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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016

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A SERIES OF TWO COLD FRONTS will bring precipitation to Northwest California today through Friday. Gusty south winds will occur today followed by a period of moderate to heavy rain this afternoon. Rain will transition to showers tonight with snow levels falling to near 3500 feet. Isolated thunderstorms and showers producing small hail will also be possible overnight. Showers will persist on Thursday into Thursday night, followed by another round of rain ahead of another cold front on Friday. Strong southerly winds will be possible ahead of the front Friday morning. (National Weather Service)

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS of Tuesday’s big, highly anticipated Board of Supervisors meeting on the Kemper consultant report regarding Mendo’s disastrous privatization of mental health services...

THE MOST FREQUENTLY HEARD characterizations were: “tensions” between various offices and organizations, and “lack of communications” between those offices and organizations. Everyone nodded as if these cliched vacuities were of value, and as if the County hadn't paid good money for these tensions and failures to communicate. At one point Supervisor McCowen observed that because nobody asked for decent reporting from the contractors, especially Ortner, “there was no effective way to resolve those tensions.”

THE CONSULTANTS POINTED OUT that there is no enforcement mechanism for the few requirements there were in the present contract (which, as the consultants pointed out, excluded a number of other routine contractual provisions, such as proper reporting of activity). They also noted (as we noted months ago) that Ortner’s clients are routinely released from whatever residential care setting they were put in without an “aftercare plan.”

ASKED BY SUPERVISOR McCOWEN how insurance coverage played a role in the handling of patients, the consultant with Mr. Kemper, a Dr. Featherstone, pointed out that it’s not so much whether they get seen initially, but what happens to them after they are seen. Featherstone noted that lots of hospitals in Northern California — both medical and psychiatric — simply won’t take uninsured people. Period. So that means there’s frequently nowhere for uninsured patients to go after they leave the emergency room, even if they continue to suffer from a breakdown. And no aftercare plan. And no local residential facility. And no real outpatient follow-up. And no, and no… and no nothing, just back to the street to repeat the cycle.

KEMPER recommended that since the Ortner deal is worth multi-millions betweem ($8 or $9 million annually) the County should have assigned a contract manager to make sure what little of substance that was in the contract was complied with. (This has to be pointed out? In Mendo: Yes — it does.)

THE CONSULTANTS RECOMMENDED that the County set up a lessons learned process so that when patients are mishandled again — as they surely will be — there’s an opportunity to review what went wrong and correct the problem — especially since the same mental health patients are seen over and over again. Anything like this happening in Official Mendocino County is unlikely, to put it gently. Lessons are seldom learned — and then, as Tuesday, years after the fact.

BOARD CHAIR DAN GJERDE COMPLAINED that “your former director” (as Tom Pinizzotto was gently referred to throughout Tuesday’s proceedings) told him that some of the contract provisions recommended by the Kemper report would be added to the contracts years ago but they never were. “I think I was lied to,” Gjerde bluntly declared. Consultant Kemper tried to soften the issue by saying, “I think the former director meant to put those in but he didn’t.” Meant to? A contract worth annual millions? Pinizzotto was smart enough to know that he could flim flam Director Stacey Cryer and the Supes by just nodding his head, smiling and agreeing with them, then doing nothing — because there’s never any follow-up in Mendo on anything. Ever. Nobody puts together a formal “to do list” with dates and commitments which require performance or even an explanation of why commitments were not met and puts it on a slide with status. They just go on to the next self-created fiasco and do the same thing again.

SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG tried to downplay the mess described by the consultants by suggesting that the mess stemmed from “rookie mistakes,” with “no ill motives.” “Was staff just overwhelmed?” Hamburg asked. The consultants, of course, agreed that, gosh, they tried real hard but we just kept getting bum rushed.

HAMBURG went on to characterize last Sunday’s highly critical Ukiah Daily Journal editorial by KC Meadows as an allegation that the privatization exercise was “an abject failure.” In fact, Meadows wrote that the Kemper report “does not express the disappointment and outrage so many are feeling at the total failure of the county at the highest levels.” Which is close enough to what Meadows said and, if anything, an understatement.

HOWEVER, Hamburg also complained that Editor Meadows had alleged that County staffers had “remained mum” even though they knew there were serious problems with the mental health privatization. In fact, Meadows simply said, “There are people still in the hierarchy at the Health and Human Services Agency who did nothing as the problems with Ortner became clear from almost the outset.”

MEADOWS is obviously correct in saying that County staff “did nothing” because they in fact did nothing. Not only did they do nothing, they consciously defended the mess and pretended there was nothing wrong.

AND NOW those same County staff (minus Pinizzotto) who created the problem are probably going to be asked to implement the Kemper recommendations? The same people who defended Ortner and the privatization mess for over two years now in the face, even, of mounting complaints from the Sheriff and dozens of local physicians, are now going to be tasked with doing what the Kemper report calls for?

IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, you qualify for mental health services from Ortner — if you’re insured.

AT THE END OF THE MEETING, after a number of interesting comments from members of the public and the Supervisors (which we will pick up in the next few days for the record), the Board decided to direct staff to both work with the two contractors to improve the contracts along the lines suggested by consultants Kemper and Featherstone and at the same time (i.e., in the next few months) work on preparing a new RFP if or when the Board decides to dump Ortner which they all seemed willing to do tomorrow if it wasn’t so disruptive. All in all, it was a better than average Supes meeting, with the public and staff dealing with topics that are closer to reality than average.

TOO BAD it took them at least three years to do it (going back to the initial days when the RFP was prepared and the problem first began).

