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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Jan 13, 2016

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ACCORDING TO CEO CARMEL ANGELO’S January 12, 2016 report: “In August the Executive Office contracted with Kemper Consulting to perform a review of Mendocino County’s mental health services. At the time the intention was for Mr. Kemper to present a report on the review to the Board of Supervisors at the January 12, 2016 Board meeting. However, the scope of the report was broadened somewhat based on input received by local stakeholders and Mr. Kemper conducted many more interviews than originally envisioned. Kemper was granted additional time to include the extra interviews and review additional stakeholder input in the report. As a result, and due to the Board meeting schedule in February, the Executive Office will ask the Board of Supervisors HHSA standing committee to consider holding a special meeting in the second half of February to review and discuss the Kemper Report (February 19, 2016).”

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“The scope of the report was broadened somewhat…” (So the cost has gone up “somewhat.”)

“…based on input received by local stakeholders.” (What “input”?)

“Kemper was granted additional time to include the extra interviews and review additional stakeholder input in the report.” (The initial report probably had some mild negativity that needed to be “balanced” with input from other “stakeholders.” And County taxpayers will have to pay for this unnecessary extra work which should have been done by County staff for no additional cost AFTER the report was out.)

“The Executive Office will ask the Board of Supervisors HHSA standing committee to consider holding a special meeting in the second half of February to review and discuss the Kemper Report (February 19, 2016).” (The CEO “will ask”? Wait a minute, why is the CEO “asking” the HHSA Standing Committee to “review and discuss” the report? And why not the Board of Supervisors which was supposed to hear it on January 12? And when will the full board review and discuss?)

PS. When will the Ortner RFP go out? When will the Mental Health (or now “Behavioral Health Advisory Board”) get a look at the report? When will Dr. Barash and his dozens of other local doctors who criticized Ortner see it? When will Sheriff Allman who’s planning to set up his own independent Mental Health facility get a look at the report?

PPS. AFTER AN EXTENDED CLOSED SESSION on Tuesday (Jan. 12), the Board announced that the search for a new “Behavioral Health” Director is complete and the new Director is not Mr. Kemper, but former Director Tom Pinizzotto’s second in command, Deputy Mental Health Director Jenine Miller, PhD (a psychologist) who previously was “acting public guardian” before the County put Bryan Lowery into that position. (And yes, you can be excused for thinking that the Health and Human Services Department is just playing musical chairs with their most loyal senior staff.) This appointment indicates that at least a majority of the Board of Supes thinks the Mental Health Department (or whatever they call it) — despite the accelerating public outcry — is being run just fine by existing staff and no outsiders need apply.

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“SELL EVERYTHING!” — Dire warning from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as fears mount that markets are set for new crash and oil could plunge to $10 a barrel! “…China has tried to impose draconian measures to halt wild bouts of selling on its markets, but to little avail so far. Analysts have started to warn that what looked like a market correction in one of the world's biggest economies is becoming a full-blown crisis, which shows no signs of going away.”

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THE MAJOR WRITES: On my way back from the Boonville Post Office Tuesday afternoon a hippie-ish man dressed in tattered shorts and an old tie-dye t-shirt shouted something unintelligible at me. And kept shouting. It was cold and he seemed underdressed, a sign of likely drunkenness. Random verbal abuse is not an unfamiliar experience among people associated with this publication. A supervisor, since retired, also a locally infamous public drunk, once spit at my shoe as he grumbled, "Get that?" That encounter occurred in this very same location as my Tuesday encounter. These days, alone and ignored, the supervisor, confined to his redwood retirement, mutters to himself up in the hills.

This guy looked and sounded quite drunk. I tried to ignore him, but he just shouted louder. Highway traffic added to my difficulty in making out what he wanted. After a few more steps he came closer and I made out the word "Boontling" in his torrent of high decibel address. "Hi! My name's Rusty! I'm from Santa Rosa! Do you know any Boontling?"

"Oh, a couple of words maybe," I said, guardedly, not knowing where this was going.

"Name one!" he demanded.

"Kimmie Codger?"

"What's that mean?!"

"I'm not sure, something about a fire engine?"

"Isn't there something about a phone?" he asked.

"Buckey Walter — phone booth," I replied.

"Any more?"

"Horn of Zeese."

"What's that?"

"Cup of coffee."

"Cup of coffee! Horn of Jeeesh! Cup of coffee!" he shouted triumphantly as he turned around to address an aging female flower child. "Cup of coffee!" he screamed again. "See?! I told you there was a language here called Boontling!"

The woman nodded, grudgingly.

He turned back to me. "Thanks," he said, a satisfied smile on his face.

I guess I could have wished the guy "happy burlapin',” like Bobby Glover suggested to Johnny Carson years ago, but if he looked up burlapin' in the Boont dictionary both of them might have taken serious offense at my presumption.

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JAMES MARMON updates us on Baby Dean, the brother of Baby Emerald who died by the hands of a murdering foster parent in Fort Bragg a couple of years ago:

"6 month old Baby Dean is now in his third foster care home in just about as many weeks. He was first placed in Ukiah, then moved to Fort Bragg, and now is being placed in Lake County. 
The poor thing must be terrified. Do any of you have a heart out there? I don’t care how secret CPS operations are, we need to get involved.

"I spoke to mama, and she is “fit to be tied.” Can you blame her?
Mama was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace because she was engaged in a verbal confrontation with the slum lord Royal 8 motel manager about the conditions of her room, primarily mold and the bathroom window being bolted shut. She lost her baby for that.

"Oh, they claim she's mentally ill and that she smokes pot. But her son Dean is officially now a million dollar baby, and CPS is officially fucking his head up! 
This has got to become a made for TV movie. It is so bizarre.


By the way, one of mama’s conditions is that she suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She is extremely organized and clean. The mold was probably too much for her especially with Dean in the picture. She loves that baby like no one would ever believe. 
The Royal 8 should be shut down, but then that would add to the nuisances already on the streets.

“Another thing they are using against mama is that she was seen taking Dean to the park. The park is considered a dangerous place because the homeless gather there. It was the only place she had to go to get out of that stinking death trap of a motel room she and Dean were left to live in. 
The Public Health Department allows that death trap of a motel to stay open because they don’t want to have to deal with all the people living there hitting the streets with nowhere to go. 
If that building is red tagged, the County is obligated to provide housing for those who are displaced. HHSA doesn’t want that and neither does the city of Ukiah. Where are they going to go?

“I remember when the death trap was built back in the late 50s early 60s, I lived next door. My initials are still carved in the sidewalk in front of it. Today I cringe just thinking about all the people living there, but it has served as a backstop for hundreds of people who would otherwise be homeless.

It hasn’t been a regular motel for decades, and Social Services is just across the street. How much closer could mama have gotten to CPS? she and Dean traveled through their parking lot everyday on her way to Safeway. She wasn’t hiding.

"I remember another converted Ukiah motel that caught on fire and killed several mentally ill clients who were living there. That happened in the early 80’s. My mother was the manager of the Salvation Army Store just across the street; she knew everyone who died in that building. They were all from the state hospital after it closed.

"My mom can tell you some stories about the history of how Mendocino County and Ukiah treat their mentally ill. She was often the only person many of these people knew and one of the few they believed really cared. They all came to the Salvation Army Store for some reason and it wasn’t just for free handouts; they enjoyed the respect and dignity my mother always treated them with. 
She would allow them to come into her store just to get warm and they enjoyed talking to her. For many it was the only safe place in town."

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A READER passed along this facebook graphic (apparently they call these things “mems.” Apparently the reader thinks there’s a great point to be made in how big the Powerball jackpot has become.


But obviously, and right off, a quick glance shows that the math is way off. That’s not surprising; lots of Americans are very math-challenged. But worse, hundreds of thousands of facebook people don't even realize how far off it is. As we write this there are 253,266 facebook likes and 574,007 facebook shares of this ridiculous calculation. (The population number is low too, but who’s counting?)

An anonymous facebook poster dreamed up the following “counter-meme”:


THERE’S PLENTY WRONG with the Powerball myth, the idea that if you just keep gambling for a bigger and bigger number you’ve somehow got to win, largest among them. (The odds don’t change with subsequent draws.) In fact, the odds of winning the huge jackpot are less than the odds of having your name pulled out of a hat with around 290 million other names. For comparison, the odds of being struck by lightning twice in your lifetime are much better, about 1 in 9 million. As a comic once joked, “The odds of winning the lottery are the same whether you play or not.”

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Robert Cecil Wallis (March 17, 1943 - December 25, 2015) On December 25th, 2015 Robert Cecil Wallis passed away in Redwood Valley with his family and his companion by his side. He was born on March 17th, 1943 in North Hollywood to Marvin and Gladys Wallis. He is survived by his children Robert Cecil Wallis, Jr. (Kara); Richard Wallis and Marsha Harrison (Joel). He is also survived by his brothers, Ron and Roger Wallis. His surviving grandchildren are Robert Cecil Wallis III, Michelle Wallis, Ashley Barney, Brandon Harrison, and Katie Taylor (Bryan). Bob also leaves behind numerous great-grandchildren, including Faith, Preslee and Jameson Barney, Kaylah Harrison, and Makenzy and Tessa Taylor.

