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Mendocino County Today: Saturday 2/24/24

Sunny | 128 Slide | Housing Workshop | Greenwood Landlines | Dave Nelson | Raven Post | AVUSD News | Busy Burglar | Willits Welcome | VSO Questions | Full Moon | District Map | Fjords Smorgette | More Errors | Redwood Ranger | District Confusion | Dream | Bad Advice | Tepee | CPUC Meeting | Black Cats | AT&T Hearing | Weird 1099s | Ishwar Poster | Listserv Project | Sprinkling Guilty | SEIU Issues | Last Dollar | AV Volunteer | Ranch Cabin | Whale Fest | Nathaniel Smith | Yesterday's Catch | Dark Sky | Richard Diebenkorn | Med-Tech Outage | Prop 1 | Bucket Boy | Marco Radio | Eddie Gaedel | Urban Warnings | Plant Girl | Pesticide Pot | Welder | Lost Faith | Shared Issues | Gaza Illusion | Cycles

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DRY WEATHER with above normal daytime temperatures are forecast to prevail through this weekend. A cold front from the NW will bring a chance for low impact rain and mountain snow on Monday. A risk for heavy precipitation, significant lower elevation snowfall and gusty southerly winds will increase Thursday through next weekend. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Saturday morning I have 45F under partly cloudy skies. You can expect a warm & dry weekend then a slight chance of showers on Monday. Temperatures drop a lot going into the work week. Dry skies thru most of Wednesday before more rain for the end of the week.

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CHP: SLIDE BLOCKS HIGHWAY 128 near Mendocino Coast early Friday

Landslide blocking Highway 128 in Mendocino County Friday. (Photo courtesy of Caltrans)

Highway 128 near the Mendocino Coast was “completely closed in both directions” Friday due to a landslide, the California Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol reported.

Both agencies posted on Facebook early Feb. 23 that an “active slide on Hwy. 128” had led to the roadway being “fully closed in both directions” from Highway 1 to Flynn Creek Road,” which is a 12-mile stretch of the road that connects Boonville with the coast.

The agencies also reported that there is “no estimated time of reopening.”

After multiple storms so far this winter have saturated the soils throughout Mendocino County, the National Weather Service reported Friday morning that “dry weather is forecast to prevail through this weekend.”

According to the Forecast Discussion prepared by the Eureka office of the NWS, the high temperatures this weekend are expected to be “slightly above normal with many areas reaching the 60s. Saturday is expected to be the warmest day with mostly sunny skies aside from any morning low clouds and fog, and inland valleys will have the potential to reach close to 70 degrees, however some of the more protected valleys may fail to reach their potential due to the inversion and lingering fog in the mornings.”

By Sunday afternoon, the NWS predicts that Sunday clouds will increase “as the next system approaches the area. Some models show another shortwave moving around the upper low off the coast bringing some clouds and possibly some light rain in Mendocino County in the afternoon. The exact amounts remain fairly uncertain for the system coming down from the north, as a slight shift offshore will allow the system to pick up more moisture and warmer air, while a shift onto the land will likely be colder with less moisture. Overall amounts look to be light.”

As for later next week, the NWS describes Tuesday as likely “dry with a break between systems, (but) a shortwave moving down through the northwest flow could bring some clouds and possibly some very light precipitation in the afternoon.”

By Wednesday, however, “the pattern turns more zonal and wet weather returns to the West Coast. All of the ensemble clusters show a stream of moisture aimed at the Pacific Northwest, but the difference is how far south it comes, (as some models) bring the heavier rain into Mendocino and Lake counties.”


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is anyone on Greenwood Road still waiting for AT&T to restore their landline? (I know all the hullabaloo about their seeking a CPUC redesignation, but are we out of a landline permanently already?) They are impossible to reach, and really don’t give me much specific information.

Margaret Pickins

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Dave Nelson was one of my closest friends. We enjoyed each other's company for nearly 40 years. I am distraught about his passing this weekend. Dave was an inspiring man, secure in his intellect and legal skills. They were attributes that allowed him to share his knowledge, his beliefs, and his humor with family, friends, and clients. Some prosecutors mocked Dave behind his back for his compassion as a sentencing judge in the courtroom. They never achieved the personal and professional stature Dave enjoyed. He valued friendships, and his circle was wide. Yet Dave offered a closeness few can. Dave was a kind, honest man who enjoyed a life well lived. Our hearts go out to Judith Fuente, Dave's wife, and his two daughters Jessica and Julie, and all the family members.

Mike Geniella

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Raven on Post, Rt 20, W of Willits (Jeff Goll)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

It was great to see parents and guardians out in full force at the Posole and Pajamas event at the elementary school on Thursday night. Yummy food combined with good fellowship and a read aloud plus the chance to take home a brand new book is a not to be missed evening! Thank you to all the staff that worked so hard to put that together and to Libby for the amazing Posole!

At the Junior Senior High School, we were delighted to have a good turn out for the LCAP input session. Many thanks to the parents that attended the elementary ELAC meeting for the same purpose. These meetings are very important listening sessions, as we develop this strategic plan. We have been collaborating with numerous organizations this year including the students, parents guardians, ELAC, Senior Center, the board, and staff members. We take all of this input and then try to develop a series of 3-year achievable goals. My mantra is: “We can do anything we want, we just can't do everything”, so we have to evaluate the high needs that are perceived by each group. A draft LCAP will be sent for comment and also presented to the board in two meetings in June.

This Tuesday and Wednesday, we have a powerful staged senior project planned by Marissa Alvarez and Anahi Anguiano. It is related to substance abuse and its impacts. If you would prefer your child not participate, please contact the high school office. This is for grades 9th through 12th only. I am proud of these students for their coordination of this event.

Senior parents please contact the high school office to make a reservation for the FAFSA application dinner on February 29th. Experts from Mendocino College will be on site to help you complete the application. 

The College and Career Fair on March 13 is a free family dinner event and we have numerous breakout sessions for students to learn more about what they may be interested in. Students can listen to sessions about college, trades, emergency services, healthcare and more. This is a great evening to help your students start to think about life after high school and is open for students and their families 6th through 12th grade.

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

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On February 23, 2024, around 3:00 am, Deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office located a vehicle connected to a suspect in a string of burglaries across Lake and Mendocino Counties in the parking lot of Bruno’s Market, Lakeport.

Tyrone Brennen

Deputies contacted the driver of the vehicle, Tyrone Brennen, 38, of Arcata.

Brennen is a suspect in commercial burglaries committed in Lake and Mendocino Counties from November 2023 through January 2024. In early February 2024, Deputy McCabe obtained a felony arrest warrant for Brennen for a burglary committed in Lake County. Brennen was placed under arrest by the deputies for the warrant and transported to the Hill Road Correctional Facility to be booked.

Deputy McCabe, who has been actively investigating the Lake County burglaries, authored and assisted in the execution of a search warrant for Brennen’s vehicle soon after Brennen’s arrest. Deputies located sophisticated tools that are believed to have been used to commit the burglaries. Deputies also located clothing similar to what the suspect was seen wearing in video surveillance while casing the businesses and while committing the burglaries.

Brennen allegedly stole upwards of $60,000 and caused thousands of dollars in damages throughout the burglaries in Lake and Mendocino Counties.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for their collaboration in this ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information related to this case can contact Deputy McCabe at (707)262-4200 or via email at

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To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors 

Could I please get an explanation on several issues? The first one is why have we been told that the cost analysis for the move would be shown to us. The CEO’s office has told us several times they had it and would get us copies. Now we discovered that there never was one. How did this occur? Don’t the CEO’s people realize that they will get caught up in their lies.? Was it legal to put these moves into action without an analysis? 

Why does it take until the end of March to get this on the agenda? It took a week and a half to toss us out of our 15-year office into the tiny cell-like rooms. I do not need to go into the problems that this has created. There will be a lot more problems/complaints if we wait till the end of March, or longer. Do you realize that the VSO office has been closed for the last two days due to our one VSR being out for medical reasons? This office needs another Veterans Service Representative as promised by several Board Members. I have received several calls from concerned Vets wondering why they cannot seek help. They assumed that I still had answers having been the VSO in the past. I advised them that I did not. The general feeling is that the board has turned their backs on them. The action of the board proves them correct. 

