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Mendocino County Today: Monday 2/26/24

Cloudy | Toothwort | Murder Inquiry | Coffee v Tea | Sheriff's Statement | Massive Windfall | UDJ Endorses | Measure R | AV Calendar | Ukiah View | Phone Service | Hopland Piano-rama | Bari Tale | Woodland Creek | Not Funny | Eraser Memory | Ukiah Decline | Yesterday's Catch | Sakoverse | Legendary Bookstore | NY Weed | Pancake Party | Paper Memories | Geoffrey Chaucer | Loser Curse | Moonlit Lane | Power Rates | Against Porter | Palm Beach | Prayer | Only You | Support Ukraine | Maddow Hosanna | Space Nukes | Gaza Holocaust | Bloody Aye | Dark Heart | Black Workers | Hell & Earth | Boot Hill

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LIGHT TO MODERATE RAINFALL will move through the North Coast today along a cold front. Cooler air will settle in behind the front tonight. A multifaceted, powerful and very cold storm system will then unleash heavy rain, strong winds and heavy snowfall late in the week and into the weekend. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A partly cloudy 48F on the coast this Monday morning. Cloudy & breezy today then overnight temps dropping significantly the next few days. Rain returns Wednesday night thru Saturday. DO NOT go to Tahoe this weekend without checking road conditions as BIG snow is forecast for the Sierra later this week.

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Cardamine californica (Elaine Kalantarian)

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by Katie Dowd

An investigation into a fire that razed a Mendocino County home has turned into a murder inquiry after a body was found in the ashes.

On Feb. 20 at around 7:30 a.m., firefighters from the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department were called to a home on the 39000 block of Little River Airport Road in Little River.

There, they discovered the four-story house was fully engulfed in flames. Some of the volunteer firefighters knew the woman who lived there, 75-year-old Linda Mercurio. She lived alone and her car, also ablaze, was still parked outside the residence.

Fearing Mercurio may be caught in the conflagration, Mendocino County sheriff's deputies were asked to check out the scene.

Shortly before they arrived, firefighters said they saw Fletcher Pinkham, Mercurio's son, emerged from a "nearby wooded area in an altered state and appeared to need medical attention."

When deputies arrived, they searched the woods and found Pinkham's guns, ammunition, clothing and vehicle, a news release from the sheriff's office said. Pinkham was taken into custody at the scene.

Deputies were told by the firefighters that the area was "unstable and too hot" to enter immediately. "The multiple-story residence collapsed on itself due to the fire, making it difficult to fully extinguish the fire to safely commence search efforts" for Mercurio, the sheriff's office said. Deputies were posted at the scene for three days while the rubble cooled.

In the meantime, Chico State's Forensic Anthropology Department was contacted for expert help.

On Feb. 23, they were able to access the site and "after multiple hours of systematically searching," law enforcement officers found human remains. Due to the condition of the remains, official identification is still pending.

"Based on the evidence located at the scene and nearby wooded area, investigators determined a violent interaction had occurred between Pinkham and his mother, Mercurio," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "It was also believed based on this evidence and statements provided by Pinkham that Mercurio was shot and killed and the fire was intentionally set to destroy evidence and conceal the violent nature of the crime."

Pinkham has been charged with murder and using a firearm during the commission of a serious felony. He is due in court for a plea hearing on Monday. The investigation is still ongoing.

Anyone with information about Pinkham is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4086 or their anonymous tip line at 707-234-2100.


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I was clear with my PIO, Capt. Cromer we wouldn’t be releasing anything on this investigation until the crime scene investigation was complete.

Due to the large amount of burned debris the scene held heat for several days. I had deputies posted at the scene for security until it cooled to the point we could safely enter.

There was no outstanding suspect nor danger to the community.

We completed the crime severe investigation and completed the press release after the scene was released. Mendofever put an article out on this yesterday.

(Sheriff Matt Kendall)

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Went to Lake Mendocino last week and discovered about 18 mature trees near the playground - all completely uprooted, all facing the exact same direction.

It was an amazing sight which no longer exists - the Parlin Fork crew was out yesterday cutting and burning which, given the number of trees and the potential safety hazards was probably for the best. I’ve never seen anything like it. Some had pretty sad root systems but not all. The ground was sodden, so maybe the lake rose all the way up to that area and a massive wind gust during our recent storms took them down. Glad no one was injured. Birds were chirping madly and flittering about all the downed trees.

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UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL ENDORSES: Gaska, Mulheren, Norvell for Supervisor March 5

Today, Sunday February 25, 2024, we are endorsing the people we believe are the best choice for supervisor in Mendocino County in the primary election March 5.

In talking to candidates we heard a number of similar themes: The county needs more transparency from its county government; there’s way too much buddy system in promotions and the hierarchy; public input is minimal if sought at all; and there appears to be little debate about anything anymore.

We agree and most of the candidates out there see it. Nonetheless we noted differences among candidates that helped us make our decisions.

For 1st District, the seat being vacated by Supervisor Glenn McGourty, we endorse Adam Gaska. Mr. Gaska is a lifelong county resident who has been involved in his community. He has been an active businessman and farmer, owner of Mendocino Organics, a member of the Redwood Valley Water District and the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council. Mr. Gaska is also the agricultural representative on the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

In our conversation with Mr. Gaska we found a man who has a good grip on what this county needs, from water policy to small business promotion, and he strikes us as someone who will be active and involved in the complex challenges of the job as county supervisor. We like his stance that the supervisors are often not demanding from staff the specific information they need to make policy decisions and are therefore not fully informed when making those decisions.

In the 2nd District, we endorse incumbent Maureen Mulheren. We believe Ms. Mulheren has made mistakes in her first term but has learned from them. County supervisor is a hard job, especially in the current financial crisis and Ms. Mulheren knows that the county needs to get its financial house in order. She has also learned that people don’t like change and the county system has some ingrained attitudes that need pushback, but she also promotes getting line workers market rate pay while curbing the tendency to anoint staff with supervisory jobs just to give them raises.

She believes the county needs to do a better job of accessing state and federal funds where available rather than plugging in general funds, she is involved in finally getting tax sharing between the county and its cities, reducing county real estate holdings, and getting the supervisors to admit when they make a mistake (ie, the veterans hall eviction).

Ms. Mulheren’s only opponent is a well meaning person but inexperienced and we encourage him to get more involved in county issues as he pursues politics.

In the 4th District we endorse Fort Bragg’s Bernie Norvell. Our sister newspaper, The Fort Bragg Advocate-News has given Norvell the nod in this endorsement:

Mr. Norvell was elected to the Fort Bragg City Council in 2016 and has been successful in addressing some of the most pressing community issues during his tenure. He has focused on tackling problems such as homelessness, transience, mental health, substance abuse, and housing and recognizes the importance of providing support and assistance to those who need it the most.

Mr. Novell has demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges facing Fort Bragg and the surrounding area. He has worked closely with local organizations and community leaders to develop innovative solutions to these issues, and his efforts have been recognized as an example of effective leadership and civic engagement.

Considering the success of Mr. Norvell’s approach in Fort Bragg, we strongly believe that the county could greatly benefit from adopting similar strategies to address its many challenges.

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Hello AV Community! I am reaching out on behalf of our local Anderson Valley Parks & Recreation Department. We would LOVE to expand upon what Steve created for so many years and provide a public monthly/seasonal calendar for our Anderson Valley community (both print & online) highlighting events/activities & services available for all ages and we would like to include the services that you may provide.

