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Off the Record (June 15, 2024)

“NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.” I am sooooo tired of that one which, natch, is constantly invoked in the wake of the Orange Monster’s frame job in New York on charges no other agency would bring so the indictment had to be created. Don't get me wrong. I don't like Trump. I think it's obvious he's leading the Magats over the side and US with them, but fair is fair, even for him, the last guy the libs should want to make a martyr out of.

EXPLAIN to me real slow and real clear how a Trump payoff to a prostitute was parlayed into 34 felonies? As mentioned, Charles Manson was convicted of a mere seven felonies, all murder or murder-related. And Trump gets 34 with 99 pending felony charges? It strains credulity, or should.

ABOVE THE LAW here in Mendocino County among everyone with an annual income greater than a hundred grand, count the Anderson Valley wine people whose frost fans annually violate noise statutes.

POOR OLD JOE, an international symbol of elder abuse and our pretend president. Today's Wall Street Journal has a long, scrupulously bipartisan account of the Washington consensus that the old boy is now so obviously past it that even the DNC is worried that they can no longer plausibly shove him out there before the teleprompters, let alone duel with the orange beast.

BUT WHO do the Democrats have, assuming they can mothball Biden? As of right now, Trump is a shoo-in, and the Great Slide into chaos will accelerate.


“Every year thousands of you kids put on these silly, fucking hats to hear some other kid in a silly, fucking hat tell you that you are the future. But there’s not enough future to go around. If you want to know your real future, look at your folks in the stands. Fat butts and sagging tits, that’s your future. If you had any sense you’d give back your diplomas and silly hats and stay 18 the rest of your lives. You don’t want the future because the future sucks! Hell, most of you assholes can’t even read!”

— Bruce Dern as “Bobby Lee Burnett” giving a commencement address to a Texas high school in 1980’s “Middle Age Crazy.” (Screenplay by Carl Kleinschmitt who died in December of 2022 at the age of 85.)

A PAIR of Ukiah-area intractables illustrate the dilemma faced by every community in the state, large and small, which is, what to do with the thousands of Scotties and Kelishas, Mendo born and bred but beyond the coping abilities of existing strategies for dealing with the homeless, and right here I'm turning it over to Bruce McEwen, ace courthouse reporter, (ret) who wrote in February of 2012 (!):

The official state estimate says that 32% of the California budget for indigent medical services is consumed by 2% of the indigent community. “Indigent community” is PC-speak for that sector of the homeless, or street people, who regularly show up in emergency rooms where, by law, they can't be denied services. A lot of them are hopeless drunks and drug addicts who used to be treated in the state hospital system that Reagan closed down.

In Mendocino County, low-end estimates say we have a year-round average about 100 full-time homeless individuals. High-end estimates put the number of in-County homeless as high as 1200. Whatever the number, it doubles and even triples during late summer when itinerant potheads arrive to take jobs trimming marijuana. Dope season, you see them standing around on the busiest streets of the County's population centers aloft their trim scissors in search of seasonal work. Trimmers often sign up for an array of benefits designed to keep the chronically homeless alive, as do many other transients, but it's the frequent fliers, not the trimmers and other travelers among the homeless that eat up a big part of the indigent medical budget.

Two locally-based individuals suck up a very large portion of that budget all by themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Kelisha Alvarez and Scotty Willis.

In the past year, these two, a couple, visited the Emergency Room at Ukiah Valley Medical Center 99 times. Heck, call it a hundred, but due to patient confidentiality restrictions, the stats cannot be independently confirmed. But hospital staffers, speaking off the record, say the couple made at least that many visits, and often arrived by ambulance.

Mr. Willis is an epileptic who occasionally suffers real seizures. At other times, he fakes them to avoid situations he'd prefer to avoid, like going to jail or court.

Mr. Willis's love interest, Ms. Alvarez, fakes all of her seizures so far as anyone can determine because she has no documented medical condition besides obesity at 5’3” and 285 pounds. She's got this weapons-grade heft that can convert her into a kind of mobile wrecking ball, plus a very bad attitude. Both the love birds have well documented criminal histories.

At the young age of 25, Kelisha Alvarez’s rap sheet is considerably longer than her boyfriend's. Kelisha has so many violations of probation that it seems the courts have often simply let her slide rather than deal with her in any formal sense. For instance, she was granted a Deferred Entry of Judgment years ago, then refused to cooperate. She tried Proposition 36 for treatment instead of jail for first time drug arrests and blew that. The same for Penal Code 1000, another first time drug offender alternative program. Having been given every chance in the book, Kelisha simply turned around and threw the book back at the courts.

Among her long list of crimes, Ms. K has been caught lifting booze off the shelves at Safeway, admitted stealing from elders, racked up an assault with a deadly weapon, a battery against both peace officers and EMTs. Mostly, though, her charges are disorderly conduct, trespassing, disobeying court orders, using offensive language — she’s a great one for high decibel, race-based insults — and tweaking. Although she always has money for meth and booze, her fines are usually dismissed for her inability to pay them.

In their most recent interface with the forces of law and order, the fun couple was hanging out at the Ukiah hospital’s emergency room watching TV like it was their living room when they went off because they'd been asked to leave. Scotty and Kelisha had just that day been ticketed for public intoxication and “camping” on the east side of the Safeway parking lot. Scotty has torn up many similar tickets, along with citations for assault and vandalism.

