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Off The Record (Aug 31, 2016)

WARREN HINCKLE has died, and already lots of people who hated and feared his work are celebrating him, which is the way it goes, I guess. But there isn't a paper in the city or the country that would dare hire him today. Compare Hinckle's Ramparts and Scanlan's with, say, Mother Jones or The Nation, and you immediately see the difference between him and the work product of the pious prigs dominant on the "left" these days. Hinckle was a real radical and he was never boring. Can you even imagine a contemporary editor printing the Lufthansa ad that Hinckle did at Scanlan's? At first glance it was standard Lufthansa with a banner reading "Visit Germany," but all the photos that ordinarily featured castles and beer gardens were of marching nazis and lynched bodies hanging from lampposts. To me, Warren represented the difference between a time when there were still radicals and now, when there may be radicals but even if they can write a little their editors won't let them cut loose.

HAD TO LAUGH that he told a reporter his services would be a “three-priester.” I doubt Warren made Confession very often, and he’s got a very long stay in purgatory in front of him, but he was for sure among God’s foremost children.

I KNEW HINCKLE pretty well and always enjoyed seeing him, although I ducked out early when I saw him after hours. One night, after he put his famous dog in a cab for his mother's house out in the Sunset, all I can remember is being dumped off on the sidewalk in front of my place about 7am. I've known a lot of hard drinking people but never one who drank as hard as Warren did but also managed to be steadily productive. I saw him about a year ago at Joe's in San Francisco. I thought he looked pretty good considering his health regimen and a near fatal escalator accident in New Orleans that would have finished off most people. And he was again just out of the hospital and, his companion, Linda Corso, and boyo-boyo was Warren lucky in her, said, "Warren's not supposed to be drinking." Natch, he had a drink in his hand. Warren was a giant in an age of journalo-midgets.


JEFFREY ST. CLAIR: “Alexander Cockburn and I met Hinckle at a dark bar in Chinatown in the spring of 2001. Warren began ordering mysterious drinks of iridescent colors and names that seemed to derive from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. “Look,” he said. “You should both come write for the Examiner.” This was once William Randolph Hearst’s flagship paper, which had fallen into the hands of a Chinese family called the Fangs for the princely sum of $100. The Fangs had hired Warren to run the editorial department. “Write about whatever you want. Just keep it under 700 words. As long as I get paid, you’ll get paid.” We agreed. Alex and I each wrote a column a week. The gig went on for a few enjoyable months before coming to a predictable end. Hinckle drank us both under the table that day and, deal concluded, walked briskly away down Grant Street, as if he’d just spent the afternoon sipping cappuccino.”

HINCKLE GOT ME in on the Fang deal, too. He told me and Alexander Cockburn to see a young guy named Fang in the temporary Examiner offices above the Warfield Theater on Market Street. (Cockburn could put it away, too, but nobody could keep up with Warren. On our treks along the Lost Coast, Cockburn always packed a couple of fifths of Irish whiskey. I can’t drink nearly as much as I’d like to because I’ve had different sets of obligations than my old pals, which come with a weekly paper whose rock has to be pushed up the hill every day.) Fang greeted us like long lost relatives, although I doubt he had any idea who I was, other than Warren had recommended me and Cockburn as a package deal, kinda like a baseball trade for an MVP (Cockburn) and a minor league knuckleballer with control problems (Me.) The Examiner had just moved from its ancient offices down the street in an overall deal with the Fangs that nobody understood but left the Fangs with a lot of money to throw around. Warren, who'd worked for them, seemed to have a literal blank check and, true to form, he took care of his friends. I got nicely paid for recycling stuff from Boonville's beloved weekly for a few months before the paper's accountants restored order. I still remember the boxes containing the Examiner's invaluable archives of photos and documents, including photos from Jonestown on its last day taken by Examiner staffers. All this stuff was strewn haphazardly up and down the halls, and I still wonder if it was ever properly cared for.

