Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 29, 2017
BB NAILS IT!
Re: “The Hospitality House allegedly wanted $137,000 to run the shelter this winter – the county gave them $50,000.” and “Why it will take until DECEMBER to open it is just downright cruel.”
How is it not downright greed?
I was at the Mendocino County Mental Health Board meeting in Fort Bragg when Hospitality House and their local government supporters raged how Fort Bragg residents were NIMBYs full of stigma against the homeless that weren’t good enough to get services in the old growth redwood Old Coast Hotel. It was shocking for me because these highly paid public servants arrogance oozed with contempt for the people of Fort Bragg as nothing they said reflected any of my experiences.
I volunteered at Our Lady of Good Council Gleaners Soup Kitchen at the Parrish Hall on Maple Street every Monday for three years, prepping, cooking, serving, washing pots and pans, cleaning tables and sweeping up for approximately 60 to over 100. I was far from alone and less generous than my peers who made to order cakes and cookies, no sugar, low salt, organic and gluten free for those who had special diets. They brought good clothes for men, women, children and babies, jackets and blankets, grooming and care kits, personal need items on a first come, first served, also there was dog food and water for dogs, and for those with a car and stranded Father Michaelraj gave $30.00 and was happy to open the parish school for shelter. Botanical gardens generously donated organic veggies and the food bank supplied staples as long as the Church refrained from giving a blessing. The Gleaners also served lunch on Wednesdays.
First Baptist Church ladies refused to stop giving a blessing and continued to open their doors every Friday serving soups, sandwiches, home made and desserts out of their own pockets. The Lighthouse opened their doors Tuesday and Thursdays and I never witnessed discrimination, racism, or cruel behavior from anyone volunteering. We didn’t take names or make anyone sign up for anything. It was all laid out free for the taking for anyone there.
Not once did I ever see an elected, appointed, non-profit, or contractor service provider come to visit. We invited them to come and enjoy lunch and they never did. And I’m going to say this, the green veggie and fruit salads, and side veggies were organic. The food was delicious and nutritious.
We all supported, voted for, and appreciated Rex Gressett when he ran for FB city council because Mr. Gressett was very good at reaching out to those who found themselves at the hall and new to the streets. I have no doubt Mr. Gressett saved many men and women from becoming victims to predators.
I witnessed the Fort Bragg community as hard working, generous, kind, compassionate and genuine. I never heard one word that provoked the idea Fort Bragg residents made a NIMBY land full of stigma against the mentally ill or homeless so the accusations upset me and I supported the VOTE NO Measure U.
The AVA writes a lot about corporate greed. What I don’t understand is how Mendocino County and its incorporated cities run by CEOs escape the “corporate greed” label. Maybe it’s like Mr. Hollister said yesterday that because the grants come from the state and federal government, tax payers, there’s no need for accountability, who cares, it’s not our money. But it is and we all see these insane huge salaries that are far above the average small business surrounded by closed shops. We all see the homeless who continue to roam the streets in need. It’s obvious the money for services doesn’t trickle down to those who are in need.
Hospitality House and the non profits have succeeded in replacing the free community services and volunteers with their accumulation of properties the majority couldn’t dream of affording. And what’s most concerning to me is that I can’t name one person who has received services and went on to improve their lives.
You know, it was enlightening when HRC said there was a big bag of deplorables because that is exactly how those in corporate government and their contractors treat the public they are paid to serve. I thank God I am not in need of their services and I hurt for those who are in need.
When is enough, enough? How many suicides off Noyo bridge is it going to take? Maybe an Inniative to fund a suicide net for Noyo Bridge for Hospitality House clients?
PLEASE STOP BY and see my show at Mendocino Art Center. I am particularly excited about the interplay of my stone bench and the paintings.
My bench offers the viewer the artist’s vantage point, a place to ponder and by sitting on the art you actually become part of the show. Come join me on December 9
UKIAH LIONS FOOTBALL CUBS TO GO TO THE US CHAMPIONSHIP!
The Ukiah Lion Cubs have been invited to the first National Youth Football Championship at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this December. This event is the largest Youth Football Championship event in the nation. After working hard to accomplish an undefeated regular football season, it is with great honor that the Ukiah Lion Cubs accept this exclusive invitation. Before heading to Ohio, the Cubs will participate in Bay Area Regionals in Santa Rosa December 2nd and 3rd.
