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Off the Record (Feb. 7, 2018)

SUSY BARSOTTI, Laytonville resident and long-time member of the Hog Farm at Black Oak Ranch, has tossed her hat in the ring for third district supervisor. Her pressers says, “Having been strongly urged on by family and friends to run for office, Susy is excited to offer the skills in collaboration, community building, and intuitive leadership she has acquired from 44 years of cooperative group living. She has been married to Bob Barsotti for 31 years, and together they have produced events at Black Oak Ranch, including The Pignic, Earthdance, and the Kate Wolf Festival. Her deep love of Mendocino County fuels the commitment she feels to those who live here, and she’s exhilarated to represent the third district with all she’s got.” (Bob Barsotti is a former partner of the late Bill Graham's Bill Graham's Productions.)

SEVEN PERSONS are now in the race for the 3rd District Supe's seat: Cyndee Logan of Willits; Johnny Pinches, who has held the seat twice before; John Haschak; Brian Kunka; Tony Tucker; and Pam Elizondo.

MANY YEARS AGO I ran for different local offices simply to raise issues that would otherwise not be raised. I was then still registered with the Peace and Freedom Party whose wild founding convention I’d attended as a representative of the Noe Valley area of San Francisco. When, from my Boonville HQ, I ran for the Assembly seat then held by Dan Hauser, whose base of support was Arcata, a bastion of cash and carry liberalism I, a founding father of P&F, discovered myself opposed in the P&F primary! Pam Elizondo of Laytonville had registered only P&F to oppose me. Which was unprecedented among P&Fers who were always beating the bushes for candidates. A remnant group of NorCal commies had gotten Pam to do it. It was the first time in NorCal that a P&F primary was contested. The final humiliation occurred when she beat me! (Excuse me while I weep at the memory.)

WHERE WERE WE? Oh yes, I believe that election was around '92. Us lefty-wefties were trying to move the Democrats in the direction of progress. A couple of years prior, I'd pulled about 12% of the vote running for Assembly against Hauser while Darlene Commingore, also a P&F candidate, pulled about 18% of the Congressional vote, knocking out corporado incumbent Doug Bosco.

NORCAL DEMOCRATS have looked over their shoulders ever since, although the left, as an organized force, was over in NorCal, buried by the domination of NorCal electoral politics by the wine industry branch of the Democrats. That industry, comprehensively far more destructive than corporate timber ever was, came up with Mike Thompson and Thompson spin-offs like Huffman, Berg, McGuire, Wood, etc. They’ve reigned ever since. Presently, there is zero progressive momentum on the Northcoast. By the way, when the commies put up Elizondo against me, someone, I suspect the Democrats, also gave her a $600 lump sum donation, the only donation she got. (The NorCal left of that time might have spent 6 bucks hassling me but not 600 bucks.) But please don't get the idea I'm angry at the old girl, Laytonville's first and only com-dupe. I get a kick out of Pam truly, and always look forward at election time to see her name somewhere on the ballot.


The distributor for Mendocino Brewing Co. said the Ukiah brewery has stopped producing beer and laid off its sales staff.

ACCORDING to San Francisco's visitor bureau types, tourists leave shocked at the number of people on the streets, most of them mentally ill or loaded on something, or both. SF spends upwards of $310 million a year on the “homeless,” the catch-all term for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves. A big hunk of that money, of course, goes to the well-paid people who administer homeless programs. The evidence that homeless programs are ineffective is all around us, as it is in Mendocino County, the irony being that the numbers of homeless seem to increase in direct proportion to the money spent “helping” them. A second irony is the growth of government at all levels while the entire country comes apart every which way. What's the point of paying, for instance, the Ukiah City Manager, a quarter mil a year (pay and bennies) to manage a population of only 16,000 if he and his lushly compensated colleagues can't figure out a way to get Ukiah's small but obtrusive number of walking wounded off the streets? (cf the WalMart parking lot, South State Street, the railroad tracks, lower West Perkins, the bike path. Also note the comfortable and attractive Ukiah City Hall where Ukiah's leadership does its thing, whatever that thing is. I doubt a homeless camp like we see between WalMart and Jack In The Box would be able to establish itself on the City Hall lawn.)

THESE COMMENTS came from San Francisco visitors: “Tons of prostitution and fighting every night ... you couldn’t pay me to stay here again,” read one comment. Another said, “We felt unsafe walking across the street, and we live in New York City!” And: “A homeless man tried to stuff drugs in my pockets outside and tried to sell them to me.”