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A LARGE OAK TREE FELL during the January storms. It was on a hillside, in a steep draw where the winter waters flow. The trunk must be at least four feet in diameter. The massive trunk quickly branched into multiple stems, each lower stem a couple feet in diameter itself. Most of the tree is clad in luxurious green moss. It was a great tree, and after all these years it finally uprooted itself, the root ball now standing upright like a huge dirt-encrusted fan.

I love this tree, and for the past couple weeks, I've been cutting it into firewood. The wood is remarkably heavy and dense. It is live oak, which could be considered the king of firewood, for live oak yields an incredible 36.6 million BTUs per cord (compare to madrone which yields 30.9 and tanoak 27.5). BTU stands for British thermal unit, which is the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. An easier way to imagine it is one four-inch wooden match, burnt completely, puts out one BTU. So a cord of live oak produces the same amount of heat as 36.6 million wooden matches. It appears as if this tree may end up yielding a couple cords all by itself.

There is something deeply satisfying about working in the woods. It's a special kind of solitude, and everywhere you turn is beauty. It helps remind me what a beautiful planet we are living on. We should take care of this place so future generations can enjoy it.

Mike Kalantarian, Navarro

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SORRY to see Bones Roadhouse barbecue fall to the merciless imperatives of free enterprise. The popular Gualala restaurant had struggled since the day it opened in 2005 when Mike ‘Bone Daddy’ Thomas and his wife, Mary Horton, first fired up the grill. But they survived three moves, a major fire and a long, expensive liquor license hassle with a former landlord. There's a certain publican look, and Bone Daddy, a large boistrous man was the archetype. If anyone can rise from the ashes, it's this guy and his wife, and let's hope they do.

Bone Daddy & The Mrs.

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WARNING SENSITIVE SUBJECT ahead. Persons in precarious mental equilibrium should skip ahead to less stressing material. Ready? Go!

The gentle way to put it is that wealthy people and ambitious parents generally have abandoned the public schools, hence home schooling, hence charter schools, hence the huge growth in private schools. The last will run you $30 to $40 thou a year, but lots of San Francisco parents either have the money or think the sacrifice to get their heirs rolling is worth a private school education. Even in mostly flush Marin County, lots of people send their kids to private schools when the public schools of Marin are just as good as the expensive private academies.

IN MENDOCINO COUNTY parents are fleeing Mexicans. (Before Mexicans, hippie parents fled “rednecks.”) Parents are jerking Mendo kids out of the public schools out of racism but, as in Anderson Valley for instance, the schools are informally Spanish-speaking, formally English-language learning centers. So gringo parents often seek alternatives. Same-same in Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg. College educated parents also flee incompetent instruction, but that's another subject.

THE EDU-DRONES at the higher levels of public education, as always in self-preservation mode, were quick to note white flight. They immediately devised ways to keep ed money flowing to the public ed bloc. They even managed to route home schoolers through the public ed bureaucracies to keep the average daily attendance money streaming past them so they could take their cut. And they came up with charter schools which, as most parents know, have the chief advantage of keeping classes small, keeping classes more focused on education, keeping crazy and/or delinquent kids in the public-public schools, and ensuring that their children aren't preoccupied with pep rallies, week-long homecoming festivities and the other idiocies school administrators resort to to keep fervid adolescent minds occupied. The entire public ed enterprise ought to be re-thought to at least attempt to prepare young people for the chaotic world they'll be living in, but the edu-apparat is (1) unwilling to do anything that threatens their serenely oblivious daily task for half the year they have to report to "work," and (2) they're famously incapable of intellectual enterprise (cf the Mendocino County Office of Education, or any collection of school administrators anywhere in the United States).

CASE IN POINT: One day I walked past a Mexican high school girl I happen to know on the deck below our newspaper office. She had a book open and was writing in a large notebook in the large, rolling, half-print child-like hand teenage girls write in, complete with circles (or hearts) over the i's. I asked her what she was reading. "The Wobblies," she replied. I was startled but not at all disapproving, myself being more or less in the tradition. "What do you think about them?" I asked. "I don't know. It's real boring. I'm not interested in politics." I didn't say it but I thought the exchange was a metaphor for the entire educational effort. A subject like anarchism feeds entire university history departments, and unless a kid is extremely precocious and has a specific interest in the subject, he or she will be as mystified by it as this kid was. Being a helpful kind of dude and not merely an idling geezer out to bore captive teens, I informed the kid that she might be interested to know that Wobblies once took over and ran for a while a Mexican border town. "Uh huh," she said.

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DEAR VOTERS. PLEASE BE AWARE that there is a constitutional amendment in the pipeline that soon will be thrust in your face across the state by those pesky grocery store signature gatherers.

The Mendocino County DA's current legal analysis of the so-called Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 is that its provisions are CONTRARY to public safety and provides NOTHING additional to enhance rehabilitation programs. Put another way, the title, purpose, and intent of the Act are all misleading.

The reality is that these laws are intended to further reduce state prison populations by authorizing prison bureaucrats to OVERRIDE sentences that have been carefully considered and imposed by local judges, including sentences previously imposed on repeat serious and violent inmates. These changes are coming to you by way of the initiative process in order to circumvent the legislative process in Sacramento because our Assembly members and Senators would never agree to such dangerous changes.

Like was the case with Prop 47, the title is misleading to garner public support; it does not reflect actual provisions of what is being proposed. As an example, releasing back to our local communities (much earlier than allowed by current law) repeat felony offenders and other prisoners ENDANGERS, rather than protects, public safety. Moreover, while claiming one of its goals is to “improve rehabilitation,” it provides NO funds or any other provisions to develop or expand rehabilitative programs.

PLEASE STAY TUNED as we further explore this "wolf" in the weeks to come. Know the REAL facts before you sign a stranger's petition! And PLEASE click on SHARE and sound the alarm with those you know....

