Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Monday 6/24/24

Cool Coast | Tanoak | Tax Sharing | Free Meals | Ed Notes | Carnival | No Reinterpretation | Frame It | Ukiah Ballplayers | Young Fighters | Hatefest | Storytime Counterprotest | Redwood Hootenanny | Little Leaguer | Yesterday's Catch | Dear Captain | Grade Discussion | Quit Complaining | Yeah Hup | Paradise Return | Help | Willie Ride | Which Version | Fauci on Trump | Lawn Mower | Pet Psychic | Good Moment | NYT Stories | Fuse | Trump Bad | Test | Country Snatchers | Better Death | Real Owners | Ever Thus | Israel's Descent | Toy Car

INTERIOR WARM AND DRY conditions continue through Tuesday while marine stratus dampens coastal temperatures. An upper level disturbance mid-week will allow for relatively cooler temperatures through Thursday. Warming trend returns for this weekend into next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Monday morning I have 47F with clear skies. Summertime weather is our forecast with nothing of note to mention right now.

New tanoak growth (mk)


Chris Skyhawk (Coast Chatline):

I wanted to Bring this to your attention since most of you are coastal, in my entire 30-plus years on the coast I’ve frequently heard the complaint that ‘the coast sends a lot of tax dollars to Ukiah that it Never sees in services.’ It was certainly a constant issue in my 2018 run for 5th District Supervisor.

Well, a recent article in the Anderson Valley Advertiser (aka -the AVA) points out that the county just handed over $3 million yo the city of Ukiah. As you likely know the AVA is entirely online now, you can subscribe for $25 (recommended), I won’t post the entire article here for obvious reasons, but in the hope that discussion (and please keep any comments over there) may have become a place for sane people I will post it over there. But here are a few highlights, starting with my online comment:

You’ve gotta wonder about 5th District Supe Williams standing down on this one; for years coastal people complain about how much money they generate for the county vs. how little returns, and everyone, Ted included, wrings their hands and now he stands down on THIS! Maybe there’s some hidden nuggets somewhere, but according to this report, Umnn, NOT !

From the article:

“What does the County get in return? 1. Nothing tangible. 2. Nobody knows. … Of all the parties directly involved, only Supervisor John Haschak seemed to even care enough to be skeptical. … No one from the general public commented on the proposed agreement crafted in the private meetings of Mulheren’s ad hoc committee. The only County staffer to comment was Probation Chief Izen Locatelli who, after pointing out that he and his fellow senior staffers had not been consulted on the idea, added that there was no plan and no financial analysis to accompany the proposal. Locatelli suggested the board at least give the idea more thought before voting on it.”

John Redding:

County hands $3 million over two Ukiah, Supe. Williams stands down

Two months ago or thereabouts Ted Williams spoke at a Rotary meeting in Preston Hall. This was the topic of discussion. Ted asked for our help in asking for the County to even out the funding discrepancies [among supervisorial districts]. It was simply a matter of showing up at BOS meetings to express their support for changes. I spoke to several people after the meeting who all said they were going to do just that. I told everyone to include me and I would drive over with them.

Nothing happened.

It is my experience here that people will talk about taking action but will meekly accept the status quo rather than make the effort to change things.

Supervisor Williams:

The county did not vote to gift $3M to the City of Ukiah. The county has approved a tax sharing agreement to serve as a foundation for future city annexation proposals. Addressing certain needs, such as affordable housing, is more practical where infrastructure already exists, which is typically in the cities. With annexation, cities will gain additional revenue but also take on additional responsibilities. This tax sharing agreement aims to create a balanced approach. In the long term, both the cities and the county stand to benefit.

Mark Scaramella replies:

“The long term”? Please. More accurate: Never. There is zero evidence that this obvious tax giveaway to Ukiah will do the County any good. When the proposed agreement was first sprung on Williams he acknowledged th substantial loss of revenue for the County over “the long term,” aka the 5-15 year phased transfer of varioius taxes to the City of Ukiah. Williams noted that there was “no economic forecast” accompanying the proposal and that there was “not enough information” to vote on it, adding that “public safety” would have to be cut over time as County revenues declined. Williams wanted a “long-term plan,” before he would consider the tax sharing proposal and bemoaned that other County departments were not consulted during the deliberations of the Mulheren-Gjerde ad hoc secret meetings. Haschak noted, “The County will have to cut $3 million or the equivalent” while still providing the same services, adding, “I don’t see this as in the County’s interest overall. … There will be a loss of revenue,” which could not be estimated by the County’s Acting Auditor-Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector. Even Gjerde was skeptical of the deal for the County saying that “a portion” of the $3 million “could” be recouped. Haschak asked, “How can we go ahead without calculating the finances?” Williams replied, “There’s a chance that a flourishing [sic] city will flow back to the County,” before withdrawing his skepticism and voting for the tax giveaway. Now, here’s Williams mouthing vague Mulheren-style platitudes about “affordable housing” which might be somehow someday addressed even though there’s no prospect for that in the County’s future at all. Williams, who has never disputed the $3 million estimated loss — how could anyone? — now claims the County “stands to benefit,” without a shred of evidence or experience to back it up. The $3 million giveaway is the County’s own rough estimate of the loss of revenue. If, as is expected, the annexed areas include relatively large tax generators like Thurston Auto Plaza on the north end and the Airport Road big boxes on the south the estimated $3 million loss could easily be even larger because nobody knows what the impact of the agreement will be and nobody but Haschak even seems interested in knowing. The entire arrangement is pure pie in the sky and is devoid of benefits to the County, the real impact of which won’t be realized until all those flimflammed by Supervisor Mulheren’s blind optimism will be long gone.


IF YOU MISSED IT, a year-long survey conducted by LaughLab, a Brit-based, academic research outfit, discovered that the following joke made the whole world laugh:

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.

The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?”

The operator, in a calm, soothing voice, says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.”

There's a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?”

MONDAY, Oct. 6, 1952, The Redwood Journal Press-Dispatch (Ukiah): “Court approves film contract between Doss Couple and movemakers; will benefit family. — A contract between the Rev. and Mrs. Carl Doss of Boonville and the Stanley Kramer Company, Inc., of Hollywood was approved by Judge Lilburn Gibson in the Superior Court Friday. The contract gives to the Stanley Kramer Co. the right to create motion pictures based upon the family life and experience of Mr. and Mrs. Doss and the 12 minor children which they have adopted. Terms of the contract are $20,000 at the rate of $5,000 per year. The picture will be based on a book now being written by Mrs. Helen Doss entitled ‘The More The Merrier,’ which Mrs. Doss expects to have completed in the spring of 1953.”

THE GRAND JURY'S REPORT titled: “Mendocino County Family and Children Services: The Broken Process at Family and Children Services refers to "past grand juries regarding issues in Family and Children Services, (which) is of concern to our community and to the disenfranchised fostered children in Mendocino County. Social workers are required to produce reports from the time the child/children are removed from their home (and) when vulnerable families are separated, an anxiety-fueled frustration is created, and the longer the separation, the more toxic the stress.”

THE REPORT neglects one of the major salient points of why there's a crisis. (1) Prospective foster parents are discouraged from becoming foster parents by onerous, often unnecessary bureaucratic requirements designed to protect the placing agency, not the foster parent or the foster kid.

2) The County's foster home system has contracted out the placement of dependent children to private non-profits — Redwood Childrens, the biggest — who take a big whack of the state and federal reimbursements for fostering the children of the poor.

The foster kid feeds a parasitic apparatus of publicly-paid persons, meaning that there isn't anyone in the kid's life who isn't living off him or her.

If the typical foster kid were of a more privileged background, we wouldn't have a "foster home crisis" because middle-class parents know how to use the system to defend themselves. The poor don't know what hit them or their kids.

THE COUNTY'S JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMISSION and the local Superior Court are also big parts of the overall "foster home crisis." The Juvenile Justice Commission is composed almost entirely of people presently employed as "helping professionals" by the County's incestuous helping bureaucracies. These folks get to take paid time out in the middle of their leisurely work days as probation officers, social workers and public contract therapists to sit around in an airless room at Juvenile Hall pretending to oversee the system that employs them.

The Superior Court that appoints the commissioners, like the commissioners themselves, pretend that the dependent child system is the best that can be done in the circumstances , which is, lamentably, mostly true, so what we have is an evil entropy in an imploding society that destroys the children it is supposed to be saving.

REFORM of the present local Social Service dysfunction in a small county like this one could be accomplished at a stroke by installing an intelligent, compassionate person in the boss job, which is unlikely given the givens of civic Mendo. The Superior Court, however, might occasionally challenge the functioning of the system in its particulars as it appears in their courts.

Nothing will change in "progressive" Mendocino County until someone in authority at the upper levels of county government acts on the basic proposition that all children are entitled to stable, safe homes, which is tripley unlikely given the invisibility of the dependent child.


To the Editor:

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors: Supervisor Chair Mulheren, Supervisor Gjerde, Supervisor Haschak, Supervisor McGourty, Supervisor Williams, and various local news outlets:

We, Redwood Valley citizens, are alarmed and dismayed by concerns brought forward recently by members of the Willits Environmental Center regarding statements made during a recent General Government Committee meeting. It appears that the Mendocino County Cannabis Department staff may be allowing and implementing expansion of Cannabis grow areas in Mendocino County without due process, i.e., public input and ratification by you, the Board of Supervisors.

In recent months, the County CEO’s office has been reporting that one of its goals is to provide greater transparency. Yet, here we go again. A statement made at the General Government Committee meeting made by staff was that they are reinterpreting the Cannabis Ordinance. The inference made by the Willits Environmental Center is that this will lead to expansion and could have significant impacts on neighbors and neighborhoods. Why did staff feel there was a need for a reinterpretation of the Cannabis Ordinance in the first place and on who’s authority was it approved, we ask? Supervisors Haschak and McGourty, who were present at the meeting, seemed to be out of the loop regarding this issue as well.

