Off the Record (Oct. 11, 2017)
by AVA News Service, October 11, 2017
“THE ESSENTIAL American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” (Quick, who said that?) And is it true? It would certainly seem to apply to the Vegas killer — isolated but for an unacclimated Filipino girlfriend who described him as "kind" and "caring." Assuming the shooter wasn't nuts in any clinical sense, he was certainly stoic enough to complete his evil mission then shoot himself.
THE SLAUGHTER in Las Vegas was so awful even the NRA is harrumphing about "certain restrictions may be necessary on conversion kits," the gizmos that make semi-automatic rifles into machine guns. DH Lawrence, the British writer assessing our souls, spent much of his time in New Mexico where, in the 1920s, there were probably still lots of men who had the bona fides Lawrence described. If the writer put down there today he'd more likely find his stoic killers transformed into tattooed fat guys toting yoga mats. Stoicism fled our fine, fat people four generations ago.
WHAT gets left out of the gun debate is the simple fact that millions of people view the government as a kind of occupying army, and certainly don't trust it to protect them. Those same millions look out their windows and see a growing chaos that presents a clear and present danger to them. Which it does, but not the kind that requires a military assault weapon to repel. But we all take precautions that wouldn't even have occurred to us prior to the genie's escape from the jug, circa '67.
HOMELESS PROGRAMS in the middle of town is a bad idea. The debate rages in Fort Bragg and Ukiah. And we're informed that Lake County regularly propels its homeless population in the winter to take advantage of Mendo's much more generous food and shelter programs. It’s not as if we’re dealing with a few of our native sons who’ve fallen on hard times, we’re providing the latest in transient services to a growing number of lost and irremediable people who would be difficult even in a hospital setting, which is where most of them belong, and where most of them would have been if it were still 1960.
IT'S CLEAR that homelessness is not only here to stay, it's steadily increasing. A friend suggests that every county maintain a federally-funded facility. But the federal government rarely even mentions the problem let alone addresses it. Well-paid employed persons can't find housing in Mendocino County, but there's money to be made off the straight-up homeless, and boy do our non-profits know how to cash in the homeless, with big salary set asides for the bosses while the numbers of institutional-quality transients grows, their pathologies unaddressed.
SMALL TOWNS like Ukiah and Fort Bragg can't possibly cope alone with the rising transient tide, but the doers of 9-5 good who run these programs continue to say, "Give us more money and we'll handle it." They aren't handling it now and, as a group, inspire zero confidence in their ability to handle much of anything. They have no articulate spokespeople or, in the case of Fort Bragg, they trundle out an arrogant attorney to tell the town, "We won't bend," a startling statement given that Hospitality House is comprehensively out of compliance with its use permit, and even the people served refer to the place as Hostility House. But according to their hired legal gun, they're the vics!
UKIAH is busily proceeding with a central facility without so much as informing its neighbors it was in the works. No way will the helping pros be able to cope with the population presently wandering the streets who, to put it gently, are not amenable to order.
WELL, SHUT MY MOUTH. I know all of you share my shock that Harvey Weinstein is not a nice man. But as soon as you've recovered from this terrible news, you'll be reassured that your fave movie stars, the really big ones, have refused comment.
PERHAPS Marilyn Monroe, a frequent target of lecherous studio chiefs and filmmakers, said it best in her memoir, My Story: “I met them all. Phoniness and failure were all over them. Some were vicious and crooked. But they were as near to the movies as you could get. So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes—an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses."
SUPERVISOR McCowen got a pretty good shot from Mike Koepf in this week's paper, not that it wasn't deserved on the transient rental issue, and not that McCowen is so thin skinned that he is likely to suffer lasting trauma.
I'M PRETTY SURE we're the only media people in the county who watch the Supes gavel-to-gavel, and we rate McCowen, Gjerde and Crosky as thoughtful and always prepared to rationally discuss the issues, Carre Brown, occasionally is capable, Supervisor Hamburg seldom capable. McCowen, as we've said before, also deserves major attaboys for personally spending many of his off hours cleaning up after the homeless in the Ukiah Valley, especially where they've fouled tributaries to the Russian River and areas on the River itself. He's the only elected official we know of who knows the problem presented by the homeless first-hand.
THE COUNTY OF MENDO has had a problem with high personnel turnover for years. People get hired here and, at the first opportunity of higher pay and better chances for advancement, leave for another county. The DA has just seen five prosecutors leave for greener pastures, and we've just learned that one of our favorite administrators in the County CEO'S office, Alan Flora, has departed. Where Flora has departed for is not known. The rumor is that he had personal difficulties with CEO Carmel Angelo.