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A COASTIE WONDERS:I just realized that for the last few days, at least where I am, I have NOT seen any hummingbirds or the assorted sparrows at the birdfeeders in my yard. I know I showered this morning, just saying. Anyone else with a similar observation?

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$28,000 CASH-MONEY is missing from the Animal Shelter, and the search is on for where it went and who made it go there. Poor cash handling protocols and/or oversight have been among the issues that got boss lady Sage Mountainfire put on paid leave. Where she remains as of this writing.

NO ONE BELIEVES the old girl was till-tapping, but the money is missing, and she's the boss, and $28,000 bucks stop with her.

WE'VE THOUGHT for some time that the Sheriff is the best move to administer the Shelter. He already does Animal Control, and we like his idea of training County Jail inmates in the finer points of animal care. The present staff would not be thrown out of work and the County would avoid another privatization controversy. (The Sheriff has said he’d be willing to consider it, especially if it came with the associated budget. The Grand Jury recommended it be turned over to the Sheriff just a few years ago, too.)

THE ROCKEFELLERS of animal rescue, the Mountanos family, is advocating for the Petaluma group presently angling to take over the Ukiah (County) Shelter. That is unlikely to happen given that County staff is saying they do not have a "complete" proposal to recommend. Indications are that the Petaluma group wants too much money, which no one is saying openly and which their backers dispute. There is a mystery impediment which staff has identified but which they have not publicly identified.

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A READER WRITES: "Mr. Smarty Pants! You guys are not the only people who pay close attention to the Supervisors. You had it right on the CEO ordinance — after Ball was canned the ordinance was revised so that it is CEO by title only with no real additional power. Inexplicably, you come back to the conclusion at the end that the CEO has all power. And the CEO does not lead the Supes around by the nose. All things being equal, Hamburg (especially Hamburg) and Brown are hard wired to go with staff recommendations, Woodhouse does not know where he is going, and Gjerde and McCowen do know where they are going, have a road map to get there, and aren't afraid to buck the staff recommendation on any given item."

NO HARD FEELINGS, but we have a disagreement here. Ball was smart and efficient, hence his dismissal engineered by the two travel and conference chiselers, Colfax and Smith, when he balked at enlarging that budget so they could steal more. We also agree about the functioning of the present supervisors. However, CEO Angelo presently has all power and she exercises it although authority, in theory, rests with the Supervisors who inevitably turn authority over to her. I miss my Mommy, too, but really…

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On 02-11-2016 Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Deputy Marshals from the United States Marshals Service served a federal arrest warrant on Reynolds Highway in Willits. On this date a traffic stop was conducted at which time Israel Ramirez (aka ‘El Chino’), age 47, was placed under arrest without incident pursuant to an active federal arrest warrant. At the time of the arrest, the warrant was sealed therefore the charges are not being disclosed by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Ramirez was transported to the Mendocino County Jail for lodging until he could be released to the United States Marshals Service. The United States Marshals Service upon receiving Ramirez will transport him to a Federal court where the charges against him will be disclosed.


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Selfie taken by the owner of a phone that has multiple upskirting videos of local women and underage girls.

A phone found on the river bar in Southern Humboldt contains over 700 videos, some of which were shot under the skirts of local women and girls without their knowledge.

Were you a victim?

Upskirting: taking unauthorized photos under a woman’s skirt. 

Downblousing: taking unauthorized photos down a woman’s shirt.

The videos on the phone contain numerous examples of upskirting and downblousing as well as buttock and pelvis shots of multiple women – some of them recognizable as locals filmed in public locations from Southern Humboldt to Eureka.

Though photos of women and men can, of course, be taken in public places, according to California law 647(j)(2), any person who uses an electronic device including a phone camera to secretly record under or through someone’s clothing without their consent is acting criminally. Women and men have the right to expect privacy under areas covered by their clothes.

Michelle Vandenack discovered unsettling videos when she was attempting to find out to whom the lost phone belonged so she could return it. “I took [the phone] home and put the [SD] card on my computer trying to find the owner,” she explained. “What I found was disturbing…over 700 videos… [many] of local women focusing on [their] ass, breast and private parts.”

The women range in age from about 16 to 65 and don’t realize they are being filmed, she explained. “It’s as if [the phone’s owner] has his phone in his hand casually but still recording.”

Vandenack recognizes several of the victims including two local, underage girls.

This reporter knows one of the juveniles. She’s been in my home. She’s sweet, pretty and smart but she doesn’t recognize that while the phone’s owner is talking to her, he’s holding his phone down below her hemline and angling the camera so he can film her panties.

The videos mainly take place in multiple businesses in Southern Humboldt. Vandenack described seeing videos taken in the Miranda Market, Shop Smart, Rays Food Place, the Chevron and the Shell Station. But, explained Vandenack, he also took videos in northern Humboldt as well.

In several of the videos, she said, “[The phone’s owner] introduces himself as David. Says he’s from the Bay Area and up here for real estate….[He] speaks English and Spanish.”

She says he often uses a similar line. “You’re so beautiful. God bless. Do you have a husband/boyfriend?…Can I get your number or leave you mine?”

He also took selfies. (The photo at the top is one.)

During her research, Vandenack heard the phone’s owner give his phone number. Using this, she tracked down what she believed to be his name, David Nunez. With that name, I connected him to this Facebook page which contains photos of him also.

We’ve given the phone and the SD card to Sergeant Jesse Taylor of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. If you believe you might have been a victim, please contact Sergeant Taylor at (707) 923-2761.