CLAYTON FIRE Disaster Relief Services:

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief services are now located at the Lake County Department of Social Services Adult Services office at 16170 Main Street, Lower Lake until 5pm Friday, September 2. Please sign up for assistance from this extended agency support while you can. The County of Lake will conduct its next Recovery Task Force meeting on September 8; if you would like to see the proceedings of the meeting conducted on August 24, go to:

Additional County-provided information is available from and the Lake County Resources & Services website:

The Lower Lake Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Lower Lake Community Action Group are providing three meals a day (free), a calm and cool place to rest and relax, clean restrooms, refreshments and space to chill (they call it the Community Comfort Zone) totally supported by local volunteers and donated food supplies, right next door to Lake County Fire Protection District Station 65 (16354 Main Street and 16374 Main Street, Lower Lake). The Fire Station will open from 4 to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday, through September 12 for distribution of cleaning materials, animal feed, protective gear, and information on safe handling of hazardous materials (free). Help for cleaning up soot or smoke-damaged interiors is available from volunteers of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, at 279-8448. Rapid minor repairs necessary for re-inhabitation of damaged homes is available from Habitat for Humanity (at their new digs next door and part of the Foods Etc.-IGA grocery store on Lakeshore Drive, Clearlake), 707-994-1100, ext. 102. The Lower Lake Post Office is OPEN. Water services have been restored to most of the habitable area; PG&E has completed rewiring the main trunks, and one assumes both telephone and cable services will not be far behind. If you suffered any kind of loss from the Clayton Fire, you may be eligible for assistance from the California Victim Compensation Program. Contact them at 800-777-9229; Remember, the Clayton Fire has been declared a crime, by the Lake County District Attorney’s office, and that means that anyone who experienced financial loss is potentially a victim of that crime. There are many additional resources —information is located at the Department of Social Services, and many other locations throughout Lower Lake and Clearlake. I’ll next provide you with a list of places where caregivers of all kinds are ready to assist you in their organizational capacities. And KPFZ, 88.1 FM (Lake County Community Radio) is providing as much continuous updating and outreach/inreach as possible from dedicated volunteer supporters through the entire programming week. Streaming live: with live call-in studio phone access at 707-263-3435. We’re here for everyone.

–Betsy Cawn, The Essential Public Information Center, Upper Lake,. 707-275-9376.


Widow Row & Go Go

On the North West side of Hopland along Highway 101 there sits a block of older homes. These homes appear to have been built in the early part of the 1900’s. They are Victorian style homes with front porches, lots of ornate woodwork. This is the block that starts at the world famous Bluebird Café and goes north up to the concrete remains of the old Hopland Grammar School that burned down decades ago. The homes all had large lots, probably due to the need for septic systems back in the years they were built. All of Hopland is now on a public water and septic system. Something Boonville is wrestling with now.

This group of beautiful homes was locally referred to when I grew up as Widows Row. Many, if not all, were occupied by widows. There was Mel Stutz (sp), Mrs. Harmon, Anne Lucchetti (who ran my service station complex for 30 years), Dorothy Abert (who was my 4-H leader), and Julia Rosetti Proctor Massaro (who just died in July at 98.) Their husbands had died and these homes were ideal for them. You could walk to the post office, bank, or grocery store. Or even to the Pomo Inn (now Thatcher Inn or Hopland Inn, or whatever they call it now) where owner/ bartender Vince Lotti would slip a bottle into a plain brown paper bag (like sanitary napkins used to be packaged) and discreetly hand it to you in exchange for the exact amount of money, and he did all of this with one hand. One of his biggest customers was a justice court’s wife. I never asked him how he lost one of his hands.

Today the old houses are still there, but the demographics have changed. Enterprising capitalists have built two-story box like apartments behind these historic homes. I doubt there are any widows living in them. Especially up on the second story of a box like apartment.

Right in the middle of this row of older homes is a new enterprise. I noticed a trendy painted sign out front advertising Clinic Ananda, operated by Mary Lagorio, DO Board Certified Internal Medicine. Her card, that I had obtained previously, indicates she also has an office in Mendocino. I called for an appointment the other day and was promptly scheduled to see Mary, if I could get to the office by 1:30. I quickly finished my power bar (needed for octogenarians) and headed down to Hopland. First stop was at the bank since this is a cash operation. Parked the car right in front. Up the old wooden stairs onto the porch and opened the wooden door that was probably installed when the house was built. That door opened into a hallway. A closed door on the left and an open door on the right led to what was now the waiting room. I think it was probably the living room in its previous life. A few feet into the hall was installed a waist high counter. Behind it was a charming young lady, probably the one I had spoken to on the phone who scheduled me into an already full afternoon for Mary. The room behind the counter was obviously the kitchen now converted to an office. I was asked to fill out some forms, return them and wait up front. All standard medical procedures that we’ve all accomplished many times.

