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Mendocino County Today: Friday, June 6, 2014

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Jeremy Britten
Jeremy Britton
Sidney Britten
Sidney Britton

BIG TROUBLE IN COVELO seems to be heading in the ominous direction of a revival of the Lincoln-Britton Feud of 1995. That one resulted in three shooting deaths, one of the fatalities famously being Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy and a former Navy Seal, Bob Davis. Bear Lincoln, defended by the legendary Tony Serra, was acquitted of responsibility for the death of Davis who, ironically, was also a Native American and enjoyed a reputation in Covelo for just law enforcement.

'Belle' Rodriguez
'Belle' Rodriguez

THE YOUNG COVELO WOMAN found murdered by gunfire last month is remembered as a bright, vivacious girl with no criminal involvement. Rosalena Belle Rodriguez, only 21 years old, was a member of the Lincoln family; her killers, and there were apparently more than one, are presumed to be young members of the Britton family.

ALTHOUGH MISS RODRIGUEZ'S family still hasn't received the autopsy report, a prevalent assumption in Covelo is that in the terrible hours before she was riddled by gunfire and left dead on Hopper Lane, she had been repeatedly raped and beaten by several men.

A SECOND PREVALENT assumption in Covelo is that at least five persons were involved in this terrible event while only two of the responsibles remain in custody. A third prevalent assumption is that unless law enforcement moves quickly to make additional arrests, retaliatory violence is a real possibility.

COVELO remains plagued by methamphetamine. The murder of Miss Rodriguez bears all the signs of the meth-driven evil constant in Round Valley and throughout Mendocino County.

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The Comptche Volunteer Fire Department’s Fathers Day Chicken Dinner is Sunday, June 15th, noon to 4 pm. Take Dad out to dinner! Bring the family and your appetite! Leave the dogs at home.

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THE ODDS OF AN EL NIÑO helping shake California out of its prolonged drought got a bit bleaker this week with a new forecast from the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.


While the agency’s monthly report still projects that summer or fall will give rise to an El Niño — the warming ocean surfaces that can tip worldwide weather — federal scientists say the phenomena is most likely to be only of moderate strength.

In Northern California, El Niños that have been weak or moderate have had little correlation with winter weather conditions while strong ones have been associated with some of the region’s wettest years. The El Niño year of 1997-98, for example, pounded San Francisco with a record 47.2 inches of rain.

“We continue to be confident that an El Niño will develop,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Center. But “maybe it’s not looking like the ‘97-98 event that a few folks thought a few months ago.”

A giant underwater swell known as a Kelvin Wave has pushed cold Pacific Ocean waters closer to the sea floor this year, creating the warmer sea surfaces that can define an El Niño. Thursday’s forecast raised the chances of El Niño’s arrival in the Northern Hemisphere this summer to 70 percent — and 80 percent by fall or winter.

However, Halpert said another Kelvin Wave is probably needed for a stronger El Niño to emerge.

“There’s a slight tilt toward a moderate strength event, though we really aren’t ruling anything out at this point,” he said.

While moderate El Niños have meant little to Northern California, they have been associated with wetter winters in the southern part of the state. The strong ones have been linked to wetter weather statewide.

Federal scientists warn, though, that El Niños — weak or strong — come with a lot of variability and are by no means a surefire indicator of what the winter will bring.

Most of California has seen just half its average precipitation this rain year and that follows two drier-than-normal years.

Water deliveries from the state and federal water projects have been cut, and the governor is asking all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent. Some communities have gone as far as invoking mandatory rationing.

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THE LANDSLIDE MAJORITY IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY, as in most places, is “didn't bother to register” or “registered but didn't bother to vote.” That's something close to 80% of the eligible population. People despair of getting any sort of solution from our political system, so they don't bother to get involved. The economy is a huge factor in that, the dilapidated state of Eureka is a huge factor in that, the street people (regardless of their circumstances) are a huge factor in that.