Many of us among the public now feel we have to be constant watchdogs over County proceedings as we cannot trust that our government officials are following current laws on the books. We, Redwood Valley citizens, stand united with the Willits Environmental Center and believe this issue needs to be addressed with immediate attention. Then, followed up with transparency and proper public outreach and involvement.

Concerned Redwood Valley Citizens (CRVC),

Frances Owen, Cindi Barra Woskow, Mike Woskow, Star Gilley, Cynthia Grant, Rick Sagan and more…

'FRAME IT' ASSEMBLAGE ART SHOW at Corner Gallery - First Friday, July 5th

‘Frame It’ is a collaborative assemblage art show featuring sculptures made by artists who participated in the 2024 ‘Outta the Box’ assemblage camps. The show will run through the month of July and the opening reception is First Friday, July 5 from 5-8pm at the Corner Gallery in Ukiah, CA.

Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel of ‘Harmony Gaits’ began these camps out of a desire to share the assemblage art form with others and to create a community of like-minded artists.

Each piece that is featured in this group show is comprised of some sort of frame and uniquely designed from found/discarded objects into a personal expression of each person’s creativity. This will be a fun and engaging exhibition comprised of all the assemblage sculptures made in the camps.

Harmony Gaits is Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel's assemblage art studio in Redwood Valley. Once a month they host 'Outta the Box' assemblage Art camps to folks of all ages. This show is the second assemblage show displaying pieces from five different assemblage camps. It will be a first time for many artists to participate in an art show, so everyone is excited!

Corner Gallery

201 South State Street

Ukiah, CA 95482

‘Frame It’ is a collaborative assemblage art show featuring pieces made by the artists who participated in the ‘Outta the Box’ assemblage camps in 2024.

For more information contact Esther Siegel at 707-485-5354.


Press Democrat 1st, 2nd baseball teams

First Team

Kessler Koch, Sr., Ukiah, pitcher
7-1, 0.97 ERA, 50.1 IP, 51-21 K-BB, 0.168 OBA

Canyon Loflin, Sr., Ukiah, catcher
.286 Avg, 14 runs, 6 doubles, triple, home run, 12 RBIs, .390 OBP / .442 SLG / .833 OPS

Trevor Schlafer, Sr., 3B, Ukiah, infielder
.333 Avg, 22 runs, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 20 RBIs, .424 OBP / .458 SLG / .882 OPS

Trenton Ford, Sr., Ukiah, infielder
.357 Avg, 30 runs, 3 doubles, triple, 19 RBIs, 18 stolen bases .545 OBP / .428 SLG / .974 OPS

George Gibbs, So., Ukiah, outfielder
.295 Avg, 12 runs, 2 doubles, triple, 18 RBIs, .391 OBP / .346 SLG / .737 OPS

Second Team

Takoda Newman, Jr., Ukiah, outfielder
.333 Avg, 21 runs, 3 doubles, triple, 8 RBIs, .387 OBP / .405 SLG / .793 OPS

Honorable Mention

Keny Lopez, Sr., Ukiah


Hello Valley friends and family!

As you know, our kids have been members of the Ferreira Family Fight Academy. They have represented the academy and competed in many jiu-jitsu tournaments and super fights over the last 2 years. They have been given the opportunity to compete at the International Con Kids Tournament in Vegas in August. Over the next 2 months, keep an eye out for their Lemonade Stand. They will also be baking and selling cookies, and their paper fire bricks. If you would like to contribute, please contact myself here or our professor at the information below.

Their hard work and dedication has gotten them so far and we thank all their supporters.


Baloney. Education? Only in terms of the Moaist education camps that are a euphemism for imprisoning by a government until dissent is totally suppressed.

The latching onto the idea that a man who later became a rebel in the Civil War as the sole reason it is necessary to change the name of a town over a century and a half later is a disingenuous power ploy by a dedicated individual who has nothing better to do than keeping the hate from a centuries old war going to serve their own agenda. This is so like the the rationalization of the white supremacists who waive the Conferate flag and prattle about how their Constitutional rights were violated by the northern Unionist in the same war. They want to keep the hate alive too. A strange bedfellow with the same tactics.

Then to try to unify the cause of the local tribes as if local tribal issues are the same? And to drag children into this hatefest? Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. Do the tribes on the west coast have common cause with anti Confederate agendas? When a number of Tribes out east sided with the Confederacy and held slaves? The only commonality is that the Tribal goal of recouping land occupied by the US government incidently can focus in the same one person who just happened to be involved in both issues. The website for Change Our Name was racially charged until it was rewritten a short time ago to remove white people as the sole problem and substitute Confederate as the villain.

COMMUNITY RALLIES around Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as anti-LGBTQ+ group protests library event

by Paulina Pineda

Dozens of community members rallied outside the library in Guerneville on Saturday in support of a story time hosted by the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence amid calls from an anti-LGBTQ+ group to cancel the event.

Barbara Fitzharris from Guerneville, middle, has an animated conversation with a woman protesting against the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence story time, right, at the Sonoma County Library's Guerneville branch, surrounded by counter protesters, Saturday, June 22, 2024. The person on the left also decline to give a name. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Clad in rainbow colors and waving Pride flags, supporters attempted to block from view a small group of protesters that had lined up on the sidewalk in front of the Sonoma County Library branch on Main Street.

Dan Samson, co-chair of Russian River Pride and one of about 40 locals who showed up, said it was critical for the community to push back against hateful rhetoric surrounding the event.

The story time, a Pride Month tradition in the queer-friendly town, caught attention on a larger stage after the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property launched an online petition demanding the library system cancel it.

The Pennsylvania-based organization of Catholic lay people accused the Sisters of “targeting the innocence of our children” by “flaunting their immoral lifestyle,” according to the online petition, which had been signed by nearly 21,000 people as of Saturday.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an international street performance organization whose members use drag and religious imagery to highlight intolerance, but Christian groups have branded them as a hate group for mocking religious practices.

Officials with the library system didn’t cancel the event, which went on with little disruption despite the noisy demonstration outside.

Sister Tooty Too Too Sweet of the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence rads at story time at the Sonoma County Library’s Guerneville branch, Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Members of the Russian River order and library staff took turns reading from a selection of books that included “Twas the Night Before Pride,” a celebration of queer people who have fought for equality by Joanna McClintock.

Sister Sorenda’ da Booty read Raj Haldar’s “This Book is Banned,” to the mixed-ages crowd who excitedly followed along.

The library had extra staff on hand to ensure patrons were safe and it went smoothly. The branch is one of a few with security guards.

Just about five protesters had shown up by noon as families and other library patrons, including west county Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, settled inside for the event.

As the program continued, members of American TFP remained outside, reciting the Hail Mary and various Bible verses as one member played the bagpipe.

A volunteer with the group told The Press Democrat on Friday their intention was to alert Sonoma County residents to what was taking place and encourage people to show up in opposition.

A member who only identified himself as Joel said they were there to “pray the Rosary to reaffirm moral values.”

Library staff said the branch fielded calls all week from American TFP.

But Dara Bradds, deputy director of Sonoma County Library, said they were somewhat surprised protesters actually showed up. A similar notice was sent last year but no one showed, she said.

The protesters were overwhelmingly outnumbered by supporters, whose numbers swelled, as the event went on.

Supporters chanted “No fear, no hate,” and broke into singalongs, later bringing out a speaker and playing Sister Sledge’s “We are Family,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and other anthems to drown out the prayers.

Megan Hope, 62, said the Sisters have helped make the rural community more welcoming and have raised money for the senior center, homeless services and other local needs.

Hope came to support the Sisters and the library in response to what she described as “an attack on my community.”

Hope grew up as Catholic but said American TFP’s message is offensive.

The Sisters’ regularly host story time, and are one of several groups that participate in similar events at the library system’s 15 branches throughout the year. Their charitable work is one of the reasons the library stood by its partnership with the group, spokesperson Ray Holley told The Press Democrat.

Sister Yanita Letgo said American TFP was relying on religion to spread hate. Their message is exactly what the Sisters have been fighting against for decades, Letgo said.

Letgo, who has been around the organization for 13 years and a sister for five, said the Sisters are grateful for the community’s support.

The protesters rolled up their banner by 1 p.m. and crossed the street as community members waved them off.

Despite how progressive Guerneville is, west county remains a rural and diverse community with residents of different political and religious backgrounds, Samson said.

It’s important to show the LGBTQ community, particularly youth, that there’s a place for them and that they are welcomed.

“Everyone should be able to be their full self, every day, without fear” Samson said.



by Tommy Wayne Kramer

A 34-year old man who says he identifies as a small child has been cleared to play Ukiah Little League baseball.

Buster “Grits” Calhoun, a former linebacker at Michigan State, had requested permission to play ball with 10 and 12 year olds “because deep inside I’ve just been a big kid my whole life.” Calhoun was interviewed by a panel of three psychologists prior to being cleared to play.

According to a report filed with league headquarters, Calhoun told the experts “I’m just a li’l dude trapped in a big dude’s body.” He added “Why hell, ain’t nothin’ I like more than a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and watching Saturday morning cartoons.”

All three psychologists agreed Calhoun was immature and prone to tantrums and violent outbursts. Dr. James W. Holden, who authored the report noted Calhoun’s “…lack of self-control and inability to harness emotions is typical behavior in children between the ages of six and twelve years old.” Dr. Holden added he “reluctantly” authorized the adult to participate in youth baseball competition.

In his first dozen games the sturdy 6-3, 245 pound first baseman has hit 78 home runs and is batting .866, easily leading the league in both categories. His statistics would be even better, he said, if not for the fact he was suspended two games early in the season for tackling and pummeling an umpire following a disputed call at third base.

