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Mendocino County Today: Friday 3/29/24

Showers | Lichen | Sergeant Save | Four Mo | Country Lane | AVUSD Resignations | Panther Pride | Irv Sutley | Bugle 1972 | Cigarette Robbery | Gordon Black | Home Late | County Permits | Blue Lakers | Narcan Save | Redwood Highway | Unsupervised Goofballs | Mechanic | Essay Contest | Slave Ship | Hippy Stink | Boonville Exchange | Crab Vendors | Mendo Shipwrecks | Yesterday's Catch | Weed Biz | Pink Prayer | Giant Bummers | Wine Shorts | Owl Nest | Dem Biz | Nuclear Winter | Gov Biz | 2 Heads | Motorcycle Philosopher | Queen Tuya | War Victims | Tamar Pelleg-Sryck | Jesus Palestinian

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ANOTHER ROUND OF SHOWERS a gusty south to east wind remains on track today focused in southern Mendocino and Lake Counties. Calmer and drier weather will then build in through the weekend.… Wind advisory in effect from 8 am this morning to 8 pm this evening. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A cloudy 48F on the coast this Friday morning. That is a very impressive system to our west but the brunt of it will come ashore near the Bay Area then move down the coast setting up for some big rain & snow for So Cal & the southwest this weekend. We have a wind advisory & showers forecast for today & tonight then clearing for the weekend. Dry skies mostly next week it looks like. Thankfully.

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Lichen on Trees, Brooktrails (Jeff Goll)

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On Monday, March 25, 2024 at approximately 10:52 AM, a Sergeant with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on routine patrol in the area of Vichy Springs Road and Watson Road in Ukiah.

The Sergeant had pulled over in a turnout to research something on his patrol vehicle computer. At this time, the Sergeant looked towards the Perkins Street Bridge, where he observed an adult male subject tying a bright-colored rope onto the railing of the bridge. The Sergeant then observed the male subject placing the other end of the rope over his head and around his neck.

The Sergeant rushed to the location of the male subject. As the Sergeant was exiting his vehicle, the subject had one foot over the railing and his upper body was also leaning over the railing.

The Sergeant quickly ran to the male subject and was able to pull him back over the railing and onto the bridge.

The male subject was then transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, where he was connected with mental health resources.

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MAUREEN MULHEREN: RE: Final Election results. (Mulheren: 51.77%. Jacob Brown: 48.23%) Four more years to do the work that I love. Excited to continue my service in the community. Thank you for the support

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Country Lane (photo mk)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

It is with great regret that the Board of Trustees accepted the resignations of two key members of our administrative team: Principal Cymbre Thomas Swett and Superintendent Louise Simson. 

Principal Cymbre Thomas Swett has accepted a position at the Mendocino County Office of Education as a Director of Continuous Improvement. The Board commends her for the amazing effort and excellence that she has brought to the elementary site over the past three years. Under her leadership, the elementary team has made huge instructional strides and has piloted new language arts and math curriculums to strengthen core foundational skills and achievement. Cymbre also created an innovative elective wheel to ensure students were receiving enrichment opportunities both inside and outside of the school day. Her commitment to ensuring that all students could achieve is truly outstanding. The Trustees thank Cymbre for her service and are confident that she will continue to create positive change in school districts across the county.

Superintendent Louise Simson has also tendered her resignation at the completion of her three year contract on June 30, to retire and pursue her studies full-time in a doctoral degree program. The Board thanks Louise for her guiding belief and commitment to equity for all learners, especially in the area of facilities. The board is extremely grateful for Louise’s enthusiasm and energy in rebuilding Panther Pride in a difficult, post pandemic climate. Her commitment to raising academic achievement and social participation and responsibility is evidenced in many ways, including, regular assemblies highlighting students’ successes, athletes dressing for game days, the no F policy and pouching cell phones during the day, to name a few. She has tirelessly monitored each student’s grades and celebrated upward trends.

In her three year tenure, she spearheaded passing a $13 million dollar bond with 72 percent of the vote, replaced two septic systems, moved a major remodel at the high school and science rooms through design and permitting process with construction beginning in early June, co-wrote and received the $5 million Caltrans grant with construction expected in Spring of 2025, and has moved the elementary kitchen remodel through the permitting process with work expected in 2025. She and the district office team aggressively procured numerous funding streams from the state and federal government to support payment of these projects, which continues with the on-going process of seeking the seismic retrofit program funding for the gym and domes. The Trustees are grateful for her vision, energy, and expertise in transforming students’ learning environments and expectations for achievement.

The Board is working to fill these pivotal vacancies and is excited to continue the amazing progress of the past three years. Additional updates will be forthcoming.

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Sonoma County activist Irv Sutley dies at 79. ‘He devoted his life to social justice’

by Chris Smith

A political gadfly, who in recent years was homeless for a time and stayed active by collecting coffee grounds and passing them to friends for their gardens, he died on Saturday, March 23. He was 79. 

As a young man, Irv Sutley was a U.S. Marine and then a member of the American Communist Party.

A native of Marin County, he became known in Sonoma County and far beyond as an atheist adamant to force the government to stay clear of any sort of religious symbols or practices.

Sutley was both vilified and cheered for successfully demanding that Sonoma County officials ban Christmas tree stars and angels from county offices.

A political gadfly, who in recent years was homeless for a time and stayed active by collecting coffee grounds and passing them to friends for their gardens, he died on Saturday. He was 79.

Knowing he would lose did not deter Sutley from running often for public office as a candidate of the socialist Peace and Freedom Party.

His name surfaced frequently in accounts of the mystery over who built and placed the homemade bomb that exploded beneath the driver’s seat of Earth First! activist Judi Bari’s car in May 1990, seriously wounding her.

Leftists Sutley and Bari became adversaries, with Bari accusing Sutley of being an informant and/or a provocateur, and Sutley alleging that Bari had a friend offer him $5,000 to kill her ex-husband.

“He devoted his life to social justice,” said friend, fellow Sonoma County activist and former wife Toni Novak of Healdsburg.

Like Novak, Penngrove’s Anthony Tusler met Sutley while both were students involved in anti-war and anti-old-guard efforts at Sonoma State College in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Tusler said of Sutley, “He was kind of ubiquitous.”

“He always had something going on politically. He was a pretty focused guy. You weren’t looking to pal around with him.”

Sutley was a generally soft-spoken but physically imposing man known for his appreciation of firearms.

Irv Sutley

The broadly built former Marine was disabled by an injury he suffered while working as a warehouseman decades ago in Minnesota.

He came to Sonoma County amid the social and political turbulence of the mid-1960s.

In 1972, he helped to found the Peace and Freedom Party of California, and to elect reform-minded young activists Stephen Laughlin, Annette Lombardi and Geoff Dunham to the Cotati City Council.

Sutley exalted in a 2010 piece in The Press Democrat that one of the new leaders’ first acts “was removal of a religious sign from the city-owned plaza in the center of town.”

The story goes that Sutley, who was born in June 1944 in the Marin County town of Ross, began refusing to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” when he was 10.

It was 1954 and Congress had added “under God” to the pledge.

He enlisted as a Marine following his graduation from Tamalpais High in 1962, serving mostly in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Friend and former wife Novak said he bore the consequences of refusing as a Marine to recite the pledge or attend church services.

In Sonoma County a few decades later, Sutley set his sights on the city councils that still began their public meetings with an invocation.

In the early 1990s at one especially memorable meeting of the Petaluma City Council, Sutley exchanged angry words with Vince Landof, a churchgoer who addressed the council often on flooding issues.

As they both left the council chambers, Landof shot Sutley a dirty look. Sutley bellowed, “Who appointed you hall monitor?” Landof responded by cracking Sutley across the head with his cane.

Sutley would recall attending a meeting of the Santa Rosa City Council in 1992 and bolting to his feet when a preacher stood to open the session with a prayer. He said years ago, “People were yelling at me to sit down and shut up, but I kept saying that invocations and prayers at public meetings were illegal.”

Sutley was forcibly removed from the council chambers by police. He said, “They took me to jail, but I won that one and they haven’t prayed since.”

He moved on to Rohnert Park, where the council opened a meeting with an invocation. In 1995, the city capitulated, then-mayor Dave Eck declaring, “I’m trying to avoid a dog and pony show, where people yell at each other and disrupt the speakers.”

Sutley made national news in December 2009, after he told of walking into the county recorder’s office at the Sonoma County Administration Center in Santa Rosa and noticing an angel decoration on a Christmas tree, and then a star.

“I just don’t believe government has the right to intrude on anyone and force them into sectarian behavior,” he said at the time. He arranged a sit-down with acting county Administrator Chris Thomas.

A short time later, Thomas directed staff to remove any decorations that might be interpreted as religious.

Public reaction was quick and pointed.

Amid a few comments of praise for the action, one Press Democrat reader commented in print, “I hope a reindeer runs over Irv Sutley.”

A storm of criticism prompted Thomas to rescind his ban shortly before that Christmas 2009.

