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Mendocino County Today: Thursday 3/21/24

Calm Before | Sunset Sky | Domestic Murder | Pump Station Plan | Cape Horn Dam | Palace Emergency | Anaeyllis Gualalis | Library By Mail | Roadwork Intersection | Circumbureaucracy | Old Cadillac | Fingers Wiggle | Cook Job | Wine Biz | Mendocino Profile | Landline Backlash | Hawk Carving | Ed Notes | Tellyvision | Talmage Hopsital | David Colfax | Zilla Birthday | Palace Memories | Yesterday's Catch | Neeli Cherkovski | Computer Poem | 1920 Blues | School Attendence | Rico | Cheer Up | Jerk Coach | Free Seats | Hopkins Case | Senior Surprise | Greenwald Discussion | Oklahoma City | Rail Project | Inconsiderate Aloofness | The Sower

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QUIET WEATHER condition for the rest of the day, before rain and moderate south wind builds across the area tonight through Friday. Rain showers will then persist through Saturday mostly along the North Coast. Periods of rain will continue through mid next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 51F on the coast this Thursday morning. I'll go with some clearing again today, but you just never know what the fog will do. Rain returns tomorrow & Saturday, maybe a break Sunday & Monday. Then more rain later next week. Generally cooler temps throughout the period.

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Sunset,Rt 20, West of Willits (Jeff Goll)

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On Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at approximately 5:29 A.M, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from the a subject, later identified as Brandy Kay Mathieson, 35, of Covelo. Mathieson reported that she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, Johnathan Lee Draughan, 43, recently of Covelo.

Mathieson reported that Draughan was in the house and he was armed with a firearm. While on the phone, gunshots were heard by the dispatcher and Mathieson was no longer speaking with dispatch. A short time later, Draughan spoke on the phone with the dispatcher and advised he had shot his girlfriend and he would await the arrival of deputies. Deputies, who were responding from Willits, arrived and took Draughan into custody without incident. Mathieson was located inside the residence and life saving measures were attempted by the deputies and then continued by local fire resources. Mathieson showed no signs of life and was declared deceased at the scene. Mathieson and Draughan's 2-year-old child were present and the child was transported to an out-of-county hospital for injuries unrelated to the shooting incident.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives responded and took over the investigation. Criminalists from the California Department of Justice labs in both Eureka and Santa Rosa responded to assist in processing the crime scene for evidence. Draughan was subsequently transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a charge of homicide.

Any persons with information related to this homicide are encouraged to the contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling Dispatch at 707-463-4086, or through the tip line at 707-234-2100.

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by Sarah Reith

Proponents of a post-dam diversion have decided what kind of structure they’ll ask for when PG&E submits its license surrender application for the Potter Valley Project. A number of questions have yet to be answered, especially about sediment management and how much water will continue to flow from the Eel into the Russian River. But after months of committee meetings and analyses across a wide spectrum of interest groups, a new joint powers authority decided unanimously on March 19 to pursue a pump station that would divert water from the Eel River into the Russian River during high flows.…

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Cape Horn Dam (photo by Sarah Reith)

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by Mike Geniella

The State Historic Preservation Office says it cannot intervene in the fate of the landmark Palace Hotel because Ukiah city officials’ actions preempted a role in the contentious local issue.

The decision is a setback for preservation advocates, who eagerly anticipated a state review, a process typically initiated for historic structures like the Palace when listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In California, no structure designated and registered as historic as the Palace can be demolished, destroyed, or significantly altered without review except for restoration to preserve or enhance its historical values.

The Ukiah City Council, however, opted in early November to declare the Palace an “imminent threat” to the public. The council’s emergency declaration blocked a review the state office would have ordinarily done.

As a result of the city’s action, “The State Historic Preservation Office has no regulatory jurisdiction over the Palace Hotel,” according to a statement issued by Julianne Polanco, head of the state agency.

City officials argued in November that the “historical significance of this building cannot impede the protection of public safety, which is of paramount importance.”

The City Council declared the Palace property a “public nuisance due to its hazardous condition,” contending immediate action was necessary.

Despite a formal 30-day compliance order, city officials have yet to take any action to enforce it upon the current owner, Jitu Ishwar, and his Twin Investments LLC. Nothing has been done to reinforce the building, nor have detailed plans been made for demolishing it to prepare the site for new development.

The only move to bolster the city’s claim of urgency is the erection of scaffolding around the portions of the Palace that front city streets.

This week, the state's announcement disappointed local preservation advocates who questioned the city’s motives in making the emergency declaration that blocked state review.

Critics note that the city acted simultaneously as a group of proposed Palace buyers sought $6.6 million in special state funding to demolish the hotel and clean up the prime downtown site in anticipation of a private development. The application filed in mid-October of last year by the Guidiville Rancheria, who would have majority control of a new partnership, and a group of local investors led by downtown restauranteur Matt Talbert, is under review after a state oversight agency nixed the notion of demolishing the Palace so ground contamination studies can be conducted.

“I think the city’s use of an emergency declaration for the Palace is questionable,” said Dennis Crean.

Crean noted that the city inspection was completed nearly six months ago (Sept. 29), but no action has been taken since the City Council acted at a special meeting in early November. 

“So how is this an emergency? It seems more like a ploy to get around legal requirements for demolishing a building on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Crean.

Crean also cited past concerns issued by the State Historic Preservation Office:

“On their face, public safety exclusions appear reasonable — if a building is about to tumble down on pedestrians below, surely something must be done quickly — but in practice, they are sometimes used by a local government or owner to circumvent local review procedures … of an important historical resource.”

“Why doesn’t the city ask the state agency to assign a team to study the building and determine its safety as provided for under Public Resources Code 5028? State law gives any local government the right to enlist the state’s help, and that’s what the city should do,” said Crean.

This week, city officials dismissed questions about their motives or whether they were acting in concert with the proposed buyers to secure the demolition of an iconic landmark that has been allowed to deteriorate under two ownerships for three decades.

Current owner Ishwar has spurned offers from two potential buyers who sought to transform the Palace into a new boutique hotel/event/retail complex in favor of being made “whole” by the Guidiville group. Ishwar secured clear title to the Palace and its prime piece of downtown property in 2019 after paying $950,000 to a court-appointed receiver. Ishwar’s Twin Investments has taken no action since then to stem the Palace’s decline.

Based on a building inspection, the City Council formally declared on Nov. 3, 2023 that the Palace was “no longer stable and poses an imminent risk of damage to persons and property due to its instability.” The move was widely publicized and illustrated by a PowerPoint presentation, including photos showing the Palace’s interior’s decrepit state, taken during a Sept. 29 inspection by the city’s chief building official, the fire chief, and two assistants. 

The city has done nothing since to enforce its 30-day “emergency” order. 

City officials acknowledge they have suspended any enforcement action pending state action on the $6.6 million grant application submitted by the Guidiville group.

However, Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley insists there is no link between the city declaration of a Palace Hotel emergency and the Guidiville plan.

“This is simply a code enforcement matter. We inspected the building, were alarmed at its condition, and took immediate action,” said Riley.

Riley said, “There was no strategy, manipulation of process, or ‘backroom dealings’ here.”

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Anaeyllis Gualalis (Randy Burke)

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The Mendocino County Library is pleased to announce Library by Mail. This free service sends library materials, including books (regular and large print), audiobooks, music CDs, and DVDs, to homebound residents of Mendocino County. This service is available to any Mendocino County resident with a valid library card who is temporarily or permanently unable to visit our physical library locations or Bookmobile due to lack of transportation or an illness or disability that makes them homebound.

“Part of Mendocino County Library’s Mission is to provide equitable access to materials,” explained Acting County Librarian Mellisa Hannum. “Being able to connect our homebound patrons to library books, DVDs, and more not only helps the Library to fulfill its Mission, it also allows us to serve and enrich our community.”

This is a no-cost program that allows patrons to borrow up to five items at once with a borrowing period of thirty-five days including delivery times. Items may be renewed automatically for an additional period or by contacting Library by Mail staff if there are no outstanding holds on the items.

Library by Mail patrons can request materials on their own through a form on our website, by using our online catalog, or by phone or mail. If help is needed selecting materials our library staff are always happy to make recommendations and help with making requests. To acquire a library card for Library by Mail, please contact branch staff or Library by Mail staff.

Materials will arrive in a postage-prepaid, green canvas bag, which also serves as the return envelope; borrowers simply place items in the bag, reverse the postage-stamped address label, and return via the U.S. Postal Service.

To learn more about the Mendocino County Library by Mail service, please view or contact the Library by Mail staff at 707-234-2861.

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Same intersection, completed project.

We'll really only know if these new curb cuts flood, when it rains next.