“That stinkin’ rat better not let me see him again,” Calhoun snarled a few days after the incident, and hinted he might seek vengeance in the near future. “I know where he lives,” he said quietly, “and that’s all I’m gonna say.”

For now, Calhoun is simply happy to play a game he’s always loved among teammates he’s able to communicate with, though one coach, speaking anonymously, said Calhoun is unwilling to share, and does not always play well with others.

“That’s a buncha crap,” Calhoun shouted. “Didn’t I let ‘em ride in the back of my pickup truck when we had to drive to Potter Valley for the doubleheader last week? If that ain’t sharin’ what is?” He said he has been generous with his chewing tobacco and cigarettes during post-game parties he hosts at his apartment on Capps Lane.

“All I want to do is have a good time and help these little fellers win some ball games, go to the playoffs, maybe get a ring,” he told a reporter following a 55-6 victory over the Talmage Little Leaguers last week.

Taking a swig of beer and inhaling on a Camel filter following that game, Calhoun said he planned to continue playing Little League ball “for as long as I’m able to contribute to the team, which I figure could give me another dozen or so years.”

He said he hopes to set “all kinds” of records as a player, having already hit far more home runs than the closest runner-up, and perhaps have the field named in his honor.

“Be pretty F-ing cool, I tell you that,” he grinned. “Maybe have me a parade down State Street, meet some of them high school cheerleaders. Yes sirree, pretty F-ing cool.”

He also said he was giving thought to whether he might be eligible to play in the local girl’s softball league “Because I always did have special feelings about chicks, and this would let me set records in two leagues. It would maybe make my wife and kids real proud too.”


The previous story is fictitious and there is no need to make hysterical calls to either the newspaper, local Little League officials or your mental health care professional. Because the story was MADE UP and NOT TRUE it should be no more upsetting than a Doonesbury cartoon or a typical CNN Headline News story.

Relax. Try upping the Xanax.

As rare as…

Kids playing a game of pickup baseball on a local diamond.

A pleasant, hummable rap song

An underpaid county employee

An aesthetically pleasing, architecturally significant building built in Mendocino County within the past 75 years.

The American flag in Berkeley, unless someone is setting fire to it.

(Tom Hine is a somewhat local writer who lives in Ukiah when he isn’t living in North Carolina, which is now; TWK explains that “now” means he isn’t in North Carolina now, but hastens to add that not being is North Carolina is not the definition of the word “now.”)

CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, June 23

Coleaza, Estes, Foley

NOE COLEAZA-BENITEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

ASHLEIGH ESTES, Garberville/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

SIDNEY FOLEY, Ukiah. Domestic violence court order violation.

Gallyot, Gilligan, Hinshaw

BRUCE GALLYOT, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. DUI.

STRAWBERRY GILLIGAN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

JENNA HINSHAW, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

Mudrich, Ousey, Parra, Porter

AARON MUDRICH, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.

KRISTO OUSEY, Ukiah. Trespassing, under influence, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

DIEGO PARRA-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment.

JAMES PORTER, Willits. Domestic battery.

Rios, Sanchez, Witter, Zepeda

DAMIAN RIOS-FABER, Hopland. Elder abuse, trepassing, resisting.


DAVID WITTER, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

JAIME ZEPEDA-DIAZ, Potter Valley. DUI, no license, child endangerment, resisting.

A READER WRITES: “This is a copy of a note actually handed to a flight attendant on a Qantas flight by an eight-year-old girl: ‘Dear Captain, My name is Nicola I’m 8 years old, this is my first flight but I’m not scared. I like to watch the clouds go by. My mum says the crew is nice. I think your plane is good. thanks for a nice flight, don’t fuck up the landing.’ — Luv, Nicola. XXXX”


Hammer wielding baristas! gotta love that!

“The reality is a $20 cup of coffee. Thirty-dollar two egg, two bacon and hash brown breakfasts.”

Before long the reality will be that you make your own coffee and breakfast. There won’t be any other options.

As a poor boy in my youth I went through a hardcore biker period that was so bad that I sold my only car so I could buy another motorcycle to add to my collection. I needed both street bikes and dirt bikes. I loved to travel on long distance tours that kept me out for days at a time. I was fortunate enough to have the option of working 12 hour days so I could get more time off to go traveling. But I was way too poor to afford motels and restaurants. I had a backpack strapped onto the sissy bar and had my restaurant and motel with me on the bike. I cooked my own food at roadside picnic areas or any off the wall spot outdoors that I could find. I camped in tents and arriving late at places like KOA campgrounds and state parks and I would leave very quietly and very early next morning without paying. With the very quiet Japanese factory exhaust it was easy to do. It was the 70’s in a time when Carter was president and it was tough with skyrocketing interest rates.

But that’s how traveling will be again for the average person during the Long Emergency. Not too many people on the roads and many on cheap motorbikes. You’ll be too poor to go to fast food places anyway. Out comes the little backpacking stove, the can of tuna, and the Tuna Helper. Or mac and cheese with a can of mixed veggies. Or if you are in a hurry, the bread and jar of peanut butter and jelly. Heat your own water and make your own coffee, you’ve even got some cream to go with it in your saddlebags. Quit complaining, it will be all you can afford. Be happy you are on the road and having fun instead of moping around at home watching tv, or otherwise sitting around on your ass.


Droves of people are moving to a Calif. town destroyed by wildfire, pricing locals out.

by Sam Mauhay-Moore

On Nov. 8, 2018, Rebecca Settergren was two weeks away from owning the house she’d rented for over 20 years. Her landlord had offered to put the property in her name without a down payment and planned to drive up to the small, forested town of Paradise later that month to sign the papers.

But when Settergren woke up that morning, the sky was red.

“I went outside to see what the hell was going on, and live embers and burning pieces of wood were pelting my house like rain,” she said. “A burning end of a two-by-four fell at my feet, and that’s when I went, ‘Oh s—t, I’m gonna get out of here.’”

Settergren only had time to load her dogs into the car before driving into gridlocked traffic, the result of tens of thousands of people attempting to evacuate the mountain all at once. Before leaving, she considered picking up her older neighbor, Bob Quinn, but saw another car in his driveway and figured someone else had come to help him.

Weeks later, she received a call from the local sheriff asking if she knew who had been with Quinn that day. Officers needed help identifying a second set of remains that were found at his house after the fire.

“If I had stopped to help him, I would be dead too,” Settergren said. “It was that close.”

Quinn was one of 85 people who died in the 2018 Camp Fire, a blaze sparked by faulty PG&E equipment that almost completely decimated the Northern California towns of Paradise, Magalia, Concow and Butte Creek Canyon. The most destructive wildfire in California’s history, the Camp Fire destroyed nearly 19,000 structures — including the home Settergren’s landlord almost signed over to her.

“The fire came before he did,” Settergren said. “It was my last chance in life to be a homeowner, I think.”

Five and a half years later, Settergren is living in a motor home parked in the backyard of a resident whose house survived the fire. The costs of owning or rebuilding permanent housing in Paradise have left her at a loss as to where to go next, and she’s not alone. Many longtime residents of the Ridge — the name given by locals to Paradise, Magalia and surrounding mountain communities — are still displaced after the fire, with few options to rebuild.

Meanwhile, droves of people have started moving to the area to escape the high costs and crowds of California’s larger cities. As newcomers move into the new homes dotting freshly repaved streets around town, some locals fear their time on the Ridge is running out.

The Ridge These Days

To local nonprofit director Stacey Wear, the biggest difference is the sunlight.

On a warm June afternoon at Paradise’s annual goat grazing festival, Wear and I sat at an information booth run by her organization, the Camp Fire Restoration Project. Halfway through our conversation, she motioned to a booth behind us where another group was giving away free tomato plants.

“Before, you wouldn’t have even bothered,” Wear said. “Nobody was going to be able to grow tomatoes in Paradise, unless you had a clearing.”

Now, the sun is hard to escape. It beats down on homes and businesses lining the Skyway, the Ridge’s main road stretching up the mountain from Chico. It bakes weeds and dirt covering hundreds of empty lots across town, the remnants of charred properties marked by driveways that lead to nothing. And lately, it also shines on newly constructed homes that are being sold to out-of-towners at a steadily increasing rate.

For three years in a row, data from California’s Department of Finance marks Paradise as the fastest-growing town in California. The town grew by 16.1% in 2023 (for reference, Lathrop, the state’s second-fastest-growing town, grew by only 5.4%). Paradise’s growth percentage marks a population change of only about 1,500, from 9,205 in 2022 to 10,691 in 2023 — less than half of the town’s pre-fire population of about 26,000, most of whom scattered themselves in every direction in the wake of the destruction.

But residents, officials and those involved in the local housing market agree that the town’s recent expansion is getting more noticeable year by year.

“Houses are generally selling fairly quickly,” said Warren Bullock, a real estate broker who has sold properties in the Paradise area for over 20 years. “And I would say up to 70% of the homes or lots we sell today are to people who have not lived here before.”

Most of the area’s new residents are coming from larger cities in the Bay Area and Southern California, Bullock said, or from the Central Valley’s population centers like Sacramento and Fresno.

“They’re primarily from California but looking to simplify their lives,” Bullock said. “A lot of people that I see moving to the area have similar goals or interests to people that were here before the fire: bigger yards, less neighbors right on top of you.”

Ron Lassonde, Paradise’s mayor, said that the area’s home prices are another factor drawing in new residents from more expensive parts of the state.

“About half the people that we’re seeing now are young families who like the fact that they can get a whole lot more house and a little bit of property around them. And it’s a quieter pace of life up here,” Lassonde said.

Bullock puts the median price of a home in Paradise at about $450,000, a stark difference from the state’s median home price of over $900,000. But those prices are still too high for many pre-fire residents to afford, and the cost of rebuilding what they lost is also often out of reach.

The Cost Of Rebuilding

Despite having to relocate 29 times since the fire destroyed both her house and her business, Danna Mack is still committed to rebuilding her home in Paradise. But the process of trying to scrape up enough funds to do so has her nearly ready to give up.