If you currently are or are planning to soon offer any events/activities/services, please send me an email with any details you are ready to share and let’s see if we can include your services in our first print!

(*If you know of an event/activity that someone else offers, send me their contact info and I’ll reach out to get details).

This first edition would be SPRING (March, April, May).

Helpful information would be:

Event/Activity Name : 

Dates ( or “ongoing”) : 

Day(s) : 

Time(s) : 

Location : 

Description :

Ages : 

Cost : 

Teacher/Host : 

Contact Name (if different than Teacher/Host) :

Contact Email : 

Contact Phone :

Other info?

email :

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Ford Rd Ukiah, SW View (Jeff Goll)

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To correct a letter in last week’s AVA, landlines and internet connected telephone service are not the same.

Landlines are what they’ve always been: telephone service delivered by copper wires strung along telephone poles. The internet connected phones, called VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, are wired to an internet modem (or whatever they call the plastic box with the red and green blinking lights) that also provides AT&T’s wifi and internet service. When the PG&E power goes out, the VOIP service goes out. Landlines keep working. You can hook up a battery backup to the VOIP system, which will keep the phones working, but I don’t know how long that lasts.

People can get confused because both landlines and the VOIP service work with the same old-fashioned telephones that landlines have always used. And AT&T is encouraging the confusion with deceptive full-page ads they are running every day in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, with a big headline, “Keep the phone in your home: Get the Facts.” The “Keep the phone” ad is pure bullshit. Yes, you can keep the old phone when AT&T discontinues landlines but the landline wires hooked to the phone will no longer work.

We switched from a landline to the internet phone service about a year ago, keeping the same old push-button phone and the same phone number. AT&T was continually raising the landline rates and was charging extra for all long-distance calls. The landline got too expensive. The VOIP system usually works okay, as long as we have PG&E, but the quality of the voice transmission is definitely inferior to landline. And it’s quirky like most internet service, and occasionally doesn’t connect. Sometimes we have to switch to the cell phone to make a call.

I don’t know if Alexander Graham Bell would be laughing or crying.

Bear Kamoroff


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I used to live in Ukiah, and sometimes read the AVA, mostly for amusement. A friend who also used to live there gave me a copy of the paper from 1/31/24.

I found your “Love letter to St. Mary’s hospital” interesting. Perhaps you have mellowed in your old age. It brought to mind an event from years ago.

I was an ER physician at UVMC (now retired). We were a small hospital and ER, and staffed accordingly. On one of my first shifts, the ER was overwhelmed with what I remember as over 10 patients who arrived at once.

They were involved in a collision involving a logging truck and car. The passengers of the car were Judi Bari and some of her associates. These patients claimed that the logging truck had struck them intentionally, as there was then a well known dispute between Bari and logging interests.

For my part, I had not even heard of her, and had no knowledge of the dispute. I treated all the patients with respect and good care.

None of them had life threatening injuries. They were triaged and attended to as quickly as possible under the circumstances. All were ultimately treated and discharged with minor injuries.

Soon, an article appeared in the AVA claiming that the Bari group were treated with disrespect and received poor medical care. The article named names, including mine. I was flabbergasted.

None of my colleagues were interviewed for the story, nor were any attempts made to fact check. The entire story was based on what Bari said.

She was a known anti-establishment agitator. Her story fit right in with what I later learned was the world view of your newspaper.

I find it interesting that you go to great lengths to describe the skin color and ethnicities of the wonderful staff at St. Mary’s. Did the fact that most of us at UVMC were white influence your attitude when you wrote about us?

The care you received at St. Mary’s was exactly like the care Ms. Bari received at our place, as it should be. I’m happy to see that you found a hospital and ER you don’t have to beat up over contrived, one sided nonsense.

Jeffrey Rapp


ED REPLY: Thank you for condescending to upon occasion read the mighty ava for it's amusement value. If it's any consolation, Bari was a lie machine, as are a number of her followers. I'm sorry you were among her many victims. I've never been treated with anything but respect by the medical profession, and I take your professional behavior as a given. I am puzzled by your complaint that I pointed out the ethnicity of some of the people who treated me. I hope you aren't suggesting ill intent on my part. You may find it irrelevant, but the multi-ethic staffing at UCSF seems a marvel of multi-ethnic functioning.

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Woodland Creek (photo mk)

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MARCO McCLEAN (After reading another letter supporting the changing of Fort Bragg’s name to something else, purportedly because Braxton Bragg was a bad man who defended slavery and was a Confederate General): 

“I’m trying to stop myself from saying that I’m getting a little tired of this changing-the-name-of-Fort-Bragg crap. I’m not really getting tired of it, it’s just that that’s exactly what it is! It’s not funny anymore. At first it was funny because of course it’s not going to happen! But then it turned into Why can’t these people see it’s never going to happen? And now it’s every week I get another story like this to read out loud and it’s the same thing over and over and over and it’s not convincing me. It’s just not really funny anymore and I think that’s what I’m tired of. 

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What I remember about third grade. Mrs. Doggett put us in groups of four desks.

Judy Rawles was being teased by someone. (I don’t want to say who.) So she threw this big eraser at him. Meanwhile, Tony Jackson was watching the whole thing.

The eraser went through the next group of desks. Tony ducked and it hit Mrs. Doggett right in the head. I still remember the look on her face. She was pissed.

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by Tommy Waye Kramer

Ukiah, the city where failure knows no bottom and where ineptitude goes unnoticed, is once again failing and those in charge are shrugging it off.

The town is coming apart at the seams. Businesses are dying off, moving out or giving up. JC Penney’s has been a fixture in town since buffalo roamed Highway 101, a road that hadn’t yet been built.

And today Penney’s is going the way of the buffalo, along with the brontosaurus and the snipe.

What next? The city doesn’t have many more retail merchants to spare, not that anyone at city hall is counting. But just for fun you and I can list a few stores that no longer call Ukiah home:

Skate City, Curry’s Furniture, North State Cafe, Bank of America, K-Mart, Beverly’s Fabrics, East Perkins BBQ, Village Books, Palace Hotel, ye olde Post Office, Dig Music , Satellite Motel, GNC Health, D Williams Jewelers, Perkins Street Grille, about 20 bars, pubs, tavern and saloons, Carl’s Jr., Ukiah Bowling Alley, NorCal Dermatology, Freedom Skates. In the next 60 seconds you’ll think of 10 more.

You and I might assume all these closed businesses and boarded-up shops are important. We might think lost jobs will result in significant unemployment, family stress and suffering, reduced “Shop Local!” opportunities and loss of tax revenues, but City Hall could see things differently.

No city administrator would ever be caught dead in JC Penney’s, and none have ever considered rollerskating or bowling. They think BBQ is for backyards and rednecks.

Taxes? Why shouldn’t the city just balance retail tax losses by jacking up utility rates a few bucks per family? It’s not like cable TV. Citizens can’t just drop PG&E and purchase utilities from one of its competitors.

Now let’s talk marijuana. Until recently weed was the foundation and backbone of Ukiah’s economy, as outlaw growers spent money where it counts: local shops, stores, bars and restaurants. Government got shorted. Boo-Hoo.