While we already have regionals set up to attend, we need the community’s help to accomplish the financial hurdle that the Ohio trip puts in front of the team. The team needs to raise $20,000 to be able to attend the Football Championship in Ohio.
Would you consider a cash donation to help these hard working kids and coaches achieve a once in a lifetime opportunity?
We thank you in advance for your support! Your donation is greatly appreciated and will be used to get the Cubs to Ohio for the Championship. The checks that are donated will be held until after regionals. If for some reason the team does not make it past regionals, the team will be contacting you for return of your donation or it may be contributed to the Ukiah Lions General fund to help keep this program fee free for players.
The 2017 Ukiah Lion Cubs
If you would like, you can send a donation to the address above made payable to Ukiah Lions Youth Football and Cheer. If you should need further information please contact Michael McCulloch, Ukiah Lions Youth Football and Cheer President at (707) 272-5802.
AMERICANS will be relieved to know that there are roughly 2000 serial killers loose in the land, doggedly going about their population control work. That's according to an interesting piece in the current New Yorker called, "The Serial-Killer Detector" by Alec Wilkinson, who describes the work of a scholarly cop named Thomas Hargrove, a "homicide archivist" who catalogues murder in the U.S. then, via algorithims, culls the likely work of serial killers. Hargrove says they tend to be dumb guys, which is reassuring in a way because dumb guys are easier to catch. The female killers are, natch, cannier.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag tried to tell me he got that gash on his face when he tripped and fell in the dark! How dumb does he think I am?”
THE LEGGETT MAN who died when a large oak tree fell on his travel trailer where he and his girlfriend were sleeping, has been identified as Mark Weatherly, 37. The tree crushed the trailer, mostly sparing Weatherly's girlfriend. Although pinned in the wreckage with the unfortunate Weatherly she was pulled from the travel trailer by Weatherly's step-father, a timber faller who lives nearby. The fatal accident occurred just after 5am last Friday morning.
A LOCAL DEMANDED, why don't you write about local restaurants and wineries? Well, uh, ah, er, to be blunt about it my gastro-credentials are pretty thin. I'm a food as fuel guy with simple tastes — meat loaf, pot roast, fish and chips, chicken chow mein, burritos. Devoting two or three hours to a fancy meal? I don't get it. The high dining experience is beyond my experience. There's some great food writing by people like MFK Fisher and Anthony Bourdain, and maybe there's some interesting prose about wine, not that I've ever read any that I can remember. I can say without exaggeration that it's impossible to get a bad meal in the Anderson Valley. The only restaurants I haven't eaten at are Pennyroyal Farms here in Boonville and the Bewildered Pig in Navarro, about which I've heard only raves. I certainly don't keep food and drink reviews out of the mighty ava, it's that we seldom get them.
ANOTHER LOCAL said the other day,
"Your solutions to the political problems of NOW all seem to be based on what we did in 1955.”
Believe me, I have no nostalgia for the fifties, less for the decades since, but I think it's obvious if the halt and the lame, aka the "homeless," are ever again going to be humanely dealt with, there will have to be a great leap backwards to the old state hospital systems, maligned today as "snake pits." No they weren't, as Mendo old timers will attest off their experiences with the state hospital at Talmage, where everyone from the criminally insane to the county's drop-fall drunks were decently housed and humanely rehabilitated, if they could be set right again, Talmage was a boon to this county and the entire state, too. I think what has happened is that we've become so accustomed to aberrant behavior, especially as we see it in the larger towns and all cities, San Francisco especially, that we think the problem is insoluble. So the towns and cities shovel millions of dollars at the homeless industrial apparatus yet the numbers of people on the streets unable or unwilling to care for themselves keeps on increasing. But we have two political parties committed only to the One Percent and, as we all see, the subject of homelessness seldom even comes up at the state and federal levels of government. Here in Mendo, the helping pros say, "Give us more money and we'll take care of it." And they get more and there are, day by day, more free range drunks, nuts and drug addicts than ever.
