruption, but still is one that robs the common goals and needs of citizens. It wastes experience and commitment and money, losing professional, deeply caring and experienced staff who form the foundation of service delivery. It can break the backbone of a social service division, usually in a stealthy way, happening over time, not publicized, not known to the public. And very, very hard to repair.

            • Stephen Rosenthal February 21, 2024

              It’s a downward spiral that, in government service at least, can never be repaired. Here’s why.

              Mean-spirited administrators and managers populate their staffs with insecure and often incompetent yes men and women. Those that don’t create waves and toe the company line are promoted; those that don’t fall in line either leave or wallow in miserable dead-end positions. It’s an endless cycle with little chance of change.

              It works in government because of its bureaucratic structure. In the corporate world it’s all about the bottom line, so performance usually prevails.

              • MAGA Marmon February 21, 2024

                All of you are about 15 too years late. I started talking about these issues in 2009 when I was SEUI 1021 Chapter President. It took them 2 years to get rid of me, but they still had to cough up 50 thousand dollars for violating my 14th Amendment rights when they illegally terminated my employment at CPS.

                MAGA Marmon

                • Stephen Rosenthal February 21, 2024

                  Don’t make yourself out to be some sort of heroic rebel. It was talked about long before you were your father’s little squirt.

              • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

                Lots of truth there, Stephen but not always the case, as in Boeing at this point, which sold its great plane-making soul for profits…

                • Stephen Rosenthal February 21, 2024

                  There’s always exceptions.

                • George Hollister February 22, 2024

                  A common fantasy, in my opinion, that is taught in management school is that a good manager can manage anything. To me that is BS. A good manager must know the business he/she is managing, first. Boeing hired people in management who were from other industries. That was a big mistake. Apple Computer made the same mistake before Steve Jobs was brought back and saved the company.

            • George Hollister February 21, 2024

              Such mismanagement is also based on ignorance. People in management too often have always been in management, and have never been an employee carrying a lunch bucket. Some management schools recommend, and rightly so, that future managers have at least 3 years experience being an employee. What I see in public and private organizations where there is a toxic work environment is a manager who has never been an employee, at least not for very long. Working for family doesn’t count. Having worked in the past as an employee gives the manager an important perspective of how employees work and think. An important item in any manager’s resume is work experience being an employee.

              • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

                A worthy point for sure, George.

                • George Hollister February 22, 2024

                  What we see in our society is people coming out of high school, with no work experience, coming out of college, with no work experience, and moving into middle management, with no work experience. Too often their career path is motivated by “I don’t want to have to work so hard to make money”, or some version of he same. These managers are at a big disadvantage, and of course are unaware. They are setting themselves up to destroy an organization.

              • Lurker Lou February 21, 2024

                Or, on the flip side, people rise to their level of incompetence.
                High performing employee gets promoted to management, has no management experience nor any leadership support or mentorship, then it all unravels. Manager in over their head and inevitably everyone suffers.

                • George Hollister February 22, 2024

                  True. High performing employees can have a tendency to micro-manage when moved into management, and are unable to take responsibility while delegating. It is common to see a good manager as someone who was mediocre at performing work tasks.

        • mary alice willeford February 21, 2024

          Julie, you know as well as I do, not all the information you have stated is true. In respect for all the people you mentioned and confidentiality, I am not going to dispute it line by line. However, just because you don’t like someone is not a reason for slander and/or defamation of character.

          In my 22 years with the county I have never seen a person released for not being willing to sign a a document. As I worked with the management team you are stating is under qualified and/or are yes ma’am people, I have to strongly disagree with your comments. The management is educated, has experience, and has no problem voicing their opinions. I have found Dr. Miller to be open to feedback, change, and support her staff. It’s one thing to campaign for a candidate it’s another to participate in slander and defamation especially when it’s lies.

          I would never vote for a candidate that supports slander, defamation, and misrepresentation of hard working county staff.

          • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

            Mary Alice, I believe you began your career in fiscal. In the break up of HHSA, the county was deciding on whether to make BHRS and Public Health a “Health Department”. Jenine Miller was temporarily put in charge of Public Health and she made you the Acting Public Health Director. With all due respect, you had no public health credentials. I spoke up – along with many other past managers and Public Health officials who I won’t name here, but they were past employees. The BOS listened and made Public Health a stand-alone department. Your feelings were hurt, and I’m sorry, but sometimes you must speak up. I know you did a lot of good work for the county, but people are not interchangeable widgets. There are some positions that demand a certain level of education, experience and qualifications.
            I am not slandering anyone, and everything I’ve stated here is what the people involved have told me. You are more than welcome to follow up with the people involved. And for example, if the CEO comes into your office and says either you sign this agreement, or you’ll never work in your field again – you sign. But we all know that’s not right. Just because the truth is unpleasant doesn’t mean it’s slander.

