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Mendocino County Today: October 19, 2013

A WEEK OF TOTAL SCUMBAGGERY for Mendocino County included three dead infant cases, the most recent involving a guy who simply dropped his dead baby in the Ukiah emergency room and took off, last seen in Hopland. There was more legal maneuvering in the matter of Mr. Wilkinson of Willits who killed his 84-year-old grandfather by chaining gramps to his pick-up, dragging him to a hillside and throwing the old boy over the side of a hill. Wilkinson is clearly retarded, a walking example of diminished capacity, but even really, really, really dumb people usually aren't any less empathetic than most of the rest of us. A Covelo woman was arrested for the third time in a month for seriously assaulting her significant other, and one has to wonder what kind of abject moron sticks around for continual abuse. And Friday, an as-yet unidentified couple was found dead on Highway 20 near Fort Bragg of head injuries that apparently were not self-inflicted. And one of our assistant DAs shot a guy in Sacramento under circumstances still being sorted out. If the other guy was unarmed this incident may also qualify as scumbaggery, and why is an assistant DA walking around at night with a gun anyway?


ON OCTOBER 17, 2013 at 2:35pm Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the 31000 block of Highway 20, Fort Bragg [about three miles east of Highway 1 near the intersection of Summers Lane], for a report of a suspicious vehicle parked in the area. Upon their arrival, Sheriff's deputies located a mini-van parked near the area of the “bark dump.” The van was parked in a manner which prevented it from being seen from Highway 20. Deputies checked the interior of the van and discovered a deceased female in the front driver’s seat and a deceased male in the front passenger seat. Both victims appeared to have suffered wounds to the head. The exact cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy. Preliminary investigation indicates that the victims may not be Mendocino County residents. The female victim has been identified, but sheriff's detectives are still attempting to locate her next of kin. The male victim has yet to be positively identified. Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office “tip line” at (707) 234-2100. (Sheriff’s Press Release)


ON OCTOBER 17, 2013 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to milepost marker 11.2 on Road M1, in the Mendocino National Forest, near the community of Covelo, regarding a hunting accident. Upon arrival MCSO personnel learned that an adult male had been shot while hunting. According to a witness a member of the hunting party saw a wild pig approximately 70 yards uphill and across a ravine from his location. Not seeing the victim, the hunter shot at the pig. When he went to the area where he last saw the wild pig, he located the victim, Edgardo A Godoy, 52, of Rodeo, California, who had a single gunshot wound. This witness (whose name is currently being withheld as the investigation is continuing) immediately rendered aid to the victim and called for help on his hand held radio. Other hunters quickly arrived at which time they assisted in rendering first aid as well. The victim was moved to the M1 Road where first aid was continued until medical personnel from CalFire and the National Forest Service arrived. Medical personnel from CalFire and the National Forest Service rendered aid to the victim for at least 10 minutes, at which time a medical team from Cal-Star landed to assist. Upon arrival of the medical flight team the victim was pronounced dead. Upon further investigation it was determined the victim in this case received a single gunshot wound to the lower abdomen. The Victim was later identified as Edgardo Alberto Godoy, 52 years of age, from Rodeo. The names of the witnesses and other involved parties to this incident are currently being withheld as the investigation into this matter continues. (Sheriff’s Press Release)


ACCORDING to the Sacramento Bee, Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Damon Gardner shot and wounded another man on a downtown Sacramento street early Thursday morning during what DA David Eyster has described as a “physical confrontation.” The shooting occurred outside a hotel at 15th and L streets in downtown Sacramento. Police responded to a report of a “knifing” where they discovered that the “knifing” was a gunshot wound to the victim's “upper body.” The police report said that “two people passed two others when an argument began between the two groups. Words escalated into a fight and then a shot was fired.” The wounded man was transported to the hospital for a non life-threatening injury.