(Courtesy, The Redheaded Blackbelt/

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I strongly suspect that Alex Cockburn would get a column (or several) out of Donald Trump going farther than Bernie Sanders in challenging major political myths:

The official “unemployment rate” is a lie. It’s more like 22, 25 percent. Somebody told me it was 41 percent…

George Bush did not “keep us safe.” He ignored warnings and the World Trade Center was demolished on his watch. I was there, I lost friends. To say “he kept us safe” is like you give up 19 runs in the first inning and say “after that he pitched a pretty good game.”

Socialized medicine works well in Scotland and Europe.

Deposing Saddam Hussein was a huge mistake that destabilized the Mideast and led to endless disasters.

Putin isn’t so bad. An interviewer, aghast, said, “But Putin has his opponents killed!” Trump shrugged. We kill plenty of people, too.

In phantom pain,

Fred Gardner

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Set in Silicone Valley where caricature is the order of the day. The inane strained attempts by all these undiscriminating fools who equate quantity for substance, and icons for truth. Silicone Valley is a place full of pretentious over paid narcissist who undoubtably are all patting themselves on the back while in gridlock on the way to the next very important deal. But hay who cares, right, the Super Bowl Was here! I saw the Blue Angles fly over and it was so awesome!

How sad it is when a people can't even see when their own delusions are running the facile show. And that it is furthermore amply substantiated by clueless apparatchiks who just happen to be major brand name "artist" with dreary histories of being over paid and idolized by droves of hoodwinked morons.

In terms of civil society and what is relevant for the education of youth, Super Bowl pretty much states that there is no future worth considering. Welcome to the banging of pots and pans as the over extended empire, which is of course the state of all empires, rattles on in the full light of day financed and supported by all the dimwitted little Eichmanns in high and low places.

No recording artist who is actually an "artist" would be anything but insulted at being invited to participate in the obvious debauchery of The Super Bowl of shit. What a sad state of affairs. Remember when artists were free thinkers. Remember when every molecule of life wasn't co-opted by venal greedy assholes. Imagine Lenny Bruce or the Dali Llama or Malcom X showing up to lend credence to this blatantly perverse display of cultural degeneracy. The end times for sure.

If Stupor Bowl Dumb Day is any gauge of what America is, and of what we as a nation want to broadcast to the world, then we may as well draw huge red targets on our Yankee Doodle Dandy. Because we are toast from the depth of our folly all the way to our over produced belligerent cultural supremacy. Total junk yard dogs rabid with royal court credibility at every turn!

Since when is being an overpaid pawn in the rich white man's brain scrambling meat grinder a sign of Black Power. More like powerlessness in a conscription army of fools. Black Lives Matter but black brains don't. When an artist uses their talent in service of the public relations propaganda complex, they are no longer fit to be called an artist. To bloody hell with all these small minded performers on the field and on the stage, and with the massive structures that promote and give all this bogus culture the finesse of any number of industrial disasters. The glamour of the slow motion train wreck. Enough is enough already!

Best of luck in this false Spring, and thank the Air Force for the cooling effect of the tanker plane cloud cover without which your ass would be toast!

Marvin Blake, Elk

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YESTERDAY'S ANNUAL PILLOW FIGHT in SF wasn't one of the criteria for the above ranking, but it should be, since it's evidence of an overweening political vanity that I call the Cute Movement. These folks think they are so adorable they can trash a public space that costs the city thousands of dollars to clean up every year.


CRITICAL MASS is a monthly demo by the Cute People on bikes that has been bullying the people of San Francisco for more than 20 years:


(Rob Anderson. Courtesy, District5Diary)

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The following press release was issued by the Sonoma County Sheriff Department @ 11:00 pm Monday night:

"On Saturday February 13, 2016 at 8PM, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing person. A woman called to say that her husband had not been heard from all day and it was highly unusual for him. He was last seen at their home around 9AM in Santa Rosa. She tried his cell phone but could not reach him. Deputies entered his information into a national database and broadcast a BOLO to adjoining agencies. 
Sunday morning at 7:11 AM, the woman called again to state that her husband’s phone was last used in the Bodega Bay area. Our resident Deputy and State Parks Rangers went out in search of his car. At 7:56 a State Parks Rangers found the car parked and unoccupied on Carlevaro Way in Bodega Bay. More Deputies, Sonoma County Search and Rescue as well as Henry-1 joined in the effort to find him.
There was nothing suspicious about the scene and they did not suspect he had been a victim of foul play. Personnel searched for hours but did not find him. The case was referred to the Violent Crimes Investigation unit, as is standard protocol in all Missing Person Cases.


Missing is Steven Mitchell, a 56 year old man from Santa Rosa, who is a local civil attorney. This investigation is in its infancy and details are limited. Information will only be released in a manner that does not interfere with the integrity of the case. 
It is not common practice for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to release details in Missing Person cases wherein there are no suspicious circumstances. This information is being provided only because of recent inquiries. Please respect the privacy of the family and the sensitivity of the case."

Here's coverage from the Press Democrat:

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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by Fred Gardner

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders gave one of two keynote talks at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco last weekend. Dr. Elders had been fired by Bill Clinton after acknowledging to the American people that marijuana has medical uses and masturbation is normal.

In 2000 the Clinton Era slurved into a TV show called the West Wing, in which the president was played by Martin Sheen. One episode, watched eagerly by pro-cannabis activists, was reportedly based on Dr. Elders' experience. That turned out to be Hollywood PR — head writer Aaron Sorkin was just trading on the notoriety generated by Elders' firing.

The plot: a female surgeon general (Caucasian, BTW) tells an interviewer that marijuana is “no more harmful than alcohol and nicotine” and “no more addictive than heroin or LSD.” Both comments contain misinformation. Marijuana is much less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. LSD is not addictive. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a scientist, would not misstate the facts.