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THIS SNOOTY REMARK from this morning's Chron: "Perhaps just think of Cloverdale as the Mid-Market of Sonoma County…From a food and drink standpoint, there is not much in Cloverdale, but Semmelhack believes it has the potential of a Yountville, Healdsburg or St. Helena."

SEMMELHACK is a Frisco-based gastro-magnate who's planning to open a fancy-schmancy operation at 102 S. Cloverdale Blvd called the Trading Post Market and Bakery.

IN FACT, there are several excellent people's places in Cloverdale, my fave being 101 Thai Way at the south end of town. The Railroad Station Bar and Grill is very good. Reliable sources tell me there's also a very good Vietnamese restaurant in Cloverdale and one friend raves about Zini's Diner. And a branch of Anderson Valley's Clow family owns and operates Pick's Diner, an old timey place near the center of town, which is perfect for hurry-up hamburgers and fries.

I KNOW food and wine writing is end-of-the-line silly, but if this guy says he thinks Cloverdale can aspire to become Healdsburg, I'm going out on a limb and say I think Ukiah can aspire to become Boonville, Philo and Navarro, all of which can boast eats as good as anything you'll find in San Francisco, and certainly as good as Healdsburg.

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Abshire, Alexander, DeWolf, Dow, Hewitt
Abshire, Alexander, DeWolf, Dow, Hewitt

TIMOTHY ABSHIRE, Redwood Valley. DUI but under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance.

CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, Santa Rosa. Drunk in public. Frequent flier in both Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Petty theft. (Frequent flier.)

LORI DOW, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

JESSICA HEWITT, Ukiah, Burglary

Pollick, Richardson, Rosetti, Vickers, Wright
Pollick, Richardson, Rosetti, Vickers, Wright

ALAN POLLICK, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

PETER RICHARDSON, Ukiah, Probation violation, evasion, wrong-way driving.

ACHILLE ROSETTI, Hopland. Drunk in public.

MICHAEL VICKERS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flier.)

EUGENE WRIGHT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

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DEATH -- The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to the 600 block of Marshall Street at 3:48 p.m. Monday for a report of an unresponsive man in the shower. A UPD officer also responded and took a report of a death.

DUI ARREST -- Caller at Safeway on South State Street reported at 6:56 p.m. Monday that a possibly drunken driver in a tan Subaru Outback had bumped another car and gone into the store. An officer responded and arrested Miskel E. Menton, 64, of Ukiah, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

PROWLER -- Caller in the 300 block of North Main Street reported at 3:52 a.m. Tuesday that there was a possible prowler in the area. An officer checked the area but did not see anyone.

SUSPICIOUS STUDENT DRAWINGS -- Caller at Pomolita Middle School reported at 7:36 a.m. Tuesday finding suspicious drawings in a student's binder and requested that an officer talk to the teen. An officer responded and took a report.

ASSAULT AT SCHOOL -- Caller at Pomolita Middle School reported at 10:07 a.m. Tuesday that a girl hit another student. An officer responded and took a report of assault. The girl was cited and released.

INJURED DEER -- Caller in the 200 block of San Jacinto Drive reported at 10:22 a.m. Tuesday that an injured deer was in a yard. An officer responded and took a report.

SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 11:32 a.m. Tuesday and arrested a 26-year-old Ukiah man for theft. He was cited and released.

VANDALISM -- Caller at Ukiah High School on Low Gap Road reported at 10:04 p.m. Tuesday that a group of about five teens was tossing garbage cans and spraying shaving cream. An officer responded and spoke with the group, who agreed to clean up before the janitor arrived.

The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.

DOG BITE -- Caller at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital reported at 7:14 a.m. Monday that a patient was there who had been bitten by her dog for the third time. An officer responded and took a report. The dog was later transported to the animal shelter in Ukiah.