GARDNER, who has a concealed weapon permit, was with another assistant Mendo DA. Neither the victim or Gardner's companion has been identified. Gardner has been on medical leave from the Mendocino district attorney's office since mid-August. The assistant Mendo DA who witnessed the shooting was in Sacramento to attend a “legal education seminar.” The Sacramento Police Department said in a press release that there had been no major developments in the case and detectives continue to investigate.


KATY TAHJA WRITES: Funny beg-athon on KZYX going on this week. It's hard to find anything humorous about KZYX begging for $100,000 but they did it today. I'm sure people listening were laughing their respective heads off when W.Dan Houck was pitching and suggested someone pledge membership $$ in YOUR name and darned if someone didn't call in and do it! We all know how much you love KZYX. And you made then some $$ today.”



QUOTE OF THE DAY: “All of old.

Nothing else ever. Ever tried.

Ever failed. No matter.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

— Samuel Beckett, 1983;

from “Worstward Ho”



October 22, 2013

Honorable Barack Obama,

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

Deteriorating conditions at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex clearly constitute an international crisis of epic proportions that requires the highest level of international scientific and technological assistance in an effort to minimize the continuing damage to international health and safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently appealed to the international community to provide the knowledge and expertise needed to avert disaster. We therefore call upon you to issue an Executive Order directing all appropriate federal agencies to assist in leading an international effort to avert what appears to be a looming catastrophe of unprecedented dimensions. We believe it would be appropriate for the United States, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to lead this effort and to assure that the needed resources will be available.

Of greatest immediate concern, the unit 4 fuel rods, which are precariously stored 100 feet in the air, in the damaged unit 4 building, must be brought to ground. Removing the fuel rods will be extremely challenging; but is imperative given the compromised condition of the building and the continuing threat of seismic activity or other natural disaster. Additionally, the reactor cores from units 1, 2, and 3 have melted down and are widely believed to have penetrated the floor of the reactor buildings. The fuel rods and the reactor cores must be continually cooled to minimize the release of radioactivity. Contaminated rainwater and cooling water is contained in 1,000 tanks haphazardly placed on site with almost daily reports of leaks. Groundwater also flows freely through the site resulting in the uncontrolled discharge of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

Over two and a half years after the initial disaster of March 11, 2011, the situation remains highly unstable. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) remains in charge of the containment and cleanup of the site, but does not appear to have the resources or expertise to accomplish the task. TEPCO also does not plan to remove the melted reactor cores until 2020, virtually guaranteeing that contaminated groundwater will flow uncontrolled through the site and into the Pacific Ocean for the next seven years.

In addition to the requested Executive Order, we also call upon you to assure that the federal government is conducting all appropriate monitoring and testing to assess the level and impacts of radioactive contamination to west coast communities and the near shore marine environment. Our County’s link to these events also encompass personal relationships through Sister City partnerships between Fort Bragg and Otsuchi and between Mendocino and Miasa-Omachi.

Given the recent invitation from Prime Minister Abe, it is now both appropriate and imperative that the international community respond to this continuing international disaster without delay. Thank you for your attention to this request.


Dan Hamburg, Chair, Mendocino County Board of Supervisors



Mental health care.

Thank you Malcolm Macdonald for the continuing updates on the lack of mental health care on the coast. There is a lot of money involved and I have yet to see improvements since Ortner became manager. The families continue to cry out for help and horror stories continue to happen. I am sure there have been improvements in Ukiah but those of us in outlying areas see none.Fort Bragg is depressing with so many empty shops and homeless people wandering about town, most of them needing mental health care.

— Joan Hansen (member of NAMI)



Dear Mister Cranston,

I've just finished a marathon of watching Breaking Bad — from episode one of the First Season — to the last eight episodes of the Sixth Season. A total of two weeks (addictive) viewing. I have never watched anything like it. Brilliant! Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen — ever.

Hopkins, Cranston, Cranston as Walter White
Hopkins, Cranston, Cranston as Walter White

I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I've sort of lost belief in anything really. But this work of yours is spectacular — absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers… every department — casting etc. managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is awesome.