President Martin Sheen is out of town when the Surgeon General does her supposedly outrageous truth-telling. Top aides tell her to resign immediately so that the Prez doesn’t have to fire her. Meanwhile, one of the Prez’s daughters, a med student, phones a reporter and says her dad would never fire the Surgeon General. The Prez returns from abroad, is furious at the Surgeon General (who happens to be Godmother to the daughter now coming to her defense), and furious at the daughter, whom he feels doesn’t love him. Soap-a-roonie! The Surgeon General explains to Martin Sheen that his daughter really does love him, and was showing filial admiration by saying that he would never fire her. The Prez is flattered and refuses to accept the Surgeon General’s resignation. It’s a happy ending with the flag flying and the White House glowing and patriotic chords tugging at our sentiments.

In real life there was a female Surgeon General (Black, BTW) who spoke the truth in terms the President, a Democrat, considered impolitic. He offed her immediately and ignominiously, just as he had done to Lani Guinere (whose nomination to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights he withdrew when Congressional racists objected).

When radical movements and leaders emerge, well-connected people — using NGO money and/or media access — start speaking for the movement and eclipsing the real leaders. They exude leftiness. They come on like allies — “we’re helping you reach a wider audience,” etc. — but actually they’re weakening the movement’s message and demands. Sorkin’s exploitation of Joycelyn Elders exemplifies leftiness in action. A Santa Monica PR man named Bill Zimmerman — a renowned purveyor of leftiness — told attendees at a subsequent NORML conference that the West Wing episode had provided “millions of dollars worth of free publicity” for their cause.

In 1996 I interviewed Zimmerman by phone. I was in San Francisco, working at UCSF and covering the Prop 215 campaign on assignment from the New Yorker. Zimmerman was the Prop 215 campaign manager installed by Enlightened Billionaires to replace Dennis Peron (who they knew they couldn't control). I didn't realize at first that this LA pr man was the same Zimmerman who had been Tom Hayden's "gopher" during the famous trial in Chicago all those years ago.

Zimmerman called me in late October to see if I could confirm a tip he'd gotten that C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General, was going to come out against Prop 215. I suggested that he get a statement from Joycelyn Elders, also a former Surgeon General. He said she was "too tainted." Zimmerman is not a racist (although Rosie thought his choice of words was odd); he meant that her dismissal by Bill Clinton made her useless for his purposes. Before getting through to Koop, who was indeed opposed to 215, I sent this:

Note to Bill Zimmerman Oct 28, 1996

This is to urge you to seek the endorsement of Dr. Joycelen Elders for the medical marijuana initiative, whether or not C. Everett Koop comes out against it. When I raised the prospect you said, “She’s too tainted.” Who tainted her? Not the Christian right, they don’t have the moral authority. Neither does Bill Clinton. The cops who busted her kid? She handled it like a human being, didn’t hide anything or disown him, just reiterated that she loved him and was going to help him deal with his problem. Anybody who has seen her on TV for 20 seconds knows 1 she’s brilliant, 2 she’s honest, 3 she’s a real human being, 4 she’s an educator who can’t stop and won’t stop telling the truth. Her comments about masturbation being a part of human sexuality about which there is widespread ignorance and myth — didn’t she have every right as Surgeon General to break through that taboo? Let it be the righties who put down Joycelen Elders, don’t let it be the liberals, don’t let it be you. If you want to keep the momentum on October 28th and beyond... nothing could help more than announcing the support of Dr. Joycelen Elders.

Summon up your courage, Bill.

Fred Gardner

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As late as the summer of 2000 Ethan Nadelmann — the man who hired Bill Zimmerman to replace Dennis Peron — used the word "tainted" in reference to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I was then working for San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, the National Democratic Party was convening in Los Angeles, and Nadelmann was organizing a "shadow" event at which he wanted my boss to speak. But Terence felt dissed because Nadelmann was offering him a five-minute slot instead of a 15-minute slot. (I might be remembering the minutes wrong, maybe it was four and ten.) In any case, Hallinan didn't want second billing as a speaker, so I called Nadelmann to turn down the offer. I suggested that he invite Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a migraine sufferer who had recently been arrested for possession (for the second time) and was a hero in LA, especially. Nadelmann said "He's tainted."

Team Nadelmann realized soon thereafter that Dr. Joycelyn Elders and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are actually great assets, and have been using them accordingly ever since.

Flash forward to today, with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigning in South Carolina. If Hillary promised to appoint "someone the caliber of Lani Guinere to the Supreme Court, it would create much-needed distance from her 1990s self and Bill Clinton politics. It could cinch her the nomination — but her consultants would never go for it. Lani Guinere is tainted.

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SCHOOMATES, NEIGHBORS were never told missing Forestville girls had gone missing

by Glenda Anderson

Eileen Goetz graduated from El Molino High School in Forestville, married, raised two kids and worked more than 20 years in the grocery business.

The memories of her youth are clouded by the thought of two friends from Forestville who vanished without a trace as teenagers. As the decades wore on, months could go by without Goetz giving a thought to that mystery from nearly 40 years ago. But when she does remember, Goetz is haunted.

In mid-December 1978, Kerry Ann Graham, 15, and Francine Trimble, 14, disappeared, never to be seen again by friends and family.

Skeletal remains that would ultimately be identified as theirs were located the following July, dumped off the side of a rural highway in Mendocino County. But it wasn’t until late last year that their identities were determined through DNA, a link that authorities announced in a press conference early this month.

It remains unclear how the girls died, but investigators suspect foul play and are seeking breaks in the long-frozen cold case that they hope could lead to suspects.

Goetz, who was a schoolmate of Graham’s and hung out with both girls, remains troubled that no one at the time asked her whether she’d seen them and no one in authority told her or other students they were even missing.