I’d rather car lots, farm supply outlets, nurseries, clothing stores and restaurants get the money than have the city, county or state chew it up and vomit the money back up on nonprofit grants, pointless homeless expenditures and all the other follies clever politicians find to spend tax dollars.

Dave Nelson For The Defense

Last I spent time with Dave Nelson was among friends at an afternoon lunch in Hopland, him mired in the sticky web of Parkinson’s decline. I drove.

We’d known each other many decades. My daughter and his were friends and went to Mariposa School together. He was steady, quiet, reserved, smart and funny. He laughed a lot and cried a lot; everyone has a Dave-bursting-into tears-story.

He’d been a high school sports star and a defensive back on very good Stanford football teams; in Ukiah he was a stud in softball and basketball. It might have been enough for most of us, but Dave was destined for more.

Prior to being appointed judge, he was among the best criminal defense lawyers in Ukiah, and Ukiah was blessed with a bunch: Richard Petersen, Bert Schlosser, Teri Capriolo, Jan Cole-Wilson, Ann Moorman, Keith Faulder, John Behnke, Jonna Saxbe and, briefly, Dave Eyster.

But in 2024 the gap between what Dave Nelson had been compared to his present state was a wide one. His health wasn’t good, and getting worse. He whispered, he shuffled, hadn’t much stamina and his appetite wasn’t so hot.

The irony was stark. I told him his plight was the stuff of literature: By story’s end A) the Olympic sprinter has a leg amputated, B) the great artist goes blind, C) a beautiful actress has botched facelifts and loses her looks and D) the philosopher loses his mind.

Harsh? Insensitive? I meant neither. Dave was silent 30 seconds, a bit long for a comfortable pause. Then he turned and grinned:

“Should I have lived a different life? Been like you? A heart attack and fall over dead?”

We laughed and laughed.

He lived a great and decent life, achieved lofty goals and earned the respect and admiration of all who knew him.

(Tom Hine also recalls Dave as a principled, non-hysterical Democrat and a major Bob Dylan fan. TWK envisions him in the big courthouse stadium in the sky.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, February 25, 2024

Carlos, Idica, Lambert

MARIA CARLOS, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, probation revocation.

VICTORIA IDICA, Ukiah. Organic drug sales, failure to appear, probation revocation.

KRISTINA LAMBERT, Clearlake/Ukiah. Stolen property, burglary tools, probation revocation.

Ramirez, Randall, Ray



CASEY RAY, Ukiah. County parole violation, resisting.

Rodriguez, Saari, Smith

JUAN RODRIGUEZ-MEZA, Willits. Domestic battery.

PETER SAARI, Ukiah. Trespassing-occupation of property without consent, parole violation.

RONDY SMITH, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person.

Williams, Zaccaria, Zynda

ANTOINE WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DIANE ZACCARIA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence.

WESLEY ZYNDA, Ukiah. Suspended license for refusing chem test.

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Calluna vulgaris

commonly known as Ling, Scots heather

tolerant of high wind and heavy frost


Here, TiBs (tebibytes) of propagated traits.

Here, the genetics of the Scottish Highlands --

 a heather tolerant of moaning wind

 (I once bent fast beneath its chastening rod);

 a mat-forming foam of mauve (mallow)

 (urn-shaped flowers into fall); also

 phenolic compounds in its shoots 

 (bonded to an aromatic hydrocarbon group); and

 a nectar containing a megastigmane (callunene)

 inhibitory at naturally occurring concentrations

 to a common trypanosome parasite

 of bumble bees (Crithidia bombi)

 (...the mechanism of its activity results in the loss

 of the parasite's flagellum, leading to reduced infectivity,

 because the flagellum is crucial to anchoring

 in the insect gut) --

all in my trays of potted heather for sale

at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

Potting plants is such wonderous labor.

I am tripping (slightly)

in the fragrant heather and heat.

Today, I am potting Kinlochruel.

 Kinlochruel --

 shooting stars of white

 against a sky of bright green.

Cultivars (cultivated varieties)

of Kinlochruel

include a foliage of silvery grey.


Kinlochruel dances

in snow

until its feet break.


Kinlochruel dances

in love, in fear --

the summer weeps.

– John Sakowicz

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by Jonah Raskin

A recent story (February 26) in The New Yorker magazine that describes the woes of the legal cannabis industry in the Empire State might prompt California marijuana growers, dealers, sellers and users to declare, “I told you so.” The story titled, “In the Weeds” by Jia Tolentino, a long time staff writer, offers blistering quotations, staggering facts and amusing anecdotes. 

What it doesn’t say and ought to say is that no government or government agency, no matter how savvy, can take an industry that has been illegal and underground for decades and transform it quickly and smoothly into a legal entity that provides good quality weed to consumers, well-paying jobs to employees and profits to investors. You can’t end slavery, capitalism or patriarchy with a stroke of the pen, and you can’t abolish the long running cannabis industry with a law and the best of intentions. 

An employee with The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) — the agency created to oversee the legalization of marijuana in the Empire State York — said, “New York isn’t basing this [its program} on any existing model. They're basing it on trying to do the right thing.” 

How stupid can you be? You’d think that a fledgling program would aim to learn from existing programs and try to improve on them. No such luck. In all its hubris, the Empire State has wanted to reinvent the marijuana wheel. Instead of looking at the legalization and decriminalization experiences in California and elsewhere, proud and idiotic New Yorkers have turned their backs on what other states have done for the last few decades. 

So, they have duplicated errors and mistakes, taken the money of wanna be legal operators and ran with it, creating a bureaucratic nightmare. They have hired people like Chris Webber, a former NBA all-star, to run the program, though they have little or any experience with the cannabis industry. Makes no sense. I'm speaking and writing here as a longtime marijuana journalist who has observed the weed world in California and New York.

New York has seized 250,000 pounds of marijuana and held it in warehouses where the quality is rapidly deteriorating while the issues remain unresolved. New York has boasted that it’s the only state in the US to have a crop that’s totally grown under the sun and not in greenhouses. Tolentino quotes a longtime Bronx cultivator who says, “The quality is so bad.” I believe him. 

A woman who is unnamed and identified only by her pink skirt is quoted as saying, “I don't think the government made this confusing on accident. I think they did that shit on purpose.” I have heard cannabis connoisseurs all over California come to the very same conclusion. Perhaps New York didn’t intend to create a mess, but it has created a mess. 

The Empire State has created much the same marijuana mess that California created, one in which, as Tolentino writes, taxes were exorbitantly high, and “regulatory struggles were sandbagging the legal market.” He added that “small businesses were going bankrupt, corporations moving to less restrictive markets and the majority of weed purchases were still made illegally.” 

Welcome to the marijuana madhouse. It might be funny, but peoples’ lives are at stake. “I’m Black,” a shafted weed dealer named Sirvon says. “I’m from the hood. I was promised forty acres and a mule, and I ain’t seen that shit yet. It’s always a Catch-22 when it comes to Black people.” To which I would add, it’s almost always a Catch-22 when it comes to legacy growers and dealers.

Martin Lee, the author of one of the best books about cannabis, once said to me, “Marijuana seems to have a mind of its own.” Indeed it seems that way, though I know that comment doesn’t sound rational. But very little about the marijuana story has been rational. Sorry, New York, I wish you’d done it differently and created a cannabis program for the people, by the people, and of the people.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.)