THE THREE STARS of Cannibal Capitalism — Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon — say they will work together to reduce health care costs. They couldn't just support single payer for everyone, could they? Their plan according to Buffett, would be "technology focused" and aimed at reducing the ballooning costs of the present rip-off models. The good news? Stock prices of major healthcare companies fell dramatically. UnitedHealth Group's stock price plummeted by almost five percent after the announcement. Cigna Corporation and CVS Health followed, each dropping by five percent. The Big Three said they hadn't worked out the details.

MORE THAN HALF of the American population are unable to afford a $1,000 emergency room bill or a $500 car repair, according to a new report by Bankrate. Buffet, Dimon and Bezos are silent on this fact of American life, although Buffet occasionally bemoans it. Even he says the rich should pay a lot more in taxes.

ANOTHER SIGN THE END IS NEAR: Despite doctors across the country warning teens not to ingest laundry pods, hospitals are reportedly seeing even more poisoning cases stemming from the "Tide pod challenge."

According to a report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), "the country's poison control centers handled 39 intentional exposures cases among 13 to 19 year olds" during the first two weeks of 2018.

But after the dangerous "challenge" caught the eyes of adults in mid-January, it appears that teenagers somehow became even more inclined to eat Tide pods.

The AAPCC is now reporting that poison control centers treated 86 intentional exposure cases through the first three weeks of 2018. This means that there were more intentional exposure cases in the third week of January than in the first two weeks combined.

FROM BOONVILLE'S Temple of Discernment, aka the AVA, we can in good faith recommend only two movies from the crop of '17 — Get Out and I, Tonya. We can't bring ourselves to watch the Academy Awards, but if these two get shut out, well, that's show biz.

THE COUNTY'S Health and Human Services lateral bunker in central Ukiah adjacent to the Co-op is an awful structure to begin with, but with the recent addition of chainlink fencing we at least get a full-face expression of how the helping pros and their County sponsors feel about their "clients." On my endless list of things to do, I have intended to look up the names of the local fat cats who lease back these buildings at top extortionate dollar to local government, a branch of the larger government these same fat cats are always talking about getting off their backs.

THE FENCING is clearly aimed at keeping the needy from camping at the doors of HHS, but even without the fencing, and on the off chance there's a human-type person somewhere in the upper echelons of the bureaucracy, how about some planter boxes, maybe a few neglected geraniums, a battered oleander? Anything.

AS A CANDIDATE for the KZYX board of trustees, and as a paid-up member off and on for many years of that secret society, I've been tuning in more lately. This morning I heard about half a program on the County's foster home system, now mostly privatized under the Camille Schraeder's local social services conglomerate.

MY WIFE AND I functioned as foster parents for many years, an experience that rendered me especially a lifelong enemy of the system. For starters, social workers and the kindred professions, most of them anyway, are persons of limited ability and less sophistication, and I don't mean Noel Coward-like sophistication, I mean simply what might be called "life experience," an earned ability to understand and sympathize. And most of them that I dealt with over the years had never had children and didn't seem to particularly like children. (Yes, I know I'm generalizing, but I'm generalizing from my experience.)

THE OVERALL PROBLEM with the non-system of foster care is that it provides exactly the opposite of what a child needs, especially a child of chaos, which is stability, predictability, which most middleclass children get because their parents can afford to provide it even if the economically comfortable parents themselves are batshit crazy. Most children who wind up in the foster non-system are typically bounced from home to home until they're 18 and tossed out on to the street. They arrive in the system already so screwed up that most people aren't going to be able to deal with them. (The un-screwed up little kids are often adopted by their foster parents). Most dependent children should have been removed from unfit homes, at the latest, when they were pre-schoolers. By the time they are finally removed, most are very difficult indeed and often have to be placed in severe group homes or lock-up facilities.

"PROGRESSIVE" Mendocino County, according to the nice lady I listened to this morning on KZYX, sends about 30% of dependent children to institutions or homes outside of Mendocino County. (She also had the annoying habit, to me anyway, of referring to foster children as "kiddos," as if they were Jack and Jill going up the hill with their faithful dog Spot to water the family dope garden, er, fetch a pail of water.)

