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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Jan 7, 2016

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UKIAH SET A NEW RECORD for January 6 rainfall with 1.49 inches, surpassing the old record of 1.33 set in 1975.

OVER THE PAST THREE DAYS Boonville accumulated three inches of rain, pushing its season total to 16.47.

COUPLE FLOOD ANECDOTES from southern California:

  1. "South of Los Angeles, a homeless man in his 40s was swept away by floodwaters Tuesday in Buena Park, according to the AP. He was carried a mile down Brea Creek, but was able to get out of the water on his own, Orange County Fire Capt. Steve Concialdi told the AP. The man sustained minor injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital."
  2. "Lifeguards closed the Ocean Beach Pier Wednesday due to the stormy conditions, according to CBS 8. Customers dining at the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe were told to just evacuate and not worry about paying."


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TOM PINIZZOTTO HAS RESIGNED as Health and Human Services Agency Assistant Director effective February 5. The former Ortner Management Group (OMG) employee, in an obvious conflict of interest, used his position as County Mental Health Director to steer the MH privatization contract to OMG and shielded OMG from any serious scrutiny or accountability. Pinizzotto gave no reason for his resignation but took credit for a long list of supposed achievements.

SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG is the County rep on the Mental Health Board (MHB), with Supervisor John McCowen as the alternate. Hamburg has been in Pinizzotto's pocket ever since they teamed up with County Counsel to leapfrog Hamburg's troubled son past another half dozen to a dozen troubled inmates to get him into an Ortner operated Mental Health treatment facility in Yuba City. Hamburg never hesitates to use his personal influence for personal benefit. Hamburg, busily texting throughout the Mental Health Board meetings, seldom looks up or has anything to say.

A WELL INFORMED MENTAL HEALTH WATCHER credits Supervisors Tom Woodhouse and McCowen for the slo-mo departure of Pinizzotto. Woodhouse has been openly critical of County Mental Health but voted to approve a renewal of the privatization contract with OMG. Hamburg's motion to slam dunk approval of the contract passed on a 3-2 vote back in July with McCowen and Supervisor Dan Gjerde voting "no" because of the many unanswered questions about the excess fees being raked in by OMG with no accountability. At the Mental Health Board meetings McCowen was sharply critical of Pinizzotto's decision to refuse a grant for Crisis Residential Facility funding and for failing to include the public or the Mental Health Board in the decision making process for over a million dollars in Mental Health Services Act housing money. Under fire from McCowen, Pinizzotto reversed himself and accepted the crisis residential grant funding although a specific project has not been identified as yet.

Cryer, Pinizzotto
Cryer, Pinizzotto

WITH HIS POLITICAL SUPPORT rapidly eroding, Pinizzotto was relieved of his duties as Mental Health Director and bumped up to HHSA Assistant Director a couple of months ago. HHSA Director Stacey Cryer was named as interim Mental Health Director. Pinizzotto was said to be out of the loop on Mental Health admin but no one believed it. With Pinizzotto soon to be completely out, will Ortner finally be called to account for the millions in Mental Health funding annually shoveled their way? Will the Kemper report on Mental Health, originally promised for December ever be released? Will it be a whitewash of the current system or will it provide an honest assessment of the tattered state of Mental Health services in Mendocino County?

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BY WAY OF BACKGROUND, we wrote often that Mr. P was an ongoing disaster, and had a personal agenda tied to his former employer going back to 2010 when he was first brought in as a consultant. Here are a few excerpts:

Mr. Pinizzotto, previously employed by a privately operated mental health services company based in Yuba-City-Marysville, in his new capacity as a Director of Mendocino County Mental Health, a public entity, arranges the sale of Mendocino County Mental Health to his previous employer, Ortner Management Group. The multi-year deal is worth now worth over $6.7 million a year to Ortner. Mr. P, of course, continues to draw about a hundred thou a year as director of the now mostly privatized public agency, Mendocino County Mental Health.

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There are two separate, but related, issues involved in the Grand Jury’s two reports on County Mental Health. The first, “An Appearance of a Conflict of Interest,” makes a bulletproof case that the County’s decision to turn over $6.7 million in annual Mental Health services to the private company that the County's present Mental Health Director, Tom Pinizzotto, used to work for, looks fishy. Rather than dispute the obvious point that the deal was highly suspicious and Pinizzotto's role as facilitator even more suspicious, the Supervisors and CEO Carmel Angelo, insist that since there’s no documentation proving that Pinizzotto personally profited from the lucrative giveaway of public services, there’s no problem. If the County admitted that there clearly was a Conflict of Interest, they’d have to do something about it (such as put the work out to bid again with Pinizzotto out of the loop) and nobody in County management wants to do that.

(2014) “An Ortner item is scheduled for 1:35pm just before closed session, which makes it look like someone (probably County Admin) doesn't think there is much to talk about with the new mental health contracts. (Ortner is the owner, basically, of one of Mendocino County's freshly privatized mental health contracts/organizations.) We think it's all quite suspicious, and hope the Grand Jury is also following it. Ortner operates a “secure facility” in Yuba City to which seriously disturbed Mendo persons are sequestered at the rate of more than $800 a day. A fellow named Pinizzotto is steering the deal. He was hired from Ortner a few years ago as Mendocino County's Mental Health Director and instructed to privatize the County's mental health services. Guess who got the $6.7 million annual contract? Pinizzotto's old boss, Ortner. … Pinizzotto, whose connections to the contractor performing the work are well documented, is STILL in charge of the reporting — or NON-reporting, since the Board has not had a report on Mental health for almost a year since the happy-talk version last October in which Mr. Pinizzotto told the Board how great he and his former employer were doing. … Supervisor Hamburg's mentally troubled son Matt has been, and may still be, a client of Ortner Management Group. As reported last year by Bruce McEwen, Pinizzotto appeared in court with young Hamburg to recommend that he be jumped to the head of Mendocino County's acutely mentally ill cadre, which is perennially backed up at the County Jail. Young Hamburg was to be priority-placed at the Ortner facility in Yolo County. Which he was. The Hamburg placement was made at County expense with the Superior Court subsequently exempting Hamburg, a wealthy man, from any financial responsibility for his son's care.