“What breaks my heart is no one ever asked,” said Goetz, 53, whose maiden name was O’Halloran and who now lives in Santa Rosa. She said she may have had information that could have helped find the girls.

Other former schoolmates who knew the girls more casually first found out they’d gone missing this month when the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office revealed Feb. 2 their remains had finally been identified, found in the woods near a pullout along Highway 20 west of Willits. They were stunned they had not heard of the case sooner.

“How did we not know about this disappearance of two girls from very small schools and a very small town?” asked Kathy Culley, a Santa Rosa resident and classmate of Graham’s at El Molino.

“No one I have talked to can remember anything about the girls turning up missing,” said Ken Jones, a retired teacher who had taught both girls at Forestville School.

Today, when a juvenile is reported missing under suspicious circumstances, an Amber alert may be issued, photos are distributed to media outlets, advisories are posted on social networks and school staff and students are notified, if not interviewed. Had Twitter and Facebook existed in 1978, news of the Forestville girls’ disappearance no doubt would have spread like wildfire.

According to the girls’ family members, Trimble’s grandmother and Graham’s sister were the primary advocates for finding the teens, contacting law enforcement officials in multiple counties and states over the years. Trimble’s grandmother went so far as to contact a psychic to try and find them, according to the girl’s aunt, Madelon Johnson.

But some Forestville residents of that era, including teachers in town, don’t recall hearing about the girls’ disappearance. Newspaper archives in Sonoma County include no published reports of the girls having gone missing.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has declined to make the initial missing persons report available because the investigation is ongoing. But it was first reported as a possible runaway case in mid-December by Trimble’s mother to someone who worked at the county’s juvenile facility, said sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha. Law enforcement then contacted Graham’s parents, she said. The detectives who investigated the original case are no longer with the Sheriff’s Office, Focha said, and were not made available.

The resources at hand today for investigating cases of missing children did not exist in the 1970s, and authorities often took less extensive measures for children thought to be runaways. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children didn’t exist until 1984. The Petaluma-based Polly Klaas Foundation, which helps find missing children, arrived on the scene almost a decade after that, following the abduction and murder of the 12-year-old Petaluma girl who is the foundation’s namesake.

Cindy Rudometkin, director of the foundation’s resource department, said she’s not surprised that the two missing girls got so little attention at the time, especially if they were thought to be runaways.

“There probably weren’t a lot of resources” available for tracking down the girls, she said.

Even today, cases reported as suspected runaways don’t get much attention from law enforcement, Rudometkin said.

In 2014, there were 943 cases of runaway children in Sonoma County alone, she said. There were 83,850 runaway reports statewide that year, according to the Department of Justice website. Of those, 157 were reported in Mendocino County and 102 in Lake County.

It’s still largely up to family and friends to spread the word when a child is thought to have run away, but at least now there are more resources for them to do so through social media and organizations like hers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Rudometkin said.

Accounts from the girls’ surviving family members paint a hazy picture of the time leading up to their reported disappearance and the aftermath.

Trimble’s parents and brother are deceased and Graham’s mother, interviewed for the first time since the girls were identified, said she cannot recall how the long-ago investigation into their disappearance proceeded or exactly when it began. But Margaret Graham thinks sheriff’s investigators believed at the time the girls left voluntarily.

“If a child didn’t come back, they assumed they ran away,” she said. “You have to remember how long ago that was. Kids were doing their own thing.”

Graham, 77, doesn’t think that was the case because her daughter was recovering from having her appendix removed and was still taking antibiotics. Trimble’s aunt earlier this month recalled in an interview her sister telling her at the time that Graham’s antibiotics were left on a dresser at her home, something she considered suspicious.

Graham doesn’t remember the date the girls vanished but believes they were out of school for Christmas break. She said she last saw them when they left her house, where she still lives, to go Christmas shopping.

Her son, Ron Graham of Utah, said during an interview this month that his parents may not have been as alarmed by the disappearance as some other parents might have been in similar situations. He said he ran away from home when he was 16 and his other sister ran away when she was 15.

He said his parents didn’t immediately tell him his sister was missing, instead waiting until they saw him in person a couple of years later.

Goetz said if anyone had talked to her in 1978, she might have been able to provide information that could have helped with the investigation.

She last saw the girls at El Molino High School one day that December. They had joined her and some other students that morning to smoke cigarettes in the parking lot near the tennis courts. Graham was a student at the high school while Trimble was in eighth grade at Forestville School. Neither attended school that day, Goetz said.

“They came to school. They didn’t go to class,” she said. “That was the last time we saw them.”

The girls said they were going to hitchhike to a party in Santa Rosa, Goetz said. She said she didn’t know who they were meeting up with.

“It makes you wonder, who were those girls partying with?” she said.

The girls asked whether Goetz wanted to tag along, but she said she declined.

Goetz said cutting school wasn’t unusual for her and her classmates, nor was hitchhiking. She said someone later told her they’d last seen the girls at the local Chevron gas station, where a packaging store now stands. It was a location from which teens often hitchhiked, Goetz said.

Chances are, they were picked up by someone who knew them, she said.

Forestville then “was a five-block town,” Goetz said. “If 10 people drove by, seven of them knew you,” Goetz said.

It also wasn’t unusual for kids in her crowd to take drugs, she said.

“We were out there in halter tops and high heels. We thought every drug given to us was a gift from God,” Goetz said. She recalled Trimble that day was wearing a fitted, calf-length denim coat that belonged to Graham. Both girls had been tomboyish, she said, but had recently blossomed and were enjoying newfound attention from boys.

Graham said she doesn’t know whether her daughter used drugs, but doesn’t think she did.

“They didn’t have a lot of money” to buy drugs, she said.

