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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Mar 15, 2016

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IN LIKE A LION — After a remarkably dry February (1.6 inches) March came roaring in like a soggy lion. The first 13 days of this month brought 13.7 inches. The last four days, in inches: 1.8 (Sun), 1.3 (Sat), 1.2 (Fri), 2.4 (Thu) — a week ago we had a 3.6 (Sat) followed by a 2.0 (Sun). Yorkville's season total now stands at 50.4 inches. Fortunately, the rest of this week looks clear, giving us a chance to dry out, with highs creeping into the 70s for a few days.

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CALTRANS reopened Highway 128 at about 2:30pm Monday afternoon, only about eight hours after the cautionary closure should have been re-opened.


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KEEGAN MURDER: The Investigation Advances. Really.

Norm Rosen, who served as the divorce mediator for Susan and Peter Keegan, has finally been served with a search warrant related to the case. In February 2016, lawyers arrived at his office armed with the legal authority to gather and remove relevant documents. Presumably those documents are, or will soon be, in the hands of the Mendocino County District Attorney.

That information comes from the Anderson Valley Advertiser: read the full story here ( . It gives credibility to the DA’s often-repeated assertion that the Keegan homicide case remains under active investigation, and it gives renewed hope for justice to still-grieving family and friends.

The day before Susan died, Dr. Keegan “went ballistic” (in Susan’s words, as reported by two friends) in Norm Rosen’s office upon learning what his financial obligations would be once the couple split up. Rosen’s notes may contain important information relevant to character, motive, or intention, and has repeatedly called on the DA to compel his testimony. Read our earlier blog about this issue here ( ) .

Mr. Rosen has claimed that attorney/client privilege prevents him from surrendering any documents or describing what happened in his office that day. However, as our blog points out, Rosen was acting as a mediator, where legal precedent offers substantially more wiggle room on issues of confidentiality, especially when one of the parties to the mediation is dead. In one California case (Olam v. Congress Mortgage Company), the court compelled a mediator’s testimony, acknowledging the potential harm “to the values that underlie the mediation privilege” but concluding that the testimony offered “a contribution of sufficient magnitude” and was “essential to doing justice.”

According to the February 24, 2016 issue of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, the process of securing and executing the recent Rosen search was complex and time-consuming. It took months to get judicial approval to issue a warrant and the search itself took place under the watchful eye of an impartial attorney assigned by the judge to insure that it was carried out appropriately. Once the documents were removed from Rosen’s office, they were brought directly to the judge’s chambers, and Rosen was given a closed-door opportunity to challenge the validity of the search. The evidence may still be working its way through the legal system, but it will surely reach the prosecutor in due time.

All of that is good news, including the meticulous judicial process that resulted in the search. We would expect Dr. Keegan’s attorney, Keith Faulder, to go after Rosen if he had released the information without a fight. Indeed (solely our speculation), we would guess that Faulder has already threatened Rosen with a legal imbroglio if he releases it at all. That’s why every measure should be taken to insure the evidence-gathering process withstands any legal challenge and everything is admissible when a trial gets underway. We want caution and careful adherence to the rule of law.

What we do not want is obstruction of justice. The line between standing in the way of a homicide investigation and protecting client confidentiality is thin indeed. While there is substantial debate about just where that line lies, the American Bar Association’s own rule (Rule 3.4: Fairness to Opposing Party & Counsel) states clearly: “A lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party' s access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value.”

Of course, Dr. Keegan could settle the whole issue by simply authorizing Rosen to release any documents still in his possession. After all, Keegan did not hire Rosen as his defense counsel in a homicide case, but merely used him as a non-binding mediator in a divorce.

Since he has declined to do so, it is reassuring to finally see the judicial system take measured steps to add to the weight of the evidence. We are grateful to see movement in this case.


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Caltrans has completed its investigation into the January 22, 2015 falsework collapse at the Willits Bypass viaduct. This report provides a series of discussions and analysis on the falsework failure event. These include: the submittal and approval process for Willits Bypass falsework; post failure falsework collapse investigation results; detailed discussion on potential collapse mechanisms; most probable collapse mechanisms; internal review and analysis; conclusions; and recommendations.

Caltrans Office of Structures Construction sent experienced engineers to perform detailed reviews at the falsework failure scene as the failure was slowly deconstructed in the field in order to gather information for analysis. A forensic team was assigned to review all of the contractor supplied falsework plan submittals, review the field analysis, and then discuss potential failure mechanisms.


The falsework was not installed as shown on the approved falsework drawings.

Certification by the contractor’s Engineer of Record’s designated representative may have been ineffective.

The collapse was rapid with no prior indicators of an incipient loss of stability of falsework Bent 3-5 [a bent is a group, or framework, of supports]. Once Bent 3-5 collapsed, it created instability in Falsework Bents 4-1 and 3-5. Subsequently, progressive failure of falsework bents in a sequential fashion from Bent 3-5 to Bent 3-1 took place.


Evaluate revising Standard Specifications 48-2.01C (2), Shop Drawings, regarding delegation of certification of the falsework and timing of certification.

Evaluate the need for horizontal forces to be positively restrained.

Evaluate the need to provide internal training for the review on the best practices in design, construction and inspection of the falsework.

Willits Bypass Viaduct Incident Report (PDF 686K)

Willits Bypass Viaduct Incident Report Appendix (PDF 38M)


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JENNIFER POOLE of the Willits Weekly sends along the following from the Weekly's Facebook page:

Caltrans has released its internal report on the January 22, 2015 collapse of the falsework for the Willits bypass viaduct. A very quick read of the report shows "the most probable cause of failure" ... "is the instability at the base of Falsework Bent 3-5" due to multiple "contributing factors resulting in loss of stability," but not including instability of the ground, as various reports concluded "pad foundations and the bridge foundation were adequate"; that "Falsework Bent 3-5 did not indicate any pile movement or displacement"; and that the "Caltrans Structure Representative ... stated that he did not see any indication that the pad at Bent 4-2 sank into the soil."