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by Paul Modic 

I first started reading the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’ in the ‘70’s, picking up a copy in town with breakfast and my weekly cuppa coffee at The Woodrose Cafe. I remember the day in 1977 when marijuana growing and Garberville made the front page: I was driving to town, my neighbor Kathy stopped going the other way, waved the paper at me, and gave me her extra copy. (When a radical teenager in Indiana I had subscribed to “The Berkeley Tribe.”) 

In the early 80’s my daily routine was hiking down the mountain to water my pot plants, driving into Whitethorn and buying that day’s Chron at the Whitethorn Store, then up the mountain to Shelter Cove to eat fish and chips with Hanson’s soda while reading the paper. 

On the way home I stopped at the Wailaki campground to practice pitching my “sky-ball”: I set up two home plates (two pieces of cardboard cut to the official softball mat size) and practiced pitching for an hour. I threw three softballs, often thirty feet high, walked over and picked up the balls, and then threw them to the other cardboard plate, practicing for the next Sunday game. The Slow-pitch softball league was the largest weekly Southern Humboldt gathering in those days: a couple hundred players in the league and about as many friends, fans, and family. (I put on a lot of weight with all those fish and chips and sodas.) 

In the mid-eighties I set up a Chronicle delivery service in Whale Gulch, 22 and a half miles from town the sign said, and my “subscribers” got the Chronicle same day, by 11 am! I set up a deal with Pee Wee, who distributed the Chronicle throughout the Garberville area, filling all those yellow boxes. He dropped our bundle of copies at the post office each day except Sunday, and the mailman brought them out to the sticks and put them in the big mailbox by the school. 

I had talked it up, found about eleven Chronicle fans, and once or twice a year rode my four-wheeler up the dirt roads to their houses to collect the forty bucks for half a year, in advance, I’m no fool. (Okay, I was a fool, but that’s all the other stories.) Once I had all the money I met with Pee Wee and his wife in their kitchen in Garberville and paid him for the next six months. People came up throughout the day to pick up their paper, a daily ritual to look forward to out in the woods in the middle of somewhere. 

I had my way of reading the paper, glancing at the sports pages first, then Charles McCabe, Stanton Delaplane, and later Jon Carroll, next over to check out this guy Herb Caen’s gossip column, and then over to the first page of the entertainment section. My perusal complete, I settled into the Sporting Green and read all of that, then all of Herb Caen, the entertainment section, and then tackled the front page and all the hard news. 

{With The Anderson Valley Advertiser I first skim through it to see if I have a story in, then read the blurbs in “Here and There In Mendocino County,” glance at the front page, on to Valley People, the letters to the editor, and then start working through the paper. I seek the light and lively articles first, like Tommy Wayne Kramer, and finally read mostly everything by the end of the week. (I often skim through Yearsley, ignore most of the local stuff like the Teton Farm report, often skim through the Major’s county government reports, though by god, I actually do end up reading most of his assiduous observations, the Major-ity disapproving.)} 

Whether he’s running out of material or just a big fan, the Editor has recently been running old Herb Caen columns regularly, just the Sunday ones I never read back in the day, as the daily gossip and dirt, the “three dot journalism,” was more to my liking. Now, after reading everything else, I’ll finally read those Sunday reprints, when Herb waxed more poetically and reflectively. 

Over the years we were getting the Chronicle in the Gulch, I called in a couple “witty” items, which Caen put in his column the next day, and when I started my newsletter Gulch Mulch in ‘87, not realizing it was actually a ‘zine, I adopted (stole? borrowed?) Herb’s three dots and wrote a regular column of local gossip a la Herb. (The AVA’s “Off The Record” feature also seems to have its roots in Caen’s style: short, quick, and on to the next one. (Damn, sounds like my sex life.) 

I had heard that Herb Caen was sick and one day on the beach, in Puerto Vallarta in 1997, I said to my girlfriend, “Damn, Herb Caen could’ve died.” I picked up the local English language paper for ex-pats and tourists, “The Mexico City News,” later that morning and found his obituary. Wow, almost thirty years now since Herb Caen’s last bon mots and liberal observations, the most powerful person in San Francisco for decades. (I put the Editor of the AVA, Bruce Anderson, in a class with Caen, wannabes like yours truly can dream of having that talent.) 

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by Eric Branch

After the San Francisco 49ers lost 10 games by five points or fewer in their first two non-playoff seasons under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, the head coach and general manager agreed they wanted players who were “finishers.”

They added it to their vision statement before the 2019 season, went 13-3, reached Super Bowl LIV and then couldn’t close: They became the third team in NFL history to lose a double-digit fourth-quarter lead in a Super Bowl. 

“We built this team to be finishers,” Lynch said three weeks after that 31-20 loss the Chiefs, “and we fell short of that.”

Sound familiar? There’s a reason. Lynch echoed those words two days after this month’s 25-22 overtime loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVIII in which the 49ers again failed to finish. They became the seventh team to lose after having a double-digit lead in a Super Bowl and couldn’t hold late-game leads of 16-13, 19-16 and 22-19.

“One of the things we added (in) ’19 was finishers,” Lynch said. “We need finishers in every area of our team. We’ve got a lot of those. And it still wasn’t quite good enough.”

Since the addition to the vision statement, the 49ers have proved to be historically horrible when it comes to finishing. They have lost two Super Bowls and two NFC Championship Games over the past five seasons, and that includes another excruciating ending. They are two years removed from becoming the fourth team in NFL history to lose a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in a conference title game: They were outscored 13-0 in the final 13-plus minutes in their 20-17 loss to the Rams.

Their latest big-game loss prompts the question: Are these 49ers capable of finishing the job and claiming the franchise’s first Super Bowl title since January 1995, or are they lacking some unquantifiable ingredient?

In the aftermath of the overtime loss to Kansas City, there was a sense the 49ers might have allowed their best chance to win a championship slip away.

“We had more than enough opportunities to go and take it,” All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner said. “Super Bowls aren’t given. You’ve got to take them in the moments when they’re there. And we didn’t. And we had such a team to do it. We had such a great opportunity. We were playing the right way.”

Some context for Warner’s quote: The top-seeded 49ers had an NFL-high nine Pro Bowl players and were two-point favorites to beat the Chiefs in Las Vegas, partly because transcendent quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a lesser supporting cast. Kansas City’s perennially potent offense was 15th in the NFL in points scored last season, the Chiefs’ lowest ranking since 2014, before they became the league’s latest dynasty with their third title in five seasons.

“To me, this one is particularly painful because we have the advantage in the roster,” former 49ers quarterback Steve Young said on KNBR. “We have more talent than anybody. We had it set up nicely at home (in the playoffs). We didn’t have to travel very far for the Super Bowl. And we had the Chiefs in not their best year. So we had it all. And so that to me is the maddening part: OK, if not now, when?

“And so we just have to go create another opportunity. And you know hard that is. … But there’s no one in the building who isn’t about to go do the same thing.”

Indeed, players spoke two days after the Super Bowl about having one more title shot with their big-money constellation of stars, a group that included seven first- or second-team All-Pros in 2023. In 2025, when low-cost quarterback Brock Purdy will be eligible for a massive contract extension and more backloaded contracts hit the books, the 49ers will likely be forced to make difficult decisions that will break up their core.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk shared a message Shanahan and Lynch delivered during the final team meeting: They would navigate offseason salary cap challenges to run it back in 2024. And that was before the NFL announced the 2024 salary cap would skyrocket to $255.4 million, a record $30.6 million increase from last season. 