Graham said her daughter was happy and bright, but hadn’t thought much about her future. She was more interested in spending time with her friends, she said. Trimble was sweet and quiet, she said. Learning the girls are dead means she no longer has to question whether they’re alive. But that answer brings her no solace.

“I still always had hope,” Graham said.

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *


Comments of the Day

(One) You and others might be interested in trying to add this resiliency tool; recently my wife and I started working with others using and sharing Peter Burke’s book “Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening.” In the long term it’s about finding and or creating local resources in the present for seeds, appropriate size containers, soil and water. I took us a total of 2 half-hearted weeks before we had our first full crop. With starting the new behaviors in our daily processes we now enough regular crops that every meal can be supported/supplemented with good nutrition; and if we expanded space to more than one window shelf or window we could potentially supplant one if not two meals a day, everyday.

(Two) Those must be some BIG friggin window sills.

(Three) Do you live in a city and/or apartment? get yourself a decent Urban Permaculture book or look for free info online. You can grow a lot of food on an apartment balcony or in your windowsill.

As for people stealing whatever you grow, one of the great things about permaculture is a lot of the preferred plants, being edible perennials, don’t look like food to the average Hot-Pocket American.

(Four) Sunflower is absolutely not going to be able to feed herself from a box planter. If she wants a career in agriculture, support Trump, kick the illegals out, and then diversify the agricultural system from a handful of mega-farms using migrant labor.

In case of TSHTF, there will be militarization of food distribution and agriculture. North America is so full of food that we destroy current production, future production, give the stuff away (USDA food stamps) and can’t ship it out of the country fast enough.

Think bigger, people. Permaculture is a stupid joke unless you are living in the outback. Repeat: a stupid joke. I own the manual, go screw yourself. It is a dumb fantasy.

People who grow their own food plus surpluses organize their activities on a scale that make “Gardening” look like the stupid hobby it is. A waste of time and energy from start to finish for physically and intellectually lazy people who really believe their own BS… but generally benign in an ecological sense, hell I’d prefer them to garden rather than take up 4-wheeling. Real downside is the visual blight of amateur gardening efforts everywhere.

* * *


Sitting here at a public computer at the Berkeley Public Library, emailing postmodern America: "What are we going to do now? Where is the trip going? Is there a vision? Is there any consensus in regard to the condition of the 'American experiment in freedom and democracy'? Can anybody coherently explain what the point of American foreign policy is nowadays? Is there an overall plan which may be precisely considered by the citizenry? What is motivating social action in society? Why are we here?"

Craig Louis Stehr



  1. Judy Valadao February 17, 2016

    First of all I have to admit I missed about an hour of the meeting. What I find very disturbing about the entire report and meeting yesterday is NO ONE (that I heard) mentioned the fact that Client #10 died while in the care of OMG and a young girl was found deceased near the haul road in Fort Bragg while under the care of OMG. Would any of you have been willing to give OMG one more chance? How many will be hurt by this decision?

  2. BB Grace February 17, 2016

    RE: BOS Kemper

    “Supervisor McCowen observed that because nobody asked for decent reporting from the contractors, especially Ortner, “there was no effective way to resolve those tensions.”

    What I saw at what was Mental Health Board meetings was an Ad hoc committee and ASOs using data dash boards, and Frankly, the plans Pinizzotto handed over should heve not been signed, but at that point, BOS (McCowen/Hamburg) should have told Cryer and Angelo that the plans were unacceptable.

    Re: Real downside is the visual blight of amateur gardening efforts everywhere.

    Amature gardens are the most beloved gardens of all, new leaves are stroked, petted, pinched, each 1/16” growth witnessed in awe, every flower impressed on the amature garder’s mind, “So that’s what an eggplant flower looks like!” Those amature gardens are real labors of love, and I promise you that the first fruits and vegetables never taste better than when from the garden of an amature.

    Connect with the Earth; Plant a seed or more today.

  3. Lazarus February 17, 2016

    Surprisingly Supervisor Brown had the comment of the day,”you didn’t even say you were sorry”…(to paraphrase). Yet Ortner will roll along, for a while, until the next time, and there will be a next time. The doctors are watching, the health care workers are watching, and the street is watching.
    This is an election year, a very different Presidential election year, turnout could be the heaviest in decades, even in the Mendo. There are three Supervisors up for election. If anyone runs against these three…, and if Ortner’s proverbial “can” continues to get kicked, Ortner could haunt all three right out of office…
    As always,

  4. james marmon February 17, 2016

    Hopefully the sheriff and doctors move forward with the plans. My main concern however will be that the board will want OMG or RQMC to run it.

    I’m not going to stop pushing for a fiscal audit on both OMG and RQMC. I want to know exactly where all the money has gone for the past 3 years. I also want to know if OMG and RQMC are going to pay for audit exceptions, and if they are stuck with the bill, how will that effect future services they hope to provide?

    I am very concerned about RQMC’s interface with Child Welfare Services. CWS and RQMC contractors are discriminatory towards parents with mental health issues and make recommendations in Dependency Court against the parents regaining custody of their children. As an result, children are kept in foster care and/or adopted out. RQMC’s contractors rake in big money while these kids are in foster care. Its a machine, and kids are its fuel.

    In the meantime, children are being brainwashed by their therapists to move on from their parents and accept their new families and environments. Study after study has proven children don’t do well being raised in foster care, but in Mental-cino, who cares?

    Just me, no one else seems to hear the cries of babies for their mothers or mothers for their babies. What a terrible world I live in.

    A very small amount of children are actually removed from their parents due to actual abuse, most are taken and kept from their parents just for “risk of neglect.”