The other news event that put Sutley’s name in print was the car-bomb blast that critically injured anti-logging activist Judi Bari in 1990.

She and her partner and fellow Redwood Summer protester Darryl Cherney were in Oakland when the blast occurred.

Who planted the bomb beneath the driver’s seat of Bari’s Subaru remains a mystery more than 30 years later.

Friendships and alliances among some activists were shattered when some sided with Bari’s allegation that the bombing was the work of the law enforcement establishment, while others who believed the bomber was Bari’s ex-husband. Both the FBI and her ex-husband have denied the allegations.

Amid the finger-pointing, Bari, who died of cancer in March 1997, accused Sutley of acting as an informant for the police and/or FBI. Sutley, in return, accused a close friend of Bari’s of offering him $5,000 to kill Bari’s ex-husband.

Sutley denied being an informant or provocateur, while Bari said the proposal that Sutley kill her ex-husband was a joke.

Sutley also received minor press when he ran as a Peace and Freedom Party candidate for offices that included sheriff of Sonoma County, the state Senate and Assembly, and for Congress. Novak said the running wasn’t about winning.

“He wanted to promote the party’s ideas and platform,” she said. “To get the ideas out there.”

Mary Moore, the longtime west Sonoma County activist, said she didn’t always agree with Sutley but she never doubted his commitment to advocating for a more just world.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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Irv Sutley (right), Bugle, May 22, 1972

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On 03-26-24 at approximately 0357 hours, Ukiah Police Department officers were dispatched to 1105 South State Street (Speedway Gas Station) for a report of a robbery.

An employee provided UPD Dispatch with the suspects name (Ryan Okerstrom) and clothing description as the employee was familiar with him for prior incidents.

Officers arrived in the area and located Ryan Okerstrom. Okerstrom was smoking a cigarette at the time of contact. Okerstrom was detained in handcuffs without incident.


During the investigation it was determined Okerstrom shoved the employee, causing the employee to fall back against the wall. Okerstrom then grabbed some cigarettes. The employee pressed the silent panic alarm and Okerstrom walked out with two packs of cigarettes. The employee was visibly shaken up from the incident and fearful of being harmed.

Based on the investigation, Okerstrom was determined to have been in violation of 211 PC, robbery, and was transported to the Mendocino County Jail.

As always, UPD’s mission is to make Ukiah as safe a place as possible. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cellphone, and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website;

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THOMAS ROBERDEAU: Gordon Black was a very close friend of mine for about 45 years. In these last few years we spent a lot of time together, and in the intense last weeks of his life. What is personal to me remains so, but I am happy to see the wide and varied connections he made while teaching, while on the radio, and being a poetry event organizer. Such a great number people in Gordon’s world have emerged, signalling that he touched so many lives. This is heartening and reflects a life of such rare beauty and grace.

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“First Date - Home Late” by Norman Rockwell (1970)

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I am so glad you are home, Mr Anderson. I hope you have a quick return to good health.

One of the most interesting tidbits in Thursday’s MCT is the comments about the permitting in this county.

In many cases, food trucks and other cottage businesses are a sign that planning, development and real estate prices have gone too far and are creating net negatives for our towns. Food trucks etc are filling the space that available, small, affordable commercial space used to fill.

No business should be held up for even one day because of the color of the sign hanging outside the storefront.

It should not take 6 months to get an operating permit.

There is no reason a public agency needs a permit from another public board to change a garage door.

Yes, it’s nice to maintain the character of a town. But when restrictions go too far they become detrimental to the whole town. They stifle creativity and strain resources. Taxpayers pay hundreds of thousand of dollars for professional planner salaries. Their work should be focused on complex planning matters, not the color of a store sign.

“Affordability is the fertile soil that lets people take interesting risks: starting businesses, creating art, just being a character, etc. If your city isn’t affordable, the best it can do is dupe interesting people into moving there.” – M. Nolan Gray

Affordability is what made Mendocino such a draw in the first place. Land was cheap, hippies and artists arrived and made the town interesting. Now the Historical Review Board maintains the character of the town so rigidly, there is no opportunity for anyone who isn’t already rich to create something new and vibrant. Only the rich can afford to buy, live and work in Mendocino. Restaurants have suffered, businesses have closed, and people are exhausted by all the stupid pointless paper-shuffling required to get anything done.

The same is true in Ukiah, too. Tons of empty buildings, whole blocks of nothing. If they are for rent, the real estate prices are so ridiculous it’s out of the question for anyone starting a new business. Many aren’t even for rent. They are just sitting empty, not for sale or lease, padding someone’s net worth on paper as their town dries up around them.

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4th of July in Blue Lake

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On Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at approximately 11:14 AM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office overheard radio traffic regarding an unresponsive male subject located inside an apartment in the 300 block of Brush Street in Ukiah.

Deputies were in the area and responded to assist the Fire Department and medical personnel. A Sheriff's Deputy was the first on scene and was directed to a rear bedroom of the apartment.

The Deputy located a 70-year-old male subject who was not breathing. Bystanders advised that the subject was known to use narcotics. The Deputy believed the subject was suffering from a lethal drug overdose. The Deputy administered (2) 4MG doses of Narcan nasal spray and began Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

The Deputy noted a positive reaction after the administration of the Narcan and the subject became alert. Fire and Medical personnel arrived a short time later and the subject was transported to an area hospital for further treatment.

In April 2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) began to issue NARCAN® (Naloxone HCI) nasal spray dosage units to its employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. MCSO's goal is in protecting the public and officers from opioid overdoses. Access to naloxone is now considered vital in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control. At that time, the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard reported Mendocino County ranking, per capita, 3rd in all opioid overdose deaths ( Refer to dashboard for current updated opioid overdose information. Narcan nasal spray units are widely known to reverse opioid overdose situations in adults and children. Each nasal spray device contains a four-milligram dose, according to the manufacturer. Naloxone Hydrochloride, more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®, blocks the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose (both medications and narcotics) including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.

The antidote can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour, but anyone who administers the overdose reversal medication in a non-medical setting is advised to seek emergency medical help right away. The spray units can also be used by Public Safety Professionals who are unknowingly or accidentally exposed to potentially fatal amounts of fentanyl from skin absorption or inhalation.

The issuance of the Narcan nasal units, thus far, have been to employees assigned to the Field Services Division, Corrections Division and the Mendocino County Jail medical staff. Employees are required to attend user training prior to being issued the medication.

Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank Mendocino County Public Health for providing the Narcan nasal units to the Sheriff's Office free of charge as part of the Free Narcan Grant from the California Department of Public Health.

Since the April 2019 issuance, there have now been (20) twenty separate situations wherein Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Staff have administered NARCAN and saved the lives of (20) twenty overdosing individuals in need of the lifesaving antidote medication.

In October 2021 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a grant from the California Naloxone Distribution Project through the Department of Health Care Services to help maintain an inventory of the live saving antidote. This grant was renewed in 2023 where the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received additional NARCAN dosage units for the Field Services Division and Corrections Division.

Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank the California Naloxone Distribution Project through the Department of Health Care Services for awarding the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office with the Naloxone grants to better help protect his employees and the public.

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Redwood Highway, 1925

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Dear Editor,

Once again the PG&E contractor circus is in town. They arrive with lots of brand new tree trimming equipment and act like an occupying army of ill equipped and unsupervised goofballs. As I drove up Little Valley Road yesterday there was a crew of three California Tree Solutions employees sitting on the bed of a $200K boom truck playing cards at 2pm. 

When they actually work, the trimming seems haphazard, cutting the low to the ground brush but leaving the rotten white firs that have been marked for removal for many years which are towering over the 12,000 volt distribution lines and are ready to fall at any moment. Where is PG&E to check up on their contractors? And why does PG&E not do this work in house like they used to?

What is in place, at present, seems to be a system designed for maximum inefficiency and therefore maximum cost for the ratepayers. By the way the name of the latest flavor of PG&E contractor is California Tree Solutions from the San Jose area. It’s hard to keep track of the parade of different names over the years, what the heck is going on here and why is the tree work being done during the wettest time of the year? 

The ground is saturated and the heavy trucks do damage to the local gravel roads in the rural areas. PG&E do you have any answers to these questions?

Incidentally PG&E closed down their office here in Fort Bragg a couple of years ago so there’s no one to talk to to get any answers. If you call the phone number they provide for vegetation management, you get a prerecorded message.

There has to be a better way of powering the grid than relying on PG&E because they seem to be a lost cause. CPUC, are you listening? Stop rubber stamping rate increases until things improve.


Tim McClure

Fort Bragg

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New Prize Added to Change Our Name Essay Contest

The Mendocino Writers Conference has just added a complete Conference Scholarship to the first place prize of the Change Our Name Essay Contest.

In a project designed to get Fort Bragg High School students thinking and writing about their school name, the grassroots community group Change Our Name announced their second annual essay contest asking students to write on the subject "The Name of Fort Bragg High School Should be Changed" or "The Name of Fort Bragg High School Should Not be Changed."