“They legit just said that to us,” Juszczyk said when asked about retaining their nucleus. “They said they would love to pay Purdy, but they actually can’t. So there’s money to go around to keep this team together. They can figure things out.”

The 49ers have been installed by most oddsmakers as the Super Bowl favorites next season. But they will face significant challenges in their quest for the franchise’s elusive sixth title.

Only three of the first 57 teams to lose a Super Bowl have returned to win a championship the following season, with the 2018 Patriots the only team to do so since 1972.

The so-called curse of the Super Bowl loser has been partly attributed to the postseason wear and tear required to reach the game. And the 49ers have played nine playoff games — more than half a regular season — in the past three seasons with a roster that includes left tackle Trent Williams, 35, Juszczyk, 32, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, 31, tight end George Kittle, 30, and defensive tackle Arik Armstead, 30.

Despite their age, the 49ers avoided major injury issues last season, which could be hard to replicate. Their nine Pro Bowl players combined to miss just five games due to injury.

There is also the matter of the potential psychological fallout from their postseason heartbreaks. Juszczyk, one of nine players who has endured the past four playoff losses, admitted the thought of starting over in the quest to win a Super Bowl felt daunting in the aftermath of the loss to the Chiefs.

However, he fully expects the passion to be rekindled again during the offseason. He rejects the idea that the latest season-ending gut punch will impact the upcoming season. 

“I would dismiss it, because what’s the alternative?” Juszczyk said. “Would you rather be done after Week 17? That would take a bigger toll on me than four out of five years at least making it to the NFC Championship Game. I’ll take that any day. Yeah, the pain sucks. But I really do think it makes you stronger. It hardens you. There’s always a lesson to be learned from it.”

Said Kittle: “Mentally? It’s disappointing. But I’m not discouraged.”

The 49ers’ locker room is stuffed with talent and well-respected leaders. But last season suggested they evidently still didn’t have enough “finishers.” Lynch and Shanahan haven’t defined what constitutes such a player, but it suggests someone who flourishes in the moments when games are decided.

In their Super Bowl losses to the Chiefs, along with their NFC Championship Game defeat to the Rams, the 49ers fell apart at the finish. In the fourth quarter and overtime, they were outscored 46-12, outgained 520-264 and committed eight penalties for 70 yards, while their opponents had two penalties for 10 yards.

After this month’s loss to the Chiefs, Purdy sought out the older veterans. He talked about his regret and expressed his hope that they’ll still all be together if the 49ers finally find a way to complete the mission.

“More than anything I was just telling them sorry,” Purdy said. “And I pray that we have an opportunity again, together, to get back and finish it.”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

Claire Allan 'Abide With Me'

* * *


by Julie Johnson

Northern Californians are paying more per unit of electricity than almost anywhere else in the country. Here’s what’s going on. 

Q: How much did PG&E bills just go up?

A: Pacific Gas and Electric Co. residential electricity rates rose by about 20% on Jan. 1. The rate increase added about $34.50 to monthly bills for typical households (which use about 500 kilowatts of electricity each month), according to the company’s estimates. That’s about $414 more per household for all of 2024 compared to last year. 

The increase was approved in November, and much of it will go toward modernizing PG&E’s gas and electric infrastructure to withstand storms and wildfires. It also will help PG&E prepare for the rising demand for electricity as people shift away from gas-powered appliances and vehicles.

This jump comes amid a decade of rising utility bills: The combined monthly electricity and gas bill for the typical household has risen from $154.52 in January 2016 to $294 in January 2024, according to data from PG&E.

Q: Will electricity rates rise again soon?

A: Bills could rise again later this year with another pending rate increase on top of the 20% boost implemented in January. 

State regulators are considering a smaller rate increase for PG&E, which would add another $14 to $15 to average monthly residential bills for 12 months. This temporary rate hike would allow the company to recover expenses already paid to respond to emergencies, including 15 major storms that hit Northern California last winter. Each year, investor-owned utilities like PG&E can apply to recover extra expenses paid that year, such as storm or fire response — so it is likely that PG&E will request another temporary rate increase in the future to pay for this winter’s storms.

Going forward, PG&E has stated it is working to keep annual customer cost increases at or below inflation, which is typically between 2% and 4%. 

Another change could potentially result in wealthier PG&E customers paying more and lower income customers paying less for power. California lawmakers voted in 2022 to require the state’s private utility companies to restructure how they charge customers in a bid to make billing more fair. Economists say that the current system exacerbates inequalities in how much middle and low income families pay for power relative to wealthy ones.

Q: Why are electricity prices so high? 

A: The biggest reason power prices have risen so sharply in recent years is wildfires. Another factor is the rising cost of labor and supplies. 

Californians pay higher electricity rates — the price per unit of energy — than every other state except Hawaii, as of November. Looking at just the Bay Area, households here paid 138% more per unit of electricity compared to the rest of the country, according to a January report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

California energy prices have been higher historically than the rest of the country because of the challenge of building and maintaining power infrastructure across a large area (PG&E serves 70,000 square miles, which is bigger than most states) that includes the steep and rugged Sierra Nevada. But about 10 years ago, prices started rising quickly, above the rate of inflation, driven in part by costly startup investments in renewable energy and the transmission lines needed to connect new solar projects to the grid. Wildfire-related costs began driving prices even higher starting in 2020, especially as PG&E — whose power lines have started numerous major fires over the past decade — dramatically ramped up spending to upgrade and strengthen its electric and gas infrastructure to adjust to a drier, hotter climate and prevent future disasters.

Even though electricity rates — again, the price per unit of energy — are high in California, monthly energy bills have not been the highest in the country. Bills are higher in some Northeastern states, where winters are long and cold, and some southern states, where summers are very hot. California’s mild climate, particularly along the coast, doesn’t require as much air-conditioning and heating. Even so, Californians’ utility bills were ranked 13th most expensive in the country, according to a recent CNET analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration data. That data is from 2023 and doesn’t incorporate January’s PG&E rate hike.

Q: Why don’t shareholders pay for wildfire-related expenses instead of ratepayers?

A: PG&E shareholders and ratepayers both have responsibilities when it comes to covering costs related to wildfires, and these are established by state law and legal precedent. It’s difficult to discern which group pays more overall, and shareholder revenue is tied to customer payments. A PG&E spokesperson said the company doesn’t have a breakdown of ratepayer and shareholder wildfire costs but noted that state regulators determine what’s reasonable for each group to cover. 

Shareholders pay more if investigators determine the utility company acted negligently leading up to a power-line sparked fire. For example, in the case of the 2017 North Bay fires and the 2018 Camp Fire (Butte County) that together killed more than 100 people and destroyed over 20,000 homes, PG&E Corp. shareholders paid $2 billion in penalties imposed by the state.

But that doesn’t mean ratepayers don’t shoulder some fire-related costs. Ratepayers cover the costs of emergency response, system repairs, rebuilding and upgrades related to wildfires. 

PG&E sought bankruptcy protection after those devastating fires in 2017 and 2018 because the company was on the hook to pay billions of dollars for property losses, injuries and deaths, among other liabilities. In response, California created a new system for paying for damages from utility-sparked wildfires. Called the California Wildfire Fund, the system is a pool of money paid for by both ratepayers and the state’s three major investor-owned utility companies: San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and PG&E. That money can be used to reimburse companies for wildfire liabilities (mainly, the money they pay to claimants for damages from the fire), if the companies followed certain safety practices. 