"On Thursday, November 23, at approximately 5:45 pm, Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to 151 South McPherson Street for the report of a victim of a stabbing. Upon arrival, Officers contacted Reynaldo Cruz Rosado, who had suffered multiple stab wounds to both of his hands and arms. Rosado advised he had been sitting inside his vehicle parked on Madrone Street when he was approached by a male subject known only to him as 'Jorge.' The weapon used to assault Rosado was located next to his vehicle, but the suspect had fled the area. Rosado was transported to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital for treatment of his injuries, while officers continued to investigate the incident. The investigation led Officers to an address on Wall Street which was believed to be that of a family member of the suspect, still only known as 'Jorge.' Blood evidence was discovered on Wall Street, which led investigators to believe that the suspect had been injured during the altercation. An extensive search of the area, which included Police K-9 'Maverick' assisting with his tracking ability, was conducted. The suspect was not located in the area, and investigators still only had an inaccurate name of 'Jorge Naal.' The following morning, investigators acquired an accurate identification of the suspect as Leonardo 'Jorge' Naal-Aviles.
After posting Naal-Aviles’ picture and information on social media, an associate of Naal-Aviles brought him to the Police Department for an interview. Naal-Aviles was subsequently arrested for 664/187 PC – Attempted Murder & 205 PC - Mayhem and was taken into custody without incident. Naal-Aviles was later transported to the Mendocino County Adult Detention facility in Ukiah where he awaits arraignment. The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to thank all who responded to the posting on social media with helpful information and cooperated with investigators. If anyone has any information that may further assist the investigation, they are encouraged to contact Officer Thomas O’Neal at 707-961-2800 ext.167."
(Fort Bragg Police Press Release)
On November 24, 2017 at about 12:50 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported domestic violence incident at a residence the 19000 Block North Highway 101 in Willits. Upon arrival Deputies conducted an investigation and determined a 32 year-old female and Wayne Garland, 32, of Willits were involved in the incident.
The Deputies learned the female and Garland were in a domestic cohabitating relationship. Earlier in the evening, Garland and the female had been involved in a domestic argument that escalated when Garland pushed and struck her in the face with one of his hands. The female sustained a visible injury to her face as a result of the assault. Garland was contacted at the location and when Deputies attempted to arrest Garland he fled on foot. Garland ran for a short distance before losing his balance and falling to the ground. Deputies quickly caught up to Garland and arrested him without further incident for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Obstruction of Justice, and Violation of Probation. Garland was on active Mendocino County probation at the time of incident. Garland was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
TALK & DIE
(From the Office of Assm. Jim Wood):
Co-chairs Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) announce the second in a series of hearings of the Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage to be held December 11 at the Ronald Reagan State Building, 300 S. Spring Street in Los Angeles. The hearing is currently scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
“This committee has been charged with identifying a pathway to healthcare for almost 40 million Californians,” said Wood. “Health care for all is our goal and we are committed to digging deep into the details of what can lead to a comprehensive, sustainable and affordable healthcare system for our state. Our goal is to complete our report, with actionable recommendations, in time for policy committees to consider next year.”
This hearing will bring in experts to discuss several different health care systems within U.S. cities and states, both proposed and in operation, and the challenges they have faced in achieving health care for all. Also on the agenda will be a presentation on cost containment methodology.
“We must do better for Californians, and I believe we are making real progress with these hearings,” said Arambula. “Our second hearing will give us the opportunity to hear from witnesses who will provide important information about how we can bring health care to each and every person in this state – children, families, and our seniors and disabled. The complexities of our current system have worn out their welcome and we know there is a better way.”
The speakers for the December 11 hearing are currently being confirmed and will be announced in early December.
The next hearing, planned for early 2018, will look at various proposals as well as legal and other challenges that must be addressed.
The select committee was created in March by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, with Wood and Arambula as co-chairs. Other committee members appointed include Assemblymembers Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood), David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).
ED NOTE: Skeptics will note that our alleged reps ignore the obvious fact that thriving single payer systems are in place in many countries of the world, from Malaysia to Canada and all of Europe. Wood sabbed the first attempt at a state single payer system.
A TUESDAY TALE FROM NOYO HARBOR...
