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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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COURTESY of the invaluable Mendocino TV (, we watched the entire Monday night meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council. On the whole, it was quite interesting and, in a way, predictable, especially the rambling presentations from supporters of the cockamamie scheme to convert the Old Coast Hotel to a kind of halfway rehab house for the “homeless,” a blanket term the self-interested persons steering the project apply to the range of street people, mostly men, whose alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, and general incompetence to cope with life in contemporary America would allegedly be helped by a new helping project in the converted Old Coast Hotel.

SUPPORTERS of the project include the present 3-2 majority on Fort Bragg's City Council led by town mayor, Dave Turner. Several speakers lauded Turner and his like-minded colleagues, Hammerstrom and Dietz, for enduring “negativity” and even “vicious personal attack” during the controversy. The offending nuggets of negativity were not identified and no supporting recitations of “vicious personal attacks” were offered, but there is a group of people talking recall of the three councilmen.

PUBLIC discourse has radically deteriorated over the years, right along with the flight of meaning from our native vocabulary. “Negativity” seems to mean opinions this or that person doesn't like. A “vicious personal attack,” I guess, is now defined as, “These people are all idiots.” (Please, Meanie Face, please don't hit me with that one again.) I've followed the Old Coast Hotel issue pretty closely and everything I've seen, read and heard has been absolutely according to tea time at the Home For Elderly Nuns.

PEOPLE threatening recall is not a “vicious personal attack.” The childish pejorative “negativity” has no meaning beyond, I guess, a blanket condemnation of people on the other side of this or that issue. Adult give and take should be encouraged not suffocated by the pseudo-liberal prigs who always try to suppress it wherever they are at the power levers.

OF ALL THE SPEAKERS at the FB Council meeting Monday night, I thought Rex Gressett's remarks went right to the heart of the overall problem, and not only the problem with the current majority on the Fort Bragg City Council, but the problem with most public bodies in Mendocino County where we find decisions that affect all of us being made by unelected people, then rubber stamped by their elected gofers.

THE OLD COAST HOTEL conversion is a very bad idea — bad for all of Fort Bragg — but here it is going ahead against the wishes of not only its immediate neighbors, but the entire business community and, I daresay, a majority of Fort Bragg residents. If Mayor Turner put it to a vote, it would lose. The elections of Peters and Cimolino were, in good part, a vote on Turner, Deitz and Hammerstrom. They lost. They'll lose the next election, too. They should do the correct democratic thing and reconsider the Old Coast Hotel conversion, but they won't.

GRESSETT: “I want to make a quick comment on this daylighting thing. [A tentative description of a plan to restore two creeks flowing to the sea through the old mill site.] It certainly looks very beautiful. Everybody I think would love it if we could daylight that creek. It seems like a very good idea. I would just like to mention and I want to be nice that there was another project over there, Dry Shed #4. There was a similar proposal. It was a beautiful proposal. I think about $100,000 was spent on the consulting fees. It appears that we are going to spend a considerable amount of money on consulting fees here. Two consultants have spoken in favor of it. But the Dry Shed #4 just came to nothing. It wasn't pursued. We had big meetings and everything. We had pay stickers that we put on the wall and it was just forgotten. I believe that the reason for that, and I really am in favor of daylighting the creek, I am so in favor of it, but the city Council and the development director have often put before us proposals that were put before us without any result. Dry Shed #4 was one good example. I don't want to be mean here. But I think, I am from New York, we are familiar in New York with a term we call “gladhandled” which means that everything is happening and everything is good and everything is positive and we should be careful not to be antagonistic or contradictory or raise issues that are unpleasant and we will get a daylighted creek out of it. What it comes down to is that that supports incumbency. It supports incumbency. Incumbency that has sacrificed, that is no longer credible. When we get gladhandled as it were with a bunch of positive and happy and good and productive ideas I think that we should remember that as patriots, as Linda Ruffing's son reminded us, as patriots we have to be courageous enough not to be gladhandled. We need to ask the tough questions. The City Council has a record of not completing its projects. Spending many thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on projects that are used to make people feel good but they don't have any result. I think we should ask serious questions about this. I think that the Council does not have a great record of candor or forthrightness either. Once again, I'm afraid that I'm kind of on the downer side of this thing. I'm on the downer side of it hoping that that doesn't happen, that daylighting comes through. But I declined to be gladhandled. I would like to think that we have a right as citizens of Fort Bragg to have a political process.”

GRESSETT SPOKE AGAIN later in the meeting: “I'm pretty worn down. It's been a long night. I would like to say that we cannot continue use this forum anymore. We got delays, we got intermissions, we got introductions, we got happy, we got sad, we have all kinds of different things going on here but what we don't have is any kind of effect. I have no impression that you guys are going to listen to us at all. You are not going to listen to us about the television station. You're not going to listen to us about the hotel. You are not going to listen to us about the Hare Creek project. I know it. I am certain that that will be approved at the City Council although I'm sure they will be defeated at the Coastal Commission. So I don't know why you would do that, but I believe you will. What we have to do is recognize that it's tough, this is hard for us to sit here through all this manipulation, through these games. It's very difficult. Perhaps you have to defend yourself as politicians. But I don't think and I said this before and I don't want to repeat myself but I don't think that it really matters to have a loyal opposition. I think we need a loyal opposition. And I think that loyal opposition ought not come here on their hands and knees and listen to this and be the subjects of a prearranged agenda. I think you need to set the agenda. If we had a development manager and a city manager who make $100,000 a year or $150,000 a year that we can get the best people out of Berkeley, the best people out of Stanford, we can get people who really care about the community. The problem is a structural problem. I'm a little angry about what's going on but these people are not doing this. There is a professional managerial elite and they make decisions, Linda Ruffing and Marie Jones and so forth, and these guys approve or disapprove of those decisions. They don't originate any kind of passion at all. They decide what they want to do and not what we want to do. They just decide how quickly they can ruffle past Marie Jones. And the people who are making the decisions are Marie Jones and Linda Ruffing. But what we need is a political process that we can participate in. And that means opposition. It means no matter how much they don't like us or tell us we're disorganized, we need to organize a local loyal opposition and we need to say we're not going to listen and come here on hands and knees to the City Council and just be dismissed out of hand. We need to have a recall election. It would be like a vitamin pill. If I was up there like a city councilman — let me just say one thing. If I was up there and you were recalling me I would be the first to sign the petition.”

I HAD TO LAUGH at several statements during remarks about the restoration of Town Hall. Town Hall is a new building. The old one didn't simply “burn,” it was deliberately torched by two prominent Fort Bragg businessmen in an arson for hire that probably involved the subsequent murder of one of the arsonists. Criminals and criminal conduct dominated Fort Bragg's public processes throughout the 1980s. Time for the Mendo Mantra: “Mendocino County, where every day history starts all over again and you are whatever you say you are.”

PS. MUST CONFESS I found myself fighting off a silent vicious personal attack when Mayor Turner announced the next speaker as Meg Courtney. “Christ Jesus spare us all,” I whispered to myself, and by the goddess Jesus heard my prayer! Meg had left the building.

IT'S TOO BAD MICHELLE WHITE retired from Fort Bragg politics. She was, by a very long way, the smartest, most all-round capable person ever to serve on the City Council. Dan Gjerde runs a close second. The late Vince Benedetti was a good one, too. Whatever other virtues the present Council majority may have, they aren't up to the White-Gjerde-Benedetti standard. Mike Cimolino and Lindy Peters are in the ballpark, certainly, but it's always a bad idea to elect flab glab lib labs to any kind of public body. If you're going to elect liberals from around here you've got to find a principled smart one. No names come to mind.

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AERIAL PHOTOS of forest deadzones in our area:

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DUH HEADLINE over an editorial from Tuesday's Ukiah Daily Journal: “From the desk of... Why Latinos sense hostility from the GOP

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(Curry Coastal Pilot, Feb 21, 2015) — “In the Feb 14 story ‘Kitzhaber resigns’ the pilot incorrectly identified the governor as a Republican. He is a Democrat. We regret the error wich was not a result of flimflam or tomfoolery. We apologize to all the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Progressives, Pacific Green Party members, religious and secular citizens, loggers, environmentalists, the NRA and all other groups or individuals who may have been offended.”

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ON MONDAY, March 9, 2015 at about 12:00 PM the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office received a report of a found human skull on the river bar near Ferndale. A Deputy Coroner responded to the location and met with the citizen who found the remains. The Deputy Coroner confirmed that it was a human skull and searched the area for additional remains/bones. No other human remains were located during the search.

The skull appeared to have been exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. How the skull ended up where it was located and who it belongs to is unknown.

— HumCo Sheriff’s Press Release

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 10, 2015

Ceja, Custer, Henderson
Ceja, Custer, Henderson

MONICA CEJA, Ukiah. Driving on suspended license.

HEATHER CUSTER, Fort Bragg. Fugitive from justice.

DUSTIN HENDERSON, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats of death or great bodily injury, reckless driving, vandalism, pot possession for sale, transport-sell-furnish pot, receiving stolen property, driving on suspended license, possession of switchblade, forgery.

Maki, Mora, Peterson, Wright
Maki, Mora, Peterson, Wright

CHRISTOPHER MAKI, Fort Bragg. Bad check, evasion, probation revocation.

PABLO MORA, Ukiah. Resisting arrest, probatioin revocation.

JASON PETERSON, Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, probation revocation.

ERIC WRIGHT, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

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Courtesy, Mendocino Sports Plus

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by Babe in the Woods

When I arrive at Soledad State Prison the first person I meet is the mother of the groom. She comes forward in the bright sunlight beside the squat building, the Visitors Receiving Center.

“Hi, I'm Diane, Alex's mother.” She shakes hands warmly. She is a handsome woman with upswept salt-and-pepper hair. Her son is serving time without possibility of parole for kidnapping and child molestation.

Moments later we are picnicking under pine trees on the ground. I am passing paper plates of deviled eggs and sharing celery sticks with people I have only just met –– quite an assortment of people, some of whom, like the bride, were strangers to Alex Cabarga until they were moved by a newspaper story to seek him out, write to him, and one, on this day, to marry him.

A van drives up and a guard with a rifle leans out and hollers, “No picnicking on the grounds! Are you visitors?” I want to yell back: No, we're inmates with lavender roses pinned to our clothes. The picnic ends abruptly. Someone has smuggled in a bottle of Mumms and it is quickly depleted among the eighteen of us. The van returns to make another sweep; a guard jumps out, just as the Mumms is hidden. Left prominently displayed is a bottle of sparkling cider. The guard peers into the picnic basket and says to no one in particular: “No alcoholic beverages allowed on prison grounds,” and leaves.

Laura, the bride, and her soon-to-be mother-in-law seem more like mother and daughter. Laura is eyeing the lavender roses we are wearing and wondering if they will survive. The buds are tight, but in this heat, I'm doubtful.

“We shouldn't have any trouble getting processed,” Laura says. “I've registered all of us already as a group. They should speed us right through. But you never know.”

Months before, I had applied for visiting permission and received approval. My name was recorded on the guest list. Most of the wedding guests have visited many times previously. We gather outside the Visitors Receiving Center, talking softly, joking, getting to know each other.

Laura is beginning to get prenuptial jitters now. She has changed out of her white sweats and returns wearing a neck-to-ankle beaded white dress. The harsh sunlight bounces off every bead. She is, literally, dazzling. The knot of us moves inside.

The old adage that all brides are beautiful on their wedding day is certainly true. In the waiting room I see Laura has the glow all brides seem fated to have. It may be a slight film of sweat; it may be the excitement of getting married, but she is radiant.

“I'm so sorry,” she apologizes again for the bureaucracy, the delay, the stupidity of the guards. “They're really slow,” she says laughing at her double meaning.

“It's OK” we tell her.

“Something old!” she says suddenly. I need something old.

I move forward to loan her a gold ring I'm wearing.

Another guest has something similar. “It's my mother's,” the woman says, “and she'd be proud to know you're wearing it.” Laura slips on the ring. Another guest produces a linen handkerchief with hand-tatted edges. Laura shoves it into her bodice.

“Can you help me unwrap the rings?” she asks me. “I seem to be having trouble. We need to get them in.”

“Get them in?” I don't understand.

“Yeah, they might take them away.”

I wonder how a wedding can be approved to take place within prison walls and not allow for the rings.

“OK, then,” I say and slip on Alex's wedding ring. It fits easily on the digit finger of my right hand. It feels very heavy.

The visitors' regulation list I received the day before from Laura warned visitors in matters of clothing, conduct, and what may be brought into the prison. Absolutely no blue denim or chambray. A maximum of $20 is allowed to be taken inside the walls in ones and fives only; a comb and keys. Anything else can and will be confiscated.

Today is a regular visiting day and the room quickly fills with other visitors, mostly women and children. There are some old people in wheelchairs. Laura and Diane begin again to deal with the desk guards. “Shouldn't be any problem,” Laura assures us again. All I can see behind the counter is confusion. The wedding guests move forward in a clump to begin the group check-in process. I can see it's not going to be simple. The reception desk is clearly unorganized. It is ten after one.

I notice that nearly all the women carry a small, clear plastic coin purse. I wonder if this is some local fad and quickly realize that this allows keys, comb, and money to be easily viewed by the guards; it supposedly speeds the check-in process. There are no computers anywhere, not even an electric typewriter; everything is done manually.

To check each of us in, the guard searches through a stack of approved visitors sheets. They are not in any kind of order. The process begins, but others, not in our group, are called also. We remove wristwatches and belts with metal buckles. One woman goes through the metal detector three times until the guard suggests she remove her shoes. “Metal tips, you know.” The detector sounds again: it is a small child holding a Pepsi can. Everyone smiles.

A poster on the wall in Spanish warns women not to use drugs while pregnant. There is a flypaper baton suspended from the ceiling crusted with flies. One side of the waiting room is devoted to a gift shop selling items which the sign declares proudly are convict-made. There are hand-tooled leather items, jewelry, pipe-holders, clock cases. The centerpiece of the display is a leather wall hanging –– Home Sweet Home. Another sign says exact change only and another, no change given. The gift shop is manned by an inmate. Beneath the no smoking sign he lights up and flirts with two young women who lean on the counter talking with him.

The admittance procedure goes in fits and starts. Nearly an hour after the processing has begun, we are told to move to another side of the room where we will be processed as a group. There is no order and some people have given up their places in line to allow Alex's family and the bride to go ahead. Laura, Diane, and Alex's father have made it through –– they're inside.

Someone's prescription medication is confiscated and a receipt is written out. After we go through the two metal detectors, our hands are stamped with invisible ink. We surrender our driver's licenses in exchange for a yellow slip –– our ticket into and out of Soledad. Then we wait at the inner door and, after yet another clearance, we are mercifully outside. The next electronic gate is activated by a guard in the watchtower. Again, we wait, the gate slides open, and at last we are inside the prison grounds proper. As we move on, Alex's brother, Ray, nicknamed Opps, walks beside me. “Whatever you do, don't step on the lawn or they'll shoot your foot off,” he warns.

“No shit,” someone says.

“What, are they really proud of this lawn or something?” I say. “It look kinda brown in patches to me. Are you kidding?”

Opps laughs and says he is completely serious.

We arrive at the Visiting Room where we again must sign in and hand over the yellow permit slips. A pile of mimeographed sheets sits on the tables, the program for a guitar recital. An inmate and his teacher are playing a piece by Albéniz and I see by its place in the program that we have missed nearly all of the concert that Laura was so excited about –– some good stuff, Bach, Poulenc. I'm disappointed especially since the playing is excellent. What's left of the concert is concluded and Laura again apologizes to us for the hassle at the gate.

Even before she brings Alex over to me I recognize him as the groom. He is taller and lighter than I had imagined. His prison clothing is pristine –– blue jeans that have never seen a wash, and in his chambray shirt pocket, a sparkling white handkerchief. He is wearing new wallabies. I am introduced and he says, “Oh, yes, I've heard so much about you.” He turns to continue receiving embraces from his old friends. He is obviously shy around us new people. I think he is more nervous about getting married than anything.

Yet another delay –– the minister Laura and Alex had chosen to perform the ceremony has been taken ill. Someone they do not know will officiate. The ceremony time is changed to accommodate the replacement minister's schedule. This occasions yet another musical selection –– Alex is invited to playa duet with his teacher from Songs for the Guitar, Book I. Halfway through he flubs, but gamely continues. He is rewarded with rousing applause. A woman in our group asks Opps what tier Alex's cell is on. He reflects a moment and answers that prison is prison. She seems surprised that his family does not know the exact location of his cell.

“What does it matter?” he says before she speaks again, as if reading her thoughts. “This is one of the best prisons in the state.”

I look out over the expanse of lawn and the glinting barbed wire, so new it looks like it was unwrapped that morning.

“Oh, right," Opps continues, “Alex has the penthouse suite, the one that's fully carpeted, the one that's air-conditioned. Well, at least he doesn't have to get up tomorrow morning and go to work.”

More waiting, and one of the guitar-playing inmates sings a song he has composed for the occasion. The melody is sweet and his voice is surprisingly good. The reprise is “ ... someday when I'm free, I'll still be thinkin' and dreamin' of lovin' you.” Laura's eyes shine with the beginnings of tears.

Laura hurries over to me –– “I need the ring!” She is beaming now.

At last the minister arrives and begins the brief ceremony by asking her if this is indeed the man of her dreams. The exchange of vows is punctuated by the intermittent crackle of walkie-talkies. The minister concludes by inviting us to. " ... g'wan now and muss up the bride.”

Laura follows tradition and asks all unmarried women to gather for the bouquet toss. The only unmarried woman appears to be one of our group who shyly raises her hand and is delighted when Laura throws the flowers directly to her. Laura flings her garter to the row of young men and one of them catches it easily.

The wedding photographer is an inmate with a Polaroid and he is snapping shots furiously. He requests a re-enactment of the garter removal so once again, in instant replay, Alex slides the garter down the shapely leg of his new wife.

This prison allows inmates three conjugal visits a year and today is not one of those days. Visiting hours end at 8:30 P.M. It is now nearly four o'clock and most of us prepare to leave.

What now, I think. Laura plans to move closer to the prison. Diane will continue to work to get Alex's sentence reduced. His friends and supporters consider him more the victim than the perpetrator of a crime.

Some people might have considered Alex Cabaga's life over when he was kidnapped and molested, or when, in turn, he molested two other children at his abductor's bidding. Driving home, I don't think much about that. I think about the subtle ways of the guards, the plastic see-through purses, the limp lavender roses in Laura hands. And I think of Alex Cabarga, who will sleep alone on his wedding night.

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Quantitative Easing's a one way street that once you go down you dare not ever turn back. It “works” by reinflating false value that’s leaked out of the system, giving the illusion that nothing’s changed. Since it’s essentially masked bad debt and destroyed value, no immediate apparent price inflation occurs, but that’s illusory too. You still have too much money chasing too few goods, except now the money sits in some bank vault or rich investor’s bank account, or more likely, stock portfolio. Think the Dow Jones Industrial Average sits at 18K without all this funny money propping it up? Of course not. But that money’s long since exited the “real” economy. It’s pure speculative Monopoly scrip now, to be wagered in the high stakes game of international finance, the consequences of which will be the same as it always is. Sooner or later enough of those bets will go bad in such a combination to start yet another tsunami roaring through the global system, and since the US Gov has doubled down and agreed to backstop all this foolishness, a whole lot of people who earned real money from the real economy will lose everything they have. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because QE doesn’t cause immediate pain that’s it’s not wholly destructive. It’s nothing more than a classic perpetual motion machine dressed up in financial clothing trotted out for the final phases of what is the greatest worldwide financial ponzi scheme in history.

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The Native American National Council will offer amnesty to the estimated 240 million illegal white immigrants living in the United States.


At a meeting on Friday in Taos, New Mexico, Native American leaders weighed a handful of proposals about the future of the United State’s large, illegal European population. After a long debate, NANC decided to extend a road to citizenship for those without criminal records or contagious diseases.

“We will give Europeans the option to apply for Native Citizenship,” explained Chief Sauti of the Nez Perce tribe. “To obtain legal status, each applicant must write a heartfelt apology for their ancestors’ crimes, pay an application fee of $5,000, and, if currently on any ancestral Native land, they must relinquish that land to NANC or pay the market price, which we decide.

“Any illegal European who has a criminal record of any sort, minus traffic and parking tickets, will be deported back to their native land. Anybody with contagious diseases like HIV, smallpox, herpes, etc, will not qualify and will also be deported.”

European colonization of North America began in the 16th and 17th centuries, when arrivals from France, Spain and England first established settlements on land that had been occupied by native peoples. Explorers Lewis & Clark further opened up western lands to settlement, which ultimately led to the creation of the Indian reservation system.

Despite the large number of Europeans residing in the United States, historical scholars mostly agree that indigenous lands were taken illegally through war, genocide and forced displacement.

Despite the council’s decision, a native group called True Americans lambasted the move, claiming amnesty will only serve to reward lawbreakers.

“They all need to be deported back to Europe,” John Dakota from True Americans said. “They came here illegally and took a giant crap on our land. They brought disease and alcoholism, stole everything we have because they were too lazy to improve and develop their own countries.”


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Letter to the Editor

I read with interest James Kunstler’s quote about why young males, living without hope for a better future in the Jihad-prone countries are attracted to terrorism. It is certainly understandable, but still not acceptable to go around blowing up innocent people. While it is true that the selfish policies of the U.S. have been to create profits and access to oil, it does not explain the rage that underlies the terrorism.

I did a little research and these are the sex ratios for the following countries for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

A ratio above 1, e.g. 1.1, means there are 1.1 males for every 1 female (more males than females). A ratio below 1, e.g. 0.8, means there are 0.8 males for every 1 female (more females than males). A ratio of 1 means there are equal numbers of females and males.

Iraq 1.03
Iran 1.06
Saudi Arabia 1.15
Egypt 1.03
Afghanistan 1.04
United States 1.0

Rage is a fairly common human emotion, but it does not necessarily lend itself to psychosis. What rage of the terrorist young men indicates is that there is something deeper at work. It is, in my opinion, cognitive dissonance, a lack of attachment to reality.

The Islamic world was once very modern for its time, which was around the 700s CE. In art, mathematics, literature, architecture, etc. the Arab world was magnificent. So what happened?

They closed the doors to their minds. The Dark Ages in the West lasted until the Renaissance and the end was further promulgated by the 18th Century Enlightenment. But in the Arab world the doors never opened. They got themselves trapped in the idea that they were in possession of the one, the only Truth. They became ideologically inflexible.

The West, however, did not. It went through much flexing of ideas, changes in Christianity, the advent of modern science, and tolerance for ideas with which it did not agree. Not without much anguish and angst, but the West did move forward. The Arab world did not.

This has produced in the Islamic psyche a deep feeling of being left out, or being less, of being not as good as. The outgrowth of these feelings of inferiority is rage. It is, however, psychotic rage. It is focused on an abstraction, namely, the West, or America, or Christianity. To blow up innocent people simply because they live under the umbrella of the abstraction is out of touch with reality. While it is true that we are all responsible for what is done in our name, it is also true that most of us do not even know where Syria is on the map.

This is only the most recent instance of such mass psychosis. It has been standard practice for most of human history, in the West as well. When? When the masses have been illiterate; when they have been deluded by secular and/or religious tyrants. That is exactly what is happening today in radical Islam.

To believe, as Kunstler says, in "end-times visions of feasts and virgins awaiting in an after-life" is understandable. It’s no wonder that they believe those delusions. Hey, are the great majority of those of us in the West any the less deluded with our belief in a Heaven and other fantasies for which there is no evidence?

Lee Simon, Friendly Farm, Virginia

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Look out, Mama, there's a white boat comin' up the river

With a big red beacon, and a flag, and a man on the rail

I think you'd better call John,

'Cause it don't look like they're here to deliver the mail


And it’s less than a mile away

I hope they didn't come to stay

It's got numbers on the side and a gun

And it's makin' big waves


Daddy’s gone, my brother's out hunting in the mountains

Big John's been drinking since the river took Emmy Lou

So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin'


And I just turned twenty-two

I was wonderin' what to do

And the closer they got

The more those feelings grew.


Daddy's rifle in my hand felt reassurin'

He told me, “Red means run, son, numbers add up to nothin'“

But when the first shot hit the docks I saw it comin'


Raised my rifle to my eye

Never stopped to wonder why

Then I saw black

And my face splashed in the sky.


Shelter me from the powder and the finger

Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger

Just think of me as one you'd never figured


Would fade away so young

With so much left undone

Remember me to my love

I know I'll miss her

—Neil Young

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Brutish Conditions Breed Brutish Behavior

by Ralph Nader

Apart from inadvertently making the case for equal time by his Israeli pre-election opposition, the spectacle of Benjamin Netanyahu’s wild diatribe at the joint session of Congress amidst the feral cheers of his congressional yahoos will be remembered as a textbook case of propaganda unhinged from reality.

Starting from his preposterous premise that Iran, a poor country of 77 million people with an economy nearly the size of Massachusetts’, is planning a caliphate to conquer the world, Mr. Netanyahu builds his case on belligerent words by Iranian leaders, who believe they are responding to Israeli belligerence backed by its ultra-modern, U.S. equipped military machine and its repeated threats of preemptive attacks against Tehran.

Unwilling, unlike his Israeli opponents, to subject himself to questions before congressional committees, this three-time soliloquist at joint congressional sessions (1996, 2011 and 2015) was received with hoopla quite different from his reception in a much more critical Knesset. The Prime Minister’s 42 minute speech was punctuated by 23 standing ovations and sitting applauses that took up 10 minutes.

The U.S. Israeli lobby has made Congress a rubber stamp for lopsided policies in the Middle East.

Only about fifty Democrats boycotted his address.

It is as if Israel doesn’t frighten Iran with its 200 nuclear weapons and its rejection of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty whose international inspections are required for all other signatory nations on Earth, including Iran.

It is as if Israel has not threatened Iran with annihilation, sent spies to sabotage and slay Iranian scientists and worked with its Arab allies to undermine the Iranian regime;

It is as if Iranians do not remember that the United State overthrew their popularly elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953 to reinstate the Shah’s dictatorship for 26 years;

It is as if the Iranians do not mourn the loss of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians killed by Saddam Hussein’s brutal invasion of their country from 1980 to 1988 with the military, intelligence and diplomatic support of the United States;

It is as if Iranians are not frightened into thinking they’re next when George W. Bush named Iran as part of the “axis of evil” (along with Iraq and North Korea), and proceeded to destroy Iraq and surround Iran with U.S. armed forces that are still in place to this day;

It is as if the Iranian people are not suffering from economic boycotts which, by impacting disproportionately civilian health and safety there, (See Public Citizen’s Health Letter) violate international law;

It is as if Iran should accept a wide sphere of influence by the U.S. and not try to expand its sphere of influence for its own defense;

It is as if Iran had not proposed a serious plan to George W. Bush over ten years ago to settle disputes and establish a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Middle East, which Mr. Bush completely ignored;

It is as if Iran is not, in the words of former Obama adviser, Vali R. Nasr, carrying “most of the weight” in the “battles on the ground” against ISIS in Iraq, thereby saving the U.S. from committing again U.S. soldiers to avert a complete rout of those left behind after our deadly debacle in Iraq since 2003;

It is as if Iran is not claiming it is building nuclear power plants for electricity (a foolishly dangerous move for its own people) and not building an atomic bomb, has not been in full compliance with the Geneva interim accord (November 2013) with the P5+1 countries, as these parties, led by the United States, strive to conclude a complete agreement this year;

It is as if Israel has not illegally occupied, colonized and stolen Palestinian land and water over the decades (including regularly invading a blockaded Gaza, invading Lebanon five times and attacking other nearby countries pre-emptively) and caused hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties;

It is as if Israel, while complaining about Iranian behavior, does not continue their Palestinian policies that violate several United Nations’ resolutions, while goading the U.S. toward war against Iran;

It is as if the Arab League, with 22 member nations, has not offered repeatedly since 2002 a comprehensive peace treaty in return to Israel returning to its 1967 borders that was also rejected by Israel;

It is as if Iran has forgotten the shooting down of a scheduled Iranian civilian Airbus by the U.S. Navy in 1988 with a loss of 290 innocent lives, including 66 children;

It is as if Iran, a country that hasn’t invaded any country for over 250 years, should remain cool in the face of such attacks, threats, infiltrations, boycotts, U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf, and not engage in any military alliances; and

It is as if Iran’s authoritarian leaders are not preoccupied enough with pressures inside their country that are both internally and externally driven without also planning to conquer the world.

The pop-up lawmakers in Congress on Tuesday have not shown any interest in their own government’s causal responsibility for Iranian animosities. The priority for many in Congress is marching to the drumbeat of whatever the U.S. Israeli lobby wants from the Pentagon, the State Department and the American taxpayers. (Some members of Congress have spoken up in the past, notably Republican Congressmen Ron Paul and Paul Findley and Senators Chuck Percy and James Abourezk.)

Why does a large majority of Congress block the viewpoints and policies that could lead to peace as advocated by many former chiefs of Israel’s security, intelligence, military and political institutions? They have spoken up repeatedly in Israel but are never allowed to testify before congressional committees. This entrenched anti-Semitism on Capitol Hill against the “other Israeli” Jews needs to be challenged by peace and justice-loving Americans who want to avoid future blowbacks and war quagmires for our soldiers.

A way to clarify jingoistic biases in foreign policy is to ask the questions: who was the initial aggressor? Who is the invader, the occupier, the ever hovering armed drone operator? Who has backed and armed dictators to repress their people who want no more such nation-building by the U.S.?

For a century, is it we, with the British and French, who have been over there or is it they who have been over here? Brutish conditions breed brutish behavior in all directions.

The poetic wisdom of the great Scottish poet Bobby Burns teaches the crucial empathy: “O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”

(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

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Ten thousand dollars in grants for Anderson Valley were awarded at the March 3 meeting of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County Board of Directors. These grants were made possible through the Community Foundation’s “Community Endowment Fund.”

The Community Endowment has been built by contributions that vary from a check for twenty-five dollars to an estate gift valued at several hundred thousand dollars. Megan Barber Allende, the Community Foundation’s Operations & Philanthropic Services Manager, notes that the Community Endowment Fund has been built by donors with various interests, and all of these are reflected in the grants. Donors who give to the Community Endowment fund know their gifts will be used here in Mendocino County for long-term benefit in the County.

The Community Foundation awarded grants for youth and to improve community health. Grants in Anderson Valley included:

Anderson Valley Teen Center – $5,000 to provide trips to six universities for sophomore and junior high school students in Anderson Valley, which will allow them to obtain pertinent information, experience and encouragement to pursue higher education.

Yorkville Community Benefits Association – $5,000 to furnish a rainwater catchment and storage system that will provide a previously untapped and much needed water supply for firefighting and training in the Yorkville community and greater Anderson Valley.

The grants funded through the Community Endowment Fund undergo an extensive review process including review by regional volunteers, as well as a Board Committee. Grants are made in all regions of the county, and fund grassroots as well as more established non-profit organizations. These grants serve to strengthen the capacity of non-profit organizations in Mendocino County to serve our communities now and in the future.

For more information about the grants and about how you can make a gift to the Community Endowment Fund, visit


$120,000 in local grants were awarded at the March 3 meeting of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County Board of Directors. These grants were made possible through the Community Foundation’s “Community Endowment Fund.” Highlights this year included over $45,000 in grants to organizations working toward healthy communities as well as over $38,000 in funding to arts and humanities organizations. Grantees included:


Arts Council of Mendocino County – $5,000

To design a new website for the Arts Council of Mendocino County that restores crucial community services including the county-wide arts event calendar and arts directory.


Laytonville Unified School District – $5,000

To assist with the building of an outdoor classroom, complete with a solar demonstration system, weather monitoring station, rainwater catchment and outdoor sink to enhance renewable resource and garden education opportunities for district students.

North Coast

Comptche Community Organization – $2,500

To purchase a commercial grade refrigerator for use in a commercial grade kitchen allowing rural residents to generate income by producing cottage industry products, and to gather for ceremonies, memorials, and social gatherings.

Safe Passage Family Resource Center – $5,000

For the architectural drawings to build an addition on to the Teen Lounge at Safe Passage, which will provide bathrooms, showers, and a laundry room for the school’s most vulnerable students.

FLOCKworks – $5,000

To consolidate and increase FLOCKworks’ visibility and public recognition by investing in expertise, technology, printed materials, signage and new outreach strategies and events in Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

Gloriana Musical Theatre – $5,000

To install an ADA approved wheelchair lift, to give persons with mobility challenges the opportunity to have full access in Eagles Hall Theatre, including the concessions area, lobby and all restrooms, when attending productions and events.

Mendocino Music Festival Association – $5,000

To design and install a boardwalk to the Tent Concert Hall to improve accessibility for local seniors who will be able to attend rehearsals and concerts free-of-charge with busing from the Redwood Coast Senior Center and Coastal Seniors.

Mendocino Film Festival – $5,000

To build a new website that is more cost effective to operate and allows volunteers to update it as needed, increasing the resources available for operational and programmatic needs.

Round Valley

Bones Pet Rescue – $5,000

To equip a new cat shelter facility that will effectively house and rehabilitate stray cats by removing them from the areas in Round Valley where they pose a health and safety risk.

South Coast

Coastal Seniors – $3,000

To purchase a new, larger refrigerator for the storage of healthy and nutritious congregate dinning meals for seniors at the Point Arena Coastal Senior Center.

Manchester Union Elementary School District – $5,000

To provide student access to up-to-date technology and the internet through the purchase of 13 Lenovo ThinkPad Edge laptop computers and software.

Arena Theater Association – $4,300

To purchase one laptop and two desktop computers along with programs, hardware and backups that will integrate the office computer systems, increase organizational functionality and improve program capability and offerings.

Redwood Coast Fire Protection District – $2,500

To purchase one 5,000 gallon water storage tank to provide the RCFPD with a new district water source, making RCFPD better able to preserve life, the environment and structures in a more efficient and economical way.

Point Arena Lighthouse and Naked Whale Research – $8,000

To provide marine conservation biology educational materials and hands on tools on local whale species within the Whale Watch Room of the Point Arena Lighthouse.

Ukiah Area

North Coast Opportunities – $5,000

To build a community garden greenhouse to increase the availability of needed plant starts for gardeners of the Gardens Project of NCO.

Yoga Mendocino – $900

To purchase an in-house laser printer/copier that will enable Yoga Mendocino to produce its own flyers, thus reducing costs and saving staff time.

Plowshares Peace and Justice Center – $5,000

To support the packaging costs of the recently expanded Meals on Wheels program that now feeds 120 home-bound seniors and veterans five days a week.

Ukiah Players Theatre – $3,800

To develop a strategic plan for UPT, by hiring consultant Catherine Marshall, who will work with UPT board/staff to develop the plan and provide UPT technical assistance in its implementation during the following year.

Ukiah Farmers' Market – $5,000

To provide matching funds of up to $15 per week for customers who use federal food stamp benefits to purchase fruits, vegetables and/or nuts at the Ukiah Farmers Market, effectively supporting both local community members and area farmers.

Ukiah Valley Trail Group – $5,000

To prepare a comprehensive trail plan to guide future trail work at Low Gap Park, improving access to these trails and encouraging more people to exercise outdoors and connect with the unique natural environment in Ukiah.

School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education – $5,000

To implement and train staff to use Salesforce, a world-class, cloud-based data management software platform, to record, track, and manage all participant and donor contacts enabling it to more effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission.


Frank R. Howard Foundation – $5,000

To provide stipends and materials for master classes to train 12 local co-facilitators who will provide chronic disease management workshops for 80+ residents in Covelo, Laytonville, and Willits.

Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation and Golden Rule Church Association – $10,000

To renovate the historic Carriage House doors along with the vertical column between the doors, to provide a finished look and protection from adverse weather condition for the interior.

* * *


The Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) will consider requests from schools, tribal governments, private non-profit agencies and others to partner on bicycle and pedestrian projects that may be funded through the State Active Transportation Program. Partnership requests must be received by March 25, 2015 to be considered by MCOG. The MCOG Board will meet April 6, 2015 in the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors chambers in Ukiah at 1:30 p.m. It is expected that the California Transportation Commission will approve guidelines and announce a call for projects for Cycle 2 of the Active Transportation Program (ATP) at their meeting in southern California on March 26, 2015. Projects that meet the goals to increase bicycle and pedestrian trips, increase safety, increase mobility opportunities, and enhance public health will be considered for funding. The State anticipated deadline for ATP proposals is June 1, 2015. A key requirement of the ATP is that applicants must be capable of entering into a master agreement with the State of California to administer state or federal funds. Counties and most cities have such agreements in effect, but schools, Tribal governments and private non-profit agencies generally do not. MCOG has a master fund agreement in place and is capable of serving as a partner in ATP projects, as the implementing agency, when no other partner has been identified. Since MCOG staffing capacity is limited, the Board will carefully consider any new ATP partnerships. A proposed project must be derived from an inclusive community process that clearly documents public involvement, alternatives considered, and how the candidate project was identified as a priority. It must also demonstrate cost effectiveness and how the project would result in improved public health and safety. The Active Transportation Program goals, draft application form, and Draft 2015 ATP Guidelines can be found on the California Transportation Commission website at For more information please contact Phil Dow or James Sookne at 463-1859. MCOG formed as a joint powers agreement in 1972, as mandated by state law, to disburse state and federal funds for transportation, to provide regional planning, and to serve as a regional forum. MCOG is overseen by a board consisting of two county supervisors, a countywide public appointee, and one council member from each of the four incorporated cities. Contact the MCOG office at 463-1859 or visit the agency's web site at


  1. David Gurney March 11, 2015

    Rex Gresset’s speeches are totally on the mark. What we were dealing with in the aftermath of the City Mangers “remodel” of Town Hall is the epitome of all that is wrong in Fort Bragg politics. They spent upwards of 250 grand putting in motorized window blinds, and a descending, ceiling mounted movie screen, to turn our once beautiful public venue into a movie house – for the aggrandizement of city staff and their aperitifs.

    They tore up and destroyed the nice, concrete slab, white-tiled linoleum floor, and replaced it with a grey and ugly resinous slab. They tore out the bulletin-board wall panels, painted the joint, and added fancy video links to spur virtual government experiences to remote locations.

    To really make you sick – this remodel was done to accommodate out-dated video projection technology, instead of installing a state of the art high-def flat screen video that would have cost the city 40 grand. Rex for Mayor.

    The city manager, who makes a salary of a little less than ten times that of the mayor, has thus ruined our Town Hall facility. No wander she was absent at the re-opening – and this meeting.

  2. Alice Chouteau March 11, 2015

    Thanks Bruce, for an accurate account of the cit council meeting Monday night. It was difficult to sit through an hour of Turner’s supporters, none of whom had attended previous meetings on Hospitality House taking over the Old Coast Hotel, or bothered to read reasons to oppose this misguided project. If there is bullying or name-calling happening, it was all from this group. Many,of the speakers were employees of HH, and Turner had the entire public input period moved to the beginning of the meeting, packed in advance with folks who would tell him what a great guy he is, and what meanies we in opposition are. Truly cringe-worthy.
    Rex for Mayor!
    A recall effort will probably focus on Turner alone, to simplify things.
    Alice Chouteau

  3. Alice Chouteau March 11, 2015

    I agree with Dave Gurney–the remodel was a waste of money..

  4. Judy Valadao March 11, 2015

    Rex hit a home run on several items he spoke about. Personally I think he could win a “vacated Council seat” when/if there is a recall of Turner. The sad part of this entire matter is someone is making millions to help those with mental health issues and more than a few are questioning who is really being helped here. Ortner has had this contract for how long? What has happened here on the coast to help the mentally ill? Pay Anna Shaw’s Hospitality Center $250,000.00 to run the program? Again, where is the help? This isn’t about helping those in need, it’s about money, and that is my opinion. What Anna wants Anna gets and our very own City Council lead by Mayor Turner makes sure that happens. At this point I think he knows he screwed up by not listening to those who wanted this issue reconsidered but his pride won’t let him admit to the screw up. There are many many people on top of this now and someone will come up with proof of what is going on here.

    • Judy Valadao March 11, 2015

      I will have to give Mayor Turner credit for admitting to me that he understands why the community feels that this project was shoved down their throats because it was. He also said their should have been several more meetings before coming to the “yes” vote. Now, if he would grow a set of balls and say what he said to me in public at a meeting perhaps then the outcome of this could be different. Until then, we move on as suggested by Scott Deitz.

      • Judy Valadao March 12, 2015

        I apologize for my comment above. This entire issue is so frustrating but that is no excuse. My apologies again.

  5. Rick Weddle March 11, 2015

    There’s been some mention lately of the ‘psychology’ of terrorists. Islamic extremists in particular and Muslims in general are painted here so that it might seem like they have a collective problem handling outrage…sort of like First Nations folks in N. America are noted (by the same scribes, mostly) for not being able to hold their liquor…as we white folks so famously do. We have to know this smells of high-grade horseshit, pure and fermented to a fare-thee-well. Nobody needs a mental health professional to tell them what the frack is going on with the mideast.

    Count the major oil-producing parts of the United States. Now, imagine that foreigners (from anywhere, you name it) had taken an interest, around 1920, in those parts of Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas, the continental shelves, even Canada, and so on, to the point where they’d become deeply involved in Our Own Business. Say these foreign interests had long been in the habit of kidnapping and killing our leaders and dissolving our elected or traditional governments. Say further that those foreigners had consistently appointed and installed ‘governments,’ kings, dictators to manage our affairs in ways focused on the sole benefit of those selfsame foreigners. Knowing how difficult North Americans are to get along with on any Saturday night, it’s not hard to imagine the population of the United States coming entirely unglued at being so badly screwed over, over and over for a hundred years. Really. Terrorism? The real mystery is: After a century of taking lessons on how we make our way, solving any problems whatever with High Explosives, what took those pesky Arabs so long to respond in kind?

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