The Mendocino Writers Conference, scheduled for August 1-3, 2024, offers attendees from across the country workshops, craft seminars, and the chance to meet successful published authors. This full scholarship covers the equivalent of $875 in registration fees.

In announcing the essay contest Change Our Name stated: "Of course, the 900 folks who are part of our group are clearly in favor of a name change given Braxton Bragg's role as a General in the Confederate Army and as a slaveholder and the Fort's historical role in dispossessing the original Indigenous inhabitants of our land. But we realize that many people and many students don't know this history. So the contest will impel them to research and make up their own minds about the issue. The essays will be judged not on whether the students agree with us but on the breadth of their research and the force of their arguments for or against the name change."

Contest prizes were already doubled from last year at $2,000 cash First Prize and $1000 Second Prize. Contest judging will be independent of Change Our Name and judges are four community leaders who are either writers or educators themselves. Entrees will be accepted from March 1, 2024 to April 19, 2024. and should be sent as attachments to More information and all contest rules can be found at

Change Our Name is a grassroots organization and 501(c)(3) educational non-profit incorporated in the state of California dedicated to towards educating citizens on American History and racial justice to change the name of Fort Bragg. This essay contest is solely a project of Change Our Name Fort Bragg and is neither sponsored by nor affiliated with the Fort Bragg Unified School District nor with Fort Bragg High School.

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A READER WRITES: On the ol’ dude Alphonso and his classic shop Hippy Stink.

High shelves behind cluttered counters with jars of different tobacco’s in cut leaf form from around the world.

Boxed rows of unrecognizable records to my teenage brain. Later into the nineties he started renting odd vhs cassettes of movies noboby had heard of. Dvds followed. Into the 2000’s Alphonses jar collection became smaller, more clutter and plastic crap.

He’d sold singles then so I’d bring him a box or two of Indonesian cloves snagged from Batavia on the way out of Java.. Was a bummer when he sold it to gay bright lighters.

On the rough Colfax circa 12-01

Pulled up and ran in sittin there waiting behind the glass. Not the times to look suspicious.

Deputy opens the door, in stumbles David smelling of red wine and weed. Door closes behind, assesses the cell and he’s swaying at the glass for about 20 minutes before he’s released to someone. Never heard who he ran over or what he hit.

Yes, there are two sets of rules in MC as well.

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I'm wondering if you know or have an easy way to find out about dialing direct in Boonville ca. 1950-55.

I found a record of the exchange from 1951 (259) but not whether the exchange was known by letters or, most importantly, whether it needed to be dialed at all to reach a local number (say if you were calling between two businesses on the main drag).

Maybe you have some old listing from the early fifties showing a local number to call?

If it's a pain to dig up I'll try a reference librarian here in SF.


Nathaniel (Stookey) 

San Francisco

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Alioto's Crab Vendors, Fisherman's Wharf (1931)

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by Katy Tahja

When the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino was founded 50 years ago researchers here found that people loved a good shipwreck story and wanted to share their version of a story told to them by an old-timer…”Why I remember the story about when the Bobolink crashed…”

In 1991 David Buller of California’s State Park system produced “Shipwrecks of the Mendocino Coast” covering 1850 to 1961. He stated his publication “tries to correct previously published incorrect information.” For each of the 320 shipwrecks listed there was listed the location, date of wreck, ship’s name, owner, type of ship, date built, builder, where built, owner, dimensions, cause of the wreck, casualities, cargo, comments and salvage. Not all of this info. was available on every vessel and a common notation was “needs more research…”

Local historian Nannie Escola left 30’ of binders on a bookshelf including these titles…Sailing Vessels, Coastal Plying Vessels, Ships, Schooners, Steamers, Earliest Ships on the Mendocino Coast, ship Builders, and Shipwrecks. Books in the archives include Gibbs “Disaster Log of Ships,” McNair’s “Ships of the Redwood Coast” and Jackson’s “Doghole Schooners.” There have been alphabetical index lists made by vessel name, locations of the wreck, and captains names. 

Newspaper reports of shipwrecks were powerfully descriptive. A ship didn’t just wreck and sink, instead it might proclaim”…a ship was seized in a heavy swell with winds blowing a perfect hurricane and hurled on a reef where it was reduced to kindling and splinters, then consigned to the mercy of the waves.” A ship wrecked at Dark Gulch was “pounded to pieces and the lumber ground to sawdust.”

When a ship wrecked professional salvage crews would come from the Bay Area to determine what, if anything, was worth saving. It could be sails, rigging and rope, boilers and engines, and cargo not water damaged. Mendocino City got its start because in July 1850 a Baltimore clipper ship called FROLIC, loaded with trade goods from China, crashed near where the Pt. Cabrillo Light House stands today. The salvage crew found Pomo natives wrapped in silk eating off of china plates, these locals got there first, but the salvagers realized the real “treasure” was timber growing to the waterline. They went back to San Francisco and arranged to build a sawmill.

Unusual things saved caught my attention. A bark from Chile wrecked in 1908 and the captain and his wife drowned but their baby was rescued and cared for until relatives came to claim it. The Dorothy Wintermooth crashed at Anchor Bay with a cargo of canned coffee. Locals collected the cans off the beach and no body had to buy coffee for a year. In 1920 Ortereo was wrecked on the south coast but its cargo of Peruvian black sheep swam to shore and ran away into the hills. A French ship called the Malabar overturned in Mendocino Bay in a storm in 1864. Twenty-one years later a shotgun of foreign manufacture and exquisite craftsmanship was found on Big River beach.

Some shipwrecks were dramatic and could be observed up close from a bluff. Some happened on dark and stormy nights and ships and crews vanished forever. In Albion harbor the demise of the Girlie Mahoney was spectacular. The 142’ steam schooner had the misfortune to get her stern line fouled in her propeller and her dragging mooring lines tore out 150’ of Albion Lumber Company’s wharf before she washed ashore and later had her engine and machinery salvaged.

Rescued crews from shipwrecks provided vivid memories for kids. Francis Jackson, who went on to become a historian, remembered that after a 1900 wreck the rescued crew stayed overnight in his parents house for shelter. The crew gave his family all the food they had tucked in their pockets from the ship galley in gratitude.

Shipping companies in the Bay Area did try and save wrecked ships and repair them of salvage parts. Once sea tugboats were common that could pull a floating wreck to a shipyard for repairs. Wood floats. A wreck full of wood products floated too. What was worthy of salvage was interesting too. The British motor ship Pacific Enterprise in 1927 had a reputed million dollars worth of ingots of zinc and lead that was recovered from the wreck. In 1879 the Annie Stoffler was carrying groceries, crockery and a new saw blade for the Caspar Lumber Company. Did they salvage their new saw blade when the ship washed ashore in Caspar Cove? 

The Alcyone in 1863 at Noyo had 285 sacks of Abalone shell and 184 barrels of dried Abalone meat headed for the Orient. Did anyone rescue any of it? Combining lifesaving and booze ,passengers and crew on a sinking ship lashed whiskey barrels into a raft that got everyone ashore. Did they then bust open a barrel to celebrate their survival?

There are a million good stories in those 30 inches of binders in the Kelley House archives. More of them will be shared in the future.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, March 28, 2024

Barger, Carrillo, Coody

ALEXANDER BARGER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JAIER CARRILLO-PEREZ, Ukiah. Unspecified offense.

WILLIAM COODY JR., Ukiah. Unlawful camping in Ukiah, storage of camping paraphernalia, controlled substance.

Kenyon, Kidd, Marin, Munoz

JEREMY KENYON, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, county parole violation.

WILLIAM KIDD IV, Ukiah. Controlled substance, suspended license, county parole violation.

JAIME MARIN, Ukiah. County parole violation.

ORLANDO MUNOZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, failure to appear.

Nix, Taylor, Valadez

DEREK NIX, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DOUGLAS TAYLOR JR., Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

ROBERT VALADEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation.

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by Paul Modic

When I moved to town I continued growing weed out at the Gulch. Twice a week during the summer I'd go out there to water, have dinner, spend the night, and finish watering in the morning. I'd have a glass or two of wine with dinner, then roll a joint to smoke out on the upper deck.

One evening I locked myself out up there. I could try to climb down the lattice but if I fell and broke my ankle or neck literally no one knew where I was. It could be a slow agonizing death crumpled in a heap on the ground. Well, damn that, I put my shoulder to the door and splintered the frame as I smashed the door open, and then I lit the joint. (Probably should have just broken the door window instead.)

When harvest hit I'd leave town for a week at a time, sitting out there in my purple wing chair stripping the leaves off the branches all day, while watching all the movie channels on the dish. I brought it up to the girls in the work room where they trimmed it wet on the hourly, and put it on screens to dry. That system worked well until the price made a slo-mo plummet from $4800 a pound to $1200 and much more weed would have to be grown to continue making a good living.