Shortly the door across the hall on the left opened and my name was called by another charming young lady. She had my forms, reviewed them, and asked some questions. Bingo, I was done. Returning to the counter I promptly paid the fee, asked if there was a bio on Mary I could have. I explained that I’ve been known to write down some history about Hopland. Charming young lady said, “Sorry, no bio available”, and in a short two minutes I was out the door. The time was right at 2:15.

IT PROBABLY ISN'T FAIR to the writers of historical novels — there are some very good ones, but the only one that comes immediately to mind is "Lenin" by Alan Brien — but reality is a lot more interesting. "The Giants' Last Tear, An Historical Novel Covering the Battle over California's Old Growth Forests" by Mitch Powers fictionalizes a romantic version of Charles Hurwitz's criminal takeover of Humboldt County's Pacific Lumber.

HURWITZ, in a properly ordered country, would have already been in jail for looting savings and loan institutions when he descended on HumCo, but here he was, a blandly confident vulture capitalist who bore a distant resemblance to SuperMan. One of Hurwitz's first acts was to assemble PL's workers to tell them, basically, that he was not interested in them or their jobs, and then he repeated the old one about the Golden Rule, emphasizing that he had the gold and he was definitely going to help himself to HumCo's gold. Hurwitz proceeded to appropriate the worker's pension fund and strip log forests that prior to him had been sustainably managed.

THERE WAS A LOT of opposition to Hurwitz, ranging from the jive wing of the environmental movement (Earth First!) to mainstream enviro groups, Indian tribes, ordinary citizens, and, of course, employees of Pacific Lumber. When it all flabbed to a halt, Senator Feinstein, whose husband, Richard Blum, was a business pal of Hurwitz's, had arranged a gift of public funds (state and federal money) to Hurwitz in the amount of about $380 million to set aside 8,000 acres of old growth described as Headwaters.

A FICTIONALIZED VERSION of those events could hardly improve on the depressing facts, but good on Mitch Powers for trying.

ODD THAT FORT BRAGG resists fire sprinklers in its highly flammable downtown when the city manager and her three male captives on the city council fork over, no questions asked, to a dubious "homeless" operation and a privately-owned car dealership. Odder yet in a town where a couple of leading citizens burned out the city center in '87, destroying the old Ten Mile Court and the library as a diversion so they could burn down the competing Piedmont Hotel, pulling all that off in one big night of wholesale arson. Kenny Ricks, one of the arsonists, committed an acrobatic "suicide" the night before he was scheduled to talk to a federal grand jury in San Francisco by placing a shotgun between his legs and pulling the trigger with his toe. Presumably, Fort Bragg has said goodbye to all that. But maybe FB should get one of their famous grants to help with the installation costs of badly needed downtown fire protection.

MENDOCINO COUNTY DA Susan Massini, after devoting five years to an investigation of the '87 fires, declined to prosecute, and the thirty-nine boxes of evidence she and her staff amassed have since disappeared.

I THINK MASSINI disappeared the boxes, which would have traumatized about half of Fort Bragg if their contents ever became public.

IF EVER A TOWN a town needed fire protection, it's Fort Bragg, whose downtown is almost all wood buildings.

ARYLIS PETERS is coming up for parole consideration. Arylis kicked off the famous Bear Lincoln events when he shot and killed Gene Britton in the parking lot of Round Valley (Covelo) High School in April of 1995. In the ensuing full-press police search for Peters, his brother, Leonard, was shot and killed as he and Bear Lincoln walked up hill from the Lincoln homestead west of Covelo. In a second round of gunfire a few minutes later Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff Bob Davis was shot and killed. Bear Lincoln was tried for the murder of Deputy Davis and acquitted. Arylis Peters was subsequently arrested without incident and soon convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reported last week that more than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each.

WE’VE TRIED to track down what happened on the Turner family camping trip a few weeks ago. Twice requested confirmation of emergency calls from the campsite have been ignored by the Sheriff’s Department. Turner, mayor of Fort Bragg, referred us to a facebook page maintained by his political foes, suggesting, we suppose, his foes made it up. We don't think so. We think Turner drove off some intruders, perhaps at gunpoint. And good for him if that's what happened.