PG&E customers are also shouldering massive costs associated with system strengthening — the work of making power lines less likely to start another fire. 

This has been a key reason for higher rates. Utility companies are allowed to recoup the cost of wildfire prevention programs, like trimming trees near electrical equipment and burying power lines. PG&E has said that about 85% of the revenue increase the company is recovering through the January rate hike was to make its infrastructure safer and more resilient against wildfires and storms.

Q: What agency regulates electricity prices?

A: The California Public Utilities Commission regulates how much investor-owned utilities such as PG&E can charge customers for energy. Five governor-appointed commissioners have the final vote on how much revenue companies can extract from customers through rates. 

PG&E must submit multiyear budget proposals (called general rate cases) that detail their expected expenses, project proposals and the amount of revenue needed to cover the work. 

Commission staff vet the proposals, revise them and submit alternative revised budgets for commissioners to review. Before January’s rate increases went into effect, PG&E spent years proposing and revising its budget with the commission. PG&E asked commissioners to increase company revenues by 25% (revenues are then used to calculate rates), and the commission ultimately voted to allow only a 11% increase to revenues, which was about $1.9 billion less than the company had requested. That increase made up the bulk of the 20% rate hike that PG&E customers began experiencing in January.

Q: Why can’t the CPUC just reject rate increases requested from PG&E? 

A: It could, in theory, but that would undermine two significant state goals. California wants private utility companies to make the electric grid safer and prevent future catastrophes.

Secondly, California also wants PG&E and other private utilities to expand their services and accommodate the state’s push to electrify homes, businesses and transportation in order to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels. The commission is responsible for striking a balance between those state priorities and keeping energy affordable for Californians, and there are ongoing debates over whether they are adequately protecting ratepayers from rising energy costs. 

Q: What can I do to lower my bills?

A: The most straightforward thing people can do to lower their bills is to use less energy. Heating — including heating water — and cooling are big drivers of usage. For example, PG&E estimates that lowering the thermostat from 70 degrees to 65 degrees during the winter cuts heating expenses about 10% from heating costs. Taking shorter showers is also helpful, as is running consecutive loads in the dryer because the second load requires less energy to warm up. Other changes include swapping out incandescent lights for more efficient LEDs, using power strips to turn off electronics when idle and make sure your home is energy-tight through simple measures such as weatherstripping windows and doors.

PG&E offers multiple financial assistance programs for low-income Californians, elderly people and those relying on power for medical needs. Customers can log into their PG&E accounts online and sign up for a free virtual “Home Energy Checkup” to help identify what in their homes might be driving their energy costs and where to make changes.

Q: How much does PG&E Corp. Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe make in a year, and are customers paying her salary through these rising energy bills? 

A: Investor-owned utilities cannot raise rates to boost executive pay. A new California law that went into effect in 2019 says that top executives, including Poppe, must be paid with shareholder money, which includes revenue derived from customers and profits from investments. 

Poppe’s pay comes out of shareholder money and most of her compensation is tied to corporate performance. In 2022, Poppe received a base salary of $1.4 million in 2022, according to PG&E’s most recent annual filings. The base pay, however, doesn’t include all forms of compensation. For example, she also received a non-equity performance incentive of $2.2 million and performance-based stock awards worth just over $10 million. Her total compensation was about $14.1 million with the addition of other benefits, all paid by shareholders. 

PG&E spokesperson Lynsey Paulo said that “among the top 20 U.S. electric utilities, PG&E is in the middle of the pack for CEO-to-median employee pay ratio.” 

The company has about 16 million customers, so that amounts to about $1.60 in compensation per customer — although, again, it is tallied as a shareholder rather than a ratepayer expense.

In 2021, Poppe’s base salary was $1.3 million and she also received an additional $49.9 million in compensation and benefits that were, in part, to replace compensation she forfeited in 2020 when she left the helm of CMS Energy Corp. in Michigan to lead PG&E. 

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

Katie Porter

BILLIONAIRES AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS are getting involved in the 2024 elections as we speak — currently spending millions against Katie Porter in the California Senate race.

Super PACs are running misleading television and digital ads across the state in the final weeks ahead of the primary in the hopes of defeating her.

Why could they be targeting Katie Porter? Oh I don’t know, it could be because of her record of calling out corporate greed and because she’s been a strong voice for consumers.

Wealthy special interest groups have no place in our democratic process. If you’re able, please split a donation of $3 or anything you can between Katie Porter, my re-election campaign, and the PCCC so that she can compete with this outside spending and we can fight on behalf of working people — not special interests — in the Senate together.

– Senator Elizabeth Warren

* * *

JUST IN FROM SWINE LAND; A battle between old and new money rages on in glitzy Palm Beach, as longtime residents argue the latest arrivals are shaking up the culture on the island. The battle began during the first wave of COVID-19, when newcomers streamed in from areas like New York City in a bid to escape pandemic-era restrictions. In addition to the sandy shores and warm weather, many were charmed by Florida's famously low tax rate and the promise of scoring larger properties for comparably cheaper. However, with the arrival of new blood came undeniable tension - with some longtime residents opting to leave the island altogether. 'Palm Beach has been overrun by newbies,' one man told Vanity Fair, adding that 'the people are all paper thin, mentally. My wife and I are starving for a cultural and intellectual life.'

* * *


Prayer is much more internal than external. Those doing it, even if less than fervently, are not expecting winning lottery numbers or an extra inch…rather self-reflection and grounding in acknowledging that we are not necessarily the be all and end all. For the human makeup, it’s about as healthy a practice as can be.

Even if it all turns out to be a cosmic game show upon death, and we spin the big wheel to find out what we’ve won from a guy with a toupee, the effort used to be appreciated in society. Currently it’s ridiculed by those who don’t even claim to try for more than themselves.

* * *

* * *



Two years have passed since the Kremlin and V. Putin invaded Ukraine. According to Pres. Zelensky, Ukraine’s brave head, “Ukraine has lost 31,000 dead soldiers so far in this bloody war. An uncounted number of Ukrainian civilians are also killed. Russia shoots an uncounted number of missiles and bombs against civilians, soldiers, doctors, medics and nurses every day in Ukraine.

President Biden, and our UK and NATO allies have supported Ukraine in its resistance. Now Pres. Biden requests $106 billion to support Israel, Ukraine and the border. Congress must come through or we face the fall of Ukraine, another Russian invasion and US boots in another European war.

Frank H. Baumgardner, III 

Santa Rosa

* * *

LIBS GO FULL EVANGELICAL (Walter Kirn & Matt Taibbi)

Walter Kirn: Anyway, so having been through the first round of this when it was Pat Robertson’s bailiwick, it’s now Rachel Maddow who preaches fire and brimstone.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah, we’ve got to play this video, because there’s no other... I think the entire audience needs to see this reaction by Rachel Maddow to Mike Johnson talking about the Russian existential threat. This is apparently what gives her hope for all humanity. Here we go.

“Mike Johnson: I want you to know that the White House gave us information today, they’re going to remain in close contact with leaders of Congress on the issue and it will be dealt with. There’s steady hands at the wheel. The United States can’t rely on other nations to handle matters like this, we must do it ourselves, and we will.