— Rob Somerton

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Mendocino County Planning Director Julia Acker Krog (KZYX, Tuesday, March 19, 2024):

“The grant is awarded by the Coastal Commission and then there is a very heavy administrative process. This includes preparing and executing the agreement with the Coastal Commission, preparing requests for proposals for consultants and then scoring of the received proposals and then ultimately awarding the contract. Then we have to prepare the contracts and send them through the routing process for the selected consultants and then ultimately that has to go to our County Board of Supervisors to approve those contracts. The next step is that the technical studies that are prepared by the consultants including various stakeholder engagements are brought forward for finalization of those studies. Then we move on to policy and code drafting and additional stakeholder engagement, then on to public hearings with the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors and then ultimately our final end goal for the grant is submitting the local coastal program amendment application to the Coastal Commission for certification and our target is December 2026 that that be submitted. We opened up our requests for proposals and we did three at the same time starting in September of 2023 and closing at the end of October and that was for our coastal groundwater study consultants, a state Route 1 traffic highway capacity study and a visual and archaeological resources consultant. These are some of those technical studies that are required for us to be able to do any level of policy drafting. Then our next round of drafts of the request for proposals to be opened up in November and closed in December is for the biological resources and habitats and natural resources consultants. We have awarded some contracts. On January 27 our Supervisors approved our contract agreements with three of our consultants which is for the coastal groundwater study consultant, our state Route 1 traffic highway capacity study was awarded, and then our visual and archaeological resources consultant. And we still have outstanding for Board approval is the biological resources and habitats and natural resources consultant and we expect that that will go in front of our board within the next month here. And the last request for proposals that we have remaining to prepare is the Round 8 grant award, our CEQA compliance consultant, so California Environmental Quality Act. We anticipate that we will be preparing an environmental impact report and that is what we are expecting we will be sourcing a consultant for. Our second grant award is the rolling grant award which is for the sea level rise vulnerability assessment and our grant agreement was just executed in January and we have prepared the draft scope of work for the sea level rise and vulnerability assessment requests for proposals that we will be sending out and that is currently under review with the Coastal Commission staff. This project is where we are working closely with Sarah McCormick and her team over at the city of Fort Bragg because we do have complementary grant awards as it relates to sea level rise work within our county.”

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Sarah McCormick: “Our local coastal program Round 8 grant award, we have three deliverables here at the city, one is the community engagement plan, the second one is the planning document that is called the Noyo Harbor Blue Economy Fishing Resiliency Implementation Plan, and then the third deliverable is the application to the Coastal Commission for a local coastal program amendment to update our policies. We are working very closely with the county as you all know. The harbor is not within city limits, but it is in our sphere of influence and all the work and findings that we will be coming out with we will share with the county so they can use that information for their decision-making processes on the LCP update. We have already released the community engagement plan. We are in the process of meeting on a monthly basis as volunteer groups and if you would like to participate in the volunteer outreach team we would like to invite you to do so. We are meeting on a fourth Saturday of the month from 9 AM to 11 AM. Information about that can also be found on our website. This is basically an opportunity for our community to do a lot of peer to peer information exchange so that we can learn together about how we can support our harbor and our maritime culture and be part of a climate ready infrastructure and a climate ready workforce, one where environmental stewardship and economy are working together because we are at a time right now where our ecosystems are really fragile and we have a lot of issues with our kelp forests and our urchin barrens and our fisheries are changing and our working waterfront is really suffering and we need to really work together as a community to find solutions to this.”

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Old Cadillac, Willits (Jeff Goll)

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STROKE RECOVERY UPDATE: let’s talk about my left hand, it’s been 5 years 9 mos. since my “event” in that entire time I’ve had no use of my left hand, it’s been in permanent contracture , after a good session of body work, I will leave it in a splint for a couple days, in the hope I don’t end up with a permanent fist. Sometimes it moves involuntarily; sometimes when I get startled or sometimes the tendons ripple on my hand and wrist, so at least I know its not entirely dead, but I’ve had no ability to move it at will; until YESTERDAY!! after an intense body work session; I‘m laying face down and I feel like I am wiggling the fingers a little bit; I can feel with certainty the thumb and index finger but I’m not sure of the others; so I ask my masseuse ”Am I wiggling my fingers?” He say “yes”…. “ALL of them?”…. “yes” 1st time in nearly 6 years!!! I am so filled with joy and hope; ALL day today I am near tears… WHAT a journey! The thought that I just might? Have a functioning left hand again, in this life, is A-mazing!!! (Chris Skyhawk)

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ANDERSON VALLEY SENIOR CENTER is hiring for a cook. It is 14 hours a week job, 5 hours (8-1) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus flexible hours to be worked as need to order/prep/fill reports. Menus are provided. Pay starts at $18.00+ an hour depending on experience. The cook helps supervise the assistant cook and the dishwasher. The cook needs to be organized, work well with others and pass the state required food handlers’ class. The position is open until filled: Contact Renee at 707-895-3609 or

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CASEY HARTLIP: I see very little optimism in the Mendocino wine biz. With bulk inventory at such high levels and overall consumption dropping… as baby boomers get older/die off/and drink less for health reasons I’d say its going to be quite some time before things improve. Increasing labor and operating costs are also huge issues. A good friend of mine in Hopland had his insurance premiums increase by 60% in one year, as did my homeowner’s insurance here in Arizona. This is nothing new: the grape and wine business has always been a boom-and-bust industry. As supply gets tight, more acres are planted to satisfy the shortfall. When oversupply occurs, like now, prices will drop and older vineyards will be removed. The bummer for my Mendo friends is much of the local fruit is only desired by our friends to the south, when they need it. It kind of reminds me of a mistress. When the wife is out of town the fella just can’t get enough of her. When the wife comes home, the phone doesn’t ring. I’d say lots of phones have fallen silent and will be for a while.

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Mendocino (Falcon)

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BACKLASH OVER AT&T BID TO DUMP LANDLINES Continues In Public Forums In Ukiah, Elsewhere

AT&T has argued that its responsibility to maintain outdated landline technology detracts from efforts to improve cell and internet service.

by Marisa Endicott

The backlash from California communities and officials has been swift and steady as state regulators consider whether to release AT&T from its obligation to provide traditional landline service to anyone who requests it. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held two virtual forums Tuesday to take public feedback ahead of its decision.

The forums followed a number of in-person meetings in February and March held across the state from Indio in Southern California’s Coachella Valley to Ukiah in Mendocino County. The CPUC’s online docket for the telecom giant’s request has amassed more than 5,000 comments, most echoing concerns over potential public safety impacts, particularly in rural and tribal areas where cell and internet service are less dependable.

 “In our home in rural Mendocino County, (AT&T) landline phone service is a lifeline,” a Point Arena resident wrote. “It is the only reliable communication service available to many Californians such as ourselves. Cell phone service does not reliably reach here. Internet service does not exist in many areas, and satellite services in the tall forest is impossible. (AT&T) is correct that copper line phones are an obsolete technology, but it is the only one available to many Californians.”

AT&T, which serves as the “Carrier of Last Resort” for the largest portion of the state, has argued that its responsibility to maintain outdated landline technology detracts from efforts to improve cell and internet service, which will ultimately be a better option for all communities. It claims that 20 states have relieved the company of its obligation to some extent.

Many users remain unconvinced, however, and public officials, too, have joined the fray. On Feb. 20, 15 members of the California congressional delegation, including Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and U.S. Senate hopeful Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, sent a letter to CPUC President Alice Busching Reynolds.

"When catastrophic earthquakes, destructive fires, cataclysmic landslides, or ravaging floods happen residents are left without the electricity or working cellular towers necessary for cellular phone usage for days and weeks at a time,” they wrote. “These disasters are not figurative or future possibilities. They happen regularly in this area of the country.”

The bipartisan group pointed to the hundreds of thousands who lost power during this winter’s storms and the 2022 earthquake that left people without electricity so long that many were unable to charge cell phones. “The only way to call for emergency services and stay in touch with the outside world was via neighbors that had landlines,” the letter continued. “What will happen if these landlines are removed? How will people call for emergency service in a disaster or in areas with poor cellular reception?”

So far in March, county supervisors in Napa, San Mateo and Santa Clara, among others have unanimously approved letters or resolutions against AT&T’s proposal. Public safety officials like the Nevada County Sheriff have come out in opposition, noting that landlines are the most or only reliable way in some areas for people to receive emergency updates, reach out for help and for first responders to trace addresses when they get calls.

AT&T has emphasized a long runway to any end of landline services with many regulatory requirements to meet beyond initial commission approval. In the meantime, the company has assured it does not plan to leave anyone behind, saying that no customer will go without some kind of service, whether it is cell coverage or internet calling, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), from them or other providers. But it is unclear, as many consumer advocates have warned, exactly what the parameters are for qualifying alternatives in terms of reliability and cost.

At the Feb. 22 Ukiah CPUC meeting on the topic, the mostly skeptical and heated crowd, that filled the Board of Supervisors chambers, overflow space and courtyard, peppered CPUC and AT&T representatives with comments and questions. Attendees seemed to remain unsatisfied with the lack of specificity in the telecom company’s response on issues like defining standards for alternative connection.