ON THE SUBJECT of suddenly interesting mayors, former Point Arena mayor, Douglas Burkey, and his consort, Sheryl Smith, a former employee of Mendocino County’s smallest but most consistently in-the-news town, have, as previously reported here, been arrested for grand theft. Their arrest occurred in Point Arena on a warrant from Sonoma County.

Burkey, Smith
Burkey, Smith

BURKEY AND SMITH are in serious trouble, and have some serious 'splaining before them. The background for their arrest involves theft in the amount of $168,000 from a man named Aron Laventer, a former love interest of Ms. Smith’s. The 60-year old Laventer was found dead on his SoCo property in late 2012, conveniently and unaccountably dead it would appear if viewed from a larcenous perspective.

COUPLA COMMENTS about 101 Hortense, Westside Ukiah, where neighbors are complaining about some twenty young, black football players from Mendocino College. The neighborhood complaints would be the same if the occupants of Jock House were 20 deaf mute football players — late night hijinks, poor housekeeping, unseemly behavior generally. Ordinarily, jock-o's live in closely supervised on-campus dorms. Mendocino College doesn't have dorms, so someone or several someones is paying the owner of the property big rent to house these guys. And the doctor, a blithely demagogic fellow named Gitlin immediately rolls out with the R accusation; the people complaining are, natch, racists, and he isn’t a sleazy greedbags for pulling down exorbitant rents from secret someones for renting his already ramshackle premises to the Mendocino College football team.

IF THERE'S a less likely group of racist white people than those huddled up on the Westside of Ukiah, name them. These people live in absolute terror of being called racists. And, as KC Meadows points out in her story, the Westsiders would certainly have hit the 9-11 button a lot faster if these guys were white football players.

WHAT WE ALL want to know is — Who's paying Gitlin the $8-9 thousand rent he's believed to be getting for his adventure in slum lord-ism, and why does Mendocino College have to import kids to play football in the first place?

IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN Making A Murderer, dial it up (Netflix) and watch consecutive frame jobs of the same simple guy that will shock you to your shoes. A lawyer for Steven Avery, whose conviction in a 2007 murder trial was the subject of the unforgettable Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer" says she can prove Avery's innocence. Attorney Kathleen Zellner says the evidence that convicted Avery of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach was staged. Zellner's biggest discovery was that Halbach's car had been seized by police before it appeared on Avery's property. Avery's previous lawyers had contended that the blood found in the vehicle had also been planted by police. Zellner is requesting new forensic tests to determine whether the blood samples had been preserved in vials before they appeared in the car. Earlier this month, Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey's conviction in the murder case was overturned. Zellner hopes for a similar verdict for Avery. "No guilty person would ever allow such extensive testing to be done," Zellner told Newsweek. "The fact that Mr. Avery has agreed to all this testing is further proof he’s actually innocent of these crimes."

A VISITOR LAMENTED that he thought somebody in Fort Bragg should take up the cause of improving the north and south ends of the Haul Road before they completely deteriorate and fall into the ocean and then cost a lot more to fix. He said he was out there in his wheelchair a couple months ago and the north and south ends need some serious work. Apparently it was at night and our friend hit some potholes and did a few faceplants. He said people can still walk it even with the potholes, but it's getting worse by the year.

THE MIGHTY PACIFIC will have its way. It's not too bad until MacKerricher, but I’m talking on foot in daylight. But the ocean is winning.

CULTURE RECOMMENDATIONS: The infamous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont was said to be "the end of the '60s." Prior to the '69 debacle, you see, it had all been pot, peace and nice tunes by nice people, as the rest of America, the least virginal population in human history, "lost its innocence" on an annual basis. Altamont, the venue, was a semi-abandoned, amenities-free racetrack so far east of San Francisco it was damn near to Tracy. Flower children and freelance lemmings appeared in droves, parking wherever they could, pulling up ranch fencing to make bonfires.

THE ROLLING STONES had just come along with fantasy songs about street fighting and sympathies for Beelzebub and, golly, was that a welcome switch from all that Donovan mewling about tripping down the cobblestones and feeling groovy. (On-line readers say it wasn’t Donovan who tripped down the cobblestones but some other fraud. I tuned out at Sinatra so I have no idea.)