“I always hoped to rebuild on my property,” Mack said. “We always referred to that land as our own ‘little piece of Paradise.’”

Even though she had insurance, Mack said she didn’t receive enough money after the fire to rebuild on her lot. In 2020, she applied for a ReCoverCA grant, which is designed to assist homeowners in federally declared disaster areas. She’s still waiting to hear back about her application.

“I’m so highly frustrated with the time frame on this grant process, I want to give up,” Mack said. “I honestly feel the program is designed to wear applicants down.”

For those who rented or otherwise didn’t own property, the process of finding stable housing again is even more daunting.

After the fire, Settergren said she was offered a piece of land where a friend’s home once stood. But once she received her chunk of the Fire Victim Trust, a fund put aside after PG&E’s 2019 bankruptcy to aid victims of fires sparked by the utility company’s equipment, there still wasn’t nearly enough to cover the costs of building a new house on the property.

“My friend would let me have it for a song, just because we’re close friends,” Settergren said. “But I couldn’t get the lot and afford to build a house all at the same time. I just couldn’t do it.”

All other reasonably priced alternatives, like parking her motor home on the lot or building a tiny house to stay in, are prohibited by the town through ordinances that forbid anyone from living in motor homes or building new houses under 750 square feet. Those ordinances recently led the man whose property Settergren is staying on to serve her an eviction notice, she said.

“It’s an ongoing nightmare, because trying to find a place to live in Paradise is just impossible,” Settergren said.

Steve Crowder, who was elected to Paradise’s town council two days before the fire and watched the town burn as he helped direct traffic off the mountain that day, said that residents were allowed to live in motor homes following the fire only as a temporary measure. Roughly 150 people are living in motor homes parked around Paradise, Crowder said, down from about 600.

“We have people that rebuilt that said, ‘I don’t want to live in a trailer park,’” Crowder said. “So we’ve got to make progress and move forward. The trailers were a temporary solution, not a permanent solution.”

Crowder added that the 750-square-foot minimum was another ordinance introduced after the fire, in an attempt to avoid the lax building regulations present before Paradise became an incorporated town in 1979.

“I don’t think it’s a horrendously hard place to meet the 750-square-foot minimum,” Crowder said. “A lot of people would just like to live in the woods in a shed with no permit, and that just can’t happen nowadays.”

Even those who are able to rebuild are faced with costly challenges: namely, insurance rates that have skyrocketed since the fire. Mayor Lassonde said he’s seen local home insurance rates of up to $12,000 a year, a factor contributing to his guess that the town will never again reach its former population of 26,000.

“But I could be surprised, because we’ve been surprised every year about the number of people coming to Paradise,” Lassonde said. “So who knows?”

Recovery Efforts

Even with Paradise’s challenges, Lassonde said he’s still proud of the progress the town is making. It’s close to repaving all its roads and undergrounding its utility lines, he said, including high-speed internet, which he hopes will attract more remote workers. A new emergency alarm system was installed throughout town using speakers attached to cell towers. Officials are in the process of approving the construction of a large pipeline designed to carry sewage down the Skyway to a waste treatment plant in Chico, ending the days of Paradise’s residents and businesses all needing separate septic systems.

Once Paradise’s infrastructure has improved, the town will be ready for what Lassonde says will be the beating heart of its recovery: a vibrant, walkable downtown area.

“People want to see a town that’s flourishing, and one of the signs of that is a robust downtown,” Lassonde said. “So we’re working towards that now.”

As executive director of the Camp Fire Restoration Project, Wear is all too familiar with exactly what goes into rebuilding a place like Paradise. Her organization aims to help with the effort by restoring the land using the principles of permaculture — an agriculture and land management practice that centers on ecological sustainability — though she said she’s been met with some resistance.

“Everybody that works here, we’re all working together. And the town is working so, so very hard. But it’s a fine line to walk,” Wear said. “We’re dealing with a traumatized population of people. So they want things that are certain, that you can count on. Any time you want to introduce something that feels kind of new, and maybe a little bit radical, there’s a general resistance to that.”

Still, the restoration project plays a part in the area’s recovery through tree giveaways, composting workshops, soil health projects and other community-focused efforts. The organization is one of several working toward mending life on the Ridge.

On the day I attended the town’s goat grazing festival, hundreds of people gathered outside a recreation center to enjoy food trucks, live music and several goat-related family activities. Children sat around a pen under once-scarce sunlight, waiting in line to hold baby goats while their parents laughed and took pictures beside them. A group of locals cheered me on later that night as I sang country karaoke at Jen’s Place, the town’s watering hole. Drinking a local lager, I could see why residents of the Ridge are so proud to call it home.

But Wear was right: Beneath every sunny interaction in Paradise are the unspoken realities of a traumatized population.

“It seems like my whole focus in life is to try to go 24 hours without thinking of that fire,” Settergren said. “It’s been over five years, and it’s still the first thing that crosses my mind every day.”

No matter how the town rebuilds itself, she added, nothing will compare to the days when she worked as a dog trainer at the local rec center and wrote a column about dogs for the Paradise Post. Deer would visit her property with their babies, she said, and she’d sometimes have to shoo them away from the cherry tree that grew in her backyard.

She doesn’t dream about the fire anymore, except for an occasional nightmare about being stuck in traffic.

“I dream about taking care of dogs and working in the yard, and the good side of stuff,” she said. “I dream about my house the way it was.”



by Thomas O’Toole

After a game in 1959, two seventh graders waited for Willie Mays in the Seals Stadium parking lot. “Mr. Mays, we live out by you! May we have a ride home?”

My mom dropped us off at the main entrance to Seals Stadium. “Remember to save some of that money (15 cents) for the bus and streetcar home!”

There we were, best friend Kent Eagleson and me, at a Giants-Dodgers game in 1959.

During the game, Eagleson casually said, “After the game, let’s ask Willie for a ride home!”

“What? Willie? Willie Mays? We can’t ask Mays for a ride home! We’re just a couple of kids! Where do we find him? What if he says no?”

Game ends, Eagleson says, “Come on!”

Minutes later, Eagleson and I are outside the Giants clubhouse waiting along with reporters for the players to exit. We saw Daryl Spencer, Felipe Alou, Leon Wagner, Jimmy Davenport, “Sad” Sam Jones, Jose Pagan, Willie Kirkland and others answering reporters’ questions. Where in the heck is Mays?

Finally, someone shouts, “Over here, Willie!”

My heart is pounding, eyes wide open, searching for Mays. Darn! It’s not Willie! Well, yes it is Willie but the wrong Willie! It’s McCovey. Darn! A minute ago we saw Willie Kirkland, now Willie McCovey. We’re running out of Willies!

Mays, all of a sudden, appears out of nowhere and is immediately surrounded by reporters. Finally, he strolls away from them. We approach and Eagleson makes his move.

“Mr. Mays, we live out by you! May we have a ride home?” Eagleson is confident and cool. I’m a mess.

“Sure. What’s your name?”

“I’m Kent Eagleson and this is Tommy O’Toole.”

We shook hands. I know I can talk. Heck, I’ve been talking Eagleson’s ear off the entire game. But now, nothing. If I can say anything, it’s going to come out sounding like a chipmunk. Best to say nothing. Let Eagleson handle things.

As the three of us walk to Willie’s car, fans either stare at Mays or say things like, “Great game, Willie!”

Mays acknowledges everyone with a nod, a smile, sometimes both. No one approaches for an autograph. No one is bothering him except maybe the two seventh-graders climbing into his pink 1958 four-seat Thunderbird. Eagleson is riding shotgun. I’m in the back. Willie Mays and his two new best friends pull out onto Potrero. I keep glancing out the window, hoping a classmate, anyone, recognizes us. I also keep glancing at Mays. Yep! That’s still him.

We take a right at 16th Street and head west. Just before Bryant — at the same place my mother dropped us off hours ago — Mays honks and pulls over to the right, surprising not only us but four Dodgers walking down 16th Street. Willie shouts, “Good game!” Maury Wills and Jim Gilliam bend down and peer into the car. Wills smiles and says, “Hey, you, too, Willie! Come on have a beer with us,” pointing to the bar across from the Double Play.

“No, man, I gotta get these kids to their home!”

One of the other players offers, “We’re stayin’ at the Pickwick — you can always come by and play cards.”

Mays says, “No, not tonight. See you guys later.”

As we speed away, Eagleson asks, “Hey Willie,” no more Mr. Mays? “that player with the gold tooth, is that?”

“That’s Charlie Neal!”

“Wow, Charlie Neal.”

Suddenly, another thought runs through my mind: Our parents are going to kill us. We must have died and somehow made it to heaven, and now we can’t make it home for dinner!

I wish I could say there was a lot of talking. But Eagleson and I were absorbing each second of being with Willie Mays. Mays seemed intent on getting these two kids home. On Upper Market Street, Mays is flying! I’m thinking, “This is too cool!” Looking at Eagleson, he must have been thinking the exact same thing. We both lose it and start laughing. Willie Mays is smiling.

I’m hoping we get pulled over by a cop who may know my Dad. (“Yep! I pulled over Willie Mays doing at least 50 on Upper Market yesterday. I cut him loose. He said he didn’t want your son and his pal to be late for dinner.”) No such luck. Ironic, since this is the luckiest day of my life so far.

We sail pass juvie, down Portola to Miraloma. Left at Miraloma and Yerba Buena. Please, God, don’t let this end! Finally, left onto his driveway.

Willie stops at the top of his driveway. We exit. Kent and I go over to Willie’s side of the car and shake his hand.

“Gee! We really appreciate the ride! Thanks, Mr. Mays!”

“Now you go ahead,” Willie says, “and tell your parents you’re gentlemen.”

I’m thinking, but still can’t speak.

