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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Feb 1, 2016

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JANUARY IS USUALLY the wettest month in this region, with December a close second and February third. Depending on where you are, average January rainfall tends to be around 10 inches. So how did we do in 2016? Accumulated rainfall for the just completed month of January (at the Yorkville DWR Station) was 18.3 inches. Here's how that total compares with some past Januarys (same station):

18.3" 2016
  .4" 2015
  .3" 2014
 1.5" 2013
 8.6" 2012
 1.7" 2011
18.8" 2010
  .8" 2009
19.8" 2008
  .6" 2007
 8.0" 2006
 8.1" 2005
 4.9" 2004
 8.2" 2003
 7.0" 2002
 9.0" 2001

PRECEDED BY DECEMBER 2015's ample 14.2 inches, Yorkville is reporting a season total of 35 inches thus far. So far so good.

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Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you know about an upcoming presentation by AT&T before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd at 2:00, and encourage you to attend in person, or if that is not possible to stream the meeting (if you have broadband!). This is a timed agenda item, so the time is set at 2 pm. We all have been affected by the two major telecommunication outages caused by a break in the AT&T fiber (see our outage report:

There has been a strong call for AT&T to provide a network which is reliable and not prone to outages from a single point of failure. This call has come from not only residents and broadband advocates, but also from our elected representatives. AT&T announced in December 2015 that it is upgrading the North Coast network to protect it against such outages, but has not provided any specifics or details. The Board of Supervisors has asked for more information about this upgrade, and AT&T will make a presentation this coming Tuesday, February 2nd at 2:00 at the Board of Supervisors chambers on Low Gap Road in Ukiah. They are sending senior executives to this meeting, and we sincerely hope that we will get some plan specifics and some of our questions answered. Having a strong community presence will send the message that this issue is of great importance to our county. These outages affect our safety and economics, not to mention the chaos it causes in everyone's life. My understanding is that they have only limited time here (30 minutes), which will be used for their presentation and questions from the Board. This is unfortunate, as I believe that many people might want to speak. But we can show our concern by a good turnout for the presentation itself. Feel free to call me if you have any questions or concerns.


Trish Steel 707-354-3224
Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County


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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

You hear a lot of rubbish about how county employees are underpaid (ha) and that if they don’t get big raises they’ll quit and swarm down to Sonoma County (as if).

I did 24 years with the county and never saw a single example of an underpaid worker, but I saw scores I thought were overcompensated. The idea county employees are going to quit their jobs, sell their houses and move to Sonoma County (where they couldn’t get hired anyway) is hilarious.

County workers are mostly overpaid. Not one in a hundred has the gumption to go look for work anywhere else; they’re all just thrilled to have landed a lounge-potato job where they can’t be fired no matter how incompetent they are, and some day will get a large, fat, deluxe pension. And believe me, they will.

County drones and the bozos from SEIU still try peddling the myth that government workers are “public servants.” What a laugh. There may have been a time when government workers had selfless, altruistic motives, but it was so long ago no one alive can actually remember it. Today the notion people working for the government are altruistic would be a really funny joke, but without a punchline. Mendocino County workers are lavishly compensated and their pensions are gaudy. Proof?

A new website has it all, and it’s an eye-popper. Go to to see how a lot of retired local county workers live like Saudi Sheiks thanks to giveaways by county administrators.

A bright, hard light is shining down on Mendocino County’s retirement system. If it isn’t going broke it’s a miracle, because the benefits the system pays out would wobble Wall Street, plunder OPEC and sink Fort Knox.


Meredith Ford, a veteran county desk jockey, retired after a few decades of stress-free employment and is now being awarded $138,000 per year for her devoted efforts. Please applaud. She served us well and true.

Next, Tony Craver. Remember our obese and jovial sheriff? He spent eight years courageously negotiating raises for himself and other cops, and was otherwise content having his picture taken at Calpella Elementary’s annual Drug Awareness Day. He’s paid $130,000 a year for the rest of his life, which is being lived in Idaho. Hats off to Tony!

The list goes on. The money rolls out. The retirement fund slips into a pinkish-red zone. The remedy?

It’s time for you common Ukiah people doing the private corporate thing with the windfall profits and the big write-offs and the vast portfolios to pony up. It’s time for fat cat taxpayers to take on second jobs and work weekends. We need to beef up the tax base and shore up the retirement system so Dave Bengston (annual take down: $116,000) can quit lying awake at night wondering if he can afford yachts and beachfront homes in Hawaii.

All you slouchers at Big O Tires and Ellie’s Mutt Hut should do extra shifts. Those employed at Brookside Retirement Home, Triple S Camera and the Savings Bank should work 70 hour weeks, and then take part-time landscaping jobs. The county needs the tax revenue. Won’t you do your part to help pensioners on fixed incomes?

Most of the top grossers in the Powerball pension jackpot are ex-cops. Law enforcement cats can hit the hammock at age 50 with the reward dial set to Maximum. Cool, huh? From middle age to old age to the graveyard at $100,000 a year.

But at least local cops do something, like direct traffic at the Homecoming Parade and give directions to bums trying to find Plowshares. What did Meredith Ford ever do for the county except occupy a desk? Oh right: she attended meetings and made phone calls. She went to seminars and went to lunch.

We will give her nearly $1.38 million in the next 10 years. Tell your kid to quit school and get lots of jobs with the county.