    • james marmon February 17, 2016

      Sorry for a second comment here, but I just want to dispel the myth that these parents are abusing their children so they get what they deserve, that is not the case. Only in rare occasions are children actually abused in Mendocino. Do your own research.

      • james marmon February 17, 2016

        Neglect is the failure, whether intentional or not, of the person responsible for the child’s care to provide and maintain adequate food, clothing, medical care, supervision, and/or education.

    • Bob Mendosa February 17, 2016

      Where has all the money gone? Wait for the video. I only saw a chunk of Hostility House director Anna Shaw’s speech on the live stream. All glassy-eyed, spazzing and beggin’ for more.

      Funny thing is this:

      It’s called the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act. It requires businesses who receive federal grants to drug test their employees.

      Nonetheless, it looked to me like Walter White’s got at least one new customer in Fort Bragg.

      • Judy Valadao February 17, 2016

        She only wants a mere $400,000.00, yes I’m laughing. This might be a good idea:

        This is just a thought but I believe it’s a very important point. Most of us who have jobs have to be drug tested before and sometimes after being hired. Why don’t the people who provide services for our most vulnerable have to be drug tested before, during and after being hired? I have sent the following email to the BOS and if you feel the same you are free to use this. I have also supplied their email addresses for those who wish to contact them:

        Dear Supervisors,

        I watched the supervisors meeting today on streaming video. Thanks for making it available.

        With the understanding that you and County staff will be drafting changes to the current ASO contract and upcoming RFP, there’s a suggestion I’d like to make:

        Number one, it makes sense. And number two, it’s required by the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act:…/US…/pdf/USCODE-2009-title41-chap10.pdf

        The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act requires businesses with $100,000 or more in federal contracts to test all of their employees for drug use. This also applies to businesses that receive federal grants.


        Your name and town

        Here are the address to send to:

        • BB Grace February 17, 2016

          Maybe Anna Shaw thinks that she can replace OMG?

          Thanks suckers!

  5. Lazarus February 17, 2016

    Our tech challenged county STILL has no active Sheriff Logs…
    As always,

  6. chuck dunbar February 17, 2016


    Regarding yesterday’s BOS meeting on mental health services. I had read the Kemper report and watched the meeting via live stream.

    I was struck repeatedly by the competence, credibility, thoughtfulness, intelligence and clarity of the Kemper representatives (one of them Mr. Kemper), as they discussed their report, their findings and their recommendations for action. The lack of due diligence by County officials—HHSA administrators (particularly Mr. Pinnozotto), County Counsel, the CEO, and the BOS– at the inception of the privatization move was made abundantly clear. Contracts were poorly (sloppily!) drafted with little attention to important details, MOU’s with community partners were not put in place, oversight of the contractor services was routinely neglected, communication with service providers and the community was deficient, etc. Accountability was almost entirely absent. These failures to perform, as well as recommendations for correction, were clearly and concisely set out in the Kemper report and in the presentation to the Board. Ortner services for adult mental health clients clearly were found to have major service gaps and problems, and there is a good case to move on to another service provider, preferably one that is locally based. Great credit to RQMC services for their performance in providing services to children and transitional youth. Despite the County failings, RQMC has, by most accounts, done well by its clients, a testament to its leadership and the local providers who work with them.

    A digression based on my experience with similar County failings: I was reminded of my repeated observations, over my experience as a CPS/FCS staff for 18 years, of, for the most part, the poor quality of administration in that HHSA division. Administrative staff were often not experienced or knowledgeable in child welfare, often lacked higher education degrees, and lacked basic skills in problem-solving, communication, and humane treatment of staff. Turnover was frequent , and there was rarely a solid sense of stability and effective leadership by administrators. Dictatorial leadership styles were predominant (In my look-back at this issue, I’d name several administrators who, in my view, were worthy exceptions to these observations: Steve Prochter, Jerry Nicoletti and A.J. Barrett.)

    Back on point: I have some hope that this meeting was a turning point for services for the mentally ill in our little county. Credit to the BOS for this long and focused meeting, with public and open communication. At least basic facts about program deficiencies are now clearly known and acknowledged by the responsible government parties. Sheriff Allman’s strong leadership in this area is also very promising. His clarity and drive are what we need to make this right.

    • BB Grace February 17, 2016

      I appreicate your perspective Mr. Dunbar!

  7. Jim Armstrong February 17, 2016

    Around my place in Potter Valley, the seed eating sparrows and finches are still munching away at my feeders.
    I have a hunch that the early spring is providing natuaral nectar for the hummers.

    I worked with hundreds of foster children and other juvenile court dependents for ten years in the 70’s and ’80’s.
    My personal observation of what has happened since is that very nearly all of the children who were in out-of-home placement are currently active parts of their biological families.
    It is very rare to find any of these who have any interest in being part of, or even maintaining contact with, their former foster families.

  8. Craig Stehr February 17, 2016

    “Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.” ~H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956

  9. Harvey Reading February 17, 2016

    Excellent letter, Mr. Blake.

  10. Harvey Reading February 17, 2016

    Poor Ms. Elders. Done in by Christofascists and right-wingers, by act of a phony, gutless, weasel prezudint whose wife is just as bad. The funny thing is that almost all members of both groups masturbate and many smoke weed. They don’t feel guilty about either unless they’re caught in the act. Typical school-yard bullies who never matured.

  11. Alice Chouteau February 17, 2016

    I missed viewing most of the BOS meeting yesterday, and am interested in an account of Anna Shaw’s request for more funding–a lot more funding. Does anyone know where she appears on the video?

    • james marmon February 17, 2016

      Ms. Shaw speaks at 5:20 Mrs. Chouteau

  12. BB Grace February 17, 2016

    I’m just now getting to the Kemper Report, Dan Gjerde introduced Carmen Angelo:

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