Bob moved to Mendocino County in 1957 where he made a long career as a foreman at Crane of Ukiah. He built numerous buildings that are now part of Ukiah's history, including the City of Ukiah Civic Center and the movie theatre. Bob and his wife, Lois, owned and operated the Oaks Cafe‚ in Yorkville for many years prior to their full retirement and the beginning of their travelling adventures. They toured the United States, Mexico, Canada and Alaska. During his travels, Bob enjoyed collecting different types of rocks, fossils and cactuses. He had a true passion for traveling and the outdoors, and wanted to pass that passion on to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Throughout his life his family was always primary with Bob and he cherished every moment he had with them, as did they with him. For the past four years, he travelled with his lifelong friend and companion, Sally Tatum. They travelled the United States, Mexico, and Europe and enjoyed cruises with friends and family. They truly enjoyed each other's company after both losing their spouses to illnesses.

During his final, brief illness, Bob was cared for by his companion Sally and his son Ricky. Close by was his daughter Marsha and his son-in-law, Joel. Bob's spirits were lifted by his many visitors, including his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and Sally's extended family and many caring friends. He is predeceased in death by his parents, his wife of 34 years, Lois M. Wallis, a son who died in infancy, and a sister-in-law, Maggie Wallis.

A Celebration of his Life will take place at a later date.

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No concrete evidence, but I have a feeling it's women mostly driving Amazon, at least in this house. Packages arriving every day, stuff ordered by daughter, wife, nieces, and no matter how mundane, its always a big event when the UPS truck stops in front of the house. Great excitement ensues. “Who’s it for?” Packages are cut open, then the ladies get together and ooh and aah over the latest — today's — purchase, even if its a few pounds of Ethiopian Coffee.

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STEVE HARPER, a long-time resident of Point Arena, has died. Born October 14, 1958 in Washington, Steve passed away on Friday, January 8th. Steve had been a resident of the area for 52 years. Friends and family intend a celebration of Steve's life they will announce. Eversole Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

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Calexico and Mexicali are twin cities on the border of Mexico and California. Calexico, on the California side, has the clean American look with lawns and streets and big motels with lots of neon. The Mexicali side has an unpaved field back quite a ways to some old buildings. I was there to take the train from Mexicali to Mexico City, which left each morning around 11. Now it was evening and I needed to find a place to stay for the night. Prudence spoke first and said "Stay in the bright Best Western on the Calexico side with its lawn sprinklers and neon and take a taxi across the border to the train station in the morning." In twilight, the other side was dark and mysterious and, frankly, very inviting. Adventure argued with prudence, "Well, you came to go to Mexico, so why don't you go in?" The entrance into Mexico consisted of a little turnstile that turned one way only. I did it and had started across the field toward the buildings on the far side when a Mariachi Band came walking by. Five guys all dressed like in the movies. They stopped, very cooly stepped backward, pointed at the instrument I was carrying and said "What's that?" "A dulcimer." "Can you play it?" "Yeah." "Play it." So I did and they started playing, too and we all started smiling and did a little jam right there in the shadow of the fence. I had been in Mexico less than five minutes. "What are you doing here?" "I am taking the train to Mexico City in the morning and need a place to stay tonight. Do you know of any hotels?" Big smiles. "Our friend owns a hotel. Come with us, we'll take you." So we start walking together toward the buildings. The streets are unpaved, the sidewalks are wood and the lights are yellowish brown. It felt very comfortable. When we got to the hotel, we all went in. There was a great deal of conversation in Spanish that I didn't follow but felt ok about. I was handed a huge key and started to say good bye to the musicians when I realized they were all coming upstairs with me. I do a quick When in my head, put the key in the door, open the door and in we all go. There is suddenly quite a scene, yelling and then everyone is running back downstairs. I follow, totally mystified. More yelling and carrying on at the desk and finally I understand that the members of the band had come upstairs to inspect my room. They didn't like it and were now demanding a better room for me, their musician friend! A new key was handed over and we all raced upstairs again to look at the new room. It passed inspection, literally, as these guys checked under the bed, in the bathroom, tried the faucets and looked out the windows. Then, they said in lovely careful English "Tonight we play at a birthday party but we still have some time. Will you come downstairs with us and sit outside on the porch and play some songs?"

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 12, 2016

Bell, Benitez, Couthren
Bell, Benitez, Couthren

JOSHUA BELL, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

EUGENE BENITEZ, Clearlake/Ukiah. Throwing object at vehicle causing injury, resisting.

ZEBULON COUTHREN, Willits. Paraphernalia, injection device, probation revocation.

Day, Lawrence, McGary
Day, Lawrence, McGary

SEAN DAY, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, no license, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.

JESSE MCGARY, Elk. Controlled substance.

Nayak, Stiles, Valley
Nayak, Stiles, Valley

SEEMA NAYAK, Ukiah. DUI. (Dr. Nayak has been in court on DUI charges before. Background from the AVA archives:

REBECCA STILES, Laytonville. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

PHILIP VALLEY SR., Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.

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To the Editor,

As a 21 year citizen of Fort Bragg, I’d like to voice my support for the pending city ordinance, Measure U, which would prevent social service organizations from locating their facilities in the business areas of town. Our community is justified in keeping its downtown areas free from inappropriate interference. I actively support appropriate services for the losers of our community: the gimps, the retardos and crazies, and women who can’t take some constructive guidance from their loving husbands.

Don’t get me going on kids who could benefit from the guidance of a few minor cigarette burns to the soles of the feet.

Although we all feel deep sympathy for failures, it’s inappropriate to allow them excessive liberties; they haven’t lived up to their responsibilities of supporting petroleum companies who have championed the failure of solar energy and the electric car, multibillionaires who are so dedicated to assisting our economic system that they pay no income taxes, and religious heroes like child-molesting priests and Ted Haggard, the widely acclaimed evangelical minister who accidentally snorted crystal-meth so he could attain the spiritual purity to pound a gay, male prostitute in an appropriate place.

To truly support the needy of our community, we must do that which has worked so well in the past — e.g.: provide them with surroundings in which they may truly thrive, as we did for the American Indians; and with free neckties, as we have given to so many of our colored boys.

Alan Little

Fort Bragg

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(The client, the keys, the car, the casino… Not so easy to fire baaaaaad care-takers.)

by Debra Keipp

Even with the welcome rains of El Nino pelting Point Arena's craggy coastline, there persists another nagging drought: a lack of qualified In-Home Support Services care-givers on Mendocino's South Coast to serve the independent elderly and ambulatory disabled still living alone at home.

Redwood Coast Medical Services manages the staffing for the local care-giver pool from the Mendocino County line at Gualala, to Elk. The vehicle for payment of managed care-givers is In-Home Support Services (IHSS), a County entity paying care-givers the hourly wage of merely $11.25, recently increase as of the first of January 1st. Minimum wage in this Country is now $10/hour.

I became acquainted with the Coastal care-giving community while trying over the last couple of years to help an old friend interview local care-givers. I check in with a few friends in need from time to time, do errands, or honey-do's. It's enjoyable to have weekly or monthly events we look forward to attending together. I have never been paid for the care-giving of any of my disabled or elderly friends, or late family.

Years ago when families were larger, with enough family members to care for their own elderly, the County would not pay care-givers within the family unit, living under the same roof, a care-giving fee. Now that's all changed, and for some time, now through In-Home Support Services with the County of Mendocino, family members can be paid this hourly care-giver wage for the care and tending of their own elderly or disabled family members receiving benefits for care.

No system is infallible. Not the least of which is any care-giving system with the County of Mendocino.

One Sonoma County medical worker told me her worst case scenario about care-givers, which pales in comparison to what we experienced recently on the Coast. This medical assistant works in a medical office for psychiatric patients and sees the clients arrive with their care-givers for their doctors' appointments. She says one of the problems of paid family members care-giving their own, is abuse of the time card. Some disabled elders living alone, without virtue of on-site care-giving family members, can easily be bamboozled into “signing off” on the weighted time card of their care-giver, no matter the hours worked vs. submitted. Elder abuse can occur when in-home family members also serving as care-givers pad their time card(s), reflecting a full 40 hour work week, while actually working only 5-10 of those hours per week: 2(meal)hours/day/5 weekdays), which is about average for in home assistance when serving the ambulatory in-home elder. Not always the best candidate to supervise the time card, clients are not trained in “How to Deal with the Difficult Employee”, and probably don't have the personnel skills to supervise questionable hours submitted by “rogue care-takers”, especially when suffering the early signs of dementia. Lack of care reflects in the unhealthy appearance of these at-home elders. In such cases, the “care-taker” makes out like a bandit while the elder gets even less care, she's noticed. It would appear that no care-givers are ever fired, either – so no unemployment can be paid.

Adult Protective Services says that elders receiving care, must sign off on their care-givers' time cards, and unless “clients” are 51/50'd (declared mentally incompetent), even if they have dementia, they are nonetheless responsible for signing off on the time cards of their care-givers/takers. Most obvious is that IHSS's time cards are part of an unsupervised system which leaves a lot of room for elder-victimizing graft.