MEANWHILE, over at the Superior Court, their honors refuse to even acknowledge the present status of, it is presumed, former Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham. The judges apparently spent months "investigating" Ms. Markham for on-duty sexual hijinks before they finally relieved her of her duties, placing her on paid leave, all the while thoroughly non-personing her.
ALAN FLORA didn't just resign his position as the number two man in County admin, he just up and walked out a week ago without the usual weasel-lipped presser about how he was sorry to be leaving such a hard-hitting administrative apparatus with a long list of "accomplishments" appended. There was no going away party, no nothing. Trouble with the boss? Could be. Flora was recruited by CEO Angelo to be her successor. He was brought over from Lake County to work Lake's magic in Mendo. But the abrupt departure hints at something more. Even disgruntled employees give 30 or more days notice then use up vacation time before they shuffle off.
BETSY CAWN on Flora’s sudden disappearance: "Lake’s magic or Mendo’s mumbo-jumbo? No diff on this side of the Cow — the 'boy wonder' leaves everyone wondering, again! Look for some mess that his departure protects from scrutiny, like the recent (unexplained/unjustified) department head raises, and the extended paid leave for the head of the probation department, the mental health services mysteries, and marijuana merry-go-round that theoretically empowered the expansion of employee services without any reservation of commitment to establish actual revenue achievements. Wheee!"
CALL ME MR. OUT-OF-IT, but I'd never heard of Tom Petty before I happened on an old interview Terry Gross did with him for NPR, and the tunes she played that made him famous registered no hits in my memory bank. NPR, and Ms. Gross, specialize in fluff — bad books by PC authors, musicians apparently known only to the NPR demographic, actors and actresses we've never heard of. Note to Ter: Most musicians and actors are boring as hell. Some people still bother to complain about the frivolousness of our culture, but when you have government-funded radio subsidizing it.....
UKIAH, 4TH OCTOBER: A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations today with an acquittal of Jared Edward Adams, 26, of Vallejo. Adams had been charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Mendocino County in January of this year. It had also been alleged in the pleadings that Adams had a prior DUI conviction within the last ten years, and that he had willfully refused to submit to testing that would have revealed his blood alcohol, as required by California's implied consent law. The prosecutor who presented the evidence on behalf of the People was Deputy District Attorney Houston Porter. The investigating law enforcement agency was the California Highway Patrol in Garberville. (District Attorney’s Press Release)
BRUCE McEWEN NOTES: I was in briefly at the beginning of this trial of Mr. Adams, and knew that Michael Shambrook was the lawyer, but, covering the Dennis Boardman murder trial, I only know what my sources tell me, which is that the guy refused to take the blood test — which is taken as a confession of guilt — and the officers somehow forgot to ask him again, which, apparently, is really a rule of law and the jury had no choice but to find for defense. Everyone at the courthouse singing Amazing Grace all week over that one! I've seen Mr. Shambrook do these kinds of courtroom hocus-pocus stunts before — one time he had a young female DUI defendant, slam-dunk for the strutting Deputy DA (who shall remain nameless out of respect to his Mom) where the prosecution closed the case with a snap and marched out of the courtroom in triumph. After the Deputy DA was gone, Shambrook asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, noting that our hotshot Deputy DA hadn't entered any (you have to ask the judge to have the blood alcohol level test results entered into evidence, hand them to Mdm. Clerk, Bonnie MIller, and wait for her to time-stamp 'em). Not Guilty!
JOSHUA RUOFF, accused of murdering Timmy Sweeting and burying his battered body on a grow near Dos Rios, gave the court a big surprise this week when Ruoff's lawyer, Public Defender Linda Thompson, told the court she couldn't go through with the trial set for October 23 because she had just discovered, after all these scores of months, that she has a conflict of interest and cannot proceed to trial. The Ruoff case was passed to the Office of the Alternate Public Defender, Patricia Littlefield. The court will have to reconvene in the matter in about a month to set a date to decide what to do over the next few years while everybody readjusts to the new lawyers and sees how long it takes them to "conflict-out" as the lawyers call it?!?
DA DAVID EYSTER WRITES: re: The Man With No Tattoos: “And now for the rest of the story. Criminal charges need not be 'refiled' after a hung jury. The original charges suffice to keep the criminal proceedings going. In this case, however, the parties came to a later agreement that negated the need for a new trial. The defendant admitted a parole violation based on his acts of vandalism, was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail, and continued on parole supervision. In the case that hung, the defendant also admitted the acts of vandalism, but as a misdemeanor. He was placed on 36 months of court probation, with terms and conditions that included that he serve 42 days in the county jail, stay away from the victims, and pay full restitution for the damages he caused. All’s well that ends well!”