Report conclusions (Section VII, page 26):
 1. The falsework was not installed as shown on the approved falsework drawings. 
2. Certification by the contractor’s Engineer of Record’s designated representative may have been ineffective.
 3. The collapse was rapid with no prior indicators of an incipient loss of stability of falsework Bent 3-5. Once Bent 3-5 collapsed, it created instability in Falsework Bents 4-1 and 3-5. Subsequently, progressive failure of falsework bents in a sequential fashion from Bent 3-5 to Bent 3-1 took place.

Full report and appendix available for download at the Caltrans Word Press blog…/caltrans-releases-re…/

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AV FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA on last week’s big fire at Goldeneye Winery in Philo: “I am proud of the excellent work that our firefighters provided. All worked hard, safely and efficiently to accomplish their tasks. When the crew is called upon to work in unfortunate circumstances like this, they give it their all! The volunteers who participated in this partial save last week were: Jim Minton, Angela Dewitt, Roy Laird, Paul Lasiki, Kris Kellem, Ben Glaus, Charlie Paget-Seekins, Aaron Martin, Clay Eubank, Colin Wilson, Carlos Espinoza, Jimmie Johnson, German Ochoa, Kyle Clarke, Moy Perez, Sarah McCarter, Tim Holiday, Fal Allen, and Rusty Pronsolino.”


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GLENDA ANDERSON'S report for the Press Democrat on the new County Courthouse was, count on it, only the first in a series of tub thumpers for this major boondoggle of an unneeded, unwanted project, and count on Glenda and the PD to not only provide the tub but to thump it the hardest.

FOR YOU, DEAR READERS, we have critiqued Glenda's cheerleading:

GLENDA: State officials have approved the purchase of land for a new Ukiah courthouse, paving the way for construction to begin on a $95 million project with the potential to transform the city’s downtown corridor.

AVA: Yup. It will transform an already congested area of West Perkins, "the gateway to Ukiah," to a gridlocked skein of unsightly buildings low-lighted by this unwanted, unneeded and overpriced structure which, we never tire of pointing out, will provide only courtrooms and lavish "chambers" for Mendocino County's nine judges, the most judges in the state per capita of any county in the state. And $95 million? Try doubling that and you're still short of the true cost.

GLENDA: The State Public Works Board on Friday approved a $3.65 million payment to buy and prepare 4.1 acres of surplus railroad property on Perkins Street east of downtown Ukiah for future construction.

AVA: One state agency selling a small parcel of land to another, in this case the seller is a defunct railroad, the purchase price paid by ordinary citizens via inflated fees and fines imposed by an over-large court bureaucracy. The defunct railroad, like the local courts, is a project run and staffed by career Democratic Party hacks. This entire deal is an insider Democrat swindle.

GLENDA: "This really is a critical milestone,” said Mitch Stogner, executive director of the North Coast Railroad Authority, which sold the land.

AVA: Stogner, a former aide to former Congressman Doug Bosco, and before Bosco, to Barry Keene, has presided over the defunct railroad for years. He'll ride ghost trains on into retirement.

GLENDA: Most of the state payment — including the $1.96 million paid for the property — will be spent on preparing the site and adding infrastructure for a new courthouse. Seven acres of surrounding property remain under the ownership of the railroad, Stogner said.

AVA: Stogner and Co. will sell these acres to locals who will cover the land with more unsightly buildings leased back to the County at inflated rents for use as "ancillary courthouse services," i.e., all the offices now contained in the present County Courthouse but are not included in the new County Courthouse. The new County Courthouse consists only of courtrooms and judges' chambers.

GLENDA: Escrow is expected to close in about 30 days, and preliminary site work can begin soon after. Design of the courthouse also is expected to begin soon. “We’re very pleased,” said Richard Henderson, a Mendocino County Superior Court judge, noting the lengthy process that preceded Friday’s funding decision.

AVA: The architect was selected years ago, and the design will be a version of the now abandoned Willits Courthouse, easily the ugliest structure ever erected in Mendocino County and, after being demanded by our Superior Court, quickly abandoned because it was falling apart. Henderson is retiring soon and his implied reference to a "lengthy process" neglects to mention that that process occurred, so to speak, outside all local processes.

GLENDA: Plans for a new courthouse have been in the works for almost eight years, but discussions and evaluation of the need for a new facility began years before that.

AVA: Hardly. It was presented as a done deal from the outset.

GLENDA: Ukiah’s courthouse was among 41 court facility projects — including ones in Sonoma and Lake counties — approved for funding shortly after the 2008 passage of a state Senate bill that authorized construction through bonds financed by court-related fees and fines.

AVA: Fees and fines are ever higher to pay for the bonds to pay for projects like this unapproved or even revealed to voters. Everyday citizens pay the fees and fines, of course.

GLENDA: As of August, the California Judicial Council had completed 21 courthouse projects, according to its website. All were deemed to be in critical need of renovations or replacement. But several have since been put on hold indefinitely and most others were downsized after the state, hit by financial shortfalls several years ago, borrowed or redirected money from the courthouse fund for other uses.

AVA: Raises for judges, of course, and the people doing the deeming were also judges, as happened here when the judges deemed the present County Courthouse inadequate to their deems.

GLENDA: A new Mendocino County courthouse is needed for several reasons, officials say. The current courthouse has seismic insufficiencies, safety issues and limited access for people with disabilities, Henderson said. Jailed defendants must be unloaded from vans outside the courthouse, then shuffled in shackles through public hallways and into the courthouse’s only elevator.

