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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017

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CHRISTMAS EVE: A weak frontal boundary will bring a chance for rain to northwest California today. The clouds and rain will be short lived followed by a brief period of dry weather starting Christmas. A couple of weak weather systems are possible by mid and late week for for another chance for rain. (National Weather Service)

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by Michael Koepf

By way of analogy allow me to exaggerate about how to rob a bank without a gun.

First, you become an elected official—say, a Mendocino county supervisor. Thus, no need for a firearm. Use your mouth and guile. The bank is the County of Mendocino, essentially the citizens, who put their money into the bank by way of taxes and fees. The bank is broke, but the bank is flush.

As thieves, you hire a crafty Chief Executive Officer to explain this dichotomous bunk. She’s your inside man to soothe your conscience and lead you on to plan the job. Her name is Carmel Angelo, and for compensation you pay her off ahead of time with total pay and benefits that amount to $310,735 a year.

Still, you’re fearful. You wear nice clothes. Sycophants and bureaucrats press their needy lips to your derrière. Your nails are clean, but you watch cop shows on TV. There are people locked in jail who’ve robbed for cigarettes. You need a cop to help you out. How about Sheriff Allman? Will he look the other way — perhaps, even cheer you on? For that you offer him a raise of $21,000 bucks to add to his annual total pay and benefits of $258,526 dollars a year — more than the annual take home for the leader of China, Japan or France. Timing’s critical, so how about pulling the job off during the Christmas season when everyone’s busy with shopping and family plans? Okay, you’re set to go. No need for a mask. No need for a getaway car. You can rob in your cushy chair. Put your finger to the voting button — BINGO! — $24,000 greenbacks instantly fall in your lap!

Maybe you watched the theft last week. As for the Mendocino public — the chumps who fund the bank — nobody was there to see. However, Sheriff Allman was there waving pom-poms for the raise. There was also a man named Liberty — Ross Liberty, an extremely curious name. Liberty, outfitted in humble clothes and platitudes, also praised the raise. Allegedly, there are rumors that Liberty wants to be a supervisor too. Smart man — hooray for the red, white and blue!

Sheriff Allman, in a pink shirt and an optical illusion tie embellished with wiggly diagonal lines, blew money kisses to the board. However, our politician cop did offer a wiggly warning to the board that the raise could come back to bite them after they bit the bullet to stick their fingers in the till. Sheriff Allman cautioned, “in tomorrow’s paper, we’ll all pay hell,” an understatement if there ever was one, but Allman didn’t remove his handcuffs to stop the crime. In fact, he stood righteous before the board. The Sheriff said that the raise was nothing but “a little bump.” According to Allman, the “bump” creates competition for the job, implying that increasing pay for politicians creates better candidates and governance all around. Sheriff Allman, consider this: the political hacks in Sacramento and the Congress of the United States. Mr. Allman, I rest my case.

After the enablers had their say, they quickly disappeared. The chambers held nothing but empty air. Nobody was present to confront the board — the perfect setup for the perfect crime.

Actually, the robbery was rather boring. To embolden their nerves for the stick-up, the board babbled endlessly on. They spoke of metrics and something called the Slavin Study comparing compensation for politicians and bureaucrats in every county and town. They talked endlessly of item lines. They spoke of paragraph this and that; regulations by the score in full assault on our vibrant English language, dumbing it down to a boring chore that drives a listener fast asleep while the county bureaucrats and politicians concoct their devious schemes to turn our pockets inside out. Carmel Angelo is the Mother Hubbard of the county board. She leads her children on, tugging them by their ears; citing regulations by the score with help from County Counsel Elliot, assisting Mother Hubbard with her challenged wards.

Clearly the ringleader of the caper to crack the safe of the county bank was unassuming John McCowen, the chairman of the board. I’m not saying he’s passive aggressive, but he’s dodgy enough to lead a gang of robbers. Allegedly in his former Earth-First! life McCowen was known as Raven. A raven’s a ravenous bird. They rob the nests of other birds. Thus, Raven was the perfect leader to pull the caper off. During the meeting McCowen whined, “We (the board) are significantly underpaid by any reasonable standard…” The standard to which Raven was referring was the pay for supervisors on other county boards, but all that really tells us is that there are other voracious tongues slurping at the public trough.

Dan Hamburg, former congressman, cannabis capitalist and sex cult member, agreed, but pensively mused: “I’m kinda disappointed that there aren’t more people here.” Clever, Mr. Hamburg, but did you try to advertise? First you take the money and then what? Apologize to an empty room? Why do liberals always believe that confession cancels guilt and responsibility after they get what they want?

Like Sheriff Allman, Carre Brown agreed that increasing compensation attracts better candidates to the board. She’ll be leaving soon with a life-time pension in her purse. Georganne Croskey agreed. The theme of money garnering political quality dominated our den of thieves as they prepared to vote a raise for themselves. Croskey referenced her military career, stating that the military utilizes the “very best,” mis-assuming that this has something to do with cash. An E5, Navy Seal makes about $43,000 a year. With diving pay, jump pay and hazardous duty pay (like killing Osama Bin Laden) they get another $7,000, which, on average, adds up to not much more than $50,000 a year. There are other perks and per diems, but that’s what they basically make. Dedication, patriotism and public service factor in, but our County supervisors want $85,000 a month to demonstrate what they’re worth. In our modern time and place, public service has a price that rises higher every day.