It isn’t Meredith Ford’s fault she’s living like Imelda Marcos. Would you decline if Mendocino County shoveled $11,500 a month your way? Me too. The problem is that Mendocino County has rigged the system, forcing citizens to go without shoes so Tony Craver can wear mink underpants.

The political process tilts toward ever-more goodies for government employees. A candidate who suggests pay hikes and increased benefits gets the backing of the biggest voting bloc in the county, the workers. That candidate wins and promises are kept. Elected officials also profit because they now work for the county, and salary and pension hikes go to them, too.

It’s a corrupt, malignant, insider game. No other interest group — not environmentalists, not farmers, not business owners — has the kind of clout government workers have. The idea a small group of county employees can elect the people it later negotiates salaries with smells funny. When you sample the results, it stinks.

By the time citizens realize the county’s been looted it’s too late. The supervisors who voted for deluxe wage and pension plans have all left office and are now living (on their own fat county pensions) in Florida or the Bahamas or wherever they want. Venus, maybe. There’s no one around to even blame, as if it would help.

The Mendo rabble, always heated up about corporate lobbyists getting million dollar payouts in Washington, will of course say nothing about how they themselves are getting raped by a county system that feeds on ignorance and/or indifference.

Earlier in this column I said these county pensions were like a joke without a punchline. But I gave it some thought, and it’s not true. Here’s the punchline:

Each month almost every local pensioner gets a full check from Social Security.

Tom Hine toiled on the county chain gang a quarter century and now reaps $37,000 a year, plus Social Security. TWK continues to seek gainful employment.

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There will be a chance for you to see this film and meet Big Man Howard, one of the original six members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. There will be two free screenings of this film at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 1pm and again at 7pm. Elbert "Big Man" Howard will be present at the 7pm showing.

Many of you will remember that Howard and his wife, Carole Hyams were honored by the Sonoma County ACLU at their annual 2015 meeting. (— Irv Sutley)

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A READER WRITES: "You might check out the 'Making A Murderer' piece in the New Yorker of January 25th, page 60, for a clearer picture of the matter."

I READ IT. I read everything. Everything! You hear me? I subscribe to the New Yorker and, as one of millions of people fascinated by the Avery case, I read the piece very carefully, and I agree that the film is hazy on the victim's movements when she visited the property and was allegedly murdered there. But that's the only thing it's hazy on, and her movements in her last hours are not known by anybody except the person or persons who murdered her.

IT IS NOT IN DISPUTE that the local cops framed Steven Avery for a crime he did not commit. And those same cops had every reason to frame him a second time, which I and millions of other people think is what the cops did. Avery was suing for his first false arrest, the one he did twenty years for, and the people who framed him were personally liable. The fat bastards were either retired or about to be retired, and Avery had them by the short hairs.

THE WISCONSIN COPS — who framed Avery the first time had zero business being involved in this second investigation — have now claimed that Avery raped and tortured a woman to death in his bedroom and had then thrown her on a burn pile in the family junk yard. They've put Avery away again on clearly planted evidence that they themselves claim they found.

AVERY is a guy who did twenty years for a rape the local cops knew for at least eight of his twenty years he had not committed, hence Avery's suit against them. (Off their testimony in the film, Avery's local police department is a lot more dangerous than any crooks who might be loose in rural Wisconsin.)

SO, HERE'S AVERY again charged with a horrendous crime allegedly committed in his trailer on the family's property — the property doubles as a junk yard. The victim, the cops claim, was murdered in Avery's trailer. She was tortured, raped, beaten, shot. That kind of mayhem, one would assume, would have left at least some traces of blood and gore somewhere in Avery's house, but there wasn't so much as a ghost of a luminal-illuminated drop anywhere.

WHAT THERE WAS, was a shell casing linked to a gun of Avery's in plain view on the floor of Avery's room which had been magically overlooked by the first police agency who combed the premises for hours. The cops who'd framed Avery the first time were understandably excluded from the first investigation of the property on the new charges, but they popped up on Avery's property just in time just to find the evidence against their hapless adversary. How convenient.

THE LOCAL COPS, as noted, show up anyway after the exhaustive search by the neutral police agency. And presto magico! the cops who'd framed Avery the first time not only find the shell casing, they find a speck of the victim's blood on one of Avery's vehicles. The blood had also been magically overlooked by the first search of the property. And it develops that an Avery blood sample in the evidence room was found with its seal broken with a tiny needle hole in it, as if someone had surreptitiously taken a drop to use for Frame Avery, Take Two.

FOR ALL THEIR vaunted scrupulousness, The New Yorker is, well… They do some very good reporting, mostly bad fiction, indifferent poetry, a lot of idealization of the haute bourgeoise — the mag loves tycoons. The piece on the Avery documentary was positively weird, in that it basically says over and over again that the Avery version of events, as brilliantly documented by the two young women who made the film, is not the whole story. And, again, I agree that the film is hazy on the victim's movements while she was on the Avery property, but that's the only thing the film is hazy about because no one, except her killer or killers, knew her movements. She was at the Avery place on an assignment to photograph used cars for sale. I don't think the film is hazy in any other respect, and it's hazy in that one respect because no one, except the killer knows what happened. I urge readers to get this riveting film and judge for themselves. It's a shocking story, the worst frame job since Sacco and Vanzetti. (Actually, the manufactured case against the two anarchists is a lot stronger than this second case against Avery. If Avery is a killer he fooled me.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 31, 2016

Barrera, Ceja, Curry
Barrera, Ceja, Curry

JUAN BARRERA, Fort Bragg. DUI, DUI-suspended license, probation revocation.

RODOLFO CEJA, Ukiah. Petty theft, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

THOMAS CURRY, Ukiah. Using another’s ID to get credit.

Fillion, Kershenbaum, Christ
Fillion, Kershenbaum, Christ

HAZEL FILLION, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, DUI-drugs, under influence, parole revocation.

LIOR KERSHENBAUM, Willits. Possession of more than an ounce of pot.

JESUS CHRIST, Bethlehem/Ukiah. Sedition, vandalism, conspiracy, no ID, probation revocation. (Mugshort courtesy,

Nunez, Pelkey, Perdue, Roydowney
Nunez, Pelkey, Perdue, Roydowney

EDUARDO NUNEZ, Ukiah. Honey oil extraction, pot possession for sale.

MICHAEL PELKEY, Fort Bragg. Hashish possession, probation revocation.

JOSHUA PERDUE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

RYAN ROYDOWNEY, Covelo. DUI-drugs, controlled substance.

Rozek, Ryan, Southwick, Still
Rozek, Ryan, Southwick, Still

ZACHARIA ROZEK, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

DANIEL RYAN, Calpella. Under influence, probation revocation.

DANIEL SOUTHWICK, Willits. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats, personal use of deadly weapon, vandalism.

AARON STILL, Willits. Second degree robbery.

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IN STOCKTON, I would go to the junk stores and buy these secondhand records: Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Then, years later, I actually played with Johnny Cash. I remember meeting Roy Orbison, and I waited until I left his place to jump up and down because I tried to act all cool when I left. I was like, 'Oh my God! Did that really happen?' Roy was the nicest guy, too. I remember opening for him once and my parents and family had come to the show — not to see me because they had seen me plenty of times before, but to see Roy. And after the show, Roy spent so much time just talking and hanging out with my family when I was just a nobody. I mean, for him to do that says a lot about how nice he was. Just a truly nice man. — Chris Isaak

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From the elevated vantage point of a Precor, a certain woman caught my attention as she entered the gym today. She looked to be everything glorified in Cosmopolitan magazine: Attractive, urbane, draped in sartorial splendor. But then she revealed herself. As she was walking to the dressing room her “working woman on the move” progress was impeded by an unaware old man who was slowly making his way down the center of the walkway aisle, like, well, an old man. The disparaging sneer and expressive disgust was staggering in its ugliness. Not once did she give an indication of reverence or respect for an old man who perhaps fought in Korea or Vietnam long before she was born. Or who perhaps after a lifetime of toil in devoted service to his family, was well beyond the point of oiling up a rusty shooting arm and calling it good. But then it occurred to me. I was not looking at an ugly woman prancing pretty per se; I was looking at the microcosmic banality of USA circa 2016. And then another thought occurred to me that has occurred with ever increasing frequency: Oh, say I can now see — I would no longer fight and die for “Her.” That sun has set and she don’t love me any more.

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Some years ago my wife went on a vacation with her mother to France. Her Mom (since deceased) treated.

Within the very week of their departure I happened to read a poem, probably in the New Yorker, and I was struck by its appropriateness to my then current thoughts. In a gross act of plagiarism, I copied it on my computer, changed just a few words, printed it and slipped it into a place within her luggage where I knew it would be found. Here is how it read:


Have you considered how inconsequential we all
 are: I mean, in the long term: but

anything getting closer to now — deaths, births,
 marriages, murders — grows the consequence

till if you kiss me at the door that is a matter 
of great consequence: large spaces also include

us into anonymity, but you beside me, as the
 proximity heightens, declares myself, and you, to

the stars: not a galaxy refuses its part in 
spelling our names: thus you understand if you

go out in the backyard or in to town for
 groceries — or take a plane to Paris —

time pours in around me and space devours
 me and like inconsequence I’m little and lost.


You have no idea the impact. 
It never occurred to her I’m not that talented.
 I have never told her about the plagiarism. Why would I?

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THE IOWA CAUCUSES begin tonight at 5pm PST, with results rolling in a few hours later. The Des Moines Register has a special section of their website devoted to the antics:

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Mendocino Sports Plus’s 'Won't Last Long Doing That' Department — Transient Pushing Shopping Cart In Middle Of CA-1

The scanner and the CHP Traffic "incident" page reported (3:47 pm) a "transient walking with a shopping cart in the middle of the roadway" on Highway 1 approximately two miles north of Manchester. The dispatch from the scanner said "Golden Gate CHP (Sonoma County) informed us of this individual - he's heading from Fremont north to Eureka." (Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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by Marcus Harrison Green

As cities search for solutions to homelessness, Portland's Dignity Village offers 60 men and women community and safety.

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To the Editor:

John Dickerson has been warning Mendocino County about the unfunded pension liability crisis in the county for the past 10 years, but the Board of Supervisors has ignored it. Finally, at the joint meeting of the county retirement board and the Board of Supervisors on January 19, 2016 there seemed to be a realization that this was a true fiscal crisis. I believe the magnitude of the crisis and its long term impact on the county is still denied by both organizations. Yet there was general agreement that the county is deeply in debt, and the main cause is the management of the current pension system.

After all of the posturing and consultant analysis I came away with three clear conclusions. First, each year the county is spending an increasing percentage of county revenues on sustaining the current county retirement system. Second, each year there will be less county money to cover basic county needs —- roads, law enforcement, mental health, etc. Third, in the future it seems inevitable that the county will have difficulty securing financing from private sources for capital projects, and will pay a much higher interest rate.

Six of the nine members of the retirement board are County employees or retirees. I have no doubt that they are good people. But only the County must pay extra to the County’s Pension Fund if there isn’t enough to pay pensions that have been promised — employees and retirees have no such obligation. So who stands up for the residents of the County who need emergency services or mental health services? Who stands up for making sure that our roads are in good shape?

The one ray of hope was the comments by Ted Stephens, who is one of the retirement board members. He is well informed on the county financial crisis, and he is clearly an independent voice. One action that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors could take is to add more independent members to the retirement board. This might give us some hope that things may change.

Tom Monpere, Ukiah

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(1937-2016), Lawyer, Brother, Rogue Irishman

by Jonah Raskin

The American legal profession lost one of its most colorful and flamboyant lawyers when Michael Kennedy died in New York on Monday, January 25, 2016.

MichaelKennedyThe obituary in The New York Times read, “Michael J. Kennedy, Lawyer for Underdogs and Pariahs, Dies at Age 78.” The headline might also have read that that he defended criminals, or at least men and women accused of committing crimes. In his obituary for The Times, reporter Sam Roberts wrote that, “In 1980 he negotiated the surrender of Ms. Bernardine Dohrn, the Weather Underground leader, after she eluded the law for more than 10 years. Federal charges against her had been dropped. She pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and bail jumping stemming from violent antiwar protests and was fined $1,500 and placed on probation for three years.”

Dohrn delivered a eulogy for Kennedy at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan just days after his death. She took a page from her own history and told the mourners at his funeral, “As I was preparing to go to jail for an uncertain term by resisting a federal grand jury subpoena in 1982, with three small sons at home, Michael first tried to talk me out of it, and then told me how to survive it. “Make yourself small, just now,” he said, “small enough to go through the eye of the needle. Then you will go back to your family and the revolution.” He was right.”

Michael Kennedy gave good advice to all his clients, whether they were members of the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers, or smugglers and pornographers.

Beginning in the late 1960s, when I met him I also had the opportunity to meet and to get to know, as client and friend, a dozen or hot-shot radical lawyers, including William Kunstler, Gerry Lefcourt, Lenny Weinglass, Gustin Reichbach and Barry Wildorf. My first wife Eleanor Stein was also a lawyer and so was my own father, Sam Raskin. But Michael Kennedy, who practiced law in San Francisco and New York, was the only one in the group, whom I thought of as a blood brother, though he was a religious Catholic who regularly attended mass and a fiery Irishman who loved the Irish Republican Army and everyone who fought for Irish freedom and independence.

Many of Kennedy’s clients, including Bernardine Dohrn, Abbie Hoffman and Huey Newton, were, like me, self-proclaimed cultural and political revolutionaries. I always felt that no matter what charges the government might file against me — treason, murder or bigamy — Michael would be in my corner and that he’d defend me to the end no matter what.

What I liked about him was his whole manner — his warmth, smile and laugh — and his willingness to go on the offensive before his opponents in the courtroom had the opportunity to move against him. So, it seemed in keeping with his own inimitable style that friends and family wrote and published in The Times a notice of his death before the paper had a chance to print its own.

The paid death notice, described Kennedy as a “Civil rights lawyer who fought for the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.” The Constitution and the Bill of Rights informed nearly everything he did as a lawyer. So did cunning and a helping of guile.

It’s a challenge to describe his long, active career as a lawyer, but now is probably the best time to do so, while memories are still fresh and before total nostalgia sets in.

Once, in his office on Pine Street in San Francisco, I told him that I wanted to do something, but didn’t know if it was legal or not. I don’t remember what it was I wanted to do, but I do remember his reply.

“You tell me what it is,” he said, “and I’ll find a way to make it legal.”

On another occasion, a few days before I was scheduled to fly from San Francisco to Mexico, and didn’t have a passport or even a driver’s license to prove my identity, I showed up at his office. His secretary notarized a statement in which I swore that I was an American citizen born in the USA. For years, that document enabled me to move back and forth across the border safe and sound.

For several decades, beginning in the 1980s, I wrote articles for High Times, the magazine for which he served as the publisher, under the pseudonym Joe Delicado. I sent my articles to Michael, they appeared in print in the magazine under the Delicado byline and he sent me checks made out to Jonah Raskin. Then, I deposited them in my bank account and felt that I’d made easy money, even if the writing had been difficult.

I would also mail him small packages of marijuana, and, on the phone, tell him to be on the look-out for a parcel with a curious name and address in the upper left hand corner. Invariably he would say, “I never received your package.”

Whenever I was in New York, he’d find marijuana for me to smoke, without a price tag and no questions ever asked. We’d see one another at events sponsored by High Times. Moreover, thanks to Michael, High Times published my book, Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War, which was translated into French and published in France under the same title.

In the acknowledgments at the back of the book, I wrote, “To Michael, for comradeship,” and truly meant it. My French translator explained that French readers would recognize and understand the word, “marijuanaland” as readily as Americans, a fact that was due in no small part to High Times and Michael Kennedy who argued that marijuana ought to be legal, had to be legal, and who believed that one day it would be legal.

In the 1980s, two of his clients, both of them marijuana smugglers showed up at my house in California and said Michael sent them and that they wanted me to write their story, then sell it to Hollywood.

They had led wild lives, indeed, transporting tons of weed from Colombia to Florida, with the help, they assured me, of the Colombian military and American DEA operatives. I never did write their story, though I learned a great deal about smuggling and smugglers. D and D as I’ll call them were arrested in New Mexico for selling marijuana to undercover agents in what Michael called “a self-financing operation.”

The DEA operatives, he explained, bought marijuana from the smugglers, stored it in a warehouse they rented, then sold it and used the funds to finance further operations, ostensibly to work their way up the corporate ladder and nab the heads of the organization. In Kennedy's view the cops were the biggest criminals.

Years ago, High Times sent me to southern California to interview Dr. Timothy Leary, the 1960s apostle for LSD who told his followers, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out.” Leary was on his deathbed, and this time, unlike the proverbial cat with nine lives, it was clear that he would not escape death.

In 1970, Kennedy had helped Leary escape from minimum-security prison.

Years later, when Leary turned himself in to authorities and then co-operated with them, he provided information about Kennedy’s role in his escape that almost led to his, Kennedy’s, disbarment.

Leary inhaled nitrous oxide from a canister close to his bed. Then, he said, “Tell Michael I forgive him.” I repeated those words to Kennedy and watched him shake his head disapprovingly. Leary had given trouble galore.

I watched Michael in action just once, when Jimmy Mitchell was on trial in San Rafael, in the courthouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for the murder of his brother, Artie. Against the odds, he succeeded in having the charge against Jimmy reduced from murder in the second degree to manslaughter.

In New York, we’d eat and drink at Patsy’s on West 56 Street and talk about Michael’s cases, as well as his feelings about the law. I remember not long ago that he told me he didn’t have the same enthusiasm and excitement that he once had. I heard him, but didn’t believe the report of my ears, and said, “What did you say?”

“You heard me,” he said. “I don’t have the same enthusiasm for the law.” Still, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to believe it.

Maybe he wasn’t “the people’s lawyer,” in the sense that some 1960s lawyers, including the Old Left/New Left attorney, Arthur Kinoy, clearly had been. Kennedy was too elegant and suave and sophisticated to wear with comfort the label “peoples lawyer.”

Still, I always thought of him as “my lawyer.” Indeed, of all the lawyers I’ve known, I always knew that it was Michael I’d want to defend me in court. Now, I don’t know what I’ll do, except I know I’ll miss him so.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and a professor emeritus at Sonoma State University.)

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The latest Mendopia video is here:

The complete Mendopia playlist is here:

Thanks again,

Scott M. Peterson, Mendocino

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by Shepherd Bliss

Protests against Monsanto’s Roundup, with its poisonous, weed-killing glyphosate, have spread around the globe. An arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a probable cause of cancer in 2015. California’s Environmental Protection Agency (CA EPA) recently decided to label it as such.

Environmental groups and activists in Northern California, a region known for its wines, advocate a moratorium on this herbicide as health concerns mount. Roundup is the world’s most widely used pesticide.

Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, was the focus of a January 28 informational event. It was initiated by the Watertrough Childrens Alliance as a fundraiser for a lawsuit against winemaker Paul Hobbs for converting an apple orchard into a vineyard adjacent to schools, thus putting the health of around 500 children at risk by spraying Roundup. The Sierra Club, Sonoma Group, co-sponsored the evening.

Sebastopol Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney welcomed a panel of three experts and around 60 people from Sonoma and Napa counties attended and moderated an active discussion. Attorney Jonathan Evans of the Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, organizer Ella Teevan of the Washington, D.C.-based Food and Water Watch (FWW), and former Petaluma Vice-Mayor and City Council member Tiffany Renee spoke.

Monsanto also makes Roundup Ready, which are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). “93% of soy beans and 80% of corn in the U.S. are grown with Monsanto GMO seeds,” reported Teevan. “Food and Water Watch wants a moratorium on more GMOs and their labeling.”

“Our food system and how we interact with our environment is broken. Instead of serving people, profit is served. We need to fix our food system,” Teevan added.

“Glyphosate has become a pervasive presence in the environment. 65% of water in some countries has traces of it,” said Evans. “Exposure can create a number of problems, including liver and kidney damage. It can even change ones DNA. Our goal is to protect health and keep these products out of the market.”

“After the CA EPA decision to label Roundup, Monsanto filed a lawsuit against them. They claimed that their First Amendment rights to free speech were being violated,” Evans reported.

“Become Educated Consumers”

“We need to become educated consumers and not buy these products. We need to empower elected officials to act, Evans suggested. “We need to get involved in grassroots actions and push for a just food system,” added Teevan. “Become active participants in democracy.”

“The California city of Richmond banned all pesticide a year ago,” reported Renée. "We advocate such a ban in Petaluma, which must include neonicotinoids. Portland, Oregon has banned neonicotinoids, systemic pesticides that damage bees. Glyphosate is a public health threat. The many costs are suffered by humans, animals, and plants. The benefits are only to a few humans,” she added.

“The highest use of glyphosate in Sonoma County is for winegrapes, yet non-toxic alternatives are available,” said Evans. “Monsanto is a bad actor. They sue farmers when GMO seeds blow onto their lands from neighbors,” he said.

The Huffington Posts January 26 article “8 Reasons to Avoid Doing Business with Monsanto,” by business editor Alexander C. Kaufman, reports that the giant bioengineering firm has been dubbed “the world’s ‘most evil corporation.’”

Mounting criticism of Monsanto’s “litigious, secretive, and combative” practices have made it financially vulnerable, asserts Kaufman. It plans to cut 3,600 jobs, which would be 16% of its global workforce. Roundup and Roundup Ready constitute 90% of Monsanto’s revenue. “Several countries, cities, and retail chains worldwide have banned or severely limited glyphosate products,” notes Kaufman.

“Hundreds of Moms Across America groups exist nationwide,” he adds, and “more than 2 million people in 52 countries internationally took to the streets to ‘March Against Monsanto.’”

Monsanto is desperately seeking a merger, according to the January 25 issue of GMWatch from the United Kingdom ( One of their goals seems to be to abandon their tarnished name.

Citizens Speak Up

When Mayor Gurney opened the discussion to the crowd, more than a dozen people promptly came to the microphone. The first speaker quoted a study of seven wines from Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake counties conducted by the Biochemical Working Group in Ukiah. It documented that traces of glyphosate exceeding EPA safe levels were found in all of them. People are drinking Roundup in their wine. Glyphosate has been banned in Europe.

“We’re tired of our children and babies being damaged by Roundup. We need to mandate a real school protection zone,” declared Janus Matthes of Wine and Water Watch ( Instead, “the vineyards are being protected,” she added.

“It is so easy to use Roundup. The breads that you eat that are not organic have glyphosate in them,” noted geologist Jane Nielson, Ph.D.

“Roundup is an antibiotic that kills gut bacteria,” said Amy Martenson of Label GMOs Napa County. She added that “we are having problems with the vineyards. Napa County has the highest rate of cancer in California.”

“We want a GMO free zone up and down the coast. Most counties on the North Coast have prohibited growing GMO crops,” explained Pam Gentry of Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families. They are collecting signatures to place an initiative on this year’s ballot that would ban growing genetically engineered crops in Sonoma County.

Monsanto controls an area in South America larger than California called “soybean republic.” Jim Stoops noted, “Sixty doctors have complained about higher cancer rates in that area.”

Meanwhile, GM Watch reported the following: “Monsanto’s attempts to build its GMO seed plant in Argentina have met with three years of unflinching popular opposition. Protesters received an eviction notice, but local activists mobilized to strengthen the blockade, and a prosecutor suspended the order. The demand was, ‘Monsanto, get out of Latin America!’

Back in the U.S., GM Watch reports the following: “Campbell Soup Company said it supports the enactment of federal legislation for a single mandatory labeling standard for GM foods. The company said, ‘Printing a clear and simple statement on the label is the best solution for consumers and for Campbell.’ Campbell says its prices will not increase as a result of labeling.”

The article “Half of All Children Will Be Autistic by 2025” appears in the December 23, 2014, newsletter of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), with the subtitle “Warns Senior Research Scientist at MIT.”

MIT’s Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., “noted that the side effects of autism closely mimic those of glyphosate toxicity. Children with autism have biomarkers indicative of excessive glyphosate, including zinc and iron deficiency, low serum sulfate, seizures, and mitochondrial disorder.”

ANH describes “the revolving door between Monsanto and the federal government, with agency officials becoming high-paying executives — and vice versa! Money, power, prestige: it’s all there. Monsanto and the USDA scratch each others’ backs.”

Food and Water Watch’s booklet Monsanto: A Corporate Profile, further documents this: “Monsanto’s board members have worked for the EPA, advised the U.S. Department of Agriculture and served on President Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.”

Renee concluded that “we need activism. Eat locally, hopefully organic or biodynamic. Grow part of your own food.”

KOWS-FM recorded the evening, which will eventually be available at

For Further Information:

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss {, a recently retired college teacher, has contributed to 24 books and farmed since 1992.)

* * *


Big New Here! Barbie Dolls coming out in many new models, black face, slanted eyes, fat, in a wheel chair, you get the picture, not just the white curvaceous blond any more. As for Ken, well, let’s just say he’s not looking at Barbie so much, his interests lie elsewhere.


L: Original Barbie, R: New Barbies

* * *


featuring the Peregrin Quartet with Cellist Burke Schuchman.

The Peregrine Quartet, with renowned cellist Burke Schuchmann, will perform works by Beethoven and Brahms for a special Valentine's Day concert in the Coast Chamber Series on Sunday February 14 at 3 pm in Preston Hall, Mendocino. Tickets in advance are $20 at Harvest Market, Fort Bragg and Out of This World in Mendocino. Information: 937-1018

* * *


Subject: Tim Gregory, ladies and gentlemen.

Tim Gregory wrote: “Self-destructive souls are the hardest to understand...they go down to the crossroads again and again, and wonder why they keep getting run over. Without any real base on the board, or within the organization for that matter, js [John Sakowicz] will mewl outside the door forever, as does Marco...civility? No, play? As long as they can be captain... We are bigger and better than this. The board did well to isolate the bull in the China shop so far--perhaps now we need help from Humane Society?”

Marco here. Tim, you remind me: I hardly ever listen to KZYX anymore; so much of it is so dumb, and when I'm not working at my various day and night jobs I'm watching a film or helping at the theater company or reading and writing and working on my own show (KNYO and KMEC); even so, whenever I flip through the dial lately and stop on KZYX I hear show-ejection-level pottymouth swearing. On Women's Voices, for example, the week after Xmas: a recorded airheaded Gaia-worshiping feminine-mysteries-of-the-universe speech with incidental ejaculations of shit. And on your show, Tim, a few fucks, for good measure. And Saturday night Jan. 23rd, on somebody's actually pretty good show: the Fish Cheer (F-U-C-K! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!) (300,000 people yelling FUUUUCK!), and immediately after that a Richard Thomson sound-alike calling, in song, his official enemies motherfuckers. And my attitude about all that is a philosophical, So what? Where's the harm? Because the FCC has never, I repeat never, pulled the license of any FM radio station for a few swears here and there, commercial or noncommercial, small market or large market, even outside of the Safe Harbor hours, so it's a trick that your self-important masters use to remove from their presence anyone who will not kowtow properly to their authority and please them. The bosses are not following the law because it's right or because it's the law -- really there are a lot of ways in which they don't follow the letter or spirit of the law; they're just using a scarecrow of the law to enforce their own arbitrary rule in what they think of as their clubhouse. And you know it.

This was my experience in 1989 at KZYX. Sean Donovan didn't like Mitch Clogg, because Mitch wouldn't kowtow properly to him. He kicked Mitch off the Environment Show. I brought Mitch onto my show to talk about it. Next week Sean phoned on the night of my show and told me I was off the air and out of the station for good, don't bother driving there. Much later I was told: the official reason I'd been banned was that weeks before the Mitch offense I'd said the word bullshit at 2am, and Sean had saved that up against a time of greater need. That's how they do it. That's how Sean's appointment Mary Aigner got rid of Facilitator 1, the best deejay KZYX ever had. Mary just didn't like her, so she kicked her out and said it was for playing a sweary song in the middle of the night. This maneuver is what's called in the musical world a repeating motif.

But, Tim, you know you'll never be kicked off your show or out of the station, because you're a true sycophant. The proof: your show is consistently objectively lousy. You put zero preparation and zero effort into it, and even your two listener/callers will agree to that. You show up with nothing, no educational content, nothing of an intellectually stimulating or even poetic nature, you play some CD sides and mumble the telephone number, and you ID the station. That's your show, over and over, for decades. Every time I tune to your show and let it run for awhile, there's little to keep a listener there, least of which your stoned-sounding breathy mumbling. Rick has an excuse -- he has a disability -- but he's clever and he prepares from a base of knowing a great deal about the music his engineer helps him play. Shining through his speech impediment: he's a musician and a scholar and a talented radioman. You're not. John Sakowicz is abrasive and mercurial and sometimes shocking, but his show is doing the work of radio and yours isn't. And Mary kicked him out because she goaded him into swearing quietly to himself in the background, not even on a mic, while she was at the mixing board sabotaging his interview show. And all these years she's been paid for that kind of sabotage, by the way, almost half the station's entire yearly membership money, a fact never brought up during the interminable unlistenable poor-sad-twinkly-us pledge drives. And, while all the office people who don't know jack squat about how to do radio were and are being paid like little barons and princesses, on a Mendocino scale, the airpeople are not paid at all, because the bosses have been lying all along that there is no money to pay people like Rick and Jamie and Verge and so on. And Verge bailed.

Tim, when you stir yourself to try a little harder and do much better radio than I've ever heard you do, and you speak up about injustice in terms that are a little less mushmouthed and are even slightly focused, and then they kick you off the air and out of the station and they claim it's because you played a song with a swear word in it, we'll all be interested to see how righteously and civilly you defend your abusers against all the others who spoke up and were kicked out and locked out.

Speaking of which... Norman, when you go to the station tomorrow to inspect the records, bring your phone so you can photograph paper documents, in case they refuse to let you use the copier or sheet-scanner. And bring a thumb drive, so you can take big files away with you to examine later. I'm interested in finding out who holds the lease on the studio building, and to know the details of the lease. And I'd like a breakdown on how much the different office positions have been paid year by year -- so-called manager and superfluous program director and beyond-superfluous business underwriting coordinator and so on, because the pretend reports are not detailed enough. I mean, I'd really like a clearer idea of where that half a million dollars comes from and goes every year.

We're all members as well as taxpayers, and so part owners of KZYX, and we have a right to know all these things and more.

Remember, KMFB was an operation easily as big and busy as KZYX and ran quite well on about a fourth of that much, and had no government grant and no noncommercial charity organizational benefits, and everyone at KMFB was paid, including all the airpeople and, at least in its last twenty years, no-one was fired for playing a song with a swear in it, and the phone was always live and available, and there was no seven-second delay nor panic button, and everyone was comfortable talking about station business on the air if the matter came up in conversation.

PS. I finally got to see the stop-motion animated film The Boxtrolls. I think it illustrates the situation at KZYX eerily well. And stay through the end credits; there's a wonderful dialogue between the two street sweepers, where the filmmakers leave the animator in the frame while the puppets talk about free will and destiny and all that.

Marco McClean


  1. Russ Rasmussen February 1, 2016

    You left out “frequent flyer” under JC’s picture.

  2. Bill Pilgrim February 1, 2016

    re: Roundup / Monsanto. There are now commercials running on AM radio stations asking people who think they’ve been made sick by Roundup to contact a certain law firm. When the sharks begin circling like that you know there’s trouble ahead.