DUI ARREST -- Caller at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Maple Street reported at 2:13 p.m. Monday that a hit and run had just occurred. An officer responded and arrested Horace H. Catinna, 30, of Fort Bragg, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Willits City Council and Rep Jared Huffman Support Constitutional Amendment to End Corporate Personhood

The Willits City Council passed a Move To Amend-drafted resolution on May 14th in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to clarify that corporations are not people, money is not "free speech," and campaign funding can be regulated. Willits now joins Mendocino County's other three incorporated cities-- Point Arena, Fort Bragg and Ukiah-- in passing such a resolution. The county Board of Supervisors also passed it as did, most importantly, 75% of Mendocino County voters in a 2012 county ballot measure.

On the national front, our representative in the House, Jared Huffman, has become the third cosponsor of the Move To Amend-backed We the People Amendment, "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only." You can thank Rep. Huffman by emailing him at his website:

We join several hundred other municipalities in passing Move To Amend resolutions as part of a grassroots movement to end corporate rule and create a real democracy -- rule by and for all the people, not just the richest 1%. You can show your support by signing the petition at

— Tom Wodetzki, co-chair of the Move to Amend Coalition of Mendocino County (

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Start Time: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 @ 7:19pm

Location: Red Bridge Area of Branscomb Road ~ Laytonville area

Agencies Responding: CAL FIRE ~ Laytonville Fire

Vegetation: Heavytimber

Acreage: 5

Acres ~ 100% Contained @ 11:20pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Structures Destroyed: 1 Outbuilding

Resources: Air Attack ~ 2 Tankers ~ Copter ~ 4 Engines ~ 4 Crews ~ 1 Dozer 1 Water Tender ~ Battalion Chief

Released: Air Attack ~ 2 Tankers ~ Copter~ 1 Engine ~ 1 Crew ~ 1 Dozer

Cause: Under Investigation

CAL FIRE will be doing extensive mop-up today.

— Julie Cooley, Fire Prevention Specialist II. CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit. (707) 459-7425

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MAY 1968

When the Dean said we could not cross campus

until the students gave up the buildings,

we lay down, in the street,

we said the cops will enter this gate

over us. Lying back on the cobbles,

I saw the buildings of New York City

from dirt level, they soared up

and stopped, chopped off--above them, the sky,

the night air over the island.

The mounted police moved, near us,

while we sang, and then I began to count,

12, 13, 14, 15,

I counted again, 15, 16, one

month since the day on that deserted beach,

17, 18, my mouth fell open,

my hair on the street,

if my period did not come tonight

I was pregnant. I could see the sole of a cop's

shoe, the gelding's belly, its genitals—

if they took me to Women's Detention and did

the exam on me, the speculum,

the fingers--I gazed into the horse's tail

like a comet-train. All week, I had

thought about getting arrested, half-longed

to give myself away. On the tar—

one brain in my head, another,

in the making, near the base of my tail—

I looked at the steel arc of the horse's

shoe, the curve of its belly, the cop's

nightstick, the buildings streaming up

away from the earth. I knew I should get up

and leave, but I lay there looking at the space

above us, until it turned deep blue and then

ashy, colorless, Give me this one

night, I thought, and I'll give this child

the rest of my life, the horse's heads,

this time, drooping, dipping, until

they slept in a circle around my body and my daughter

— Sharon Olds

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Benefit for 48hills

Join us for a great storytelling benefit for 48hills! A fun lineup of investigative reporters and journalists will tell “Strange but True Tales of Investigative Reporting.” You get to hear from A.C. Thompson, one of the nation’s top investigative reporters; Bruce Anderson, publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser; Laura Fraser, bestselling author; Annalee Newitz, editor of; filmmaker Jerry Lee Abram …. And yes, me, Tim Redmond.

Should be a blast. Tickets are $15 to $250, pay what you can, it’s a benefit. It’s June 16, 8-10 pm, at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa. You can buy tickets here.

Should be great fun. Starts at 8, but if you could be there by 7:30 or so that would be great. I really appreciate all of you doing this; get in touch if you have any questions.