As the pickpockets whined and schemed, another theme emerged in the robber’s lair. The supervisors claimed they must work seven days a week, answering calls twenty-four hours a day. So do firemen and cops. That’s what public service is all about. Besides, who’s keeping track? Do the supervisors punch a clock? Does Carmel Angelo watch their house or the Sheriff tap their lines?

Before they pulled the caper off, a final issue arose, sadly shameless on its face. When it came to raises now and in the future, to whom or what should the supervisors peg their future raise? Should they peg their raise to the rising salaries of elected, county officials, local judges, or officials in Sacramento? This egocentric discussion led to the final vote — not whether or not they should give themselves a raise — but to what group they should tie it to.

The culprits voted four to one for their big raise. Babyface voted no. However, Supervisor Gjerde didn’t vote to denounce the raise. He wanted to peg it to the Kissenfurzer in Sacramento, not the local crowd of elected officials dependent on our supervisors to get their “little bump” that in turn guarantees another raise for the folks who gave that “bump.” Got it? “One hand washes the other,” just like the Mafia says.

Attention, outlaws of Mendocino. Growing dope without a permit? Poaching abalones? Shoplifting? Preparing to rob a store? Stop! If you really crave some loot, I suggest you run for the county board.

Citizens, wake up! We’re at an impasse. Forget about spotted owls, forget about offshore oil, forget about the cannabis cup, forget about global melting, forget about Trump and the Russians, and forget about Hillary’s tears. The danger is here and now. According to, John Dickerson, the informed Cassandra of Mendocino County debt, who knows a lot more than the bean counters who juggle the books in our county seat, Mendocino is $277 million in the hole. $215 million is unfunded pension debt and there is no way to make it up (

Friends and fellow fools, the roads will never be fixed. Never. Your taxes will go up, and your services will go down. In Mendocino County, on average, a logger makes $41,000 a year. A fisherman makes $29,000, a truck driver $42,000. Teachers make $59,000. A policeman often makes less than that. Hispanic women who clean toilets and make the beds in our coastal B&Bs take home $27,879 a year, grape pickers and vineyard workers about $30,000. Cannabis growers can’t report their income, but their heyday has probably come and gone. They’re subsistence farmers now. I’ll bet they’re lucky to clear $50,000 at most. The average income in Mendocino is around $42,000 a year. Presently, our board of supervisors has awarded themselves more than twice that amount. Twice! Think of this: a sheriff’s deputy, who would risk his or her life to save the life of one of us, are paid a pittance of a wage compared to Hamburg and McCowen who make their money on their butts.

To what do our supervisors aspire? Whom do they lead? Do they lead us, or do they lead the bureaucrats in our county seat, who—in truth — yank them around like puppets on a string? This is a county of beautiful things: the ocean, beach and trees, but, essentially, it’s a county of the poor. People in Mendocino County put place far above a higher wage. There’s no financial shame in that as the stars shine down through the redwoods and sun ascends the silent hills.

However, essentially progressive, this is the worst county board of supervisors I’ve ever seen. With their greedy grab for a raise, they’re not only out of touch with us, but there out of touch with themselves — who or what they thought they were.

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by Lindsey Bever

The elderly couple were caught driving through rural Nebraska with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana in their vehicle? They were simply spreading holiday cheer, they told authorities.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, were pulled over in their Toyota Tacoma pickup Tuesday during a traffic stop by deputies with the York County Sheriff’s Department, who made a shocking discovery: The Jirons had 60 pounds of high-grade pot in their truck, authorities said.


The couple, from Clearlake Oaks, Lake County, told authorities they were en route to Vermont, and that “the marijuana was for Christmas presents,” Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Vrbka told the York News-Times.

The Jirons were taken in on charges including possession with the intent to distribute, according to the newspaper. While multiple states have legalized marijuana, Nebraska has not.

In 2015, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) called the substance “a dangerous drug,” writing in a column: “As the use of marijuana has been legalized in some states, including our neighbor Colorado, we have been able to observe the impact the legalization of marijuana has had not only in their state, but as well as our own. Legalization of marijuana for any purpose has proven to be a risky proposition because the controls placed on its use in other states have fallen short.”

When deputies pulled over the Jirons along Interstate 80 on Tuesday, they smelled “raw” marijuana and conducted a probable cause search — discovering the weed in boxes in the pickup topper, Lt. Vrbka told the News-Times.

Authorities estimated that the marijuana was worth about $336,000.

Patrick Jiron was booked into the local jail and later released on bond. Ms. Jiron was reportedly not taken to jail due to an unspecified  medical issue. Asked whether the Jirons were still in custody Friday afternoon, a woman who answered the phone at the jail said simply: “They’re not here.”

Have they bonded out? a Washington Post reporter asked.

“Ma’am, I can’t say,” the woman said. “They’re just not here.”

(Washington Post)

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JIM UPDEGRAFF wonders: "As one who spent his life in banking the interest charge item on the MCPB budget jumped out to me. That has to be a loan – no way could you have that amount in service charges. But isn’t a statement of condition available? – that would show the loan. Also, the 990 which is available from the AG also would show the loan."