Our elected officials have blatantly lied to their constituents, i.e., “The move is being done because Air Quality needs space for storage” and “We will get you another Vet rep” all of which appear to be falsehoods. It appears that the decision was based on the desire to charge Air Quality Control rent money. So, the Vets were thrown under the bus for some rent? The VSO office is one of the few county offices that brings revenue into the county funds. All of you receive reports from the California Department of Veterans Affairs twice a year through your VSO on the money that is received from the state to our county because of the work the VSO did. It was around $119,000 last year. Was that even considered? Were those reports even glanced at? 

Why do we even need to get this issue on the agenda/calendar? Mo Mulheren stated that to move us out an agenda was not needed, so why is an agenda item needed to move us back? How can all of you continue to support this extremely unethical way to conduct your business? The right thing to do would be to reverse the decision and move the VSO back into the building on Observatory Ave., Now. If not, the problems will continue to multiply. 

As a Veteran and a tax-paying voter, I would like answers to these questions. Real answers this time, please. 

Carl Stenberg,USCG BMC ret; VSO Mendocino County ret

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Full Moon (Falcon)

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County officials today urged voters to check a County website to determine if the Supervisorial District in which they live may have changed as part of the 2021 redistricting process.

Every 10 years, supervisorial districts are redrawn so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process, called redistricting, is an important part in the election process and helps to ensure that substantially the same number of voters are in each district. 

After the ballots for this year’s election were mailed, County officials learned that some voters whose district had changed were not mailed the ballot for their new district. New ballots have been sent to those affected voters. Based on information provided by the Elections Office, it is estimated that less than 300 voters might be impacted. 

“The districts were redrawn in 2021 and we are finding that some residents may not realize that they are in a different Supervisorial District than the last time they voted,” said County Chief Executive Officer Darcie Antle. “There may be some confusion and we want to provide clear answers to voters, so we are urging them to check our website to verify which district they are located.” 

To verify your voting district, you can go to the County website located at: It shows the boundaries of the Supervisorial Districts in which residents reside.

“We are receiving information that some voters may be confused by the fact that they are in a new district post the 2021 redistricting and that they have, in fact, received the correct ballot. To ensure this, we want everyone who has a question to visit the website and check the Supervisorial District number and match it with where they reside and vote,” Antle added. She also encouraged anyone who wants to report an issue with their ballot to call 707-234-6819.

Antle said the County is continuing to work with the Mendocino County Elections Office which conducts all elections in the county. She added that the Elections Office has informed the California Secretary of State’s Office of these issues. The County continues to seek advice and guidance from the California Secretary of State’s Office as well as Mendocino County Counsel’s Office.

“Most importantly, we want to assure voters that they will receive and get the proper ballots and that every vote will be properly counted,” Antle said. “We are going to be working overtime to get to the bottom of what occurred and to ensure voters receive the proper ballots."

(Mendocino County Presser from the Mendocino County Executive Office and Elections Office)

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by Justine Frederiksen

Likely more than 150 Mendocino County voters received another incorrect ballot in the mail this month, Registrar of Voters Katrina Bartolomie reported Wednesday.

“We’re still trying to figure out how many ballots were affected,” said Bartolomie when asked for more details, explaining that about 50 residents in a Redwood Valley precinct received an incorrect ballot, and that possibly about 100 people in East Hopland also received an incorrect ballot. 

“We’re still trying to calculate the exact number, but it looks like people who live on Old River Road, east of Highway 101, were affected,” she said, adding that her understanding is that the Redwood Valley residents affected by the error are aware that their ballots are incorrect, while all the Hopland residents might not be. 

When asked why voters again received incorrect ballots, Bartolomie said that not all precinct changes had been properly entered into the county’s election system after redistricting that occurred in 2021. 

“This was our fault, not the vendor’s — this was our mistake,” she said, explaining that the redistricting had not affected other ballots mailed since the changes. (The first mailing of 53,000 Republican ballots was blamed on a third-party vendor.) 

When asked if the other 52,800 or so ballots that had been sent to voters in the second round were correct, Bartolomie said that county officials believe they are, but any voters who are concerned about the second ballot they received, and have possibly already mailed, are urged to call the Elections Office at 707-234-6819. 

In a press release Wednesday afternoon, county officials reported that they were “investigating new reports of incorrect ballots for the upcoming March election and are seeking guidance from the California Secretary of State’s office on how to address the situation.” 

“We want to bring this new issue to the immediate attention of Mendocino County voters as soon as we learned of it,” Chief Executive Officer Darcie Antle is quoted as saying in the release. 

“We are investigating the issues with the Register of Voters office and their vendor. We are seeking guidance from the Secretary of State’s Office.” 

“Most importantly, we want to assure voters that they will receive and get the proper ballots and that every vote will be properly counted. We are going to be working overtime to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong and to ensure voters receive the proper ballots,” Antle added. 

The release also notes that “the county is seeking assistance from Renne Public Law group, one of the state’s top municipal government law firms, in determining next steps.” 

When asked if she was concerned about the accuracy of the county’s elections system, as both a current Mendocino County supervisor and a candidate on the ballots, Maureen Mulheren said: “I am not concerned about the accuracy of the votes once they come in, I am more concerned that people won’t feel compelled to vote after all of the errors. We have important Supervisor, Assembly, Congress and Senate races, and I hope people will look into the candidates’ qualifications and make sure that they vote. These offices and ballot measures have the most effect on our daily lives, and every vote counts.” 

Mulheren urged people to “vote with their ballot that came with a yellow letter that advises them that it is a corrected ballot. 

“If they have not received that ballot or have questions they should call the elections office 707- 235-6819 or email”

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I haven’t gotten to the point to believe it was intentional but one of the messed up precincts is literally nextdoor.

The error was not properly updating precincts when we redistricted after the census. I watched the redistricting meetings because I was already thinking of running, knew I was close to the boundary between the 1st and 5th, and was concerned about being moved to the 5th. The new boundary moved literally to across the street.

I was talking to neighbors at the mailbox about the redistricting and told them that the 5th was now across the street but we remained in the 1st. A week later, they came back to me after receiving midterm election ballots and were able to vote in the 5th district supervisor race. I verified they were in the 1st and told them to go to the elections office to report the mistake, which they did. They received new, correct ballots.

Fast forward to a week ago. A woman in my neighborhood reported getting the wrong ballot. I told her she was in the first. I looked on the master voter rolls I got to send out mailers then realized that the Lennix precinct was mixed up with 1st and 5th district voters. I dug more and found 8 precincts with voters from different districts mixed up. They are all precincts where the boundary shifted. The two largest precinct mistakes of people receiving the wrong ballot are cases where 1st district voters received 5th district ballots. There is another precinct where about 10 1st district voters received 2nd district ballots. So roughly 160 1st district voters need new ballots.

This is enough voters that coupled with a number of voters that likely will be disenfranchised by the initial mistake that it may effect the results of my election depending on how close my race is.

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I would like to know what the error was and who was responsible before passing judgement. Ultimately it was Katrina’s office responsibility so she is responsible.

I had a conversation with my neighbors after redistricting and mentioned that the 5th district was now across the street but we remained in the 1st. When midterm election ballots came, they asked me about our previous conversation saying that the ballot they received was for the 5th district supervisors race. I confirmed they were in the 1st by looking at the County’s GIS map and told them to report the error to County Election’s which they did. They were issued new ballots.

I didn’t look further because I didn’t have a spreadsheet with voter rolls until now. Another neighbor said she got a 5th district ballot but thought she should be in the 1st. I confirmed she was. Then I cross referenced her on the voter roll and discovered that there was a precinct in the 5th that had a mix of 1st and 5th voters. That was the precinct ‘Lennix’.

We, the voters, can mete out consequences at the ballot when the Clerk Recorder/Registrar of Voters/Assessors office comes up for election or by initiating a recall.

Let’s see how this plays out. Maybe a recall is in order.

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Andrea Kowch (b.1986, American artist), “Dream Chaser”, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, Private collection

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by Mark Scaramella

A contributing factor in the latest ballot mixup is a decision in 2021 to use census blocks rather than local precincts to draw supervisorial district lines based on what County computer maven Leif Farr told KZYX’s Sarah Reith last week was “based on legal advice and was common throughout the region at the time.” 

But we were not told what the “legal advice” was nor who gave it. 

The “advice” was given to the County’s 2020 redistricting committee which produced the first redistricting of Mendocino County Supervisorial districts in decades and resulted in, among a number of other significant revisions, Hopland being bounced from the Fifth District into the First (with Potter Valley). 