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "Confession Tapes," the new NetFlix documentary. Not for everyone, especially persons predisposed to the fuzzy-warm worldview, the series is a riveting tutorial on how law enforcement extracts false confessions from defenseless persons, i.e., people who don't know they don't have to say anything unless they're under arrest, and even if they are under arrest don't have to say anything without a lawyer present. In other words, poor people. In all of the cases presented there is serious doubt about the guilt of the cop's designated perp. In one painfully sad case of a man found guilty of deliberately drowning his four children, and attempting to drown his wife, even the judge expressed public doubt that the man's crime was anything but a tragic accident. Nevertheless, he went down for life.
CLOSER TO HOME, we have the case of Tai Abreu of Fort Bragg whose public defender managed to convert no evidence against him into a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. All three defendants in the murder of Donald Perez were found guilty of his murder, but two of three pled out, Abreu, then 19, was talked into going to trial. There is zero evidence that Abreu participated in the murder part of the scheme, but under California's murder law if you're present when a murder occurs, you're automatically involved. Abreu “confessed,” just like the people in "Confession Tapes" without knowing the first thing about his right not to talk about being in on the confused pothead plot to lure the vic to Mendo. Abreu had just turned 19 when he got a one day trial during which Public Defender Linda Thompson essentially joined the prosecution in testifying against him. The other two defendants pled out, receiving, essentially, 20-to-life each. They'll be out soon, Abreu, unless some remnant of justice can be squeezed out of the justice system, will never get out. Mendo PD Thompson talked Abreu into going to trial when he, too, should have taken the DA's offer of 20-to-life. Of all the rancid miscarriages of justice I've seen in Mendocino County over the past forty years, the legal lynching of Abreu is the absolute worst.
CALIFORNIA'S SANCTUARY LAW, SB54, was written by Senate President Kevin de León, a Los Angeles Democrat. It bars law enforcement officers in the state from arresting individuals based on civil immigration warrants, or asking about a person’s immigration status or participating in any joint task force with federal officials for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws. It also prohibits local officials from contracting with the federal government to house their detainees and holding immigrants for any reason if they are cleared for release on their state criminal cases. The bill does not prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing federal immigration laws in California. Instead, the law says California will not use its own law enforcement resources to help in those actions. Stay tuned. When the fires die down we’ll talk to the Sheriff and the DA about how it all will work in Mendocino County.
THE FAILURE of Fort Bragg to pull Hospitality House's use permit isn't surprising, especially in the cringing civic context of Mendocino County, but one has to wonder how many violations of basic operating standards does HH have to violate before the City moves on them? And HH's hire of a lawyer to do its talking for them adds a major insult to Fort Bragg's ongoing injury.
JUDY VALADAO nicely summed up the ongoing fiasco:
"In my opinion the Hospitality House now has the green light to do as they please. Their attorney made that perfectly clear when she said 'we will not bend.’ It was surprising to me that those who claim to want to help the clients of The House weren’t there in mass to support the appeal. After all the appeal was about the clients and additions that could have made things better for everyone involved. During the entire process I wondered why the Hospitality people weren’t talking more about what they could do to improve things for the clients. Instead they pointed out they aren’t responsible for the homeless unless they are on House property. Then said they aren’t going to bend to the request to allow the homeless a place to sit or rest during the day. They won’t even keep the restroom open during the daytime. Seems to me those who are in charge of a Homeless Shelter really aren’t responsible for the homeless. Why then are they getting funds from the county to be used for the homeless that they aren’t responsible for? Who are the real losers in the end?"
I WAS LOOKING forward to the new HBO series "Deuce," by the same people who brought us the brilliant, "The Wire," until I saw the first episode the other night. It's unrelievedly sordid only made interesting with lots of snappy dialogue from the always funny writer, Richard Price. But the events and the freaks depicted seem only tangentially related, and all of it involves unattractive, charmless criminals, circa 1972. (An ugly decade, you could say.) In fact, everyone in the thing rages from mildly repellant to Why-Am-I-Watching repellant. There’s even a prostitute of the heart of gold variety, a fantasy the writers still apparently cling to. At this point in our porn-soaked history, do we really need to watch what the prostitute does to understand how she makes her living? The only good guy, the guy around whom the vague narrative seems to revolve, is either mildly retarded or implausibly unlucky, getting himself into more life-threatening situations in one night than even criminals get themselves into over a life of crime. We know he's a good guy because he checks on his sleeping kids before he goes out to track down his wife. She's shooting pool with a couple of scumbags whose company she prefers to that of her husband and children. If you like sordid, this is the series for you. I'm going to give “Deuce” another chance, but I'm not optimistic.