Tuesday’s virtual hearings, the last in the series, drew similar levels of engagement. Moderators warned about time available as the number of people in cue to speak started at 90 and then reached and exceeded 200 within several minutes.

Many, especially older residents and those who’ve lived through disasters, emphasized the misgivings that have come up again and again since AT&T started its effort to withdraw as Carrier as Last Resort in California.

One caller, a retired woman living in rural Placerville 10 miles from where the Caldor Fire burned in 2021, described her unreliable cell and internet service throughout the year, and especially during emergencies or even just periods of heavy winter snow when it’s most needed.

“Please don’t let AT&T drop landlines until another solution is found,” she said.

Some participants did speak out in support of AT&T’s position, underscoring the importance of broadband connection in today’s world and the need to focus as much energy and resources as possible on expanding and strengthening it.

A woman described how essential her internet service has been in facilitating medical appointments for her mother in hospice care. “I strongly encourage policies that support a modern and robust network for everyone in California,” she said. “I don’t want the CPUC to stand in the way of progress.”

Tom Temprano called on behalf of the organization Equality California, a statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, noting that “good modern networks are required for folks to access safe supportive communities and resources especially at a time of increasing attacks on LGBTQ+ youth in more remote parts of the state.”

AT&T’s efforts to update their networks will allow LGBTQ+ youth to connect, he said. The organization counts AT&T as a sponsor, and an AT&T executive sits on the board’s executive committee.

But, others challenged the “either-or” framing between landlines and other connectivity technology with one calling it a “false dichotomy.”

One man, who worked for AT&T for decades, questioned whether letting the company out of its landline responsibility would translate to a one-to-one investment in furthering broadband, an effort that is already well underway with plenty of federal and state incentives.

“I hate to bad-mouth my former employer,” he said,“ but history “shows that savings (AT&T) gets from operating and tax breaks, it puts into profit.”

“I’m not against modern technology, but VoIP and cell phones still have too many reliability issues to replace landlines.”

AT&T’s Feb. 22 outage that knocked out cell service to thousands nationwide and affected police and fire agencies, including 911, loomed large in the conversation.

Now that the public meetings have wrapped up, there will be evidentiary hearings, where many of the details that have been lacking are to be presented and litigated. An administrative law judge will then issue a proposed decision that the CPUC’s five commissioners will vote on, likely later this year.

(Ssnta Rosa Press Democrat)

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Red tail hawk (by Bruce McEwen)

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COGNITIVE DISCONNECTS, I happened to watch an unintentionally hilarious documentary called “Plane Lying” presented on MSNBC Television not so long ago. It was about airline travel and how comprehensively unpleasant it has become, which is hardly news to anyone who's been aloft in the last 25 years or so. One brief segment presented a hidden video recording of an angry exchange between several indignant passengers and a pair of flight attendants as the plane apparently began its landing descent. A furious voice is heard asking the two attendants, “Why would you show a two-hour movie on an hour-and-a-half flight?” The male attendant, complete with a heavily gay affect, responds, “Some people want everything, don't they?” I couldn't tell if he was being deliberately funny or not, but his response was perfect.

THE IN-FLIGHT MOVIE was a romance starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder called, “Autumn In New York.” How could the thing end? I suppose it might have wrapped up with a pack of wild dogs attacking the mooning couple as they strolled through Central Park, as Jeff Dahmer runs on screen and chows down on their remains. Hell, we'd all line up for that one, especially if it was a documentary. But a movie called “Autumn In New York” with Richard Gere and Winona Ryder in it can't possibly end other than in a huge pile of weepy, filmic mawk, and anybody who has to wonder how it ends should be tossed out the cargo hatch at 30,000 feet. Pulling the plug on “Autumn” with 10 or 15 minutes to go was absolutely the right thing to do, and I commend the airlines and the flight attendant for their brave service to art.

OVER THE YEARS we’ve seen lots of exampes of Mendo County's Stalinist-like approach to recording local history. The chain papers/website run antiseptic remembrances every so often about past places and people: Some of them are ok as far as they go, but often they leave out critical events and criminal activity. The Fort Bragg Advocate, for example, ran a short article about life inside the town's old Piedmont Hotel called “Remembering the Piedmont” by Jean Stoenner. Ms. Stoenner concluded with a paragraph beginning, “The Piedmont is now gone but not forgotten…”

IN FACT, THE SPLENDID old structure fell to an arson fire as part of an insurance-for-profit conspiracy mounted by local Fort Bragg businessmen, at least two of whom continued to thrive just down the street from the vacant lot where the Piedmont once stood for a raucously memorable century. In its time, the Piedmont say some of the roughest coast working men and hosted some of their wildest parties. The Piedmont was torched the same night the evil ones burned the old library and Ten Mile Justice Court not three blocks away. One of the young arsonists, Kenny Rick, was murdered by the arson shot callers, in my opinion, the day before he was scheduled to talk to a federal grand jury in San Francisco. Law enforcement knew almost immediately who did it, but then-DA Susan Massini managed to avoid the obvious long enough for the statute of limitations ran out, and Fort Bragg, to this day, suffers from the aftermath of some people who will kill you if you get in the way of their money.

I’M STILL ANNOYED by a discouraging front page headline of the Chronicle’s now-long gone Book Review section heralding a review of new biography of Robinson Jeffers: “The Whitman of Big Sur.” Shouldn't that have read, “The Pound of Big Sur”? Jeffers and Whitman both celebrated wild vistas, but politically Jeffers wasn't much of a democrat. He made it real clear he preferred rocks and trees to people. Walt was a people person all the way. A better poet, too. And Whitman’s poetry still holds up to this day.

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Dear Editor,

I will sorely miss the print edition of the AVA. I love folding the paper in half vertically and reading the latest outpourings of your raper-like wit. 

Before you go, please do an article on the history of the old Talmage mental hospital. I’ll bet Mike Geniella could do a good story on it. It would serve as an excellent opportunity to recreate a residential treatment facility for the seriously mentally ill and addicted for the northern California and Mendocino street people. 

The Talmage site could still be a perfect place to invest the recent Proposition 1 monies and would greatly reduce the dollars spent on all the homeless, sick and addicted folks constantly clogging up our jails and courts and taking so much police time. 

Use eminent domain to take back the “City of 10,000 Buddhas” and return the facility to its original purpose!

Thank you for all your words of courage and honesty.

Jon Forsyth


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by Mike Geniella

David Colfax, a former Mendocino County Supervisor, educator, and expert in data analysis, did not hesitate to show his contempt for critics, and people in the political arena who did not do their homework.

David Colfax

Colfax considered himself an intellectual, and in general, he expected the deference typically accorded to a man who had obtained a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago and taught at the prestigious University of Connecticut and later Washington University in St. Louis.

Colfax was known to be cantankerous, abrasive, and blunt to excess, according to friends and neighbors in the Anderson Valley where he died on Nov. 12 in a ridgetop house he built with his own hands 50 years ago. Colfax was 87.

“It was his sanctuary,” said Micki Colfax, his wife of 64 years.

David Colfax set aside his academic interests in 1973 and designed and built the five-room family home on a remote 47-acre parcel in the hills above the valley floor. There the couple, surrounded by an estimated 8,000 books, homeschooled their four sons, and tended goats and a fertile garden to help support themselves in the early years of their personal back to the land experience.

“David designed, milled lumber, and built this house. He was truly a renaissance man,” said Micki Colfax. In the early years, the family house was without electricity, running water, or telephone service.

“We still enjoy the same view of the hills and redwoods facing west to Gualala as we did the day David chose the site for our home,” said Micki Colfax.

David Colfax may have shown his ill-tempered side sometimes in public, and during his 12 years in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers but at home, his wife said “he was a loving, and devoted father” to his four sons.

“We are a very tight family. We are Colfax strong,” said Micki Colfax.

The Colfax family garnered national attention when three of their four homeschooled sons were accepted into Harvard and Yale.

The individual successes of all four sons is remarkable in view they never attended school and were all taught at home.

Dr. Grant Colfax left Boonville for Harvard, became a Fulbright scholar, and later served as chief AIDS adviser in the Obama White House. In 2019, he became Director of Health for San Francisco, overseeing a public health agency with 8,000 employees and a $2.3 billion annual budget.

Brother Drew Colfax graduated with a master’s degree in biological anthropology as well as a law degree from the University of Michigan and then went on to earn a medical degree from Harvard Medical School specializing in emergency medicine. Colfax eventually returned home to Mendocino County to specialize in emergency care at hospitals in Ukiah, Fort Bragg, and the Anderson Valley health clinic. During the Covid pandemic, he was a regular on the local public radio station where he addressed public health concerns.

A third son, Reed Colfax, is also a Harvard graduate where he graduated cum laude and then went on to earn a law degree from Yale University. He is a partner in a nationally recognized civil rights law firm based in Washington, D.C.