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Greetings from the Mendocino County Mental Health Board to the City of Fort Bragg and the 4th Supervisorial District. We have a new name and an expansion of our State mandated purview. We are now known as the Behavioral Health Advisory Board. Behavioral Health includes mental health and substance use disorders. We will be holding our first meeting of the new year at the Hospitality Center located at the "Old Coast Hotel" 101 North Franklin Street at 10 am [January 20], downtown Fort Bragg. Our traveling members will open the meeting for Public comment and discussion of the multitude of issues confronting the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services to our county's population. This is a timed item controlled by the Chair of the Board; three minutes plus per speaker and 10 to 15 minutes overall given the constraints of our agenda. The Public is also invited to address the Board after each agenda item particular to that item's subject matter. We also may be able to announce the county's hiring of a new Mental Health Director at this meeting. Our meetings start at 10am and continue on until 2pm in the afternoon. All are welcome to come and help us improve the quality of mental health services to the people of our fair county. Agendas are posted throughout Mendocino County and available on line through the County Web site.

— John Wetzler (via Malcolm Macdonald)

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Iris and Chuck Hafley both passed recently. I have included both of their obituaries as well as a photo of them together. Our family would like to share news of their passing with the valley. Thank you, Erica Lemons

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Iris Elda Thomson Hafley

April 19, 1933 — December 16, 2015


In the morning hours of December 16, 2015 Iris Hafley of Visalia passed away in the comfort of her home with her husband of 61 years and her daughter by her side. Iris Hafley was born April 19, 1933 at El Monte, Los Angeles County. The fifth daughter and eighth child born to William Thomson and Rosetta Virginia Anderson. Iris is survived by her loving husband Charles Hafley, siblings Harold Thomson and Vanda Thomson Robinson, eight children, 27 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren who loved her dearly. Iris found joy in service and the personal knowledge that families can be together forever.

Iris & Chuck Hafley
Iris & Chuck Hafley

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Charles 'Chuck' Hafley

June 25, 1929 — December 31, 2015


In the morning hours of December 31, 2015 Charles Chuck Hafley of Visalia passed away in the comfort of his home with two of his eight children by his side. Chuck was born on June 25, 1929 in Porterville, the third son and seventh of ten children born to Hugh Thomas Hafley and Eva Frances Martin. Chuck was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Iris Thomson Hafley, who passed December 16, 2015. Chuck is survived by his brother Thomas John Hafley and his children Charles Houston Hafley Jr., Sherry Gwen Steinmann, Christy Marie Snyder, Theresa Lynn Bloyd, Martin Carl Hafley, Thomas Francis Hafley, Anthony Robert Hafley, Jonathan Hafley, 27 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Chuck was a veteran of the United States Navy and was the recipient of the California Medal of Valor in 1971. Chuck loved serving in both the Los Angeles and Fresno temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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Something new in 2016, we don’t have to wait weeks to watch the comedy show that the Board of Supervisors presents once or twice a month these days. You can now access the show immediately through the county’s website and YouTube. According to CEO Angelo, Mendocino Access TV which broadcast the meetings live and posted the videos on their website a few days (sometimes weeks) later, Mendocino Access declined to renew their contract with the County. Later this year, Angelo added, some kind of combined Public Access video service is planned which will cover Ukiah, Fort Bragg and the County’s video coverage.

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OUTLAW FORD READING. I will be reading from my novel, Outlaw Ford, and signing copies at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino in ten days. Hope to see many of you there Saturday, January 16th at 6:30 P.M.

Though heavy sales of Outlaw Ford recently diminished copies available in Mendocino County book stores, there's good news: a new shipment has arrived. Plenty of copies for your New Year's resolution shopping.

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BADLY NEEDED REFORM is up to us in the next election. It's called the Voters' Right To Know Act. It would reveal the top three funders of every ad "in clear, readable type."

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NEED SANDBAGS? Call ahead to confirm availability (both sand and bags), but you should be able to find sand at the following Fire Departments: Albion Fire, Brooktrails Fire, Comptche Fire, Covelo Fire, Fort Bragg Fire, Hopland Fire, Potter Valley Fire, South Coast Fire, Westport Fire.

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YEP! MSP REPORTS: "Highway 128 'Open' Despite Radio Reports — KOZT has been crowing all morning that CA-128 is closed. Nope, it's been open since last night. They need to get out of the studio more (or view MSP)..."

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The rainfall has the Navarro River level bobbing up & down — but it is NOWHERE close to flooding CA-128. At the last reading (11:15 am) the river level was at 9.52' (flood level is 23') and it was discharging 1,970 cubic feet of water per second. The photo is of a couple eyeballing the breach in the sandbar Tuesday afternoon.


(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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THE MENDOCINO VINEYARD, Where Inmates Pick the Grapes 2015

12/30 Atlas Obscura

by Patricia Leigh Brown, 30 Dec 2015

(in part) … It wasn't until a conversation in 2013 between the Mendocino County Sheriff, Thomas D. Allman, and vineyard owner Martha Barra that the idea of paying inmates to harvest grapes ever came up. In need of pickers, Barra and her husband Charlie went so far as to advertise on local radio. After trying to hire a group of job seekers holding "Work Wanted" signs — only to find out the only work they wanted was trimming — she voiced her frustration to the sheriff.

(Contributed by Eric Sunswheat)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 6, 2016

Berry, Bolton, Brown
Berrey, Bolton, Brown

JOSHUA BERREY, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Drunk in public, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)

BRANDY BROWN, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Burglary, grant theft, unauthorized use of someone else’s ID, resisting.

Campbell, Dahlund, Doty
Campbell, Dahlund, Doty

WAYNE CAMPBELL, Robbery, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

KEVIN DAHLUND, Martinez/Redwood Valley. Under influence, paraphernalia.

CHARLENE DOTY, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

Elliott, Hennessy, Hernandez
Elliott, Hennessy, Hernandez

ALICIA ELLIOTT, Covelo. Domestic assault.

MICHAEL HENNESSY, Willits. Probation revocation.

SERGIO HERNANDEZ, Redwood City/Ukiah. Meth for sale, sale of meth, while armed, pot for sale, pot sales, loaded firearm in public, possession/use of false compartment.