From what started as a black comedy, descended into a labyrinth of blood, destruction and hell. It was like a great Jacobean, Shakespearian or Greek Tragedy.

If you ever get a chance to — would you pass on my admiration to everyone — Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Steven Michael Quezada — everyone — everyone gave master classes of performance… The list is endless.

Thank you. That kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while, it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence. You and all the cast are the best actors I've ever seen. That may sound like a good lung full of smoke blowing. But it is not. It's almost midnight out here in Malibu, and I felt compelled to write this email.

Congratulations and my deepest respect. You are truly a great, great actor.

Best regards,
 Tony Hopkins



by Jeff Costello

MerleHaggardWe don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee

We don’t take our trips on LSD

We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main St.

We like livin’ right and bein’ free

— Merle Haggard

* * *

Smoking pot, and the whole culture around it, has never really done much for me. In the 60’s, I “turned on” and did things like listen to the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album. The drug seemed to enable me to analyze the recording at a new depth. A lot of musicians were trying to figure out what made their records so good, how they were doing it.

As with the 1966 play, “When You’re in Love, the Whole World is Jewish,” when you were high on pot in those days, it seemed the whole world was stoned. As it turned out, the Beatles were. But it was after Sergeant Pepper that rock music for stoned listeners took on a life of its own. It became a calculated thing, a marketing gimmick. But I’m not here to go into detail on that.

Country music has become a province of far-right sentiment, and Haggard’s was, I believe, the first anti-hippie song and celebration of all that was Red White, Blue and Pure in normal America. These days we have the likes of Toby Keith “putting a boot in the ass” of perceived foreign threats to American exceptionalism.

We may never know if Haggard, a highly respected musician and songwriter - and deservedly so - who hangs with known pot heads and cultural rebels like Willie Nelson, was serious when he wrote that song. But it was taken very seriously by the political and cultural right.

By 1977, I had long given up smoking weed. Nonetheless, my now -ex wife and I were carrying one joint. We were driving across Oklahoma to visit her grandmother in Wagoner, and had to pass through Muskogee on the way. I was an anarchist long before I heard or understood the term, and the obvious, compelling thing was smoke our one joint in Muskogee in honor of Merle Haggard. It was almost kind of serious, a personal counterculture statement. We did it, and that was that. No big deal. But taking LSD in Oklahoma would have been a guaranteed nightmare, not that we had any.

As to draft cards, I never burned mine since I was a 4-F, relieving me from ever having to deal with the military. Even in grade school I never bought the patriotic and Christian conditioning we got with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of every school day. “Howard be thy name.” “One Nation, Invisible,” and so on. Liberty and Justice for all. As Richard Pryor said, “...They talk about justice. Go down to the courthouse and that’s all you see, just us.”

“Livin’ right and bein’ free.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But really, what does it mean? “Living right” means obeying the rules, not stepping out of line. This is nicely illustrated by the Boy Scout Law: A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Needless to say I was a failure in Boy Scouts. The grown men in those outfits were just silly, yet succeeded in preparing boys for regimentation, obeying orders, and wearing unifoms, while sometimes taking the childrens’ obedience to, let’s call it, a personal level. Catholic boys who joined the scouts had it coming from all sides, it seems.

Being Free: Well, we’ve seen, thanks to the blatant emergence of corporate rule, that “being free” now means, principally, freedom to conduct business. Which means, as George Carlin put it, freedom to screw the other guy in the name of profit. Who in the 50s could have imagined the grand scale on which this idea would flourish?

Smoking marijuana in Muskogee was a trivial thing, but as symbolism I still enjoy the memory.