INTRIGUING update in the current Mendocino County Observer by Jayma Shields Spence. She writes: "Asha Kreimer, 26 years old, went missing from a Point Arena cafe in 2015. The Sheriff's Office was told by her family recently that she may have taken an assumed name since then. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has updated a two-year-old missing person case, receiving new information…"
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE hasn't said what the new information is, but apparently it involves a suspicion at least that Ms. Kreimer is among the living. The following describes the young woman's improbable disappearance:
IN OCTOBER OF 2015, we wrote: Asha Kreimer is a 26-year-old Australian female with dark, long curly hair. She is 5'9", about 120-130 pounds, pretty thin and has olive colored skin. Her mom has flown in from Australia and is searching Point Arena for clues on where Asha was last seen. Asha was experiencing what her mother believes to be bi-polar episodes and spent the day at Fort Bragg hospital being evaluated. She was later released to her boyfriend Jamai Gayle. Jamai (an abbreviation of “Jamaica”?), who lived with Asha in Albion, has told Jeannie that he took Asha for a drive down the coast with Asha's friend Sally. (We suspect that “Gayle” is not Jamai Gayle’s real name — his facebook page indicates that he’s spent a lot of time in Jamaica, specifically a “settlement” in Saint Mary Parish, Jamaica, named “Gayle” where he seems to have adopted the white-rasta affect. His facebook page says his “education” is “graduate of McAteer High School,” a now defunct alternative performing arts school in San Francisco that folded back in 2002 under accusations of poor educational performance and bad management.) An employee at a Coastal Cafe where Asha and Jamai stopped said that Asha seemed agitated and got up to go to the restroom and never came back. Somehow Jamai ended up with Asha's cellphone. No one has seen her since. According to Jeannie, Jamai's story has changed a few times and there are not many clues as to where Asha may be. Please share this info. If you or anyone you know have clues or saw Asha on or after the day she went missing.
From a published poet in the 70s to a newspaper columnist in the 80s and 90s, Jim Gibbons emerged in the 21st Century with enough flashbacks of the good old days for a book or two. His most recent essays can be read in the Anderson Valley Advertiser out of Boonville, California (theava.com). Thanks to the HWG (HawaiiWritersGuild.com), he hopes to have his first book in 47 years out real soon. A long-time resident of Willits, and a world class distance runner, Mr. G has stories to tell, and he tells them well.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Yup, the marijuana impact certainly is different. Some sections of local rivers don’t even ‘run’- thanks (in part) to pot grows. Sections of the Eel “disappearing”, anyone? Those that do run are largely low, warm and filled with blue-green algae- again, thanks to local grows.
The impact has been well documented, but as a primer: an unsustainable number of people operate marijuana grows, many of whom siphon water from *our* rivers (or feeder streams). These same people are often most concerned with the size of their bud
as an aside
(it’s possible that they feel the need to overcompensate for some other aspect of… well, we can leave that for their psychotherapist… if they ever stop masking sympoms with chemically induced euphoria, sell the oversized truck and dump this year’s grow hoe…).
Anyway… the ‘size matters’ philosophy often encourages growers to over water and over fertilize (not to mention those who use rat poison or pestisides). The excess water flushes a significant amount of this extra fertilizer back into our local water supply. The introduction of such high levels of plant nutrient, coupled with higher water temps from the already low water volume, creates the perfect environment for blue-green algae. voila! local swimming spots that can be deadly to dogs and can make people sick.
I could also talk about local communities who can’t even count on having enough water to flush their toilets during growing season?
We need to tell these people that Nor Cal is a terrible place to grow herb. Our area has a lot of “knowledge” when it comes to cannabis production/genetic modification/extraction, because this was considered a good place to hide grows. Since that’s no longer necessary, I think it’s high time we encourage these people to take their show on the road. They can take their problems down to the central valley- or anywhere else that has the infrastructure, land and labor to deal with them.
We need to tax the crap out of this drug so that we can repair the damage that these criminals (yes, people growing before legalization, or any medical growers who don’t adhere to the regs. are criminals) have caused. We also need that money to provide drug treatment and mental health services, both of which are already inadequate. We need to invest NOW to make sure that we have enough treatment capacity for people who want help quitting or who experience mental health issues (most seriously schizophrenia) as a direct result of using cannabis. We also need to up our law enforcement game. We need LEO’s who are highly qualified and highly trained. Specifically, we need to ensure public safety and eliminate drug related robberies/theft/home-invasions while also engaging in more verbal/non- (or less) lethal deescalation of situations where LEO’s interact with mentally unstable/psychotic individuals.
Somehow I don’t think that the laughably small sq.ft. tax on grow operations will provide money to benefit anyone, let alone the priorities that I’ve mentioned. It’s sad to see how far this beautiful area has fallen in the last decade and even more so to think of the bleak future that this drug haven has in store.