Jones, Keys, Laman
Jones, Keys, Laman

LAMONT JONES JR., Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

JOSHUA KEYS, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ZACHARY LAMAN, Mesa, Arizona/Mendocino. Vehicle theft.

Perez, Riley, Roblero
Perez, Riley, Roblero


DYAN RILEY, Mendocino. Drunk in public, resisting.

ENEAS ROBLERO, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

Rodriguez, Schlapkohl, Stiles
Rodriguez, Schlapkohl, Stiles

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

CHARLES SCHLAPKOHL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

REBECCA STILES, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

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THE LOST COAST, 3/29 - 4/5/2003

by Nicolette Ausschnitt

The Lost Coast is a study in opposites. So what happened should have been no surprise. The early April day Steve and I started our trip was warm and cloudless. In an area that's known for a hundred inches of rain a year and fog most of the rest of the time, this might have been a trigger for concern. We considered it luck. The ocean was a vast, restful horizontal. The mountains rose in abrupt verticals alongside, from sea level to 4000 feet, and so close to the shoreline that the tides had to be timed in order to pass many of the rock falls. Initially they were extremely steep open-faced hills, sensual and soft green, home to numerous hawks and even a nesting pair of golden eagles, but further along these gave way to dark, dense, slightly ominous forests of mixed timber. We saw none of the residents of the woods, only their evidence in footprints and scat. But we carried our food in bear canisters as required.


What we knew of the instability of the area was not evident on its face that day. Just off the Lost Coast many of California's most deadly fault lines converge and butt against each other. Earthquakes are frequent and the information board at the Petrolia trailhead warned of the tsunamis that can result. "Never turn your back on the ocean" the bulletin advised. Nor the cliffs, one could add, which are in constant threat of sliding into the sea from either the earthquakes or over saturation. Their angle is anything but reposeful. And of course the name...Lost Coast...must mean something. It certainly doesn't sound benign.

Our first night was spent on a bluff above the mouth of Sea Lion gulch where we drifted off to their barking, lowing and sometimes human-like crying sounds. The following day began sunny and mild. Our walk was sometimes along the waterline dodging the tide, and at others on a grassy path that meandered along the edge of the cliffs wherever the angle wasn't too steep. The second camp, at Hadley Creek, was tucked behind huge bleached driftwood logs at the creek's wide, rocky mouth from which we had a view, our first, straight up the vertical tree covered flank of King Peak, tallest in the range and its namesake. The afternoon had turned foggy, and over the mountain peeked the only patch of blue sky in the vast expanse of our view, and on its peak was shining the only sun. That night we had stove troubles which we put off repairing until morning. We awoke to fog that wanted to burn off but never did, and after temporarily fixing the stove (at least we managed a hot meal out of it) we packed and headed for Buck Creek and the Buck Creek trail that would take us up into the sunny mountains. We intended to layover a day at its mouth before the four mile 4000 foot climb.

As it happened, we missed Buck Creek and its trail sign. Our distraction at the time we passed it is a partial excuse. Immediately before the creek we encountered a fresh landslide composed of unstable mud, rocks, boulders and mangled full-grown trees. We were able to squeeze ourselves by at the water's edge, dodging the waves and avoiding the muck, our backpacks not becoming too badly snagged on the tree parts we had to climb over, under and among. Once past and looking up, the full awe of the slide hit us. It was a huge swath of land that had broken from the edge of the woods very high up the slope. The remaining scar was brown and slick and terrifying and the bodies of the trees brought down were crumpled at its base and strewn along the beach for a mile. Their leaves were still green, the spring buds still fresh, and their corpses were red as though still bleeding. Where the bark had been peeled, the trunks were as slick as ice. I shuddered, imagining the sound of their screams as they were broken like twigs. For a half mile on either side of the slide, the water was still murky and muddy and tree limbs were still lifting in the waves just offshore.

We were about a mile further than necessary before we accepted that we had probably gone too far and made camp at Gitchell Creek on the black sand below the cliffs under an overcast sky. We think we saw a river otter that evening. The stove behaved again and dinner was hot and good. The next morning was gorgeous: calm and sunny. Since Shelter Cove was so close that we could see the houses, we were sure we needed to walk back to find Buck Creek. The night before, a father and his young son arrived late and camped opposite us on the other side of the creek behind a mound of driftwood. After we re-crossed the creek and were starting our walk back, they approached us and the father asked that we take their picture. He then inquired where we were headed and asked about the weather. We knew nothing so he said that a surfer had told him yesterday that a big storm was expected starting that night. We didn't give it a second thought since we were well prepared for rainstorms. They were the last people we saw for three days.

Our mistake from the day before was revealed when we retraced our steps north to the next creek. In our defense, the trail sign was high up and not easily seen unless one was looking for it. We were thankful that we didn't have to go back over the slide area which was in view. It was still warm and calm so we relaxed; after pitching the tent, we bathed then napped. Gale force winds and quickly shifting sunshine and shadow awakened us. The sky was full of scudding clouds and the surf, which on our arrival had been tame and polite, leaving us plenty of beach on which to walk, was now pounding the base of the cliff walls. No one could walk the coast now.

We packed, added a gallon of water to our load since springs were scarce in the mountains, and hied ourselves up the trail to escape the unrelenting, exhausting wind. The silence and calm in the cover of the trees were a relief. Irises bloomed along the path and ferns were unfurling in the dappled sunshine deeper in the woods. The hike, although straight up, didn't feel too difficult, at least until we reached the ridge. Suddenly the temperature dropped, the sky became more overcast, and we felt pressed to find a campsite. None presented itself in the relentless climb until at last, at a turn in the ridge, the path leveled for a moment. We constructed a site there, just off the trail, our tent back against the steep slope and protected from the wind, with the door facing out on a spectacular view of the ocean, the lower half of the King Range, tiny Shelter Cove on its jutting promontory, and the sky...full of roiling, fast moving but still broken clouds. As darkness fell, the clouds thickened and were shot through with pastel pinks and oranges from the hidden setting sun. We watched the lights come on in the town then read to each other for a while.