QUESTIONS offend MCPB. They whine, "Why are you always attacking us?" The prob, not only here but lots of places, is that dim, insecure persons are at the controls, persons utterly incapable of adult give and take. I suspect the enterprise isn't particularly solvent, hence 25 years of secrecy and general nuttiness. As The Major points out, every single expenditure by Anderson Valley's emergency services people is explained to whomever asks, and our much more important fire and ambulance operations combined have a budget less than MCPB.

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The scanner reported (12:09 pm) a male and female had dogs that were fighting, then it turned into a "415-physical" (a fight) between the owners. An ambulance was dispatched to the area of 700 West Church Street, Ukiah, for the male - and "staging is recommended" for the ambulance until Police arrive on the scene. Both the male & his dog were reportedly injured.


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ODD OCCURRENCE the other morning. As I strode along Anderson Valley Way on my early morning aerobic shuffle, a thin white cat suddenly charged at me out of the pre-sunrise dark. For some reason, perhaps the animal's sleek appearance, I assumed it was a female. I wondered if hostility for males had spilled over into the animal kingdom? But just as I assumed a defensive posture the creature, instantly purring, began rubbing up against my legs like we were old friends. I thought of my friend Fred Gardner's line, "Choose who chooses you." Maybe I should take the cat home as a companion for Skrag. But this girl belonged to someone. She was used to people, and sure enough, as I walked off she jogged on into Buster Farrer's old place.

ANOTHER SIGN that the Apocalypse nears, this one from the Daily Beast:

Who and what is a ‘sharent’ exactly? If you have both a child and a smartphone, it’s probably you. Sharenting, a term to describe parents who actively share their kids’ digital identities online, is rampant in the United States, with 92% of toddlers under the age of 2 already having their own unique digital identity. As 2017 comes to a close, it appears to be a phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down…

WE GET THESE indignant calls now and then. This one from an angry woman who started right in, "How would you like it someone called you a scumbag?" I said I've been called worse, and now, at an advanced age, I'm immune to insult. "Huh?" she said. I said I need some context. She said, "You called the men accused of murdering Barbara Stroud, scumbags. It was under truth serum. The confession was thrown out." I asked her to give me her word for five men who rape and murder young women. "Did you ever think that the people you call scumbags might have children?" Did you know that Charles Manson's daughter is a CPA? "What's that have to do with anything?" she said. Nothing, I said. I don't even know if Charles Manson had a daughter, but the point is that none of us is responsible for the crimes of our ancestors. "I want a retraction," she said. You aren't getting it, I said. Barbara Stroud was 19. She wanted her life, and the Willits scumbags strangled her to death. The caller hung up.

FIRST SIGN that the 2018 Giants will be the 2017 Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy said last week that Brandon Belt would probably be hitting lead-off. Wha..wha... WHAT? That's nuts, please Lord, say it isn't true. But it is.

EVERY SCHOOL YEAR, a public relations person, or maybe the high school English teacher, bats out some optimistic propaganda about the imaginary progress their schools are making. The local papers duly place them on the front page. A representative sample of the annual genre about the edu-positivity breaking out at Willits High School like some kind of academic measles appeared in a recent The Willits News. The fantasy was called, “High School Update: New high school administrators and staff see positive changes in students” by Aura Whittaker:

Willits High School has undergone many changes this year including reorganized schedules and added electives, fresh teachers and a new administration team, and facility and communication enhancements. Based on professional observations and valuable input, Willits Unified School District has put time and energy into building a better system to benefit students and the community…

ETC. …

THE KEY PARAGRAPH, however, is this one:

In addition to current changes, the administration team has been working on defining a new vision for the school that focuses on making the high school ‘something we are all proud of’ that brings people together. They plan to work on both small details and larger projects each year as the budget allows. Recently the school cleaned all of the gum off the concrete, overhauled the tennis courts, installed new lights at the football field and in the gymnasium and repaired the bleachers, among other things.

IF WE COULD SOMEHOW get the gum out of the leadership's brain, we might at least begin to focus on how best to instill the basics in the doomed little savages who will live in a society crumbling around them. I'd say teachers and administrators ought to begin with this assumption, especially in a place like Willits:

"We're here to inoculate you against an imploding society that has no place for you. There are no jobs out there for even "educated" people, let alone outback blue collars like yourselves who can barely read and can't write at all after 12 years of chaotic seat time in this place, even if the gum is off the hallways. You are going to need every bit of courage and strength and discipline you can muster to make any kind of reasonable life for yourselves." Etc.

The smart ones will listen, the dummies will go on smoking dope, watching hours of pornography, getting fatter and weaker and even more unemployable. Any teacher or smiley-faced slug of a school administrator who said anything like that to a public school student would immediately be fired.

KINDA RECOMMENDED READING, depending on your interests. If they tend to the morbid, you will find "I Heard You Paint Houses — Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa" quite interesting. Sheeran was a mob-affiliated muscle guy who doubled as a Teamster organizer. He was also, to say the least, a very tough, ruthless individual with a chest full of combat medals he'd won during World War Two where, as a young soldier, he also seems to have become indifferent to what might be called by the high-minded, "the sanctity of human life." I'd always rather admired Hoffa for the retirement benefits and other protections he won for his membership, especially given the even more severe ruthlessness he was up against in unionizing workers at the mercy of large interests. In fights with bastards, you've got to out-bastard the bastards, which the brilliant Hoffa was able to do with the help of guys like Sheeran. This book is most definitely of interest to the Grassy Knoll brigades because it addresses at length not only Hoffa's disappearance but the prior Kennedy Assassination as it may or may not have involved organized crime figures.