Mike Turner: The bottom line is that we all came away with a very strong impression that the administration is taking this very seriously and that the administration has a plan in place. We look forward to supporting them as they go to implement it, but in the interim, I’ve got great faith in what the administration is currently doing to try address this matter, and I appreciate the support and the working relationship on a bipartisan basis I have with my ranking members.

Rachel Maddow: You are not hallucinating, that was two senior Republicans, including the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, praising the Biden administration, saying how much they trust them and value them to deal with what was first reported last week as an emerging national security threat, of Russia trying to put satellite killer nuclear weapons in orbit around the Earth up in space. For this unbelievably partisan and dysfunctional Republican Congress to have senior leaders praising the Biden administration on a national security issue related to Russia is perhaps the tiniest of teeny tiny silver linings of—“

Walter Kirn: What in the hell? First of all, did you notice that she raised her hands in praise at the beginning? Did you notice that the Jimmy Swaggart gestural language has been completely absorbed by the likes of MSNBC?

Matt Taibbi: It’s straight out of... I can’t even... There are so many different sci-fi novels that this is... It feels, it’s very much, would you like to know more-

Walter Kirn: From Starship Troopers.

* * *

* * *


Da Silva said it is unacceptable children and women in Gaza to go to bed without food or even a glass of milk.

Brazilian head of state pointed as well that he will not change his "dignity for falsehood" amid a diplomatic crisis between the Zionist Government and Brazil.

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed at an event in Rio de Janeiro yesterday that "what the Israeli Government is doing to the Palestinian people is not war, it is genocide because it is killing women and children".

"This is genocide. Thousands of dead children, thousands missing. It's not soldiers who are dying, but women and children in hospitals. If this is not genocide, I don't know what genocide is!," highlighted the Brazilian head of state in his first public demonstration since the beginning of the diplomatic crisis between Brazil and Israel.

Lula pointed as well that he will not change his "dignity for falsehood" in response to the accusations made against him in recent days by the Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz.

Da Silva also said it is unacceptable for children and women in Gaza to go to bed without food or even a glass of milk, criticizing that way the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian occupied territories by the Zionist forces.

Lula also defended this Friday a "free and sovereign" Palestinian state that can live "in harmony with Israel," and criticized the United Nations Security Council because "today it does not represent anything, does not make any decision, nor does anything for peace".

The president pointed out that today there is a lot of hypocrisy and little politics in the world and remembered in that sense that today no war in the world is acceptable.

After participating in a summit of the African Union on February, Lula considered that the confrontation "between a very prepared army and women and children" had not occurred before in history, except "when Hitler decided to kill the Jews", comparing this way the situation in Gaza with Nazi Holocaust during World War II.

(Telesur, Brazil)

* * *

* * *

"THE HEART OF DARKNESS" is a novella written by Joseph Conrad, first published in 1899. It tells the story of Charles Marlow, a steamboat captain navigating the Congo River in Africa, and his journey into the depths of the continent's interior. The novella explores themes of imperialism, colonialism, and the darkness that resides within human nature. It's considered a classic of English literature and has been widely studied and analyzed for its complex portrayal of the human psyche and the effects of European colonization in Africa.

"The Heart of Darkness" is a complex and layered work that invites various interpretations and analyses. Here are some key aspects to consider:

1. Imperialism and Colonialism: Conrad explores the impact of European imperialism and colonialism on both the colonizers and the colonized. Through Marlow's journey up the Congo River, Conrad portrays the exploitation, brutality, and dehumanization inherent in colonial enterprises.

2. Darkness as Metaphor: The title itself suggests a metaphorical darkness, which represents various forms of moral, psychological, and existential darkness. It symbolizes the corruption, greed, and moral decay that Marlow encounters within the European colonizers and within himself as he delves deeper into the heart of Africa.

3. Ambiguity and Moral Ambivalence: Conrad employs ambiguity throughout the narrative, leaving readers to grapple with the moral ambiguity of characters and situations. Marlow, for example, criticizes the cruelty of colonialism but also participates in it. This ambiguity reflects Conrad's skepticism towards the supposed moral superiority of Western civilization.

4. Psychological Exploration: Marlow's journey into the heart of Africa can also be seen as a psychological journey into the depths of the human psyche. The encounters with the enigmatic Kurtz, who represents the extreme consequences of unchecked power and ambition, highlight the fragility of human morality and sanity.

5. Narrative Framing: The story is framed as a narration within a narration, with an unnamed narrator recounting Marlow's tale aboard a ship anchored on the Thames River. This narrative structure adds layers of complexity and raises questions about the reliability of storytelling and the nature of truth.

6. Symbolism: Conrad employs rich symbolism throughout the novella, with motifs such as darkness, light, the Congo River, and the jungle serving as potent symbols for deeper thematic exploration. These symbols often carry multiple layers of meaning, inviting readers to engage in symbolic interpretation.

* * *

ONE OF THE NEW PAINTINGS just acquired for the Narrative Art Museum is by Shawn Michael Warren painted in 2019.

"It pays homage to the unknown black workers who migrated to the West Coast in the early 1900s to help build Abbot Kinney’s version of Venetian canals in Los Angeles’s new neighborhood of Venice. Upon finishing their work, these men were not given the right to live in that area.” It was segregated.

* * *


“The world is a beautiful place 

to be born into 

if you don't mind happiness 

not always being 

so very much fun 

if you don't mind a touch of hell 

now and then 

just when everything is fine 

because even in heaven 

they don't sing 

all the time 

The world is a beautiful place 

to be born into 

if you don't mind some people dying 

all the time 

or maybe only starving 

some of the time 

which isn't half bad 

if it isn't you 

Oh the world is a beautiful place 

to be born into 

if you don't much mind 

a few dead minds 

in the higher places 

or a bomb or two 

now and then 

in your upturned faces 

or such other improprieties 

as our Name Brand society 

is prey to 

with its men of distinction 

and its men of extinction 

and its priests 

and other patrolmen 

and its various segregations 

and congressional investigations 

and other constipations 

that our fool flesh 

is heir to 

Yes the world is the best place of all 

for a lot of such things as 

making the fun scene 

and making the love scene 

and making the sad scene 

and singing low songs and having inspirations 

and walking around 

looking at everything 

and smelling flowers 

and goosing statues 

and even thinking 

and kissing people and 

making babies and wearing pants 

and waving hats and 


and going swimming in rivers 

on picnics 

in the middle of the summer 

and just generally 

'living it up' 


but then right in the middle of it 

comes the smiling 


— Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

* * *

Boot Hill cemetery at San Quentin State Prison in 1971. (Donald Kinney photo)


  1. Eli Maddock February 26, 2024

    It is not entirely true that landlines always work during power outage. Each neighborhood or zone has a hub with batteries for backup. Those batteries, in proper att fashion, are very old and degraded. So during power loss att workers deliver generators to the hubs to maintain battery charge. I know for sure Comptche and Little River have experienced long term copper outages in the past. Likely other communities as well. Bottom line, there’s no sure thing. Communication is finite and vulnerable.

  2. Harvey Reading February 26, 2024


    ALL “public” utilities should have been nationalized long ago. Screw their greedy stock holders.