At first I had no concept of what a good boss should be and provided little food and drink. Eventually I started doling out snacks and after that I'd take a different girl off the trim crew each day, all close friends or family, and into the house to prepare elaborate and delicious sandwiches for all of us. (Since they were still getting paid by the hour, it didn't matter if they were trimming or making lunch.)

The basic trimming wage started out in the mid-70's at $100 a pound or ten dollars an hour, then in the 80's up to $150 and fifteen dollars and finally by 2005 it had risen to $200 and twenty or twenty-five an hour. (Some generous growers paid $225 and even $250 at times.) 

I was one of the last to go up to $20 an hour, and stubbornly stuck to that while nearly everyone else had switched to $200 a pound piece work. My thinking was that the work might become sloppy and shoddy if it was done by the pound, or it would reward the best trimmers with a wage of $30 an hour or more, and that just seemed wrong.

When I finally did relent and start paying by the pound it was a great relief: I no longer had to keep track of everyone's hours or worry about long breaks. I just weighed their product at the end of the day, put the running tally on two lists, one for them and one for me, and paid them every Friday without prompting, just handed them each an envelope. (I wish I had been paying by the hour the time I let Sally Salamander trim lying on her belly when she had a bad back, and was desperate to make money for her upcoming trip to Europe. Good for her but a bad move for the boss.)

When drying the weed I tried to err on the side of not over-drying, as it was disheartening to find a bag of those crispy critters. They could be remoistened by putting an orange peel or a wet napkin in the bag, or in extreme cases left outside overnight with the top open, but it could lose its “nose,” the term for the spicy fragrance which helped move the weed during competitive selling seasons. 

Back in the early days you could grow some weed, dry it, trim it, and then easily sell it after harvest. Then after Proposition 215 passed in 1996, when everyone and their cousin came from everywhere around the country and world to grow (The Greenrush), there was such a massive harvest-time glut that the patient farmer waited until the following August or even September to sell in the dry times, to get a better price. 

Then the dep (light deprivation) industry got going with massive scenes on flattened mountaintops and other cleared areas, with harvests all through the summer. The new idea was trying to “beat the dep” by storing it until June, and when the deppers developed more innovative practices and harvested even earlier, April or May became the selling season. “Beat the dep” was an oft-heard phrase and Spring became the selling season for outdoor growers without good connections. 

When the market became picky and difficult my longtime strategy of just giving it to a friend to move, and take less, left me without my own connections. I whined to my girlfriend how hard it was to sell and she took six ounces to the city where she sold it to Don Johnson's brother's roommate, a hair dresser. From that first six ounce foray she began to sell my pounds and even more for the neighbors. Eventually my weed got all the way to Don Johnson's annual Aspen party where he, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, and Hunter S Thompson sampled my weed. (For a couple years after that my finger hash was an annual addition to Thompson's repertoire of drugs.)

I decided I needed a live-in harvest assistant and installed Jennie out there the next year. I'd come out to cut, she stripped and hung it, and after we started using dehumidifiers we just harvested and hung, marking each line with name and date of harvest. I went back to town and she took care of the crop, making fires to dry it. I'd come back in a few days and we'd take it down and put it in bundles on the screens, affixing a strip of masking tape by each bundle with name of strain and date of harvest. She turned the bundles over in the morning and evening and trimmed the rest of the time if she wanted to.

I'd come back a few days later and we'd put the weed in big paper grocery bags on the screens, which worked like shelves, and the next trip out we'd put the labeled grocery bags into black plastic bags, two or three per bag. This was a sensitive time in the process as you didn't want to over-dry the weed and end up with those crispy critters, so the heat in that upstairs curing room was carefully regulated. 

We developed a system regarding how wide the plastic bags were left open. First they were left wide open and Jennie would periodically pull a random branch out of the middle of random grocery bags to check for moistness/dryness. Over the next few days the bags were casually closed, then closed with just the lips of the two sides touching, and finally cinched shut tight. (Another danger was if you cinched the bag tight too early the weed could re-moisten, need to be re-dried, or left to mold if not noticed.) 

When the next crop was ready to clip I brought my trimming crew out west. 

I had made a lot of mistakes building and that first remodel was the worst. For example, when I added in the bathroom after the fact it was right off the living room. I set up the radio on top of the TV cabinet next to the bathroom door so I could turn on what my grandfather had called “bathroom music,” for when I had guests. 

I got up early one October morning with a row of girls sleeping in the living room. It was too early to turn on the music, I went into the bathroom, and imagined the thunderous wake-up call that would soon reverberate throughout the quiet house. I thought about it for a minute, and then went outside and dug a hole. 

Jennie did one of those Gulch babysitting shows, then Joey came down from Canada two years in a row for Gulch duty. The first year Joey was out there running the generator all day for the dehumidifier and was concerned he was annoying the neighbors. He asked if he could insulate the genny shed to keep the sound down, I said okay and ended up regretting it. 

(Later I discovered a nasty nightmare: rats in the generator shed were living in a stack of condos, shit and pissed-stained antique grape boxes, after making nests of weeds mixed with sticks and insulation. After half-heartedly trying to get my handyman Hugh interested in the job I figured I better do my dirty work myself. I dragged the boxes out and dumped the rat house detritus onto a sheet of old plastic.

The next trip out I wrapped myself in a home-made bio-hazard suit: long shirt, pants, hat, gloves and a silly paper mask. I waded in there and took everything out, including redwood slabs, a painting, gas cans, generator, a work bench and more, including a rusting folding bike I had won in a field-goal-kicking contest years before at a Cal football game. I hauled the mix of insulation, twigs, and rat shit to the dump.) 

The second year Joey came down there was a crop of huge Blue Dream plants to bring in. I had planted it because it was a hardy, fast-growing clone which was reputed to be “The Farmer's Best Friend,” supposedly bug and mold resistant.

The rain poured down, then the fog was in for eleven days straight, and there were streaks of ugly cancerous grey mold interlaced alongside the ready-to-harvest branches filled with fat juicy buds. I brought the trimmer girls in early to help bring in the sheaves with Joey, who was waiting for instructions in the hills.

What to do? I didn't want to bring all that moldy weed into the living area of the house but there was so much the drying shed would soon be filled. I had my crew assembled, they looked to me for leadership, and I had nothing. I was frozen. (In those days I still stripped the big leaves off before hanging them but what a depressing job it would be to de-mold every branch to save what was unaffected. Mold, the growers bane and nightmare.)

I offered the whole crop to Joey. He could salvage what wasn't moldy and that would be his wage. But he was going back home to Canada in a few weeks—what could he do with all that weed?

We finally ended up saving some of it and throwing the rest over the side of the hill. Then for days in town, after it stopped raining, the trimmer girls went out on the deck when the sun was streaming onto the buds, and spent many afternoons looking for and excising dried mold from the stems, and saving whatever healthy buds they could.

On one of my last years out on the coast I tried growing seventeen OG plants even though I suspected that the climate wasn't good for that strain. As harvest came I discovered the plants were covered with powdery mildew, one of the growers' torments. So in those days I did my reverse harvest: drive out there, cut down the plants, and throw them all away, over the side of the deck.

By then the market was tighter than ever, the price was going down each year, and the buyers were picky and wanted the right “names.” Mendo fog weed was lower quality, could no longer compete, and it was time to start growing spicy and crystalline Humboldt Sun Bud. 

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I grew up in Southern California in a family of rabid Dodger and Laker fans. Yet since I was old enough to play sports, I was obsessed with the Giants (Willie Mays) and the Warriors (Rick Barry). I recently got home from an extended road trip to learn that the Giants got rid of Renel Brooks-Moon, the stadium public address announcer, without any reasonable explanation or farewell ceremony. She was an absolute gem of an announcer. They also refused to allow Brandon Crawford to stay even though he was willing to make compromises in his playing time. The absolute deal breaker for me is finding out that the owner of the Giants is a mega supporter of Donald Trump. So, no, I will never root for the Dodgers, but as far as the Giants this season, I plan to play a lot more golf.

Bruce Robb


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WHAT I'M READING by Esther Mobley

Here’s what’s come across my desk recently: 

In the cover story of the current issue of Wine Business Monthly, Felicity Carter takes an extensive look at alcohol policy, particularly the new anti-alcohol stance of the World Health Organization, and the “neo-Prohibitionist” groups that she claims are influencing it.

In Food & Wine, Ray Isle has a nice profile of Tuscany winery Le Macchiole and its gnocchi-making proprietor Cinzia Merli.

Within a century, as much as 70% of the world’s existing wine regions may become too warm for wine, a new study in Nature finds.

(SF Chronicle)

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by Ralph Nader

While calling this year’s presidential election against Der Fuhrer Donald Trump the most critical ever, the Democratic Party is using the same old playbook for this year’s campaigns.

The same old obsession with raising record amounts of money at the expense of presenting an authentic, vibrant agenda that will motivate millions of voters to vote for Democratic candidates.

The same old corporate-conflicted political/media consultants are controlling what the candidates say and do so as not to upset the monied interests and the lucrative consulting business for corporate clients.