I’d like to say, “Mr. Mays, here’s my home phone number. Would you mind telling them? They’re sure as hell not going to believe me!”

(Thomas O’Toole owns Pacific Bancnote Co. and lives in Grass Valley (Nevada County). Kent Eagleson is retired and lives in Novato.)


Hafiz Rashid in The New Republic:

As a leading infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci was thrust into a leadership role during the Covid-19 pandemic and experienced volatile treatment from Donald Trump during his presidency, Fauci wrote in his new memoir.

Trump would “announce that he loved me and then scream at me on the phone,” Fauci wrote of the abusive behavior in On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service, due to be published next week.

“Let’s just say, I found this to be out of the ordinary,” Fauci wrote. According to the immunologist, Trump would drop f-bombs often in conversations, including one where the then-president claimed Fauci cost the U.S. economy “one trillion fucking dollars.”

In his new book, Fauci talks about how badly Trump wanted to reopen the country and his embrace of poorly qualified advisers pushing unproven treatments, according to The Daily Beast.

Fauci also discussed Trump’s hospitalization with Covid and his outrageous claim that bleach could kill the virus.

In the early days of the pandemic, Trump was not in a good mood. Fauci wrote about his “first experience [of] the brunt of the president’s rage,” just a few months into the outbreak.

“On the evening of June 3 [2020], my cell phone rang,” Fauci writes, “and the caller—the president—started screaming at me,” angry that Fauci told a journalist that immunity to coronaviruses was “usually six months to a year.” This meant that when a vaccine for Covid was developed, it would probably need booster shots.

While Fauci said this was common for illnesses like the flu, his remark was “wrongly reported on Twitter and in some media outlets as the Covid vaccine protecting people only for a very short time,” and this drew Trump’s fury.

“It was quite a phone call,” Fauci writes. “The president was irate, saying that I could not keep doing this to him. He said he loved me, but the country was in trouble, and I was making it worse.”

“I have a pretty thick skin,” Fauci added, “but getting yelled at by the president of the United States, no matter how much he tells you that he loves you, is not fun.”

Fauci’s time as the public face of the government’s efforts during the pandemic, as well as Trump’s treatment of him, led to right-wing figures spouting conspiracy theories about him and attacking efforts such as lockdowns and masks.

Conservatives still hate the immunologist, and Republican lawmakers attempted to wildly smear him on a recent visit to Capitol Hill and proposed getting hold of his personal emails.

If he makes public appearances to promote his book, as authors usually do, he’s likely to get more vitriol and attacks, despite his career in public service.

I THINK the new employee is gonna work out! She’s only mowed one yard and I already have five new customers.


by Paula Mejia

Seeking out animal communicators is part of a rise in holistic care and wellness for pets.

Last fall, Los Angeles resident Jordin Silver’s beloved tuxedo cat, Vinyl Richie, quickly and suddenly fell ill. Silver and her girlfriend were at a loss as to what could have caused it. “We were very careful with the food that he had and everything,” Silver says. “And he just got really sick, and we didn’t know what was going on.” The couple ended up deciding to put Vinyl down — a wrenching decision that left them wracked with guilt-ridden grief. “Did we do something? Was there something that he was exposed to?” Silver recalls. “It was so overwhelming.”

Silver had seen a psychic a few years back in her previous home of Kansas City who she says “healed some stuff in me.” After considering that experience, Silver decided to look for a local pet psychic, or an animal communicator, in pursuit of “permission not to hurt so much,” as she puts it. “Just validation that we had made the right decision.”

While it might seem like a niche pursuit, animal communicators — many of whom specialize in helping pet parents grieve their departed companions, in addition to dealing with behavioral issues and other concerns — are rife across the U.S., not just in Los Angeles. Whether you’re of the mind that this is baloney or someone who thinks there may be some truth to it, the practice is no doubt becoming more popular: As the Wall Street Journal put it several months ago, there’s been a notable shift in animal communication going from “fringe to socially acceptable.” (It’s also important to note here that some Indigenous communities have long regarded animals as being at once capable of communicating with humans and part of healing processes.)

The thought of an animal communicator (not “pet psychics,” as animal communicator and master Reiki teacher Jen Ortman, of Ohio, gently corrected me) might conjure images of a crystal ball for some. But Ellen Lance, an animal communicator based in LA, insists that they are “not fortune tellers.” “I’m not going to be able to tell you what your dog is going to be doing next Tuesday,” Lance says. “I don’t necessarily know how much longer your dog is gonna live.”

Instead, animal communicators say they provide a way for people to commune with the animals in their lives. “With animals living longer and longer with excellent care, people are really looking to improve the human-animal bond,” Ortman tells SFGATE.

It makes for good business, too, as a cadre of holistic care and wellness initiatives focused on animals has seen a steady rise over the past few years. Beyond hiring animal communicators, people can book Reiki sessions for animals, “hydromassage” in ozone water, acupuncture specifically for dogs, animal sound baths, pet massage therapy, and more. “Just as it contributes to our wellness, it contributes to a pet’s wellness,” says Kirsten Korot, an Angeleno and sound healing practitioner who offers sound baths for animals and humans simultaneously. “But beyond that, it also is a great way to bond with our animals, because we forget as humans sometimes that our animals take on all of the emotions, all of the energy that we bring into the space. So when we’re stressed out, that can cause stress to our animals, right?”

Korot, who once did a sound bath for wolves, says that every event she’s done with animals in the LA area (such as a recent offering involving baby goats) has sold out. According to Ortman, the current demand for animal communicators “far exceeds supply.” She says that many “holistic vets in central Ohio, for example, have stopped taking a wait list, because … it’s infinite. There’s just such an incredible demand for holistic veterinary care. And that encompasses Chinese medicine, and encompasses food therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.”

“These modalities really help in a bigger picture, in terms of aligning with Western medicine, for an animal’s highest and greatest good,” Ortman adds. “So I see nothing but growth there.”

This coincides with Americans increasingly spending more and more on their pet friends’ happiness and well-being, investing in toys and premium food alike. MarketWatch reports that in 2021, Americans spent roughly $124 billion on their pets. A year later, that jumped to nearly $137 billion. As the market data outlet also notes, part of this uptick has to do with people involving animals more in rituals, such as gift-giving around the holidays.

It's also part of a cultural shift: According to a study by Pew Research Center, over 50% of Americans see their pets not so much as domesticated dogs, cats, gerbils and the like but rather “as much a part of their family as a human member.”

This is especially pronounced in Los Angeles, a city long attuned to proclivities ranging from alternative medicine to left-of-center wellness pursuits. By way of example: LA-based animal communicator and former dance movement therapist Jennifer Moore says she was once mentioned on a radio program by a DJ in Indiana, who had met with her for a session. The spotlight was helpful but resulted only in two new bookings over a two-week period. But when someone in Los Angeles featured their experience with Moore on Instagram, “I had probably 10 people sign up within a 24-hour period,” she says.

Animal communicators often used to be a last resort when vets scratched their heads and put up their hands, Moore adds. That’s changed. Another animal communicator in Los Angeles, Martha Malone, says that she knows of veterinarians in the city who work in tandem with animal communicators.

Animal communication sessions can also be as meaningful for the pet owners as it is for the animals. During dark times, people tend to turn to their animals for support; consider how many pets were adopted during the early days of the pandemic. “The more toxic the world has become,” the more people seem to be moving in this direction, Silver adds. “It’s starting to feel like those tend to be the most genuine routes. I wasn’t always looking for something holistic or anything, but I could see how that would be more of a soul-healing thing rather than just putting a Band-Aid on the problem.”

‘Animals Will Talk All Day’

Although the field of animal communication seems like something that may have emerged during a contemporary wellness boom, it began going mainstream at least two decades ago — around then, Animal Planet green-lit “The Pet Psychic,” a show that followed British animal communicator Sonya Fitzpatrick as she sussed out what bothered the likes of monkeys and roosters. (She’s still around and charges $300 for a 30-minute reading; animal communicators’ rates vary, but LA practitioners tend to charge roughly between $150 to $335 an hour.) Since then, hiring a pet psychic has become a bit for talk-show hosts and YouTubers.

But animal communicators have long worked with show dogs and ponies; a 2004 Los Angeles Times story noted that pet psychics working with racehorses often “counsel them through performance anxiety.” Ortman — a licensed rabbit judge — says that she primarily works with equine animals and dogs with a focus on performance, including members of the World Agility Team.

It’s not just domesticated creatures who make the cut. Lance has seen Komodo dragons and, once, a bobcat in Texas. “There’s nothing that I won’t see,” Ortman says. “Some of the most fascinating animals that I’ve worked with would have to be the camel, for example. I have also worked with quite a few aquatic species. I work with a tortoise rescue in Florida, and I love the energy of a tortoise.”

The camel, named Moses, was “very, very vocal,” Ortman says. “And he was kind of at odds with his human at the time. Unhappy. His simple request was that he wanted a female. He wanted partnership, companionship. And he didn’t have that at the time.”

Animal communicators see what they do as a form of interpretation, or translation. “Animals will talk all day,” Ortman adds. “Once they realize they’re being heard, they will share all of the things that they find important.”

Lance understands the skepticism. She was the same way, she tells me. “I did not believe that [talking with animals] was possible until I had the experience of an animal communicating with me,” she says. “I had actually assumed that it was like a charlatan thing.”

A former part-time law professor, Lance says that around 15 years ago a cat began speaking with her repeatedly. “Right now, you and I are talking by phone, right? And I’m hearing you in my ear,” she says. “That’s what it sounded like. When it occurred, it was an undeniable experience. So undeniable that I couldn’t pretend that it was impossible.”