AVA: O yes. "Officials say." And officials always act in the public interest. Hell, everyone knows that. Oh, people with disabilities? How we pity them, how we feel for them when it suits "official" purposes. As if the present Courthouse could not be upgraded, and has in fact been upgraded, to accommodate people with disabilities. And as if it's not possible to upgrade to strengthen the structure for earthquakes. (Earthquake threats are huge boondoggle everywhere given that no one knows what structure will survive the Big One, and my money is on the existing Courthouse which is built like a fortress). Safety? A non-issue. Years ago a Mommy tried to hand off a gun to her son (a guy who'd murdered a retired couple to steal their Winnebago), but the smuggle was immediately stifled. There is no safety issue and, besides, the Courthouse is a virtual arsenal, teeming with armed cops, and most of the judges conceal pistols beneath their robes in the event of some real excitement in their courtrooms.

GLENDA: The building also has become somewhat decrepit, Henderson said. The heating and air conditioning units malfunction and the roof is beginning to leak, he said. “The courthouse is becoming increasingly expensive” to maintain, Henderson said.

AVA: So are judges, but there's nothing wrong with the present Courthouse that the two hundred or so million that will be spent on the new Courthouse couldn't remedy.

GLENDA: The new 90,000-square-foot courthouse is expected to boost more than the criminal justice system. It’s widely expected to reshape Perkins Street, a main entryway to Ukiah that is lined at its east end with fast-food restaurants, shopping centers and gas stations. “This is great,” Shannon Riley, Ukiah’s senior management analyst, said of the potential for gateway improvements in the area of the new courthouse.

AVA: Our fave quote from the story from a County employee "This is great." All County employees and at least half the outside population rightly live in fear of judges and can, of course, be depended on to sign off on whatever their superiors desire. There will be no improvements to Ukiah's "gateway." It's ugly and overcrowded now, it will be even uglier and more crowded when this thing goes up.

GLENDA: Some downtown business owners early on voiced concerns that moving the courthouse from the heart of the city’s historic section would harm the downtown’s vitality.

AVA: Why not quote one? Fact is moving the Courthouse far to the east will destroy what little coherence and mercantile energy remains of central Ukiah. Business owners around the Courthouse are almost totally dependent on the traffic generated by the existing Courthouse. They oppose moving it, not that Glenda, a party line girl if there ever was one, bothered to get a quote out of one.

GLENDA: But city officials said they are doing everything they can to ensure that the new location, just a few blocks away, will be linked to the historic core. Roads and walkways are scheduled for improvements that will make walking and cycling between the areas easier and more pleasant, Riley said.

AVA: City officials are doing nothing of the sort.

GLENDA: “I think there’s still going to be really strong synergy between downtown and the courthouse,” Shannon said.

AVA: Shannon is back for another zinger quote. O yea. Synergy. Synergy and bands of laughing lawyers commuting by Unicorn along orchid-strewn paths up and down West Perkins Street.

GLENDA: Mayor Steve Scalmanini said he has some concerns about what types of businesses will be allowed on the other 7 acres belonging to the railroad that will be able to be developed, then leased or sold, once the infrastructure is in place. He doesn’t want large corporate businesses that could harm independent downtown retailers and said the city will need to do what it can to prevent that. He’s cautiously optimistic about the new courthouse location itself, given efforts to tie it to downtown.

AVA: Steve-o is a "liberal" of course, as you can tell from the pro forma "doesn't want large corporate businesses" etc. comment, oblivious of the obvious fact that all of Ukiah's core businesses will be harmed by moving the County Courthouse out of the downtown area. It was the lib-dominated Ukiah City Council that brought the big box stores to Ukiah, shedding copious croc tears for the small businesses ruined by WalMart et al as they went. The big boxes wrecked the town, but a new Courthouse will finish it off.

GLENDA: “I assume that the proximity to downtown will work out,” he said.

AVA: Sure you do, Steve-o. A grateful community bows to your confidence.

GLENDA: Area residents also have voiced concerns about what will happen to the current courthouse building, fearing it might sit vacant in the heart of downtown for a lengthy period of time. The former post office, a block away, remains empty and shuttered three years after its closure and sale to a private party. A block in the other direction sits the Palace Hotel, which has been empty and decaying for 25 years. Scalmanini said that’s an issue the city will need to address, but as of now he said he knows of no plans for the building’s future use.

AVA: Or cares. And Glenda finally gets around to the basic fact of this travesty, that a new County Courthouse is very bad for what's left of Ukiah. Of course she never does mention that it's a County Courthouse, an institution everyone in Mendocino County will use but few County residents are even aware of. Glenda is here to help!

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video by Scott Peterson

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My three pronged cane sits

Nestled near the depends

the prunes await me


The sunlight's reflection

on my new metal walker

where is the viagra?


Your new black knee brace

Rests near the melatonin

What did you just say?


Put it in honey

Not there, in the dvd

Another night of Love



slumber escapes me

i'm drifting — suddenly dawn

what? no half & half?

— KS

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I like Dan Hamburg

When Dan pats my precious head

I always say Omm-mm


MTA buses

Are very efficient. Who

Cares if they’re empty?


Lunch at Petrona!

On the public’s own sidewalk

A City freebie!


Steve Scalmanini

Politically more like a

Mari Rodin in pants


Don’t blame the rednecks

For supporting Trump, just cause

He’s not Hillary

— ms

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The Animal Shelter has re-established the euthanasia evaluation team, according to county policy, comprised of the following: Shelter Manager, Adoption Coordinator, Clinic staff, Veterinarian (for cases regarding irremediable suffering from a serious illness or severe injury), Kennel Staff, Trained/experienced volunteer, Animal Control Officer (for cases regarding bite holds or cruelty)

The criteria for bringing an animal up for evaluation include: health concerns, temperament issues, or safety issues. These issues may be brought up by staff, volunteers, animal control officers or the public. Decisions will be made through consensus. If there is no consensus the Veterinarian or Shelter Manager will be responsible for the final decision.

Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters as put forth by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians are being implemented, with assistance from contract veterinarians.

The Animal Shelter has implemented bi-weekly shelter staff meetings to improve intra-shelter communication and to provide training in “Customer Smart and Animal Friendly People Skills for Animal Shelters” based on a curriculum used by Marin Humane Society.

Currently, the shelter is in the process of updating and enlarging the cat cages in the cat adoption room. In addition, we are working with Facilities Management personnel to provide needed maintenance and upgrades to all areas at the Shelter. Cleaning and sanitation protocols have been upgraded to replace the use of bleach with the disinfectant Accel as recommended by UC Davis.

Shelter staff participated in the “Wacky Cat People” party at Ukiah Library on Saturday February 27, 2016, by bringing 15 adoptable cats (7 from the colony room and 8 from adoption room) for people to meet.

(Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo)

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In its almost 30-year history, North Coast’s growth has come primarily organically and not through the traditional business practices of craft beer pioneers.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 14, 2016

Edwards, Guevara, Hughs
Edwards, Guevara, Hughs

RICHARD EDWARDS, Fort Bragg. Dirk-dagger.

MIGUEL GUEVARA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, suspended license, probation revocation.

MARK HUGHS, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

Pacheco, Parker, Philliber
Pacheco, Parker, Philliber

NICOLE PACHECO, Lakeport/Ukiah. Domestic assault.

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, controlled substance near prisoners, paraphernalia, receipt of stolen property.

CYNTHIA PHILLIBER, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

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With rare exception, the Dems are utterly beyond redemption. They mouth the progressive platitudes to bamboozle the credulous, but when the rubber hits the road, they can be counted on to whore for the money boys almost as impressively as the GOP. They got my vote in 2008. They didn’t in ’12 (and I think my wife is still pissed at me about that).

But disengaging from the process only lets the bastards win. If you don’t vote, they just dismiss you as one of the apathetic mob. There are options other than the duopoly. Find a party or group that reflects your ideals and vote for them. if the best the Dums and Repugs can barf up is Clinton-Bush lite for the upcoming quadrennial, the tidal wave of popular revulsion may send voter preferences spinning off in new and novel directions. Your disgust may be a more universal sentiment than you realize. Send them a message – express your displeasure by letting both parties know that you don’t support either one of them. ‘Whatever is going to happen will simply happen?’ Maybe so. But I’m not going down without a fight. They’re going to hear me shrieking from the cheap seats about what a bunch of dumbasses they all are.

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Complacency and conformity are the real enemies which makes Hillary the worst candidate in 2016. Clinton is the most stagnant, uninspiring and deadening of all the candidates. She is like diabetes.

Donald Trump reveals the racists for what they are and thus motivates a reaction from the terminally complacent. The posturing and panty twisting he causes his conservative compadres is priceless, not to mention all the NPR liberals dutiful soap-boxing.

Lesser evilism is terminal complacency and it is morbidly recycled ad nauseum every single election season. Lesser evilism is so tired and so repetitive that it leads me to believe that those old liberals that are clamoring for it are really the most conservative of all. They seem like the most complacent and sedentary of all political creatures, especially this time around.

So if Hillary Clinton is the diabetes of electoral politics then Trump is more like an STD, an indication of a greater wrong, like perhaps an entirely bankrupt and immoral way of life.

Nate Collins


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It was nice to read in the February 24 edition that some Boonville students will be studying at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca, in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. The capital cities of several Mexican States have the same name as the State, i.e., Puebla, Puebla; Colima, Colima. Total immersion language learning is hard to beat.

I had a minor in Latin-American Area Studies in college and for many years I traveled in Mexico and Central America visiting ruins and near the Instituto are located the ruins of Monte Albán. Before going there I read a guide book about the place and learned that there’s a secret passage there that begins behind an altar and goes under the courtyard and comes up behind an altar on the other side.

I looked for that opening and couldn’t find it; I was without a guide. Finally, on looking along a wall I decided to walk along it and saw that it had been built so that there was a bit of a lip which obstructed the view of the entrance unless one was almost in front of it. It was a trompe l'oeil.

If the students go there, I hope they ask the guide what the purpose of the hidden passageway was.

One may meet some pretty interesting people down there.

I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but I think I first met Don Jesus in ‘69, in Mexico. I sometimes went by the barber shop to play chess with the barber when he wasn’t busy and one day he was and this fellow wanted a game so we played, and that’s how I met him. After that we often played and ended up shooting the breeze. He told me he was 68 years old. In those days I was studying about the Mexican Revolution, off and on, and I asked him whether he remembered any of it. He said he was in the Revolution and that he’d ridden with Pancho Villa.

Francisco Villa had been doing all right until the Battle of Celaya in 1915. By then, Carranza had obtained the backing of Wall Street and his military leader, General Álvaro Obregón now had modern materiel. Villa faced barbed wire and machine guns.

Felipe Ángeles was Villa’s best general. Indeed he was probably the best general in Mexico. He’d spent all his life in the military and had lectured internationally. France decorated him with the Legion of Honor in gratitude for his artillery instruction to the French Army. Ángeles suggested they simply pass on this one, and he ended up pleading with Villa to not attack. Villa insisted, and there is no logical reason for that decision, in my opinion. It was a disaster, and to make matters worse, Villa had purchased ammunition and powder from a supplier in Columbus, New Mexico and that seller had been gotten to by US agents and he had sold Villa ammo that was of the wrong caliber and also powder that used to be used in circuses where they “shot” a guy out of a cannon and the powder coming out of the cannon was a colorful red, white, and blue.