We will see the same old exclusion of experienced grassroots and national citizen groups, with millions of members, who just might have some good ideas about policies, strategies, tactics, messaging, rebuttals, slogans and ways to get out the vote, that the “politicians” have never thought of or, in their arrogance, ignored. (See

Expect the same old retention of Party apparatchiks wallowing profitably in their sinecures, never looking themselves in the mirror and asking themselves why they can’t landslide the worst GOP in history. Republican candidates are openly anti-worker, women, children, consumers and the environment. If your name ends in INC the GOP might be on your side.

Get ready for the same old resistance to infusing the Party with energetic young leaders to start replacing older, smug, bureaucrats who lose to the GOP in eminently winnable races at local, state and national levels, yet have victory parties when their losses are less than the pundits or polls had predicted. (They celebrated their 2022 loss of the House of Representatives to the vicious, cruel, ignorant GOP.)

The same old scapegoating of Third Party candidates, spending gobs of money and filing frivolous lawsuits to block them from the ballot so as not to give voters more voices and choices, and to stifle any voters who might choose Third Party candidates, is in full swing. Instead of focusing on getting more of the 120 million non-voters to vote for Democratic candidates this year, the Democratic Party is focused on denying the First Amendment rights – free speech, petition and assembly – of Third Party candidates and their minuscule number of voters.

As Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, so cogently points out, just getting out 10 to 15 percent more low-wage/poor voters would easily help the Democrats win the national presidential election. Instead, the Democrats feed reporters material that leads newspapers to feature stories like the New York Times March 21, 2024 article titled “Democrats Prepare Aggressive Counter to Third-Party Threats.” What they mean is being heavy on obstructing their access to the ballot.

The same old plans to waste huge amounts of money that allow media consultants to reap 15% on campaign ad buys instead of really going for the ground game are underway. For example, one pro-Democratic Party PAC announced it would spend $140 million to put real-life voter testimonials on television praising Biden and his Party. They think that’s a winner, right out of the practice of dramatized testimonials by Madison Avenue advertising firms.

Note the same old stories reporting periodic fundraising totals fed to eagerly waiting reporters comparing the Dems and the Reps money totals unattached to any programs, agendas, or commitments to the people. Thus, the March 20, 2024, New York Times dreary headline: “Outside Groups Pledge Over $1 Billion to Aid Biden’s Re-Election Effort.”

They include environmental groups, labor unions and other “liberal PACs” that shell out the money without asking the Democratic Party to commit to any reforms or to address long-avoided necessities for the people. It’s enough that the Dems are against Trump and the GOP – assuring a race to the bottom in the presidential election.

The lengthy Times article goes on and on reporting announcements by assorted Democratic moneypots and their GOP counterparts. Similar dreary ‘cash-register politics’ articles will appear in the coming weeks and months with ever more frequency.

Heaven forbid that reporters start writing about how all this money inhibits candidates from reforming the campaign finance system that is rotten to the core. Congress and the White House are for sale or rent! For example, the Democrats could – but do not – advance a much overdue agenda to curb the corporate crime wave, repeal anti-labor laws (like the notorious Taft-Hartley Act,) junk the corrupt tax system written by big corporate tax escapees, debloat the vast, wasteful, redundant military budget, and push for the popular Medicare-for-All legislation languishing for years in Congress – for starters.

Don’t look for resignations from poor performers like the managers of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Imagine barely winning the Senate in 2022, when twice as many GOP Senators were up for re-election as Democratic Senators? How are these losers, given an encore, going to do this year when more than twice the number of Democratic Senators are up than GOP solons?

The same old inability to confront shrinking support or turnout from their base – African Americans and Hispanic Americans – is inexcusable. The Democrats can’t seem to convincingly say that the Party is not taking them for granted and to build the relationships that could motivate these voters to return to the fold.

How about not being able to recover the loss of many unionized workers to Trump, of all demons, and show all workers why their livelihoods would improve with a Democratic victory? The Dems don’t even know how to use LABOR DAY to showcase their sincerity with events on the ground in every locality.

Same old Empire of lawless military forces, now growing with unconditional weapons shipments to Ukraine and Israel – the latter’s genocidal war taking us into co-belligerent status under international law against defenseless Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

For a majority of American voters who reject Trump as a law-violating, unstable, narcissistic, liar weaving fantasies and fabrications that service what Rep. Jamie Raskin calls “dangerous extremists” in Congress and state legislatures, this is what the Democratic Party and the two-party duopoly offer in November.

At the least, concerned, engaged voters should demand that unresponsive Party campaigns return their calls to receive their input. That’s how primordial the situation is these days.

The same playbook will produce the same failed Democratic efforts. Change course before it is too late.

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by John Arteaga

Where do I start in talking about the incredible hash that the Republican Party has made of our clueless, blundering nation and the bloody mess that we’re making of the rest of the world as a result?

Today a shameless, completely corrupt Supreme Court, with a supermajority of Catholic Republican theocrats, who scoff at the very concept of ethics when it comes to their robed eminences, handed down a ruling that essentially says that the Constitution's 14th amendment doesn't really mean what it says in plain English; that those who engage in insurrection against our country are disqualified for life from serving in any official capacity in this country. Is it any wonder that the Scotus now enjoys approval numbers that are at wildly historical lows?

Or perhaps we should consider the case of the Trump manufactured 'immigrant crime wave', despite the fact that statistically, towns and cities with high immigrant populations tend to have LOWER crime rates. Of course, reality has nothing to do with the 'stable genius's’ prattle; he is clearly an idiot savant when it comes to getting people riled up enough about something, anything, designed to leap right over their logical faculties and get them to join in with the mindless MAGA mob worshiping the One Great Leader who is going to solve all their problems. Never mind that immigration, both legal and undocumented, serve an important role in our nation’s economy, filling jobs that are eschewed by American citizens. They contribute mightily to Social Security (which they will never get to draw from), local economies, etc. and that the reason most of them are here is the fact that in recent decades and even centuries, the US has intervened in almost every Central and South American country, almost always to deter or overthrow any dangerous outbreak of democratic rule.

As one who has followed in detail the decades of bloodletting in Central America during the 80s, where, at the behest of one corporate interest or another, whether United Fruit or Citibank, sincere and popularly elected leaders were overthrown, murdered, their supporters dragooned into dungeons to be tortured by US paid troops ‘educated’ in ‘democracy’ in places like Alabama’s School of the Americas. It will never fully leave my consciousness to have read about the activities of our proxy soldiers in places like Guatemala and El Salvador, where whole Mayan villages were lined up, their skulls smashed with a sledgehammer blow, then dumped into the village’s well.

Of course when one destroys the government chosen by the people and replaces it with a comprador class of lackeys willing to do whatever their bosses and New York or Washington tell them to do, all respect for law and order is destroyed, which is why so many of these countries are now ruled by ruthless murderous gangs who want to take your teenage child to join their ranks, and if you have a problem with that, they might just kill your whole family. Gee, I wonder why they want to come to the United States instead, despite the incredible hardships they might face along the way.

WE OWE THEM ALL! No amount of money, no generous immigration policy can ever fully make up for our crimes against them!

The stupidity of the MAGA worshipers is indistinguishable from that of the stupid Germans who went along with the Nazis scapegoating of the Jews as the source of their economic misery. There are millions of Americans whose lives have simply stopped penciling out; the bipartisan ‘free trade’ agenda, which put American workers on the same playing field as coerced and exploited workers in countries where we would commit suicide rather than accept the going work conditions, where protesting can be fatal, has made the economic lives of millions of Americans no longer viable.

Clearly, it is not the itinerant farmworker who is responsible for their economic dislocation, but Trump has clearly hit pay dirt when it comes to distracting people from the real cause of their situations by blaming it on people who should be their comrades.

Similarly, this horrifying disaster in Ukraine was brought to you, 100%, by the US military/industrial/congressional/journalistic/academic complex. If the US had not, through kind of a knee-jerk tendency, funded all kinds of dirty tricks to overthrow the popularly elected Pres. of Ukraine years ago, who was apparently judged to be too friendly to the Russian regime for our Cold War hangover tolerance, the guy we replaced him with was sufficiently anti-Russian for our tastes, to the point where he was basically making war on the Ukrainian provinces that were largely Russian speaking and probably would have voted for uniting with Russia rather than Ukraine.

Think about it; if a Chinese/Russian military alliance overthrew the Mexican president in order to install an anti-American leader there, and then began to build military bases in Tijuana, would the US government scrupulously observed every right of Mexican autonomy?

Finally, and most seriously, the horrific Israeli campaign of starvation and mass murder of the Palestinians in Gaza brings to mind an image that anyone who lived at that time with any interest in the news will never forget; that of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sitting motionless in lotus position while fire consumes his body and life.

Just the other day we had another such martyr make the most emphatic statement it is possible for a human to make. An Air Force member in good standing, Aaron Bushnell, doused himself with some petroleum distillate, set his phone down to live stream the event and lit himself on fire in front of Washington’s Israeli Embassy, yelling his last words, “free Palestine, free Palestine”. Unfortunately for him, a nearby policeman came up with a fire extinguisher to delay his demise for a number of, no doubt, tortuously painful hours.