The tick tick of rain on the fly awakened us briefly during the night; otherwise we slept long and hard. But in the morning, when I opened the tent door, we were dazzled by the winter wonderland of a landscape intricately etched in black and white. What we thought was rain had turned to snow at elevations above 2,000 feet, and we were at about 3,500 feet. The sky was everything — dark and light and fast moving and changing. Since we had worked hard yesterday, our scheduled layover day, we decided to designate this one a layover in its place and relax, enjoy the beauty and throw a few snowballs, figuring that the weather would change by tomorrow making continuing on easier.

We couldn't have been more wrong but also couldn't have known. At least one of the travel books we'd perused before our trip stated that snow was rare in the King Range. Later in the afternoon we decided to use a break in the snowfall, now a few inches on the ground, to pack and make some progress up the mountain. As soon as we put on our packs the respite ended and the snow began falling again...big, gentle, wet flakes that stuck to everything and soaked into warm bodies easily. After a mile, we pitched camp during a brief period of sunshine — not enough to dry anything, but just enough to lift our spirits for a moment. Although never tired of the beauty of the place, we were tired of the wet and cold and the long periods in the tent (the book we were reading to each other wasn't that good). And we were a bit worried should this continue. We revisited our decision, based on speculation about the weather, against retracing our steps to avoid having to hike past the landslide again even if the storm surf would allow us, to keep to our schedule, and to embrace our perhaps fatal sense of adventure. Over a hot dinner, we marveled at the contrasts and abrupt changes of this land. Our "luck" had been good...the weather broke whenever we set up or took down camp and it had given us times of rest when we needed them. It also lulled us into thinking it would hold and we could continue without fear.

That night was more difficult. We awoke frequently and each time had to "bang" the accumulated wet snow from the tent fly which sagged under the weight. I had snow camping experience and had bought the tent expressly for its all weather attributes. But wet snow sticks to nearly any surface and its weight is enormous. In fact, when we packed up that morning both the tent and fly were soaked and the weight our 45 lb starting packs had lost from our having eaten three days’ worth of food, was regained with interest in water. The clothes we had worn for the short hike yesterday were wet also, as were our boots and the socks. We decided to wear the wet things and any extra clothes, but keep one layer of dry clothing for when we crawled into our sleeping bags...inner and outer socks, long underwear pants and top, and a balaclava for me. Neither of us had gloves. To my wet ensemble I added a layer of plastic bags over my socks, since my boots leaked badly. The resulting effect, with the final layer of raingear, was not unlike a wetsuit...the cold water against the skin heated during exercise and kept us warm. But the instant we stopped, we froze. We also put all of our lunch nibbles into our outer pockets for easy access.

About 10am we set out. It was snowing enough while we packed up to ensure that everything became wet and there was a five inch cover on the ground. Our goal was Miller Camp, described on the map as "tent sites under a tree canopy by a spring". It sounded pleasant, somewhat protected and perhaps the snow would be over by the time we arrived. But it became heavier as we gained elevation, and deeper and the temperature dropped. On the open, treeless spine of the ridge just before we saw the turnoff sign for the camp, the wind was stiff. We were thankful to have seen the sign, and happy to be heading down into the woods, but in a short while our unease returned. The woods were dark, damp, oppressive — sinister. The campsites were rocky and sloping. We shook our heads, filled our water bottles in the stream, had a standing snack, and kept hiking. We now knew the meaning of "tulgey wood". Our backup destination was the Rattlesnake Trail junction which would take us down to the beach in 4.5 miles and was another four miles away.

We hiked about 8.5 miles that day. A lot of it is hazy in my mind. I recall a sense of urgency; a need to keep going no matter what. I remember the fear that we'd miss the next turnoff sign because it would be buried in snow. But the signage was good. Our one mistake was a short one and was of our own doing. We made a turn without seeing a sign. Suddenly, after a quick downhill hike, Steve exclaimed, "Look, footprints!" . We were amazed that anyone else was out there – and of course no one else was. We'd gone in a circle and they were ours. We retraced our steps and found the signed turnoff. The snow was now 6-8 inches deep and was harder to hike through than the sand. I was in the lead when footprints appeared again seemingly from nowhere. A lot of them. We thought they might be a day old although they seemed very clear. About a mile further along, Steve, now in the lead, announced, "Those aren't human". For a moment my heart raced, then I thought, of course, they’re deer prints. After all we'd come up Buck Trail. During a traverse of a cliff on a narrow section of trail deep in the tulgey wood where the mountain rose vertically on our left and dropped perpendicularly on our right, they disappeared as abruptly and mysteriously as they'd come.

I also recall constantly climbing under or around trees that were so bowed by the weight of the snow that they nearly touched the trail. They slid a mound of snow down our backs as they sprang up, relieved. Or we would attempt to knock off their load first, hard, icy work which our hands resented. We commented several times to each other that we were missing the spectacular views we'd read about. And I remember repeating like a mantra, don't twist an ankle, don't slide off the edge. The trail was slippery and the rocks buried. Then there were the small avalanches on the steep parts of our traverse...not reassuring.

Only once did we remove our packs, in an area that had burned recently and in which the new trees were still short. We knew from the map that we must be nearing the Rattlesnake trail turnoff but our backs, hips and feet needed a break. We struggled out of the packs, stretched, gobbled some snacks and Advil and drank water while the snow, nearly one foot deep, continued unabated. It was around three in the afternoon and becoming darker.

Fortified, we hurried on. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have to camp on the snow and turned over in my mind what that would entail. We later wished we had. At least snow insulates and doesn't soak in like rain. It's also quiet. Then the trail turnoff sign appeared and with a yelp of short-lived relief, we headed steeply down. The snow on the ground became very slippery slush as we lost elevation, but despite the danger, we were happier. The aptly named trail, a series of vertical switchbacks that could give you whiplash, was littered with trees and branches which we clambered over, under and around. The mix of snow and rainfall was letting up when we stumbled into a camping area with a rock circle fire pit that was now under water and a sign for a spring nearby. It was 4:30pm. We had been hiking for seven hours and there was no way to know if there would be another camping opportunity before the beach, still four miles straight down. We were exhausted, soaked, and cold when we dropped our packs and quickly prepared an area on which to set up the tent.