I happened to have served on the redistricting committee in 2010 when we considered several options which would have had similarly significant impact on Supervisorial Districts. 

All our committee work was ultimately ignored and tossed aside by then-Fourth District Supervisor Kendall Smith who wanted to keep the town of Mendocino in the Fifth District to make sure that nobody with even a hint of “conservative” leanings could ever be elected Fifth District Supervisor.

In 2010 the main “legal advice” the redistricting committee got was that although the redistricting targets were supposed to be one fifth of the population in each district, the law allowed variations of up to 10% above or below the one-fifth target. However, “to avoid a lawsuit” we should not exceed 3% above or below the one-fifth target for each district. The Fifth District was the most sparsely populated at the time with no major cities. Some 2010 committee members (including me) wanted to move the Town of Mendocino into the Fourth District with Fort Bragg and leave the Fifth with whatever other precincts could be included. But that would leave the percentage allocation for the Fifth district more than 3% below the target 20%. Whenever we wanted to move even a small block of voters (a precinct) from one district to another, there would have to be compensating adjustments elsewhere, especially if the plus/minus 3% rule had to be observed. 

The chances of the County being sued for exceeding the plus/minus 3% allocation were effectively nil, but there we were contorting district boundaries into some very weird shapes just to stay within those plus/minus 3% numbers based on “legal advice.” And woe unto anyone (basically me and Larry Mailliard at the time) who suggested we ignore the “legal advice.”

Then there’s the question of whether the boundaries should be drawn based on census counts or registered voters. In 2010 there was no question that the allocations should be based on registered voters, i.e., precincts. The option of considering census data within precincts for redistricting never came up. 

My guess is that the shift in political dynamics in recent years to more emphasis on slicing and dicing the population up into various ethnic “communities” or self-identifiers has shifted the “legal advice” to a preference for district allocations to accommodate various ethnic categories which can only be done with census data since ethnicity is not a factor in voter registration rolls which is what precincts are based on. 

The old way of allocating districts based on voter registration data was a much more neutral way of allocating districts. But now here we are in the 2020s trying to factor in a more complicated approach which splits up already small precincts into different supervisorial districts partly based on various shades of ethnicity, contorting the redistricting process into a version of an M.C. Escher drawing and introducing a whole new layer of potential error with no real benefit to “democracy.”

All because of the attitude that “legal advice” must be followed.

When the “legal advice” makes no practical sense, the citizen committee which receives it should be able to tell the legal advisor to shut the hell up.

But of course, they never do.

So here we are with a whole new legal “exposure” produced by the very legal advice that was supposed to reduce the risk of a lawsuit, but has instead only made it worse.

Somebody may have made a few mistakes in trying to figure out which individual addresses should have been assigned to which districts. But the real mistake was in following that stupid “legal advice” in the first place.


A few words in defense of Bartolomei: The huge, complicated systems that rule us all can suddenly become unreliable, even hostile. Ms. B had never before had any prob with the corp that handles Mendo ballots. She has also been a rock of reliability over the long years, working under the wholly destructive CEO Mommie Dearest and a howlingly incompetent board of supervisors, plus enduring a steadily heavier work load. I think she has done an excellent job under onerous circumstances.

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by “k.h.” (AVA website comment line)

An overflow crowd turned out for the first of two meetings held by the California Public Utility Commission at the Mendocino County government complex on Low Gap Road in Ukiah on Thursday, February 22, 2024. The Supervisors Chamber buzzed with activity as speakers waited their turn to make comments on two applications from AT&T – one to withdraw their Carrier of Last Resort designation, the first step in effectively ending landline phone service in the state, and one to end AT&T’s participation as a company that receives financial assistance from the Federal Universal Service Fund.

Dozens of Mendocino county citizens, as well as residents from Humboldt, Marin, Lake and Sonoma counties, were relegated to the courtyard outside the main building, watching the hearing via a large screen. Mendo Supervisor Maureen Mulheren placed chairs in the courtyard so people would have seating.

The only speaker in favor of AT&T’s two proposals was AT&T’s Vice President of External Affairs for California, Tedi Vriheas. Every other commenter urged the commission to reject AT&T’s petitions.

A noticeable number of AT&T representatives, wearing similar pinstriped shirts, attended the meeting. Some of them manned a booth with handouts in the hallway outside the chamber. A phalanx of other AT&T workers stood in one corner of the courtyard. They looked stoic in the face of some of the moving testimony.

The meeting started with opening comments from AT&T VP Vriheas, who said “I want to assure you that no one is going to be left without service.” She said that copper was impractical and requiring AT&T to maintain two systems was too much of a burden. She told the crowd that 20 other states had already released AT&T from its landline obligations.

Her opening statement was directly refuted by the second witness, a representative from the Public Advocate’s office at the California Public Utility, who flatly requested that the commission dismiss AT&T’s application for a number of reasons, including failure to maintain their current COLR obligations as well as numerous major service failures. The question of whether AT&T would be required to maintain Lifeline was of special concern.

Representatives from State Senator Mike McGuire’s office, as well as Assemblyman Jim Wood’s office, protested AT&T’s effort as well.

“For many people losing their landline isn’t just an inconvenience,” said Ellen Velasquez, from Assemblymember Jim Wood’s office. She noted ironically that just that day, AT&T had made headlines because of a national outage which affected tens of thousands of people.

A representative from Mike McGuire’s office told the commission, “AT&T is out of touch with their customer base. On a good day cell service is limited in rural areas.” She said that AT&T’s carrier of last resort is imperative for the 600,000 peple who rely on it.

A Sonoma county resident buttressed these remarks. He said he did not think he would have survived the Kinkaid fire if he had been reliant on cell service, because the cell towers burned down and thus no cellular phones were working.

Some witnesses came from as far as Nevada to speak.

Vriheas’s opening comments were directly refuted by a witness who said he was an AT&T technician in Nevada, a state that had released AT&T from their former landline obligation. “Don’t let happen to California what happened to Nevada,” said the technician, who identified himself as Marc Elias. He said he frequently goes on service calls to areas where landline issues arise, and typically after a few visits, there is nothing more he can do, and people lose their connection to the outside world.

Speakers included two Humboldt County Supervisors, Michelle Bushnell and Rex Bohn, as well as two Mendocino County Supervisors, John Haschak and Glenn McGourty. The supervisors argued that in rural areas, landlines are imperative for public safety.

Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn got the only laugh of the day, when he quipped, “You’re not hearing a lot of people say, ‘Hey this is a great idea.’ The only people who are probably happy with AT&T right now is PG&E.” When the crowd stopped chuckling, he continued. “AT&T needs to bring back a better proposal. The product we are being given now does not serve the public,” Bohn said, referencing Vriheas’s opening statement that this is just the first step in what AT&T expects to be a prolonged effort to get their COLR designation removed.

Mendo County Supe McGourty said “I consider landlines critical in my district. We have 90,000 people in this county.” McGourty said Mendo is considered an economically disadvantaged community, with a lot of tribal lands, and income under the median for the state.

Many speakers said they relied on landlines because they are sensitive to radiofrequency and radiation from cell phones. Others stated that they believed VOIP was not a good alternative because of the danger of cyberattacks and the poor resiliency of internet in rural areas. Many residents spoke of their own experiences with landline service failures, some currently ongoing, such as one man from Ft Bragg who said he hadn’t been able to make a call in three weeks because of static on the line. Another resident who drove from Ft Bragg to comment told the commissioners that after he called AT&T to report his landline was not working, he was visited by local police who were worried because he apparently had an open circuit to 911. He assured the police he hadn’t had a working telephone in weeks. The resident said AT&T “resolved” the problem by turning his service off.

Residents expressed concern about how AT&T would serve rural areas without cell coverage, and whether AT&T would be required to remove cables and equipment that may contain toxins from public and private lands. AT&T reps on hand, called by the commission to address some specific concerns, could not offer reassurances, punting the matter by stating that it was their understanding that these issues would be settled in the future by a CPUC administrative judge. The crowd responded to that answer with loud booing.

A chorus of people testified to what they saw as AT&T’s failure to maintain their current copper network. One woman said she hasn’t seen AT&T show up to repair or replace anything near her home in more than 20 years. An electrical engineer directly refuted AT&T VP Vriheas’s opening statement that copper lines were less reliable than cellular signals. “Copper is the MOST reliable system,” he said. “Do not allow this happen. It is going to be a catastrophe if it does.”