Remember: Ten minute stories.

Let me know if you have any questions, and please pass this link around far and wide so we can sell out the house.

— Tim Redmond

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To the Editor:

I for one, sure hope that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will adopt the three new policies for the county's libraries, developed by former County Librarian Mindy Kittay, the Mendocino County Library Advisory Board and the County Counsel's Office. It's past time to do something about this issue.

The street people that frequent the library have become a real problem. I'm not talking about the residents of the Buddy Eller Center either. The folks that stay at the BEC have access to showers and generally know how to follow rules and behave. I'm talking about the filthy bums who park their stolen shopping carts and dogs out front, and store their dirty camping gear inside the library.

I used to like going to the library. Not so much anymore. While at the library in the last few months, I have been cursed at, called names and been challenged to fight by some of these drugged up wretches of society. They seem to think that the library is there for them to hang out, use the bathroom for urinating down the drain in the floor, bathe and God knows what else. I doubt the stench in the bathroom will ever go away.

I miss the days at the library when you knew someone was next to you when they whispered, not because they smell so bad.

Mike McInerney, Ukiah

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Money in politics, left politics...more in response to Harry Reid--

If you look at the major media bastion of the liberal Democratic Party-linked (Greens, etc. are mainly just stalking horses for the Dems) conclave that runs most of what passes for the 'left' in the US, the 'public' radio realm, you'll find VERY few working people.

You'll find trust fund 'activists' who like to TALK about the working class and proletarian revolution there...

But actual working people aren't welcome in 'public' radio, in practice.

In rural Mendocino County, the local muckraking newspaper there often discusses their local 'public' station. The editor there knows most of them--this is a very rural area.

He regularly points out that very few, if any, of the Board of Directors at this station, KZYX, have, or have EVER had, anything like a normal job. Many are Democratic Party officeholders locally, many are local small business owners.

I'm sure if you were to survey the Board of Directors at other 'public' radio stations, you'd find the same thing.

As to the programmers...most people don't have the leisure to get to know staton management well enough to get a program of their own. Many of the programmers are friends of station management...and few of them have ever had a normal working career, either. Again, you'll find trust fund kids, wives of corporate executives, and the like.

Martin Pereira, San Francisco

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At least six soldiers died while searching for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in hostile Taliban territory when he went missing in Afghanistan five years ago.

After speaking with Senator Feinstein's office, I can report these six soldiers were killed while searching for him: Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen; Pfc. Morris Walker; Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews; Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek; and Staff Sgt. Michael Murphey.

And now, those who served with those six say Bergdahl is at fault for their deaths because he abandoned his military post.

Last night on CNN, former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Mr. Bergdahl’s platoon, said: " “I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on."

Sgt. Vierkant continued: "Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Another member of the platoon, Pfc. Jose Baggett, said: “He [Bergdahl] just walked off."

Pfc. Baggett continued: “He [Bergdahl] left his guard post. Nobody knows if he defected or if he’s a traitor or if he was kidnapped. What I do know is he was there to protect us, and instead he decided to defect from America and go and do his own thing. I don’t know why he decided to do that, but we spent so much of our resources and some of those resources were soldiers’ lives.”

Good luck trying to back into the story by reading the Army's "contemporaneous reports" of what the circumstances surrounding Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance exactly were five years ago. The Army says Bergdahl didn't go AWOL. They said he wasn't a deserter. No, the Army says Bergdahl is a hero. Why? Because they say Bergdahl was captured.

The Army says Bergdahl was a POW.

But the military lies all the time. Ask Cpl. Pat Tillman's mom. Her son was murdered by friendly fire for being open about his disenchantment about the war in Afghanistan and his willingness to talk about it -- and then the Army lied to her for years -- years! -- saying her son had been killed by hostiles.

The Army lied all the way from the grunt at the bottom who had killed Tillman all the way to the generals at the top of the command.

I'll cite examples.