The tent was up but before we had the fly on the icy rain began again in earnest. Our hands were frozen and useless and it seemed to take an eternity to cover the tent and anchor the fly with the large rocks we took from the fire pit. We then threw everything we needed for sleep into the shelter and stored the soggy remainder under the fly vestibule. Steve leaned forlornly against a nearby tree while I sat in the tent entry and struggled to peel off my soaked boots, the socks, the water logged plastic bags, then the rest of my clothing. He joined me and went through the ritual himself. We made an attempt to dry ourselves off before we donned our layer of dry clothes and crawled into our sleeping bags. But nothing was truly dry. The tent was soaked through so anything that touched the sides became wet in turn. The sodden clothes we had removed were in mounds at the foot of the tent and along the sides and there was no avoiding them. Dinner in the dark was a continuation of lunch — cold nibbles — with one addition, a sip for each from the whiskey flask.

We sank down, exhausted, and not a little apprehensive. I couldn't stop shaking even though we were as closely intertwined as possible. Cold, hunger and fear had me knotted and miserable. The storm grew louder and more violent by the moment. I tried making a pattern of the sound of the sleet hitting the fly but it was so loud, hard and fast that all I could conjure was machine gun fire. Not comforting. Then the wind picked up. It started low and deep coming up the canyon from the ocean like a fighter plane roaring towards us. The trees whined and cracked and the splatter of gunfire grew louder and louder. My gut tightened for the blow. Then it was upon us and the tent sagged on the side hit and I flinched. This continued for hours. Periodically we shined the flashlight about the interior looking for leaks and unfortunately found them. Our bags were getting wet.

Late in the night, we heard a new, higher pitched dripping sound. We thought perhaps the lake that had formed around the fire pit was rising and would reach under the tent. We shined the flashlight into the sleeting dark to convince ourselves that the fear was groundless. Then Steve voiced his fear of a bear ripping the tent in a frenzied search for the food. Shakily, I reassured him that any sane bear would still be hibernating in this weather, the while I withheld my most frightening vision, that a tree limb would be ripped off and fall on us. I pictured us soaked, shivering, and possibly injured, huddled in the freezing dark under the remains of the tent. Late at night, wrapped in my cocoon while the wilderness howled around me, I was startled by an unbidden thought — today was April 4th, the day, four years before, that my father had died. My feelings about his death were so tangled – fear? guilt? relief? — that I walled out the memory. But no matter how often I told myself it wouldn't be so bad, I froze at the thought of having to dress again in the morning in the icy wet clothes we'd worn the day before, which kept surging up like the bass line of a scary musical score. It was a long night. We dozed off and on and had disjointed frightening dreams.

Morning finally dawned — wet and overcast and still sleeting lightly. But the tent had held and our soggy bags were warm. We lay there for awhile, exhausted. It was a relief to have survived, and it slowly dawned on us that we'd make it to the beach soon. Eventually, I scrabbled about in the bear canisters and found us something for breakfast — cold, of course. We couldn't imagine the patience required to light the stove or how our hands could perform the simple task. After eating, and still in the tent, we packed everything we could and donned our wet gear, then very quickly dismantled the tent and threw our packs together. Not quickly enough. Our fingers were frozen to near uselessness, but at least the frenetic activity kept our cores warm. In a light snow we fumbled to find the trail which immediately led us out onto an open ridge.

To our left, behind the still angry sky, the sun had just risen. Even at that early hour, its warmth as it broke through for a moment was powerfully healing. To our right was the first view of the ocean in two days. From that height it appeared calm, but even more promising, the sky in that direction was less leaden; it seemed to be trying to clear. Hugely refreshed, we began the steep rattlesnaking, knee rattling downhill at a trot. The air warmed as we dropped elevation and my mind worked on a fantasy that I refused to share for fear of jinxing it. Twice we waded Rattlesnake Creek, now a river; we climbed over countless downed trees; and we walked through a "rainforest" in the rain in which bloomed columbines and exquisite star shaped flowers whose names I didn't know, where the ferns were lush and brilliant and the trees were dressed head to toe in two inch thick furry coats of bright green moss. And two hours later we debouched onto the flat grassy verge of the beach and stopped in a light drizzle at the trail sign we had passed three days before. It was 10am. We'd made it.

The sky gradually lightened as we retraced our route in the grass above the beach. By the time we stopped for lunch at Hadley Creek, where we had spent our second night and had our first glimpse of King Peak, the sun was out and we were warm. My fantasy was coming true. Our shoes and socks were first off. The quickly drying black sand was a comfort to our tired feet. Then off came our layers of wet clothes, one at a time. And finally, piece by piece, as we gained confidence that the sun would stay, all our wet things were pulled from their bags until we and our belongings were draped over the warm rocks and sand and logs, face to the sun and ocean, soaking in the drying, restoring heat, thrilled to be alive. Behind us, a thin half-mile away but four and a half miles up, King Peak was still scumbled in heavy black clouds. As they jostled and jockeyed for position there was a momentary flash of white. We'd come to expect the extreme contrasts. The instability, changeability and insouciance of the landscape were a good part of its beauty. In its presence one became acutely aware of the permeable space between happiness and misery, sun and storm, day and night, mind and body, and joy and despair that supported the curtain of air between life and death. All of which made our last night out, tucked between a peaceful ocean and the soft green treeless mountains, snuggled amongst the driftwood bones on Spanish Flat watching the golden eagles cruising for dinner, all the more poignant. We were ecstatic to be alive and sad to be leaving.

* * *

RIVER’S BEND RETREAT CENTER (Formerly Wellspring) is growing and seeks an Associate Director! Do you know the perfect person for this position? We would be so grateful if you would send this email out to your networks of Bay Area or West Coast folks! Our ideal candidate: Brings operational and financial expertise, as well as a passion for innovation, social and ecological justice, to strengthen River’s Bend Retreat Center’s organizational systems and to help develop and evolve our strategic business plans. This person has a heart for people and the skills and experience to work independently and as a team to help us fulfill our mission to nourish the movement for regenerative culture in the San Francisco Bay area. Link to Position Announcement. Applications requested by January 22, 2016 (We will accept applications through January 30, 2016). We will follow-up with candidates who most closely share our vision and match our qualifications. Please do not call or email with further questions until contacted.