The Safeway parking lot doesn't offer television or camping facilities, but Kelisha was missing her favorite tv programs and wanted to go hang out at the ER where she could be more comfortable as she caught up on, perhaps, General Hospital and, during the commercials, amuse herself by insulting hospital staff…

McEWEN wrote the above in 2012, but Scottie's still out there eating up public resources and destroying the Ukiah area's plummeting "quality of life," while Kelisha, exiled to Oklahoma a few years ago in a creative deal worked out by the DA, is back in Ukiah but seemingly a little less actively aggressive, although she is still an occasional subject of law enforcement attention.

BOTH of them should have been permanently locked up years ago, and would have been before America lost its way in '67, but here we are nearly a quarter century later and they're still out there eating up their hog's share of emergency services. The demand for the few existing locked-door mental health facilities is so great that only more extreme cases than Scottie and Kelisha can get a ticket in. Maybe the new psych wing of the County Jail, still not under construction, will provide a permanent home for Scottie and Kelisha, but until then they're out there.


On this occasion, January 18th, 2012, the Charge Nurse, Kim Swift and RN Jack Worthington went over to see if the couple was there to see the doctor or just hang out. In her subsequent declaration of what ensued, Nurse Swift said, “They both stated they were actively seizing while sitting in the lobby watching television and drinking a bottle of iced tea. Dr. Begley evaluated both in the triage room. Dr. Begley first evaluated Kelisha Alvarez, cleared and discharged her. Dr. Begley then evaluated Scotty Willis and cleared and discharged him as well.

“At that time, Mr. Willis refused to leave the triage room. Jack Worthington, RN, and I attempted to escort him out when Mr. Willis stated he needed his iced tea from the lobby. I obtained his tea and Mr. Willis started walking out the door with each of us having a hand on his elbows. We were by the guard shack at the ambulance entrance when Mr. Willis threw an elbow into Mr. Worthington’s head, knocking off his glasses. He then punched Mr. Worthington in the face.”

“I couldn’t see anything,” Worthington stated in his declaration. In the ensuing scuffle Worthington's finger also got jammed and badly swollen, his shirt was ripped open and he received a nasty scratch on his neck.

Nurse Swift tried to pry Scotty Willis off Worthington and was set upon by Kelisha Alvarez, who knocked the iced tea flying then slipped in it and fell on her five foot wide ass.

“I stood over her and told her to stay out of it,” Nurse Swift said.

Staff members Shawn Stark and Jay Girard scrambled to help restrain the lunatic Willis, who Worthington had managed to pin down on a bench.

“The mother of a patient in bed 10 of the emergency room ran up to me,” Nurse Swift said, “stating she had seen the whole thing and had called the police.”

When Officer Aponte of the Ukiah Police arrived, he sized up the situation with a groan of frustrated recognition. It would do no good to arrest the two "epileptics" because they would just fake seizures and tie up a good part of Ukiah's emergency medical system for hours.

Nurse Swift continued her account of her very long day: “The police arrived but I don't think they took it seriously. Officer Alponte was dealing with Ms. Alvarez. I had other patients in the lobby who needed to be triaged.”

Alponte was about to let Kelisha go, apparently content simply to get her off the hospital's premises.

“Don’t let her walk away,” Swift said. “I want to press charges. I'm tired of her spitting, hitting, throwing stuff, and cussing at us!”

Officer Alponte, probably with a sigh, arrested both of the roving tar babies and booked them into the County Jail.

As soon as they got to court the next day both defendants had seizures.

I'd seen EMTs removing people from the Courthouse on gurneys, but I didn’t realize it was always the same two people.

This particular case eventually went to civil court because the hospital had filed for a restraining order to keep the charming couple out of the Emergency Room. They'd have to find another place to watch television. Attorney Jan Cole-Wilson is representing Ukiah Valley Medical Center. Scotty is represented by the Public Defender’s office, and Kelisha is represented by the Alternate Public Defender. Of course, the representation of public defenders doesn’t extend to civil matters. But whatever the technicalities of representation, when defendant Kelisha got to court she shortcut the proceedings by faking a seizure.

Just last week, there she was being helped from the Courthouse by a medical team who carted her off to ER in an ambulance. If your kid has an accident and needs immediate medical attention, better brush up on your first aid because the ambulance might be tied up with Kelisha and Scotty, spitting on the EMT's, punching them in the face, gouging at their throats with filthy fingernails, and calling them “niggers.”

The pending court matter is aimed at keeping Kalisha out of the Emergency Room, but what can you do?

“Just shoot the bitch,” one lawyer, who begged to remain nameless, suggested.

“Let me get my hands on her fat neck,” another “undisclosed source,” volunteered.

The hearing was reset while Kelisha was hauled to the Emergency Room where she was evaluated and found medically fit and released. Having screamed random ethnic slurs, spit on and scratched at everyone who came within range of her enraged bulk, Kelisha, for the umpteenth time, was good to go. The hospital people learned long ago — probably back when Kalisha picked up her assault with a deadly weapon charge — to keep the trays of surgical instruments way out of her reach whenever she appeared.

Attorney Jan Cole-Wilson commented, “On the next hearing date Kelisha and Scotty didn’t appear. Judge Mayfield granted the restraining orders, but what can you do? You can’t really keep them away from the ER if they claim it’s a medical emergency, can you? I’m a liberal and I very much want this service for people who can’t afford medical care. But it is very frustrating.”

The Hospital’s public relations guy, Keith Dobbs, formerly a managing editor at a daily newspaper, was pleasant and accommodating. He came equipped with Nick Bejarano, and the two fine fellows ushered me into a sunny office with bare, polished surfaces. I asked about a program Ms. Cole-Wilson had mentioned that provides housing, income, and medical insurance for the 2% of chronic ER cases like Scotty and Kelisha. I had a hard time imagining any program short of permanent incarceration that could keep Scotty and Kelisha from doing their thing. Dobbs said he would email me the info.