A friend of MSP sent along the following message at ”high noon” Tuesday:
“So anyway I found a kitten on my fishing boat. It was crucified by a fish hook, actually an albacore jig that was hanging from the ceiling. The kitten must have been playing with the albacore jig when it became impaled all the way through its hand.
I had to perform an emergency surgery immediately because the cat was almost dead. After I got the hook out from its hand the cat ran up into the fo'c'sle and hid I could not find it.
Four days we thought it was dead or had escaped the boat.
I set out cat food kitty litter and water for it and locked it up tight in the boat so it could heal and recover. I have always wanted a boat cat so I think I will try to adopt this one as the boat cat. And now for the exciting part of the story, today when I went to Noyo Harbor to look for it I found a turd in the kitty litter box! Because of this resurrection and, before that, the crucifixion I have dubbed the boat cat ‘Jesus Christ’!
Now whenever I yell Jesus Christ I will have a good excuse. I'm considering giving him a middle name as well...”
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 28, 2017
Andrade, Bechtol, Gomez
ALEJANDRO ANDRADE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BRIAN BECHTOL, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JOSE GOMEZ, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, probation revocation.
Maynard, Offerall, Whetstone
ANDREW MAYNARD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JACOB OFFERALL, Covelo. Probation revocation.
CONRAD WHETSTONE, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When the scoffers tell me “you can’t eat gold,” I think to my self: if gold is not edible at least it has physicality and has been a medium of exchange for 5000 years; is venerated for its beauty; has properties that make it valuable for industry and science……
I get it. It is not au courant, trendy, high-tech, have anything to do with computers, robots or A.I.
Let the speculators, children and lemmings have their fun. When the musical chairs on this cybernetic will-o-the-wisp stops and the value dissipates because someone hacked the system, a Best Korea surprise EMP event or, like the Puerto Ricans know by now, when a monster natural disaster strikes and the power is out for the duration; there will be a lot of unhappy folks. Very unhappy.
I can hear the conversation at the restaurant now:
Server: “I’m sorry Sir, but your Botcoin wallet seems to be not functioning at this time. Do you have some credit card or cash to pay for your meal?”
Customer: “Uh no, what do you mean the Botcoins are not available?
Server: “The manager says you will have to wash dishes for the next week just to cover your bottle of Chateau Lafitte Rothschild Paulliac, 2010. We will need to borrow your teen-aged daughter (cue Roy Moore joke) also for a week, to cover the remainder of the bill.”
Read the prospectus first. Oh right, there is no prospectus.
One will need more than a 12 gauge to get their money back when this thing takes the big dump. The Evil Fuckers will be quite hard to track down when the going gets really tough for the Lumpen.
“Excuse me—do you have a moment to talk about the needs of really rich people?”
DAME ANGELA LANSBURY told an interviewer that women must accept some of the blame for sexual harassment and assault because they “go out of their way to make themselves attractive” to men. “There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us—and this is where we are today,” the 92-year-old Murder She Wrote star said.
“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.” Lansbury said she never personally suffered any harassment during her career, which began in 1944 with the film Gaslight.
“I THINK, THEREFORE I AM” is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.
NOVEMBER 26: 1942 — Late Tuesday night, a train loaded with German prisoners of war poked its way through the fog in Southern Alameda county. Just before midnight, four of the men slipped through a car window in a wild-eyed dash for liberty. Two were captured immediately by the train crew, the others a few hours later. The last prisoner to remain at large, Hans Koerber, a lance corporal in Rommel’s infantry, captured at El Alamein had flagged a ride driven by Leslie Williams, a civilian who worked at a nearby war plant. Koerber, attempting to answer a few questions, retorted in unmistakable German. Williams, grinning pleasantly, drove to the war plant — an entrance surrounded by heavily armed guards. Arrested by and held at Alameda County jail, Koerber was no frightened youngster. He was downright insolent. He boasted that he had been a member of the Nazi youth movement for seven years and joined the German army in 1940. The British captured him in July 1942. He intended, he said, to make his way to San Francisco, to find some friendly Nazis here, and have them aid him to get back to Germany. He dismissed as lies the recent reports from Stalingrad and North Africa. Smug and surly, he attacked all non-Aryans — with a slight exception of the Japs, his war brothers, which he couldn’t quite explain — and blamed the current unpleasantness on the British, the Jews and the Communists. As a member of the Nazi party he declared he fondly expected to rule the world. Hitler, he said, will take over in a short time. Authorities observed that if he were an American held by the Nazis, one-tenth the things he said would have been more than enough to have his teeth kicked in. Koerber was puzzled that his jailer had not tried to kick his brains out. In Germany, he indicated, things are done differently. (SF Chronicle)
PEACHES IN NOVEMBER
and at day’s end glow as if from within
the way bronze does,
before thudding down.