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Oh gawd is it really??

No presents, no lights up and no Christmas cheer

I’d love to sit down and drink a cold beer!

I still have to shop and it’s late in the day,

So I rush to the stores without further delay.

The hoards are still haggling over junk from afar,

I pick up a sweater and get socked in the jaw.

I press on and find one thing to buy,

Line up in a queue which reaches to the door,

Such pushing and shoving to buy cheep gee gaw!

Time presses on it’s now nearly seven,

This is like hell, not close to heaven!

I hand over my visa, now I’m really in debt

Next stop will be a real cheap outlet!

I rush to the exit with my one little packet,

It’s raining real hard and I don’t have my jacket!

I run to the car nearly four blocks away,

This is NOT how I planned to spend my whole day!

And as I approach I hear a loud crash,

As a car streaks away in quite a wild dash.

The rear of my car is all banged and dented,

If I don’t get home quick, think I’ll go demented.

I stop at the lot to pick out my tree,

Trip over the sidewalk and screw up my knee.

The tree that I want I can see through the gate,

The sign on it says we’re closing at eight!!

One minute past and it’s all closed shut,

The only thing in there’s a growling old mutt.

On Vixen, on Dancer, it’s time to go home,

On Rudolph on Blitzen, there’s no time to roam.

The house is all chilly, no fire in sight,

The power has gone out ….REALLY? A plight!.

Flashlight in hand I climb to the attic,

Still determined to celebrate but getting more frantic.

Five boxes of Christmas décor and lights,

Getting them down takes all of my might.

Piled high in my arms as I come down the stairs,

I trip over the cat as I sprawl unawares.

My phone’s camera goes off, CLICK, FLASH!

As the cat scampers away in a mad dash.

I crawl to the couch all bloody and bruised,

My head is a pounding, my brain is confused,

My knees are still hurting, my feet are on fire,

This situation is getting quite dire.

Then I look at the photo I made as I tripped,

The baubles are broken, lights tangled and flipped,

Santa stands in the middle of all of that mess,

Looking dazed but unharmed I confess,

I decide what’s important before I perish!

All the good friends and family I cherish.

And so to you all that give my world light….


And to all a good night!!

–Poem & photo by Jane Head, Gualala

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “We have the tree, the lights, the egg nog, the Santa hats, but you know what? Outside every day it's like a Hockney painting, all sunshine and vague pastels. It just doesn't feel like Christmas.”

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Commercial Salmon, Albacore & Crab Fishers

by Rob Tillitz

Yesterday, the Mokelumne River Hatchery had to shut its gates for the last time this year with a record return of over 18,000 salmon. Hatchery director Bill Smith had a difficult time with this as there was a 40-something-pound hog trying to get in the gate, but couldn't manage the first jump. Bill was trying to coax him in, however too many other fish were streaming by. With every raceway and every egg tray full, they are overloaded. This one hog, and the schools of others swirling outside the gate will have to spawn in the river.

Meantime, Feather River and Coleman Hatcheries complain of lackluster returns up the Sacramento River. Why is that? Feather & Coleman Hatcheries and the Sacramento River are all much bigger than Mokelumne. The Mokelumne looks like a creek in the Summertime, however the largest difference between Mokelumne and the other Hatcheries is its forward thinking salmon producers. Mokelumne barges to the ocean, or trucks to net pens all their smolts, and when they net pen in the SF Bay they move their release pens around to keep ahead of the strippers. Mokelumne, besides utilizing the Merva W for barging, also supplies all the net pen projects like the big one in Half Moon Bay.

Feather and Coleman say they don't need to do barging or netpenning or any other forward thinking as they are armed with well-paid highly-trained biologists that tell them the optimum way to raise salmon for the best returns. Because of these biologists, Feather and Coleman Hatcheries and the Shasta and Keswick Dams, possess the largest budget(s) yet the worst return percentages (somewhere way south of 1%) compared to what goes on at the wee little Mokelumne.

You want more Sacramento River salmon in the ocean, you have to get them there. This would take a major restructure of Employees at the Feather and Coleman Hatcheries. Fire the Biologists* (who have utterly failed) and spend the money on raising more smolts, and figure out how to get them to the ocean. Do like they've done on the Columbia for decades, barge the fish downriver and let them go in the ocean. Replace the biologists with a salmon advisory board made up of longtime salmon fishermen (comercial and sport) that truly understand the species. It is not about how many return upstream and where they will spawn, that is smoke and mirrors, it is about how many make it downstream and into the ocean.

*Biologists should not give orders on how hatcheries raise and release salmon, they should simply take orders and test oxygen levels in raceways, trucks & barges. Take care of all biological duties that will keep the smolts healthy and hearty until they are released in the ocean.

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Rex Gressett and Paul McCarthy (photo by Susie de Castro)

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To the Editor & the Willits City Council:

My name is Cheryl Abney and I have enjoyed living in Wagonwheel mobilehome park for 10 years until May 2017 when BoaVida Communities purchased Wagonwheel, along with Valley Oaks and EZ Living (in Colorado) Drita Bromkey and Abe Arrigotti were hired to oversee their parks.

