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Off the Record (Sep. 13, 2017)

BOONDOGGLE ALERT! Agenda Item 4w on Tuesday’s Supe’s agenda: Approval of Agreement with Mendocino County Office of Education in the Amount of $175,000 to Provide CalFresh Outreach Services to School Children in Mendocino County for Fiscal Year 2017-18 Recommended Action: Approve Agreement with Mendocino County Office of Education in the amount of $175,000 to provide CalFresh outreach services to school children in Mendocino County for fiscal year 2017-18; authorize the Health and Human Services Agency Director or designee to sign any future amendments to the Agreement that do not increase the annual maximum amount; authorize Chair to sign same. Services include Identifying target populations, "working with" low income families, with a goal of increasing participation... MCOE will Prepare MOUs, maintain one full time staffer, monitor the performance of individual school districts, make reports, "work collaborative" with HHSA to ID "high priority" students who might be eligible. Conduct at least one Promotional Event each year with promotional materials, send notices to individual district, send snail mail mailers to high priority student families, send an activity report at the end of the year.

TRANSLATION: Lots of tax-funded donut lunches and a job for a pal of ours. We zipped off a complaining e-mail to the Supervisors. Silence on their end, of course. But this is a perfect example of why the County is broke.

QUICK BOOK REVIEW: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent.

"Poised to become the breakout debut of the year." —The New York Times

"Nearly impossible to put down." —NPR

"The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." —Stephen King

NO SURPRISE that Feeb Central at NPR would find the book riveting, and even less surprise that the world’s most corrupt newspaper would like it. But Stephen King?

THE AUTHOR grew up on the Mendocino Coast. His book has received rave notices and is blurbed by King. It's about a violent male psycho and his incestuous relationship with his 14-year-old daughter, who "has never been south of the Navarro River, and never north of the Mattole." The women in the novel are all brilliant, warm and nurturing, as liberal Mendo will be thrilled to read, as the book becomes a local best seller.

THIS IS THE WORST NOVEL I've ever read, but hey! if you think 14-year-olds talk like this, Darling is the novel for you: "We could farm mealworms," Jacob says, warming to the idea, "our Styrofoam deserts. They can subsist entirely on plastic. I can see us now: farming our mealworms by day, and by night reading Plato aloud to one another beneath the constellations of a foreign sky, accompanied by the vast grind of an entire continent of plastic bottles churning in the current and by the ethereal whisperings of grocery bags saltating across the mounded plastic dunes."

PLEASE PRAY for American lit if this is the future of it. Just sayin', but the author's mom is a writer affixed somewhere to the Stanford’s creative lit faculty, and a lot of the prose here is strictly writer's workshop-precious: "They climb onto a stone causeway that runs into the surf, standing just above the water. The stone is the pitted black of cast iron and old tide pools have left crusted rings of salt. Springs from the sandstone bluffs above the leach out across it in trails of shaggy green algae, where minute frogs watch the ocean. [Ed note: How the fuck do you know what the frogs are looking at?] At its tip, this long arm of rock is capped with a forest of knee-high sea palms...."

THERE ARE LOTS of psychos raising children in Mendocino County. Hell, Albion all by itself fairly teems with free range cho-mo's. But the psycho depicted here is a totally implausible, politically correct compendium of Evil Male as conceived in the Women's Faculty Lounge, and faithfully transcribed by an apparently deranged son raised, as the book jacket tells us, "by two mothers."

UNABLE to endure so much as one more false line, I dropped out when one of the fictional little twits name-dropped Angela Carter, and if you think a 14-year-old would know who she is, again, this is the book for you, a book that manages to make Mendo’s emaciated literary oeuvre even skinnier.

I ASKED a female writer for her opinion: “Not only have I not read it, I hadn't even heard of it. Somebody gave me a book of stories by his mother a while ago, and I found the writing solemn and mediocre, contaminated with politically correct 'messages.' And now that I think about it, the one story of hers I read had a similar theme to her son's novel, I gather after reading some online page about it. The blurb I just read ended with this gag-me treacle: 'Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero—and in the process, becomes ours as well.' And Stephen King compares it to Catch-22 and To Kill A Mockingbird? Somebody must be holding him hostage with a gun to his head. Send a SWAT team to Maine immediately. I swear to Christ, this kind of shit is turning me bitterer than Mark Twain on his deathbed.”