New Media Venture

Dear Editor:


There is an interesting entry into the media world. Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of Ebay has made an initial $250 million investment in a new mass media venture. In an interview he said his decision was fuelled by his “rising concern about press freedom in the United States and around the world.” He also said he has an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible. He is not sure what it will look like but will cover general news as well as investigative journalism. He also believes “…the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.” He is partnering in the venture with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. Greenwald and Poitras are the journalists to whom Edward Snowden in Hong Kong turned over all his NSA documents, Greenwald is leaving the Guardian for this venture. Poitras is currently in Berlin finishing up a documentary on the NSA. Scahill is an author and a national security expert. It looks like the emphasis will be on investigative journalism and whistleblowers will be most welcome.

— In peace, James G. Updegraff, Sacramento



By Michael Singer, 707.847.3368; Sonoma Coastal Hills Rural


Many residents in northwestern Sonoma County are calling for the removal of a printing factory in the wooded, rolling hills west of Cazadero. Once the subject of idyllic Ansel Adams photographs, these coastal hills now host the printing factory and publishing operations of Dharma Press, previously located for 37 years in a heavily industrial neighborhood of Berkeley. Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management officials originally allowed a printing operation in 2004—not to exceed one press, 27 workers, and 18,750 square feet—as an “ancillary,” or secondary function of a new religious retreat, Ratna Ling. Designated in the General Plan as a Resource and Rural Development area, unrelated industry should not be permitted here without a General Plan Amendment, followed up with the required Environmental Impact Report. Without either, by 2007 Dharma Publishing had relocated its entire manufacturing plant and sales distribution operations to the religious retreat. It has now applied for acceptance of those permit violations and approval of expansion of its printing operations to over 60,000 square feet, six presses running six days a week, non-fire code—safe tent storage for hundreds of thousands of books, and housing for 93 workers in the middle of a coastal forest. Rather than being minutes from suppliers and the Port of Oakland, Dharma Press now trucks all materials and labor to the remote forest site and trucks all products back again to the Bay Area for shipping. The Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments recommended the expansion of Dharma Press operations in 2012 (Sonoma County Use Permit PLP08-0021). A group of residents and supporters, now over 300 strong and growing, called Sonoma Coastal Hills Rural Preservation, has appealed that recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and awaits a hearing date after repeated delays requested by the owners of Dharma Press. CHRP has summarized its position and provides photo documentation on a new website:



by Dan Bacher

Over 60 people, including indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labor activists, gathered at the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm to protest the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its “Right Stuff” Award.

Faced with the protest condemning his anti-environmental policies, Brown apparently decided to back out from receiving the award. In particular, the protest focused on Brown’s support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme.

A video of the protest is available at:!/photo.php?v=10201481121482680&set=o.692888177406489&type=2&theater

The protest was organized by a group of individuals unaffiliated with national environmental organizations who were galvanized by Brown’s most recent assault on the environment: the green lighting of fracking in California.

“Jerry Brown ignored the majority of Californians and the rank and file of the Democratic Party who support a moratorium on fracking,” said organizer Damien Luzzo. “He signaled that he would not sign any of the moratorium bills and only signed the already weak SB4, after he gutted it at the 11th hour at the behest of Big Oil.”

According to organizer Lauren Steiner, “When I worked on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in 1992, he was an uncompromised environmentalist. Now he will support any industry, including polluting ones, if he thinks it can bring jobs and tax revenues. In 1992, the old Jerry Brown limited his campaign contributions to under $100, so he wouldn’t be beholden to special interests. The new Jerry Brown has accepted $2.5 million over the past few years from the oil and gas industry.”

At the rally, Steve Ongerth, founder of the IWW Environmental Caucus, talked about some Earth First!ers founded what became the BGA in 1998 and how far the group has strayed from its original. His speech/article is available at:

“The Blue Green Alliance, while well meaning, has made far too many compromises to corporations,” said Ongerth. “I support renewable energy, but it must be produced sustainably and deployed in harmony with the environment. Workers who manufacture, install and maintain the equipment must work under good and safe working conditions. Giving Jerry Brown an award is proof the Blue Green Alliance has lost its way.”