            • mary alice willeford February 21, 2024

              Julie – Wrong again!! I was not appointed by Dr. Miller. I was appointed by the CEO as an interim with the understanding that I would cover it until a new Director could be found. My feelings were never hurt as I never wanted that position. I was an assistant HHSA Director at the time. I am happy to speak to any of the people that you have mentioned if they want to speak with me. Lastly, when HHSA was splitting Dr. Miller actually fought against merging as Behavioral Health did not want to merge with Public Health. But I guess you don’t know that because you probably never asked.

              • Lurker Lou February 21, 2024

                That may be what Dr. Miller was telling you and other staff but at the time she lobbied HARD to the (former) HHSA Advisory Board for permanent merger with herself at the top of PH/BH.
                The Advisory Board didn’t take Dr Miller’s own back patting for facts and sought out help from the old SEIU union guy, a more neutral party.
                So he interviewed PH staff and shared very different feedback to the Advisory Board, and that is what stopped the 2 dept merger.

                • Lurker Lou February 21, 2024

                  To clarify: that is what stopped the Advisory Board from making the recommendation for 2 dept PH/BH merger to the BOS.

              • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

                Yes, the CEO’s office has a history of questionable decisions. Which is why I would like the new Board of Supervisors to step up.
                Your reply speaks volumes about the chronic lack of communication to county staff. If you want people to be engaged, you must engage with them.

                And by the way, the surgeon who removes the scab is not the one responsible for the infection.

                • mary alice willeford February 21, 2024

                  Once again the information you have is wrong. I was there so I am aware of what happened. The CEO was pushing for the merge and directed the presentation. But I guess you knew that right? Oh wait how could you?
                  Also so you know, more than half of the Public Health staff signed a letter wanting the merge. That letter went to the CEO. So not sure how one can say Public Health staff did not want the merge at all.
                  Just to clarify, the CEO directed the presentation and model design.

                  However, this is all water under the bridge and things are moving forward. I feel public health is in good hands with the current management. Please let’s support them and let them do their job.

                  • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

                    Mary Alice, you forget, I was there too. I think I can speak with greater authority about how a Public Health department should function.
                    No, “half of the Public Health staff” did not sign a letter pushing to merge PH and BHRS. That letter was signed by many people who were actually BHRS staff. My point is that a Public Health department shouldn’t be directed by people who do not have the training in public health. Just like an surgical arena shouldn’t be run by car machanics. They both know how to take things apart but…….

              • jill ales February 21, 2024

                Mary Alice-
                Thank you so much for speaking out. Dr. Miller is doing a great job with Public Health. The team there is blooming into a great team. I agree that things being said are slander and defamation of character.
                I hope moving forward that people can be supportive of all the difficult changes that Public Health is going through.
                Change is never easy and takes time to adapt to.
                All the Public Health management team is working very hard to make these changes as smooth as possible. I think Angle has been like a mother hen over her department.
                I’m saddened over all the negativity that is being said. I wish that everyone would be supportive of Public Health because they are a hard working team. Why can’t people let the past go and move forward to a brighter future.

        • jill ales February 21, 2024

          Good evening Julie.
          I am so sorry that you continue to be haunted over Public Health. It is doing well and has an amazing team working there. I thought that you cared about the people of this county. When you continue to make comments like this it shows me that you don’t.
          Doctor Miller is doing an amazing job pulling together a team that will supersede all expectations CEO Antle has for it.
          You should be ashamed of yourself for continuing to cast such negativity to the public.
          Yes it is slander and defamation of a person, when a person posts something that tries to make another look bad in the public eyes.
          It really is time for you to retire and allow the past to be the past.

    • Call It As I See It February 21, 2024

      Remember the Farm Bureau hand picked McGourty. That worked out well! They now are pushing Ms. Cline and gave Gaska a small nod. He forced them because of his knowledge on water issues. What exactly is her knowledge? We don’t know because she has been silent. We have heard more from her supporters than her. RED FLAG. There are only two candidates in this District, Carrie Shattuck and Adam Gaska.

      • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

        I’ll tell you why the Farm Bureau decided to back Madeline- her uncle, Joe Hurlbut, is on the Board of Directors! Her family is basically buying the “Princess” a pony. (She may not know how to ride it or care for it, but they’re getting her a pony). Look, I’d love to see more women in politics, but I’m not supporting someone whose job experience has been only 2-3 years, and some of that not in real jobs. She’s being hand-fed sound bites from the CEO’s office. I don’t think we can take much more of the same mismanagement. Carmel Angelo hand picked Darcie Antle to succeed her, despite Darcie having VERY little experience in government. Let’s try and make better choices.