There is the occasional private pay elder so appreciative of their care that they voluntarily pad the care-giving hours of their in-home personnel as a kind of “tip”, or augmentation for the low-wages offered. I doubt County-paid supported services are any better scrutinized.

On the other side of the coin, caregivers endure no reimbursement for travel using their own vehicles to and from in-home visits: depreciation on their auto for a one hour drive from Elk to Gualala on winding brutal Hwy One - one deserving rationale for padding their time cards. The only time auto miles are reimbursed is in transport of the client to and from bona fide appointments. Devalued women's work mostly, could be the reason for the low wages and only partial travel reimbursement. I suppose care-givers can imagine they are Stepfordian soccer moms, driving happily from here to there – for free.

How'd the old 1960's women's rights ditty go? “A woman's work is never done. Put down the mop and pick up the gun!” (A whole different era in guns, it's still hard to believe it's been almost sixty years since then and a lot longer since the suffragettes, and women are still fightin' for a right to equal pay.)

The IHSS care-taker screening/selection process is sorely lacking as was discovered recently in Point Arena. Here is one story depicting the worst of the Coastal lot in a profession in need of a greater selection of honest, quality, care-giving personnel for our Mendocino independent elderly and disabled in need of In-Home Support Services for only a few hours per day. This is an extreme case, but nonetheless more frequently found with our drug-wasted culture today, and does not attempt to reflect upon those low-paid professionals who serve as conscientious care-giving coastal IHSS staff.

I first knew of Connie in 2012. I'd gone to a packed eatery in Gualala where I had to wait to be seated. It was the birthday of a prominent local woman who sat with all her women friends at the bar. Unfortunately, there was one empty stool at the far end of the bar, next to Connie. She had arrived an hour before me, already drunk, the other women informed me, surreptitiously joining the festive mood by pouring on the vulgarities. She was obviously being avoided by the lot. I found out that night that Connie is a black-out drunk, and the first black-out drunk I've witnessed, first-hand. I could have gone a lifetime without knowing her.

When my food arrived, she laid her head down on the bar, passed-out. I nervously began wolfing my food down to get quickly out of there before she came-to. Too late, I asked the bartender to box up the rest of my food as Connie raised her half-mast eyes from her forearms. Her necklace pendant now stuck to her forehead somehow, she slurred to every woman there, derogatory invectives describing intimate sex acts she wanted to perform on each of us which involved sharing spit. Connie then became angry because, hearing that, the bar cut her off and no one was accepting her propositions. Raised eyebrows all-around, there was no one to give her a ride home then, either.

It's amazing what the human body can endure. Some drinkers upchuck after two drinks, prone to alcohol poisoning. Black-out drunks can walk and talk and drive cars while all the while “blacked-out” with no memory of their actions. Scarey brain/oxygen/sugar science; some blame alcoholism on lack of Niacin; while “recreational drinkers” joke that it is a disease of the elbow. Connie swears she doesn't remember a thing she does when she is blacked-out drunk. She waves-off all responsibility for her unsolicited mostly sexual vulgarities with a shrug of her shoulders as though someone else had inhabited her body during her hours of abuse; in absolution of any incongruities, refusing to believe we experienced what we tolerated, or not.

At morning tea on one of the last days of the year, one of our friends poured out her Connie the Care-tweaker story from the night before. (In this case, “tweaker” pertains to prescription drugs taken with alcohol; not crank.) Apparently Connie arrived at the home of this client to crash, after drinking two bottles of wine, where she then stripped naked and laid on the bed, demanding sexual favors. My brave, kind friend hid Connie's car keys and wisely called Connie's sober “keeper” to come get her. While they waited the 45 minute-drive for the sober driver to arrive, Connie proceeded with her same pattern, which is to get violent when she doesn't get what she demands as she sputters out like a burning comet. She pushed our friend, throwing a few of her possessions. Keep in mind this is/was one of Connie's in-home care clients she chose to abuse. Victimizing the vulnerable whom she'd become familiar with through hospice, her schemata.

During her drunken me-lay, Connie happened to call another of our friends sitting at tea, who picked up her phone during tea to replay the audio phone message from Connie, who slurred barely recognizable words. I commented that she sounded worse than drunk. To which I was informed that what I was hearing was Connie tweaking on pills. That made sense - her wanting to work only in homes with a well-stocked medicine cabinet. (Another frail friend who received care from Connie squeaked to me, “I told ya something wasn't adding up! It was the number of pills in my medicine cabinet!”) When drunk, Connie admits she tries to affiliate herself with prescription drugs in whatever way she can through clients; through work. As it goes in hospice, two of Connie's former clients had recently suffered the death of their partners/spouses, where narcotic pain killers were available in the home during hospice. Hospice is not always good about collecting hospice drugs once patients have died. Connie swooped in to “serve” one individual just after one spousal death, trying to dislodge a care-giver already working in the home by maligning her derogatorily to the family. The family had to fire them both until they could figure out who the offender was.

I found the supervisor for the local caregivers installing a new life alert at a friend's home, and told him about the “beating” our friend/his client took at the hands of Connie. I asked him about recourse and he said to file a report with 911. He stood right there when the call was made and gave me the care-giver's phone number to get the Sheriff's Dept. to file a report. The Sheriff's Department sent a Deputy who helpfully demonstrated admirable people skills showing great sensitivity, as well. He spoke with both women and suggest TRO's all around, advising both to stay away from the other.

Adult Protective Services in Fort Bragg was informed and they will be removing Connie from the care-giver rolls coming from their office, (not necessarily based on her previous arrest record, but) due to several subsequent complaints, and to prevent her future solicitation through RCMS via IHSS, the organization cutting the paychecks for all care-givers.

However, the APS social worker said, if there are private payer clients out there who know she's still working, but don't know how troubled she is, they can still hire her, and she will continue to submit her time card, getting paid through IHSS. (Note that the County “cannot fire her”, but will discontinue calling her from their call lists by removing her name. Is that so they don't have to pay unemployment?) The APS social worker recommended contacting relatives of the elderly involved, and warning them about her potential for what the County calls “problematic behavior”. Translation: on the job drinking, doping, lying about and padding hours. But maybe not mention accessing homes when not scheduled, taking sexual liberties with elderly clients, drunk driving with and without clients in the car and sometimes with their cars? Connie may simply be in the wrong field. I'm sure somewhere her services are in great demand, but I don't think Redwood Coast Medical Services is insured for Connie's type of care!

Connie worked for one family who sold the elder's only mode of transportation soon after she drunk drove in the elder's vehicle to and from the Casino, where the elder would pay for all the food, alcohol, and gambling – for Connie, too. After several drinks that led to suggestive questionable... errrr aaaa... Let's just say the family fired her because they weren't paying for her to be dated by dad. The Casino escapades were only a scratch on the surface of that troubled pond. Even after being fired, she'd show up to write her name in the log book at the elder's home. Last time it happened on a day the elder wasn't even at home. The schedule said a replacement care-giver was scheduled for dinner – with no lunch.) In the log book Connie wrote that she spent an hour there eating lunch with “her client” – who was not only eating lunch at the Sr. Center, but was no longer her client after she'd been fired weeks earlier! Is this woman screaming for help? How bad does it have to get?

Recently, her relentless behavior earned her a new name. Those through the elder community have renamed her “The Tick”, because “it's difficult to get rid of her, and she usually leaves a mark”.

Several months ago, she used “borrowed keys” to let herself into neighbors' homes, next to clients where she was hired to work. The witness was another client being driven by Connie to the grocery, who was asked to wait in the car so Connie could “go in here for a minute”. Neighbors often have a spare set of keys at the homes of each other in case of lock-out. Connie went to a client's home when no one was home, where she got the labeled keys to the next door neighbor's home. Both neighbors were away attending the Sr. Center lunch. She then entered the neighboring home without invitation by the owner to go snoop before returning the keys back to her client's home and locking same prior to leaving again. Never having done any actual work for the client nor the neighbor who has no previous acquaintance with Connie, and never hired her to work as care-giver, either.

Even though Connie is currently on probation from her previous arrest, she continues to drink – a violation of her probation. IHSS hired Connie after she lost her job at the school district subsequent to a lewd and lascivious/drunk in public violation she'd committed several months earlier. She had been a special education aid in the elementary school at the time of her arrest and booked into Mendocino County Jail. The parents of one child whom Connie had aided, appalled when she chased one parent down Main Street to argue against Connie having lost her job. According to Connie herself, she was their child's best choice for an aid. It appears she gravitates toward the vulnerable she victimizes in a bit of a psychotic way, never admitting she's acted inappropriately, put it mildly. She doesn't seem to be in a court-ordered recovery program of any kind currently, however.

Since the screening process for IHSS applicants is fingerprinting, it kinda seems as if their prints come up on the national data base for murderers or whatever; only then will a non-hire ensue? Maybe and perhaps. Things are a big bit different in Mendocino County where total “acceptance” is often just around the corner. What is unacceptable for care-givers' previous arrest records, is still vague. Makes ya wonder if IHSS's “new hire” is going to impact the security, as well as quality of care of the South Coast's in-home care clients.

What are families using IHSS and living on this remote Coast to do about finding quality care for their in-home elders, if they are not present to witness the level of care delivered?