Position announcement — Associate Director, River's Bend Retreat Center [1]

* * *


by Amanda Becker

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned on Tuesday that financial-sector greed was "destroying the fabric of our nation" and said the starting point of any Wall Street reform effort is breaking up "too big to fail" banks.

"If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist; when it comes to Wall Street reform, that must be our bottom line," Sanders said in a blistering speech. He said allowing banks that are too big is essentially providing them with a "free insurance policy" to make risky investments knowing the U.S. government will prevent their collapse.

The U.S. senator from Vermont — an independent and a democratic socialist popular with the Democratic Party's populist wing — gave his speech at a theater near New York's Times Square, just "a few subway stops away from the epicenter of the global financial crisis," as his campaign put it.

Sanders also called for structural reforms to the Federal Reserve, making credit rating agencies nonprofit entities, and a tax on speculative investments. He urged increased penalties for financial fraud or malfeasance by institutions, calling fraud the business model of Wall Street.

His remarks were laced with direct and indirect criticisms of the policies and track record of primary campaign front-runner Hillary Clinton, whose constituency when she was a U.S. senator from New York included the financial industry. The former secretary of state, however, has taken a tougher stance against Wall Street as a presidential candidate.

Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley are vying to face the Republican nominee in the November 2016 election.

Sanders and Clinton have tussled over the best way to curb the risky behavior on Wall Street that caused the 2008 financial crisis and triggered the worst U.S. economic slump since the Great Depression.

Sanders favors breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and reinstating a version of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law that prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities.

Clinton has endorsed an approach that would break up large banks if they take excessive risks. She also believes that reinstating Glass-Steagall, an idea popular with progressive Democrats, would not address the types of institutions that have risen since the law was written in the 1930s.

Glass-Steagall's main provisions were repealed in 1999 during the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton — a fact that Sanders highlighted in his speech.

The back-and-forth between Sanders and Clinton over breaking up banks and regulating the so-called shadow banking sector intensified this week, with one of Clinton's top Wall Street advisers, former U.S. financial regulator Gary Gensler, criticizing Sanders as not focusing on regulating non-bank institutions such as hedge funds and insurance companies.

Sanders said Tuesday that if elected, "Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks will not be represented in my administration."

Gensler, before serving as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under President Barack Obama and a U.S. Treasury Department official under Bill Clinton, was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson were also Goldman alumni.

Sanders highlighted how he has pushed for legislation to reinstate Glass-Steagall alongside Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a favorite of progressives. He also quoted another progressive icon, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, as criticizing Clinton's proposals to regulate Wall Street as too weak.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, a progressive, is among those in Clinton's corner. In a statement on Tuesday, he said that "having studied all the Wall Street reform proposals," he believes Clinton's is the "toughest, farthest-reaching plan of anyone running for president."

On the Federal Reserve, Sanders said it should not pay financial institutions interest for the money they keep at the Fed and that such institutions should instead pay the U.S. central bank a fee. He also said he would not put financial industry executives on the Fed's presidentially appointed board.

Individual companies were also name checked by Sanders. He said that JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) are nearly 80 percent bigger than when they accepted money from the U.S. government during the 2008 bailout.

(Courtesy, Reuters)

* * *


I think the recent holiday season can answer some of your thoughtful comments. Even otherwise intelligent people who try to use less and recycle more find themselves immersed in the most wasteful and gluttonous annual ritual in human history. Americans, in particular, spend two months each year repeatedly filling their “green” vehicles with useless junk to hand out at Christmastime. I shudder to think how much of this junk is simply discarded along with the megatons of useless wrapping paper. Most of this is done to make sure none of “the babies” is left out. What a terrible waste. 
I live in a section of middle America where new highway construction is a constant annoyance. Once completed, each project fills with vehicles immediately, and is soon in need of repairs. Resources needed to make repairs are, of course, funneled toward new highway construction. The average driver’s answer? - we need more highways.
 Around here, military expenditures are not part of the national budget, weapons programs are not questioned. The more, the merrier. The military/industrial complex has it made. I remember thinking how stupid it was in the mid-1980s to send stinger missiles and other heavy weaponry to Osama bin Laden’s militias. The Charlie Wilson/Ronald Reagan tradition continues to this day. 
I use power from my solar powered workshop to charge my cordless electric lawnmower, but each year more of my lawn is converted to vegetable garden space. My truck stays in the garage while I walk four miles round trip each day to work. I don’t know anyone who even makes these small efforts to conserve resources. Until our society can break through its culture of greed, stupidity, and simple laziness, none of this can be solved.

* * *


by Carol Mattessich

Socialist feminism assumes that redistribution is the best way to begin improving life for the vast majority of women, both materially and socially. To take a none-too-radical example, in countries like Denmark and Sweden - which offer a broad range of social benefits provided through the state rather than acquired in desperation, as they so often are here, through marriage or a job - women can live more comfortably; raise healthier, more secure children; and sleep with whomever they please. Throughout her long career, Clinton has demonstrated contempt for turning this project into policy.

As first lady of Arkansas, she led the efforts by her husband's administration to weaken teachers' unions and scapegoat teachers - most of them women, large numbers of them black - for problems in the education system, implementing performance measures and firings that set a punitive tone for education reform nationwide. Rather than trying to walk this back, Clinton recently said that as president, she would close any public school "that wasn't doing a better than average job." Fuzzy math aside, this suggests a regime of pressure on America's mostly female teaching force - 81 percent of elementary- and middle-school teachers are women - that would make her predecessors look like presidents of a giant homeschooling hippie collective. Hillary's socialist-feminist boosters might want to ask themselves: What kind of socialist feminism supports undermining black women on the job while imposing austerity on the public sector? And lest you think Clinton's financial hawkishness is reserved for K-12, she also opposes free college tuition, though the United States is the only country where students - 57 percent of them women - are saddled with decades of debt as the price of attaining higher education. Defending this position, Clinton recently said that it was important for people seeking a college degree to have "skin in this game."