The idea that we don’t even discuss cutting back on the $10 million a day that we send to the genocidal regime in Tel Aviv, and that we meekly accept Israel’s turning back of our food aid trucks to those poor Gazans starving and dying of thirst as I write this sickens me.

For this and other columns,

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by Matt Taibbi

In 1974 a fictionalized account of writer Robert Pirsig’s 17-day motorcycle trip with his son in 1968 hit bookstores after surviving 121 rejections, and quickly became one of the all-time surprise publishing hits. Connecting with audiences all around the world, Pirsig could soon claim to have authored the top-selling philosophy-themed book in American history, selling over 5 million copies. This was despite the fact that even its fans rarely knew how to describe the book, with New York Times reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt concluding that whatever its philosophical worth, it was “intellectual entertainment of the highest order.”

Author Matthew Crawford has a bestselling book with a motorcycle, too, although the red BMW R 90/6 on the cover of Shop Class may not be quite as well known yet as the Honda CB77 Pirsig wrote into the Smithsonian. Crawford has been praised for writing a “sleeper hit” and has a connection with Zen, too — see below — but otherwise he’s a very different kind of writer. His Substack site Archedelia contains essays that range from the intensely practical (“Spiritedness and self-reliance: Or, why the automatic bathroom faucet makes you want to punch something”) to the broadly contemplative (“Old cars and the logic of dispossession: Big green wants you to offer a sacrifice to the gods”). Crawford is a source for both information about things like EV development and analysis of the logistical and ideological origins of new tech reforms.

One hesitates to buttonhole him into any category, but Crawford’s texts are a good fit for Substack, as he’s both iconoclastic in tone and hard to pin down politically. A line from his recent “Old cars” piece stood out. “Green,” he writes, “has become an edifice of political legitimation for politicians whose survival no longer depends on ‘performance’ in any pragmatic sense, but on aligning themselves with a grand moral project.” He won us over with his diatribe against automatic faucets: “Why should there not be a handle? A handle works every time.” Our media has gotten so strange, the obvious feels forbidden, making stuff like this a relief to read.

Racket asked him to help readers understand what they might find on his site:

Racket: Tell us about yourself?

Crawford: I started working in the trades at an early age, first as an electrician’s helper. When I couldn’t get a job with my physics degree, I went into business for myself doing electrical work, illegally. My fliers said “Unlicensed but careful.” After more education (a Ph.D. in political philosophy), I took a job at a DC think tank and hated it. So I quit and opened a motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, VA. I’ve often felt more intellectually engaged and challenged doing work that was not officially “knowledge work.” Trying to understand why that was the case led me to write Shop Class as Soulcraft, which came out in 2009. To everyone’s surprise, it was a bestseller. I then wrote The World Beyond Your Head and Why We Drive.

Racket: Why did you start writing on Substack?

Crawford: My sense is that the guardrails on what is regarded as saleable, or even permissible, have been drawn closer in the big, New York publishing houses. I could be wrong about that, but in any case I was drawn to Substack as a venue less subject to the supervisory gaze of a culture industry that increasingly feels like part of the consent-manufacturing machinery.

Also, this is a moment when the ground is shifting under our feet very quickly. So I am thinking of my Substack, Archedelia, as a messier book that unfolds in real time, addressed to a self-selecting audience that doesn’t first have to pass through the filter of a publisher’s guesses as to what people want to read.

Racket: In your three-part series on modern automobile culture, you describe our society’s increasing reliance on others to do what we once did ourselves. Worse, you note that if others can’t fix it, we’re incentivized to throw the whole project away. Do we need to fix that? 

Crawford: You can criticize that throw-away mentality on environmental grounds, and I’m glad people do. But the case I want to make is different. It’s really about the learned helplessness of our material culture. There is a tacit moral education that gets carried along by technology. It often feels like the modern personality is getting pushed in the direction of passivity and dependence, and this is construed as progress. The ideal seems to be that, in the name of convenience, we will be relieved of doing anything at all. At some point, the whole world begins to look like one big “assisted living” facility.

Racket: How exactly does a taillight repair end up costing over $5,000? We used to hear about that from the Pentagon only.

Crawford: That’s crazy, right? It is a result of complexity leading to brittleness, where a single point of failure can lead to cascading problems. Today’s cars may have as many as 70 different computers that must interact, so each subsystem is exposed to the others.

But one has to ask, why have cars become so complex? I don’t think it is in response to consumer demand. I trace it so an engineering mentality of “do-something-ism:” becoming enamored with the possible and losing sight of the basic criteria of function, which were fully met by automotive technology some decades ago. The proliferation of electronic bullshit is marketed in the same idiom I described above: we should be maximally uninvolved with the task of driving.

If you ask why, this ideal always gets defended in egalitarian terms: think of all those people whose necks are too stiff to turn their head and check the blind spot! (That is why we need a radar blind spot detector, located in the tail light housing, which is sure to get cracked and let in moisture, leading to a $5k repair bill.) For the same reason, one must have “trailer back-up assist.” Occasions for the exercise of judgment and skill are to be eliminated. If you criticize this, someone at Wired will call you a heartless Luddite, unconcerned with the least among us. The thing is, 71 percent of Americans have savings of $5k or less. This is some pretty expensive compassion. Salvage yards are full of cars that are in good condition in every other respect, but are underwater on repair costs due to electronic complexity.

Racket: What’s behind all these “cars for clunkers” programs? Is there a scam there that the public isn’t aware of? 

Crawford: These began in the 1990s, first as a PR project by petroleum companies who were facing mandates to reduce emissions from their refining operations. Instead they proposed to destroy thousands of old cars, on the premise that older cars are “gross polluters.” This was never empirically established, but it is how we got the concept of pollution abatement credits that can be traded. Today, perfectly serviceable cars are being destroyed to usher in the EV future. The renewable energy sector is a curious case of an industry lobbying operation that sprang up and claimed massive subsidies before the existence of an actual industry to support.

One result is incentives to turn in a “clunker” that may get 35 mpg and be serviceable for another ten years. Nowhere in the calculus of this kind of “energy Lysenkoism” is the environmental cost of making all these new cars taken into consideration; it is the throw-away mentality dressed up as Green piety. And of course, there is little political will to upgrade the electrical grid and increase generating capacity, as one would need to do to accommodate all these EVs, even in California which has mandated their adoption.

Racket: What’s your beef with automatic faucets? Or is the right question, who doesn’t have a beef with them?

Crawford: Show me one person on this planet who prefers them. They seem contrived to break the connection between a person’s will and his environment, as though he had no hands. Waving your hands under the faucet, trying to elicit a few seconds of water from it in a futile rain dance of guessed-at mudras, you feel like you are being punked. Why should there not be a handle? A handle works every time. Instead we are asked to supplicate invisible powers. And this is somehow progress. It’s true, some people fail to turn off a manual faucet. With its blanket presumption of irresponsibility, the infrared faucet doesn’t merely respond to this fact, it installs it, giving it the status of normalcy. There is a kind of infantilization at work, and it offends the spirited personality.

Racket: Didn’t Ted Kaczynski warn that we would eventually become indentured to our own inventions? He wasn’t right, was he?

Crawford: Of course he was right. If you prefer a more respectable source, Hannah Arendt’s first husband was named Gunther Anders. He spoke of “the rising cost of fitting man to the service of his tools.” And Ivan Illich, the renegade Catholic priest, spoke of the “radical monopoly” that comes about when we come to depend on opaque, complex systems to do what we once did for ourselves. This leads to an atrophy of skills and a degradation of the human spirit. And these guys were writing before the advent if AI, which takes things to a new level.

Racket: Apologies if you get this a lot, given your clear love of both motorcycles and philosophy, were you influenced at all by “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”? What do you think of that book? Crawford: Pirsig was maybe the first to bring a counter-cultural reflection on technology to a mass audience. I had the honor of writing a preface for the 50th anniversary edition of Zen, which is just out. A comparison is often made between Zen and Shop Class, but I think it is fairly superficial. I liked the bits about motorcycles, and the narrative of the road trip.

Racket: You describe how car manufacturers are always on the lookout for ways to eliminate the “weak link” — people, and their judgment. Do you see this as applicable in the wider context of the Internet age, and if so, what are the implications of that in a society going forward?

Crawford: Human beings are spoken of as being essentially inferior versions of computers, and therefore the weak link in any system. To pick just one example, human beings are said to be terrible drivers — that is why we need driverless cars. The first thing to know is that the push for driverless cars is not in response to consumer demand; it is a top-down effort. When Pew polls people about their attitudes on this, majorities express reservations about autonomous cars, and many people say they prefer to drive themselves.