Others have had similar experiences, though some, like Ortman, claim they’ve been able to communicate with animals since childhood. “There are two typical paths,” Ortman says. “Either you are basically born with this skill — and some people don’t embrace it; they turn it off. Some cultivate it. And then there are those who very commonly work in the corporate field, and they learn the skill through training or apprenticeship with someone else.” Many of the communicators I spoke with believe that everyone possesses a similar intuition. “It happens all the time to people who don’t think that they’re psychic,” says Lance. “They think about somebody, and then three days later, that person calls, and it’s been forever … or a mother instinctively knows what a child needs or when a child is in distress.”

Anxiety might spur people to seek out animal communicators when pets are acting out, for instance, or nearing the end of their lives. “When I say behavioral [issues], it could be something like an animal is itching, and they can’t figure out why, and they’ve gone to the vet already,” Lance says. “And any of the vet suggestions have not helped.”

Tuning In

“Let me tune in,” Malone says. We’re chatting over Zoom on a balmy Wednesday, and she closes her eyes briefly after taking a glance at my dog, a toy poodle named Lucy. Malone pauses for a long moment. “She’s saying this is one of my favorite spots, being right there by your chest,” Malone says. Another pause. “I’m sensing that sometimes she gets a little overstimulated.”

This wasn't news to me, exactly. My dog is indeed a snuggly angel who lives to sit on a lap and occasionally gets the zoomies, like many other animals. But for the purposes of this story, I had Lucy with me during Zoom sessions and interviews with several animal communicators. I told them as little as possible ahead of time about Lucy, and wanted to observe how they went about connecting with my dog.

Everyone I spoke with says they approach this slightly differently, but many animal communicators often either Zoom with clients or request a photo of the animal looking straight ahead at the camera. “I use that method to access their consciousness,” Lance says. They then often encourage people to make specific asks regarding their animals. “If people can be concise, in terms of what they hope to accomplish, it helps me to use their time more efficiently,” Ortman says.

I don’t really have an answer to this prompt, so I send Ortman a photo of Lucy and tell her to let it rip.

Ortman goes silent for a moment. “Has she had an issue with grooming?”

“Not really. But like all dogs, she’s not exactly psyched to be there,” I say.

“It would be really beneficial if one of you or both could just remind her that you will always come back for her,” Ortman says. “The thing that’s in her energy, which I find so fascinating, is she says her people went away. Do you know anything about how she ended up in rescue?”

OK, that’s a little strange. Lucy’s back story is sad: My fiancé adopted her from a rescue several years back, and the shelter told him that her original family had been deported. I tell Ortman this, and I can practically hear her nodding through the phone. “That is, I think, tying into why she doesn’t like to be left for grooming,” she adds.

That could be. It’s not uncommon for rescue dogs, even cuddly and well-adjusted pups, to be working through things in their past. “[Lucy] says she’s done a lot of energetic spiritual healing with you,” Malone says independently of Ortman. “She said she came into your life sort of when things were a little challenging, little topsy-turvy.” Again, I could see that being true: When I met my fiancé and, by association, Lucy, I was in the midst of potentially taking on a new job and moving across the United States.

Everyone said things that felt fairly general to me. Malone said at one point in our conversation that Lucy was still getting over something that happened recently and asked if that resonated with me at all. It reminded me of astrology, in that you can interpret a horoscope any which way that applies to your individual experience at that very moment. Was it that I had to put Lucy in a crate when I went to run errands? Or that I failed to give her one of her favorite treats yesterday? Could it be when I was hiking a few weeks back with Lucy, and a massive dog swiftly ran up and tried to take a chomp out of her while the owners nonchalantly looked on?

I relay the hiking incident to Malone. She nods back at me. “That actually is what [Lucy is] talking about,” she says. “And she’s saying she couldn’t believe how the humans of the other dog were just so uncaring.”

Much like astrology, and arguably organized religion, animal communication simultaneously requires a suspension of disbelief and faith in the concept as well as the process. While pursuing animal communication is not the way I would necessarily try to make sense of things, perhaps it offers comfort to others.

Jordin Silver says that while she didn’t end up hiring an animal communicator to help her and her girlfriend through the death of their cat Vinyl Richie at that moment, she “absolutely” would pick it up again in the future if it felt right. “Loss, it never goes away,” Silver says. “It just hides in a different spot.”

Over the next few days, though, I found my thoughts drifting to the sweet, floppy boxer dogs I grew up with, both of whom died when I was a teenager, for the first time in a while. That sense of connectedness is partially what drove Lance to pursue this full time, she tells me. “When I was an attorney, none of my clients were happy, even if the outcome was a good outcome,” Lance says. “People are really grateful and relieved that they can understand their pets better and that there’s somebody who can help with some of the problems that they’ve been having with their pets.”

None of the animal communicators told me anything I didn’t already know about Lucy, but speaking with them did cause me to reflect more on the relationship I have with her. Earlier this week, I noticed that she nuzzled up on me more than usual, at one point nestling her head in the crook of my elbow. Then she rested her paw on my hand — a move that I interpreted as her demanding pats.

(SF Chronicle)

“To sit alone or with a few friends, half-drunk under a full moon, you just understand how lucky you are; it’s a story you can’t tell. It’s a story you almost by definition, can’t share. I’ve learned in real time to look at those things and realize: I just had a really good moment.”

– Anthony Bourdain



by Michael Goodwin

‘Burn our boats,” came the order from 16th-century Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

Having landed in the New World, legend has it that he wanted to drive his troops to victory by eliminating their only chance of escape.

Joe Biden is nobody’s idea of a swashbuckling adventurer or military leader, but he is adopting a political version of Cortés’ gamble.

Signs indicate the president is giving up on selling his White House term as a success and betting his re-election campaign on a single message: Donald Trump is bad for America.

Make that really, really, really bad.

He’ll kill democracy and lock up his opponents.

Remember Jan. 6 and, oh, he’s a convicted felon, too.

From here to November, that’s the sum and substance of what the president and his surrogates will say.

It will be the heart of their advertising and get-out-the-vote campaigns, with virtually every dollar going toward defining Trump as the absolute worst person in the world.

Gone from the campaign plan, or so diminished it might as well be gone, are any claims of Biden’s own accomplishments.

Remember his brief effort to sell “Bidenomics” as a raging success?

Shelved as a failure and object of ridicule.

How about the claim that Biden tamed inflation, which was 9% when he took office?

Debunked as a lie.

He inherited 1.4% inflation, which rose to 9% on his watch.

Disasters At The Border

Then there’s the southern border.

Upon taking office, Biden rolled back Trump’s successful policies, saying they had “an incredibly negative impact on the law, international law, as well as on human dignity.”

But since then, more than 11 million illegal border crossers have entered the United States, an overwhelming influx that has no precedent in American history.

So much for law and human dignity.

The result is that the incumbent is unable to make the case for his main policies, leaving him little choice except to go all negative, all the time.

Thursday’s debate will give voters a clear view of Biden’s decision and offer Trump a chance to showcase his responses.

The dynamic will add a new dimension to what is already a crucial moment in the campaign.

Biden, of course, faces the greater peril because he is trailing in national polls as well as most battleground states.

The president demanded the early debate to try to reverse the trend and give his party a shot of optimism before the August convention.

Yet a major element of the plan is getting shredded as fellow Dems warn that the campaign still lacks a winning strategy.

An example of the blowback comes in an Atlantic magazine piece, where writer John Hendrickson identifies “The Biden Campaign’s Losing Battle.”

He chronicles aides’ constant squabbling with the media, which he likens to a basketball player reflexively — and foolishly — arguing with referees after every whistle.

The problem, he writes, is not just the frequency of the criticism, but the content. He believes it’s a dead-end for Biden’s team to demand that the media stop covering Trump as if he’s a normal candidate.

Forget the horse race, the polls and even most of the issues, the White House seems to be saying. Trump must be treated as a threat to America and nothing else.

Cozy Media Backfire

Although some so-called journalists such as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos have signed on to the effort to delegitimize Trump, it’s not likely to be a steady diet for many outlets.

After all, Trump’s supposed unfitness has been a feature of media coverage for the last eight years.

Two results: He’s never been stronger politically, and many leftist outlets are sucking wind.

Besides, it’s tough to argue with a straight face that Trump is a unique threat to democracy when Biden’s party is trying to bankrupt him, imprison him and keep him off election ballots.

How is any of that protecting democracy?

More broadly, Biden’s one-note, negative approach is risky because Americans generally want an optimistic president with a Happy Warrior disposition.

Negative campaigning is an important way to draw contrasts, but is rarely offered as the whole meal.

All of which underscores Biden’s biggest problem: He doesn’t have significant accomplishments he can run on.

Most Americans believe he’s been a terrible president and is too old for a second term.

Just 40.5% of voters approve of his performance, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls taken in the last two months.

The surveys show an average disapproval of 55.6%, a gap of 15.1 points.

And some numbers are still sinking, with a Reuters/Ipsos survey showing him with a rock-bottom approval rating of just 36%.

That’s got defeat written all over it.

Worse, there’s no popular policy where Biden can plant his flag and say it’s an example of what he will do in a second term.

Consider that on questions covering eight major policies, the public gives him lopsided negative ratings on all eight, as tabulated by RealClearPolitics.

On the economy, for example, Biden’s average approval is just 40.8%, while his average disapproval is 57.8% — a negative gap of 17 points.

A separate measure of his handling of inflation has him negative 24 points.

On immigration, meaning the border, he’s negative 27 points.

The closest he comes to a positive measure is Ukraine, where he’s still negative 13 points.

On crime, he’s negative 14 points.

On the sweeping question of the direction of the country, just 25.5% approve while 64.3% disapprove, a gap of 38 points.

Deflect, Deflect, Deflect

Now you know why Biden is going to train all his energy on Trump.

He’s reduced to saying to voters, “Don’t look at me, look at him.”

Thursday will be the first big test.

Whether it works depends on Biden’s energy level and coherence, and how Trump responds.

Although the two CNN moderators are certain to help Biden, Trump can’t overreact and get into a tit-for-tat of nasty insults.