These two were formerly employed by Sierra Corp and Kort & Scott Financial group; while they were at Sierra Corp, 714 persons in Reseda CA, including seniors and disabled persons lost their homes because of huge rent increases that they could not afford; rent stabilization would have prevented this! The first thing Bromkey did was fire the on-site manager at Wagonwheel which they did not replace, a violation of CA state law, #18603; as parks with 50 or more units are required to have an on-site manager.

After our manager was fired, Drita’s intimidation tactics began, which included posting threatening letters on people’s doors, threatening to “take legal action” against them for various reasons such as “overgrown landscaping” children’s toys in the yard, empty flower pots...ridiculous and even threatening to evict Mexican people who disagreed with her; another violation of CA state law (AB291 the immigration protection act passed October 2017 and also a $2,000 fine.

On Nov. 1 we received a $110 a month rent increase, which Arrigotti advised would happen every Nov. 1...Merry Christmas! I did surveys this summer, which revealed that 68 percent of residents in Wagonwheel (and Valley Oaks) earn $25,000 a year or less and can’t afford a $110 a month rent increase and without rent stabilization will loose their homes! Mobilehome park owners have special “prey” it’s not like the supply and demand of apartments, where if the rent goes up you just move down the street Its a monopoly! Mobilehome owners cant afford $8,000 to $10,000 to move - these are their homes. And even if they could, where are they gonna move them to? By the way Wagonwheel only has 9 that can be moved. Most parks don’t accept old mobiles.

So sell? But when the rent is outrageous it decreases the value of your home, so you can’t sell and can’t move and end up losing your home and big city investors resell it or rerent it making a fat profit off of poor people; it may be legal, but this is a moral crime!

Federal law mandates that all cities in the US provide affordable housing for their community; Wagonwheel is the only affordable housing in Willits.

I’ve stepped up to help my friends and neighbors in this community of Wagonwheel, spent hours of time doing research, talking to other advocates who educated me, (not to mention the money spent on copies) going door to door to talk to people and hand out meeting notices, and now I am asking you to step up and help us keep our homes by passing rent stabilization because if you don’t help us keep our homes we will be living in your streets.

Cheryl Abney


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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 23, 2017

(Unavailable due to “internal error” at the Sheriff’s Booking page.)

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Has it occurred to anyone that the gorgeous hi-def ‘screensavers’ featured on the web have one curious feature in common: the near-total absence of humanity, amidst the snow-capped mountains and majestic bodies of water and soaring skies.

My conclusion is that we are one and all so fucking sick and tired of looking at one another, as the numbers head toward eight billion, that the only visual / intellectual ‘rest’ is to imagine dehumanized nature.

I first got this notion when watching a Jacques Tati film – cities, beaches, street scenes all displayed such a relative rarity of humans. And that was already in the 1950s, when the population was popping after all the WW II excitement.

‘Virtual reality’. ‘Hikikomori’. Artificial escape from the press of humanity?

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"Snow Cone--Happy Holidaze!"

Photo by Harvey Reading

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An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle.

She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her lungs, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car — NOW!"

The four men didn't wait for a second threat. They got out and ran like mad.

The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried, and then she realized why.

It was for the same reason she had wondered why there was a football, a Frisbee, and two 12-packs of beer in the front seat.

A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down.

She loaded her bags into her own car and drove to the police station to report her mistake.

The Sergeant to whom she told the story couldn't stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale men were reporting a carjacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun.

No charges were filed.

Moral of the story?

If you're going to have a senior moment, make it memorable!

Guy T. Keilman


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“Passing those tax cuts was as easy as taking health care from a baby.”

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Tell me if this isn’t what’s happening. The GOP is taking our national credit card and using it for a cash advance of $15 trillion and giving it to the corporations and the super-rich. In the meantime the middle class will be paying the interest on this loan (which means less money for roads, schools, healthcare, etc.) and the middle class of the future, if there is one left, will be responsible for the entire amount.

Can you explain how this theft helps the middle class?


Don Phillips

Point Arena

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Jerry Philbrick's letters remind me of Stanley D., a neighbor who squatted on his mining claim a mile down the creek, growing cucumbers and fiddling with his photographic hobby. We'd drive around in his cut down, beat up Willys, his trademark tin safety hat balanced on his scrawny skull.

After a few pleasantries, Stanley would launch his rant of the day, always about the contemporary political situation. As he got more wound up in this oration he would start spitting in anger while I kept my mouth shut and my eyes on the road as he swerved back and forth between the cliff edge and the boulders sticking out of the cutbank. Stanley would get madder and madder and after a mile of this the safety valve in his brain would blow open and he'd jam on the brakes and glare at me and shout, "ALAN CRANSTON IS A COMMUNIST!!!"

After that, Stanley would be OK for 15 minutes.

Jay Williamson

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In a three-minute speech, the vice president gushed about Trump’s accomplishments once every 12 seconds, as The Washington Post pointed out. Pence’s pep talk included memorable praise such as telling Trump that he has “unleashed American energy,” “signed more bills rolling back federal red tape than any president in American history,” “restored American credibility on the world stage” and “got Congress to do what they couldn’t do for seven years, in repealing the individual mandate in Obamacare.”

Pence’s speech was fodder for plenty of eye-rolling and jokes online, including from an unlikely source —

“There’s a word for a person who would praise someone every 12 seconds,” the site’s Twitter account posted Thursday, before linking to the dictionary’s entry for “sycophant.” The tweet ended with the hashtags “VP” and “Pence.”