A recent online profile described youngest brother Garth Colfax as a “computer geek” who lives in Sacramento and works with developmentally disabled people.

David Colfax told an interviewer that the mixed background of the brothers – the two youngest are adopted – suggests the family’s homeschooling methods and not genetics accounts for the academic successes.

Colfax told the Associated Press that his sons “are not geniuses; rather they are highly motivated and enjoy learning.”

Mary Schmich, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, wrote in a profile of the Colfax family after eldest son Grant was admitted to Harvard, a milestone that garnered publicity nationwide.

Schmich wrote that the appeal of the Colfax story to the public went beyond their success in college admissions.

“Not only did they drop out of ‘The System’ and then have their kids win one of the highest prizes – keys to the Ivy League kingdom – but they also raised children who learned to love, honor, and obey Mom and Dad even as they read John Dos Passos, solved algebra problems, and milked goats.”

Schmich concluded that in a “world of punk, crack and rock, that impresses a lot of people.”

The Chicago journalist described Colfax, then age 50, as a man who retained an air of “enfant terrible” with a “curmudgeonly streak.” The description resonated with Mendocino County neighbors and former political associates of David Colfax.

“Colfax was a difficult man, no doubt,” recalled Editor Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Yet the two men and their families were close for many years.

“I will say, though, when we were friends, he was a great drinking buddy. Nobody ever said he was stupid or boring,” said Anderson.

Micki Colfax, a former high school English teacher who graduated from Penn State, met her husband when she was 18. David Colfax was born in 1936 and grew up near the steel mills in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was the first in his family to attend college.

The couple was described by writer Schmich as “city intellectuals who headed for the hills only after fate forced them out of tamer places.”

Micki and David Colfax believe that his involvement and multiple arrests during Vietnam War protests and other political issues led to his being denied tenure at Washington University in St. Louis. The couple became convinced he became ‘blacklisted’ in academic circles.

The couple lived briefly in Berkeley before landing in Mendocino County in 1973, where they bought 47 acres on a remote ridgetop five miles from Boonville. Besides the family home, the land has a secluded cabin that Editor Anderson once jokingly described as the area’s only “Marxist intellectual guest house.”

Micki Colfax acknowledged her husband’s blunt nature sometimes led to trouble.

“But he was one of a kind,” she said. “His soul is here with me, and for that I am grateful.”

Drew Colfax said his family plans a public celebration of his father’s life this Spring. Memorials to the Anderson Valley Housing Association, P.O. Box 341, Philo, Ca., have been suggested.

* * *

* * *


by Oni Anet LaGioia

I was in my late 20’s when I moved from Chicago to Mendocino County. I came to the area looking for land while living in my station wagon. I went back and forth from sleeping on the beach in the Mendocino headlands to camping at Lake Mendocino.

One night, I had enough of sleeping in the wagon. I was cold and soaked to the bone and in need of some creature comforts, like a clean bed and a shower so I checked into Ukiah’s Palace Hotel. The Palace was long past its heyday of the early 20th century, but the seven dollars it cost to stay there was within my budget.

By the 1970s it was already run down, dark and neglected but still open. The disheveled desk clerk handed me a key to a room on the second floor. He told me the shared bathroom at the end of the hall had no shower, but he would be happy to come and stay with me if I would like his company. He smelled of alcohol and other distinctive smells, so he knew that I would refuse his offer.

My next memory of the Palace was a few years later, when I had to leave my land and find a job at the health-food store around the corner. A renovation of the Palace was taking place. Now it was an OK place to be for lunch or dinner or happy hour.

The Black Bart Saloon was positioned on the north side of the Palace, directly facing my tiny Uptown apartment. A mountain neighbor and officer of the law would stand on the sidewalk and call into my open window and invite me for a drink. With standing room only in the place, I would last for one glass of wine.

I remember that the second and third floor was reserved for former patients of the Talmage State Hospital after it was closed during the Regan Governorship. The manager of the Palace, I think his name was Vince, received the patients’ SSI checks in lieu of room and board, such as it was. Locals called it street theater when these residents roamed the town.

One very cold day, a fire broke out on the upper floors of the hotel. The fragile third-floor residents had been evacuated to the streets, in their pajamas and light blankets, while the people dining in the restaurant were being served food and drink as if nothing was amiss.

I moved to the Mendocino mountains for a few more years and when I returned, in 1980, I moved into a house on the West Side and got a job at the Palace. Another incarnation of the Palace had taken place while I had been living in the hills. This was deemed the renaissance of the Palace. The second and third floor rooms were lovely suites now, outfitted with fine embossed wallpaper, Tiffany lamps on the bedside tables, luxurious linens on the new mattresses. Each room had a luxury bathroom of its own.

This photograph of the Palace Hotel is from the 1980s. It also accompanied a 1991 Ukiah Daily Journal article about the 100th anniversary of the building’s construction, that had a headline of: “Once opulent; will it rise again?” All these years later, that question remains. (File photo – The Ukiah Daily Journal)

Palace offices were also on the second floor. My title was Banquet Director and office manager. I was also in charge of booking bands for the Back Door, a long narrow room full of young folk listening to the music from blasting speakers that would drive you out of the room.

Every night at 5, along with other staff, I would drop down the steps from our second-floor offices to the bar. For a drink or two. It was the meeting place for working alcoholics, mostly lawyers and judges. Young adults gathered for drinks and conversation and the possibility of partnering up for drunken sex afterwards.

Important weight-bearing walls had been removed to make the grand dining area and bar flow into one another around a fireplace that was not weight-bearing.

I often sat with Joe, the comptroller, who would point out that the bartender had just pocketed money that was supposed to go into the cash register for the drinks purchased by someone at the bar. Joe mentioned that there were too many “hands in the till” and not enough controls in place.

Rose was the daughter or granddaughter of Frank Sandelin, the man who owned the Palace in the early 1900’s. Rose, a lovely elderly woman who lived in the Palace permanently and ate all her meals in the restaurant, had many stories to tell and would repeat them every time we talked.

Samantha, the chef, was a dear friend of mine and we worked wonderfully well together. When I booked a catering gig at a local winery, during lunch hour, I went along to help with the heavy lifting and serving. We had lots of success with these catering gigs, and it always involved wine tasting. I distinctly remember not being able to type very well when I returned to my office after such a lunch.

My last memory was of the gigantic robbery of the Palace. In the late evenings, Ed, the owner at the time, would load mattresses, Tiffany lamps and the like into pickup trucks and haul them off into the night. He stripped the walls bare and sold the bar, the mirrored back bar, the tables, and chairs, the grand piano and all the furniture, everything that wasn’t screwed down and some things that were, leaving an eyesore in the middle of town – a set of four adjoining buildings filling a large block of memories.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Bond, Draughan, Morris

JULIE BOND, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JOHNATHON DRAUGHAN, Covelo. Murder, ten-year enhancement for use of weapon during crime.

MICHAEL MORRIS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Powers, Rutherford, Wiley

KURTIS POWERS, Fort Bragg. Shooting at inhabited dwelling.

ELIAS RUTHERFORD, Fort Bragg. County parole violation.

ANDREW WILEY, Ukiah. Burglary, obtaining credit using another’s ID.

* * *


by Clare Fonstein

A famous San Francisco poet and memoirist, Neeli Cherkovski, has died at the age of 78, according to City Lights Bookstore, which posted a message on social media Tuesday.

Cherkovski wrote the biographies of fellow poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowski. All three of them co-edited the Los Angeles zine Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns, according to Cherkovski’s website. 

His work includes books of poetry: Animal, Elegy for Bob Kaufman and Leaning Against Time. Cherkovski also wrote Whitman’s Wild Children, a collection of essays about several poets he knew. 

Neeli Cherkovski 

Cherkovski’s writing earned him several awards including the 15th Annual PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award in 2005 and the Jack Mueller Poetry Prize by Lithic Press in 2017.

Prior Chronicle coverage of Cherkovski’s work described his poetry as “unique is its unbounded lyricism — a lyrical gift easily greater than that of any other poet of his generation.”

In the 1970s, Cherkovski worked as a political consultant, according to his website.

The California native moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles in 1974 to work on George Moscone’s mayoral campaign staff, when Moscone was still a state senator. Once in San Francisco, Cherkovski stayed. 

He was born in Santa Monica and grew up in San Bernardino. 

Cherkovski also taught literature and philosophy at the New College of California in San Francisco as a writer-in-residence until the school closed in 2008. Adding to his long list of accomplishments, Cherkovski put on San Francisco’s first San Francisco Poetry Festival. 

* * *


A computer was something on TV

From a science fiction show of note

A window was something you hated to clean

And ram was the father of a goat.


Meg was the name of my girlfriend

And gig was a job for the nights

Now they all mean different things

And that really mega bytes.


An application was for employment

A program was a TV show

A cursor used profanity

A keyboard was a piano.