OF COURSE it's one thing to sing about violence while you're prancing around a show biz stage with a boa feather and your get-away helicopter out back, but when real street fighters of the sociopathic type start beating on hippies with pool cues and stabbing to death a punk who pulled a gun, well, golly, maybe we shoulda stuck with the Beatles.

JOEL SELVIN'S book about this depressing event, an event thrown together by dope heads at the last minute when two other venues and skilled organizers like Bill Graham were nixed, is called "Let It Bleed — The Rolling Stones, Altamont, and The End of the Sixties." It's a fascinating, carefully researched account of the disaster and the people primarily responsible for it. This is a rare case of the book being better than the famous documentary about Altamont called "Gimmee Shelter."

ALTAMONT was supposed to be the "Woodstock of the West," but Mick Jagger green-lighted the Altamont site although its few and fetid bathrooms were wholly adequate to the mob demand. And there was no water, no food, lots of bad dope, and no security other than the Hells Angels. Jagger left these tedious logistics to a bunch of stoners and one guy who disappeared immediately after the event. It's a minor miracle that more people weren't killed and injured than were, and plenty were. Selvin rightly says about his most interesting book: "We pieced together a portrait of a disaster that spun out of control almost as soon as the idea entered the ether."

"HELL OR HIGH WATER" is a heckuva entertaining movie, but then when hasn't Jeff Bridges been entertaining, and how often do you get a big budget film where banks are half the villains, just like they are in real life? I hadn't read a thing about this movie other than Bridges was in it and, sure 'nuff, it was a bargain at the geezer rate of $7.50.

ALSO RECOMMENDED: "Wild West — Plains to the Pacific," paintings and prints and some miscellaneous historical items currently on display at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, the only museum in the city for people who really like art. A bonus, for you ambulatory rubes from up here in the sticks, is the radically improved stretch of ocean trail that runs out to the Cliff House. Easy walk to and from the Legion, and the Legion's permanent art is also always wonderful no matter how many times you've seen it. Great place to spend an entire day.

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MENDOCINO COUNTY not paying its fines? Stan The Man Anderson as his fellow Repugs (three active at last count) owe the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission $2,090.00 in fines for not turning in accounting reports in a timely manner.

FROM TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S essential Sunday column in the Ukiah Daily Journal: "The words ‘It’s Back to School Week!’ bring sadness and despair to the hearts of schoolchildren everywhere. I understand. They make me sad too. Sending children into a nine-month slog of tedium and psychic abuse as they march toward a meaningless diploma seems monstrous and unfair. We should all be embarrassed. We could do better. Think about an afternoon spent in a room being ‘instructed’ by a poorly educated schoolteacher rambling away on a subject he knows less about than your next-door neighbor. Think about another hour exposed to the gassy exhalations of someone who, when the school day is finished, goes off to a yoga class or a tai chi session with her dog…"

NOTHING there I disagree with. Beyond elementary school, where most of us learn to read and master enough math to see us through life, if not the fine print about compound interest, formal ed is a waste of student time and public tax money. Especially now in the social chaos outside the schoolhouse door, and often inside it. Instruction should be entirely Survival Mode.

WHEN THE HORMONES begin to writhe about age 13, although the newspapers say the pubes are rarin' to go at ever earlier ages, seat time in a classroom is pointless for everyone except the grinders who will go on for technical training as doctors and engineers. Everyone else, including would-be lawyers, teachers, helping professionals and so on through the mists of vague non-disciplines and the millions of blah-blah jobs requiring nothing but ordinary gifts of gab, should be apprenticed out to people who actually know how to do things. The "kids" (all rise) could re-assemble every afternoon after work to play sports.