If you have an elderly relative living without occasional adult supervision by a non-paid individual checking in to observe now and then, and provide better balanced care, you might be able to see why some relatives resort to a video camera in the home, even if only as a temporary measure to determine quality of care. It's never a good idea to place a hidden camera in the bedroom or bath for obvious reasons of ethics and privacy. The kitchen is a safe site to ascertain (while off-site), what particular quality of care is received by your elderly or disabled loved ones living alone and possibly in the early stages of senility. You don't have to be subversive. Post a note on the kitchen counter saying there is a camera in use, if you want, so employees can put their best foot forward. Technology controls should be locked away in a cupboard somewhere away from access by care-givers/visitors as with intruders into the home, etc. Some suggest that a note saying there is a hidden camera in use and one locked closet, could be enough – without the camera.

Most important to note? Do you feel confident your elder receives competent healthy in-home care? Is the elder getting fed, and what are they eating? Are care-givers working when they say they are, and are their hours appropriately reflected in their time card? Is your senior's emotional condition helped or hampered by the care-giver visits? Who's eating the meds? Is the house money accounted for and kept within camera frame, or a locked safe? Guns, too?

I wish I could say that Connie's problems stem from care-giving itself. But she had long-term party problems compounded by her addictions long before she began a career in care-taking. Some care-givers experience PTSD from chronic crisis management and don't even know it. Always putting out fires in their line of work – stemming the flow, quite literally, of blood in some instances related to hospice... can leave its own mark. It's traumatizing over the long term, trying to get visual pictures out of one's head after an experience like that. It's a trauma similar to that of combat veterans. The pictures are difficult not to remember.

More of a care-taker than a care-giver, Connie the Care-Tweaker appears purely motivated by the hidden bennies from her profession. Hopefully, though, she's now retired from that work.

May all your care-givers be the equal of unsung heroes. Florence Nightingale types – although Florence was from affluence, not just having to scrape by like our local underpaid Coastal care-givers on $11.25/hour for devalued women's work.

* * *



William Weyand Turner of San Rafael, a former FBI agent who wrote books critical of J. Edgar Hoover, died Dec. 26 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

by Paul Liberatore

William Weyand Turner of San Rafael, a former FBI agent who wrote books critical of J. Edgar Hoover and became a senior editor of the “New Left” literary and political magazine Ramparts, died Dec. 26 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 88.

Mr. Turner worked as an FBI special agent for 10 years until Hoover fired him in 1961 for testifying before Congress, calling for an investigation into the bureau’s extensive wiretapping.

As an agent, he testified, he made hundreds of wiretaps on telephones and frequently broke into homes and businesses to plant hidden microphones in what were called “black bag” operations.

In his 1970 book “Hoover’s FBI,” Mr. Turner alleged that the FBI under Hoover had a misplaced focus on the so-called communist menace and was reluctant to prosecute organized crime.

“For nearly four decades, he (Hoover) stuck his head in the sand while the crime syndicates waxed fat,” he wrote.

After leaving the FBI, Mr. Turner worked as a freelance journalist, writing investigative pieces on the JFK assassination. That led to him becoming a part of the controversial assassination investigation led by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.

In 1968, while living in Mill Valley, Mr. Turner ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Sixth District as an anti-Vietnam War candidate. He also called for a new investigation into the Kennedy assassination and for the reform of the CIA, citing “the over-inflation of our so-called security establishments and the right-wing mentality that directs it.”

As a senior editor at Ramparts, he penned exposes on the FBI, the CIA’s infiltration of student groups and what he called “the police establishment.” Slick and graphically sophisticated for a radical magazine, Ramparts was published from 1962 through 1975. One of the books Mr. Turner co-authored, “The 10 Second Jailbreak,” was made into a movie, “Breakout,” starring Charles Bronson.

In his 2001 memoir, “Rearview Mirror: Looking Back at the FBI, the CIA and Other Tails,” Mr. Turner revisited the significant stories and investigations of his career. A review in Foreword Reviews said: “Turner’s disconcerting investigations are reasoned and his lucid writing is not the rambling of an irrational conspiracy nut.”

Born in 1927 in Buffalo, N.Y., Mr. Turner served in the Navy during World War II and subsequently earned a degree in chemistry from Canisius College in Buffalo, playing goalie on the school’s hockey team. He was drafted by the NHL’s New York Rangers, but opted to become an FBI agent.

Mr. Turner is survived by his wife of 51 years, Margaret, two children, Mark and Lori, two sisters, Janet and Maggie, three grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Isabella’s Catholic Church, 1 Trinity Way, San Rafael.

(Courtesy, the Marin Independent Journal)

* * *


Dispatch from Hanoi, 12/29/15

by David Bacon

On the plane to Hanoi earlier this month, I opened my copy of the New York Times to find an article by Dave Philipps: "After 60 Years, B-52's Still Dominate the U.S. Fleet." The piece stuck with me for weeks as I traveled through north Vietnam, trying to unravel U.S. amnesia towards the people of this country and what they call "the American war."

Philipps ends with a quote from a former South Vietnamese Navy officer, Phuoc Luong. "American technology is super," he tells him. "It's a great plane. In Vietnam we didn't use it enough. That's why we lost."

If anyone knows the B-52, it's the people of Hanoi. The enormous planes bombed them day and night for twelve days at Christmas in 1972. Today there's a museum dedicated to the bomber, and the wreckage of one still sits in a small lake in the middle of the city.

When I tried to imagine what it was like living amid the constant deafening explosions, I found an earlier article in the archives of Mr. Philipps' newspaper that gives an idea. It describes a visit by Telford Taylor, who'd been a judge at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, folksinger Joan Baez, and two other U.S. citizens in 1972. They'd gone to Hanoi that Christmas to deliver mail to pilots of those B-52s. Some had managed to survive being shot down while delivering President Nixon's brutal holiday greeting, and then were apprehended by the people they'd been bombing.

The visitors described their fear in the midst of cataclysmic destruction, and their subsequent journey through the city and its ruins. "The most horrible scene that I've ever seen in my life was when we visited the residential area of Khan Thieu [sic], and as far as I could see, everything was destroyed," mourned Yale University Divinity School associate dean Michael Allen.

Thirty years later another Times writer, Laurence Zuckerman, also wrote about this iconic airplane: "The B-52's Psychological Punch: The Enemy Knows You're Serious." Zuckerman was reacting to a documentary on the B-52s by filmmaker Harmut Bitomsky. Zuckerman's piece was not exactly a paean to the aging airplane, but like Philipps, he couldn't quite hide a certain admiration for its long life.

The B-52 was built originally in the early 1950s to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. Since then it's carried "conventional" bombs, releasing them instead over people and homes in dozens of other countries. "It is the longevity and versatility of the giant bomber, which started flying in 1952 and is expected to remain in service until 2037, that is so fascinating," Zuckerman commented.

While both writers carefully note that carpet bombing inspired massive protests both in the U.S. and internationally, what's glaringly absent in their pieces is any sense of what it means to be under the B-52, on its receiving end.

The Christmas bombing of Vietnam was a war crime. No U.S. official was ever tried and punished for it, and it was as irrational as it was savage. The negotiations for the U.S. troop withdrawal from South Vietnam would reach a conclusion within a few weeks of it. Could some minute extraction of leverage in those talks have been worth the deaths of more than a thousand Vietnamese?

Throughout the eight years in which the U.S. bombed North Vietnam, its bombers had few military targets. One airman quoted by Philipps tried to claim that bombing nevertheless had some strategic value: "We're doing a lot more than killing monkeys and making kindling wood out of the jungle," he claimed. The B-52s targets, however, were people and the infrastructure that held their lives together. U.S. planes bombed dikes to try to cause flooding in Hanoi and the countryside. They bombed the Long Bien railroad bridge - the link that brought food and coal into Hanoi so that people could eat and keep warm.

The B-52s and their accompanying F-4s and F-14s bombed the small town of Sapa in the hills north of Hanoi, near the Chinese border. Sapa is the cultural center for many of Vietnam's ethnic minorities. It has no military value. Why bomb it, if the purpose was not to terrorize people and extract revenge for their defiance?

Traveling through the north, I sometimes asked ordinary people - taxi drivers or restaurant workers - what I should see in Hanoi. Mostly they'd tell me to go to the Army Museum. One morning I did, and I could see why. On the ground outside the main halls are captured tanks, a Huey helicopter, and rows of bombs. In the courtyard pieces of shot-down planes have been welded together into a tower, topped by the tail assembly of a U.S. jet.

Kids are climbing all over them. At the museum entrance sits an old MIG fighter the Vietnamese got from the Soviet Union. Parents send their children up a small ladder bolted to the side, and there they pose for iPhone pictures, next to the 14 red stars painted on the fuselage, each representing a U.S. plane it shot down.

It was a moment for conflicting feelings. I was glad to see the instruments of war surrounded by happy families - no war anymore. Then I thought about the pilot of the MIG. How terrifying it must have been to fly up into the anti-aircraft and missile fire above Hanoi and shoot at the B-52s and their phalanx of fighter escorts. And then I realized, it must have been terrifying for the U.S. pilots too. Eighty four planes were shot down over Vietnam during the Christmas bombing, including 34 of the giant Stratofortresses, according to the museum.