  3. BB Grace February 1, 2016

    re: Koch Headlands State Park

    So that’s what Fort Bragg thinks is a tourist destination. Bummer! Mendocino Redwood Company is low hanging fruit compared to holding State Parks accountable for damages.

    My guess is MacKerricher is soon to not have free day use, as Koch Headlands State Park will make their newly polluted asphalt trail the “free park”.

    Least we forget:

  4. james marmon February 1, 2016

    RE: Tiny House Project.

    “A shanty town or squatter area is a settlement of plywood, corrugated metal, sheets of plastic, and cardboard boxes. Such settlements are usually found on the periphery of cities, in public parks, or near railroad tracks, rivers, lagoons or city trash dump sites.”

    Shanty town – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    noun | shan·ty·town | \-ˌtau̇n\

    Simple Definition of shantytown

    1 : a town or a part of a town where the people are poor and live in shanties

    Full Definition of shantytown

    1: a usually poor town or section of a town consisting mostly of shanties

    Do I need to say anymore.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal February 1, 2016

    Tommy Wayne Kramer’s portrayal of County employees as pigs at the trough is grossly unfair and, frankly, nothing more than poorly researched, sensationalistic “journalism.” I worked for a Bay Area County in a non-management position and it was by no means a stress-free, feet on the desk, environment. I and my coworkers worked hard and always had the public’s best interests at heart, despite being subjected to unrealistic demands by the very people we were employed to serve. Our salaries were not commensurate with the level of service we provided or the stress we endured. In addition, policies enacted by management and administration were rarely geared to support those of us who manned the front lines. While the County contributed to our retirement, a percentage of our salary was mandatorily deducted from every paycheck and placed in our pension fund. Same with health insurance – it wasn’t free. Union dues – not optional. My net income was barely more than 50 percent of my gross. My annual pension income is a far cry from the $100,000+ amounts that Kramer cites. And yes, I collect Social Security, to which I contributed with every paycheck throughout my life as well.

    The examples (the top two on the 27 page list) to which Kramer refers are upper management and/or administrative positions. I agree that some (not all) in those positions are depicted accurately by Kramer, but to suggest that non-management government employees (the vast, vast majority) enjoy the same benefits and lucrative pension deals is grossly unfair and reckless. Search the entire 27 page pension list for Mendocino County and you’ll get a much different perspective.

  6. John Fremont February 1, 2016

    I don’t know Scott M. Peterson (is he related to the Peterson lawyer family?) but watching the “Welcome to Mendocino” videos he promotes, he paints a nasty and salacious portrait of Mendocino and Fort Bragg along with local folks and the district hospital. He also slams Israel, booze and pot. Why? Who’s paying him? What’s his racket? Just curious.

  7. Debra Keipp February 1, 2016

    You go Shep! XENOHORMONES THE RESULT OF HORMONAL COLLAPSE IN HUMANS, MOSTLY FEMALES, CREATING ESTROGEN MIMICS. Check out all those important buzzwords on the internet.

    Another Iowan against Monsanto!

  8. Jim Updegraff February 1, 2016

    Bruce – received in the mail today my Yale University Press catalog. A new book available in April 2016 – An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley “An American Genocide – The United States and California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873” – ‘this book offers the first full account of the little known genocide of California’s Indian population under United States rule, shedding new light on the full extent of the massacres and programs that nearly exterminated the indigenous peoples of California.’

    I wonder how much will be written about the genocide in Mendocino and Humboldt counties.
    I have always wondered why the Native Americans never have demonstrated against Hastings Law School in consideration of the role of Hastings in the genocide.

    • Bruce Anderson February 1, 2016

      Let me know, Jim. So far, there isn’t much on what happened here in Mendocino County. Genocide and Vendetta, if you can find a copy is the goods, and its title says it all.

      • Bruce Anderson February 1, 2016

        PS. Judge Hastings was a very bad man. He presided over the California state supreme court and saw to it that state bounties were paid for dead Indians, including children. He wanted Indians murdered throughout the Eel River basin because, he said, Indians had killed a prize stallion Hastings kept on his ranch in Eden Valley located between Potter Valley and Round Valley. He left a million bucks to UC Berkeley so they named one of their law schools after him.

  9. Jim Updegraff February 1, 2016

    Why haven’t the local Native Americans made an issue over the school continuing to have his name?

    • BB Grace February 1, 2016

      Maybe the commercial pot grows and Casinos have them too busy to worry about what was because beating everybody at what is, is way more fun and prosperous?

      • james marmon February 1, 2016

  10. Jim Updegraff February 1, 2016

    I don’T know if casinos and pot grows are way more fun and prosperous is true of all Native Americans. Genocide of your fore fathers and mothers is not something easily forgotten or forgiven.

    • BB Grace February 1, 2016

      You asked about local natives.

      Did you ever wonder why the Natives support the “Crying Cowboys”?

      Ever wonder why Natives roll their eyes when white folks “defend” them?

  11. Jim Updegraff February 1, 2016

    Mr. Grace – I must say you live in a very shallow world.

    • BB Grace February 1, 2016

      Go figure. I got plenty of relatives that are Natives.

    • james marmon February 1, 2016

      I think she’s borg.

      • james marmon February 1, 2016

        Myself, I’m programed to evolve.

        • BB Grace February 2, 2016

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