Memory was something that you lost with age

A CD was a bank account

And if you had a 3.5-in. floppy

You hoped nobody found out.


Compress was something you did to the garbage

Not something you did to a file

And if you unzipped anything in public

You'd be in jail for a while.


Log on was adding wood to the fire

Hard drive was a long trip on the road

A mouse pad was where a mouse lived

And a backup happened to your commode.


Cut you did with a pocket knife

Paste you did with glue

A web was a spider's home

And a virus was the flu.


I guess I'll stick to my pad and paper

And the memory in my head

I hear nobody's been killed in a computer crash

But when it happens they wish they were dead.

— Anonymous

* * *

* * *


by Dan Walters

California’s public schools live — or die — by the numbers.

They are utterly dependent on how much money the state budget allocates each year under Proposition 98, a formula adopted by voters in 1988 that only a few wonks in and around the Capitol profess to understand — and even they often disagree. 

Prop. 98 computations are also subject to political horse-trading during each budget cycle. Whatever number emerges is then distributed to school districts, primarily based on “average daily attendance.” 

California is one of only a few states that use attendance to distribute state aid and a perpetual debate over whether it should continue is becoming more intense because two major factors in school attendance — enrollment and student absences — have been regressing. 

California experienced rapid population growth over the last two decades of the 20th century, due to a wave of migration from other states and a baby boom. 

That translated into a 50 percent increase in K-12 school enrollment, eventually topping out at 6.3 million kids. 

After reaching a plateau, however, enrollment started declining as the state began losing population, thanks largely to movements to other states, and as the state’s birthrate dropped dramatically. 

“Demographic projections suggest enrollment will continue to decline across the state over the coming decade,” according to a recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California. “The California Department of Finance (DOF) projects that declines will persist at roughly 40,000 to 60,000 students per year, resulting in enrollment levels below 5.2 million by 2032.” 

The inexorable decline in enrollment is exacerbated by a startling large number of students who may be enrolled but are chronically absent — what once was known as playing hooky. 

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic almost all of California’s schools were closed, but even with online classes, attendance took a nosedive. After schools were reopened, however, chronic absenteeism — students missing from the classroom 10 percent or more of the time — continued to be a problem. Prior to the pandemic 12 percent of the state’s students were chronically absent, but in the first year after schools reopened the rate was 30 percent and since then has declined marginally to 25 percent, according to a new PPIC study. 

PPIC researchers learned that the most absence-prone children these days are in kindergarten or the early primary grades while, prior to the pandemic, high schoolers were most likely to be missing classes. 

“High levels of absenteeism among the youngest students is particularly concerning since absenteeism tends to have a snowball effect: a student is more likely to be chronically absent in later grades if they are chronically absent in earlier ones,” PPIC’s report noted. 

During the pandemic, school finances were bolstered by billions of dollars in federal relief funds and a temporary respite from attendance-based state aid, but both of those programs have expired, so districts are beginning to feel the full impact of enrollment declines and absenteeism. 

As the gaps between income and outgo widen, school officials throughout the state are contemplating school closures — which almost always generate neighborhood opposition — while pressing the state to change the attendance-based system. 

“Between 2012 and 2021, nearly 700 schools across the state were closed, resulting in roughly 167,000 students being displaced,” Policy Analysis for California Education, a multi-university research project, reported recently, adding that “Black students were more likely to experience school closure than any other racial subgroup. Black students represent nearly 14 percent of the student body in schools that were closed.” 

Demography is destiny and California’s school conundrum of declining enrollment, high absenteeism and unstable attendance will become more intense. It warrants urgent attention by the state’s political figures, from the governor downward. 


* * *

* * *


by Adam Coleman

Worried about having enough money to keep a roof over your head or even just put food on the table as prices continue to climb?

Bill Maher is here to tell you with the utmost confidence that your distress is all in your head.

In the latest episode of his long-running HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the comedian-commentator used his closing monologue — that night titled “Cheer Up” — to berate the millions of Americans he thinks don’t properly appreciate President Biden.

“Why are Biden’s approval ratings so low when things are generally pretty good?” Maher inquired.

“Now, of course there are problems: America is a big place. But wages are rising, unemployment is negligible, the stock market is soaring, we somehow brushed off both the Trump presidency and the pandemic.”

And hey, you can see pictures of naked women pretty much whenever you want.

“Yes, inflation persists for a lot of things, but an actual good, nice-sized TV now costs 60 bucks. Who gets credit for that? We’ve got next-day shipping, stuffed-crust pizza, legal weed, GPS and porn on the phone. Cheer the f–k up!” he scolded.

“Stop acting like life in America in 2024 is unbearable. Biden’s ratings are in the toilet not because he’s doing such a bad job but because a lot of Americans like to live with their head in the toilet!”

Maher occasionally likes to pretend he’s a man of the people since he tours middle America on a private jet, but his comedy shows involve him speaking to an audience that he doesn’t have to listen to.

He doesn’t have to reconcile the struggle of the average American who hasn’t seen a raise in wages in years and dares not complain because his or her choice of employment is more limited than the seating on Maher’s private jet.

If he truly understood what’s going on, he wouldn’t think most Americans’ economic satisfaction is related to the stock market’s success — when the top 1% of earners holds ownership of 54% of the stocks, valuing more than $19 trillion.

Maher minimizes the impact of inflation as a side dish to our economic woes when it’s really the main course.

And it’s worse than the official numbers show.

Strategas Research Partners CEO Jason Trennert created the Common Man Consumer Price Index to measure inflation among a basket of necessities, taking out the luxuries included in the government’s CPI — in other words, it looks at the cost of things like food, shelter and energy and not those cheap TVs Maher trumpets.

The inflation burden under Biden has made the average working person’s standard of living deteriorate by around 7% since 2021, according to the Common Man CPI.

Maher can’t comprehend how we in the middle class are not only being squeezed with the value theft of inflation, we’re being closed off from experiencing the American dream of homeownership and left behind with the nightmare of dramatically rising rent.

Maher is effectively gaslighting people like me by telling us that our eyes are lying to us about what we are seeing becoming out of reach and he’s doing it to dramatize the supposed effectiveness of Biden.

None of this surprises me because Maher is the same man who hoped for a recession to occur during the last administration to guarantee Donald Trump wouldn’t get re-elected.

“I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point, and by the way, I’m hoping for it because I think one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy,” stated Maher.

“So please, bring on the recession.”

Maher doesn’t know what the bottom falling out looks like for people who barely have a savings account to lean on, but I’ve experienced it firsthand.

You can’t quite follow Maher’s prescription of simply “cheering up” when you don’t have a home to call yours and need to take handouts just to eat, like I did.

Biden may not be responsible for every economic situation in America, but pretending our troubles aren’t real from the comfort of a California mansion is the epitome of elitism.

(New York Post)

* * *


by Drew Magary

March Madness is here, and if you’re looking to burn a quick $10, the men’s bracket awaits you in all of its irritatingly chaotic glory. But if you’re looking for personality, you have to go over to the women’s bracket. In that field, you’ll find not only the most electrifying player in all of college basketball in Iowa’s Caitlin Clark but also the sport’s greatest heel, who, by awful coincidence, might also be its best coach. You know of whom I speak. You can picture her in your mind right now, prowling the sidelines while dressed like a contestant on a 1981 episode of “The Price Is Right.” I speak, of course, of LSU coach Kim Mulkey: 

Mulkey arrived in Baton Rouge after overseeing Baylor’s program for more than two decades and winning three national titles in the process. Everyone thought Mulkey would need a couple of years of work at LSU to build that program into its own colossus, but watch the above video again and tell me if that looks like a patient woman to you. Kim Mulkey won a national title in her second season at the helm of LSU, in part because she’s the type of person who could be described as suffering no fools.

In other words, she’s a jerk.

All my life, I’ve been suited to my fair share of evil coaches on the men’s side, running the gamut from rage addicts like Bob Knight to corporate eels like Mike Krzyzewski, who cloaked their imperiousness under the cheap guise of noble leadership. But look at the men’s bracket now and tell me which coaches I should despise. Kelvin Sampson of Houston? Kelvin Sampson is cool. Dan Hurley of UConn? Hey man, at least he’s not Bobby Hurley. Jon Scheyer, the new head man at Duke? Sorry but Dick Vitale hasn’t openly asked to bear his children yet. These are not worthy heels. But Kim Mulkey? Now we’re talking. Kim Mulkey is never afraid to suck. Just ask her!

In case you need a refresher, WNBA legend Brittney Griner, who played for Mulkey at Baylor, was arrested in Russia on charges related to carrying vape cartridges through the Moscow airport and then was wrongly detained for nearly all of 2022. You might have expected Mulkey to not only comment publicly on Griner’s horrific plight but to also vehemently lobby for her release. Mulkey did no such thing. If you’re familiar with the coach’s history with Griner, this wasn’t much of a surprise. Griner is a lesbian and wanted to come out of the closet while playing for Mulkey at Baylor, a school that expressly forbids homosexuality. Mulkey, fearful that harboring a gay women’s basketball player — there are so few of those! — would damage her recruiting efforts, all but forced Griner to keep her sexuality to herself. From Kate Fagan of ESPN:

 “Jordan Madden, another former teammate, says Griner wasn’t the only gay player on the team: ‘There were others. Kim always said all of it would look bad for recruiting’.”