Today's remote controlled wars, with drones guided from computer screens in Colorado, seem antiseptic by comparison -- for the pilots. Not so for those under the bombs. For people living in the ancient cities of Sana'a or Kunduz, the reality today is much as it was for people in Hanoi that Christmas.

I believe people also had another reason for urging me to go to the museum. Hanoi has long since been rebuilt. In the city and its environs Vietnam is on a building binge, and the impact of the war is no longer so visible. Children born during the Christmas bombing are celebrating their 43rd birthdays.

People walk through the Army Museum exhibit halls, mostly lined with photographs showing all the things they did during that war. Some show Central Committee meetings that made the decision to fight the Americans. Some show people in demonstrations, especially in the South, demanding that the foreigners leave. Some show the hard work of people in the north, sending food and soldiers south to drive them out. There are many portraits of people killed, or imprisoned in the infamous tiger cages, for fighting the U.S. and the South Vietnamese government it propped up until the last helicopter took off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy on May 1, 1975.

But despite the bombing and the meticulous documentation of the war's terrible cost, I felt little hostility or bitterness in the people I met. In the end, they'd won. How could the war's planners back in Washington have thought it would turn out otherwise? The Vietnamese were no latecomers to insurrectionary organizing. They were hardly ignorant or apolitical countryfolk, although this was certainly the prevalent stereotype in Congress and the Pentagon.

The Army Museum is focused on the American war. But the half dozen other museums in Hanoi that also document Vietnam's revolutionary history make plain how long liberation took. Sophisticated political organizations took decades to mature and gain experience. By the time of the U.S. intervention, they'd been at it for many, many years. That experience finally brought about the U.S. defeat.

If anything, the Vietnamese official history on display in museums is even angrier with France than with the U.S. Long rooms and galleries of photographs show the nationalists and their first resistance to the French colonizers starting in 1858. It joined the rising revolutionary wave of the early 20th century, and crystallized in the launch of the Indochinese Communist Party in the 1930s.

Hanoi's Hoa Lo monument (now largely overshadowed by a new office and residential complex) preserves the prison where the anti-French resisters were held. In the cells of the old French Maison Centrale, dioramas of prisoners in manacles and leg irons shout at their jailers with their fists raised. Two guillotines, used to chop the heads off those who couldn't escape, sit in dark corners of this and the official history museum. Even the women's museum has a floor dedicated to those imprisoned by the French.

That history of resistance went on far longer than the U.S. war - almost a hundred years. During much of it Ho Chi Minh was not even in Vietnam to lead it. He was first an itinerant sailor, then in Moscow working for the Comintern, and finally was sent to one country after another, to jumpstart movements like those that had already begun in his own country. While it's possible to see why western governments feared and demonized him as a hardened revolutionary, the Vietnamese resistance movements were not dependent on any single person. The final defeat of the U.S., in fact, came several years after Ho had died.

The language used to demonize Vietnam's Communists and nationalists by those they sought to overthrow was just as vituperative as that used in the U.S. Congress against Muslim radicals today. Terrorist, after all, was a term used to describe anarchists and socialists for over a century. That language of terrorism and the cold war was used to create hysteria that easily justified sending U.S. advisors, and then troops, into Vietnam once the French had been defeated in 1954. Ultimately, it was used to justify the B-52s and the 1972 Christmas bombing. It cost millions of Vietnamese lives, and tens of thousands of U.S. lives as well.

When President Reagan and his successors sought to overcome the "Vietnam Syndrome" to make later interventions acceptable, they once again used that language. It justifies even today's use of the B-52s, 63 years after they began flying. The U.S. Air Force has no intention of retiring the 76 remaining planes in its fleet. In fact, the successors to General Curtis ("Bomb them back to the stone age") LeMay now want to deploy them in Syria.

They are institutionally unwilling to remember. Bombing did not defeat the Vietnamese. Phuoc Luong is wrong. More B-52s would not have won that war. They will not win any new war against a people willing to do whatever it takes to survive and win.

Walking through the streets of Hanoi, I could see see why. One morning I went out to Long Bien Bridge to take photographs at sunrise. The trains going north leave downtown Hanoi just as it gets light. It's a great moment to see them emerge from the warren of houses next to the tracks, their old cars flashing past as they set out across the long span over the Red River.

Long Bien is an old bridge, and was one of the four great bridges of the world when it was built in 1902. A plaque at one end reminds the commuters who trundle past on bicycles and scooters that it was built by Gustav Eiffel, who used the same iron that went into his tower along the Seine in Paris. During the American war it was probably the one structure U.S. bombers could clearly see from on high, and they blew it apart over and over.

Down below the bridge abutment is the Long Bien market, where many of the city's fruit and vegetable sellers go to meet farmers bringing produce into the city. As I took pictures of the train and the stalls below, I tried to imagine the columns of smoke, the deafening roar of jet engines and then explosions, the screams of people torn to shreds with their dogs, their pushcarts and melons.

As the trains passed I wondered if the locomotives were the same as those that must have been repaired a thousand times during the war. They look old. Despite the glitz of Hanoi's new wave of foreign investment, Vietnam is still a poor country. Things must be saved and reused again and again, including railroad cars and bridges.

I felt that persistence as the sun came up. It's why the bombing, despite its immense destruction, failed so utterly.

* * *

In the 38th Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards David Bacon won first-place in the photo series category for his August 6, 2014 cover story for the East Bay Express, "Living on the Streets of Oakland," a photo essay that examined the situation of homeless people in the Bay Area's third largest city.

* * *


by Bruce Lesnick

I wholeheartedly support the populist programs that Bernie Sanders advocates—from single-payer healthcare, to free college tuition, to taxing the rich and more. But borrowing from Malcolm X, Bernie is a house socialist and I’m a field socialist.

Bernie doesn’t want to replace or overthrow capitalism. Like all house socialists, he thinks capitalism can be fixed or tamed with reforms. By contrast, we field socialists understand that the essence of capitalism — private ownership of major industry, resources, banks, and the exploitation of labor by appropriating surplus value (profit) — is antithetical to democracy. In fact, for all of Bernie’s talk about “democratic socialism”, he and other house socialists turn a blind eye to the lack of economic democracy that is the very hallmark of the capitalist system. Because Bernie is in favor of tweaking capitalism but opposed to dismantling it, he ignores the systemic lack of democracy in the workplace and the economy — the very aspects that most affects people’s lives.

Bernie rightly denounces the unequal distribution of wealth, where the top 1% owns more than the rest combined. But like all house socialists, Bernie fails to identify important institutions as being controlled by and serving the interests of the 1%. Congress, the Democratic and Republican parties, the national media, the police and the military are all captives of the 1%. In a class-divided society, all important institutions are wielded as tools of the dominant class. Field socialists understand that these institutions answer only to the needs of the 1%, even though much effort is made by official propagandists to convince us that they serve us all. Bernie and other house socialists aid the 1% in the criminal charade of pretending that government institutions, the police and the military exist and operate independent of the class divisions in our society.

This is why it’s no surprise that Bernie and other like-minded house socialists are military hawks. They see the US army as “our” army rather than a weapon of the 1%. This is why Bernie has voted for nearly every war appropriations bill. This is why Bernie supports drones and US military involvement in the Middle East; why he supported military action in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. This is why Bernie supported sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s that caused the deaths of more than half a million children and he supported US military action in Kosovo in 1999. This is why Bernie refuses to denounce the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine but supports billions in military aid for Israel, Saudi Arabia and other brutal US client states that serve to extend the reach and protect the interests of the 1% overseas.

Field socialists oppose imperial war-making, understanding that the individuals and institutions of the 1% that exploit us here at home cannot be trusted to defend our interests abroad. In contrast to the hawkish house socialists, field socialists demand: “All US Troops Out Now!” “Dismantle All US Military Bases Abroad!” “Not One Bomb, Not One Bullet for the Wars of the One Percent!” “Money for Jobs, Not for War!” (For a complete field socialist election platform, see here.)

Because house socialists like Bernie limit their critique to reforms of the existing system, they are unable to propose concrete, workable solutions for the big problems we face. Take climate change, for example. Sure, house socialists say we must do more. But they emphasize tweaking economic incentives in the hope of persuading energy monopolies to change their behavior. House socialists support keeping the energy industry in the hands of private, profit-mad corporations. But gentle persuasion hasn’t changed corporate behavior up to now and we shouldn’t expect it to succeed in the future. As long as there are profits to be made by disregarding rules and incentives, corporations will do so. No incentives and no amount of persuasion can induce a leopard to change its spots; you have to replace the leopard. (For a field socialist analysis of climate change and the energy monopolies, see here.)

Few Americans realize that there are different kinds of socialists. Since house socialists are less of a threat to the powers-that-be, they tend to get a wider hearing than field socialists. In many European countries, house socialist parties have mass followings. House socialists have served as prime ministers in France, Sweden, Portugal, Norway, Luxemburg and elsewhere. Yet, capitalism hums merrily along in Europe as in most of the rest of the world. If electing house socialists to high office made a crucial difference to addressing global injustice, climate change or endless war, we would have seen it by now.