THANK the goddess there's still a few Americans out there who can read: From an on-line review among a whole bunch of rave reviews: “Pretentious self-indulgence — Wow. What a ridiculous book. Proof of the complete phony intellectual posturing of some people. Disregarding the obvious tragedy and emotional power of a young confused girl being sexually terrorized by her monster father, this simple child, unable to understand middle-school vocabulary words, nevertheless thinks to herself in terms, concepts and language that would be more appropriate for a college senior English lit major. Two high school freshmen she encounters in the woods speak to each other and her in similar complex terms. Really? Other than throwing in a "dude!" here and there, their conversations bear absolutely no resemblance to ANY high-school-freshman conversation that has ever taken place. Four chapters into the book the utter absurdity of the "thoughts" and "conversations" described completely killed any interest I had in finishing. The high praise and 5 star reviews of this claptrap ought to embarrass anyone who actually posted any such review.”

RUSH LIMBAUGH, the dirigible of drivel as Cockburn memorably assessed him, evacuated his South Florida residence in advance of Hurricane Irma, despite his previous claims that the news media had intentionally overhyped the storm to boost ratings and gin up fear about climate change. “I’m not going to get into details because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow,” Limbaugh admitted on his radio show. “We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.” On Tuesday’s broadcast, Limbaugh claimed “There is a desire to advance this climate-change agenda and hurricanes are one of the fastest [ways] to do it.” He added that, via its storm coverage, the “liberal media” is “hell-bent on persuading people of [anthropogenic climate change].” Limbaugh also boasted Tuesday that he had been “exactly right since last Friday” in his predictions about Irma’s trajectory. Turns out he might have been wrong.

AS WE NEVER TIRE of pointing out, in Mendocino County history starts all over again every day, and you are whatever you say you are. But even by the standards of our amnesiatic population, this guy’s re-invention is an extreme case.

WE’LL begin with the presser from the cops: “A Ukiah man has been arrested after an 11-year-old girl reported an instance of sexual abuse to the Mendocino County Department of Child Protective Services last month, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. MCSO detectives have established probable cause that the man, identified as David John Richard, 52, committed acts of sexual abuse on the girl continually for several months. The abuse is believed to have happened about four years ago, when she was 7 and 8 years old. An arrest warrant was issued for Richard Friday, and he was found and booked into county jail, held under $300,000 bail. The MCSO is still investigating the accusation and asks anyone with information about the case to call the Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

SO FAR, a routine bust of yet another cho-mo. If we’d stopped there we’d have had  to have given the guy a grudging benefit of the doubt. These accusations are now so routine from estranged spouses that it’s past time for the courts to hold accountable the people falsely making them. But that name, David Richard, rang a bell, a faint bell but detectable. And there it was!

BACK IN 1991, David Richard was revealed as one of two Ukiah cops arrested for rolling drunk Mexicans. It was then-Ukiah police officer Mariano Guzman, now an investigator with the Mendo DA, who led the undercover investigation of Richard and ensured his subsequent prosecution. Only cho-mo-ing could go lower than mugging farmworkers.

LOIS O'ROURKE'S March 8, 1992 UDJ article is a full account of Richard's behavior as a Ukiah police officer:

“ A former Ukiah police officer was sentenced Friday to spend 270 days in jail for stealing more than $200 in cash from an undercover agent during a department sting operation last August. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Jim King followed the recommendation of the county probation department and also sentenced David Richard, 26, a police with the Ukiah police department for two years, to three years probation, 200 hours of community service work and ordered him to pay $300 in restitution to the Ukiah Police Department. Dressed in a sport coat and tie, Richard, making his first court appearance since Jan. 27 when he pleaded guilty to the felony charge, showed no emotion when King read him the sentence. “I’ll spare Mr. Richard a lengthy lecture,” King said after rendering judgment. “All of us expect a police officer to protect the downtrodden. That is what Mr. Richard failed to do.” King also said it is extremely difficult to be a police officer today, and that it makes it all the more difficult for officers when trust is broken. Richard had no prior record and it appeared he had “owned up” to his conduct, King said. Richard was arrested Aug. 17 after he removed $220 from the wallet of an undercover Department of Justice employee. The Ukiah police set up the sting operation after two Hispanic, non-English-speaking men who had been arrested by Richard complained to police they were missing money. According to the probation report, Richard admitted taking the money from the men who originally complained to the police. The undercover agent posed as an intoxicated, non-English-speaking man outside a North State Street bar while other officers watched from across the street. According to preliminary hearing testimony, Richard arrested the man, then took marked bills from the man’s wallet while enroute to the county jail. Later, a police officer followed Richard from the jail and observed him placing the marked bills, wrapped in a booking sheet, under a planter box near the courthouse. Richard pleaded guilty to grand theft from a person Jan. 27 despite his attorney’s objections. His attorney, Santa Rosa lawyer John Shields, had argued during the preliminary hearing the charge should be petty theft, a misdemeanor and less serious than the felony grand theft charge. Richard pleaded guilty to the charge without any sentencing bargains or promises of probation, district attorney officials said then. Both Shields and Assistant District Attorney Robert Hickok agreed with the probation report’s recommendation that Richard be placed on probation. But Shields objected to the jail sentence and instead asked for more community service time, saying a jail sentence would affect Richard’s family. Richard is married and has a 2-year-old daughter. Hickock told the judge it also appeared Richard has “owned up” to his conduct. “As far as coming clean and leveling – he has certainly done that.” King ordered Richard to turn himself in to either the Mendocino or Sonoma County jail April 6.”


RICHARD served his jail sentence in the Marin County Jail and, apparently fully aware that Mendocino County is the land of re-invention, returned to Ukiah as a restaurant manager at Ukiah’s Patrona and also at the former Ritual restaurant on the corner. We're informed that Richard was most recently employed at Ken Fowler's Ukiah car agency.

BETH BOSK WRITES on the MCN chat line: “… The following morning, 50 people have blocked a logging crew from entering the logging road that leads up to the unit where Gypsy Chain lost his life. Raven (19 years later, better known as John McCowen, chair of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors) is conferring with a lone deputy sheriff whether or not a P-L security person can come out and the Coroner go in. Raven deftly conducts the circle… The last twenty minutes includes the video witness (captured by Mike McCurdy) of the enraged logger who felled the tree that extinguished the life of Gypsy Chain, as he rages at the forest defender, Ayr…”— Beth Bosk

ED NOTE: Or you could say that stupid and irresponsible people lured a young, idealistic man unaware of the dangers inherent in logging sites to his death with no mention that the faller had warned everyone away, and of course no mention that the vilified faller worked two jobs and was paid by the foot to do what he had every right to do. And certainly no mention that the faller did not intentionally drop the tree on the kid or mention of his remorse for having accidentally done it, not that it’s possible to intentionally drop a tree on someone hidden in underbrush. Afterwards, the stupid and irresponsible people, as usual, glorified themselves and blamed everything and everyone except themselves for the death of the very young man whose death they’d caused.

FROM TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S Sunday column in the UDJ, he being one of very few must-read writers in this area. But, but, but he's soooooo negative, goes the cry from Ukiah’s Westside, the tighty whiteys whine as, in the next breath, they point to this or that over-compensated non-profit chief-tess as an example of pure selflessness. Not to be unreasonably negative myself, I'd say when the reality beyond lives of decaf lattes is negative, negativity is the only rational response. A good writer gets me interested in stuff I otherwise have no interest in, in this case popular music. And Tommy Wayne is a very good writer. I tuned out at Sinatra, and even him I caught only when I happened to be in some place where he was on the box. TWK’s music piece sent me racing through his whole column, a prose excitement rare in Mendocino County outside the white hot pages of Boonville's beloved weekly, that is.