Fagan then reported that Mulkey ceased all contact with Griner after Baylor lost to Louisville in what would be Griner’s final college game. After the story published, Mulkey then went to Fagan’s bosses to try to get Fagan fired. When Baylor’s football program, under then-head coach Art Briles, was later exposed as a haven for players eager to commit sexual assault, Mulkey defended the school’s honor — remember, Baylor forbids gay people from existing — by saying, “If somebody’s around you, and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face.” She would later apologize for that comment, but you and I both know that she enjoyed issuing that apology about as much as she’d enjoy a screening of “Call Me By Your Name.”

Because, like Knight, Mulkey is an all-too-familiar kind of American bully: the kind that cannot handle being questioned, especially when they’re being questioned by someone that their employer hasn’t given them free rein to beat into submission. UConn legend Geno Auriemma has trace amounts of this primal belligerence still circulating through his system, but he ain’t got s—t on Mulkey, who wears her jerk cred like a feather boa around her neck. Did Mulkey lobby to suspend COVID-19 testing during the 2021 NCAA tourney so that none of her players would get pulled for testing positive? You bet. Did she celebrate her arrival in Baton Rouge by ripping off her mask to the delight of all of the country bumpkins in attendance? You needn’t even ask. This is a flawless villain of a coach. I might hate her even more than I hated Krzyzewski, and that shouldn’t be possible.

Even more enraging is the fact that Mulkey is a genuinely brilliant basketball coach. You can’t be a good college basketball villain if you suck. You have to win. And Mulkey wins. God help me, she wins all the time. Take her out of the equation, and this LSU outfit would be easy to root for, especially with talented players like Angel Reese littering the roster. In fact, these Tigers ranked second in total scoring during the regular season, trailing only — well look at that! — Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes, whom the Tigers defeated in the national title game just a year ago. This LSU team isn’t just good; it’s fun. I’d love them if I weren’t constantly reminded who presides over them. But I know Mulkey’s there, and thus I’m gonna need to watch her team go down hard.

And what’s this? It would appear that the selection committee decided to put both LSU and Iowa in the same region, where they could conceivably (inevitably?) meet with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Now that is appointment television, much more so than any potential Elite Eight matchup on the men’s side. This is due mainly to the brilliance of Caitlin Clark. But it’s also due to Kim Mulkey’s existence as the Cruella de Vil of basketball. Her anti-charisma transcends all of sport, just like Knight’s did. She’s a great coach and a terrible person, which makes it impossible for me to take my angry eyes off her. I hope that Caitlin puts her in the deep fryer. 

* * *

* * *

"IT'S NOT ABOUT TRUMP." American CJ Hopkins, Charged Again in Germany, Describes Global Censorship Effort

by Matt Taibbi

The German people are famous for putting everything in print, even things they shouldn’t, and in this instance at least, American playwright and author CJ Hopkins is glad. “The irony,” he says, laughing. “The Germans, always documenting everything.”

In a letter from the Berlin Prosecutor’s file on Hopkins, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, analogous to our FBI) acknowledges receipt of a document from a government office describing an effort to have tweets deleted. “The Hessen Gegen Hetze reporting office,” the highlighted portion reads, “has already initiated measures to delete the relevant post on the social network”:

Hopkins reached out to me after listening in disgust to the Murthy v. Missouri Supreme Court hearing Monday. Standing was a big issue: our government said plaintiffs like Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Aaron Kheriaty lacked definite proof that the government was responsible for suppressing their speech. No such issue exists in CJ’s case, as you can see.

Hopkins also wanted Americans who might be up in arms about the specter of legalized censorship in their own country to see that the phenomenon has also spread to virtually every Western democracy, often in more extreme forms than we’ve seen so far in the United States.

CJ’s unique insight involves his ludicrous German case, which as you’ll read in the Q&A below has taken bizarre turns since we last checked and will now go to trial yet again. As an expat following the American situation from afar, he’s seen how the authoritarian tide is rising in similar or worse ways all around the globe.

Hopkins is facing the business end of the German version, among the worst. As detailed last June, he was charged with “disseminating propaganda, the contents of which are intended to further the aims of a former National Socialist organization.” The crime? Using a barely detectible Swastika in the cover image of his book, The Rise of the New Normal Reich. Far from “furthering the aims” of Nazism, he was criticizing them by comparing Nazi methods and laws to those of modern health authorities.

Hopkins went to trial in January and delivered an impassioned plea to the court. “Every journalist that has covered my case, everyone in this courtroom, understands what this prosecution is actually about,” he said. “It has nothing to do with punishing people who actually disseminate pro-Nazi propaganda. It is about punishing dissent, and making an example of dissidents in order to intimidate others into silence.” Though the judge was clearly not a fan of Hopkins — a courtroom account by Aya Velazquez, which I recommend reading, described how the judge said CJ’s statements were “ideological drivel,” just “not punishable by law” — he won on the law.

After acquittal, he was made aware that technically the case wasn’t over, because thanks to a quirk of German jurisprudence, the prosecutor had a week to file an appeal. Hopkins was unconcerned. “I doubt he will [re-file]. He made a total fool of himself in front of a large audience yesterday,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine that he will want to do that again.” Bzzt! Wrong. The prosecutor re-filed charges. The prosecutorial theory in the Hopkins case was based on a bizarre interpretation of hate crime, essentially asserting that if you have to think about an image to realize it’s satire, it can’t be allowed. If that idea spreads, it would make comedy or even sharp commentary impossible. This is why his indictment, and the similar investigation of Roger Waters, are really serious moments. Not to be heavy-handed, but eliminating the loophole for satire or mockery is exactly what Waters meant by “Another Brick in the Wall.” Before you know it, it’ll be too high to see over:

MT: You got charged again?

CJ Hopkins: No, I got acquitted. I went to trial on the 23rd of January, and I wrote this up and I’ll send it to you so you can just look at the whole account. But at the trial I made a big aggressive statement that people republished all over the place. The judge acquitted me, and then called me all kinds of names and then put on her covid mask and stalked out of the courtroom. She called me a Schwurbler, which in German is kind of an idiot, I guess a babbler or someone.

Anyway, I read that statement, which pissed them all off, but she said, “Okay, you’re an idiot, but that’s not against the law, so you’re acquitted.” So I thought, “Great. This is over. I’m acquitted.”

The prosecutor had no case whatsoever, and it was really embarrassing, and I figured it was all done, but my attorney reminded me: oh no, the prosecutor can appeal. Which he did. So now I’m facing another trial in appeals court. It’s not new charges, it’s the same charge, but the prosecutor’s appeal of my acquittal.

MT: The double jeopardy thing isn’t big in Germany, I take it?

CJ Hopkins: No.

MT: Are they going to make a different argument?

CJ Hopkins: I have no idea what they’re going to do. They have no argument… I mean, they put my tweets up on an overhead projector, like we were back in high school, and interrogated me about whether the Swastika was on top of the mask or behind the mask, that sort of thing. The prosecutor’s argument was basically, “We don’t believe that Mr. Hopkins is a Nazi, or pro-Nazi, we don’t believe he was trying to spread Nazi propaganda, but he nonetheless spread Nazi propaganda. because his tweet” — and this is a great part of their argument — “because if people saw his tweets, they would have to stop and think for a minute to figure out what they meant.”

MT: Essentially you can’t have satire, because that requires a person to have at least one thought.

CJ Hopkins: You can’t make people think. You’ve got to have beat-you-over-the-head messaging. I think the whole point of this… I’m sure it’s like the plea-bargain thing in the States. They figure if they hit you with a 3,600 Euro fine, you’re going to pay three times that much to fight it in court, so you’re just going to pay the fine and go away. I don’t think they ever expected to end up in court, and I have no idea what the prosecutor is doing with this appeal. The judge a few weeks later submitted a written verdict, which is strongly in my favor. She pretty much reiterated my attorney’s arguments and made it absolutely clear that what I did falls under the exceptions to the statute, and there’s nothing here to prosecute. Nonetheless, the prosecution’s going ahead.

MT: Did you have much Western news coverage?

CJ Hopkins: Right before the trial I had you, then Neue Zürcher Zeitung, which is the big paper of record in Switzerland, and James Kirchick at The Atlantic, who was a big help. I think it put a lot of pressure on the judge. My lawyer made her aware that Germany was being portrayed as a laughingstock in the international press. Aside from The Atlantic, it was all independent alternative media.

MT: In the Murthy Supreme Court case in the States Monday, there was an issue with what they call “traceability.” I see you don’t have a traceability issue, with this document from your case file?