Unfortunately, there’s no field socialist to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. Nor do we in the US yet have a mass labor party — rooted in the working class and linked to fighting trade unions — which could serve as a real alternative to the parties of the 1%. Given this void, it’s not surprising that those fed up with the status quo might put their hopes in Bernie Sanders, a house socialist seeking to be the leader of a big-business party. But beware: while a vote for the house socialist candidate of a capitalist party might make some people feel good, no one should expect it to change much.

(Bruce Lesnick is a long-time political activist who lives and writes in Washington State. He blogs at He can be reached at Courtesy,

* * *


by Jorge Carrera Andrade


En las librerías no hay libros,

en los libros no hay palabras,

en las palabras no hay esencia:

hay sólo cáscaras.


Lienzos pintados y fetiches

hay en los museos y salas.

En la Academia hay sólo discos

Para las más furiosas danzas.


En las bocas hay sólo humo,

En los ojos sólo distancias.

Hay un tambor en cada oído.

En la mente bosteza el Sáhara.


Nada nos libra del desierto.

Del tambor nada nos salva.

Libros pintados se deshojan,

leves cáscaras de la Nada.

* * *


by Jorge Carrera Andrade


In bookstores there are no books,

in books no words,

in words no essence:

there are only husks.


In museums and waiting rooms

are painted canvases and fetishes.

In the Academy there are only recordings

of the wildest dances.


In mouths there is only smoke,

in the eyes only distance.

There is a drum in each ear.

A Sahara yawns in the mind.


Nothing frees us from the desert.

Nothing saves us from the drum.

Painted books shed their pages,

becoming husks of Nothing.

(Translated by Steven Ford Brown)

* * *


by James Kunstler

It looks like 2016 will be the year that humanfolk learn that the stuff they value was not worth as much as they thought it was. It will be a harrowing process because a great many humans are abandoning ownership of things that are rapidly losing value — e.g. stocks on the Shanghai exchange — and stuffing whatever “money” they can recover into the US dollar, the assets and usufructs of which are also going through a very painful reality value adjustment.

Of course this calls into question foremost exactly what money is, and the answer is: basically a narrative construct. In other words, a story explaining why we behave the way we do around certain things. Some parts of the story have a closer relationship with reality than other parts. The part about the US dollar has a rather weak connection.

When various authorities — the BLS, the Federal Reserve, The New York Times — state that the US economy is “strong,” we can translate that to mean giant companies listed on the stock exchanges are able to put up a Potemkin façade of soundness. For instance, The company continues to seem like a good idea. And it reinforces that idea in the collective imagination by sending a lot of low-priced goods to your door, (all bought on credit cards), which rings your (nearly) instant gratification bell. This has prompted investors to gobble up Amazon stock.

It’s well-established by now that the “brick-and-mortar” retail operations are majorly sucking wind. Meaning, fewer people are driving to the Target store and venues like it to buy stuff. Supposedly, they are buying stuff at Amazon instead. What interests me in that story is the idea that every single object purchased these days has a UPS journey attached to it. Of course, people also drive to the Target store, though I doubt they leave the place with just one thing.

That dynamic ought to call into question just how people are living in the USA, and the answer to that is: spread out all over the place in a suburban sprawl living arrangement that has poor prospects for being reformed or mitigated. Either you drive yourself to the Target store for a slow-cooker and a few other things, or Amazon has to send the brown truck to each and every house. Either way includes an insane amount of transport, and sooner or later both the brick-and-mortar chain store model and the Amazon home delivery model will fail.

Now I don’t believe that will be the end of retail trade, but it will open the door for a painful transition to whatever the next iteration of retail trade will be. Probably much smaller and more local with less stuff. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine a resolution of that without also imagining a transition away from suburbia. The loss of faith in the suburban disposition of things will probably represent the greatest loss of perceived wealth in human history — which is how it should be, since it also happened to be the greatest misallocation of resources in human history. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and now its time has passed.

I suppose the loss of faith in value of all kinds will play out sequentially. It is starting in financial “assets” because so many of these are just faith-based stories, and in this quant-and-algo age it has gotten awfully hard to tell what is good story and what is just a swindle. One wonders, for example, how many well-dressed young people at the bond desks have been able to pawn off sub-prime car loans bundled into giant, tranched bonds with attractive yields to hapless counterparts at the asset allocation desks of the pension funds and insurance companies. My guess is the situation is at least just as bad as it was 2007.

The problem is that when this sucker goes down, to paraphrase the immortal words of George W. Bush, you have to wonder how much other stuff of everyday life for everyday people it will take down with it. The discovery phase of our predicament began ever so crisply in the very first business week of the new year. I’m going to hazard to predict that the damage halts briefly in mid-winter and then resumes with a vengeance in March. This may give thoughtful people a chance to rest and assess.

(James Kunstler’s third World Made By Hand novel “The Harrows of Spring” is available! The Fourth and Final “A History of the Future” is complete 
and in production for May 2016 publication.)

* * *

AUDITION WORKSHOP FOR ACTORS. Acting teacher Dan Kozloff will conduct an audition workshop on Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 1pm to 4pm at the Mendocino Theatre Company.

Participants should bring a memorized monologue. Dan will present some tips about auditioning and will coach the actors to improve their confidence and their effectiveness, so that they can make the best impression possible when demonstrating their “castability” to the directors of the 2016 season.

All actors 12 years and older are welcome. Suggested donation is $10.

Please sign up by calling the theatre office, 707-937-2718. Space is limited.

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VOTER REGISTRATION THIS SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2016: Everyone is welcome to Register To Vote at the Saturday, January 16th Pay N' Take SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2016 - Pay N' Take - 8:30am - 12:00pm Gualala Community Center, Center Street, Gualala, CA 95445 Voter Registration forms are in English and in Spanish, and are for Mendocino and Sonoma counties. You must be 18 years old by June 7, 2016 to vote in the Primary. You must be a United States citizen and a resident of Mendocino or Sonoma counties. Please bring your Drivers License and/or Social Security number. If you have moved or changed your name since you last voted, you must re-register. If you are registered for any party other than Democrat or Republican, and you want to vote in the June Primary, you must re-register as a Democrat or a Republican. For more information: 707-884-4703 and Voting is Empowering, Patriotic, and a Right and a Privilege. Let's honor the thousands of people who marched, fought and died for the Right To Vote. Let your voice be heard. Your VOTE counts and does make a difference! Voting rights are CIVIL RIGHTS!

* * *


Hey Editor,

You must take Marco McLean with a lot of grains of salt. Is he kidding about Queenmary still being on the "Program Council"?? WHAT "PROGRAM COUNCIL"? They don't even have one. What they must do is have A Real Program Council, that is NOT "Advisory" like it was with queenmary. It was only a "Program Council" in name only, 'cause it was MARY'S Programing ADVISORY Committee, period. Which meant, that Queenmary controlled it, totally, and no one else had a damn thing to say about it. That is how she could keep people like me, and many others, canned, damned and BANNED for all those many years. Thank The Goddess that she will soon be gone. But, I do agree with Marco that Lorraine Dechter has a hard row to hoe, as the Queenmary Culture is still alive and well through Rich, David Steffen, and the weak, ineffectual Boards, that they always have. Always. too, too bad and how very sad. The Burning Question is: Will KXYX/Z ever be People's Community Radio, representing ALL The People, ever? A truly democratic station? Ever? Only if ALL the listeners get involved in making it so!

Yasmin Solomon


* * *

FINANCIALLY STRAPPED MOTORISTS are catching a break through the state’s traffic citation amnesty law, which began in October and gives discounts of up to 80 percent on unpaid traffic tickets due before Jan. 1, 2013. The law was passed in September after advocates for the downtrodden urged the Legislature to lessen the effect of some of the nation’s heaviest traffic violation fines.

Three measures, passed last session, provide relief to motorists in trouble:

  1. Senate Bill 85 requires counties to implement an amnesty program. Amnesty runs through March 31, 2017.
  2. Assembly Bill 1151 provides a way for drivers facing parking ticket fines to pay by installments.
  3. Senate Bill 405 allows drivers to contest fines before paying the fine by a set deadline and gives those in arrears more time to make good. The previous law made it difficult for drivers to contest tickets and added penalties for prolonged pay periods. Traffic tickets for $35 violations were turning into $200-plus fines once a state fee, a court cost fee and a county assessment were tacked on.

* * *

JOIN US FOR PHOTO OP as we turn in our petitions for the Charter initiative on 1/19/16 at 2:oo pm. The Charter Project of Mendocino County is proud to announce that we have successfully gathered over 4000 signatures to get a charter question on the June 2016 ballot. The question will be, “Shall a charter commission be elected to propose a Mendocino County charter?” We will submit the signatures to the Registrar of Voters at the County Administration Center at 501 Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah on Tuesday, January 19th about 2pm. Only 2502 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot, and the excess signatures will compensate for whichever signatures were disqualified as invalid. Invalid signatures are either duplicates, from out of county, those who forgot at which home address they were registered, those who forgot to sign, unregistered voters and those who registered to vote on a date later than the date on the petition. The registrar of Voters will take 30 days to validate every signature. General Law counties are mere subdivisions of the State. Article XI of the California Constitution provides a path for counties to increase their local sovereignty with a home rule charter. The Charter Project of Mendocino County is a coalition of people who want Mendocino to join the 14 other California counties that have established home rule charters. We believe that a home rule charter will serve to protect Mendocino County from nationwide economic downturns and safeguard the scenic beauty and natural resources from undue corporate exploitation. The greatest advantage to a home rule charter is that provisions of the charter have the same force and effect as state law [Art XI, §3(a)]. That means that whatever we write into the charter, once approved by the voters, will be equal to state law, but applicable only to our county. Come join us at 2pm on Tuesday, January 19th to submit the signatures to the Registrar of Voters. And VOTE YES for a 2:00 appointment.