But even that won’t be sufficient because he also must make a positive case for himself, which would be an effective contrast with Biden.

Trump’s ultimate challenge is that he still needs to win over a range of Americans, from urban black voters to suburban white women.

Polls say he has made inroads in these and other demographics, but the sale is far from final.

The election is still up for grabs.

That’s why I believe Trump’s demeanor is almost as important as any zinger or policy comparison.

The Dems’ fear-mongering that he is a dictator-in-waiting remains a big obstacle in the minds of many people.

He can’t eliminate that fear in one night, but Trump can use the debate to reduce its power.

If he does that, he will win a second or even a third look from some voters and further shrink Biden’s chances of victory.

In that case, the morning-after sounds you hear will be Dems’ heads exploding.

(New York Post)


Since last October, the people of the US have been living in what should be called"The Invasion of the Country Snatchers," lacking only the wit, skills, and, perhaps, above all, political courage of a Lewis Carroll or Jonathan Swift to put the unbelievable story on paper.

Concerned that Jewish students in the US might feel insecure because US defenders of the lives of innocent Palestinians that have been destroyed by their Israeli co-religionists are pointing the finger at them for defending the killers a perfectly natural response,, or would be, if a far wealthier, more politically skilled element of those co-religionists whose primary loyalty is to Israel had not taken over our country and its Middle East policies

"Earlier this month, the website of The Columbia Law Review, one of the country’s most prestigious student-edited law journals, was taken offline by its board of directors after its editors published an article arguing that Palestinians were living under a “brutally sophisticated structure of oppression” that amounted to a crime against humanity.

"As the protests at Columbia intensified during the spring, some Jewish students were targeted with antisemitic vitriol inside and outside of campus. In early March, nine Jewish college students — including one from Columbia — testified before members of Congress about feeling unsafe on their campuses and facing antisemitism.

"Pro-Palestinian student protesters on Columbia have expressed concerns about being doxxed by pro-Israel groups who have accused them of antisemitism. Such protesters at Columbia and other campuses have faced online harassment, rescinded job offers and death threats. As a result, some have chosen not to share their full names publicly."


This poem by Mosab Abu Toha really hit us….

“BUT THERE’S A REASON. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never gonna get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table to figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later, 'cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted folks. The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people -- white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on -- good honest hard-working people continue -- these are people of modest means -- continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don't care about you at all -- at all -- at all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on; the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth: it's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

― George Carlin


by Adam Shatz

When Ariel Sharon withdrew more than 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, his principal aim was to consolidate Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, where the settler population immediately began to increase. But “disengagement” had another purpose: to enable Israel’s air force to bomb Gaza at will, something they could not do when Israeli settlers lived there. The Palestinians of the West Bank have been, it seems, gruesomely lucky. They are encircled by settlers determined to steal their lands – and not at all hesitant about inflicting violence in the process – but the Jewish presence in their territory has spared them the mass bombardment and devastation to which Israel subjects the people of Gaza every few years.

The Israeli government refers to these episodes of collective punishment as “mowing the lawn.” In the last 15 years, it has launched five offensives in the Strip. The first four were brutal and cruel, as colonial counterinsurgencies invariably are, killing thousands of civilians in retribution for Hamas rocket fire and hostage-taking.

But the latest, Operation Iron Swords, launched on October 7 in response to Hamas’s murderous raid in southern Israel, is different in kind, not merely in degree. Over the last eight months, Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians. An untold number remain under the debris and still more will die of hunger and disease. Eighty thousand Palestinians have been injured, many of them permanently maimed. Children whose parents – whose entire families – have been killed constitute a new population sub-group. Israel has destroyed Gaza’s housing infrastructure, its hospitals and all its universities. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced, some of them repeatedly; many have fled to “safe” areas only to be bombed there. No one has been spared: aid workers, journalists and medics have been killed in record numbers.

And as levels of starvation have risen, Israel has created one obstacle after another to the provision of food, all while insisting that its army is the “most moral” in the world. The images from Gaza – widely available on TikTok, which Israel’s supporters in the US have tried to ban, and on Al Jazeera, whose Jerusalem office was shut down by the Israeli government – tell a different story, one of famished Palestinians killed outside aid trucks on Al-Rashid Street in February; of tent-dwellers in Rafah burned alive in Israeli air strikes; of women and children subsisting on 245 calories a day.

This is what Benjamin Netanyahu describes as “the victory of Judaeo-Christian civilization against barbarism.”

The military operation in Gaza has altered the shape, perhaps even the meaning, of the struggle over Palestine – it seems misleading, and even offensive, to refer to a “conflict” between two peoples after one of them has slaughtered the other in such staggering numbers. The scale of the destruction is reflected in the terminology: “domicide” for the destruction of housing stock; “scholasticide” for the destruction of the education system, including its teachers (95 university professors have been killed); “ecocide” for the ruination of Gaza’s agriculture and natural landscape.

Sara Roy, a leading expert on Gaza who is herself the daughter of Holocaust survivors, describes this as a process of “econocide,” “the wholesale destruction of an economy and its constituent parts” – the “logical extension,” she writes, of Israel’s deliberate “de-development” of Gaza’s economy since 1967.

But, to borrow the language of a 1948 UN convention, there is an older term for “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” That term is genocide, and among international jurists and human rights experts there is a growing consensus that Israel has committed genocide – or at least acts of genocide – in Gaza. This is the opinion not only of international bodies, but also of experts who have a record of circumspection – indeed, of extreme caution – where Israel is involved, notably Aryeh Neier, a founder of Human Rights Watch.

(London Review of Books)

Offenbach, 1968 (Barbara Klemm)


  1. Inside Job June 24, 2024

    One thing I have learned working for the County is that the decisions made by leadership rarely make sense. Mulheren pushed for this annexation. That’s an incredibly large amount of tax revenue lost whether the County wants to admit it or not. Mulheren also just sponsored the CEO’s contract for this week’s BOS meeting. After the County just cut 140+ positions to save money. Not enough money to hire line staff, but enough to give the CEO a raise. Last I checked, IHSS providers were still waiting for their raises. Are they less important? Morale is at an all time low for everyone who isn’t at the top. Case in point is Friday’s UDJ article about the recent grand jury report on Family and Children’s Services. The severe understaffing has created a “toxic environment”. This department just received almost a third of the County’s position cuts. No Director, no Assistant Director, and no Deputy Director. But, by all means, let’s give our CEO a raise.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

      You make your point exceedingly well. I worked at FCS as a social worker and social worker supervisor, years ago, retired after 18 years. Morale was good when I began there, went down-hill over the years, much of that caused by poor management decisions, as in your assertion that “decisions made by leadership rarely make sense.” It’s hard to imagine FCS now, with no permanent leadership and really low-staffing– it must be really hard to be there and the work itself is difficult and complex. I will say that Matt Purcell, the interim deputy director now, is a good guy, came up through the ranks, knows a lot and is respected. I wish him well in a tough spot.

      But that CEO raise, not a good idea in so many ways, as you note.

      • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

        Matt is a nice guy but doesn’t have any out of county experience. He has always been a yes man so that’s how he moved up the ranks with nothing more than a high school degree and a few credits from the community college. With that said, Matt doesn’t know how to make FCS better. The county needs to bring in a director with a degree and experience from out of county. This move reminds of the Bryan Lowery days. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. Home grown is not always better. When I landed in Mendo FCS Matt was nothing more than a Aide.


        • George Hollister June 24, 2024

          James you might be right. But a college degree is not a meaningful life experience, and your education begins the day you graduate.

          • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024


            George, that agency has been a mess from as far back as when People’s Temple took it over. When I transferred down to Mendo from Del Norte they were 4 years behind the State’s Redesign put in place in 2003. I held a Master’s in Social Work and had experience dating back to over 10 years at the time. I was hired as a Social Worker V, the highest classification in the State. In Mendo I was stuck behind a computer and took my marching orders from the Aides and the so called non-profits that were involved. Everything was backwards and still is.

            I may originally have been from Ukiah/Mendo, but I was not a homegrown social worker.

            MAGA Marmon

            • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

              I was hired only because I checked the box for the State Requirements that 50% of staff must hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work. I have friend at Public Health that say’s the same thing about the Nursing situation.

              MAGA Marmon

            • George Hollister June 24, 2024

              I will defer to your experienced opinion.

          • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

            Things were different on the Coast, they did their own thing. Chuck has no idea of what it was like inland.

            MAGA Marmon

            • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

              As the Court worker I was spoon fed lies and deception from the Aides and so called non-profits. I fell out of favor with the agency when I stared questioning their shit and I refused to lie on Court reports.

              MAGA Marmon

            • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

              James, I actually had a really good sense of how it was inland. I went to too many meetings there that were instructive in dysfunction, to put it mildly–see my comment below. You are right that we the freedom to work more functionally on the coast for some years. It was a pleasure to not have to work in the inland office–you could often literally feel the toxicity of it when you visited there…

              • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

                They brought me in to write court reports, but denied me independent thinking. They just wanted me for my signature and degree.

                MAGA Marmon

              • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

                Chuck I actually applied for the coastal job, but they brought me into inland to Ukiah, my hometown, I didn’t want to work there.

                MAGA Marmon

                • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

                  We tried to hire you, James, and you would have fit in well on the coast. They made us hire a woman social worker instead, said we had too many male social workers. Strange how things go in this world. Your career would not have been derailed.

          • Harvey Reading June 24, 2024

            Maybe going to college wasn’t a meaningful experience for you, but it was for me, and it allowed me to accomplish fulfillment of the dream I had wished to fulfill since I was sixteen. Not to mention opening my eyes to the lies the ruling class foists on us throughout our lifetimes, by means of fake nooze and other, less obvious, propaganda. Education is a lifelong undertaking in my experience. College was part of the equation. Ya see, I did NOT have wealthy parents, like some…

          • Norm Thurston June 24, 2024

            “a college degree is not a meaningful life experience”. I could not disagree more.