CJ Hopkins: Exactly. That’s why I sent it to you. Unquestionably, this is a government office, directly involved with removing the tweets. The other thing that I was going to say, is that I’m looking at things like the Supreme Court case from a non-U.S. perspective. I’m outside of it. I’m watching the legislation that’s getting rolled out in Ireland and the UK and what’s happening to me here and what’s going on in the States, and it’s so obviously much broader than just a red-blue political story in the US. This is happening throughout the Western democratic countries. I’m just desperate to get that across to people. I think it’s so easy for people to get locked into what’s going on in their own country and not see the bigger picture.

MT: What’s an example?

CJ Hopkins: There was just a piece in The Herald, in Scotland. The police were being trained there on how to crack down on abusive hate speech. According to this new legislation that’s rolling out and in the training manual, they were saying this could take place in comic performances or stage plays. People are being arrested in the UK for protest signs. If I can just put one little bug in your head, Matt, to whatever degree you can tweak people and let them know: “Hey, it’s not just Trump and the Democrats and the liberals and the woke people and all that.” This is happening all over the West, in all these different countries. I think that’s one thing that my case does, it provides folks with an opportunity to remind them that this is happening all over. The old rules don’t apply.

MT: Good luck with your case.

CJ Hopkins: Take care.

* * *

* * *


by Matt Taibbi

I had a chance to sit down with Glenn Greenwald on his System Update show after the Murthy v. Missouri Supreme Court case the other night. It ended up being a long, animated discussion.

Watching Glenn drift into full Scanners exploding-head rage mode over both the Supreme Court acting as a proxy for the national security establishment and the sleazy New York Times hit piece tossed at the Twitter Files reminded me of how much he’s been through over the years, and how glad I am that he’s still hitting back as hard as he is.…

* * *

A POSTSCRIPT to yesterday’s Cockburn article about Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City memorial at the site of the bombing.

Oklahomans are selective in their grief after a mass killing. They took about 80 years even to make official acknowledgement of the scores of dead blacks slaughtered in the Tulsa race riots, while fiercely denying reparations. Nor is the Oklahoma City site a simple memorial. Funded by us taxpayers, it offers an Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. But if Oklahomans refuse to confront McVeigh's motives and rationale, what credentials can their Institute have for any preventive strategies? I'll say it again, more strongly. There's something ghoulish about the way Oklahomans are remembering their 168, from the repellent architecture and commemorative furniture of the site, to the icky blather about: “survivors” and “closure,” to the nature of this supposed “closure,” focussed on killing more people (whether those on death row for whose denial of habeas corpus rights they fiercely lobbied in the passage of the Effective Death Penalty Act), or McVeigh, whose jury they entertained as though it was a victorious football team, and whose execution they have been drawing lots to attend. There are plenty of references in the Memorial literature to Oklahoma City as part of the American heartland. From that heartland have gone forth across the world Oklahoma lads who have, in government service, dropped bombs, gone on terror missions like Bob Kerrey's, participated in dreadful campaigns of extermination. Now, if they were to visit the Memorial, would not a survivor of one of those missions, a Vietnamese or a Salvadoran say, perhaps feel that some expression of empathy with other acts of terror was in order? Face it, there are plenty of “survivors” around the world, bereft of their parents, brothers, sisters, kids, because some Oklahoman kitted out in one of the national uniforms pressed the button, pulled the trigger, lit the fuse. Not to mention the US sponsored and funded terrorism around the world. But no, the Memorial specifically offers a definition derived from USC Title II Section 265 F(A) of terrorism as “politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups... Note that the definition excludes irrrational acts, purely criminal and economic activities or acts committed by nation states.” McVeigh made some of these points, and to say that he has the better of the argument with the Oklahoma Memorial is not in the least to apologize for what I described as his evil act, it's to say that the Memorial offered me kitsch rather than dignified and considered sorrow. 

* * *

* * *


of the Lake

She had that stare

That guileless gaze that couldn’t be decoded

And here’s three things it wasn’t:

Wasn’t blank, and wasn’t vacant

Not to mention not distracted

Out of focus on the surface but entirely aware

Never dreamy, never inattentive 

So why, he asked again, why would that look

Which carried not a hint of confrontation

Have challenged him to capture and decipher and define?

What bloody-minded part of him wanted 

To drag that wide-eyed mystery back to earth?

Everyone else knew the channels of her thoughts

Tidal pools that swelled and ebbed in unexpected ways

An irreproachable occurrence in accordance

With established laws of nature but entrenched

Beyond the limits of the fathom-sounding sonar

And the tragic captive groaning of the buoys

And the first mate’s scuffed-up volume

Stuffed with laminated charts

She was short on hope at times perhaps

But always long on faith and charity

And when she was gone

The vessel’s sails sagged unsupported 

Just as spineless and abandoned

As the slabs of cleaned and gutted grouper

That broiled and bloated on the bleached slats of the deck

The desiccated fantail dying for a drink

Underneath the listless heraldry 

The folds of an inverted flag, unheeded

Futile universal message of distress

And when she was gone

And it was clear

He’d never have the chance to steal a glance

At that confounding boundless stare again

The fountains that he trudged past

In every park in town inquired

Why he had to cloud the issue with a superstitious coin

And the stillness of the lake insisted

The inconsiderate aloofness of the lake

Demanded justification for the ripples

That might issue for a moment

From the idle introduction 

The thoughtless imposition of his stone

Was he so self-absorbed,

Sufficiently deluded,

To think his presence there had any weight at all?

— Erik S. McMahon

* * *

The Sower, oil on canvas, Vincent van Gogh, 1888


  1. Chuck Dunbar March 21, 2024


    This recent murder of the mother of a two year old, in the midst of a domestic dispute, is as sad as it gets. Yet another example of a gun in the house, close at hand, so easy in the heat of an argument to grab it, shoot, kill. A poor dead woman, an infant loses his or her mother, a man’s ruined life, off to prison for many years. A tragedy that might have been avoided absent the gun.

    • Harvey Reading March 21, 2024

      Yeah, he would have had to grab something else, like a butcher knife, a chair, a skillet, a glass vase, a hammer…people have been killing each other since they evolved, long before guns existed.

      • Harvey Reading March 21, 2024

        There’s even a piece in the holy book of fairy tales about an imaginary guy who killed, I believe it was his imaginary brother, with the jawbone of an ass…

      • Harvey Reading March 21, 2024

        Oh, wait, that was Samson who supposedly used the jawbone to kill a thousand so-called enemies of the state. No detail about the Cain-Abel murder. It’s all hokum anyway.

    • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

      There is new info that she had filed a restraining order against him. They were unable to locate him to serve the order. Not likely that would have stopped the guy, especially being way out in Covelo. Tragic . That poor innocent baby! 😢🙏

      mm 💕

      • Sarah Kennedy Owen March 21, 2024

        It is true that the restraining order was “terminated ” but only because DA Eyster dismissed the case against the perpetrator in late 2023, deeming there “was not enough evidence” to charge him on domestic violence. Another example in Mendocino County of not believing the victim (or so it seems on the surface, I could have missed something). Also, had there been law enforcement available locally in Covelo, the sheriff’s people could have gotten there sooner and possibly saved her life. Instead, it looks like law enforcement had to come from WIllits. They then tried to use life saving procedures, to no effect.
        That said, you are right, Mazie, restraining orders are (a) hard to get in time to have any use and (b) when obtained, may do little to stop whatever is being threatened. And Chuck is right, too, the weapon was in the perp’s hands, and that in itself could be a big part of the problem.

        • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

          Yes hard to believe with his past criminal record that the ball was dropped….Seems to happen here often with lots of services. sad

          mm 💕

          • Sarah Kennedy Owen March 21, 2024

            Very true, Mazie, and well said.

      • Lazarus March 21, 2024

        I read somewhere that there was a shotgun blast to the face, and two more. Not sure what parts the 2nd and 3rd rounds hit.
        To me, that kind of slaughter suggested the guy was experienced with killing.
        It’s awful someone had to die to get him off the streets.
        Covelo strikes again…

        • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

          Yes, face, chest and groin!

          mm 💕

        • Harvey Reading March 22, 2024

          Musta had the magazine plugged. I removed the plug on my 870, and leave it out except when hunting, which I gave up long ago.

    • MAGA Marmon March 21, 2024

      Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

      MAGA Marmon

      • Sarah Kennedy Owen March 21, 2024

        However, in this case the murder was committed with a gun that was forbidden to the user, and the murderer was a convicted criminal who somehow escaped justice and that left the victim unprotected. Lots of “what ifs” in this case, all of which should be looked at carefully and addressed adequately.

        • Sarah Kennedy Owen March 21, 2024

          This echoes Bob Dylan’s “Oxford Town”:
          “Two men died “neath the Mississippi moon
          Somebody better investigate soon”
          (meaning, ironically, “soon” might mean “never”).

          • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

            lol .,, right..,, never …

            it’s like the 3 primates

            see no evil
            hear no evil
            speak no evil

            However when you don’t listen, speak or see you are breeding the evil-doing!!

            Monkey Mendo … lol

            mm 💕

          • California March 21, 2024

            “soon” was a poor choice of words, as the time frame is indefinite, and not urgent. Shoulda, coulda been “by noon”.

        • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

          That won’t happen, not in Mendo … sad but true…turn the other cheek … 😢🤬✌️

          mm 💕

      • Chuck Dunbar March 21, 2024

        That so very lame thought has been said before, by the loyal right-wingers who bring great harm to America by insuring that guns are rampant everywhere in our poor country. Shameful stuff it is.

        • Bob A. March 21, 2024

          Couldn’t agree with you more. It’s sloganeering of the lowest sort.

        • Harvey Reading March 21, 2024

          Guns have always been “rampant” in the US, yet, at 74, I’ve never been threatened by anyone who was armed. Loyal far-left-wingers tend to create and magnify (as with school shootings) problems that in truth hardly exist, but are magnified by the press and politicos. If I was dark-skinned, I would be more afraid of armed law-enforcement officers than armed civilians, unless they were MAGAts.

          • Betsy Cawn March 22, 2024

            School shootings “hardly exist”? Harvey, that’s it, bro. You’re about as useless as the MAGAats you deride.

            • Harvey Reading March 23, 2024

              Divide the number of school shootings by the number of schools in the country, ma’am. That’s the reality. You’re a victim of propaganda.

              • Chuck Dunbar March 23, 2024

                Man, Harvey, think back to when we were all kids, when schools were indeed quite safe and there were never mass school shootings. Compare that to now when there are such events on a regular basis. We read about them too often in the media. It’s a new, very sad reality, and if the numbers of such events are not extreme high, they are serious for sure, and way too many kids have been killed over the last decade or so. If you think such shootings get too much attention, part of it is the very idea that shooters would come into schools with their weapons of war and kill innocent children. It is a horror story.

                • Harvey Reading March 23, 2024

                  Another victim of propaganda…to the point of hysterics, it seems. Your argument is childish. So are your memories of the “good ol’ days”.

      • Shankar-Wolf March 21, 2024

        Drunk Drivers don’t kill people, cars kill people

        • MAGA Marmon March 21, 2024

          I love you too my old friend.

          MAGA Marmon

        • Chuck Dunbar March 21, 2024

          That comparison does not work–not the same issue– think about it… Simple slogans are useless in the whole dialogue at hand.

          • Call It As I See It March 21, 2024

            Says the Social Worker! His comparison does apply. Your liberal gun views only will take away guns from legal and law abiding gun owners. You see in the real world criminals don’t care about your gun views. News Flash, they will not hand over their illegal guns. And even if you libtards catch them, you just release them with your jacked up policies. This case makes my point, the alleged suspect shouldn’t possess a gun because of his criminal history. But he is out of jail and probably with no bond.

  2. Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

    Good Morning People,

    I have a question is anyone else receiving a message that says Request Header Fields Too Large when they submit a comment? It has been happening to me for a week or so now and I contacted MK just trying to figure out if it’s something on my end! Thank You!

    mm 💕

    • Eric Sunswheat March 21, 2024

      Perhaps try shutting down your device and restart.

      • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

        Thanks Eric yes I had done that didn’t work. Clearing the Cache seems to have fixed it!

        mm 💕

    • Bob A. March 21, 2024

      Not seeing it here, but that does not in any way mean that it’s not happening to you.

      This is a client side error, meaning that the problem is on your end. It can often be caused by cookies or cached data stored in your browser. If you know how to clear these, I recommend giving that a try. Otherwise, let me know which browser and OS are you are using and I can send you to detailed instructions for taking those steps.

      • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

        Thank you, yes was instructed to clear cache, so I did and hopefully it is fixed! … 💕

        mm 💕

      • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

        Thank you again,
        Maybe you can help me with my Lenovo laptop? I bought like 2 years ago brand new have barely used it was writing an article screen went completely blank, was able to get it back although not sure how, lol. A few days later happened again but this time I could not get it to go back on. Did some research said to remove battery have done that twice and nothing! So was planning to take it in to be fixed, but if you have a suggestion I may not have to do that.

        mm 💕

        • Bob A. March 21, 2024

          It sounds like an internal power problem, but someone will need to look at it to be certain. Sadly, the repair costs for laptops are high and their lifespans are disappointingly short. Wishing you the best of luck with it.

          • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

            Well thats a freaking bummer !!! Maybe should have went for a desktop. Thank you.

            mm 💕

    • MAGA Marmon March 21, 2024

      How do I fix the header is too large?

      Five Ways To Fix ‘Request Header Or Cookie Too Large’ Error Code:

      #1. Clear Browser Cookies And Cache.
      #2. Reset Your Browser.
      #3. Restart Your Device and Other Hardware.
      #4. Flush DNS Cache.
      #5. Contact the Site Owner To Report The Error.

      MAGA Marmon

      • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

        Thanks James done!!

        mm 💕

  3. Cantankerous March 21, 2024

    Bruce A.,

    The day has arrived, finally. Keep us posted.

  4. Me March 21, 2024

    The Covelo murderer, if he didn’t have a gun he would have used something else, a knife, his hands, a vehicle, a bat. Once the intent is set, anything will do. Was the gun in the home? or did he bring it? Bottomline, a woman was horribly murdered, her baby horribly scarred, and the justice system failed all of them. Could it have been prevented if the justice system would have worked differently in the recent past in this case? Or the action just delayed as the murderer would have had more time to stew, blame and justify his actions that he was planning. We will never know. Domestic violence is hideous, on every level. A victim never truly feels safe, even when the threat is removed. It is a curse. So very sad.

    • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

      so true…. many moons ago I was a volunteer for Project Sanctuary’s Crisis Line…. what a eye opening experience that was. A woman trying to disconnect and leave the abuser often leads to endangering their life. So tragic

      mm 💕

  5. California March 21, 2024

    California was first in the United States to open a shelter for women escaping domestic violence, and domestic abuse🟣

    Haven House opened in 1964.

  6. Craig Stehr March 21, 2024

    Rather unlikely that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas will revert to a mental health facility again. As Bruce Anderson has reported, the Pure Land Buddhist sect purchased it for a pittance, and it is now a major spiritual center complete with schools, retreat facilities which attract the faithful from as far away as Koala Lampur, and a hardcore monastic group. Eminent domain, by the way, is increasingly ineffective due to lawsuits that the U.S. government has lost attempting to steal homeowners property, mostly by energy companies, under the ridiculous assertion that it is necessary for “national defense”. The State of California had a pre-sale opportunity to revitalize the property in Talmage, and declined for the usual obvious reasons, which are 1. Nobody really cares about the mentally ill because it is an expense and, aside from an increase of jobs, is mostly an unproductive situation, and 2. Mental illness is considered a private (id est “family”) affair, even though homeless mentally ill are not living with a nuclear or any other type of family. It all fits seamlessly into the American experiment with freedom and democracy, and will require an act of congress to be changed, which of course, cannot happen. Shelters are a temporary solution, though inadequate, but at least the suffering won’t be eaten by wildlife. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the day.
    Craig Louis Stehr
    c/o Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center
    1045 South State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
    Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
    March 21st, 2024 Anno Domini

    • Mazie Malone March 21, 2024

      Something we can agree on !! Except …. I care !!!

      Prop 1 passed so thats good but not likely to do much. I do not hold any faith in the system.

      Hey Craig how many Overdoses have there been at shelter since you have been there? And is it swept under the rug like I assume it is? I mean is there any addressing shelter residents on fear, trauma and grief after such an incident?


      I am sure the jail provides trauma care to
      deputies after such an event! Don’t know about the inmates my guess is only upon request.

      mm ❤️

      • Craig Stehr March 21, 2024

        Overdoses happen mostly outside of the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center property. Regardless, there is no input at all regarding “fear, trauma, and grief”. Most overdosed individuals deny that there is anything wrong with them, while the emergency responders attempt to revive them. And then the next week, the fentanyl-methamphetamine-cocaine-oxycontin-marijuana-tobacco chain smoking individuals die, and are found on a bus bench at dawn. The old car wash on Talmage Road was the gathering spot for heroin users. The heavier fentanyl users dropped dead in the parking lot of Sunny Donuts. As always, the premier gathering spot remains on Observatory Way above South State Street. It is the most pitiable place possible. News update at ten. ;-(

        • Mazie Malone March 22, 2024

          Thanks for the News Update!!

          I live in town and am well aware of the issues across the street and at the car wash!

          A week or so ago I saw some new folks camped out by shelter it was late afternoon early evening! I met a homeless fellow along the rail trail who told me those people were there from disbanding the street folks at the car wash via City of Ukiah. I have not seen them again. I assume they moved on.

          mm 💕

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