  3. Chuck Dunbar February 26, 2024


    Lawrence Ferlinghetti does remind us of it all, and the end of it all, in his poem. Thanks, Bruce, for this one, and we all hope things are getting better for you. Indeed, you will have many more times of ‘living it up.’

  4. Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

    Happy Monday….

    “VICTORIA IDICA, Ukiah. Organic drug sales, failure to appear, probation revocation.”

    What does that mean? Organic drug sales? Weed?

    Thanks…. 💕

    mm 💕

    • MAGA Marmon February 26, 2024

      most likely mushroom’s

      MAGA Marmon

      • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

        ohhhh … interesting.. thanks

        mm 💕

      • Eric Sunswheat February 26, 2024

        Perhaps microdose psilocybin capsules, is the organic drug in the arrest charging documents.
        Seems that cops would rather have their war on fentanyl, instead of low dose sea change with guided imagery, but then it’s up to state legislators, except we seemingly have an activist Sheriff, who claims to not be a politician, yet pushes for harsher penalties, thus took the playbook from the former Sheriff who anointed him, it seems.
        To test this hypothesis, start up a local chapter of the Oakland mushroom church, and see if the spirit that brought downfall of Les Crane, comes back to haunt the situation. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        • Mazie Malone February 26, 2024

          that’s a lot of info, haha, thank you
          Don’t know Les Crane although sounds familiar…
          A church of shrooms really?? … lol
          There will always be corruption unless we eliminate the power structure……. don’t see that happening any time soon….

          mm 💕

          • Eric Sunswheat February 26, 2024

            —> November 18, 2022
            Then, in late summer, seeking to use a religious exemption to allow people access to cannabis, Les tried to open a second church/dispensary in Ukiah. Then on November 2, he was arraigned on charges stemming from the May raid. On November 16, he has another court date but…before going in and pleading not guilty, he hands out a bag full of free cannabis to supporters and passersby.


            • Mazie Malone February 27, 2024

              Thanks Eric..

          • Bob A. February 27, 2024

            The one and only time I saw Les Crane in action he was defending himself pro se against a drunk driving charge. Needless to say that didn’t go his way. Despite spinning up an amusingly incoherent conspiracy theory involving everyone from the local cops to the breathalyzer manufacturer, the jury convicted him after about 10 minutes of deliberation.

  5. Norm Thurston February 26, 2024

    I must disagree with the Ukiah Daily Journal recommendation for the 2d supervisorial district. Candidate Jacob Brown has broad experience which demonstrates his ability to analyze and handle difficult situations, without being unduly deterred by either internal or external pressure. He holds a degree in Management, which gives him the knowledge required to successfully administer a wide variety of endeavors. Candidates like this do not come along often. We should not pass on the opportunity to elect Jacob Brown because of some misguided loyalty to a struggling incumbent.

    • Chris LaCasse February 26, 2024

      I agree. Having worked with plenty of MBA’s as well as former military members, I’d also put forward that his military management experience amounts to a greater skillset as far as “analyzing and handling difficult situations”, without succumbing to pressure. Defensiveness when questioned is certainly not taught in the military, and the current BOS seems to utilize that as their defining virtue.

      • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

        Not to mention that the current pom pom girl, er, incumbent, is lacking in what Hercule Poirot calls “the little gray cells”.

    • Julie Beardsley February 26, 2024

      I agree Norm.
      Marines tend to have thicker skin when criticized, too.

    • Call It As I See It February 26, 2024

      Wow! What an endorsement, there is a reason why I stopped getting the Urinal and this just reminds me why.

      “We know Ms. Mulheren has made mistakes” is how they start their endorsement. What has she learned? Other than being one of five who has failed. who created financial chaos, circumvents democracy by suspending an elected official who had not even been arraigned. The pom pom girl who thinks being Supervisor is how many lies you can tell to make things appear better than what they are, and how many public events you can show up to.

      The Urinal’s excuse is that Jacob Brown does not have experience, well, no experience is better than bad experience!


      • MAGA Marmon February 26, 2024

        Is Mo still tending bar at “The Pub” where she also instructs ‘Line Dancing” as part of her daytime job’s, plural?

        MAGA Marmon

  6. Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024


    There’s a common denominator that most of the Bay Area media lapdogs refuse to openly acknowledge: Kyle Shanahan. Grant and Lowell Cohn are the exceptions. The Cohn Zone is a must watch on YouTube.

    • Mike Kalantarian February 26, 2024

      An example of the opposite effect was Bruce Bochy leading the Giants to three championships in five years (2010, 2012, 2014).

      • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

        Exactly, Mike. Some while overcoming a deficit with far less talented teams than Shanahan’s 49ers.

    • peter boudoures February 26, 2024

      It’s easy to support people who take accountability for their mistakes.

      • Stephen Rosenthal February 26, 2024

        I can’t recall Shanahan ever doing so.

        • peter boudoures February 26, 2024


  7. John Sakowicz February 26, 2024

    To the Editor:

    The Ukiah Daily Journal got it wrong. On character and integrity alone, Jacob Brown is a far superior candidate compared to Maureen “Mo” Mulheren.

    Hands down!

    First, Ms. Mulheren bankrupted her insurance agency with bad business decisions, got sued, and is otherwise unemployable — except for politics. Being unemployable, except for public office, is a terrible reason to vote for anyone.

    Worse, Mulheren is a fraud. I looked up all five sitting supervisors, including businesses tied to them, and only Mulheren got federal COVID-19 relief money, and Mulheren got that money while she was sitting on the Board of Supervisors.

    In 2020, while sitting on the Board of Supervisors and making a salary of more than $90,000 a year, plus benefits, Mulheren collected three federal COVID-19 PRIME grants and one federal COVID-19 SBA loan.

    I’ll break it down.

    A total of $15,000 in three PRIME grants: $1000 paid on 5/2/2020, $9000 paid on 12/7/2022, and $5000 paid on 12/6/2022.

    And $5100 in one COVID-19 SBA loan paid on 7/27/2020.

    The corporate entity Mulheren 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).

    Mulheren’s other shell company is Ukiah Valley Networking Agency. It is filed as a non-profit. Its tax returns claim zero revenues or assets. My assumption is that it is used to apply for grants and just hasn’t received any.

    Why doesn’t anyone confront Mulheren about her fraud?

    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland now tells us the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, was the biggest opportunity for fraud in a generation. It was a bonanza.

    And it was structured in ways to be an “invitation” to fraudsters.

    During the last year, the Justice Department has seized billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds that criminals had stolen and charged thousands of defendants with crimes in federal districts across the country.

    Fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement of federal funds erodes the public’s trust in the government and reduces the support for the countless individuals and businesses who really need it.

    If you have an allegation of fraud, waste, or abuse related to the COVID-19 pandemic or the CARES Act, you can report any of your concerns to GAO’s FraudNet.

    Here are 3 methods for reporting your concerns to FraudNet:
    1. FraudNet’s online reporting portal
    2. Via email at
    3. Or by calling FraudNet’s hotline at 1-800-424-5454

    FraudNet’s portal is at:

    Vote Jacob Brown.

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

    • Malcolm Macdonald February 27, 2024

      Ms. Mulheren was not yet on the board of supervisors in 2020. She was elected in November 2020. The author of the comment should amend his wording accordingly.
      This is not intended as an endorsement of either Ms. Mulheren or Mr. Brown, merely a reminder to commenters to check their chronologies before submitting.

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