Sycophant, according to, is a noun referring to a “self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.” Synonyms, it said, include “toady, yes man, flunky, fawner, flatterer.”

(From the Washington Post)

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  1. George Hollister December 24, 2017


    Norm Vroman used to say, “We only catch the stupid ones.”

  2. james marmon December 24, 2017


    How about Joe Biden’s love for Obama, he just recently did an interview gushing over big O almost to the same degree the AVA gushes over Sheriff Allman.

    James Marmon

    • james marmon December 24, 2017

      Joe Biden Claims Obama Never Had Any Scandals, Ignores These 11 Major Scandals

      “During a recent appearance on CBS’ “This Morning,” former Vice President Joe Biden declared that Barack Obama’s presidency didn’t have “a hint of a scandal.”

      Biden made the claim in response to a question by the show’s hosts about his friendship with the former president. After praising Obama as the most virtuous president he’s met in his decades of serving the people, Biden said that not only was the former president spotless, so was his presidency.

      “I’ve served with eight presidents and I’ve gotten to know four of them very well. I’ve never met any president that has more character, more integrity, and more backbone than this guy does,” Biden claimed. “And eight years, not a hint — not a hint — of a scandal.”

      See list of Obama Major Scandals in following link.

      “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”

      -Barak Obama

      • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

        I think there’s a c in the wealth lover’s first name.

        You know what’s weird, James? There are still common people who think Obama was a great leader and actually cared for common people. There are also a lot of common people who still think the Clinton woman is their salvation and that the democwapic party is on their side. Those notions are as as nutty as the notion of common folks still supporting Trump or the other wepubicans.

  3. Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

    Re: STICKUP!

    Keep in mind that I’m just a dumb outatowner, but for me, this piece is the best truthful political satire that I’ve read in a long time. Extremely well written. Puts “local control”, wherever around the country it is worshiped, in its deserved resting place, whether that was the intent or not.

    • Stephen Rosenthal December 24, 2017

      Agree completely. Great piece by Michael Koepf. And I’m not dumb, nor an outatowner.

      P.S. I know you’re not dumb either, Harvey.

    • George Hollister December 24, 2017

      When this sort of thing happens in Washington, we never hear about it.

      • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

        Oh, we hear about it, and it becomes the basis for the “local control” or secessionist cries.

        • George Hollister December 24, 2017

          Locally, something can be done about it.

          The fly in the ointment of our local county budget is the huge amount to “not our money” that comes from the State and Feds. Not our money is money we want, and don’t give a twit about how it’s spent.

          The Editor has said the city of San Francisco spends $310,000,000 on the homeless there. How much of that money comes directly from San Francisco tax payers? My guess is, not much. How much does the City profit from that money?

          • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

            Nationally something can be done about it, too. People just gotta do it. In fact, it’s no harder to control D.C. than it is to control Ukiah, or wherever it is that your county commissars meet. It’s a matter of having the will to effect change, and it CAN be done at the ballot box, if only there is the will. It won’t happen if people don’t vote, or even register–though I find it easy to understand why they don’t do either, at least at the surface level.

            I have to take issue with your last paragraph. I wouldn’t be surprised but what San Francisco residents, in the aggregate, pay more in state taxes than they get back. I wouldn’t make the same assumption with respect to the more rural counties of your state. It’s sort of like comparing California with Wyoming in terms of how much the residents of each pay in federal taxes and how much each state gets back. Other states get back far more than Wyoming in terms of what they pay in.

            • George Hollister December 24, 2017

              “I have to take issue with your last paragraph. I wouldn’t be surprised but what San Francisco residents, in the aggregate, pay more in state taxes than they get back. I wouldn’t make the same assumption with respect to the more rural counties of your state.”

              I think SF tax payers pay more in federal tax as well. But they are not paying directly for this money, so are not directly needing this money to be spent in accountable ways. They don’t care how the money is spent, as long as they get as much of it as possible. Remember a lot of this money, in the last ten years, has come from a $ten trillion increase in the national debt. So no tax payer paid in.

              SF got $1 billion of federal money for their subway, too. Seems to me it makes more sense for local people to pay for local services. It brings accountability in. The $310 million figure for the homeless would suddenly be $10 million, and the streets would be free of homeless people, too. Locals would be taking care of locals, and not looking at taking care of the indigent as a profit venture.

              • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

                George, you make about as much sense as a possum trying to cross a roadway.

            • Jeff Costello December 24, 2017

              I would readily agree to that, but PJ O’Rourke is a rich guy who likes to say “If you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re older, you have no brain.” and he would prefer to protect his investments.

  4. james marmon December 24, 2017

    How did we miss this one?


    “We must not fall prey to the ‘sins of communication:’ disinformation – that is, giving just one side of the argument – slander, which is sensationalistic, or defamation, looking for outdated and old things, and bringing them to light today; they are very grave sins, which damage the heart of the journalist and harm people,” Francis told representatives from Catholic media outlets at a meeting in the Vatican on Saturday.”

    • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

      How odd, considering he leads a fake nooze organization.

  5. Harvey Reading December 24, 2017


    Outstanding. I needed a laugh.