In a normal election season, all of this would be reason to agitate, but not necessarily to work or vote against the candidate - after all, what's the alternative? This year, however, there is an inspiring reason to vote against Hillary: an actually existing socialist-feminist candidate in the Democratic primary. I'm talking, of course, about Bernie Sanders. He's no Marxist revolutionary - if you're waiting for someone who will expropriate the expropriators, you'll have to wait a little longer - but he has spent his life fighting, consistently and without apology, for social-democratic policies that would improve the lives of a majority of American women. In contrast to Clinton's devotion to imposing shame and austerity on poor women and their kids, Sanders helped lead the Senate opposition to Republican efforts to cut the WIC program, which provides nutrition assistance for mothers, babies, and pregnant women - and he has said that, as president, he would expand it. Other prominent planks in his platform that should be of interest to feminists include free college tuition, single-payer healthcare, high-quality childcare for all Americans, and a $15 minimum wage. In contrast to Clinton's waffling on Planned Parenthood, Sanders has said that he would increase federal funding to the organization; and as part of his single-payer plan, he would expand support for women's reproductive-health services.

* * *


The January Public Meeting of the Broadband Alliance of Mendocino will be held this Friday, January 8th, at the Community Foundation, 204 S. Oak St., Ukiah. The agenda for the meeting is attached. The call in number is: 641-715-3341 Access code: 108 1131#

A special presentation will be given by Camila Vega of the Scout Program, University of California. Scout is a taxpayer-funded online program designed to help students complete a-g requirements for admission into CSU and UC campuses. The program works with schools to provide flexible and affordable AP and credit recovery online courses to students -- some of their courses are free for California public schools. Their goal is to increase educational opportunities for educationally disadvantaged youth across the state. (You can contact a representative at 408-450-4962 or to learn more).   Starting this year, we will be holding the public meetings every other month, instead of monthly. Please check our website for the dates.   Hope to see you on Friday,

Diann Simmons

Administrative Coordinator

Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County



  1. mr. wendal January 7, 2016

    Mr. Pinizzotto came to Mendocino County and fulfilled his mission to get a contract for Ortner. Now that he is on his way out, I wonder if/when the BOS will remove their blinders and publicly acknowledge their mistake and correct the mess from the top on down.

    If Ortner loses their contract, what will happen to Ortner’s subcontractors (i.e. the Hospitality Center, who got the huge grant for 5 rooms for the mentally ill at the Old Coast Hotel and potential clients stay away in droves)? With Ms. Shaw at the helm the situation on the coast will never improve. She has one personality for people she wants something (money) from and another not-so-nice one for people in need. Talk to the people living on the streets, not just those who are making money off of the misery of those who are down and out – it’s not good. Maybe the Mental Health Board members could talk with people on the streets when they go to the coast for their next meeting if the weather isn’t too bad. There are plenty of them out there with mental health and substance abuse problems who are not getting any help.

    The Old Coast Hotel has lead paint in it (no surprise there). The request for bids for remodeling includes lead paint abatement, a very expensive proposition when done legally. I don’t see how they can afford the upkeep on the building. It’s already showing signs of needing an exterior paint job. Most of the money spent on upkeep could be used to help people if one of the more modest or newer buildings available were accepted. Sometimes maintenance on a gift makes it too expensive to keep. I’d rather that my taxes go for helping clients, not historical building upkeep where the clients who need help the most avoid it. Another costly mistake by those in power. But maybe the Fort Bragg City Council has in the back of their minds that they will end up with the building in the end after the Hospitality Center runs out of available grants to pursue. The losers, besides the taxpayers, are the ones who were said to be helped by the acquisition.

  2. Sonya Nesch January 7, 2016

    Mental Health/Behavioral Health Advisory Board meets in Fort Bragg on Wednesday January 20th at 10 pm at The Old Coast Hotel.

    • mr. wendal January 7, 2016

      If it’s at 10am I’ll be at work. If it’s at 10pm I’ll be asleep. I hope MendocinoTV will live stream and record the meeting.

    • mr. wendal January 7, 2016

      Thanks. I thought that they changed the name of the board and checked the County’s website when posting my comment to see what it is now called. The County’s website shows it as “Mental Health Board”neverywhere. If anyone from the County is reading this, please keep your information up-to-date. Residents should be able to rely on your website to have accurate and current information.

  3. Sonya Nesch January 7, 2016

    Sorry, it’s 10 am and should have read —
    Mental Health/Behavioral Health Advisory Board meets in Fort Bragg on Wednesday January 20th at 10 am at The Old Coast Hotel.

  4. malcolmlorne January 7, 2016

    The Mental Health Advisory Board notice was written by John Wetzler, chair of said board. I merely forwarded it to the AVA. – Malcolm Macdonald

  5. Jim Updegraff January 7, 2016

    On Line comment of the day:I certainly agree Christmas is the silly time of the year. I think my Quaker ancestors had it right – They did not celebrate Christmas or any other religious holiday since every day was the Lord’s day.

    On Sanders vs Hillary: Sanders can’t beat Clinton but hopefully, he will continue to push Clinton further to the left.

    Women have no choice but Clinton. The GOP candidates want women to stay home – barefoot and pregnant.

    American Exceptionalism continues to get us in untenable military situations.

    Mental health care in Mendo County is one big sick joke presided over by a Board of Stupidvisors.

    • Al Krauss January 7, 2016

      Let’s get a little more real here:

      Christmas is not silly, it is a vast money making opportunity for marketing and such. The silliness merely reflects the gullible stupidity of the people who get taken.

      RE Sanders, its defeatist to speak with conventional “authority”, to wit “Sanders can’t win, so we shall have to go with the Hillary”.

      And why do women have no choice but Clinton? That’s sexist garbage at root. Women could be instrumental in pushing Sanders through all the obscurantist garbage the politicos have put forth, just like that notion regarding women’s choice.

      And American Exceptionalism is only a fashionable descriptive term evoking the image of spoiled children, rather than the “cause”: at root, its our conniving Pentagon and intelligence services, doing the dirty work they’re expert at and love, for the purpose of fulfilling an international industrial resource agenda.

      Finally, the mental health “sick joke” (which it may well be) also follows on the self centered value system Americans embrace. We don’t invest in competent systems of mental and physical health care, we just improvise and make do for the books.