        • Call It As I See It February 21, 2024

          Not only was D’Arcie hand picked by Angelo, but she handled the budget. The questions that were being asked at Cubbison should have been directed at Antle. If Bowtie Ted doesn’t get reports, it’s Antle’s job. Antle was given the job and directed to sit there and keep her mouth shut by the BOS, while they put “The Cubbison Plan into effect.

    • peter boudoures February 21, 2024

      The only thing that worries me about Adam is that Julie Beardsley (aka happy meal for a shot) backs him. But honestly you lost me at Latinx. I don’t know anyone who refers to themselves as Latinx. there are over 400 languages in “Latin America” and 33 countries. You’re more hillbilly than i am.

      • Julie Beardsley February 21, 2024

        I agree that “Latinx” seems wierd, but it’s the term that seems to be politically correct.

      • Lurker Lou February 21, 2024

        Sure everyone needs a fence post to piss on in our miserable existence but if the term Latinx is yours, a term that probably doesn’t affect you one way or the other, then I’d say you live a pretty blessed life. Cheers!

  6. Harvey Reading February 21, 2024


    No matter how it’s analyzed, explained, or practiced, ALL religion is simply wishful thinking and is used to impose the “beliefs” a group holds onto others, though persuasion or force. Religion is the most monstrous aspect of the human monkey “mind”. The Zionists feel no guilt at all about what they have been imposing on Palestinians since they took their lands (with the “blessings” of the “west”).

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen February 21, 2024

      I really really hate to get into it with you or anyone else regarding religion but here is my two cents worth: all magical thinking aside, I think religion has always been a way to help people live longer healthier lives, but in the hands of tyrants it becomes a tool of unbelievable oppression. My Quaker ancestor died in prison in England for his beliefs, which went against the government sanctioned religion (Anglican or Catholic, depending on who was king or queen at the time) His entire family, including his wife, were all imprisoned but survived and at least one son came to this country in the late 1600’s. Smart choice. However, even the Quakers have a punitive attitude toward those who fall outside the perimeters of their religion. This the custom of routine disownment of the sons and daughters of Quakers for actually pretty minor disagreements. Pretty heartbreaking. But if you look at the basic precepts of religion, if they were used to benefit others, we would all be happier and healthier. I know I am putting myself out there in defending an institution that has caused horrible suffering, but we are all impermanent figures in the natural landscape, trying to make sense of ourselves and our relationship to what is and is not real.

      • George Hollister February 22, 2024

        Faith is in all of us. It is how we deal with the unknown. People of the same faith are attracted to each other. It is a unifying force more powerful than money.

        • Harvey Reading February 22, 2024

          A wishful-thinking overstatement overflowing with superstition.

          • Bob A. February 22, 2024

            Word for word, bromides are one of your best commentary values, particularly when you have nothing to say.

  7. Anonymous February 21, 2024


    The concept of “race” is bogus.

    • Harvey Reading February 21, 2024

      Just like the concept(s) of god(s).

  8. Sarah Kennedy Owen February 21, 2024

    Thanks for the article regarding Pinnacles National Monument. I have never been there even though I have driven by it many times. My daughter and her husband went there on their first date! I knew it had many different types of fauna but had no idea it was that abundant. Or that there were condors there.
    There used to be wild condors in the mountains behind Santa Barbara and Ventura, but only in the most remote places. This was in the early 70’s before they became “extinct” except for introduced individuals. This extinction was considered because of ranchers using lead bullets to kill coyotes and other predators, which would then be eaten by the condors. The condors would then be poisoned by the lead. There may have been actual poisons involved too, in killing “ vermin” which the condors then ingested. I think that is the most logical explanation.

  9. Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

    Sometimes I am Dim

    The Oriana Fallaci quotation where she criticizes other journalists for not risking tough questions of someone–Who knows who she’s talking about as interviewee?

    • Bruce Anderson February 21, 2024

      Fallaci was never afraid to ask real questions, which is why she was never allowed in the White House press room and why Helen Thomas was driven out.

      • Chuck Dunbar February 21, 2024

        Thank you, Bruce, for the clarification, helps me remember her reputation now.

        More importantly, we all hope the very best for you and care for you. Mendocino County needs you and your vision and work.

  10. Lazarus February 21, 2024

    Me too.
    Be well Bruce

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