    Wonder how many of those biologists actually have degrees in the life sciences these days. Seems to me that there are an increasing number of “Environmental Scientists” out there, who can have a degree in almost anything… Glad I’m out of that political mess.


    Two belly laughs in one day! Makes me glad I drive decades-old vehicles that I don’t, can’t actually, confuse with any others.

  6. George Dorner December 24, 2017

    Mr. Anderson, if anything, you were way too polite when referring to those vicious predatory scumbags responsible for Barbara Stroud’s death.

    • Bruce Anderson December 24, 2017

      The Sroud murder is just about the worst I can think of in Mendocino County excluding, of course, the laconic accounts of the County’s pioneer Indian killers who testified to Honest Abe’s after-the-fact investigators stuff like, “In two days we killed 35 bucks, 28 squaws and 11 babies.” Miss Stoud was an only child when those animals gang-raped her then murdered her. The scumbags lived on.

  7. Stephen Rosenthal December 24, 2017

    Re SF Giants of 2018: actually they’ll probably be worse. They just signed Evan Longoria, a declining 32 year old with another impossible-to-move long term contract. Longoria was expendable to Tampa because, wait for it, a few years ago they acquired a younger, cheaper, SF fan favorite Matt Duffy from the Giants for pitcher Matt Moore, an el floppo who the Giants just traded to Texas for some no-name minor leaguer who will never be heard from again. And, according to Bobby Evans, the mastermind behind the Giants demise, “we’re not finished.”

    So the oldest and slowest team in baseball just got older and slower, the team with the consensus worst minor league system did nothing to upgrade it, and the team with the worst outfield in baseball is rumored to be pursuing Jay Bruce, a soon-to-be 31 year old low average, middling power hitter who can thank his home run totals to playing the majority of his career in the bandbox of Cincinnati. He’s also a poor defensive right fielder. And likely to make $15 million+ for 3 or 4 years. Remind anyone of their current right fielder?

    The Evans reference to the contrary, I’d say the Giants are finished. At least as long as Bobby Evans is in charge of procuring the players.

    • George Hollister December 24, 2017

      ” the team with the consensus worst minor league system did nothing to upgrade it,”

      To me, this is the problem. For quite some time, the Giants have picked up over-the- hill veterans, but they had a constant flow of talent coming from their minor league system. Not any more. Seems to me this needs to be fixed, or the Giants will be mediocre forever. What the Giants have done with their coaching staff changes nothing, maybe makes the situation worse.

      People are not going to fill AT&T Park to watch a mediocre team going nowhere. Same for watching on TV. Well, Cindy will still watch, that means so will I. And I will be making negative comments, but that is another story.

      This year, at best, the Giants will be at .500 and third place in the West. That is, at best. What is most likely to happen? Last place, Evans fires Bochy, then Evans gets fired. Start over.

  8. james marmon December 24, 2017

    This is why we need to stop attracting the out of county homeless folks to Mendocino County. Make Plowshares, Daily Bread, and Hospitality House come to reason that we simply can’t help everyone.

    Mendocino County fires make housing shortage ‘far, far worse’

    “The initial shock of the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire has passed, but like any crisis, the long-term effect upon survivors and the entire community will be long-lasting. For years, the greater Ukiah Valley, and in fact the entire county, has struggled to maintain a robust inventory of affordable houses.”

    I know that it is a dream of many, including this publication’s, that Mendocino County reinvent the State Hospital system and capitalize off of taking care of everyone else’s drug addicts, mentally ill, and homeless population, just like the good old days. We have some serious times ahead of us, and if we don’t stop thinking with our hearts, without using our brains, Mental-cino County is doomed.

    Ana Mahoney

    “She absolutely loved Plowshares. It wasn’t a job, it was a vocation,” said Carmel Angelo, Mahoney’s partner and Mendocino County’s chief executive officer. “Her heart was there. She wanted to help everyone there.”

    “Ana taught me heart. Ana was my heart,”
    -Carmel Angelo

    • james marmon December 24, 2017

      Unless you just want to warehouse these people, you have to transition them into the Community. We don’t have the jobs or the housing to do that, unless our local residents go without. I suggest local homeless get all f…ed up and act crazy and they might be lucky enough to land one of those “Housing First” apartments for f…ed up crazy people going in on Gobbi Street.

      James Marmon MSW
      Ukiah’s Native Son

    • james marmon December 24, 2017

      Yeah, flood Fort Bragg with a 100 unemployed transient mentally ill homeless folks so you can create 5 more helper jobs on the coast, now you’re thinking like Allman, Schraeder, and Anderson, “screw the locals” Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

      James Marmon MSW

      • james marmon December 24, 2017

        Unless those 100 are on Social Security, they will be considered abled bodied. Under the Trump Administration all abled bodied person’s must be employed or looking for work in order receive any government assistance, its called Welfare Reform, something I’m very familiar with. Now when do we stop the migration of homeless to Mendo, do we need to build a wall?

      • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

        Did you know that Sonoma used to be a fairly nice place to live? I mean in the 70s. Rents were reasonable and property was affordable. There were no homeless people to be seen. In fact, the word homeless wasn’t spoken much anywhere in the country, until after our great savior, Ronald Reagan, became our great leader, back in Washington, D.C.