            • Rick Swanson June 24, 2024

              Norm- I’m with you.College was the best experience of my life.

        • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

          I agree with James that in an ideal world, a new deputy director would have a degree or degrees— BA and MA or MSW— and have years of FCS experience as a social worker who knows and loves the work of helping children and families. And, yes, George is absolutely right as to the importance of real-world experience. But the most important asset for a new manager would be, as our editor notes today: “Reform of the present local Social Service dysfunction in a small county like this one could be accomplished at a stroke by installing an intelligent, compassionate person in the boss job.”

          Over the years I saw a number of FCS deputy directors try to manage this challenging position. I came to believe that few folks were equal to the challenge, many resorting to a kind of bullying bluster, not knowing enough or having the skills to gain the trust of staff and perform effectively. The worst of them often had degrees and some FCS experience. But if they lacked compassion, if they failed to listen to staff needs, if they thought they knew better and didn’t need to communicate with staff about decisions before they were made, they never gained enough trust and credibility to effectively manage and lead the department. Too many of them self-destructed over these critical issues. I fervently hope that the right person comes along this time to heal and lead the agency. FCS is an important agency, with a vital task to perform.

          • George Hollister June 24, 2024

            One of he traits of a good manager is a realistic, and guiding vision for what the goals are and how to get there.

            • Harvey Reading June 24, 2024

              One of the things I learned in life under kaputalism is that “good managers” is basically a myth, part of the propaganda we are fed from cradle to grave. Managers are what separate the real power (robber barons) from the “rabble”, and, in my opinion are akin to car sales people. I’m sure your heroes at Heritage would agree, though not publicly.

    • Me June 24, 2024

      You sum it up well. Good job. Exactly correct.

  2. George Hollister June 24, 2024

    “REFORM of the present local Social Service dysfunction in a small county like this one could be accomplished at a stroke by installing an intelligent, compassionate person in the boss job, which is unlikely given the givens of civic Mendo.”

    Unlikely anywhere, not just Mendo. The difference in Mendo is there is a distinctive newspaper that reports on the dysfunction. In other places we just read about the results of their dysfunction in the crime statistics.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

      Exactly, George.

  3. George Hollister June 24, 2024

    “for years coastal people complain about how much money they generate for the county vs. how little returns”

    The much money generated comes from property taxes on high priced homes and real estate in and around Mendocino. Why shouldn’t Mendocino reconsider incorporating?

  4. Mazie Malone June 24, 2024

    Happy Monday morning, …………………………..

    Out of concern and interest I am curious how the staffing issues and bead or no leadership at social services is also affecting Adult Protective Services? We must not forget many senior citizens are neglected and abused and often unable to report such things. I have seen a multitude of instances of abuse against elderly citizens. There are different categories of abuse, financial, medical, physical and psychological. I have myself through the years had to report abuse and neglect APS and CPS. The most recent back in 2019 a very bad case of bedbugs at a retirement home, I have no doubt those critters were never annihilated and are still biting the sweet old folks.

    mm 💕

    • Mazie Malone June 24, 2024

      That was meant to read bad or no leadership not bead.

      mm 💕

  5. Harvey Reading June 24, 2024

    The injured hunter story in ED NOTES was great. Made my day.

    “REFORM of the present local Social Service dysfunction in a small county like this one could be accomplished at a stroke by installing an intelligent, compassionate person in the boss job, which is unlikely given the givens of civic Mendo.”

    They’d have better luck with a properly programmed AI robot…

    • Harvey Reading June 24, 2024

      Also, I have no problem with a person’s particular sexual identification or preference, but I absolutely hate religion…of any damned variety. ALL of them create gods with human traits and try to impose their hokum beliefs, imaginary gods, and sense of self-righteousness on others, often with support of guvamint, at all levels. EFF OFF, bozos and the asses you rode in on!

      • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

        That’s about it, Harvey. The world, in so many ways, would be better off without the religions.

  6. Call It As I See It June 24, 2024

    Secret ad-hoc committee meeting? Is anyone alarmed by this? How does Mulheren and fellow Stupidvisors get away with this?

    Mulheren is the worst Supervisor in the history of county government. But yet, her trolls defend her. I guess it pays to fail in private business, support homelessness. I guess that makes you a political figure in local politics.

    Why would you want her making budget decisions with her history of failure. At best she’s a PR person. But this is Mendocino County. Just look at the rest of the BOS.

    Williams- if he ain’t on the spectrum, then pope is not catholic. But he is a skilled liar, which Mulheren has picked up on.

    Gjerde-Mommie issues, loves zoom meetings. Socially handicapped. Thinks he is some financial wizard but has no evidence prove it. He along with McGourty will not seek another term, Cowards!! But this good for us. Two new Supervisors, they couldn’t possibly do any worst.

    McGourty- failure as School Board member, failure as Supervisor. Pretty much failure everywhere he goes.

    Haschak- the ultimate punching bag. No backbone. WEAK!

  7. Julie Beardsley June 24, 2024

    I understand the BOS are going to vote to give Darcie Antle, and several other department heads, nice fat raises. Really?

    To my way of thinking, the highest paid employees should bite the bullet to give the lowest paid employees a raise and thereby encourage people to work for the county.
    The Grand Jury just came out with a pretty scathing report of how dysfunctional and under-staffed Family and Children’s Services is – and that this lack of staff is putting the children and families that most need help, at risk. (I suspect Adult Protective Services is in the same situation).
    You can attract the best, most experienced managers and department heads, but if they have no employees, they aren’t going to be able to improve things. I call upon the CEO’s office to not accept salary increases.

  8. Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

    I agree with this comment, Julie. But it would take some kind of a miracle for it to happen….Cutting badly needed line staff who provide direct services to the community, while giving raises to administrators–really bad in reality, really bad optics…

  9. Lazarus June 24, 2024

    At a certain point and place, leadership cares not about optics. All one needs is to look at the CEOs of every company of size and substance in America. And then there’s the leadership of this State, and what a mess the Fed has become.
    And the Military has always been led by those who consider the enlisted men and women as expendables when necessary. And then there’s the collateral damage…
    It’s a lock Ms. Antle will get her raise, along with any others who are on the list. Meanwhile, labor will be relegated to sucking the hind tit.
    Have a nice day,

    • MAGA Marmon June 24, 2024

      I can’t wait until Mr. Norvell is in place. He will probably be out voted by the rest of the Board (especially homelessness) , but that will result in some much needed changes in Mendocino policies and leadership. Mendocino County is much more intelligence than one would thing. Throw your Rainbow shirts in the trash. America has much more concerns we should be focusing on.

      MAGA Marmon

  10. Ms. Interpreted June 24, 2024

    One of the main problems in social services is the uneducated and unprofessional social workers. When Bekkie Emery was director, she applied for and received a waiver from the State allowing social services to hire untrained and uneducated social workers because there were not enough educated social workers in our community per Ms. Emery. What this has led to is current leaders who have no social work education or skills. At this point in time it has run deep into the system. Some of the managers and supervisors have no social work education at all. Another case of, you don’t know what you don’t know. The former director often stated that the county should be recruiting from retail stores because she felt that social work skills were the same as customer services skills. So far from reality. Educated social workers are marginalized and treated like “know it all’s” when they attempt to point out social work principles, practices and values while working for Mendocino County. Currently, our county’s only emergency program for adults, Adult Protective Services, is being run by leaders with no formal social work training. They have been trained by county leaders with no social work education or skills. They have no idea of how to help a person help themselves. This is a process that social workers are trained to do. Instead APS is throwing whatever money they can get, at the loudest and rudest clients because they are making the most noise. A loud and belligerent drug addict will often get funded services before an elderly woman with dementia because the drug addict is making a scene and the elderly person is not causing a public disturbance. The veteran’s situation would have been handled beautifully by a trained social worker. A social worker would have made sure everyone’s voice was heard and worked toward a solution that was agreeable to everyone involved. It’s what they are trained to do. This is sadly how our social services system is currently running. Our community deserves better.

    • Julie Beardsley June 24, 2024

      Yup. Same situation in the vanishing Public Health Dept. You have a bunch of people who don’t have a public health background, and so don’t know what they don’t know. Passing out Narcan is great, but there is a lot more to Public Health than that.
      I am going to point something out…. Since Darcie Antle became CEO things have gotten worse and worse. Maybe it’s time to send her back to where ever she came from and hire someone else.

    • Julie Beardsley June 24, 2024

      Huffman is a smart guy.

  11. O sole mio June 24, 2024

    Less qualified staff guarantees less competition for the higher ups—a winning strategy for protecting your job, and ass(ets).

  12. Jim Armstrong June 24, 2024

    Sheesh, I had to read all these comments to see if anyone caught Bruce’s claim about the Juvenile Justice Commission:
    “These folks get to take paid time out in the middle of their leisurely work days as probation officers, social workers and public contract therapists…”

    Chuck D. and I both put in a lot of time as social workers in the Child Welfare unit and I, for one, would be happy to discuss my ten years of “leisurely” days with the Editor.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 24, 2024

      Good one, Jim, I missed it. Yes, really miss those “leisurely work days.” Actually, when we went to the 4-10 hour day schedule, we all remarked that it was a better fit for our days, the 10 hour shift was about what we needed to get the work of each day done. I had to retire at 67, could not keep up with such “leisure” and that was it.

  13. Mike J June 24, 2024

    Julian Assange is now free.
    He pled guilty to espionage and sentenced to time served (five years in a British prison).

  14. Harvey Reading June 25, 2024

    Too bad western justice is so pathetic that Assange had to make a plea deal…for doing the right thing. Our (US) “justice” system needs a major overhaul, from top to bottom–starting with the conservative scum on the “highest” court in the land, a gang of incompetents who should have their law degrees voided.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *