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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Jan. 1, 2018

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Forecasters say some rain may arrive later this week. December past totaled less than a half-inch. Some monthly precipitation totals, from Yorkville's Dept of Water Resources station, comparing this year to last:

0.44" December
7.84" November
0.72" October

9.92" December
6.76" November
10.36" October

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ON DECEMBER 30, 2017, at about 5:45pm, Highway Patrol officers were dispatched to a reported vehicle fire on North State Street near Kunzler Ranch Road. They discovered a single vehicle collision with major injuries. Erik Rudzitis, 33, of Mendocino County, was driving a 1992 Honda Civic eastbound on Kunzler Ranch Road towards Hollow Treet at “a high rate of speed” when it ran into a concrete K-Rail and “came to rest.” Rudzitis and his passenger, Brian A. Vanranken, 46, also of Mendocino County, jumped out of their Civic just before it burst into flames, becoming fully engulfed. Both occupants sustained what were described as major injuries and were rushed to Ukiah Valley Medical Center. Driver Rudzitis was arrested for DUI.

(CHP Press Release)


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River Level Getting Lower

A look at the upstream USGS Navarro River gauge found the Navarro at 3.68' - still trending downward. The sandbar hasn't breached, water is just filtering through it.

Thanks to the lack of rain, the "discharge rate," the amount of water flowing towards the mouth, has also decreased - it was 272 gallons per second at the gauge - 16,320 gallons per minute or 979,200 gallons per hour.

King Tides are coming Monday & Tuesday with high tides of 7.1' - it may be enough to beat the sandbar into breaching - or alternately, the surf could hurl sand on it to make it higher.


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The Mendocino Sheriff Office still hasn't issued an 'official' press release, but MSP has been putting together the pieces from the 'Albion Ridge Incident' Friday.

We checked the Mendocino County Jail arrest log this morning and there were no subjects from Albion booked - but an alert reader sent us the booking information later Saturday afternoon on an Albion man's arrest.

It all started Friday afternoon when MSP videotaped Mendo Sheriff patrol units hightailing it south on Highway 1 from Fort Bragg @ 3:45 pm. Then the Albion Fire Department was dispatched around 4:00 pm and asked to 'stage' near an 'outbuilding fire' about six miles up Albion Ridge Road.

We presume the result was the arrest of 5'6", 170-pound 37-year-old Abel Morgan Sommer of Albion.

The charges filed against him were:

  1. FELONY - Arson
  2. FELONY - Elder or Dependent adult abuse resulting in great bodily injury
  3. FELONY - Willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death
  4. FELONY - Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury
  5. FELONY - Battery with serious injury inflicted
  6. FELONY--Escape while charged with a felony
  7. MISDEMEANOR-- Probation revoked

According to the Mendo Jail information, Mr. Sommer was arrested by the sheriff office Friday @ 5:00 pm, was booked on the above-listed charges Saturday @ 12:07 pm - $105,000 bail - had his booking photo taken Saturday @ 8:37 pm and was still behind bars as of 10:30 am Sunday.

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There still hasn't been an "official" press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff on the "Outbuilding Fire Incident" Friday on Albion Ridge Road - so MSP has been left to piece together what apparently is quite a convoluted story.

And we also saw this on social media from one member of the Albion Nation, obviously in the know, addressing who was involved in the reported "ATV accident" AFTER the "Outbuilding Incident" Friday night by saying, "Two locals (were involved), Razor accident, one black eye and bump on the noggin. The other broken clavicle, three broken ribs. They are fine. Sore, a little broken up, time to heal. The other (incident) up the hill was methamphetamines gone wrong and the sheriffs took care of it. That I don't want to talk about..."



The person arrested for SIX felonies Friday @ 5:00 pm related to the outbuilding fire, 37-year-old Abel Morgan Sommer of Albion - made the news back on April 6, 2008 when he was the victim of an armed robbery of marijuana.

A viewer sent MSP the link to this Ukiah Daily Journal: "According to reports from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the suspect, Joseph Charles Denson, drove to 27250 Albion Ridge Road at around 11:15 a.m. Friday and allegedly threatened Abel Sommer and Soren Helstrom with a small caliber handgun and stole a pound of Sommers' prescription marijuana, according to sheriff's reports.

Denson fled the home in a gold Nissan Maxima. The Sheriff's Office issued an alert for law enforcement to be on the lookout for Denson and the Maxima and noted that he may have been headed for Vallejo and was likely still armed.

Later Friday, Denson was spotted southbound on Highway 101 by officers of the Cloverdale Police Department. Officers tried to pull over Denson but he fled, leading officers in a pursuit at speeds up to 90 mph.

Denson was stopped after he swerved in an attempt to avoid a spike strip that flattened both of the Maxima's passenger side tires. Denson then lost control of the car, which overturned.

He was pulled from the car and taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The Sheriff's Office and CPD are planning to file charges of armed robbery and evading arrest against Denson, who was also on California state parole for drug crimes, according to sheriff's reports."

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Mendocino County In 2017

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. Last year, heavy rains pounded down on an already saturated Mendo most of January and February, flooding areas of Hopland, filling Lake Mendocino past its maximum capacity. A year later, people are talking drought.

IN THE USUAL judicial capitulation to big biz we expect from Mendo judges, Judge Henderson, headed out the door into lush retirement, ruled in favor of a community-destroying Dollar General store for rural Redwood Valley where the community is already well-served by privately-owned mom and pop groceries.

MENDO COLLEGE put an end to its perennially struggling football program after a series of farcical events, including the housing of most of its Florida-derived players at outrageous rents in a condemned, unheated West Ukiah structure owned by a rapacious, excuse the redundancy, Redwood Valley doctor.

PREVIOUSLY untaxed pot farmers sued the County, claiming the marijuana business tax approved by voters imperiled oh no not them but pending pot licensing regulations.

THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT and the Ukiah PD declared that they would not assist with La Migra sweeps for undocumented persons, which in Mendocino County translates as sweeps for Mexicans. Mendocino County’s immigrant population continues to grow, and now represents about 25% of the County’s population (probably more since the census undercounts Hispanics).

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION said it would crack down on all aspects of the marijuana business. The Feds still maintain that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and crank, and should remain a Class One narcotic. AG Sessions said, however, he did not plan to intervene in state and local legalization plans, further evidence, if any is needed, that the Trump Administration is chaotic.

THE GRISLIEST MURDER of the year occurred early in March when six young men beat and stabbed Jeffrey Quinn Settler to death in Laytonville in a pay dispute over love drug production.

THE CITY OF UKIAH discussed hiring an outside consultant to inform them on the advisability of an “upscale” hotel located on the west side of town before deciding to ask hotel companies if they thought one was advisable. None did. Ukiah clings to the fantasy that their battered, unattractive town will somehow become a tourist destination.

THE CITY OF UKIAH, led by a $400,000-a-year city manager, borrowed $4 million to develop the Costco site, as if the prosperous bulk retailer can’t afford its own site-prep.

ANTHROMORPHS AMOK. A handful of semi-deranged animal rights advocates besieged the County’s Animal Shelter with false claims of negligence. The County hired a new director, Rich Molinari, whose firm leadership has made kitty litter out of Shelter critics.

A UKIAH VALLEY groundwater agency was formed and instantly dominated by the County’s endlessly rapacious wine water interests, meaning wine water will be sure to be put ahead of community interests.

DA DAVID EYSTER warned pot growers who refuse to enter the County’s labyrinthine and impossibly expensive licensing program that the County’s narco squad would be sure to come kicking at their unlicensed doors. One of first raids after licensing began was at the farm of a guy in the licensing process. Local law enforcement has for years profited from pot raids and interdictions. One way or another, license or no license, look for the present raid and interdiction policies to continue.

AMID RECURRENT RUMORS that prostitutes (of the unelected type) are readily available in Mendocino County, lectures on sex trafficking were planned by Ukiah’s Methodist Church. It is assumed the Methodists are opposed to trafficking.

BEST MOVIE of the year, by far, I, Tonya. The famous, then infamous figure skater, Tonya Harding, overcame all the social class odds and a psychotic mother to become the best skater in the world, only to be undone by her cretinous husband and his sub-cretinous friends. An admirable person in every respect, this moving re-creation of her life is absolutely brilliant. For this viewer, it was absolutely exhilarating to see this criminally insulted woman finally get her side of the story told.

THE MIDNIGHT FIRES that tore through Redwood and Potter valleys in early October, killed nine Mendo people, destroyed 300 homes, burned 32,100 acres. Sheriff Tom Allman did an outstanding job coordinating emergency services and keeping fire victims and the general public fully informed. Emergency services, many of them volunteers, did their work with faultless aplomb.

MUCH PUBLIC TIME all year was devoted to rambling discussions of all facets of marijuana as the Supervisors devised a totally unworkable licensing scheme, the upshot of which will be to drive small-scale farmers out of business as corporate ops move in.

AN ASSISTANT COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, Alan Flora, gets the year's Trotsky Award for disappearing from public view after being summarily fired by the County's autocratic boss, Carmel Angelo and her five-person doo-wop chorus of Supervisors. No reason for Flora's summary dismissal was issued and no mention of him has been made since.

FRUSTRATED by the seemingly inexorable increase in street people, many of them deranged, Mendocino County overwhelmingly voted in favor of Measure B, an in-County mental health facility. Methamphetamine continues as an in-County scourge and the primary driver of violent crime.

DOCTOR PETER KEEGAN of Ukiah died of cancer before he could be tried for the bludgeoning murder of his wife, Susan seven years earlier.

SPECIAL US-FIRST RECOGNITION is due the Superior Court of Mendocino County whose 9 judges — proportionately more than any county in the state — tacitly support a new County Courthouse no one but them wants or needs.

COSTCO is a year away from opening a branch in Ukiah. Work has begun on the site at Ukiah big box row just west of Highway 101.

ONE OF THE ODDEST alleged crimes of 2017 saw two officers of the Ukiah Gun Club arrested and charged with gun violations, and both are apparently rivals for the affections of the same woman, who was also arrested for fraud.

UNLAMENTED POLITICAL DEPARTURES: Georgeanne Croskey, appointed to fill the seat vacated by the mentally ill Tom Woodhouse, is leaving the area and her position; Linda 'Dump Truck' Thompson, Public Defender, is retiring, as are Supervisors Hamburg and Brown. Cowboy John Pinches has announced he will again seek the 3rd District Supervisor's seat, a seat he has held twice before. He will be opposed by a blandly uninformed teacher from Willits named John Haschak and Laytonville's perennial recreational candidate, Pam Elizondo, pioneer pot farmer. John Sakowicz, perhaps best known for his thwarted efforts to get fiscal candor out of semi-public radio KZYX, will vie for the 1st District Supe's seat vacated by Carre Brown. And Albion-Little River Fire Chief Ted Williams is the early front-runner to replace Hamburg as Fifth District Supervisor.

DON'T FETCH, ROVER! A pipe bomb was found on the roof of Dirty Dog Day Care.

ORPHAN ANNIES of the year have to be the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors who voted themselves huge raises from $61,200 a year to $85,500 annually. CEO Carmel Angelo, den mother, congratulated the Supervisors on their courage in boosting their pay! Angelo, and several comparably undeserving department heads also got large pay increases, although Mendocino County is technically bankrupt, owing more in obligations to retired personnel than the County can ever expect to pay. Annual shortfalls are made up from the General Fund, hence the current state of County roads and other depleted services as our public servants heedlessly enrich themselves.

DUPES OF THE YEAR: The nearly 800 people who have filed for legal pot cultivation or sales permits.

LATE TO THE POT PARTY AWARD: Jane Futcher for finally realizing, after years of support, that the County’s pot permit process was a non-starter, writing in this paper in July: “Why We Dropped Out.”

FREE AMMO FOR LIFE to Janet Krigian, the 62-year old Laytonville woman who fought off three Bay Area thugs during an unsuccessful home invasion in November.

BREAKING LOCAL OFFICIALDOM’S silence on the issue, DA Eyster went on the record against a new County Courthouse.

COAST REPORTER of the year: Rex Gressett.

MENDO’S MOST indispensible source for breaking news: MendocinoSportsPlus.

SHE’S STILL MISSING: Asha Kreimer, the young Australian woman who walked out of a Point Arena restaurant two years ago and hasn’t been seen since.

MOST PROMISING New Supervisorial Candidate: Ted Williams of Albion.

MOST PROMISING Old Supervisorial Candidate: John Pinches of Laytonville.

BIGGEST ONGOING SCAM: The County’s promotional apparatus which spends over $1 million a year claiming they bring tourists to the County when sales tax records show their activity has no effect whatsoever on tourism.

TESTIMONY OF THE YEAR: Peter Hoyle of the Drug Task Force on the Stand...

Hoyle: “People who use and sell methamphetamine are not going to say ‘meth’ on the phone; so they’ll have a code for it. When they call up and say – as they do here – and say they need some ‘shit,’ they’re not asking for feces…”

Deputy Public Defender Jonathan Opet: “Objection.”

Judge Ann Moorman: “Overruled.”

Hoyle: “In my experience, they’re not asking for feces, but drugs – I’ve seen it [‘shit’] used for methamphetamine and heroin and other hard drugs, but never for feces – and never for anything else, but hard drugs.”

(Testimony Courtesy, Bruce McEwen)

LEFT HAND, RIGHT HAND AWARD. Supes turn down Sheriff’s request for an infrequently used but vital rescue Snow Cat, require fire departments to specify to the penny what they’re doing with the Prop 172 money after they’d been illegally denied for years, while they hand out huge sums without question to: the Arts Council, Promotional Scammers, Mental Health, etc. without blinking an eye.

BOOBS TO BOOBS: Sherry Glaser’s bare-breasted “Breasts Not Busts” pot protest before the Supervisors.

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FANTASY turning into partial reality: a Boonville water and sewer system was awarded $1 million by the State Water Board and is now in the planning stages.

THE PHILO SPEED LIMIT was raised in the face of unanimous opposition from the AV community and the Board of Supervisors.

LOCAL RANCHER Sam Prather was jobbed out of eight acres of land by an alliance of ethically elastic lawyers and a newbie pot grower.

AV UNIFIED SCHOOLS seemed to settle down with the appointment of a new school board and the departure of two administrators and the hiring of local girl Tracy Anderson as Elementary School principal.

DEPUTY OF THE YEAR (Oak Leaf Cluster): Craig Walker easily handled what crime occurred in Anderson Valley while covering shifts in Ukiah as well, one of which involved a tussle with a tweaker which put the deputy on light duty for most of the year.

THE RETAILER operating in The Valley’s most challenging neighborhood, Dave Evans of the Navarro Store.

AS RANCHO NAVARRO’S Fritz Ohm was sitting down to dinner at his place with Willie Martinez, Michael Saner walked up and shot Martinez to death.

MOST POPULAR new local proprietors, the Condon family of Buckhorn Saloon.

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33 Jury Trials in 2017 — 21 Guilty; 7 Not Guilty; 5 mistrials (one of which resulted in a plea deal several months later which the DA counted as a “win”) – giving a trial conviction rate of 22/33, or two-thirds.

11 DUIs.

3 prosecuted personally by Eyster.

1 Murder trial (Caleb Silver, mistrial set for retrial in the spring).

Only 1 Domestic abuse case (Guilty).


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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I see these guys are passing out their End-Of-The-Year Awards. I have one: Feline Bummer of the Year. Or any year: Skrag!”

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Dear Editor:

We want to sing the praises of the animal shelter in Ukiah. Our farm is run by a 10 yr old German Shepard/Aussie cross; she's a guard, a greeter, a companion and smart as a whip. She's slowing down and we decided to find her a buddy she could train to help her so we went to the shelter to see who was there.

A few weeks ago we picked up a beautiful, smart and loving one-year-old German Shepard mix from the County Animal Shelter in Ukiah. As we strolled through the kennels filled with a large number of pit bulls, I was arrested by one dog that literally stood up and reached out to me pleading to be loved. The information on the tag by his cage said that he was was a bit of a wild "man" and in great need of training.

On the advice of the shelter staff we brought our female 10 year old German Shepard/Aussie mix, the "farm boss," with us to do a meet and greet. Two staff people took the two dogs to a nearby field to spend time observing how they handled themselves together, give us advice, and answer questions while we all watched. It was concluded that they would most likely become buddies once the shelter dog ran off his energy, the memory of the cage, and learned some manners, and that our farm dog would teach him what he needs to know.

It's been a few weeks now and Pito is learning quickly and ChiChi is teaching him what we can't.

We found the entire experience to be wonderful, from our first visit to the clean and well run shelter, to the helpfulness of the knowledgeable staff while there and after we adopted him. If you want or need a pet please consider visiting the shelter first, and don't ever forget to spay your pet if he or she comes from elsewhere.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

Petit Teton Farm, Boonville

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A sinking ship:

As the year drags itself to a close and a new year looms, where do we find ourselves? We find ourselves adrift on a sea filled with large rocks and sharks. There are no icebergs. They have all melted. The rudder on the ship of state has fallen off.

The rich are in the salon, wining and dining and congratulating themselves on their good fortune. Steerage is filling with water, and the poor are already drowning because the hatch is locked and bolted.

Captain Queeg is busily dismantling the ship of state, railing that everyone, including the FBI, is against him as he flails about searching for his strawberries and tweeting retribution for everyone who doesn’t think he is the greatest.

The crew — a remarkably inept, complicit Republican Congress — is accomplishing almost nothing, which in retrospect is probably a good thing: the less, the better, as indicated by its tax Christmas present to the already wealthy.

The world hates us, friend and foe alike, so they will not come to our aid as we flounder.

Sail on, ship of state, sail on.

Gail Outlaw

Santa Rosa

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 31, 2017

Armstrong, DeWolf, Elkin, Flowers

SABRINA ARMSTRONG, Lucerne/Ukiah. Under influence, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Battery on peace officer, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

RICHARD DUNCAN, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance. (Booking photo not available.)

BILLY ELKIN JR., Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

JESSICA FLOWERS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Foley, Forden, Preap, Rudzitis

JAMES FOLEY, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. DUI.

NOAH FORDEN, Orangeville/Willits. DUI, suspended license, bench warrant, probation revocation.

MONY PREAP, Santa Rosa/Redwood Valley. Alteration of firearm ID, suspended license, unlawful display of registration, midsdemeanor convictions within tens years.

ERIK RUDZITIS, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.

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A few years ago I was attending a holiday party being thrown by a friend of my wife. This hostess whispered a tidbit to me about the gentleman seated across the room with the cane and white hair. She said he was a professor emeritus of something-or-other from Rutgers. My interest piqued, I engaged the gentleman in conversation. I asked, “exactly what does ’emeritus’ mean?” He said, “it means you're OLD.”

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by Jonah Raskin

For much of my life, I have been a square though I am sure that many people, including myself, have been fooled by the company I kept and by the gestures I made. They might have been taken to be those of a hipster, a bohemian, a radical. All I really wanted was for people to like me, for me to like myself, to have a steady job, a comfortable home, a happy marriage, children and grandchildren. Almost every step I took made it impossible for me to have those things and certainly not all of them at once.

When I look at myself now I see someone I never expected to be: a single, retired teacher with a pension from the state, and pharmaceuticals prescribed by a doctor. I never imagined how I have turned out. Not that I’m complaining. Still, I feel oddly detached from the person I once was. When I look back at him I hardly know who he is, or what makes him so. He is a stranger to me.

The period of time that I return to in my head more than any other is the late 1960s and the early 1970s when I rioted in the streets, dropped acid, had multiple sex partners and listened to deafening rock bands, along with thousands of others in my generation who seemed to be possessed, out-of-their-minds, and in another, parallel universe to the one inhabited by the generals in the Pentagon and the president and his cabinet in the White House.

I am embarrassed by many of my antics and my gestures. Most of all, I am embarrassed to say that I tried to save my marriage to a woman who had joined the Weather Underground and who lived in a collective that made bombs and planted them in government buildings. I understand the appeal of violence; I had been violent all through my teen years both in the streets and on the sports fields where I played football and lacrosse and liked to bang into the opposition.

In a crowded hallway a stranger once accidental bumped into me. Without thinking I said, “Do that again and I’ll kill you.” I was in high school and I was already out of control. I brought that experience with me into the 1960s and then the 1970s. The anger came from deep inside; the hurt I didn’t know about for a long time.

I never owned a gun, never thought about assassinating anyone and I didn’t approve of the Weather Underground’s bombings, though I didn’t want them to be arrested and go to jail. I wasn’t going to call the FBI and say where they were hiding. Something about not becoming a snitch.

Three Weather Underground members had accidentally blown themselves up in March 1970 while they were making a bomb; if it happened once it seemed to me that it was possible it might happen again. I didn’t want it to happen to me. I tried to stay away from bombs.

I didn’t help anyone make a bomb, though I once watched a member of the underground make a bomb in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York where he lived with six other comrades. One of them was my wife, Eleanor, whom I had married in 1964 and who had briefly attended Columbia Law School after we both graduated from the University of Manchester in England.

Soon after we returned to New York in 1967, Eleanor joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), went to meetings and conferences, shook her fist in the face of college presidents and spoke with a British accent she had picked up in Manchester. Mimicking the British was beyond me, whether it was the working class or the aristocratic version of English, though I was definitely an Anglophile and more than anything else wanted to go back to England and get away from crazy America.

One day, Eleanor just walked away from our apartment on Riverside Drive in Manhattan, leaving her clothes, her shoes, and her jewelry. I didn’t really expect to see her again. I didn’t know where she was going — except underground — and I hoped that she would come to her senses and return to our apartment, though by then I had lost my own senses. In 1969 I had gone on a rampage in the streets along with one hundred of so demonstrators, all of us armed with rocks, sticks, lead pipes, garbage can lids and the like. I was arrested and jailed. For the 12 hours or so I was beaten by New York City policemen, many of them from the twentieth-precinct where the head of the “Red Squad” picked me out of a crowd and told the cops to beat the shit out of me. I thought I was cool. I thought I was a revolutionary.

By then, I had a girlfriend about ten years younger than I who was a college student and a radical. She took care of me while I recovered from the beating I received. I thought she was beautiful. I thought that I loved her. We laughed a lot and went to meetings and walked the streets of New York, which can be a very romantic thing to do on a fall evening or a spring morning. Then, a few months after my beating I received a message from my mother-in-law saying that my wife wanted to meet me at the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village. She wanted me to know that she was alive, that she had helped the survivors of the (accidental) blast escape from the ruins and get to a safe house. She called herself Rita, “lovely Rita, meter maid,” she was living in Brooklyn, where she born and raised. Rita and the other members of her collective were planning to put a bomb in the headquarters of the New York City Police Department.

I felt like a zombie, like I was one of the walking dead, but I did not walk away from my wife and the underground, and when she said “Why don’t I become your mistress” I didn’t think very long before I knew that I liked the idea. I didn’t think at all. I wanted my wife to be my mistress and I wanted to live with my girlfriend as though we were husband and wife, or at least engaged to be married. I know none of this is logical. I know I wasn’t acting rationally, but I felt that I was on a wild ride and that I had to follow it until I fell off or until it kicked me off.

A kind of sex addict who was also addicted to continual excitement, I liked living a double life. I liked the apartment I kept with my girlfriend and my job as a college teacher. And I liked visiting my wife/mistress in Brooklyn, and meeting the four or five people who called themselves “the Central Committee” of the Weather Underground. What seemed really odd to me at the time was their ability to make bombs, plant bombs, write “communiqués” — and send them to newspapers that often published them — all the while that they lived like ordinary New Yorkers who shopped, cooked, cleaned and went to the movies.

I lived my double life for about three years. Then my life caught up with me. The girlfriend left me and so did my wife. But perhaps I left them. Yes, that’s more like it. I also lost my academic job. In fact I had made sure that I would lose it by trying to sabotage the college where I taught, by any means necessary, except violence. I was the perpetrator who thought he was the victim.

Not long after I lost my job, I left New York with a young redhead who owned a car and a dog. I drove with her to San Francisco and then hitchhiked to Sonoma County where my parents, who were then in their 60s, were farming, and growing and smoking marijuana. It took me about a year to decompress. I did a lot of sitting and staring at the tops of the redwood trees that lined the creek. I learned that redwoods can be very healing. I went to work in apple orchards and on chicken farms, for men in their 70s who had settled in Sonoma in their 40s. I gathered all kinds of father figures around me and I worked side-by-side with my own father in his orchard.

I went to the campus and met the students who were experimenting with sex and drugs and revolution and it seemed like déjà vu. I had been there and I had done that. It was a comfortable place to be and very uncomfortable, too. I packed a suitcase and went on the road. I went all the way to Chiapas at the southern end of Mexico, and then after a while I got homesick for America: American music, American food and the American language, though I knew that Mexico was just as much American as the USA. I went home. At 32, I moved into my parents house and felt like a kid again, only a kid in an adult body who had lived through something I learned to call the “cultural revolution,” and who had survived it. Recently, I stopped communicating with my ex-wife. The separation was long overdue. I see my much beloved ex-girl friend a few times a year. I like her husband, and their children and grandchildren. In the summer we hike and swim and watch movies and barbecue and eat together. It’s a bit like a commune. Only it’s not like a commune at all.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Out of the WhaleMy Search for B. Traven and Marijuanaland.)

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If I don’t manage to fly, someone else will.

The spirit wants only that there be flying.

As for who happens to do it, in that he has only a passing interest.

In winter, the murderer Death

enters all the houses

looking for sister and father

playing his violin.


But when the earth stirs

under the spade in spring,

death runs through the streets,

greeting passers-by.

Extinguish my eyes, I'll go on seeing you.

Seal my ears, I'll go on hearing you.

And without feet I can make my way to you,

without a mouth I can swear your name.


Break off my arms, I'll take hold of you

with my heart as with a hand.

Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.

And if you consume my brain with fire,

I'll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.

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This week, January 5 - 7, the 26th Annual Professional Pianist Concert at Mendocino College Center Theatre in Ukiah will commence once again. This annual sellout event will feature 10 different pianists over three performances. The pianists this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Charlie Seltzer and Sam Ocampo. The music ranges from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime.....each performance will be different!

The series features seven pianists on stage each evening in a living room environment throughout the event trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This popular event is an annual sellout because of the diversity, quality of a multitude of styles of music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. A special art show benefitting Redwood Complex fire survivors by Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend…not to be missed!

Friday, January 5th at 7:00pm will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. Saturday, January 6th’s 7:00pm performance will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall and Sam Ocampo. Sunday afternoon’s 2:00pm performance will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Frankie J, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. No two concerts will be the same, so if you love piano and piano music, enjoy more than one performance.

Tickets are on sale at, Mendocino Book Co. and dig Music! in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and Watershed Books in Lakeport. Tickets are $15 general admission and $25 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call 707-472-7640.

The concert benefits the Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology Program, Allegro Scholarship Program, Mendocino County Youth Project and Ukiah Community Concerts. Sponsors are Sparetime Supply, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino College Recording Arts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby. Refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association.

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Prohibitions on smoking or ingesting marijuana while driving, as well as carrying an “open container” of cannabis in a vehicle are among several highway safety standards incorporated into new California laws that will be enforced in 2018.

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History has nothing to do with the annals of the calendar. It is decided by disasters, wars, discoveries, and the feats of heroes.

— Manuel Vicent

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Harvey Reading)

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Thank you for printing these letters that the liberal media would never allow.

Anti-Americanism in this country. People are trying to take our Second Amendment, our First Amendment, the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, everything that's connected with what brought our country up as a country, they are trying to take this all away from us every day. These people have no respect for the thousands and thousands of people, black and white, who gave their lives, either getting shot to death, drowning, starving to death, bombed to death, living in concentration camps, to preserve our freedom in this country. These people who are trying to take this away from us live off our food and the things we supply for them, the things the government gives them, their freedom, the laws that protect them. They should be shipped to a different colony, put on an island somewhere. If they want to be communists and be anti-American send them to a communist country! Like North Korea or Iran or Syria. Let them live in that country for a while and see how they like it and see how much longer they’d be criticizing the way the United States was brought up. It makes me sick to my stomach. These people know who I'm talking about. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for showing their faces in public.

Our historical monuments have been taken down, destroying our history and what we did over the years and things we are remembered by. Our wars and stuff: they denounce that too.

The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, has now told all his state police that they will honor people who are openly carry weapons. Can you imagine that happening in California? Under the new governor coming in? I can't believe it.

The sandbar blocking the Navarro River is now about 20 feet wide. So the fish cannot get in. Naturally. They stay out in the ocean getting killed and eaten by sea lions. And the water cannot get out. The reason they don't let it out is they are afraid it will drain the estuary which would endanger the lives of salamanders, polliwogs, frogs and you name it. Yet they will let Highway 128 go underwater with the slightest chance of rain and then all the traffic has to come through Flynn Creek Road through Comptche and out to the coast on Comptche-Ukiah Road which is almost impassable in some places where the county has not worked on it for months. Doesn't that make sense? What a bunch of wacko stupid illiterate environmental people trying to run this country. Doesn't that make you sick? It does me.

Back in the old days in the 50s the good people in this county used to go down and open up the sand bars to let the fish in and let the water out. But that cannot happen any more because if you get caught with just a teaspoon down on the beaches right now it's jail time for you! Our park officials are so weighted down with armament that they can hardly walk. And CDF and Fish and Game. I could go on. They have more armament on them than our entire military. It's incredible!

What's happening to our tax money? Why are our roads in such bad shape? Why is this county so broke? Could it be that they are spending our money stupidly? They are certainly not fixing the roads! They do not fix any of the infrastructure. Nothing will run. Yet our taxes keep going up. What's the answer to that? I don't understand. It makes me sick to my stomach to see this country being run by a bunch of idiots when there are so many hard-working people who pay their taxes and try to keep up with all the stupid laws and the other crap we have going on these days. It's just ridiculous.

I do think it's a good thing that some of our tax money goes to law enforcement. They have a lot to deal with. There are a lot of scumbags coming into this country run by Dr. Jerry Kim Jong Un Brown and his sanctuary state. Sheriff Allman and his crew can use more money actually. To help straighten things out and keep things under control.

Those anti-Americans use our roads, and eat our food and wear our clothes and use the traditions that have developed over the last 150 or 160 years but they want to bite the hand that feeds them. They want to shut down everything that has anything to do with the good old days and the people who built this country. They ought to be forced onto airplanes and flown to another country and dumped out and that would be the end of it.

Happy new year,

Jerry Philbrick


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(Click to enlarge)

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JANUARY 3, 1968: Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, arrested during the pre-Christmas series of peace demonstrations outside the Oakland Induction Center, was sentenced yesterday to 17 days in the county jail.

He pleaded no contest to a charge of disturbing the peace. Before sentencing Ferlinghetti, Municipal Judge Winton McKibben said that the purpose of the demonstration was to “stop the war. Its purpose was to block the entrance to war. The motive of the demonstrators was pure and the action was totally non-violent. It was a legitimate expression of political dissent and I believe that such dissent must not be suppressed and prosecuted in a society that calls itself free.” Ferlinghetti, who will begin serving his time tomorrow at Santa Rita prison farm, said in another statement that he believed that “the American people are suffering this Christmas season from a mass guilt complex as a direct result of the American action in Vietnam. They know they are doing evil but they are confused and don’t know how to stop. They know that this nation as a whole is guilty of crimes against humanity in Vietnam.”

Ferlinghetti, 1968

Ferlinghetti, 48-year-old author of “A Coney Island of the Mind” and owner of the City lights bookstore at 261 Columbus Avenue, was a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II and served in the Normandy invasion.

(SF Chronicle)

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To the Editor:

My name is Christofer Ryan McNeil. I'm 22 years old and currently incarcerated in Mendocino County Jail. Under the circumstances in California law I am guilty! But, I'm still human and deserve justifiable Constitutional rights even being incarcerated. This brings me to my story of health hazards in the Mendocino County Jail.

I am currently classified in the isolation module! Iso for short. It is used for diagnosed mental health inmates who have severe needs. Isolation has a maximum capacity of five inmates at any given time, all of whom have to occupy cells by themselves. Iso has two high definition surveillance video cameras monitoring the rooms at all times. The cells are 12 x 7, very small and compact.

After minimal classification, I have been thrown into an isolation cell and forgotten in a cell used to house mental health inmates. Fortunately I have no diagnosis of being so. I know my rights, yet I am placed in a mental health module with absolutely no mental health needs or requirements.

All the isolation cells have obvious feces, mucus, inflammation or snot dried all over the walls. These cells are never cleaned because they house and classify mental health inmates who cannot physically take care of themselves and keep their environment clean.

So what do Mendocino County jail deputies do? They turn a blind eye and ignore the fact that we are human and let us live in other inmates’ feces and urine. The professional stance would be to take the initiative to clean the highly hazardous contaminated cells for multiple health reasons. Luckily I have obtained cleaning supplies such as broom, mop and highly diluted disinfectant that could be mistaken for water. I do a most diligent hard-working job, scrubbing as much feces and urine off the walls and crevices as possible.

We are not supplied proper gloves or covering of the hands when doing so. Time and again I repeat these cleaning habits with little or no success. My cell now looks significantly better than it did before. But due to all the hundreds if not thousands of inmates who occupied this isolation cell before me without the proper cleaning supplies and cleanliness the hazardous wastes will never come out. I ponder everyday how correctional deputies, sergeants, lieutenants and commanders can professionally walk by these five isolation modules and completely ignore the fecal matter on the walls. They are obviously in need of a serious cleaning. Feces has a significant negative effect on the human body and health.

I refuse to live in an unsanitary, hazardous environment. So I was adamant and I declined to move to the isolation module unless it was cleaned. Correctional deputies then sprayed bleach and disinfectant on the walls carelessly and proceeded to announce, "Good enough."

I then put in hours of work to get the isolation cell in a livable condition for my benefit. To this day I will never get this cell clean enough. But day and day out I will give it my all.

To my knowledge based on self investigation Mendocino county jail is a state and federally run facility. Under California law they have to sufficiently meet the requirements of health and safety codes and regulations. Where are these health and safety inspection personnel? I know they have not been to this jail in at least 10 months and we have no knowledge of their arrival.

If Mendocino County Jail was inspected by higher-ups they would be declared exceedingly neglectful and would receive an F Grade. Therefore they would be in big trouble with federal inspectors. Feces and urine on the walls of isolation is the biggest downside. This jail does not have a lot going on, trust me. All they do is feed 300 inmates, give them a shower every other day and that's it. Come on, it's not like the LA County Jail.

Please, Mendocino County Jail, get in line with the standards. I request only minimal requirements. Fecal matter or human waste and urine is highly infectious. Especially if in direct contact with any open wounds.

Although I have only two months left unless it's I wish that something comes about on this issue. I hope that my statements and concern are shared with friends and family. This jail is malicious, unqualified and corrupt regarding health and safety.