The Charter Project, Mendocino

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The Mendocino County Homeless Services (MCHS) Continuum of Care will be conducting its annual unsheltered Point-In-Time Count which will begin at sunset on January 27, 2016, and run through the following week. The Point-In-Time Count is a requirement of United States Department of Housing and Urban Development funding, of which Mendocino County receives over $2 million annually for housing and homeless services for people who are experiencing homelessness in our community. The data received through this count will help our local community to identify needs and develop planning to address those persons experiencing homelessness throughout Mendocino County.

The Continuum of Care is a group of agencies that consist of social service providers, non-profit agency staff, faith-based organizations, concerned community members; Health and Human Services staff. These individuals and agencies come together to help address the needs of those who are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk. This undertaking requires a lot of individuals, performing a lot of different tasks in both preparation for this event, as well as surveying individuals and families experiencing homelessness..

If you would like to get involved, please contact Garry Colson at: or Sandi Canaday at:


  1. LouisBedrock January 13, 2016

    There’s an old joke about a Christian missionary somewhere in Kenya. As he delivers his speech designed to convert the people of the small village to Christianity, he is greeted by an enthusiastic response:

    —Oongawah! Oongawah!

    —Christ is our only Savior.

    —Oongawah! Oongawah!

    —Through Him and only through Him may you find eternal life.

    —Oongawah! Oongawah!

    —You must reject those false Gods and embrace only Jesus.

    —Oongawah! Oongaway!

    Proud of his success in the village, the missionary asks the Chief for directions to the next village.

    —Pass carefully through the Forest of Sleeping Tigers. Cross bridge over River of Ravenous Fish. Walk through Field of Frolicking Elephants—be sure not to step in the oongawah.

    I recalled this joke while listening to Obama’s farewell “State of the Onion” speech.

    —So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse. We just might surprise the cynics again.

    —Oongawah. Oongawah.

    —And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

    —Oongawah. Oongawah.

    —What was true then can be true now. Our unique strengths as a nation — our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation, our diversity and commitment to the rule of law — these things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come.

    —Oongawah. Oongawah.

    —Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.

    —Oongawah. Oongaway.

    An hour of oongawah. Pure oongawah. Nothing but oongawah.

    Obama is full of Oongawah. His Affordable Care Act is oongawah. His foreign policy is oongawah. His educational policy implemented by that master of oongawah, Arnie Duncan, is unadulterated oongawah. Timothy Geithner, John Kerry—oongawah.

    Samantha Power, Victoria Nuland, Hillary Clinton—the three witches of The State Department: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious oongawah.

    American politics is oongawah. American exceptionalism is oongawah. American history/mythology, pure oongawah.

    American gods are oongawah.

    Hail oongawah, full of oongawah, oongawah be with you.

    • Harvey Reading January 13, 2016

      Bipartisanship is contrary to democracy. It is nothing but code for, “Shut up and support the goals of the wealthy.”

      • LouisBedrock January 13, 2016

        Bipartisanship is oongawah.

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 13, 2016

      The fact that you were able to endure the entire oongawah is amazing. I inadvertently turned on the TV during his oongawah and within seconds, before I could switch from TV to DVD input, was overcome with nausea. And I’m not oongawahing.

      • LouisBedrock January 13, 2016

        It wasn’t easy.
        What’s more difficult to endure is the lack of any intelligent critical response.
        Only Utrice Leid on PRN offered some interesting insights.

        What has happened to the progressive left press?

        It seems to have dwindled to the AVA and Black Agenda Report.

        Thank Athena for Bruce Anderson and Glenn Ford.

  2. Eric Wilcox January 13, 2016

    How does the writer and those of growing consensus about needing to hire from the outside of Mendocino County to run mental health explain where Pinozotto, and Angelo came from? One is gone and how long the other takes to go is likely a matter of time. And you want to bring in more outsiders to plunder the millions needed to help treat the more needy?

    • mr. wendal January 13, 2016

      I was under the impression that it’s people outside the county government, not “outsiders” from beyond the geographical boundaries of the county, who are better equipped to run the county’s Mental Health Dept. than the current crew.

      And I agree with the consensus that we need to hire from outside of the current group of government workers running the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Department to oversee and provide mental health services. There are a lot of mental health workers in the county who are unaffiliated with the county government and more than qualified to do the job well. But the county government is so broken that the likelihood of anyone local stepping forward is slim unless there is a sea change in management. The delay in releasing the federal audit because “the scope of the report was broadened somewhat based on input received by local stakeholders” is a great big fluorescent red flag waving to alert the BOS that a cover-up/smooth-over will be presented in February and please don’t question anything in it.

      Maybe a reporter can get a few of the the mental health workers not working directly for the government to open up publicly…and then there will go the floodgates.

  3. Harvey Reading January 13, 2016


    Disagree completely. Just more sexism. People here the land of the welfare cowboy buy on line because the vaunted small businesses don’t stock what they want to buy. Just try to find anything Pentax in stock, excepting some piece-of-crap point-and-shoot …

  4. Harvey Reading January 13, 2016

    It’s heartening to know that so many caught the gross math error in the lottery cartoon, even to the point of drawing a counter-cartoon. Kinda belies the BS we’re peddled about how ignorant, even stupid, the younger ones are … Truth is, they are ‘way smarter than the self-entitled, so-called boomers, and they’re dealing with far fewer opportunities than we had, no matter how many old, conservative jerks ramble on and on about the nonexistent “good ol’ daze”.

  5. Harvey Reading January 13, 2016

    Has Kunstler ever had an original idea?

  6. james marmon January 13, 2016

    Last night I called my 85 year old mom, June Woolley, and told her that I wrote about her in the AVA. We talked about the old State Hotel that caught on fire and several mentally ill residents were killed. She said that prior to the fire and the deaths of the residents that they not only came to her store to get warm in the winter, they would also come over to get cool in the summer. She said that that old building would get so hot in the summer that Chris and the others who later perished would come to her almost suffering from heat exhaustion. She would allow them to sit on the furniture in the front portion of the store and watch people passing by. Main street was pretty busy those days and there was plenty of action, they had the best seat in town.

    During the two decades my mother managed the Salvation Army Store, she help thousands of poor, elderly, homeless, and mentally ill in Mendocino County. It was the only thrift store in the County and people came there from all over to shop, get warm, stay cool, or just to get a smile and welcome from my mother. The famous singer and song writer Rita Coolidge and her father were regulars at my mother’s store, I think he lived in Comptche at the time.

    I asked my mother how come she felt so compelled to help out so many people, her answer to me was “they were human beings.” Baby Dean and his mother are human beings as well, and they need our help. The confidential Dependency Court preceding’s in this case is ludicrous. The politics surrounding this family are just unreal. Bryan Lowery is just trying to justify the Agency’s incompetence that led to baby Emerald’s death. Taking Dean from his mother will not relieve him or the Agency of any guilt.

    The discrimination against the poor and sick of Mendocino County needs to seize immediately.

    Just saying.

    • james marmon January 13, 2016

  7. Jim Updegraff January 13, 2016

    Kunster who?? Does anyone pay any attention to his comments.

    • Harvey Reading January 13, 2016

      I usually get no farther than first sentence or two, if that.

  8. Bill Pilgrim January 13, 2016

    re: Powerball Math Fail. Alas, I, too, am guilty of forwarding that photo. Not because my math skills are deficient, but because I get so many of these things forwarded to me every day I sometimes pass them along to my list without taking the time to analyze them thoroughly. Now that gaffe will remain in the digital records of the Cloud, a testament to my lack of clear thinking. Before the internet, such things would simply have been akin to spreading a false rumor. Once disproved…quickly forgotten. Now it’s on the record… somewhere.

    re: The Major’s encounter. At least he didn’t ask:
    “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”

  9. james marmon January 13, 2016

    Re: Home Rule

    I’m a proponent of home rule. Our current local government is not working. We have a non-elected administrator running the county who is dictating all our futures. The Board as they presently sit are scared to death of Carmel Angelo and her outside political associations. They are cowards.

    Mendocino County is not America right now, at least not the America I grew up envisioning. Being born on the 4th of July, I’ve always had this thing about independence. Our forefathers didn’t want Queens and Kings ruling over us.

    A government for the people and by the people was how it was supposed to work, not the way it is now.

    Ms. Angelo’s “command and control” structure needs to go, and go fast. Can you imagine a local government that really serves its people’s interests?

    • Harvey Reading January 13, 2016

      I’m not a proponent of home rule. I see it as a movement of those who lack power, who feel powerless, generally because of their need to dominate over others, and who are bullies at heart to boot, wanting to return to a more feudalistic form of government, where they can be in charge locally, and rule like the minor tyrants they will become.

      Humans are an authoritarian species, and, under home rule, the bullies will continue to rule, though the scope of each individual bully will be limited to a small locale. No thanks. The thought of scum like those involved with militias and with controlling public lands being in charge sickens me, as does the non-response of the federal government to their illegal activities. Obama should have sent in the military long ago to put them down, instead of tilting at windmills with it in the Middle East.

  10. Jim Updegraff January 13, 2016

    Harvey speaks my mind.

  11. james marmon January 13, 2016

    Nurse Ratched (Carmel Angelo)

    “Nurse Ratched desires order, and she wants complete power, so she manipulates her patients and the staff to do fulfill her desires. As the head nurse and as a woman with many connections both inside and outside of the hospital, she is able to maneuver things so that most situations fit her expectations. If she needs to, she uses the force of her hatred to get things done. Though she smiles a lot and talks sweetly, she’s definitely not a kind or charming woman. She is, however, a woman with a strong will and a fanaticism for control. She pursues power with intensity and is very successful at getting people to do what she wants.”

    Angelo is also concerned about the county’s image.

    “How we’re being perceived is important. A lot of people watch the board meetings [on television]. We need to improve the public’s perception of county government. How I act and am perceived and how the board acts and is perceived. We’re probably the best live, reality TV there is. I would really like us to have a professional demeanor and exhibit that,” she said.

  12. Bruce McEwen January 13, 2016

    Curious that the POWERBALL maxed out at the same time the the stock index slipped into the toilet, isn’t it? Dude, like are we being distracted, like, at all?

  13. james marmon January 13, 2016

    HHSA is at it again, reporting meaningless data to the public.

    County gets high marks for two mental health projects

    “The Katie A program seeks to shorten the
    timeframe between screening and access to
    services. Reviewers from Behavioral Health
    Concepts found implementation of Katie A
    protocols had shortened timeframes and resulted
    in early identification of needs and improved
    access to services.”

    “Briley said the Children’s Assessment Needs
    Program was given a score of 93.10 percent, while
    the Katie A program was given a score of 100

    The real question should not be how fast they are assessing children, but rather or not the children they determine eligible for services really meet medical necessity.

    The foster family agencies are making the medical necessity determinations and are billing the hell out of Medi-Cal, and are being paid higher foster care rates through Title IV-E based soley on their own determinations. We need to know just how accurate their determinations are and if children are receiving too many services.

    I have no doubt that the FFA’s are willing to provide mental health services as fast as they can to children. My question is, do they really need them?

    If the County ends up having to pay back millions of dollars in audit exceptions due to overbilling Med-Cal, we’re fucked.

    Please! somebody pay attention.

    We need an outside audit of just on medical necessity in children’s services. They need to pull some children’s cases randomly and review them for accuracy.

    We’re 3 years into this thing, and have no idea if they’re doing a good job with their billing or not. I guess we wait until the State conducts their Audit, but then it will be too late. The state audits have a lag time of 4 years.

    • james marmon January 13, 2016

      Here are my allegations, and they have not changed since the beginning.

      OMG, not enough services.
      RMQC, too many services.

      The too many services may be more costly in the long run than the not enough services.

      I know for a fact that children’s mental health conditions are being inflated for financial gain.

      James Marmon MSW.

    • mr. wendal January 13, 2016

      So how does one force an audit?

      • james marmon January 14, 2016

        You would think somebody in the County administration would be concerned about this and want an honest independent audit. The Board of Supervisors have already expressed a concern for future audit exceptions being levied against the County.

        Whether Kemper was hired to uncover the truth about the billing is yet to be seen. Personally, I don’t believe we will ever know exactly what Kemper really found in their review unless its data that supports the privatization experiment of mental health services.

        Nurse Ratchet, I mean Angelo, is a champion among her peers with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). They want this privatization to work and they’re highly unlikely to abort this abomination without a big fight or good cover-up.

        As far as adult services, the Doctors shit in Angelo’s Easter basket, she must be fuming. They provided real numbers that can’t be denied or manipulated. It can’t get any clearer, the project failed.

        If I was a prudent administrator I would be all over this. I would be going over RQMC’s and all their provider’s billing practices with a very fine tooth comb. Large audit exceptions can damage our ability to provide services for many years to come.

        Another thing I would like to know is how many of the 400 plus WIC 5150 holds this year were clients under the age of 25? We may be putting too much blame on Ortner. How many were really RQMC’s clients?

        Wake up, I’ll pour you a cup of coffee.

        • james marmon January 14, 2016

          In one of the Mental Health Board meetings a few months ago, Tim Schraeder expressed his concern about the large number of young people experiencing psychotic breaks. The sharp increase in hospitalizations may not be all Ortner’s blame, RQMC might be the ASO that is really failing. How many 18-25 year olds are placed in Ortner facilities? Ask these questions folks.

  14. Rick Weddle January 14, 2016

    re: ‘not ready’ for home rule…

    Ah…say, isn’t this the same thing Geo.III and his pals said about the colonies a couple hundred years ago?
    And you might say you rest your case, eyeing what’s happened since, but I say this: Around and about this great pile of grief and corruption we insist on calling America, there have occurred, and continue to occur Human acts of independence, courage, solidarity, even democracy, nearly miraculous in their scope and simplicity. I’m saying that folks who’re afraid democracy won’t work around here are among those who’ve never actually seen it on the hoof. It works so well, in the rare appearances I’ve lucked into, it should be the New Story of the West, and it isn’t… …ONLY because of the Massive Forces arrayed upon and against it. Why would corporate media or any current public servant or candidate suddenly call the Public to take its Sovereign Seat?

  15. Betsy Cawn January 14, 2016

    According to the Bay Area’s “Tri-City Voice” (Fremont, Hayward, Newark, and more) —

    “California gives cities and counties the ‘home rule’ option, which means that they can choose to be governed under the framework of the California Government Code or they can adopt a charter, which gives them more latitude in running their affairs. The former are known as ‘general law’ jurisdictions and the latter are known as ‘charter’ jurisdictions. The larger cities and counties tend to be charter jurisdictions.

    “California Local Government Information Website, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California: (Jan 2006)”

    Lake County adopted a series of ordinances in the 1970s, largely for the purpose of “protecting” private property interests against the demands of the then-new US EPA (none of these ordinances are available online, but we have them in hard copy).

    Neither Lake nor Mendocino ever adopted a charter, to the best of my knowledge, but they have developed internally structured means of containing governmental practices and interactions with favored groups (such as the chambers of commerce) that meet and formulate projects and programs without public involvement or consent. The standard practice of limiting exposure to decision-making processes (whereby the “public” is “allowed” to “comment” at the very tail-end of a project proposal) prohibits the creation of true consensus. Thus our local governments act as dictators to the general public and powerless community members. [This is done in Lake County by the manipulation of department resources to serve the whims of the elected officials, completely behind closed doors, orchestrated by the services of the Chief Administrative Officer — not unlike what your Ms. Angelo apparently does. When this practice is challenged, it is also denied, and publicly poo-pooed by the elected officials themselves.]

    Thankfully, the AVA, its readers, and involved community members in Mendocino County serve the larger public by informing us of the developments in critical health and safety services, such as the failures of the Mental Health programs. When public officials get away with simply denying the meaning of the official findings, and ignoring the harms inflicted on all of our community members by bad government practices, we all lose. But it does no good to object, because small counties and cities exercise the presumed powers of “home rule” by virtual default, since there is no recourse to the state/parental higher authority.

    There is no publication in Lake County like the AVA to register our concerns or attempt to report government failures — once again my sanity is preserved by the good people of Mendocino County and the Anderson Valley Advertiser.

    • james marmon January 14, 2016

      Betsy, I think the change of demographics caused by the Valley fire is going shift the power in Lake County. Rob Brown doesn’t have the political clout he had prior to the fire. He lost a lot of voters. The tax base is pretty much gone in that district as well.

      I don’t know what you think of Rob Brown, but he’s a piece of shit as far as I’m concerned. The fire did a good job cutting his off balls. The arrogant bastard.

      I don’t have much good to say about Jeff Smith either. I live in his district which is famous for being the poorest town in California and the 4th poorest in the nation. Outside of the daily shootings and routine murders, there are a lot of good people here in Clearlake, but the poverty and suffering is unreal.

      I don’t know where to start.

      I too wish there was a news media source here in Lake County where people could gather and free express themselves, but that doesn’t look very likely to happen in the near future. Hopefully after we overthrow Mendocino County local government, we can get to work on Lake. The people of Lake will need a lot of support, they can’t do it on their own. Its too entrenched.


      1.(of an attitude, habit, or belief) firmly established and difficult or unlikely to change; ingrained:

      “an entrenched resistance to change”

      I do like watching Lake County BOS meetings on TV though, I love it when members of the public get into screaming matches with some of the supervisors, especially with Rob Brown. Its just too bad that no one’s mind is ever gets changed.

      I better be quiet before I get run out of this county too.

      Talk to you later Betsy, take care.

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