I'D JUST ARRIVED back in Frisco from three years in Borneo with my bride and two-year-old son. We rented an apartment at 199 Frederick, corner of Ashbury. The apartment manager was a Chinese guy who called himself Tommy Tung. He tried very hard to be cool but not speaking English put cool permanently beyond his grasp. It was so weird out on the street my poor wife wouldn't even leave the apartment unless I went with her. I was a little weirded out myself. When I'd departed in '63 there were a few beatniks screaming bad poetry at each other in North Beach, but the shaggy beasts they'd inspired, The Hippies, only came on in force in '67, and we just happened to be at ground zero.

WHEN LING had adjusted to life in Liberty Land to where she'd venture more than a block or so from home base, we'd walk down to the Panhandle where famous, or about to be famous groups played for free. I think we saw Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane, but later when thousands of people were paying their way in to watch them I was happy attendance wasn't mandatory. The faux innocence of Flower Child-ism and accompanying debauchery seemed clearly headed for the social-psychic rocks, which it did. I enjoyed the anarchy of it all but I was seriously political, or thought I was, righteously swelling the mob at many a direct action. As a hip-symp, I dropped some acid, very much enjoyed the mescaline that was around too briefly, swallowed white cross speed pills to write reams of bad prose. I was maybe 25% hippie but early on had reconciled myself to life as an extremely uptight, orderly, punctual, straight white man.

WHEN I MET a fleet-footed centerfielder playing fast-pitch softball in Cloverdale named Tom Hine when I landed in Boonville circa 1970, we immediately hit it off. We must have seemed a strange pair, him looking like a young Pa Kettle, me like the assistant credit manager at Ukiah Sears. We talked books a lot. I knew he was into music but I couldn't talk about music because I didn't know or care anything about it. Deliberately sitting in a room listening to the Rolling Stones to me would be some terrible new torture.

SO, IN THE SUNDAY JOURNAL, my old friend describes the music fever that had America's youth so infatuated in the 1960s. He writes so well about it I'm almost sorry I missed MC-5:

"…My kids, no doubt curious as to how their ol’ pappy squandered his youth, asked me to name the best group or act I’d seen. I wound up explaining it something like this:

Suppose The Beatles were playing tomorrow night at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse and you had free tickets and the band was in its absolute prime and would give the best show of its career.

The same night, at The Forest Club, a band also at its peak called the Rolling Stones would open with its first set at 8 p.m. and play until 1 a.m. You’ve got tickets for that one too.

At Alex Thomas Plaza an outdoor festival with Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd, all at the top of their game, will play a free starlight show.

Tough choices?

Then we hear the MC5 will appear at Boomer’s Bar in Laytonville with a cover charge of $100. It’ll probably be among the band’s better performances.

It would be one of life’s easiest choices for me. I wouldn’t pause a second before announcing I was headed to Laytonville, don’t bother waiting up…"

JEEZ, when Larry Livermore's band played Laytonville a few years after Lead Sink and the rest of them had peaked, an old drunk named Piano Jimmy or something like that assaulted Lar who went on to become the producer of, among other lucrative musical groups, Green Day, making so much money he could have bought all of Spy Rock.

LAYTONVILLE ITSELF made the New York Times today (Sunday) to the huge amusement of locals who marveled at "Dateline Laytonville" next to a headline on "the newspaper of record" as if Laytonville was as well known a dateline as "Dateline Paris" or "Dateline Boonville."

ON LINE COMMENT of the week: The state's goal is to move all the cannabis farms outta the hills and away from salmon streams and onto agriculture zones. They don’t want any more cannabis in Nor Cal, they want to centralize production in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys and let big ag and big wineries in AG Zoning take over… that is why “no cannabis on rangeland, timber production zones, rural residential etc…. they are only allowing survivable size gardens on large parcels which cost lots of money. They have the plan and through use of zoning ordinances they plan to lower the price so much that if u don’t have at least an acre of cannabis, and lots of startup money for ag land purchase, permits, taxes, etc., you will not survive. The price will hit an all-time low of 3-500 this year and it will be the end if off grid cannabis farms in the hills as we know it, already parcels in rangeland and tpz are being sold for half as much as 2 years ago, they have devalued the land values of all the houses in the hills, only ag land is valuable right now as the other parcels will not be permitted and are therefore less valuable. Don’t forget who runs California, it is big ag companies and their lands are now more valuable than ever.

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