LOOKING BACK at my steady devolution over the years, I learned zero in so-called college, less in high school. I showed up for high school only so I could stay eligible to play sports after school. I went to college because I was convinced I could get easy work if I had that diploma, and I was still playing sports. College was a bigger time waster even than high school. I’d always read a lot so academic blue ribbons came easy — especially where I went to college, where anyone who could write a coherent paragraph was regarded as a full-on prodigy. Most of my classmates could not read with understanding and could not write at all. And this was college! Lots of people, pick up basic skills like reading and writing at an adult level as they go through life. We get lots of smart, sophisticated letters to the editor from formally unlettered people, and reams of tedious, unreadable bullshit from the formally lettered. Liberal arts are really about understanding and remembering what you read. A diploma in which makes you just like millions of other Americans but probably still less academically capable than half the people on the Indian sub-continent. But after 16 years of edu-seat time I still couldn’t do anything of any real use. I had zero practical skills. All I was good at was lying down and reading. Or sitting up and reading. Looking back, all I really needed after the sixth grade was a good reading list and an apprenticeship with someone with real skills. There are millions of people like me. I wish every day that I’d been jobbed out at about age 12 to, say, a working newspaper or landscape gardener or a librarian/archivist maybe. I’m not smart enough or patient enough for carpentry or car mechanics, but I finally drifted into the newspaper business where I could at least eke out a living.

THIS ISN'T FAIR, or representative of the Boonville student body, but the other day as I was drinking coffee and thinking good thoughts on my front step, school had just let out, and young people were streaming by. Most of them were bent slightly at their waists studying their multi-purpose phones where, I was sure, they negative social input gazed back. Two raucous girls dressed in tight, black clothing disruptive of the contemplative aspects of the educational experience, smoked cigarettes as they ambled along shrieking merry f-bombs at each other, heedless and uncaring that the nearby geezer was looking on. I wondered what Boonville's harried faculty did with these two doomed and prematurely debauched creatures all day, blitzed by forces they're already too handicapped to ever hope to defend themselves against. The schools, having achieved a perfect entropy, double down on the handicap by being totally irrelevant to what young people are going to need to make their way in a crumbling society.

THE 2015 COUNTY AG REPORT is pretty puny without including pot stats, our lead export crop. Over the years we see a decline in a real economy based on timber, fish, apples and pears, sheep and cattle, to a total ag product worth only $221.8 million. Wine grapes for '15 were valued at $88.2 million while timber came in at a mere $83.7 million. Government, if you include teachers and the rest of the ever-larger edu-apparat, is the County's largest employer.

THE FAKE LEFT, in Fred Gardner's handy phrase, has destroyed the meanings of lots of useful words. Oppression, for instance. Most people would agree that Black people are oppressed every which way, but the term has lost its sting because now all kinds of non-oppressed and self-oppressed people claim to be oppressed.

A GUY LIKE COLIN KAEPERNICK is not, in himself, oppressed. He's a bi-racial multi-millionaire who grew up in a secure, white middleclass home in Turlock. He's a latecomer to the wonderful world of black oppression..

BUT KAEPERNICK HAS an authenticity problem. To be wholly credible, Kaepernick would have to do a lot more than sit down symbolically on behalf of black people. But it doesn't appear he's thought out the contradictions here. He's got to do concrete things to help out, otherwise he's just one more marginally credible voice shouting out the obvious.

OUR BLACK PRESIDENT has managed to make everything worse for most people, including black people, and you can be sure that Hillary, because she's already said so, "will continue Barack Obama's legacy." Kap might look into opposing the Democratic side of the duopoly.

I KINDA FEEL for Kap. He's not doing well on the field. He lost his mojo along the way, his confidence. His demo might also get him unemployed. The Trumpian worldview of NFL owners is strictly flag and country and military pageantry, although there isn't a veteran among them. But the kids who make them richer than rich are almost all black. The bloated fucks have to tread carefully with black sentiments. With the whole world falling on his head right now, I think Kap is about to become a victim, if not fully oppressed.

One Comment

  1. R Smith December 9, 2017

    This is an update to an August 26, 2016 story. Douglas Burkey, former mayor of Point Arena, and Sheryl Smith, former Mendocino County employee and candidate for local council, were both found guilty of felony grand theft property fraud and sentenced to 1 year in jail, 3 years probation, and $93,000 restitution to the victims. The fraud was against Aron Laventer, former boyfriend of Ms Smith, and who was sadly found deceased in a remote area of his property at the time. The Sonoma County DA prosecuted Smith and Burkey after learning of the fraud, as well as of the ensuing attempts by Smith and Burkey to demand money from the children of Mr Laventer immediately following his death, and foreclose on his property under the false pretense of the fraud. The cause of Mr Laventer’s death remains undetermined and has never been solved.

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