Mourning doves scatter at the sound,
shooting away in low trajectories,
and the mind starts,
in spite of itself, even after weeks
of hearing them drop through the night
and all day long:
the intervals so far off any possible grid
of anticipation, and the impact
each time they hit
ground amid a racket of leaves
just different enough
from the time before,
and the time before that, you are tricked
out of thought, awake
to the sound
as the last of them come down
and the boughs slowly raise themselves up.
KU KLUX KLAMBAKES
by Adam Hochschild
Most of us who grow up in the United States learn a reassuring narrative of ever-expanding tolerance. Yes, the country’s birth was tainted with the original sin of slavery, but Lincoln freed the slaves, the Supreme Court desegregated schools, and we finally elected a black president. The Founding Fathers may have all been men, but in their wisdom they created a constitution that would later allow women to gain the vote. And now the legal definition of marriage has broadened to include gays and lesbians. We are, it appears, an increasingly inclusive nation.
(Click to enlarge)
But a parallel, much darker river runs through American history. The Know Nothing Party of the 1850s viciously attacked Catholics and immigrants. Eugenics enthusiasts of the early twentieth century warned about the nation’s gene pool being polluted by ex-slaves, the feeble minded, and newcomers of inferior races. In the 1930s, 16 million Americans regularly listened to the anti-Semitic radio rants of Father Charles E. Coughlin.
The most notorious of all the currents in this dark river has been the Ku Klux Klan. It flourished first in the South after the Civil War, lynching and terrorizing African-Americans who tried to vote, and then gradually disbanded in the early 1870s under pressure from the federal government. After a long spell of quiescence, it reemerged into national prominence in the 1920s, reaching an all-time peak membership in 1924—a year, incidentally, that saw the dedication of various Confederate memorials, including the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, whose planned removal was the pretext for the “Unite the Right” rally there in August.
(Click to enlarge)
Ku Klux Klan members march in a parade along Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C., August 13, 1925
After another eclipse, the Klan roared back to life a third time in protest against the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Among other acts of violence, Klansmen took part in the murder of three voter registration workers near Philadelphia, Mississippi, in the summer of 1964—James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman.
All along, of course, even while sticking to rhetoric of tolerance and inclusion, politicians have made winks and nods toward that dark river of which the Klan is a part. Richard Nixon had his Southern Strategy. Running for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan sent an unmistakable message by giving a speech about states’ rights near Philadelphia, Mississippi. George H.W. Bush used the notorious Willie Horton campaign commercial. And now suddenly, it’s no longer just winks and nods. Only when pressed by a reporter did Donald Trump in early 2016 reluctantly disavow the support of Klan leader David Duke. “David Duke endorsed me? O.K., all right. I disavow, O.K.?” Then as president he outraged people around the world by equating antiracist protesters with the unsavory brew of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Klan members who gathered at Charlottesville, declaring that there were “some very fine people on both sides.” One of the least fine among the right-wingers rammed his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, killing one and injuring many others. Once again, it seems, the Klan is elbowing its way back into American public life.
TERRIFYING WHITE HOUSE HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
(Actually the original, w/Melania, is scarier...)
THE FOUNDING EXPENSE ACCOUNT
by Mark Scaramella
No one's likely to claim that the George W. Bush was a reincarnation of the Founding George W. But when it comes to money, the two W's have more in common than many people might think. Former President G.W. Bush and thousands, if not millions, of well-off expense account types in business and government owe a debt of gratitude to George Washington, not only for presiding over the founding the country, but for founding the Patriotic American Expense Account.
When George Washington accepted the generalship of the revolutionary Continental Army (a combination minutemen, aka a ragtag band of hippies and malcontents who were willing to grab their muskets and fight a guerrilla war against the British Army — plus a larger group of semi-trained “regulars”) in 1775, G.W. grandly declined the $500 a month pay, saying that all he wanted was reimbursement for his expenses.
When offered the $500 a month by the President of the Continental Congress, Washington replied,
“Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.”
You can literally feel the magnanimous patriotism dripping from the page.
How could Washington afford to turn down the pay? Easy. He was wealthy — very wealthy. He could easily afford to support himself for (what turned out to be eight) years and then submit the bill to Congress.
How did George Washington get so wealthy in pre-revolutionary colonial times? The time-honored, old-fashioned ways: luck, inheritance and marriage. First George Washington grew up in a wealthy family, then he married the much wealthier Martha Dandrige Custis.
The Dandridges were wealthy before their daughter Martha married Daniel Parke Custis whose estate included 15,000 acres and 150 slaves at the time she married him. When Mr. Custis died prematurely, Martha Dandridge-Custis inherited the Custis estate and became one of the wealthiest people — and THE wealthiest woman — in the State of Virginia. Washington had already inherited his father's Mount Vernon estate, and then the merger of the Custis and Washington estates… And all those slaves!
Well, you get the idea.
The American public is already pretty familiar with Washington's "place in history," burnished over the years by himself and his many admirers. Surveyor, gentleman farmer, military leader, land developer, army general, President…
When General Washington retired from the military in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War he submitted his “expense account to Congress — Accounts, G. Washington, with the United States, commencing June 1775, and ending June 1783, Comprehending a Space of 8 Years."
Washington's first expense? A gun? Maps? A uniform?
No, his first purchase was a French-designed Penn Phaeton coach — a luxurious black & gold horse-drawn limo-coach (now restored and on display at Mount Vernon) which Washington described as "a suitable chariot for riding to war" — with the finest imported leather and brass appointments, and a team of six Presidential-quality horses to pull it.
(Click to enlarge)
Washington purchased his Phaeton with all the trimmings from a wealthy physician friend named Peter Renaudet (who had barely used it) for the equivalent of about two Rolls Royces in today's terms. Washington rode his fine new Phaeton up to Boston for the first Revolutionary War battle, picking up key recruits and top officers along the way.
Put that on the account, Captain!
The expense account continues with a pattern of personal extravagance that would put a corporate executive of today to shame. The amusingly understated phrase "household expenses" was used frequently, as was "ditto," to describe lots of single line entries for large dollar outlays. Expenses for lavish dinners for himself and his officer staff were common, including, of course, Presidential-quality booze. (Washington himself preferred large quantities of imported Madeira wine.)
Although most of the expense account entries were more or less sort-of descriptive, the entries for booze listed only the name of person Washington bought it from — three primary sommeliers over the course of the eight years of war. (Madeira was very popular in the Colonies. When it came time to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Madeira filled everyone’s glasses. Washington is said to have finished most evenings off with three glasses of Madeira, the main reason his wooden teeth were usually discolored.)
Historians prized out the fact that the purchases were wine by looking up names like “Travessa du Pilar” and “Lamar, Hill & Lamar,” who specialized in costly Spanish and Portuguese wine importation and distribution at the time.
(Click to enlarge)
As common as it was back then, listing booze as “alcoholic beverages” or “12 cases, wine” etc. as such on the expense account would have been frowned on as much as it would be today.
General Washington also paid for "intelligence" and "secret services" typically from intermediaries — unnamed clandestine associates who sought payment for spying on the Brits. Since many of Washington's troops' early encounters with the British were counted as losses, at least some of these "intelligence" expenditures seem as wasteful and deadly as many of those of today.
Washington's expense account crowd — aka command staff — Benedict Arnold, Horatio Gates, Henry Knox, Charles Lee, French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette, Prussian born Baron von Steuben, Mad Anthony Wayne, etc.… — lived a lot better than the non-expense account crowd — the underpaid and severely underfed minutemen and soldiers and junior officers who fought the guerrilla war which eventually forced the British to give up as too costly — the US was to the Brits something like Vietnam was to the US.