On April 28, 2004, Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal approved the Silver Star citation for Tillman, which gave a detailed account of Tillman's death including the phrase "in the line of devastating enemy fire," but the very next day he sent a P4 confidential memo warning senior government members that Tillman might actually have been killed by friendly fire.

Senior commanders within the US Central Command, including former Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) General John Abizaid, were notified by the P4 memo,which described Tillman's death by friendly fire, four days before Tillman's nationally televised memorial service during which he was lauded as a war hero for "dying while engaging the enemy."

The deception gets worse.

Members of Tillman's unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by them. Tillman's notebook, in which he had recorded some of his thoughts on the futility of the war in Afghanistan, was also burned; which was a "blatant violation of protocol", according to Department of Defense Inspector General Thomas Gimble at the time Gimble testified before Congress.

Americans should feel nothing but shame. Tillman. Now Bergdahl. And hundred lies and cover-ups in between. The military is almost pathological in their ability to lie.

Maybe worse of all is the cover-up about the six soldiers who have died in their noble attempts over the years trying to rescue Bergdahl. No doubt, they were motivated by the "band of brothers" mentality. But Bergdahl was no brother. He wasn't even a POW. Bergdahl was a deserter.

Thank God, Senator Feinstein is all over this growing scandal in her capacity as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Finally, I'll be doing a show at KZYX in the near future on how military lies and cover-ups facilitate big military budgets.

Lies and cover-ups and false flag attacks and revisionist history are all the mother's milk of big military budgets. Truth does not matter. Ideology does not matter. Nor does politics. All that matters is money. Never forget: War is a business, and business is good.

I think former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, Bob Gates, said that.

And there's never been a war like this so-called war on terror.

Ask former President George W. Bush. Who is the enemy? Everyone. Where is the enemy? Everywhere. How much of the Constitution will we have to sacrifice fighting this war? Everything. When will this war end? Never.

Following 9/11, this is how it's been.

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

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by Richard Carlson

One day I asked a class if anyone knew what the word “lexicon” meant? A girl replied, “A small Irishman.”

In a senior college prep class, I walked around the room checking on students' work, and said teasingly to one, “You cretin.” He replied, “No, I'm studyin'.”

Invariably, the same two or three people always had questions — easily answered privately — when asked for them at the end of faculty meetings, aptly described as “the usual examination of lint,” keeping the other 70 or 80 fidgety people from fleeing while he or she rambled on.

The astonishing and optimistic thing is that although many students lived a life of inter-racial hatred — Black vs. Pacific Islander; intra-ethnic hatred the Hispanic gangs; intra-ethnic prejudice — degrees of lightness among Blacks; incestuous relationships, extreme poverty, or of criminal families, with few exceptions, they came to school trying hard to live up to our standards and got along easily with the teachers they respected.

I helped coach a future Heisman trophy winner, an NBA championship guard, as well as several major-league ballplayers, in a time when their weekly academic progress determined their eligibility for the next week's games, a system now largely abandoned.

The hardest time of teaching occurs in September when unknown and unexpected faces walk into class and continue to do so, even weeks after the official opening of school: we had to backtrack daily to bring everyone up to date. Veteran teachers realized that every time their doors opened a new hour or so of extra work followed at lunch or after school. I stole a bunch of class transfer slips and during one day in the first week of class transferred an entire English class into ceramics, auto shop and drawing.

Secondary school teachers' jobs revolve around the number of class preps per day, number of room changes, and economic level of students. Typically, a veteran teacher had two preps, five sections a day, one room, and an assignment of academically motivated students, which correlated with family income. The best teachers took on any assignment as needed, while others, often recognized as the best, built nests for themselves and manipulated the parents in order to make unsettling their empires publicly difficult.

A roomful of people with master's degrees spent one afternoon debating the proper format of the heading of student compositions.

I finally grasped the fact that social studies teachers, despite their larger class loads, received the same salary as English teachers, upon whom nearly every educational woe is dumped. Hello, US history.