His courageous and valiant cavalry was repeatedly thrown against the wire and machine guns, and it crippled the magnificent División del Norte.

Going south from Chihuahua Villa had taken all the valuables from the churches and he had ransomed many American administrators and engineers. Also he had forced the clergy along the way to go door-to-door and beg ransom money or get shot. The treasure was kept in one of the railroad cars.

The outcome being in doubt, Villa ordered the treasure taken and buried. Don Jesus told me his company was ordered to guard the mule train and help with the burying. They traveled a great distance and got the treasure buried.

On the way back, they were ambushed and he told me the only thing he remembers was sudden mortar fire all over the place.

The next thing he remembered was hearing someone say, “Éste todavía vive.”

Healing took a long time but he eventually made his way north. Things had changed a lot and, as a wounded veteran, he was given a job working for Customs at the Port of Veracruz. Years went by and he never thought about his last assignment. He eventually realized that he had been the only survivor, and years later he speculated that he probably was the only person who knew where the treasure had been buried.

Here he was willing to tell me about the clever concealment, but I would have to promise to never reveal it to anyone. I said okay.

They had ridden all the way to Morelia, Michoacan. They were a large group and had a lot of mules and horses loaded. They had to have been seen as they traveled, what with the huge cloud of dust being generated. That’s probably how the federales were informed and were able to set up the ambush when they returned.

The Capital of the State of Mexico is the City of Toluca. From Morelia there is a road we may refer to as the salida para Toluca. The road goes over the saddle between two hills. Close to fifty years have gone by and I think it’s okay now to break my promise to Don Jesus. I’m certain he’d be okay with it.

Here’s something else: One time, unexpectedly, I was looking in Don Jesus’s direction as he was entering another room and, due to a capricious breeze, his shirt was lifted and I saw his back for about half a second. It was the most horrible mish-mash of overlapping scar tissue you could imagine.

One may go to Morelia and rent a car and head for the salida para Toluca. The highway stretches out and gradually slopes up and over the saddle. Once you’ve gone about a third of the way up, or so, get out of the car and look back towards Morelia. There are two church steeples visible. One is a cathedral and the other is a church. Go to the right or the left until the two steeples are lined up. Now go up or down until the two steeples are at the same height. He said that is where they buried it.

Some years later I drove over that road. Of course I remembered Don Jesus, but I didn’t stop. I looked and, yeah, could be, but it’s not a one-man operation. I suppose I don’t have to tell you that Morelia’s population has increased in the past century.

Moving to a subject touched on some months ago in the AVA, a couple of years after playing chess with Don Jesus I was living up on the Greenwood Road seven minutes from the late Loren Bloyd’s place. Loren’s son Rich had some acres down by Floodgate and I would help Loren cut and split firewood down there. After that we always stopped at Floodgate and Loren bought a beer or two. He had told me that Mrs. Avery was a war bride from France. I speak French and so enjoyed greeting her. For those idly wondering what her name was, they called her Margareet, Marguerite en Français. I went to work at Philo Lumber after and so I didn’t have the opportunity to cultivate a friendship with her, but I would have liked to. I know she must have had a great story to tell. She kept the cleanest store I ever saw. By the way, that pic of the two ladies sitting at a counter you ran a couple years ago, I think it was Floodgate, as do others who commented.

Loren and I ended up getting the wood to Caspar where Loren’s wife Joan taught school and they had a house there. I got to drink a bit of beer with Loren and his brother Robin, and with Skip, Deed, and Mick, too, a long time ago. Loren Bloyd was an upright man. I liked all the Bloyds, but Loren especially.

Loren showed me his line of four or five apple trees growing outwards from his doorway. He told me the apples farthest away from his door ripened the earliest, and those which ripened last were nearest to his walkway. He had grafted several other apples onto these trees, so he had about eight or ten different apples. He said he’d planned it that way so as not to track as much mud into the house. To me this was superior thinking, and I admire it to this day.

Tom Rivard

Santa Rosa

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* * *



Trump Opens Pandora’s Box In US

Source: Global Times 2016-3-14 0:40:36

(Global Times is China’s state-owned tabloid daily newspaper)

Donald Trump, front-runner to be the GOP's candidate for the upcoming US presidential election, encountered a major protest at his campaign event in Chicago on Friday evening. Over a thousand people, both his supporters and opponents engaged in a physical confrontation, which was quelled by police who arrested a number of people.

Fist fights among voters who have different political orientations is quite common in developing countries during election seasons. Now, a similar show is shockingly staged in the US, which boasts one of the most developed and mature democratic election systems.

Trump's mischief has overthrown a lot of conventional norms of US political life.

His remarks are abusively racist and extremist, which has left an impression on the US public that he is intentionally overthrowing political correctness.

Trump's rise was not anticipated by most analysts and observers. At the beginning of the election, Trump, a rich, narcissist and inflammatory candidate, was only treated as an underdog. His job was basically to act as a clown to attract more voters' attention to the GOP. However, knocking down most other promising candidates, the clown is now the biggest dark horse.

Trump is the last option for the GOP establishment. If he wins the primaries, the GOP will face a bitter dilemma. On the one hand, it will be a big compromise to GOP values, and the party takes a major risk of losing the game if they choose Trump as their candidate for president; on the other hand, if the GOP refuses to choose Trump, he might run as an independent candidate and split the vote, in which case, the GOP will also stand no chance in the final game.

The rise of Trump has opened a Pandora's box in US society. Trump's supporters are mostly lower-class whites, and they lost a lot after the 2008 financial crisis. The US used to have the largest and most stable middle class in the Western world, but many are going down.