There was a case where a Google self-driving car came to an intersection with a four way stop. It came to a stop and waited for other cars to do the same before proceeding through. Because apparently that is the rule it was taught. But of course, that is not what people do. So the robot car got completely paralyzed, blocked the intersection, and had to be rebooted. Tellingly, the Google engineer in charge said that what he had learned from this episode is that “human beings need to be less idiotic.” Let’s think about that. If there is an ambiguous case of right of way, human drivers will often make eye contact. Maybe one waves the other through, or indicates by the movements of the car itself a readiness to yield or not. It's not a stretch to say that there is a kind of body language of driving, and a range of driving dispositions. We are endowed with social intelligence, through the exercise of which people work things out among themselves, and usually manage to cooperate well enough. Tocqueville thought it was in small-bore practical activities demanding improvisation and cooperation that the habits of collective self-government were formed. And this is significant. There is something that can aptly be called the democratic personality, and it is cultivated not in civics class, but in the granular features of everyday life. But the social intelligence on display at that intersection was completely invisible to the Google guy. And this too is significant.

There is profit to be had in remaking the world so there is less room for the exercise of human intelligence, including social intelligence. When the Google guy said that human beings need to become less idiotic, he meant, “More like computers.” That is, more legible to systems of control, and better adapted to the need of the system for clean inputs. This is the soft despotism Tocqueville warned us of, an “immense, tutelary power” that wants only what is best for us. Like Nurse Ratched.

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Statue of Queen Tuya

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Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.

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by Imad Sabi

I first met the Israeli lawyer Tamar Pelleg-Sryck in Megiddo Military Prison, where I was sent after receiving an administrative detention order in December 1995. It was soon after the Oslo agreements, when the newly installed Palestinian Authority was starting to take control of the larger Palestinian cities. As part of setting the ground for the new realities, Israel was placing those opposed to Oslo in detention without charge, branding them ‘enemies of peace’. As the numbers of administrative detainees surged, Tamar took on some of their cases, including mine.

I cannot exactly recall the details of our first meeting. In my hazy memory, it was a brief encounter on a cold, grey day, with the usual exchanges that take place at such meetings: news about my family, initial thoughts about appealing the detention order, questions about prison conditions.

The visits got longer as time passed. Tamar brought me books: Nadine Gordimer, Hanna Lévy-Hass, Paul Auster, Jacobo Timerman, William Trevor, William Styron. My strongest memory of the prison now is not the barbed wire, the spread of tents, the headcounts or other degrading routines, but reading The Confessions of Nat Turner, chasing the light from the guard towers to devour a few more pages.

When some of the books and magazines that Tamar brought for me disappeared before I received them, she had a furious showdown with the authorities, extracting a commitment that every scrap of paper would reach me. Young soldiers, acting as unlikely censors, were tasked with checking the books when Tamar was with me in the visiting room, to decree which were safe for me to read. They often judged a book by its cover, which was funny to see, but Tamar’s agreement with their superiors meant they could no longer treat any of the books disrespectfully, even the ones they considered dangerous.

Tamar was a teacher and organizer long before she became a lawyer at the age of 61. She never stopped fighting, and rejoiced in every victory, however small (like getting me those books), without ever losing sight of the bigger picture. After a series of unsuccessful appeals to the military courts, she finally got me released, after twenty months of detention, with an appeal to the Supreme Court. She showed me the draft of an article that Serge Schmemann, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, had written about me. ‘It will appear on the front page,’ she said. When the article was instead spiked, she was undismayed. She encouraged me to write myself. In August 1997, as I was waiting in Ramleh Prison to be released to exile in the Netherlands, it was Tamar who brought me a suitcase and a Palestinian passport.

Tamar and I met a few times after I was free, with our families: in Rotterdam (where her daughter lived) and The Hague (where I lived), in Paris and London. We spoke regularly on the phone and corresponded by email, though eventually lost contact.

In one of our prison conversations, Tamar said of a woman she knew: ‘She wrinkles beautifully.’ It was true of Tamar herself, too. She died on 11 March, at the age of 97. To mourn and remember her is also to recognize the other Israelis who continue to fight against the occupation and its injustices, and to maintain the hope, even as the genocide in Gaza continues, that one day the occupation will be over.

(London Review of Books)

* * *


  1. George Hollister March 29, 2024

    I am an outsider, but I am sorry to see Superintendent Louise Simson go. She takes ownership of her job, which is a difficult and risky thing to do, but necessary if significant accomplishments are going to be made. Ms. Simson is the type of person that expects to get more from her job than a paycheck, too. She wants to have the satisfaction of knowing she is getting good things done, and people see and appreciate that. We need more like her in our school system. The superintendent might look back at her time in AV as a high point in her career. Good luck to her.

    • Marshall Newman March 29, 2024

      +1. The retirement of Louise Simpson is a huge loss to Anderson Valley. She has done impressive work in her three years. May she enjoy similar success in her future endeavors.

      • Chuck Dunbar March 29, 2024

        +2. It has been a real pleasure and so inspiring to see Ms. Simson’s weekly messages to all in the AVA. A truly great school leader-administrator. Hard to imagine this loss for the school, the kids, and their parents. The two above comments are so true.

        • Lazarus March 29, 2024

          Superintendent Louise Simson’s departure is a significant loss for the school district she so conscientiously led.
          However, I wonder about the timing of two important fixtures, Principal Cymbre Thomas Swett and Superintendent Louise Simson, announcing their departures simultaneously.
          Ms. Simson ran a tight ship, put your cell phones away, the enforcement of proper school attire, and I’m sure other rules and regulations I’m unaware of, which likely pissed off some within the community.
          I do know that money from the government has dried up a bit. The Covid money grab is over, taxes are down, and other expenditures are up, including wars, immigration, and special DEI government giveaways.
          I know several individuals who serve on school boards in California, and they all say significant changes are to be made because there’s not enough money in their budgets.
          With change, I have learned that generally, following the money can and will eventually explain a seemingly unexpected series of events.
          With Superintendent Simson, I sincerely hope the reasons for her departure are as stated.
          Regardless, I wish her well.

    • Semper Paratus March 29, 2024

      Ms. Simson has work hard for this community. It’s sad to see her go.

  2. MAGA Marmon March 29, 2024


    I wonder how Mo plans to govern going forward knowing almost half the constituents in her district don’t like her-not to mention those in the rest of the County.

    MAGA Marmon

    • Call It As I See It March 29, 2024

      She doesn’t get it. It shows in this announcement that she orchestrated. 116 votes separates the two candidates. 477 undervotes still outstanding. What’s Katrina Bartolomei’s plan with these? Apparently, nothing! These are votes directly related to Ms. Bartolomei’s monumental disaster of ballots.

      How many Ukiahan’s voted the wrong ballot?
      How many got frustrated and didn’t vote?
      Where’s the accountability? Ms. Bartolomei needs to explain how she addressed multiple mistakes concerning ballots.

      Why is Mo posting this in AVA? Because she doesn’t want anyone challenging the election. Nothing to see here! Let me get on to cheerleading and screwing up the County for four more years.

      Jacob Brown should ask for a Revote!!!

  3. George Hollister March 29, 2024

    Odd Botkins needs to read some history.

    • Nancy March 29, 2024

      Judea not Palestine

  4. Mike J March 29, 2024

    For Call It As I See It
    An undervote number for a race is the number of people who chose NOT to vote for anyone in that race. For example, one of the undervotes in the Congressional race is due to me not voting for any candidate in that race.

    Also: the message by Mo in the MCT column is something the editor reposted here from her Facebook post.

    In her initial election, the city was awash in Mo and Mari yard signs. This time there were much fewer signs altogether. I actually drove around to count them both times: Jacob had more up.

    The lower number of total votes in that race might represent widespread apathy. The reason for that isn’t clear to me but disenchantment with the Auditor/Treasurer suspension might be what depressed her level of support. My guess.

    Having watched many BOS meetings, I would say on balance she’s doing a good job.

    • Call It As I See It March 29, 2024

      In this election those undervotes are people who voted on the wrong ballot for Supervisor. Their votes for State were counted. The only way you can change your vote is to physically go to elections office and ask for correct ballot. That’s where accountability comes in, what efforts were made to get that process out there. This election is only a difference of 116 votes. With 3 and 4 different ballots going out, this cannot be business as usual.

      I get it, you’re a Photo-Op Mo supporter. So you’re happy with failure. This County is in turmoil, I would hate to see what you consider a problem. By the way, she still orchestrated the comment whether she sent it to AVA or posted on her Facebook.

      • Mike J March 29, 2024

        One of the necessary post-election reviews should include how many in the 2nd district only voted using the first mass-mailing-wave ballot for 1st district Republicans. KB, if I remember a memo right, talked about how in initial signature, etc review they also identified 2nd district voters who did just that (ie,not voting later with correct ballot, just first incorrect one).
        We here, regular readers on the AVA, actually know one 2nd district voters who did just that: Craig Stehr! First, he reported he was going to vote for Mo. Later he noted that he voted for Pres and Congress and State candidates and issue using the first district ballot. So, we do know Mo lost out on his vote, unfortunately (given how close this was). I imagine that represents an undervote. Since KB noted that they could ID 2nd district voters who mailed both 1st district wrong one and correct later one, it seems they could mitigate the screw up, this giving us a correct count.