Gates, Knox, Wayne
As general, Washington liked having “a half dozen extra people for dinner with card playing for moderately high stakes, riding to hounds, wine-bibing and occasional hilarity over champagne.” These, of course, were reimburseable “diversions,” not vices. Washington also gambled a fair amount and bought chances on nearly every lottery that came along and occasionally made book for his neighbors. But it’s not clear from the expense account whether he charged his losses off as “expenses” but kept the winnings.
Washington's reimburseable "household expenses" for Mount Vernon as well as for his circus-size mobile headquarters tent and his sleeping/office tent — included such luxury items as imported fine linens (bed and table), well-tailored clothing, hardwood flooring, fancy wallpaper, paint, new shingles, blankets, curtains…
There’s about $28,000 (in Colonial script) to cover the cost of Martha Washington visiting his early command center in Cambridge, Massachussetts. Washington even expensed “services” provided by his many slaves. There are also a number of expenses for “nights on the town” for his officer staff between battles.
One of our favorite expense descriptions was:
“To sundry Exp.'s paid by myself at different times and places... on the Retreat of the Army thro' the Jerseys into Pennsylvania & while there...”
Retreat expenses? Must have been a “strategic” retreat.
Washington also charged the Government six per cent interest for "the money I laid out from my private purse to cover my expenses the first two years of the war." Washington also threw in an extra surcharge for depreciation.
At times Washington struggled mightily over whether a certain expense was public or private. Surprise: he usually resolved the issue in favor of himself.
Taking Washington's cue, today's expense account writers use many of the same techniques that our Founding Expense Account Writer pioneered. Business lunches and dinners with pricey booze; personal coaches (company cars, government cars), "corporate" jets, Superbowl skyboxes, personal assistants (administration and/or prostitutes) all are considered "business expenses" to be borne by the company or employer, at first, and later by us taxpayers when these "expenses" are deducted from the company's income tax, or if on a government contract reimbursed outright.
At the end of the war, General Washington charged the newly forming government of the United States almost half a million dollars (then) for his eight years as Continental Army General. (There is no straightforward way to convert this into current dollars. But some have estimated that the total would be in the $4 to $5 million range in today’s dollars.)
The post-war Continental Congress (prior to the ratification of the Constitution and selection of Washington as first President), of course, paid the bill, in full, no questions asked, with glowing words of appreciation.
But that wasn't all G.W. got. Congress granted huge chunks of (former indian) land to Revolutionary War veterans including Washington. And after the war Washington parlayed his surveyor's knowledge, his military experience and his own personal wealth to strategically buy up the land of other veterans on the cheap then resell it at substantial profit. He served as a paid (real estate) agent of many veterans (officers and soldiers) in locating and surveying additional large tracts, giving him an insider’s / speculator’s view of which cheap pieces of land might increase in value and thus be good investments.
For a more complete — and more entertaining — accounting of G.W.'s expenses during the Revolutionary War, see "George Washington's Expense Account" "co-authored" by George Washington and New York-based writer/historian Marvin Kitman.
Kitman, who spent a lot of time researching Washington's extravagance and personal aggrandizement, is no fan of Washington's, having looked at the record more closely and skeptically than most. Kitman came away from his review of Washington expense account with five rules which have served expense account writers for centuries: Omit nothing, be specific on the little things and very vague on the big things, whenever possible comingle business and personal expenses, pick up the tab for associates and call it a “business expense,” and know, and never charge more than, what the market will bear (i.e., don’t draw unnecessary attention to your expenses by conspicuous overcharges).
But even Kitman grants that Washington did one inarguably Great Thing: Asked to become King George I of the United States. G.W. declined, and stepped down.
You've got to hand it to the Founding Fathers, though. They got a rich guy to run their war and pay his own expenses. Talk about an incentive to win! If the US had lost, England's King George might not have approved G.W.'s expenses. Matter of fact, King George probably wouldn’t have approved of George Washington (and his fellow rebels) even living much longer.
PS. Former Mendo Supervisors David Colfax and Kendall Smith were very good students of Mr. Kitman’s five rules of expense account writing — until they violated rule #5, that is.