That's when Trump emerged. Big-mouthed, anti-traditional, abusively forthright, he is a perfect populist that could easily provoke the public. Despite candidates' promises, Americans know elections cannot really change their lives. Then, why not support Trump and vent their spleen?

The rise of a racist in the US political arena worries the whole world. Usually, the tempo of the evolution of US politics can be predicted, while Trump's ascent indicates all possibilities and unpredictability. He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some Western media.

Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for Western democracy. Now, most analysts believe the US election system will stop Trump from being president eventually. The process will be scary but not dangerous.

Even if Trump is simply a false alarm, the impact has already left a dent. The US faces the prospect of an institutional failure, which might be triggered by a growing mass of real-life problems.

The US had better watch itself for not being a source of destructive forces against world peace, more than pointing fingers at other countries for their so-called nationalism and tyranny.

* * *

COMPTCHE'S LEGENDARY LOGGER, Jerry Philbrick, called Sunday with a brief statement that he said he wanted to get off his chest. When the famous woodsman speaks, people listen. "I've been here all my life and I'm 79 years old. I've seen the changes come through here that are pretty awful in some ways. The thing that's really bothering me is this election. The things that have happened over the last ten years especially since President Bush went into Iraq looking for the weapons of mass destruction and couldn't find them started a war. Then Hillary got to be Secretary of State. Then she took Libya out, and was responsible for Somalia, and I can't even tell you all the places where we stuck our noses in where we don't belong. Now weapons of mass destruction are starting to show up in the hands of ISIS. They just poison gassed a bunch of their own people. They're chopping heads off and putting people in steel cages and dropping them in the rivers and drowning them. And we have to go over there and fight them with the rules of engagement that Obama has instituted in our military so our guys can't even raise a weapon until they're shot at. Those are the rules we have to operate by. If Hillary Clinton — I don't want to offend you — but if Hillary Clinton gets in office we might as well blow the world up and let the pieces float right off into space."

I BROKE IN to say I wasn't for Hillary, that I agreed she and Bill are a couple of ongoing disasters, that I'd do a header off the top of the Farrer Building if I were forced to vote for her.

PHILBRICK continued. "Good for you! If we don't get our heads together and do something about it — we have a weak-kneed, blabber-mouthed jelly-bellied person for a President now who can't do nothing right. There's only one guy who can straighten this country out, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but that's Donald Trump! I just have to say that."

* * *


The caged bird sings 
with a fearful trill 
of things unknown 
but longed for still 
and his tune is heard 
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird 
sings of freedom.

Bad Poetry (With much thanks to Lawrence Perrine):

(Bad poems)…are found in great numbers in the scrapbooks of old ladies and appear in anthologies entitled POEMS OF INSPIRATION, POEMS OF COURAGE, or HEARTTHROBS.

While there are many varieties of bad poetry, among the verse or doggerel most commonly mislabeled as poetry are poems that are sentimental, didactic, and rhetorical. Maya Angelou’s trash frequently combine all three characteristics.

Sentimental poetry is tearjerking poetry: it is aimed at stimulating the emotions rather than communicating experience freshly and honestly. It oversimplifies and is unfaithful to the full complexity of human experience. (See sample above.)

Rhetorical poetry uses language that is more glittering and high flown than its substance warrants. It is oratorical, over-elegant, and artificially eloquent. It is superficial and trite. (See sample above.) (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”.)

Didactic poetry has as its primary purpose to teach or preach. (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”). Didactic poetry is recognizable by the flatness of its diction, the poverty of its imagery and figurative language, and its emphasis on moral platitudes. (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”.)

The following poem is not by Maya Angelou; it’s by Edna Saint Vincent Millay. It’s not a great poem, but it’s a good one. Notice her use of simple language, concrete images, and understatement. Notice how the last lines hit you in the stomach:

Listen, children:

Your father is dead.

From his old coats

I’ll make you little jackets;

I’ll make you little trousers
From his old pants.

There’ll be in his pockets

Things he used to put there,

Keys and pennies

Covered with tobacco;

Dan shall have the pennies

To save in his bank;

Anne shall have the keys

To make a pretty noise with.

Life must go on,

And the dead be forgotten;

Life must go on,

Though good men die;

Anne, eat your breakfast;

Dan, take your medicine;

Life must go on;

I forget just why.

— Louis Bedrock

* * *


Here’s a revision of the sonnet I wrote last night for the up-coming poetry festival out in Mendocino.

Orange Rhymes

O the poets out in Mendo,

Doth eschew the lowly rhyme,

They prefer post-modern free-verse,

To the old-fashioned and sublime.

Nor yet will they suffer dactyl feet

Or any other metered time

To tame the stream of passions

Gushing from their minds.

They’re all about creativity,

The rare illusive kinds,

Any kind of form is but a chain

That hurts the feelings it binds.

& quaint old forms like sonnets,

Are as useless as orange rinds.

— B. McEwen

* * *


A Guest Speaker Presentation

Topic: Private Gardens of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Eastern Pennsylvania

This presentation offers inspiration from the gardens, plants, and people of the Northeast Coast. Take a visual tour of private gardens of all types and sizes from 1/5-acre suburban lot to country estates, classical to cottage, woodland and container gardens, formal vegetable gardens, potagers and a few surprises. Mary Jasch publishes and edits DIG IT! Magazine. Her freelance articles and photography of gardens, horticulture, and nature have appeared in The New York Times, Backpacker Magazine, The Boston Globe and other publications. Her award-winning photography is currently in a nationwide traveling exhibit with the Natural History Field Museum of Chicago. For 23 years, she owned an interior landscape business that designed, installed, and maintained corporate interior plantings, outdoor container gardens, and retention basins as sound ecological habitats. Her combined knowledge of plants in natural landscapes and designed gardens provides her with an expertise she enjoys sharing.