What did he think of Scotty and Kelisha?

“We’re here to serve the community,” Mr. Dobbs blandly intoned. “To do what’s right for those who need patient care.”

I asked him again.

“Our mission is to reflect God’s love.”

Ukiah Valley Medical Center is an arm of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“Yes, yes, but how about you, personally?”

“It’s not our place to judge. Because of patient confidentiality, we cannot talk about the case. Or her diagnosis. As for the restraining order, I can give you a copy of that.”

The charge was dropped in exchange for a plea in another case, for which Kelisha was given 30 days, and her fines written off.

Kelisha Alvarez’s booking summary (prior to 2012 alone):

7/18/2009 Under the influence of a controlled substance

2/24/2010 Disobeying a court order

3/18/2010 Disobeying a court order

6/18/2010 Disorderly conduct

7/3/2010 Disobeying a court order

10/15/2010 Probation revocation

11/20/2010 Trespassing, petty theft

12/22/2010 Disorderly conduct

1/13/2011 Failure to appear, probation revocation

7/18/2011 Assault with a deadly weapon

1/20/2012 Battery against peace officer, emergency tech, et al in performance of their duties.

Scotty Willis Booking Summary (prior to 2012 alone):

6/18/2009. Contempt of court.

2/7/2010. Receiving stolen property.

2/26/2010. Vandalism

7/15/2010. Probation violation.

10/25/2010. Trespass of a business, probation revocation, threats to committee crimes resulting in death or great bodily

injury, brandishing or exhibiting deadly weapon other than a gun in a threatening, rude or angry manner.

11/27/2010. Disorderly conduct.

2/8/2011. Battery, violation of another person’s civil rights.

3/20/2011. Trespass on closed land.

11/30/2011 Resisting or obstructing a public officer, probation

1/20/2012. Battery against peace officer, emergency tech, etc. in performance of their duties.

ms NOTES: The contract with the new jail wing builder has been approved and signed. I'm not sure if they have physically broken ground yet. I suspect they have some long-lead time items to order first. But it's definitely under way with, supposedly, a fixed price. Sheriff Kendall says it'll take at least ten additional COs to staff the new wing, but he also said he hopes to be able to reduce the staff and inmate load in the current jail in some kind of partial compensation. A staffing plan for the new wing has not yet been made public. The PHF construction was put out to bid last month and they hope to get bids by the end of this month. County planners say it will be complete by the end of 2025, but I saw one architecurual project plan that had it taking a year longer than that.

WITH the Supervisors’ approval of Ukiah's annexation of County territory, and given Ukiah's obviously superior civic functioning, why not let Ukiah annex the entire Ukiah Valley, extending the State Street model south to Hopland, north to Potter Valley?

STEVE HEILIG WRITES: “Saying wine uses ‘less than almonds’ etc. doesn’t mean much. One question I’ve long had is what percentage of wine winds up undrunk. The vast rows of bottles in stores indicates a glut, and how much is eventually poured out? However much, that’s all waste, other than the one benefit of providing employment (including for those scary ‘illegals.’ And of course tax write offs for those who don’t really need them for their ‘vanity vineyards.’ Toss in all the pesticides, fungicides, etc. and overall it seems a bad deal for the rest of us. (And yes I do drink some of the stuff).”

CHUCK DUNBAR: “Others and I have made past comments on the number of women noted as MCSO arrestees in the daily Catch of the Day. The last week or so has been striking in this respect. On one day I recall that 6 or 7 of 11 or 12 total were women. Several days showed 3 or 4 women side by side in an entire row. Today it’s 4 women of 11 total, a number that’s near the average, I surmise. As we’ve all commented before, this is a troubling trend, without being able to delve much further into cause and consequences.”

MANY of the people recorded in Catch of Day have been arrested for outstanding warrants. They go to jail until they cough up, a modern update of the Brit's 19th century poor house. As anyone knows who's gotten, say, a speeding ticket, the charge is expensive. Most of the money garnered goes to our friends staffing California's superior courts, and here in pace-setting Mendo, a big hunk of the ransom collected will build a new County Courthouse nobody wants except our nine (count 'em) judges.

THE LATE EMIL ROSSI got his ticket reduced by arguing that the bail fees and court costs on top of the basic fine should be reimbursed, and the judge had no choice to order that Rossi get that portion of his ticket paid back to him. Few victims of this gouging of the everyday citizen read the fine print, but if you do it can save you a nice bit of change.

AS FOR CHUCK'S fret about the increase in women getting arrested, who knows? I'd say it's one more manifestation of the general social implosion.

TRUMP'S vice presidential candidates include eager neo-fascists who find Orange Man inspirational, but South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is pathetic, Marco Rubio isn't quite rabid enough, New York Rep Elise Stefanik is obviously 5150, and Nikki Haley seems too wacky even by Maga standards, but Ohio Senator JD Vance will give the Trump ticket major plausibility with the millions of voters on the fence about Trump. Vance is smart and articulate and wrong about everything, but up against the Democrat ticket of Non Compos Joe and Giggles Harris, it's likely to be Trump and Vance going away.

I WAS WATCHING a reporter on KGO TV interviewing a Maga yesterday when a hat backwards dude skated by and, according to the reporter, “sprayed pickle juice” on the Maga. Then another hat backwards dude sailed by on skates to spray the Maga with obscenities. I doubt the substance was pickle juice but its scent is unmistakable, but would a hat backwards dude be rolling skating around the Marina Green with, of all substances, pickle juice? Odder yet, the Maga guy was delivering an un-Maga-like spiel about healing the country!