“It is ludicrous for Blue Green Alliance to give the Governor an award. Attacks on the environment or workers will not save our planet,” said Ongerth.

Michael Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, spoke out against the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raise that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the Delta in order to divert water to corporate agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California water agencies.

“I am here as a Winnemem Wintu Tribe warrior to speak for the salmon and for our cultural beliefs and sacred sites,” said Preston. "We have to speak out against the peripheral tunnel and Shasta dam raises because they could make the fish extinct and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary. These plans will affect all of life more than we know.”

NoREDDTom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, usually in low income neighborhoods populated by people of color.

“Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples,” said Goldtooth. “The policy privatizes the air we breath. Commodifies the clouds. Buys and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the sacred.”

Pamela Zuppo, from the San Francisco chapter of, spoke on Brown’s support of fracking, including his signing of Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill.

At the end of the program, Penny Opal Plant of Gathering Tribes read a list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown.

These include:

• Holly Mitchell, who introduced a strong fracking moratorium bill in the state legislature and LA City Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin, who recently introduced a fracking moratorium motion in Los Angeles;

• Mark Jacobson, from Stanford University, who has developed a plan to power California with 100% renewables by 2030;

• The Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice, whose lawsuit halted fracking in public lands in California;

• Truthout, the on-line publication whose investigative reporting uncovered fracking off the California coast;

• The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, whose tireless work led to the shutdown of this dangerous nuclear power plant;

• State Senator Lois Wolk, a tireless opponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, whose recently signed bill SB43 allows customers to get more than 20% of their power from renewables;

• The Klamath Justice Coalition, a coalition of members of Indian Tribes and activists who have helped stop fish kills and fought for dam removal on the Klamath River;

• The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, which has filed hundreds of successful lawsuits and complaints compelling industry, agribusiness, cities, counties and water boards to comply with the Clean Water Act; and

• Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who has waived residential solar permit fees, initiated a solar thermal rebate policy and a green jobs training program, sponsored Green Building and Compostable Food Ware ordinances and helped negotiate a $114 million settlement with Chevron.

One highlight of the protest was a group of flash-mobbers who sang and danced to Toxic. Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, who is running for Governor on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, also showed up at the protest with a group of her supporters.

As attendees of the dinner were arriving, protesters also handed an alternative program for the event featuring the 10 worst environmental policies of Governor Brown. These include: the twin tunnel plan; plans to weaken the California Environmental Water Quality Act (CEQA); record water exports out of the Delta; record Delta fish kills; the signing of Senate Bill 4; clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada; pro-oil industry appointments to the Department of Conservation; the support of "theme park" wetlands; the failure to abide by the fish doubling provisions of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (MLPA) and support of REDD.

The program also included the list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown.

For more information about Jerry Brown’s abysmal environmental record, go to:


    • Bill Pilgrim October 19, 2013

      That is absolutely false and a clear example of industry influenced baloney – notice the corporate media source this comes from, heavily advertised upon by nuclear industry supporters, suppliers, and bond investors.
      No, in the real world, the rods are positioned in a damaged tank 100 feet above ground in a building on the verge of breaking apart due to earthquake damage and water saturated soil beneath its foundation.
      Of course, you are always welcome aboard the barge on a river known as denial.

  1. October 19, 2013

    The letter from Anthony Hopkins to Bryan Cranston is remarkable in that it was a personal email, and who knows how it got out…. I know that actors praise the work of others in public interviews and such. They do after all have to work with each other. I have never seen an episode of Breaking Bad, because as a veteran and survivor of the methamphetamine world, I was shocked that it got its own TV show, and never imagined they could get it right – unless the people involved were veterans themselves – let alone the question of whether the massive publicity was a good idea. “Any publicity is good publicity” (old showbiz adage).

    • October 19, 2013

      re: Merle Haggard…I was pleased a few years ago to see a long interview with the old hubcap thief — with interruptions for rolling and smoking — in which he said, “…I must’ve been dumber’n a post when I wrote that…”

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