There is no fee to attend but seating is limited; please RSVP to Wendy Roberts at or call 707-937-4702.



  1. John Sakowicz March 15, 2016

    Isn’t the PD reporter, Glenda Anderson, married to Mendocino County’s “most interesting man”, Mike Sweeney?

    • Bruce Anderson March 15, 2016

      Yep. Glenda’s done PR work for Sweeney for years, primarily by ensuring that local media never mention in any skeptical way the Bari Bombing. Natch, any deviation from the hagiographic Bari-related events was never permitted at Free Speech Public Radio, Philo.

      PS. Steve Talbot’s PBS film “Who Bombed Judi Bari” points straight at Sweeney and, when Bari died in ’97 Talbot, on “This Week In California,” Belva Davis’s news program on KQED, said that Bari had told him she was certain Sweeney was her killer. Sweeney belonged to a pseudo-left cult in the 60’s that placed bombs all around the Bay Area and, at one point, murdered a prison transportation officer. Of course none of this can be discussed anywhere in Mendocino County but here. Much of the Bari case file is stored on this very website. Interested persons are invited to read it.

  2. LouisBedrock March 15, 2016

    The arrangement of a poem, how it appears on a page, is important.
    Angelou’s hideous poem should look like this:

    The caged bird sings   
    with a fearful trill   
    of things unknown   
    but longed for still   
    and his tune is heard   
    on the distant hill   
    for the caged bird   
    sings of freedom.

    In Ms. Millay’s poem, note the following arrangement:

    From his old coats
    I’ll make you little jackets;
    I’ll make you little trousers
    From his old pants.

    The symmetry is relevant.

    Forgive me if this appears to be nitpicking. To me, it is not.
    I appreciate mucho the inclusion of my comment in today’s “Mendocino County Today”.

    • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016

      In fact, I believe that Ms. Millay’s construction is a “chiasmus”–“a figure of speech in which the order of words in the first of two parallel clauses is reversed in the second.”

      Bruce, if you’re there, can you help me out here: Chiasmus or not.

      • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016

        Bruce Mc. or Bruce Anderson, whoever knows about chiasmuses, uh, chiasmi–more than one chiasmus.

      • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

        Negative, Louis. Your defenition is accurate, but re-read it, paying closer attention to “the order of words is reversed.” Your chiasmus would go like thus:

        From his old coats
        I’ll make you little jackets;
        Little trousers I’ll make you
        From his old pants.

        What we have in the Millay poem is anaphora; more specifically, an example of diacope. Certainly, I don’t remember these rhetorical devices from my college days, but they can be found online, and I use the internet to refresh my memory of what I was taught in those classes, and where I had to memorize such terminology for finals. Although I can’t always remember such specific and esoteric names for all the figures of speech, my schooling wasn’t a waste, because I still understand, on a somewhat subliminal level, when I encounter such things in my reading or writing.

        • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016


          Yes, you’re absolutely right.

          Jesus: zeugmas and syllepsis; chiasmus, antimetabole, and anaphora–and diacope vs tmesis–an awful lot to remember. There are times when I can’t distinguish my left foot from an anapest.

          I agree with your last comment. I also notice many literary devices even if I can’t remember their names.

          Who says that a liberal arts education was a waste if time?

          • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

            Negative, again, my friend. I’m not absolutely right, and I suspect you intuit as much. In a sense Edna St. M’s stanza is a chiasmus… but like my poetry teacher, David Long, used to say — and he admitted he was quoting his teacher, Dick Hugo — analyzing a poem is like dissecting a cat; which is to say, what have you got when you’re finished? A dead cat. Think of the old widows in Paris wandering the streets looking for their house cats and lap dogs, all they had left in the world, only to find that M. Descartes was performing a vivisection on the hapless creatures and intoning his deduction that no, despite the “mechanical” howls of his specimens, they actually felt no pain since they had no souls (and he therefore was innocent of any moral indiscretion). Read “The Right Madness On Skye” by Dick Hugo, for instance, and no, don’t dissect or analyze it, just ride along in the hearse to the cemetery listening to the clop of the horses’ hooves. That what poetry’s all about. The stuff I write is merely doggerel.

            • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016

              ‘Ya know there’s no success like failure,
              And failure’s no success at all.”

              Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda believed the same about the indigenous peoples of the Americas that Descartes believed about cats.

              History is a nightmare from which we are all trying to awake.

              Your poems are fine.

            • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016


              Very short poem.

              May be read as three trochees plus one lonely unaffiliated foot, “stink”.

              Or two trochees plus concluding anapest with stressed “stink”, if you un-stress “flow”.

              Or two trochees plus concluding dactyl if you stress “flow” and not “stink”.

              By Karl Beckson and Arthur Ganz

              chiasmus: Greek: “placing crosswise” (the Greek chi is written as the letter X). A passage consisting of two balanced parts which have their elements reversed, as in the allusion to the hanged felon in Oscar Wilde’s THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL:

              For his mourners will be outcast men,
              And outcasts always mourn.

              Some wise-assed reporter once asked Joe Namath if he majored in basket-weaving.

              Joe responded, “Nah, it was too hard. I took journalism.”

              • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

                Same thing happened to me. But Joe wasn’t bad playing himself in the North Dallas Forty w/ Glenn Campbell — and Peter Gent (Namath’s wide receiver) wrote that book… Why don’t I write a book (I get this all the time)? Same reason, my talents lay in a different direction… I don’t have a novel in me, as they say, and — pay close attention, here — nobody but the AVA would dare print what I do write — I’ve a drawer of rejection slips from every publication in the English-speaking world. You go on about Glenda, you deplore the PD and the UDJ — but guess what? She makes her money elsewhere, because the PD budget for a stringer is so stingy she’d be begging on the streets of Ukiah for a cup of coffee, if she relied on that. No-no, your modern journalist is a venal creature of the advertising department, and has very little truck with the editorial staff. Remember when the so-called “editorial wall” burned down at the L.A. Times back in the Eighties? Oh ho-ho! Things have changed. Any ass can compose and file copy to dull the senses of the news-addicts who reflexively buy such broadsheets, just like the nutty characters who can’t live w/out the tabloids. Yes, newspaper reporters earn the minimum wage (if they’re lucky). But the best stuff comes from the non-paid columnists — like Tommy Waynne Kramer. It’s all pretty dismal, but here’s the thing: The AVA!

  3. Jeff Costello March 15, 2016

    My favorite poets – Bukowski and Millay. Bukowski’s bio is his work. For the real story on Millay may I suggest Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford. Both poets drastically defy the Percy Dovetonsils stereotype we got in school.

    • LouisBedrock March 15, 2016

      Millay is one of my favorites. I have not read SAVAGE BEAUTY, but have put it on my list. SAVAGE BEAUTY is a great title for a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay:

      And if I loved you Wednesday,
      Well, what is that to you?
      I do not love you Thursday—
      So much is true.
      And why you come complaining
      Is more than I can see.
      I loved you Wednesday,—yes—but what
      Is that to me?


      To what purpose, April, do you return again?
      Beauty is not enough.
      You can no longer quiet me with the redness
      Of little leaves opening stickily.
      I know what I know.
      The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
      The spikes of the crocus.
      The smell of the earth is good.
      It is apparent that there is no death.
      But what does that signify?
      Not only under ground are the brains of men
      Eaten by maggots.
      Life in itself
      Is nothing,
      An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
      It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
      Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

      Both poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

      • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

        Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
        e.e. cummings

        April Is The Cruelest Month
        Ezra Pound

        A Spring Wind Blew My List of Things To Do Away Greg Brown

        Remind Me To Never Again Go To Sea In March Ernest K. Gann

  4. Jim Updegraff March 15, 2016

    The Glenda types are everywhere – here in Sacramento we hear the same crappo about all the great thing the new Kings arena will bring to the downtown area. And of course our mayor and most of the city council members buy in on the crappo.

  5. james marmon March 15, 2016

    Just watched the Board of Supervisors vote in RQMC as our adult mental health program. All I have to say is OMG.

    • james marmon March 15, 2016

      Now they are passing a new camping prohibition, bring in the constitutional lawyers. Poor people are not going to be allowed to camp on public lands. It’s going to force the homeless onto private lands, where they can be charged with trespassing and all kinds of other violations.

      I’m going to go visit some friends today, to hell with all this crap. A social worker’s job never ends.

      • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

        Who, pray, are “they”? The city passed this one* back in the day of Her Ladyship Mari Rodin and her hubba-hubba of the day, Judge Clayton “Mormon Polygamist” Brennan; the fellow who sanctioned Mormon child-molestation at a charter school in Willits. I remember the day Clay pawned his wedding ring. Mari had come into family court that day and, even though Clay was a judge (he had been put in office by those very people, still quartered in a Victorian house on School Street: Mary Anne W; Ann M. — now a judge – by and through the same fix — and s/he was such an inept lawyer that s/he was reduced to pawning his wedding ring, the silly, androgynous old thing! If he hadn’d always behaved like such a superior dick, I’d’ve bought him a drink. But, no. And, sure, he could buy and sell me, but I’ll never forget the day he had to scrounge, no matter how rich he gets.
        *No camping equipment shall be sold by any second hand store or charity shop! Nor yet shall any water-proof clothing be allowed to clothe the backs of any but our…”

  6. Jim Updegraff March 15, 2016

    To hell with all the stuff about the election and the new courthouse – let’s get to the important issues.The preseason game yesterday between the Giants and Oakland. Oakland won 10 -3. What I like about the A’s was the performance of the new players acquired during the off season. I was not impressed by the Giants – even though it was only a preseason game – not much oomph to their playing. Bruce, looks like your Giants may not do as well this year.

  7. Judy Valadao March 15, 2016

    Jerry calls it the way he see’s it and I’ll have to agree with the majority of what he said.

  8. Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

    The new 101 Things to do in Mendocino county, the big floppy, flowery, flouncy tourist hand-out (which we all pay for) came out today. Great big beautiful Point Arena cover pix,full bleed to the trim edge, as we say in the trade, and three marvelous inserts, of the Eel River from the Covelo Road, on the left; and the Skunk on a trestle over the Noyo River, on the right. But the one in the middle stands out. It’s two giraffes, recently “transported” from Africa to a penal colony for such animals in Point Arena. It seems that the zebras and giraffes have been transported into exile rather than being destroyed for killing Tanzania’s and Kenya’s most beloved and photographed animals, lions. If you get the 101 things to do glossy, look at the expression on that animal’s face. Then look at a video on youtube from Malawi where a giraffe approaches and lion and absolutely murders this innocent cat, a beneficiary of tubs of meat thrown out for his delectation every evening by the park rangers. Sure, I’m thinking of Alexander Cockburn’s musings on the brooding resentments of wild animals being subjected to human amusements, and also reflecting on how the French (Devil’s Island) and the English (Botany Bay) transported their criminals into exile, as a way of commuting death sentences — and after all, these countries were formerly French and English colonies. Look at the mug shot of a convicted killer, just for shits and giggles. Then compare it to the picture of that giraffe.

    • Bruce McEwen March 15, 2016

      As Wellington said of the English Army, “I don’t know what effect these [zebras and giraffes] will have on the enemy, but by God they frighten me.”

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