AS OUR SOCIETY CRUMBLES, more and more children are raised in conditions of in-home chaos and severe parental fiscal shortfall, so short that mom, and occasionally mom and pop, don't have the money to properly care for the new life they've created even if they are fully normal people.

DURING the halcyon days of yesteryear, unwanted, un-provided for children were placed permanently in orphanages which, by the way, were not the snakepits of abuse they are latterly assumed to have been. There are any number of affectionate memoirs by orphanage grads. The abuse really kicked in when the children of the poor were monetized beginning in the early 1960s.

GIVEN THE GIVENS of the present system, especially given the big money involved, there's no way to reform the dependent child business, and make no mistake it is a business. And just try to find out how effective Mendo's dispatch of dependent children is. We'll never know; contrary to the collabo propaganda coming out of the Superior Court about how private citizens oversee this or that kid. It's a bad system resistant to change, and has now damaged about four generations of poor people.

(THE LATE Christopher Hitchens once did a funny riff on the "ASA people," professional whiners from this or that interest group who always begin their comments with, "As a single mother… As a long-time activist…" Etc. An infamous deadbeat of a local "activist" always began her endless presentations with, "As a mother of two children...." As if she were the first woman to manage the feat and that feat, once accomplished, gave her special standing.)

HOW ABOUT MENDO? The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has announced it will expunge thousands of misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession dating back to 1975. The move comes after recreational marijuana use was legalized in California this year. That paved the way to have previous low-level offenses dropped, but it required a costly petition process that San Francisco authorities have decided to bypass. George Gascón, the city’s district attorney, said his office will automatically erase about 3,000 convictions, while an additional 4,900 felony convictions will be reviewed to determine if they can be downgraded to misdemeanor charges. “A lot of people don’t even know they qualify, and I don’t think it’s the right thing to do to make people pay lawyers’ fees and jump through a bunch of hoops to get something they should be getting anyway,” Gascón told The New York Times. San Diego has also said it will forgive previous convictions, having identified about 4,700 that will either be wiped out or downgraded.

MENDOCINO DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAVID EYSTER RESPONDS: “People have been submitting applications as allowed. If the SF District Attorney wants to volunteer to send up some of his staff to handle Mendo cases, so be it. Otherwise we'll proceed as is, processing applications and doing the best we can with limited staffing.”

FROM THE SF CHRONICLE of 28 January: “Bud ’n’ breakfasts sprout up statewide, including “Leafstone Lodge, Ukiah.” The blurb is accompanied by a photo of a large swimming pool with cabana umbrellas at one end. “Go big and reserve an entire 40-acre private Mendocino County wine-and-weed country estate featuring manicured gardens, greenhouse, full-size pool and hot tub and open-air smoking lounge. Accommodates up to 20 people in nine bedrooms. Gift of cannabis included in $1,300 nightly rate.”

SUPER BOWL NOTE: Haven’t watched one since the Montana-Walsh Niners were in it, and don’t watch much football anymore anyway, and not for the reasons mostly stated, from concussions to the politicizing of the games into either protest venues or triumphal military celebrations. (The protests are more often the only interesting thing that happens, and that’s only during the National Anthem, typically butchered by a person who can’t sing. The half-time shows are annual evidence that these are indeed The End Times. Call me geezer, but I still can’t believe people pay big money to watch Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce et al “perform.”) No, sports fans, I stopped watching because of all the television time-outs. For ads. Screws up the tempo of the game, making the game just one more corporate sales venue. I watch some Warrior’s basketball, and I try to get to a couple of Giants games every year so I can sit up on top of the stadium and zone out on the beauty of the San Francisco Bay between pitches. (Having vowed not to watch, I wound up watching the entire second half. The glimpses I got of the half-time show…. As Gore Vidal put it, “Lack of talent is no longer enough.”)


Yet another Middle School drama breaking out in Washington, yawn. At this point I don’t care what is disclosed. The whole place has become irrelevant to adults and anyone with a triple digit IQ. At this point can we expect anything even close to the truth to come out of DC? Can we trust any mainstream media outlet to present it? Lies, spin, propaganda and marketing have infused every aspect of our lives these days, thus coating any truths in a crunchy coating of dried bullshit that is nearly impossible to penetrate anyway. After so many years of just figuring the latest government stats, reasons for war, and explanation of events are pure bullshit concocted to advance an agenda, all of the sudden we are supposed to take “The Memo” at face value? It’s all part of the spectacle to keep us engrossed while the owners pick our pockets.

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