When I began teaching in 1963, we novices had three revolutionary axioms: that a thorough and conscious knowledge of formal English grammar had little or nothing to do with good writing; that the spelling of English was horrid and that a little tinkering would make remedial reading classes and spelling bees obsolete; and that no English teacher should have more than four classes a day or more than 100 students. None of those beliefs received popular acceptance.

Old English had the sound “th” as in “them” and rightly wrote it with one symbol, called the “thorn,” which looked like a capital I with a loop hooked onto its right topside. Casual scribes didn't make the loop complete, making the symbol look like a Y. That resulted in the modern affectation of quaint spellings like “ye olde” whatever. In fact, no one ever said “ye” for “the.”

A friend teaching world history invited some Saudi Arabian college students to her class to explain their points of view about the Mideast. She got into trouble when Jews in the community asserted that the Palestinian, pro-Arabic side of the issues should not be allowed in public school.

Canny principals encouraged social events, the effect of which made genuine professional disagreement and debate more difficult: we had “mandatory fellowship” almost weekly with perfunctory birthday celebrations for anyone on the staff, liking it or not.


  1. Harvey Reading June 6, 2014

    “People despair of getting any sort of solution from our political system, so they don’t bother to get involved.”

    The people realize that voting in this country, at all levels of government, but particularly at the state and federal levels, is simply a false choice between two or more wealthy or yuppie scumbags who have been vetted by the ruling class. Feudalism is coming back, and my guess is that most of us “exceptionals” will welcome it. Monkeys are a pretty authoritarian lot. At the moment the U.S. psyche could easily be mistaken for that of 1930s Germany …

  2. John Sakowicz June 6, 2014

    To Martin Pereira, San Francisco:

    I agree that very few people at KZYX — the nine members of the station’s Board of Directors or its 106 broadcasters — have anything like a working-class job.

    I hope I’m different. Although I worked on Wall Street for many years, since moving to Mendocino County in 2000, I’ve worked in local law enforcement. Specifically, I was a corrections deputy who was routinely assigned to work in the County Jail’s Ad-Seg Unit — the jail’s most dangerous unit.

    I loved the work. One of the bonuses of the job was that I got to work with a very talented forensic psychiatrist, the late Dr. Doug Rosoff. He is remembered for his genuine kindness, intelligence and humor, as much as his professional competence. Dr. Rosoff also believed in something called “restorative justice”. Sheriff Allman mentioned restorative justice at Dr. Rosoff’s memorial service in August, 2012.

    People often come up to me and ask why a former money manager would want to work in local law enforcement.

    Why, indeed? I don’t look or sound like a local cop. I’m from New York. I’m Ivy League-educated. I worked on the floors of the NYSE, and also the NYMEX and the COMEX.

    The answer is simple.

    I loved the job. I learned something new every day. I felt like I was serving my community, and giving instead of always taking. I felt like my life had meaning and purpose.

    Recently, I took the Civil Service exams to return to corrections. I also took the exam to be an investigator at the Alternative Public Defenders Office.

    I also hope I bring my working class ethic to my show at KZYX. I think I do. I believe in fairness, equity, truthfulness, and taking personal responsibility.

    I passed both exams. I’m 61-years old. If Mendocino County wants me back, I’m all theirs.

  3. Lazarus June 6, 2014

    One begins to understand the apathy of voters when the officer task with getting results to the public can take a freaking month to complete the count……Susan Ranochak currently has 74.6% of her vote… and supposedly still counting……?
    Linda Williams of The Willits News has the best explanation to date I’ve read about this fiasco….., it’s in todays paper; but regardless of the excuses and reasonable reasoning Ms. Williams has presented, the fact remains the system currently being used really SUCKS…!
    The Clerk has apparently been returned for another term, perhaps with her popularity she could muster up some kind of improvement which would keep the politicos off the proverbial cliff.
    Sorry Susie….you really need to get this deal fixed, totally unacceptable with technologies available, or does they mess lay or lie with the BOS?

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