"Fort Bragg High School to host 2024 graduation ceremony" (Fort Bragg Advocate)


Worth the wait Sunday night to see Mendocino County native Quinn VanAntwerp perform in the splashy finale for the Tony Awards in his role as Bob Gaudio of the “Jersey Boys.” Just something about local pride. Quinn, a seasoned Broadway performer these days, is the son of Laurel Near, a co-founder of Ukiah's noted SPACE performance group for young people. An auntie is singer Holly Near. And since we're at it, other members of Quinn's extended family include actress Timothy Near and actor Kevin Bacon.

Quinn VanAntwerp


The Editor’s preference for “sub-proletariat” makes sense in a leaflet but only lumpen works in the song I wrote as an ad for Country Club Malt Liquor --and actually submitted to their ad agency. This was c. 1970 when The Influencers were saying “Free Huey” (to which FJ would add, “Free Dewey and Louie, too”). “Shiker” means drunk in Yiddish. A rap ahead of its time.

I wish I could remember how to enter lyrics so they come out single-spaced. Maybe Mike K. knows. Maybe this formatting is better for a rap ahead of its time.

Out of the woods and into the night Robin Hood did ride
Sure looked like somethin'
with those mustangs jumpin'
and the usual lumpen by his side…

Off the road at the Highway Inn, Robin and the hoods
Iced another sentry and made illegal entry
and ripped off the gentry
of their goods

Then to the pub a little club called Small's
there to boogie and drink
Country Club malt liquor like beer but quicker
gets you even slicker than you think

Years went by, his beard grew white, Robin was well known
still he kept on stealing, running numbers, dealing
and now and then peeling off
a loan

They caught him at last and brought him in
you know they made him pay
But to this day we weep a little, cause he let us keep a little
he served the people, so they say

"Only try and serve the people.
Always tried to serve the people."
He served the people
So they say.

When Marx and Engels used lumpenproletariat, the reference was to raggedy, patchwork clothes (“lumpen” in German). In the US today lumpen implies sluggishness and drug addiction. MCT's Catch of the Day is only the visible tip of a huge sub-proletariat in this country. Back in the '70s I contributed to a leaflet denouncing and ridiculing lefty Lumpen Lovers by name. It cost me a few friends, including Larry Bensky, with whom I'd been close. Our split only lasted about 30 years. Then we were good friends again.

SOME TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, a Mendocino County Superior Court judge — I can't remember which one — signed off on a class action suit brought and won by an outside attorney named Richard Ruggieri against Mendocino County. The suit, uncontested, described how Mendo people were arrested, booked into the County Jail, then freed without charges having been brought against them.

THOUSANDS of people (me included) have been arrested in Mendocino County, hauled to jail, held for periods of time ranging from hours to days at a time, then released without being charged.

RUGGIERI'S class action applied to persons “detained” without being charged between October 1st, 1998 and January 1st, 2002. The law says that people who have been “detained” without charges being filed against them are supposed to have that fact noted on their arrest records. Mendocino County didn't bother to change the booking sheets on three year's worth of ”detentions” from “arrested” to “detained,” thus subjecting uncharged persons to whatever repercussions they might suffer from an arrest record.

ALTHOUGH the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department was named in the suit as the agency responsible for the error, the blame lay with the County Counsel's office, the Mendocino County Superior Court and the DA. One would have thought that someone from one of these offices would have occasionally dropped in on the jail out on Low Gap Road to see if the cops were in compliance with the finer points of the County's innovative catch and release program. But the cops don't decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn't — the rest of the system makes that decision.

THE BIG WINNER in all of this was lawyer Ruggieri. He collected a big wad of uncontested public cash for having noted that Mendocino County, perennially out of step, was again out of step, expensively out of step.

ALL THE SCHOOL Districts in Mendocino County have the same lawyers, and all the superintendents and principals, teachers unions and school boards of the county's individual school districts, view themselves as one big ”management team.” It's the management team against the world, the whole show financed by juvenile funding units, the latter formerly known as “students.” The school lawyers run the show — them and insurance carriers, but mostly the school lawyers.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S monopoly school lawyers operate out of offices in Santa Rosa. Their dubious private services got public sanction by the joint powers authority conferred on them by the individual school districts of Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake and, I believe, Napa counties, operating as a consortium, ratified by the school boards of the individual school districts of all these counties. It was a slick attorney character named Henry who brought off one of the great unnoted swindles in regional history. When a wronged family sues a school district, rare as it is, they have to pay lawyers to go up against the publicly-funded Henry Gang, funded, you could say off the backs of children.

THE HENRY GANG is based rent free in the over-large headquarters of the Sonoma County Office of Education on Airport Boulevard, far from the sight and sound of school-age children. They get all the legal business generated by all these Emerald Triangle school districts for handsome annual flat fees that come out of money that ought to go to instruction. To handle the hot questions that get people angry enough to turn out to their school board meetings, the Henry Gang charges extra. Primarily, their legal advice consists of one sentence: “Ask the incompetent how much he or she will take to go away and offer him or her half. In cash.” Since these payoffs don't come out of the pockets of the incompetents who hired the incompetent in the first place, school districts have no hesitation in forking over.

MANY TIMES I've been warned not to “get involved in Indian beefs” by people ranging from “activists” to journalists. “They're always fighting, and a lot of it is old family stuff that doesn't have anything to do with what they say they're fighting about.” Well, I must say that the characterization of rez disputes seems to be a rather more blatant ethnic slur than the usual ones I hear nowadays, most of those being aimed at Mexicans and as unfounded as the Indian slurs.

ANY DISPUTE can be sorted out in a way that enables one to determine where most, if not all, of the truth is. The one human constant is, if you'll excuse the lapse into punditry, that entrenched interests of whatever ethnicity are quick to play the race card when they're challenged. When a pale face like me asks the Native American managers of reservation housing why they overlook the criminal behavior of a few people who make life miserable for the many, I get either, “Butt out, white boy,” or “No comment.” If I were a Native American asking the question I'd get, “Butt out,” and “No comment” without the racial identifier.


Not sure where this very belated comment fits on MCT….

The photo of Tony Craver with Pebbles Trippet and Norm Vroman that ran June 2 was taken in 2004, not 1999.

Your correspondent reported at the time:

“The all-day conference was held in the auditorium of the Dana Gray elementary school. It was well organized and well attended (about 250 people). In addition to the doctors’ panel there were patients’ and law-enforcement panels. The district attorneys of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, Norm Vroman and Paul Gallegos, came out for defining the legal limit of how much marijuana a patient or caregiver can grow in terms of area (100 square feet), not plant numbers.

"Vroman revealed that Ram Dass (who is recovering from a serious stroke and had taken part in the patients’ panel) was his ‘guru,' and that over the years he has read and re-read everything Ram Dass has written… Antonia Lamb introduced Sheriff Tony Craver with a song composed in his honor that rhymed 'cream of the crops' with 'cream of the cops.' Craver joked that Norm Vroman was his guru… Gallegos said it was unusual to be in a crowd where nobody thought he was too lenient.”

A TEMPERATE ON-LINE assessment of The Huff's two-basin proposal: “Congressman Jared Huffman! You slimeballs need to Stop killing the EEL. This is about to be stopped and put back the way it should be and you are going to go F it up and give rights to people who have no right to the water. None of this water should go south. Stop hating on Humboldt. Let the EEL run free, you bastards. Stop doing the bidding of the people who give you money to do the wrong thing. Just do the right thing.”

THE ECO-MURDER of the Eel began in the early 20th century when Chinese labor hand-dug a mile long tunnel through the ridge separating the Eel River into Potter Valley where a couple of modest turbines generated electricity for the purpose of… wait for it… electrifying Ukiah!

THAT MODEST GOAL was the long and the short of the initial diversion project. No one foresaw, or could have foreseen, how valuable the water from the diversion would become. (Chinese labor, incidentally, also hand-dug the Skunk line tunnels and even the granite cistern at the Anderson Valley hamlet of Navarro, which supplies the households of central Navarro with cold, sweet, no additives, no filters water to this day. Wherever there's a tunnel in Mendocino County, the Chinese dug it, only to be rewarded by insults and persecutions. The legendary Mendo Sheriff, the honorable Doc Standley, prevented a massacre of Chinese at Mendocino by a mob of drunken oafs, whose descendents today drive huge pick-up trucks and wear their baseball hats backwards.)

A HANDFUL of Potter Valley kulak families and Confederate sympathizers initially got free water from the diversion, and their descendents, a group study in grasping, hereditary entitlement, get real cheap water today, as do grape growers in the Ukiah Valley and south into Sonoma County, all of it a latter-day drain on the finite waters of the diverted Eel that pales in comparison to the true owners of almost all of the diverted water, the SoCo Water Agency, which sells the diverted Eel stored at Lake Mendocino to Sonoma County Water District and Marin County at a huge annual profit.

HOW DID SONOMA COUNTY get title to the diverted Eel? To the Eel River water stored at Lake Mendo? SoCo funded most of the construction of Coyote Dam in the middle 1950s, behind which lies the present day lake and summer resort for area tweekers.

MENDO, ripped off then as now, voted 4-1 to give Lake Mendo water to SoCo in perpetuity, the noble and perspicacious supervisor, Joe Scaramella of Point Arena, dissenting. Latter day supervisor, Johnny Pinches of Laytonville, tried to get his fellow supervisors to reconsider the one-way deal with Sonoma County, a one-way deal worth annual millions to Sonoma County, but couldn't even get a second to discuss it. Political Mendocino! Where imagination goes to die.

EVENTUALLY, everyone's favorite utility, PG&E, assumed ownership of the diversion, thus complicating contemporary negotiations about how to macro-manage water management from Potter Valley south to northern Marin, northeast to Lake Pillsbury and Lake County.

CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN, always frantic to stay in office where he can auto-vote for the murder of Gazan children, has tried to pander to both sides of the diversion issue, assuring the partisans of a fully restored Eel, who fantasize a return of its once lush fishery, that that miracle can be accomplished given more than a century of human damage to the river from multiple sources, a fact Northcoast old timer Ernie Branscomb has pointed out. The congressman simultaneously assures all the downstream diversion beneficiaries that he will keep their cheap water flowing, always a message gratifying to grape growers, the congressman's fave constituents.

WHAT AN HISTORICAL IRONY! A mile-long tunnel the dimensions of a medium-size Caltrans culvert has somehow bred two million dependents!

HUMBOLDT PARTISANS of the Eel are radically out-numbered by downstream interests. Their only real hope for an unfettered river is a major earthquake. Or, as I've previously suggested, a couple sticks of dynamite rafted into the tunnel…

PS. It's worth a trip to Potter Valley to have a look at the diversion, especially the fish ladder at the Eel end of the project. It's an hilarious corkscrew construction that supposedly lifts fish gently from the Eel to the headwaters of the Russian, or vice versa I forget, but any fish that dares enter the contraption is certain to come out the other end a duck. The last time I was there a guy in some kind of state uniform was standing with a clipboard gazing into the water. “Dude! What are you doing?” Answer: “I'm counting fish.”

FRONTIERS OF WOKENESS: A top cancer charity has apologized for using the word “cervix” instead of trans-friendly “front hole.” The Canadian Cancer Society, which is run by philanthropist Andrea Seale, apologized to the LGBGQ+ community on a webpage dedicated to cervical cancer, under the page's “words matter' section. The non-profit said that “many” non-binary people and transgender men have “mixed feelings” or “feel distanced” from the term “cervix.”

BILL MAHER says Caitlin 'Too Straightlin' Clark is being picked on by WNBA rivals because she is heterosexual in a “very lesbian” league. Maher, as usual stating the obvious like it's from on high, said that sex and race were in play when Clark was body checked to the floor by Chicago's Chennedy Carter. “It’s (because) women are catty, the league is very lesbian and she’s not, and there’s race. There’s a lot going on. There’s also a racial element to this… It’s not always racism when a white person succeeds.”

THERE'S LESS SUBSTANCE to the charges against Hunter Biden than there was to the conjured 34 felonies pinned on Orange Man. The only diff between Hunter and the millions of everyday American degenerates is the money he's had to spend on up-market decadence, money he got from parlaying his surname into payoffs from foreign governments. Here in Mendo, concealed weapons permits are simply a matter of applying and passing a test proving you know which end the bullet comes out of. I know a couple of drop-fall drunks who are always armed, and Mendo being Mendo, who knows how many hopheads (sic) lied on their gun purchase forms.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: Meanwhile, rich jerks like Charles Hurwitz, former junk-bond-funded owner of Pacific Lumber, can lie through his teeth on his official submissions to state forestry officials and that’s declared perfectly legal by a Humboldt County judge under an obscure legal “doctrine” called the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine in which corporations can legally lie to the government under the umbrella of “free speech.”

I USED to spend a lot of time in court, occasionally as a defendant, but mostly as a reporter. Some cases stick in the teeming back rooms of my mind. I always tried to avoid the child custody matters because they are too painful, too awful, especially these days with divorced parents hurling vile (and unsupported) accusations at each other.

TEN MILE COURT has always presented an opportunity to visit California's most beguiling seaside town, Fort Bragg, and so… I was there that day to listen in on a case involving the shooting death of a dog on Little Lake Road east of the village of Mendocino. Judge Eric Labowitz was on the bench. He's a fellow resident of the second most beguiling community in California, the Anderson Valley. I like the guy although he has ruled against me a few times.

THAT MORNING'S docket consisted almost entirely of marriages gone seriously awry, one of them involving parties with the old Mendocino County surnames of Koski and Whipple, a Finn and a Native American respectively.

MR. KOSKI and his former wife, Ms. Whipple-Koski, were in a dispute over Mr. Koski's access to the daughter he and Whipple-Koski had produced before they'd come to loathe each other. Implicit in the dispute between the estranged husband and wife was, it seemed, an accusation by Ms. Whipple-Koski that Mr. Koski represented such a threat to his own daughter's safety and well-being that he shouldn't be permitted to see her at all, not even under supervision. As is routine in these angry times, their child had been weaponized.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S CPS unit, itself a clear and present danger to children in my experience at the time, wanted Mr. Koski permanently sequestered from the flesh of his flesh. I immediately, instinctively sided with Mr. Koski, because I knew from my own experience that the local system, from the judges on down through imbecilic social workers, was arbitrary in the extreme.

MRS. KOSKI'S LAWYER was one of the county's legal hacks from the jive County Counsel's office compelled to defend county-employed staff no matter how errant. He blandly announced that it was “CPS's position” that Mr. Koski not be allowed to see his daughter. Ever. Under any conditions.

BUT MR. KOSKI'S lawyer fortunately suggested a Ukiah therapist named Kevin Kelly as a person who might be appointed by the court to independently and objectively evaluate the menace alleged by CPS to be presented by Mr. Koski to his daughter.

THE CPS social worker said no dice. CPS specifically didn't want Kelly to look at the Koski-Whipple matter. Judge Labowitz came up with what he seemed to think was a reasonable compromise; he instructed both sides to each come up with three evaluators it thought reasonable and one would eventually be selected to second guess CPS.

KOSKI looked like your basic Fort Bragg working guy. His former wife looked like a regular person. Neither of them looked like they were crazy or drug-addicted, or hateful, or anything but what they apparently are — two people who had a child together and, left alone, would probably arrive at a sensible solution about how to raise the kid. Somehow, though, Mendocino County's lethal cadre of helping professionals had become involved; why we'll never know because the helping pros hide their crimes behind “confidentiality” and “the welfare of the child.”

THE CHILD wasn't present, undoubtedly out of false concern for her welfare by the helping pros who seemed determined to ruin whatever chance the kid may have had for a childhood with both a mommy and a daddy.

WHILE the proceeding bumbled along, neither parent shot the other death glares or hyper-ventilated. Mr. Koski looked a little confused, a little beaten down, as well he might. Imagine standing in front of a judge in a public hearing while the government says you are unfit to ever see your own daughter again, even with a government-appointed babysitter watching you!

BY THE LOGIC of CPS-think, Koski ought to have been in jail, but here the poor guy was, a free American, listening to himself being described by a bunch of tax paid incompetents as some kind of a monster.

AS IT HAPPENS, I happen to know the work of the therapist CPS didn't want evaluating the matter — Kevin Kelly. Never met the guy, wouldn't know him if I saw him. But I can tell you he was the only sane voice in the prolonged torture of Yeni Wiriderdja and her daughter Yusra by the Mendocino County Department of Social Services and its appallingly stupid, and often malicious, CPS unit, a unit dominated by the same collection of primitive screwballs who were now after this Koski fellow and his Labowitz-thwarted desire to have the intelligent, objective, just Dr. Kelly review CPS's desire to detroy him and his little girl.

MS. W, a non-English-speaking Indonesian, was portrayed by CPS to be not only a defective mother but a mother who had rented her daughter out to Satanist perverts! Can a sane person even grasp the magnitude of the tax-paid idiocy (and pure racism) that was at work in Mrs. W's case? I couldn't then, and I can't now, but if it weren't for the calm, intelligent intervention of Dr. Kevin Kelly the suffering of that one grotesquely wronged woman and her child would have been much worse than it was, and it was very, very bad until Kelly was finally appointed by the county's slo-mo Superior Court to have a look at mother and child.

KELLY saved them from CPS and its preferred therapists at the time, a lunatic husband and wife team by the name of Robert and Ann Horton who believed that Satanism thrived in Mendoland and that little Yusra was one more victim. These two morons and the sub-morons at CPS trotted this preposterous Satanist bullshit out in court. And got away with it!

I'LL BET THAT CPS has been prevented from destroying other children and their parents by Kelly, which is why CPS wanted to bar him from the Koski-Whipple matter. But Koski definitely needed Kelly or some other equivalently intelligent human evaluator independent of CPS.

JUDGE LABOWITZ did the right thing. Kelly got the job and, I'm assuming because I never could find out what happened — “confidentiality and the welfare of the child” you see — that Koski at least got to visit his daughter.

“TELL PEOPLE there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

— George Carlin

MY ALL-TIME FAVE ANNOUNCEMENT arrived of course on purple paper: “Feminist theology and women's spirituality. Become a novice thealogian (sic) for a semester! Feminist thealogy (sic)/women's spirituality is an experiential/discussion based course that examines feminist influences on Judaism, Christianity and the Neo-Pagan movement over the past 35 years. Explore stimulating ideas such as the gender of God, history and myth for a thealogical (sic) perspective, feminist worship and tikkun olam (repair of the world) Fall 2002, Tuesdays, 7-9:40 RCH 20, 3 units. Rev. Laurel Holmstrom, instructor.”

WHERE'S SARA DIAMOND? We need her more now than we needed her back when Craig Hulet was making a quick buck foisting his paranoid world views off on the gullible among public radio audiences. Having learned absolutely nothing from the end of the world that failed to happen on the stroke of midnight 2000, another hustler showed up to cash in on the apocalyptic yearnings of Mendolib — Michael Rupert!

THE BRILLIANT MS. DIAMOND singlehandedly sent Hulet back to his Idaho mountaintop as Hulet and his “progressive” sponsors denounced her and threatened her with libel suits. But Hulet sold a lot of tapes before it became obvious even to the slo-mo types dominant at KPFA, KMUD and KZYX that he was a fascist-oriented charlatan whose explanations of the first war on Iraq were wrong every which way.

THE SAME PEOPLE who were stockpiling rice and toilet paper in anticipation of January 1st, 2000, the same people who jammed a Fort Bragg hall to listen to Helen Caldicott's lunatic end-of-the-world prayer sessions, the same people who think it's entirely likely that George Bush the Second not only knew about September 11th well before it happened, but helped plan it, the same people who get all their information through a miasmatic filter of dope, music and cult-quality public radio programming, these same people got a full house to view “an astounding video by Michael Rupert” at the Boonville Fire Station in July of 2002. It was astounding, alright, astounding that anybody could be so uninformed, so naive as to buy this stuff.

DAVID CORN of The Nation did a Sara Diamond-quality deconstruction of Rupert and his wholly unfounded opinions. Of course Corn's work is print-based, informed, reasoned, and isn't set to music, but if the fuzzy-warms can sit still long enough to absorb a few thousand careful, linear words assembled by Mr. Corn on Mr. Rupert and his revelations, they're still Google-able.

NO, I DON'T HATE BIDEN. I feel sorry for the guy, although I've always thought he was contemptible, politically considered. At this point, when his senility is beyond obvious with his every public appearance, the Democrat cabal that keeps shoving him out there and pretending he's A-OK, is a perfect example of how cynical, how bankrupt the party is.

BUT BUT BUT… Aren't you a Democrat Mr. Editor? Yes, afraid so, and at this point it's more embarrassing than being a registered sex offender. Er, check that grammar. I'm only a registered Democrat although the last Democrat I voted for was McGovern in '72, and I think I voted for Hamburg for Congress, kicking myself ever since for not voting for the far more principled local lib, the late Phil Baldwin, scourge of the leaf blowers and jet skis.

A FEW MONTHS AGO, when I could still talk, and fresh off vanquishing Professor Zwerling of Name Change Fort Bragg at the Fort Bragg Library, successfully arguing that we should celebrate America's unhappy beginnings as a measure of how far we've come as a more or less successful intra-ethnic, more or less democratic nation, albeit a nation likely headed for civil war in November, I was chatting with another old radlib when I mentioned how apprehensive I was, and am, for my grandchildren, who will step into a seething mass of social decay. He replied, “They're lucky. Look at us and all the bland years we've put in. If I were young and starting out again I'd look forward to at last having a shot at a real revolution rather than all the reform stuff that occupied us. Bring the beast down!” In my present condition, I just hope I'm in good enough shape to crawl to the barricades to volunteer as a sandbag.

A READER WRITES: The weather couldn't have been better — it was calm until the wind came up in the afternoon. I drove back through the vineyards of Anderson Valley. It's the same throughout California: every time I drive from Sacramento into the Mother Lode, I see more vineyards. I’ve got to admit that vineyards are more beautiful than a clear cut forest or cattle grazing on dry grass. However, the human and environmental cost of the vineyardization of California's remaining rural areas is huge. I find it amazing that North Coast activists, for the most part, aren't protesting the environmental and labor practices of the wine lords. The wine industry's practices provide a “three-for-one special” bad guy poster child for community organizing. Number one: The massive diversions of water needed for viticulture that destroy salmon and steelhead habitat on the Navarro, Gualala, Russian, and other streams and rivers. Number two: The pesticides the wine lords put on their vines are toxic to humans, fish and wildlife. Number three: These rich corporate “farmers” exploit a poorly-paid immigrant workforce. And when the UFW tries to organize these “sweatshops in the fields,” the wine lords hire union-busting law firms to stop the workers from exercising their right to organize. Don't get me wrong. There are a few organic vineyard owners who farm sustainably and treat their workers decently. But they're still a tiny minority and are constantly under threat of being driven out of business by the rich corporate wine lords. How a “public” radio station like KZYX or any “progressive” organization could take any money from the wine lords is beyond my understanding. If you want to “fight the power” in rural California, organizing people to break the wine lords’ grip on power is a great issue to unite environmental, immigrant rights and labor groups around.


[1] On and on and on and on. The people drone. Same old same old. Shit is not gonna change. Maybe in years but the status quo is firmly entrenched. I just came back from a road trip. The trucks, campers, boats, beach houses are crazy. Money is no object. I took the catamaran to Nantucket. I did it for the cool boat ride. Wandering around I saw $12 for a double scoop cone {chocolate chip, Potatoheads favorite). 1500 sq. ft. house. One week rental $30,000 and they’re booked solid. Who is paying these prices? I can’t figure it out. Not even on the water. purchase price maybe 4-5 Million.

[2] My wife just found a hospital bill in an old book from a hospital in Pennsylvania for my grandfather in 1936. It does not mention what the surgery was but just the accounts receivable, the bill.

He was in the hospital from 11/18 to 1/11.

Ready for this?

Room $5.50 per day. $297.

Dressings. $5.00

OR. $30.00

Lab. $19.00

Drugs. $11.00

Total. $362.00

Less 5% discount. $18.10

Total $343.90. He paid $150. Down.

Those were the days.

[3] I’m a particularly well armed citizen but I don’t do it because I sit in my arm chair and worry about some thugs breaking into my home. I have lived in my home for nearly 22 years now and never had my house or cars broken into. Crime in my area is very low.

I keep my weapons for other reasons but like I have said I hold no illusions that my .22 or my .38 special is going to stop a drone or a cruise missile or a nuke. Really, keeping these weapons gives me the peace to know that if and when the time comes I can at least put up some kind of a fight and end my time on this ruined world with some dignity.

Been hearing prophetic preachings of doom from nukes all of my life. Still waiting. I hope I never live to see those preachings come true.

[4] I trust the system behind Biden way more than I do the POS Trump – the consummate grifter. Sorry for all of you who think Civil War is preferable to the current situation. You clearly haven’t thought through what that looks like, or your daily lives are so pathetic and empty that the excitement looks way better than what you have.

[5] Everyone (every “world leader” that is) is owned, and owned by the same people. That’s why there will be no nuclear war. When they have you dancing to their tune, you don’t have the time or energy to do what you need to do to live.

Quit being frightened by the big scary shadows being projected on the wall. Prepare to defend yourself, your family, your friends from the imminent collapse of this country. Focus your attention on living – like by gardening and raising chickens.

And when death finally does come knocking at your door – shoot it in the face.

[6] CHERRIES, an on-line comment:

It’s June and the cherries are ripening in the yard; it’s my favorite fruit. For a number of years now I have aspired to eat fresh cherries in every month of the year. Thanks to globalization, Chile is happy to grow cherries during our winter to supply to us. Since our November is their May, you can generally get cherries around thanksgiving and through February. Meanwhile, the first cherries of the year in the USA arrive in late April, expensive, red, and not great flavored. The last ones arrive at the market as late as September.

In order to enjoy fresh cherries every month, one saves February cherries to enjoy March 1, and September cherries for October 1. Silly, but I was able to do this every year until 2023.

That’s the year there were no cherries in late APRIL from California. My brother explained this was due to flooding, which I accepted. Ominously, there were no cherries for sale in late November, either.

This April likewise saw the absence of CA cherries. I suspect the supply lines at the bordering season will fail again in November, making it impossible to enjoy fresh cherries every month of the year. The supply lines don’t pay the cost of shipping and so they’ve been cut; we will lose weeks gradually off the Chilean cherries until perhaps only lateDecember-January sees them.

This must be happening one by one in other supply lines. Luxuries like winter cherries now, and necessities like meats, vegetables, and others soon enough. Start building local supply by buying from local vendors NOW.

[7] When I was a youngish resident in internal medicine, the most stupid, but cute, narrow thinking, childish “tattling,” ass kissing person in the program was a female resident we’ll call “Jill.” She frankly did not know what she was doing if she was unable to look the issue up in the PDR. She stayed at the same University Medical Center throughout her career. Recently, I talked with a former colleague from there, and he told me that “Jil” was now the head of the Medicine Department at that University Medical Center.

The Peter Principle in management theory says that eventually people get promoted to positions where they are not competent. That, plus woke DEI, landed “Jill” in the position of chief in a major university medical center.

Don’t get sick and go to the hospital, if at all possible.

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