  6. Randy Burke January 7, 2016

    Thanks to the AVA for the information, introspective criticism, investigative reporting on PINOZITTOOOO

  7. Bill Pilgrim January 7, 2016

    re: Sanders vs. Clinton. NY mayor DeBlasio (a self-proclaimed progressive) thinks Hillary’s plan for dealing with Wall Street is tougher than Bernie’s?
    Behold yet again the self-deluding power of obeisance to the overlords.
    The best response to Hillary’s plans was issued by a heckler at one of her rallies:
    Hillary: “I’m going to rein in the big banks!”
    Heckler: “By taking their money?”

    • Mike January 7, 2016

      Bill, it’s actually possible to read Bernie’s plans and HRC’s plans. On their websites.

      Have you read both of them? And, have you gone over Clinton’s Senate voting record on these issues?

      The Right wingers are novelists fused with their story. And, casting of characters.

      The Left wingers are novelists fused with their story. And, casting of characters.

      Don’t buy any of it! (Including the pale stories coming from the versions of the Moderates!)

      Reading why we should not vote for HRC from a proudly self described Feminist Socialist is only not boring if enjoyed as a comedy riff.

      • Bruce McEwen January 7, 2016

        But Chief her shrine where naked Venus keeps,
        And Cupids ride the lion of the deeps;

        Where, eased of fleets, the Adriatic main,
        left my brain numb and my neck in pain.

        …seventy-five thousand verses later
        we pick up a few steps on the ladder,

        (tick tick tick on the high-hat, a terse rumble over the snare drum with the brushes and pick up the beat…

  8. Alice Chouteau January 7, 2016

    Mr Wendal deserves thanks for excellent info, including the expense of renovations at the Old Coast Hotel. The fact that this historic building would have lead paint to increase the remodelling costs was known but ignored, before purchase.
    Anna Shaw, subject to an ongoing lawsuit regarding sexual harrassment and misconduct with a former employee and resident of Hospitality House, is rumored to be on official paid leave from her duties.
    A. Chouteau

  9. david ellison January 7, 2016


    Excellent comment.

    HRC is slimy.

    Bernie can save the country with everything for free.

    Where is the money coming from.

    • Mike January 7, 2016

      It looks like Bernie is detailing his reform proposals tomorrow. The linked The Atlantic article here suggests he (as President) will seek a vote of regulators to use Dodd-Frank measures to break up the big commercial banks and if he gets glass-steagel restored, that would cut the fueling of bad practices in the “shadow banks”. HRC, otoh, is focusing on the shadow banks themselves, with restrictive regulations:

      The article also gives the political context and back story to the strategizing.

      • Bruce McEwen January 8, 2016

        Of course that’s too drastic. And then again not nearly enough. So it’s all a big phoof! Hillary knows what it’s like out there in the big world, whereas Bernie don’t get out much. Squeal all you want about her, but nobody else who has had a hand in the mess we’ve made in our beds — well, no one wants to take responsibility — except her. (Have you seen the way she purged the foreign corps of good old boys?) All these other clowns are just saying. That’s a viable sentence in this day and age: Just saying. As Hil says, no skin in the game. But Hil has visited every embassy in the world and has lived through as much as you or I, but you and me, buddy, we’re in mo position to take command; whereas she is. Now, she wrecked the careers of a few of my friends in the State Dept., so like her personally, nah, but I seriously doubt anyone else can understand what we’re up against. Seig Heil Hil! Zher gooten sie.

        • Mike January 8, 2016

          I never read her memoirs from her state dept time (or any of the others) but I’ve heard a little bit about her travels and how she changed things in different embassies, etc.

          Are you going to be (finally) that voice for HRC that shows up here to spice up the musical selections?!?!? (I asked earlier if someone was going to do that.)

          Everybody’s for Bernie. It seems. Except for Harvey. (If it matters, I think I’ll vote for HRC because I’m too am a “pragmatic progressive”, LOL)

        • Mike January 8, 2016

          The likability factor of HRC may not really impair her. Going back to early 92, I had my hopes pinned first on Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and then Jerry Brown who did beat Clinton in Connecticut and some other places. We learned a lot about that couple real fast and it really was a turnoff. Their DLC and “integral” approach (which they misapplied through a political triangulation way) didn’t bother me all that much because it made sense for Dems to put out a more business friendly face and be less of a busybody regulating force that often dampened business activity unnecessarily.

          Knowing so much about them, and the creepy undercurrents, for such a long time probably has immunized people over thirty from all of that and it’s clear people will vote for her but with dampened enthusiasm for sure.

          I met her in a small venue where I was eating breakfast in Carson City in February 2007. She wasn’t scheduled to go there….the owner just went across the street and barged in on a meeting Hillary was having with state legislators, and asked her to drop by. She did. Secret Service guys came in several minutes ahead of her, checking back rooms and stuff. And, I began thinking of some passive aggressive thing to bring up to her. But, subtle. So, I asked her how Evan Bayh was doing. He had just dropped out of the race before it really started. Her face really lit up and she began excitedly telling me about him just taking her a couple weeks before to Iraq for her first trip there. And, she talked about the wild cargo plane ride into the Baghdad airport. (Sounded like a carnival ride)……I then said something like, maybe he can be your vice president? She stepped up to me, almost nose to nose, broad buck toothed smile, and murmured in her whisky voice: “I really like that guy.”

          After my conversation with her, I kinda started liking her a little bit. Still didn’t caucus for her a year later in January 2008.

  10. Frank Casian January 7, 2016

    My thanks to the AVA and their unrelenting quest for truth and justice in our County.
    And Bernie? I hope to hell he wins.

  11. John Sakowicz January 7, 2016

    Pinizzotto was a fraud. A little man with a big ego. A little man with big ambitions. History tells us this is a very dangerous combination.

    • Bruce McEwen January 7, 2016

      You know — and I blush to say it — but I always mistook him for you, John! Now I feel like a fool, sure, but, well, I mistook Stacy Cryer for, well… I dasn’t say anymore on that subject… except that the pictures were helpful,esp. in a pub. which eschews graphics; esp. the mind-numbing Photo-Journalistic splash of artsy-schmartsy deco paque.

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