        • MAGA Marmon March 29, 2024

          Mike, Mo is aging and starting to lose some of her sex appeal, I see she covered up some of her gray hair recently.

          MAGA Marmon

          • Chuck Dunbar March 29, 2024

            This is a trash comment. James, you should know better, and act better, you sound a little like your hero, thoughtless, nasty and crude.

          • Bruce Anderson March 29, 2024

            Says Lake County’s Clark Gable.

            • George Hollister March 29, 2024

              Good to see God up and moving around and feeling better, with a good sense of humor. You made me laugh.

          • Lazarus March 29, 2024

            This guy I know told me something he told his 8 year old granddaughter the other day.
            “Not everyone likes everyone, but that’s no reason to be mean.”
            Nuff said,

  5. mark donegan March 29, 2024

    Annette Lombardi. Bless her Soul. First woman Mayor of Cotati. Pro bono’d me through many a mess and gave me free pass to her office at all times. I will never enter a courtroom without her presence. Crossword puzzles to keep sharp and let the business take care of itself. If it is not in the filings and settled by court, it likely is not going to be settled that day.
    On the Mo, liking has nothing to do with the person who will do the best job. You cannot come up late out of nowhere with nothing but a negative campaign strategy and win. Especially against someone who whether you like their decisions or not, has taken on everything thrown at them and then some. I challenge anyone to keep Mo’s pace of self-education with a complete dedication to public service. Not talking about it or showing up at a few supervisor’s meetings. But showing up consistently and fully engaging all sides of an issue.
    I didn’t come into this liking or defending Mo, just the opposite. But there is no way any reasonable person would put anyone else that has stepped up so far in her position. Jacob completely failed to reach out to and unite any other part of the veteran population other than his own friends and cliche that obviously pushed him forward unprepared. When I see someone bringing all veterans together, I will be impressed. Until then, work on it.

    • Call It As I See It March 29, 2024

      She is not serving you, she was part of a vote that canceled your voice. Cubbison was unopposed and received over 70% of the vote. Her pace, really! It’s her job, which also includes to be informed. There are many instances where this BOS made uninformed decisions. When they voted on VA move, it was 4-0 with Williams being absent. By voting for Mo you just voted for failure.

      • mark donegan March 29, 2024

        No idea who you are but I do know you have no idea what you are talking about. Not seen you anywhere at any public meetings. That means you have no idea how much or how little a supervisor can get away with either doing or not doing. The many other meetings and public events she attends and creates making herself as knowledgeable as possible about every agenda item. She takes on the most and hardest board assignment’s, including stepping forward to help resolve the VSO issue. She did not have to it, nor be the most open and available of our board members. I fully publicly supported Ms. Cubbison before and after the decision suspend her without pay, and Mo was fully aware of my input as well as others. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak the truth about the job performance I have personally witnessed, including being at the same but very diverse meetings everyday of one week. No one else does these things nor stayed as informed. Certainly not you.

        • Call It As I See It March 29, 2024

          Now that’s an intelligent comment. I don’t know who you are but I haven’t seen you at any meetings. How would you know?

          I’am very familiar with the County and City as I have spoke during public comment. You obviously assume things, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You are a victim of the all show, no go plan that Mo implements.

          You see you set up your massage tent at public functions and Mo stops by and tells you all the things she working on, but will never accomplish. It’s a smokescreen to keep you from noticing her horrific decisions. Believe me, she is not alone. There are 4 others that help in this chaos.

          You used the VA as an example, what a joke! They had to move them back because the Veterans stormed the meeting, which by the way Jacob Brown was a big part of. You see he helped the Vets and they accomplished something. Did you miss that meeting?

          Let’s look at MO’s accomplishments along with the other Stupidvisors;
          1- combined two offices that create checks and balances for the County. Only one Supervisor spoke to the 40 year employee who worked her way up to Treasurer/Tax Collector, who told the BOS this would send county finances into chaos. That supervisor voted “No” on combining offices.

          2- removed an elected official from office as they put together a plan to try and force her out with lies. Then voted to remove her before she was even arraigned. Have you read the Constitution? You are considered innocent until proven guilty.

          3- voted to move VA services location with no input from Veterans and somehow you give her credit for correcting their bonehead move.

          4- they have allowed the CEO Office to take control of about 98% of the county departments. If you haven’t noticed the CEO’s Office is the master of deception. Ask Mark Scarmella and Carrie Shattuck their opinions of how easy it is to get public information from them. Remember the BOS is the CEO’S boss. There should be a line between them

          5- their oversight has led to the Assessor’s office being behind in collecting reassessed properties. By 2 years and more in some cases. I’ll bet Mo must have missed this in all her data collection.

          Yea, you’re right I don’t know how things work.

          • mark donegan March 29, 2024

            Again, you have shown how little you know about me or anything else. I speak at most meetings, and the other person who has been there more often than me in the past few years is Carrie with whom I have spoken with often and fully supported. I will let run on with yourself from now on. Some people revel in their ignorance and I wish not to be an impediment to your happiness.

      • Semper Paratus March 29, 2024

        Despite some crusty critics screaming otherwise from their soap boxes, as far as I can tell Mo won the election fair and square and has time and time again proven she has tremendous work ethic.

        In my opinion the only thing Jacob Brown proved he was “good” at was repeatedly bringing up his once-upon-a-time military service and bad-mouthing Mo, while presenting no real experience, plan or solutions.

        Mo recently took the time to host a zoom meeting in an effort to better the communications with Veterans. Jacob showed up with the obvious intention of trying to use the moment to garner more attention…. for himself.

        He jumped on the VOS train to bolster his support base and give himself talking points. Quite opportunistic of him, even if for a good cause. I think he was hoping his previous military service (and therefore the blind loyalty of some non-discerning vets, who don’t know the guy from Adam, and some people he happens to know from having grown up in this small community) would have made him a shoo-in.

        The fact is it just seemed like he was looking for a new career because apparently he hasn’t been so good at establishing, and maintaining, one thus far. Fortunately for him, he’ll now have more time to devote to his part time substitute teaching job which he claims he finds to be “an immensely fulfilling role.”

        • Call It As I See It March 29, 2024

          Jacob Brown served this Country. He protected your right to write garbage like this. Mo is failure, plain and simple.

          • Semper Paratus March 30, 2024

            You write a lot of garbage, imo. Past military service doesn’t make him qualified for the job he was seeking on the BOS, plain and simple.

  6. Mazie Malone March 29, 2024

    Attempted Suicide……

    Amazing timing, so amazing in fact my skeptical brain is working overtime…. However will keep those
    thoughts to myself.. .. Except one what was the distance of parked officer to the bridge? …… With that being said amazing intervention by the officer and what a divine moment of Grace for the dude.. I hope he receives the help and support he needs..

    BTW ….. what up with all the missing people? …… It is quite disturbing….

    mm 💕

  7. Cantanquerous March 29, 2024

    Authoritarian regimes (imposed from above) are concerned primarily with controlling the public, rather than with serving the public.

    • Mazie Malone March 29, 2024

      … you don’t have to tell me twice…. lol…
      Happy Friday… 💕

      mm 💕

  8. Joseph Turri March 29, 2024

    MAUREEN MULHEREN: RE: Final Election results. (Mulheren: 51.77%. Jacob Brown: 48.23%) Four more years to do the work that I love. Excited to continue my service in the community. Thank you for the support

    We DO NOT NEED her to do Four more years of the work she loves……We need her to do Four years of hard work on the budget and get the departments organized so they function properly.

    • MAGA Marmon March 29, 2024

      The work she loves will completely destroy what’s left of Mendocino County. Cheerleading for the Schraeders and the other leeches of the Ukiah helping community will not have a positive ending.

      MAGA Marmon

    • MAGA Marmon March 29, 2024

      Attending events is not hard work, of course that’s the work she loves.

      MAGA Marmon

  9. Marco McClean March 29, 2024

    The photograph of the two-wrench tool trick reminds me of the ancient Greek saying, ““Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will break my lever. ”

  10. k h March 30, 2024

    Mo doesn’t speak up enough in board meetings (I appreciate it’s tough for the lone woman in a group to be a lightning rod) but she communicates with the public more than any other supervisor. She tends to avoid controversy which is problematic.

    But – Jacob seemed all over the place, in multiple ways, for a youngish guy. IMHO he needs to pick a career lane and stick it out.

    A lot of the anti-Mo stuff felt like misogyny, TBH.

    The easiest thing to do is critique another’s job. You need more than that to get me on your team. Demonstrate competence, consistency and dedication in your chosen field – that will get my attention more than jibes at someone else.

    I thought Adam had much more to offer than his competitors – but Carrie’s tenaciousness and thorough preparation impressed me. With all that said, when it came to the actual vote, Madeline bested them all. She was the last one I would’ve voted for. Take that for what you will when it comes to my opinion.

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