I understand that criminals who are a menace and continue to break laws and our community and give our society a bad name deserve punishment. But to let seasoned officers see this human waste hazard constantly and not take action is unacceptable. Deputies who work inside the jail are the only individuals who can change a single thing and they don't. It is ridiculous and illegal and 100% a health and safety concern. When the county Board of Supervisors commissions an inspection of this jail it will come under severe scrutiny and will fail miserably. When this happens Christofer Ryan McNeil will say I told you so.

I appreciate readers taking time to read my submissions. Special thanks to the Laviletta, McNeill, Allegaert and stepdad Jassenn all the continuing support they continue to provide. I will be on my way home soon. Feel free to write if you have a question. I always write back regarding the illegal running of this jail. Thank you.

Christofer Ryan McNeil

Isolation #2, Mendocino County Jail


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A ‘JOINT’ OPERATION by several law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrest of two individuals accused of trafficking a large amount of marijuana into Tennessee.

On Thursday, authorities received information about a scheduled delivery to the Crossville Municipal Airport. Upon arrival, law enforcement officers discovered a small plane on the tarmac and its pilot, Dennis Howard Bonneau (DOB 12-20-70). In searching the plane, authorities discovered approximately 66 pounds of pharmaceutical grade marijuana inside the aircraft. Agents also encountered a woman inside the airport’s lobby, identified as Erin Elizabeth Reed (DOB 3-7-83), who was in possession of a bag containing approximately 90 pounds of pharmaceutical grade marijuana, along with edible marijuana products.

Reed, Bonneau

Agents arrested Bonneau, of Weston, Florida, and Reed, of Arcata, California, and charged each with one count of Manufacturing, Delivery, or Sale of Schedule VI. Authorities subsequently booked each into the Cumberland County Jail, where – at the time of this release – they were each being held on $500,000 bond.

Agencies participating in this operation included the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, the Crossville Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, the Middle Tennessee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Press release



  1. George Dorner January 1, 2018

    So…Mendocino County has wanted pot legalization in the worst way…and, indeed, that’s how they have gotten it.

    • George Hollister January 1, 2018

      Good one.

  2. George Hollister January 1, 2018

    At a young age, people like Jonah Raskin usually end up dead or in prison, or both.

    • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018

      There must be something hallucinogenic in the Comptche water supply, judging from the output of its two most prolific literary artists today…

      Happy New Year indeed!

      • Jeff Costello January 1, 2018

        Hallucinogenic water? This is euphemism at its finest, or worst, I can’t quite tell.

        • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018


          • Jeff Costello January 1, 2018

            I guess it depends on your concept of hallucinogenic. Apparently my idea of the term is more benign than yours? If hallucinogenic water turned people into Philbricks we might be in deep shit if the Trump forces found out. But from my experience LSD and such are anti-political influences. I think this was found out in the MK-Ultra experiments.

            • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018

              Perhaps, Jeff, but from experience I don’t see the world view of guys like Philbrick as particularly political, though it does have polical implications; rather I see it as more of an hallucination, nearer an expression of religious belief than one of politics.

              It wouldn’t surprise me but what Trump learned that at an early age (he’s not quite as stupid as he is sometimes portrayed), as well as how to manipulate it, given his continuing support from those sharing the apparent world view of Philbrick, as depicted in his writing here.

              • Jeff Costello January 1, 2018

                Good point there, but the rigid authoritarian sort of thinking is also antithetical to the psychedelic experience.

                • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018

                  I dunno, the hippies I met in the Bay Area tended toward a great deal of authoritarianism in personality: my way or the highway described them generally, friendly only as long as you happily swallowed their intellectual (generally upper-middle-class) swill; some of them would get physical if you didn’t give them money for their panhandling efforts, or didn’t give them what they considered enough, not with me, because I was big and ugly, but with others more easily awed into submission.

      • George Hollister January 1, 2018

        Harv, I am merely stating a fact. Combine violent tendencies, with substance abuse, and prolonged unhinged behavior and there is a recipe for a shortened life.

        It would be inappropriate to say Jonah is lucky, but he is alive.

        • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018

          I would be more inclined to agree with you, if Mr. Raskin was not white.

  3. james marmon January 1, 2018

    Christofer Ryan McNeill should be thankful that he hasn’t accidentally committed suicide or succumbed to drug overdose while lodged in cell #2. Hang in there young man.

    • Harvey Reading January 1, 2018

      James, given the situation, maybe the wording of your last sentence might be reconsidered?

  4. Steve Heilig January 1, 2018

    Theory: Thomas Pynchon is (again?) sending letters to the AVA, now using the name Philbrick. Who else could be that creatively satirically dementedly phantasmagorical?

    GBDT (God Bless Donald Trump)
    (Philbrick/Pynchon neglected to sign off with that slogan today, so…)

    Happy, better, new year!

  5. Jim Updegraff January 1, 2018

    Bruce, I do not have a copy of the budget. does it have an expense item for accounting services or for bookkeeping services or similar term? There could be a serious issue regarding fiduciary responsibilities of the directors.

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