A retired AT&T operator spoke, and offered thanks to the commission “for the opportunity to object to this application.”

Michelle Basel, from Humboldt’s Wiyot tribe, said the tribe feels very threatened by this action because almost every one of their members relies on landline phones.

A resident of Elk stated that when an ATT tech arrived to make a repair to his landline, the tech was startled to find he could not get a cell signal. He had to use a Starlink connection to reach the outside world, because the only way to get a working cell signal was to go over a ridge and up a hill. “That says it all right there,” the witness stated, regarding cellular service availability on the coast and in the more rural parts of the county.

The general consensus was summed up by one woman who stated that “AT&T has shown a total lack of concern for our population.” Others took the PUC to task, as well, stating that “CPUC decisions do not fulfill the social contract.”

A retired pediatrician from the coast said that some of his patients were only alive because families had access to functioning 911 service via landlines, as landlines always have a physical address associated with them.

One moving bit of public expression came when a woman who lives on Comptche-Ukiah Road spoke about the difficulty of caring for elderly relatives in rural areas, and how dependent those residents are on landlines. She stated that the one thing her elderly mother, struggling with Alzheimers, remembers how to do is call her from her landline every day at 4 o’clock.

The vast majority of residents shared similar concerns – What happens when the power goes out? What about when there’s a major emergency? Why hasn’t AT&T been forced to maintain their current network? Uniformly, the crowd expressed the belief that if AT&T is allowed to withdraw their status as the carrier of last resort for California, people will die.

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The Five, 2023, by Nataliya Bagatskaya 

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AT&T FACES PUBLIC BACKLASH at Mendocino County Hearing on Telecom Proposals

The Board of Supervisors chambers, the overflow room, and the courtyard at the Mendocino County government campus were packed Thursday, February 22, 2024, for a highly interactive public participation hearing about two proposals from AT&T.…

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So I gathered all my 1099s yesterday to prepare for taxes and lo and behold - I had 2 from the County of Mendocino - 1 for $1,000, one for $3,000. Only problem is that I have not worked for them since 2021! And they say “RENT” on them! What do I do? Who do I take them to? Like what in the actual hell?

Carole Brodsky


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SIGN POSTED in downtown Ukiah

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by Mary Benjamin

At the Mendocino Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting held on Thursday, February 15, board members voted unanimously to accept a proposal from the Mendocino Listserv Project to manage the MCN listservs.

The MUSD school board owns and operates the Mendocino Community Network (MCN), a local internet service established in 1994. 

Due to complaints last summer of persistent misuse by some posters, particularly on the discussion listserv, and after much discussion by board members and the public, the school board determined that, as public educators, their best interests were served by ending their legal responsibilities to the announce and discussion listservs. 

This led to multiple grave concerns from community members who regularly used the services and viewed these posts as hate speech. However, some protested that the listservs should continue unmoderated as an open format for free speech. 

In December of 2023, the board set up a subcommittee to compile a list of interested parties with proposals to take over and moderate the listservs. The remaining option had been to end the listservs entirely since misusers continued to increase the level of their vitriol. 

The subcommittee of two board members, Board President Emily Griffen and Trustee Lisa James, received two proposals. One from Marco McClean expressed an interest in only managing the announce listserv. McClean is a well-known community member with considerable related experience in various media. 

The second proposal from the Mendocino Listserv Project, a group of six community members, offered to manage both listservs. The group explained how the listservs would be moderated, focusing on free speech rights. 

The group’s founding members are Daney Dawson, John Gallo, Frank and Linda Hartzel, and two private individuals. All expressed commitment to free speech and the value of an active, supportive community online network. 

Frank Hartzel has years of print journalism experience, and at least one of the private members has tech knowledge applicable to listservs. All are active community members in the public arena. 

In her report to the board, Trustee James and Trustee Griffen recommended accepting the proposal of the Mendocino Listserv Project. James noted their proposal is “incredibly thorough and well thought out.” 

She added that “the subcommittee recommends them “because they are a team, the proposal is so detailed, and they’re applying for both listservs.” 

Griffen remarked that the group was “really thoughtful and thorough in their thoughts around moderation while retaining free speech. I appreciated their balancing of those two things.” She noted that the group had also contacted listserv members to inquire about their preferences. 

She added, “They’re much more thoughtful about many of these issues than I have been. They also seem to have the technical expertise and an understanding of how things work.” 

The public’s board meeting commentaries in person and via Zoom were few and were mainly offered by members of the Listserv Project. They thanked the board and the community for providing them with communication opportunities to help develop healthy listservs with an acceptable moderation system. 

A spokesperson explained, “We want to recruit moderators from the membership. We don’t intend to pre-censor anything. The listserv membership will flag it.” 

She added, “We want to keep the harassment and bullying off the listserv so that it is a safe space for everyone who can communicate in a respectful way that will serve as a community builder.” 

In response to a question from Trustee Schaeffer, she assured him that the group had the technological skills to identify a suspended poster who attempted to resubscribe under a new email address. 

Board discussion on the motion to accept Mendocino Listserv Project as the new manager of the MCN listservs addressed individual board members’ positions before the vote. 

Trustee Aum noted that since it was now clear that the board did have the authority to remove members from the listserv, “maybe none of this would need to happen.” He also thanked Marco McClean for his application and added that McClean’s management would have been notable. 

Trustee Morton said, “Becoming an internet service provider was a good choice. At times, it’s taken too much of our energy, but in many ways, it has been incredibly healthy for the community.” 

He then countered, “For the school district to continue, it would have continued to take energy that should go to people who are four to eighteen. That’s our main charge.” He also thanked Marco McClean. 

Trustee Schaeffer said, “I still believe that the simplest solution is to keep it the way it was simply because if you don’t want to hear those voices, it’s easy to tune them out.” He added that he was skeptical that moderation would “change anything.” 

The board then voted to accept the proposal from the Mendocino Listserv Project. It directed Superintendent Jason Morse to work with MCN management and the group to develop a formal service provider agreement such that MCN’s terms of service take precedence over the Mendocino Listserv Project’s terms of service. 

To view the Mendocino Listserv Project’s full proposal, go to the MUSD website and click on District Staff to find a link to the February 15 school board meeting agenda. The agenda item is 8.6B.

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned Thursday morning from its deliberations to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty as charged.

Nikolai Sprinkling

Defendant Nikolai Sprinkling, age 45, of Mendocino County and Palm Springs, was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, both as misdemeanors.

The jury also found true a special allegation alleging that the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater at the time of his driving.

The law enforcement agency that investigated the case and developed the evidence used to convict the defendant was the California Highway Patrol. Expert testimony assistance was also provided by a senior criminalist from the California Department of Justice crime laboratory in Santa Rosa.

The prosecutor who presented the People’s evidence to the jury at trial was District Attorney David Eyster.

Retired Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke, sitting on assignment from the Judicial Council, presided over the two day trial spread over three days.

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In response to Martha Moreno-Sanchez’s letter of February 22, 2024:

I’m glad you raise some of these issues.

SEIU 1021 represents the largest bargaining unit of Mendocino County employees. I was union Vice-President in 2020, while Troyle Trognoli was President. I took over as President in 2022 and served until October 2024 when I retired from the County. A’Kesh Eidi is the current President.

For years the union has challenged Mendocino County Human Resources and the Executive Office to curb what we see as actions that circumvent the Civil Service rules. For example, the practice of putting people into “acting” positions rather than following the Civil Service rules of posting positions, interviewing candidates and hiring qualified permanent employees. Or the practice of hiring contractors rather than permanent employees. We fought to keep the support staff at the jail (all Hispanic women) in place rather than have those positions contracted out. I personally fought for two contract periods to limit the probationary period to 6 months, because the previous year-long period resulted in people being on probation literally for years if they were promoted or transferred. And more importantly, it had a chilling effect on employees speaking up about problems or mistreatment because an employee on probation could be let go at any time for no reason. I agree with you that there are some egregious examples of Hispanic employees being treated badly. The union brought these to HR, and the union has and will always come to bat for its members, but the power of the union is in its numbers. If you think things will get better by not joining and standing together, then you will really be voiceless and powerless and at the mercy of whatever management wants to do. As Patrick Hickey, SEIU union representative will attest, he spends many hours bringing complaints to management and trying to sort them out, but unless management understands that the employees can and will strike if their demands are not met, all he can do is file complaints and hope to work out a solution. I would urge you and all employees to join the union and stand together to improve working conditions. And yes, union activities are voluntary, (and a lot of extra work and there was no monetary compensation for my work as union President), but they are vitally important in ensuring a fair working environment. And yes, SEIU 1021 works closely with local unions throughout the state.

And finally, this isn’t so much about the age of a candidate for Supervisor as it is about experience and qualifications. If someone is very young, one has to question how much experience and qualifications they can possibly have. Especially for a job as important as Supervisor, at a time when the county is in crisis.

Julie Beardsley


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Hope this email finds you well. And thank you to the folks that are already volunteers and members! We really appreciate it and couldn't do this work without you!

I was thinking about hosting another volunteer training but wanted to see if there is any interest in those who aren't volunteers yet - again it is up to you how and when you want to volunteer - it is mainly rides to dr appointments, check in calls, shopping trips, etc. All volunteers need to fill out an application and attend a training.

I can schedule the training at a time that works for you but I was thinking of doing it before our next 3rd Sunday of the month gathering, so that would be:

Sunday, March 17th, 1 to 2:30pm, at the AV Senior Center…

let me know if you can attend.

thank you again!

Anica Williams
Anderson Valley Village Coordinator (part-time)
Cell: 707-684-9829

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We are in search of a quiet, non-smoking, single person or couple for our charming ranch cabin. The cabin is adjacent to our ranch house (which is not occupied full time) but is situated in a way to provide beautiful valley views and privacy. Approximately 450 square feet.

You can be as involved in ranch life as much as you would like. There is a vegetable garden you can participate in, chickens, goats, and other livestock as well as our livestock dog. For this reason though, we do not allow pets. All utilities are included. Laundry is not included. Internet is also included however we cannot be responsible for the speed or connectivity challenges. If you are interested, please complete the initial inquiry here:

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It's a Whale of a Good Time!

Each and every March, coastal Mendocino County celebrates the migration of gray whales. Fun for locals and visitors alike, you’ll find wine walks, foot races, beer tastings, interactive science demonstrations, even a Bloody Mary competition – all to celebrate the most majestic of marine mammals. Check out the numerous events and activities for the whole family and enjoy a whale of good time! Spend a few nights and find lodging at

Mendocino Whale Fest

Back by popular demand, the Mendocino Whale Fest is where you want to be the first weekend in March. Check out the Wine Walk through the village – whether by foot or by MCT Trolley! Stroll the Mendocino Headlands and make sure you stop by the Gray Whale Migration Station – otherwise known as Ford House Museum.

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STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: Nathaniel Smith, the First Black Resident of Mendocino by Alexander Wood

The Kelley House Museum’s upcoming exhibition—March 1st through May 27th— will illuminate the life and times of Nathaniel Smith. This exhibition was researched, and this article written by, Guest Curator, Alexander Wood. His work was made possible by a grant from California Humanities, a partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nathaniel Smith, pioneer and stagecoach driver in Mendocino County, circa 1880-1900. (From the Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection, Open UCLA Collections)

Nathaniel Smith was a well-known man during his life, but his legacy has diminished with time. His name is certainly present in many histories of the area, but his historical record does not match the sentiment of his obituary that, “no history of Mendocino county would be complete without some reference to him.” The context of his life showcases the economic, ecological, and cultural changes in Mendocino and, more broadly, in California in the second half of the nineteenth century. Smith arrived in Mendocino in the mid-1850s, when the area was home to grizzly bears and Pomo people, and the rivers and streams full of salmon. By the end of his life, locals already feared the consequences of overfishing, and grizzly bears had been nearly wiped out in California. 

He watched as the Pomo and relatives of his wife and children were driven from their land. As one of a few African Americans in a rural region of Northern California, Smith endured some of the typical mistreatment of people of color here at the time. His renown was based in part on his racial background, as evidenced by the many mentions of his race and the racist nickname assigned to him in the newspaper. However, most records of Smith prove that his personality and character are what his friends and neighbors remembered most. He was also known for his accomplishments in the many roles he played during his lifetime: hunter, fisherman, teamster, and ferryman.

I began researching Nathaniel Smith for the project initiated by the Kelley House Museum last year. The project’s objective was to uncover the details of Smith’s life in the context of the experiences of people of color in California. Primary historical sources provide the basic information. My research mainly relies on articles in the Mendocino Beacon, the U.S. Census, and other official records. Local archives, including the collections of the Kelley House Museum, the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Historical Society, and the Historical Society of Mendocino County, further aided the project's research.

The project builds on the research of many others, including Smith’s direct descendant, Arlene Zornes. Reporter Ninetta Eames’ 1892 article, “Staging in the Mendocino Redwoods” from the Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, is a vibrant source of colorful details and includes direct quotes from Smith. Smith’s history reveals how individuals and families in rural Northern California endured and overcame the societal biases against them. Despite the challenges, Smith succeeded in many professions, owned a home and land, and raised a family.

As my project builds on the research of countless others, I hope it will be used for future interpretations of Smith’s life and African Americans' contributions to California history.


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CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, February 23, 2024

Alva, Arab, Canepa Check

ALAN ALVA, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.


RANDALL CANEPA, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

DANIEL CHECK, Hopland. Protective order violation.

Cornejo, Hammond, Hoaglin

JOSE CORNEJO-OLVERA, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, stolen property, trespassing, controlled substance, county parole violation.

KAYLA HAMMOND, Redwood Valley. DUI.

RICARDO HOAGLIN SR., Covelo. Suspended license for DUI, failure to appear.

Johnson, Lopez, Nowlin, Pinkham

NOEY JOHNSON, Ukiah. Vandalism, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, child endangerment, parole violation.

ALEJANDRO LOPEZ, Lakeport/Ukiah. Grand theft.

KRAIG NOWLIN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

FLETCHER PINKHAM, Little River. Murder, armed with firearm in commission of crime.

Rich, Sloan, Urizar

NIA RICH, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation.

LESTER SLOAN, Ukiah. County parole violation.

VICTORIA URIZAR, Point Arena. DUI, child endangerment.

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Most of us wish we could personally do more to protect the planet, besides the usual recycling, turning heat down, planting native plants and trees. In a county as environmentally aware as Sonoma County, it’s surprising and discouraging to see all the unnecessary bright lights around homes and businesses at night and to hear so little talk about the damage light pollution does to insects, migrating birds and other wild animals.

Turning off or making minor changes to outdoor lighting can have a huge impact. None of us likes paying more for electricity than we have to. And who doesn’t love being able to see millions of stars in a dark sky? Please check out to see what we can all easily do. And note there isn’t yet a single chapter in Northern California.

More and more towns and cities around the world are declaring themselves “dark sky” municipalities. I would love to see Sonoma County finally, if belatedly, join this critical and simple movement. Please encourage your towns and our county supervisors to commit to the dark sky goal.

Nancy Hair


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RICHARD DIEBENKORN (April 22, 1922 – March 30, 1993) was an American painter and printmaker. His early work is associated with abstract expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In the late-1960's he began his extensive series of geometric, lyrical abstract paintings. Known as the Ocean Park paintings, these paintings were instrumental to his achievement of worldwide acclaim.

Café, 1959

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DAVID SEVERN POINTS OUT the techno-med problems facing “those of us with Medi-Cal insurance to where we can’t get medicine.”


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Ding, ding, ding! Warning bells. Proposition 1 on the March ballot would "Shift roughly $140 million annually of existing tax revenue for mental health, drug, and alcohol treatment from counties to the state." CA would use that money, and new debt financed by a new $6.4 Billion General Obligation Bond, primarily for housing for homeless people. 

Before voting, ask yourself how effective Newsom's previous homeless initiative is and what assurances this money won't be diverted to other uses, like the Gas Tax was.

More importantly, how will this affect Mendocino County's already troubled finances when the state gloms onto the Mental Health money. Will more basic services be cut back in order to continue dealing with Mental Health problems?

CA's finances are every bit as desperate as Mendocino County. This is another gambit to keep the sinking ship afloat just a wee bit longer.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night tonight!

Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is 5:30. If the time comes and goes, send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's no pressure.

I'm in town again for this one. I'll be in the white room with black curtains at the station, 325 N. Franklin. If you want to come in and read your own work or show off your instrumental musicality, that's good if you're in good health. If I'm reading something long when you get there, hang out on the couch. To call and read your work in your own voice on the air, the number is 707-962-3022.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows. Just the first hour of the show is also on KAKX 89.3fm Student Powered Radio in Mendocino.

As always, at you'll find whole-brain amusements to absorb and wick away your nervous energy until showtime, or any time, such as:

Pas de deux with a tractor.

An article explaining the brightest object in the observable universe, including that at its center is a black hole with the mass of /17 billion suns/, swallowing the equivalent of another sun every day, or rather it was doing that some number of billions of years ago, when the light we see from it started out. Imagine what it might be eating today.

And a parrot charmingly sings backup on Creep.

Marco McClean,,

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3’7" Eddie Gaedel, St. Louis Browns

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by Gray Brechin

The news that Silicon Valley titans have quietly purchased over 50,000 rural acres in Solano County to build a new city called California Forever has gripped public attention since it appears to offer a way to escape the myriad crises now besetting nearby San Francisco. A nostalgic mashup of Italy’s Portofino and Florida’s Celebration on the sere hills of Solano County, its promoters claim that it will offer a pedestrian-friendly, safe, and sustainable city “for the many generations to come” that the older metropolis to the east allegedly does not. But how sustainable can any growing city be as its demands necessarily sap and change the planet over which they spread?

Cities are by their nature parasitic; they have a metabolism that requires a constant input of water, energy, and raw materials taken from expansive hinterlands for their existence, and in the process of their ceaseless remaking and growth, they produce corresponding floods of waste. Prominent among that waste are the greenhouse gasses that now threaten their very existence let alone further growth.

In a 1962 New Yorker column, Lewis Mumford advised San Franciscans that they should save their city from what growth was doing to efface its best qualities. Titled “Not Yet Too Late,” Mumford said that views from and to the city as well as the light-reflective wooden buildings massed upon its hills that made it beloved around the world were in danger of being sacrificed to what Jane Jacobs called catastrophic finance and Mumford dubbed the Zeckendorf Syndrome after one of America’s preeminent builders of high rises, New York developer William Zeckendorf. He wrote that “A city that has no use for its waterfront, no use for its beautiful skyline, no use for its aquatic recreational facilities, no use for the apricot orchards and the vineyards of the surrounding countryside has in fact no use for variety and contrast of any kind, and eventually it will have no use for itself, for when it looks in the mirror no expressive, identifiable face will be reflected there.” San Francisco would shortly, Mumford said “reach a point of no return.”

Twenty years later in a 1982 cover story for the New York Times Magazine titled “The Limits to Urban Growth,” architecture critic Paul Goldberger proposed that the quality of life in successful cities such as New York can only decline as density progressively exceeds the fixed capacity of their infrastructure. The same, he said, was true for other American cities such as San Francisco. He did not mention climate breakdown, the awareness of which was then in its infancy except for a few scientists and the presidents they futilely tried to warn.

By the time of Goldberger’s article, the apricot orchards Mumford lauded had succumbed to Silicon Valley’s suburban sprawl while a palisade of new high rises hid the hills of the city he’d tried to warn against permitting them. Cities continue to grow both up and out and will do so until they can’t. And that limitation their very growth is largely bringing upon themselves now.

In 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle published a front-page story entitled “Oceans Rising Fast, New Studies Find.” It featured a map of the shoreline areas of the city predicted to flood in the coming century. Ten years later, however, its architecture critic John King wrote that “New Towers Give Skyline and City Global Character.” Most of those high rises had gone up in precisely the flood zones the newspaper had earlier mapped. The global character that San Francisco shares with other cities is the unheeded warnings that have not hindered upward growth in towns such as Jakarta, London, Bangkok, Dubai, Cardiff, and Miami as they emulate Manhattan.

Midtown Manhattan is today distinguished by construction cranes and vitreous behemoths rising everywhere on its fixed grid. Aside from the shadows those buildings cast and the intolerable traffic about which Goldberger and Mumford warned, they represent towering piles of embodied coal and oil transmuted into steel, concrete, glass, plastic, and daily operations.

Take One Vanderbilt for example, the sleek new 93-storey tower just west of Grand Central Station. The 2015 Environmental Impact Report for its construction estimated that the building would yearly emit as much as 24,140 metric tons of greenhouse gases while construction including materials would total five to ten times that amount. Those emissions would, of course, be dwarfed by the construction and operation of the massed high rises of Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side.

Planners and architects tout the energy conservation of vertical, rather than horizontal, cities while seldom mentioning what high rises require to build and function and the waste they generate in turn. The sculptural oddities into which their architects’ computers sculpt them matter little; it is the city’s ceaseless growth that counts. That applies as much to new cities like California Tomorrow as to older ones like San Francisco and New York. That the very existence of cities around the world are now threatened by extreme weather events, drought, and sea level rise brought by global heating should now be obvious, but less so is their own culpability for what their unimpeded — even celebrated — growth has set in motion to their collective peril.

(Gray Brechin, Ph.D, is a geographer and the author of ‘Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin’ (University of California Press 1999 and 2006.)

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Richard Diebenkorn, Girl with Plant, 1960

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by Lester Black

Banned pesticides keep showing up in California’s legal weed products.

Legalization was supposed to solve this problem. When California’s voters legalized pot in 2016, they voted for an initiative that specifically called on the state to regulate pesticides in cannabis products. 

However, an SFGATE investigation has found numerous problems plaguing the state’s pesticide rules, including labs falsifying safety tests and stores selling pot contaminated with banned chemicals. Meanwhile, the state’s own pot regulator, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), has admitted it is currently unable to test for pesticide contamination in some pot products. And due to a lack of transparency at the agency, consumers might never know they’re consuming pesticides or other contaminants. 

When the DCC suspects a product is contaminated, it sends secret product “embargoes” to pot companies, leaving the public in the dark — even when stores violate embargoes by selling the potentially dangerous products. Last year, SFGATE learned about one of these secret warnings and told the public about the three embargoed products. The DCC finally warned the public about one of the products two months later, when the producer issued a voluntary recall; the agency has yet to publicly address safety issues about the other two products.

Nicole Elliott, the director of California’s Department of Cannabis Control, declined months of interview requests for this investigation, and the agency has refused to answer the majority of SFGATE’s questions, citing “ongoing investigations,” or to make any agency experts available for an interview.

California’s pot regulations are not a total failure; studies have shown that pot purchased at legal stores is less likely to be contaminated than illicit cannabis. However, Josh Swider, the CEO of Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs, a cannabis testing lab in San Diego, said the DCC’s lack of enforcement has allowed contaminated pot to leak onto the shelves of legal stores across the state.

“It’s a broken system. You can’t say it’s not,” Swider said.

Secrecy — At A Price

Pesticides present a uniquely complicated problem for the cannabis industry. While most American farmers can rely on federally funded research and regulations around the use of toxins to keep bugs at bay, little of that research looks at the safety of actually smoking the residue left behind by pesticides. And even if there were research, the U.S. Agriculture Department and other national regulators are prevented from offering any guidance on safe use to growers and state regulators, because the drug is illegal at the federal level.

Without any federal guidance, states have been left to decide themselves what pesticides to allow or ban in cannabis. California has some of the strictest rules in the country, banning 21 pesticides and requiring testing of all legal cannabis products, including for pesticides, heavy metals, mold and potency. Companies in California must pay state-licensed private labs to conduct these safety screens.

It’s clear these protections have reduced the amount of pot contaminated with pesticides found in stores, according to Los Angeles-based cannabis scientist Jeffrey Raber, one of the first scientists to publish evidence that pot smokers are exposed to pesticides when they smoke contaminated pot.

“You can see lab data before regulation and afterwards, and it is way, way, way better,” Raber said. However, despite millions of dollars being spent every year on cannabis testing in California, pot containing banned chemicals continues to be sold in legal stores.

Taking contaminated pot off the shelves is a multi-part process. It starts with an embargo, a temporary ban on sales issued when the state’s DCC has evidence that a product on the market contains banned pesticides. Regulators are then supposed to conduct an investigation which can culminate in a recall of the product.

While recalls are announced publicly, embargoes are only sent out to distributors and stores. The public has no way to access the embargoes, and the DCC has denied multiple record requests from SFGATE to release information about embargoed products, claiming they count as “investigative documents.”

But that secrecy comes at a price: If the embargo system doesn’t work, consumers may buy and consume contaminated pot without having any idea.

‘It’s Very Disappointing’

That’s exactly what happened last November, when SFGATE received a tip about three products that had recently been embargoed by the DCC. The cannabis regulator’s secret embargo notice said it was now illegal to sell these specific products because they were “adulterated,” without describing any other details.

But on Nov. 17, eight days after the embargo was supposedly issued, an SFGATE reporter was able to purchase one of the banned products, a vape cartridge produced by Cru Cannabis, at Bloomerang, a cannabis store in San Francisco. SFGATE then sent the cartridge to Anresco Laboratories, a DCC-licensed lab in San Francisco, which found trace amounts of chlorfenapyr, a dangerous pesticide that’s banned in California cannabis products. Cru Cannabis did not return multiple SFGATE requests for comment.

A manager for the Bloomerang cannabis store, who was granted anonymity in accordance with Hearst’s ethics policy, told SFGATE in January that the DCC hadn’t told the store about the embargo until nearly two months after SFGATE published a story documenting the embargo violation, at which point the DCC contacted the store to say “there was an illegal pesticide in that particular batch that we sold,” according to the manager.

A DCC spokesperson told SFGATE in February that the store was notified of the original embargo and has since been cited for selling the embargoed product. A second Bloomerang manager who also declined to share their name told SFGATE in February that the DCC fined the store $50,000 for selling five of the embargoed vape pens (the store had originally told SFGATE that 12 of the contaminated pens were sold to the public). The DCC has yet to warn the public about the vape pen.

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by James Kunstler

“‘The rule of law is under threat!’ the Regime shrieks, as it throws its political foes into the gulag — Benjamin Weingarten

The florid carbuncle of Woke-Maoist lawfare weeps its vile effluvium across the social landscape, poisoning whatever it touches, and nothing in the armory of reason, principle, or good faith avails to heal it. Sickness rages through the body politic. You have lost faith in all the doctors, and they have lost faith in themselves. The fever intensifies. The crisis is upon us. Which way will fate turn us? Toward death or recovery?

The poison killing our country is pervasive untruth. Every institution we have relied on to run the public interest has become a factory churning out lies, evasions, and misdirection — not unlike the way mRNA “vaccines” turned the cells in your bodies into tiny generators of spike proteins destroying your organs. Likewise, half the population, apparently, thinks this is a good thing, that we need more lawfare — the perversion of law by attorney perverts — and that we need ever more lies, evasions, and misdirection (just as the degenerates who run Harvard declare their student body needs more mRNA boosters to remain in school).

Since the doctors have all failed — miserably and dishonorably — America needs an exorcism. The poisons in our system are actual persons carrying out their programmed assignments, just as the spike proteins in the bodies of millions act as individual agents of destruction in your body. What possible invocation can drive out the likes of Mayorkas, Christopher Wray, Avril Haines, William Burns, Merrick Garland, Lisa Monaco, Marc Elias, Norm Eisen, Jack Smith, Jake Sullivan, Mark Zuckerberg, Mandy Cohen, Rachel Maddow, Daniel Sachs Goldman, Jamie Raskin, Mitch McConnell, Charles “Chuck” Schumer, “Joe Biden” (the remnant of a person, after all), and a thousand others in high places behaving in a way indistinguishable from demons?

What explains their devotion to untruth? What motivates them? Can it possibly be the mere perqs and comforts of their positions? Are they answering a call? And who is issuing that call? Or are they just trapped by their many years of lying continually, fearful of getting cast into prison? Are you asking yourselves: what will satisfy these maniacs? Anything short of the ruin of our country? What will their coveted power be worth in a ruined country?

Mr. Trump volunteered to play the role of exorcist in this grand psychodrama. Whatever else you make of him, he has shown a lot of fortitude. Eight years ago, when he came on the scene, he appeared to not know that his opponents were actually demons seeking to wreck the country; rather just low persons sunk in the most common venal corruption, and others mere zealots steeped in futile utopian fantasies of perfecting the flawed human condition. He learned eventually that the situation was more dire than he ever imagined. His opponents came after him hard from the get-go and keep coming at him. Russia is the knout they use in the attempt to flay him alive.

“Russia Russia Russia” has been one long, elaborate lie. They’re going at it again, pretending that Mr. Trump seeks Russian help interfering in the fall election, despite the plain fact that all previous invocations of “Russia Russia Russia” were revealed to be untrue, and maliciously so — and that all the actual election interference originated with the gang shouting “Russia Russia Russia.” It looks like more than half the country is refusing to fall for it this time. Thus, the resort to lawfare, the five cases (so far) designed to bankrupt Mr. Trump and gain a felony conviction for objecting to the election shenanigans of 2020.

The lawfare claque around “Joe Biden” — Mary McCord, Lisa Monaco, Marc Elias, Norm Eisen — tutored the likes of Letitia James, Fani Willis, and Alvin Bragg to bring these cases in jurisdictions ruled by the votaries of Abraxas, the gnostic demon-God that drives the Party of Chaos. New York Attorney General Letitia James won the first round with an utterly truthless case, decided despotically by Judge Engoron without a trial, that, for now, has created awful tactical problems for Mr. Trump. He may adroitly overcome the $355-million judgment to bring his appeal, and at some point up the ladder of review, Ms. James will be subject to the disgrace and punishment she deserves. Ms. Willis already has been wrung through her tribulation and revealed herself to be an experienced and dedicated liar unfit to bring the case that was gifted to her by the lawfare orcs. Mr. Bragg’s idiotic case based on a tortured chimera of state and federal law, will be served up soon with a pre-determined outcome.

What all these cases have in common is that they were concocted as if no such thing as consequence exists. The first consequence for the stupid office-holders duped into bringing these cases is that they will be dishonored and broken by their bad choices. The second consequence is that they will deepen the suppressed racial animosity in our country — as designed heinously to do by the white leftist elitists manipulating these black state and county attorneys — and possibly drive us into tragic race war to complete the destruction of our country they’ve wished and worked for.

The special counsel Jack Smith’s federal cases, on the other hand, look like a complete bust. The one in the DC federal district court under Judge Chutkan is unraveling on its obvious lack of merit, its misapplication of the statutes cited, and Mr. Smith’s illegitimate appointment under the rules governing special counsels. The so-called Mar-a-Lago document case in Florida appears to have been a smokescreen for the FBI’s attempt to repossess documentary evidence of its own criminal role in the 2015-to-2019 RussiaGate caper. I predict Judge Aileen Cannon will end up dismissing the whole thing as, in effect, a DOJ-sponsored hoax on the court.

This battle has a long way to go. It is clearly a battle of good against manifest evil. The evil side has done its thing — waged war on the American people — by working overtime to systematically derange your minds. Next, they will seek to go after whatever money you still have, whatever things of value you possess, and whatever remaining liberties you enjoy. Pay attention as events unspool.

* * *

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane. 

— Erich Fromm

* * *

CHRISTOPHER LOCKYEAR, Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), told the UN Security Council this week that: “Israeli forces have attacked our convoys, detained our staff, bulldozed our vehicles, hospitals have been bombed and raided. And now for a second time, one of our staff shelters has been hit. This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence. Our colleagues in Gaza are fearful that as I speak to you today, they will be punished tomorrow…The humanitarian response in Gaza today is an illusion. A convenient illusion that perpetuates a narrative that this war is being waged in line with international laws. Calls for humanitarian assistance have echoed across this chamber. Yet in Gaza, we have less and less every day, less space, less medicine, less food, less water, less safety.”

* * *

Every civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction, and the same cycle shows in them all. The Republic is born, flourishes, decays into plutocracy, and is captured by the shoemaker whom the mercenaries and millionaires make into a king. The people invent their oppressors, and the oppressors serve the function for which they are invented. 

— Mark Twain


  1. Joseph Turri February 24, 2024

    “So I gathered all my 1099s yesterday to prepare for taxes and lo and behold – I had 2 from the County of Mendocino – 1 for $1,000, one for $3,000. Only problem is that I have not worked for them since 2021! And they say “RENT” on them! What do I do? Who do I take them to? Like what in the actual hell?”
    Carole Brodsky

    May I suggest one more question……. Who actually got the money reflected in those 1099s?
    Just asking…

    • Carrie Shattuck February 24, 2024

      The Auditors office sends out tax forms, contact them.
      Good question, who did get the money?

    • Scott Ward February 24, 2024

      Contact the District Attorney

  2. Harvey Reading February 24, 2024


    I love it when conservatives or neolibs start howling. I’m all for jacking up taxes to 1950s levels on the well-off. Put ’em in their proper places.


    Growth is a terminal illness for any species. Human monkeys have exceeded their growth limits, especially in terms of carrying capacity of their habitat. It’s just a matter of time…and not much of it left…

  3. chuck dunbar February 24, 2024


    Mr. Kunstler leads us on as he writes his coming novel of political fantasy, column by column. The title is rumored to be “The Exorcist,” and a movie is also planned:

    “…Mr. Trump volunteered to play the role of exorcist in this grand psychodrama. Whatever else you make of him, he has shown a lot of fortitude. Eight years ago, when he came on the scene, he appeared to not know that his opponents were actually demons seeking to wreck the country; rather just low persons sunk in the most common venal corruption, and others mere zealots steeped in futile utopian fantasies of perfecting the flawed human condition. He learned eventually that the situation was more dire than he ever imagined..”.

  4. Harvey Reading February 24, 2024


    Zioinsts have been murderous throughout their existence. The US government is just as bad in terms of inflicting destruction and genocide on people, beginning with the rampage inflicted on our own Native American populations…and the list from that time on is very, very long. Fortunately, the pathetic human species will soon be gone…and not to the “heaven” of some ridiculous god it created in its own image: goofy looking and filled with meanness.

  5. Anonymous February 24, 2024

    James Kunstler

    I’m being told by Woke,
    that Impact matters more,
    Than Intention.

    Argue among yourselves.

  6. Jacob February 24, 2024

    Adam may be right about recalling Katrina but she could do us all a favor and just retire or resign. This is not about her, it is about the public’s ability to trust our elections are free and fair and that is in doubt because of the comedy of errors plaguing the current election for Supervisor, particularly in the competitive First District. The buck stops with Katrina and she should have the grace to accept responsibility rather than apparently trying to intimidate people who correctly question her management of our local elections.

    • MAGA Marmon February 24, 2024

      Since when did Democrats start caring about free and fair elections? This question is in general and not meant to target any one individual.

      MAGA Marmon

      • Marshall Newman February 24, 2024

        Says the person who backs Trump and the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

        • Call It As I See It February 24, 2024

          Why do you ignore the big lie Hillary Clinton paid for in 2016?

          Why do you ignore Joe Biden’s lie that he never talked business with drug addicted son?

          Both of those lies are felonies in an equal justice system.

          • Marshall Newman February 25, 2024

            Maybe felonies, but in terms of danger to the U.S. democracy, nowhere near close in scale.

  7. Call It As I See It February 24, 2024

    I noticed Bruce printed his response to me in the AVA today. Before I go on, I hope all is well with your recovery.

    I would like to inform fellow readers what his response was about. I wrote how the Clerk/Recorder/Assessor’s. Office has failed under the direction of Katrina Bartolomei and her predecessors.

    This office was combined over two decades ago. It turned out to be a huge mistake. Emphasis was put on elections and the Assessor part was treated like the red headed stepchild. This led to high turnover and experienced assessors were the ones leaving. The office to this day is not fully staffed.

    This leads me back to the BOS combining Auditor/Controller and Treasurer/ Tax Collector. If the BOS would have done their due diligence, staring them right in the face was failure of what combined offices look like. But they had a different plan, and it was political. Who cares what it does to the County, as long as we gain control of the finances. Plus, Chamise Cubbison is not a team player.

    Let’s now bring it back to Katrina Bartolomei, a seasoned veteran in County politics and knows when to put on the charm, unlike Cubbison. Katrina knew the state of the Assessor’s office, not good. Two years behind on reassessing the sales of property. Which means a supplemental bill overrun and property owners receive a huge bill that sends them into cardiac arrest. Most people think the Tax Collector is responsible since they send out the bill, perfect camouflage for the Assessor’s Office. This has left uncollected money sitting out there and not everyone who receives the supplemental can pay the large amount which forces a payment plan.

    Katrina’s issue is that the “Cubbison Plan” that Williams orchestrated drew attention to her office.

    So now we have election ballot problems, it’s pretty much their only focus and in today’s AVA Bartolomei admits the latest issues is her office’s fault.

    So I ask, is she doing a great job?

    • Bruce Anderson February 25, 2024

      IN a very difficult context, i think she’d doing well. I don’t understand the ref to Cubbison as not a team player. So what? She apparenly got along well with colleagues.Eyster went after her because she challenged his chiseling of public money. which, I’M SURE TAXPAYERS APPRECIATE.

  8. MAGA Marmon February 24, 2024

    Trump could turn California red on just the water issue alone. All the way from the Klamath to the Tijuana River.

    Water is life.

    MAGA Marmon

    • MAGA Marmon February 24, 2024

      I dare Newsome to go head to head with Trump, Trump will win bigly.


      • Bruce Anderson February 24, 2024

        No ‘e’ at the end of Newsom, and he’d beat the orange windbag fer shure

        • George Hollister February 24, 2024

          Trump’s out of control mouth would make sure Newsom would beat him, like Trump’s mouth would make sure Biden will beat him as well. Middle of the road voters have little patience for narcissistic windbags, as they should. Of course then Trump would claim the election was rigged. A vote for Trump in the primary is a vote for Kamala Harris.

  9. Rye N Flint February 24, 2024

    Big thanks to Adam Gaska.

    I want to give a big thanks to Adam for telling me about the stove replacement voucher program from the Air Quality Board. I just received it and got an estimate from the Homestore for a new stove. I can’t wait to fire up my new stove! It took a month for them to process the paperwork, but that is understandable, since they were moving to a new location at the time.

    Stay Warm Mendo,
    Rye N Flint

  10. k h February 24, 2024

    I just want to thank Mike Geniella for writing about Dave Nelson. That was lovely. He was a gentleman and a good person.

    • chuck dunbar February 24, 2024

      When I worked my last few years as a social worker supervisor for Family and Children’s Services, Dave Nelson was the Juvenile Court judge who oversaw our work. I observed his fine leadership many times as I came to court on our coast cases. In a courtroom marked by the saddest of circumstances, Judge Nelson was a judge’s judge. He was quietly in charge of his courtroom, clear, kind, thoughtful, respectful of all parties, and in turn respected by all. He was just what a judge should be– a paragon of virtue in his tough role– and it was a lesson for all of us. I am saddened to hear that he passed on at such an early age.

      • k h February 24, 2024

        I’m sad about the loss too. The county was lucky to have both you & Judge Nelson looking out for the interests of citizens. We’re lucky to have Mike writing for us as well.

  11. Mazie Malone February 24, 2024

    Happy Saturday,
    I have a question, I am hoping someone has the answer and can enlighten me. Figured I would get a better answer here rather than using facebook for my inquiry. So here goes, what has happened to the effect of daylight savings time on winter? I noticed last year and it is happening again this year that we do not get dark at 5 pm! Why is this happening? I just think it’’s freaky and I want it to go back to being dark at 5 in the winter!! …… thanks for any and all input…

    • Eli Maddock February 25, 2024

      We are in “Standard Time” currently until March when “Savings Time” starts and the clock moves forward one hour. Back to dark mornings and sad school kids.
      We have been getting more sunlight since the solstice, Dec. 22. Thus the natural cycle we see each and every year at 37 degrees north. At the equator days stay 12hrs light and 12hr dark all year.

      • Mazie Malone February 25, 2024

        thank you … ❤️

        mm 💕

  12. Stephen Rosenthal February 24, 2024

    I don’t know who the Dodger is, but I wouldn’t want him on my team. Insecure!

  13. Brunorue February 24, 2024

    Editor: Please get better! Counting on you to be around and in your unfailing good form for some years more. The AVA and your writing has meant a LOT to me lo these many decades. Please don’t get mad at me for saying you’re great and please don’t stop now. Maybe you could slow down a little but I bet you aren’t even capable of that.

    • Bruce Anderson February 25, 2024

      Don’t think I don’t appreciate your kind words. Depleted at the moment but I won’t be depleted long.

      • Chuck Wilcher February 25, 2024

        Same sentiments from, Bruce. As a avid, long time reader of the mighty AVA I wish you well.

  14. michael turner February 26, 2024

    Kunstler In Wonderland., or, Kunstler Through The Looking Glass.

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