        Also then, Sonoma had but one electric traffic signal, down at the intersection of West Napa St. and 5th Street West. The only time then that Sonoma was trying was on weekends during the summer. That was when a lot of tourists would come to the little town from “The City” and from other places around it. They liked to experience its quaintness I guess. But I never thought it quaint at all. It was just home to me.

        The tourists had little notion of how to deal with right-of-way laws at the 3-way stop signs where Broadway joins Napa St. I will admit it was entertaining to teach them, by giving them first-hand experience as I insisted on my legal right-of-way, but it got tiring, too.

        Sadly, by the end of the 70s, Sonoma had started to become just another yuppie enclave. The last time I passed through it, in the late 90s, I was sickened at what it had become. I never returned, nor do I intend to.

        Oh, one more thing. Did you know that the computer spell checker doesn’t like the word Sonoma? It likes Sonora so well that it suggests it as an alternative. Well, I ficksed that right away. I added Sonoma to the dictionary. What power!

      • james marmon December 25, 2017

        I’m okay with offering a hand up, but the handouts have to stop. Camille Schraeder’s mission is Empire Building, always has been, just look at how much she has her hands in, For-Profit Mental Health, Child Welfare (foster care) and now the homeless, including the homeless in Fort Bragg who are being taken care of by one of her subcontractors (Hospitality House), which she will eventually absorb as well. I’ve watched her for 20 years, she’s really into assets (real estate). The old Howard Memorial is next.

        Reducing the amount of homeless in Mendocino is not in her business plan and could cost her millions to come if we tackled our local problem with a little intelligence. A push back that Lake County take care of their own, would help, enough of the bus therapy.

        the Borg “do not evolve. They conquer”


        • james marmon December 25, 2017

          “Give me your tired, your poor,
          Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
          The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
          Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
          I lift my lamp beside the golden door
          because Mendocino County just passed measure B!”

          -Camille Schraeder

  9. Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

    I’ve done that for years. Perhaps I suffered earlier than most from senile dementia, or maybe not, since I can’t remember. I also try to park in areas near light standards, at the end of rows so only one car is to the side of mine, or in parts of the lots where few people choose to park.

    I’d rather walk a little farther than come back to a bashed vehicle; and full coverage insurance is out the question with 30-year-old vehicles, since premiums for a couple of years would cost more than the vehicles would be worth if totaled. I also never shop at night when the stores are jammed.

    These days I make a grocery run about every 2-3 months. Too many nutty people in a hurry to shave a few seconds off their trip time on the roads for me these days.

    • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

      What’s an app?

      • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

        Oh, I forgot that I had another question: why is it that people started calling computer programs “applications”, as though they had something to do with using a pesticide or an ointment or other topical medicine? When someone would mention a computer program, I knew exactly what they were talking about. But an app? First thing it brings to mind for me is maybe an apple. Oh, but wait, an apple I guess is a computer or a computerized telephone that takes pictures. It’s so confusing. Now where did I leave my glasses?

        • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

          The ones for reading, I mean. I’m wearing the ones for looking at the computer screen. At least I think I am, since the screen looks pretty sharp.

          Oh, I almost forgot. Did you know that there is a computer program for your radiotelephonecamera that allows you to take pictures that make it look like you have applied tatoos to your body? Isn’t that useful? And wonderful? And is it not gratifying to think that someone actually took the time out of their finite time here on earth to concoct something so stupid?

        • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

          Thank you for all the information. I am overwhelmed.

          What’s a Play Store? I know what a toy store is. Do they sell play?

          How could a computer program find my car? It was built in 1988 before there were locator radio waves being emitted from cars. My truck is even older. I’m really glad they do not emit locator waves.

          I found my glasses…right where I last left them!

  10. George Hollister December 24, 2017

    “Sadly, by the end of the 70s, Sonoma had started to become just another yuppie enclave.”

    You see Harv, you would have been better off living in Comptche. Jerry Philbrick and myself have prevented even our first electric traffic signal, and there are zero yuppies. The place doesn’t look much different than it did in the 1970s. You would not like the new church, I know. But the “new” school used to be a bar. I am sure you would appreciate that, having no use for bars these days. No museums here, either. We do have an all volunteer fire department, though. One of the best.

    Merry Christmas

    • Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

      Naw, I got out before Sonoma went totally yupster, as a park ranger. That fulfilled my childhood fantasy of being a gun-toin’, badge-wearin’, red-light-and-siren (blue-light-and-siren on the patrol boat on Silverwood Lake, actually a reservoir, which was my main assignment after the training year in Marin County, and a great one) cop. A couple of years later I transferred the job I had really wanted since the age of 16. Now I’m as content with my life here in sparsely populated Wyoming as I ever was out further west.

      I know you’re happy where you are, and that’s important. Take care of yourself, but don’t ever expect me to agree with your politics.

      Finally, though it goes against my lack of religious belief, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

      Right now it’s about 3 below zero outside. Glad I’m inside.

  11. Harvey Reading December 24, 2017

    Susie, I meant it sarcastically. I’m glad I’ll be dead and gone before the gurus of electrons and silcon have their way. I just hope my nontrackable vehicles last as long as I do. I’d as soon be tracked the old-fashioned way.

    Merry Christmas to you, too. I was gonna say Happy New Year in Italian, too, since I took Italian in college, but I forgot the words and am too lazy to look them up. Is it Buon Anno Nuovo?

    PS, I know you’re NOT Italian…

    Did I mention that I found my reading glasses?

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