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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

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by Bruce McEwen (June 17, 2010)


Dennis Boaz is erudite and urbane, a man of varied and laudable experience – teacher, historian, lawyer, writer, civil rights advocate. So when Bryan Barrett, the toadying assistant superintendent of Ukiah Unified School District, wrote a memorandum calling Boaz a racist, Boaz sued for defamation of character.

Boaz, who taught at Ukiah's South Valley High School at the time, had been representing teachers in salary negotiations with the Ukiah Unified School District.

The libel suit arose from the now retired history teacher's use of the word “niggardly” in a memo to the school district about union negotiations.

Boaz's case was heard Friday in Mendocino County Small Claims Court presided over by Judge Leonard LaCasse. Boaz filed a small claims suit last year against district Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Services Bryan Barrett, and another action against Paul Tichinin of the Mendocino County Office of Education and several small district superintendents affiliated with Tichinin.

Boaz said he'd been defamed by these haphazardly educated school administrators, that his reputation had been damaged when Barrett wrote a letter characterizing Boaz's use of the word niggardly in his memo to the district as “racism” or “suggested racism.”

Barrett had written to Ukiah Teachers Association president Sherry Sandoval and other involved officials: “This memo is formal notice to [the Ukiah Teachers Association] that Mr. Boaz's communication is insulting and unacceptable ... (and) racism or suggested racism has absolutely no place in this district.”

Boaz is not a racist, and he wasn’t going to be libeled by group of malicious know-nothings.

He sued.

A libel is a knowingly false and malicious published statement that is meant to damage somebody’s reputation. Barrett’s memo libeled Boaz by calling Boaz a racist for using the word “niggardly” to describe Ukiah Unified's response to the teacher's union's demands for fair compensation. Barrett called Boaz a racist knowing full-well, as Boaz said in court, that the word had no racist meaning.


Barrett and his shot-callers at Ukiah Unified were not only trying to get rid of the effective Boaz as union negotiator, they were trying to destroy him.

Barrett said Boaz's alleged slur had been aimed at Ukiah Unified School Superintendent Lois Nash, who is black.

“The more I thought about it,” Boaz said, “the angrier I got. My blood pressure went up and I couldn’t sleep.”

When the case was called early last Friday morning, Judge Leonard LaCasse told the parties to attempt a mediation and he would get back to them after he heard some other matters.

Mr. Barrett immediately declined the mediation, so there was nothing to do but wait for the judge to return.

During the break, Mr. Boaz immediately found himself surrounded by the local press corps. With his eyes dancing merrily, he fielded a barrage of questions about himself and his case against Barrett and Ukiah Unified. He was pleasant and patient, his voice soft and his good humor infectious. A couple of reporters had learned that Boaz had once been convicted-murderer Gary Gilmore’s lawyer; the man who pled Gilmore’s case for execution. Gilmore, you may recall, demanded execution by firing squad. Boaz helped him get it. Boaz was extensively interviewed by author Norman Mailer for Mailer’s prize-winning book, “The Executioner’s Song,” and Boaz played himself in the subsequent movie.

Boaz showed the reporters a marvelously written report he'd prepared in which he used an extended metaphor to portray the school board as Draconian. Not only was the report artfully written, it was irrefutably accurate and effective in damning the district’s negotiation tactics as applied to major issues like health benefits, sick leave, vacation, and so on.

Unable or unwilling to address the charges in the report, the school district bureaucrats decided, instead, to besmirch its author’s reputation, and came up with racism: “The tenor of the negotiations have become increasingly negative and niggardly,” Boaz wrote.

They immediately Googled the word, Barrett said.

In recent years efforts to ban niggardly have emerged on the PC agenda, and Barrett and his team of slanderers would have found this news on Google. In 1999 a white aide to the black mayor of Washington, D.C., resigned after a black colleague complained about use of the word; a teacher in North Carolina was reprimanded for teaching the word to her class; and the Dallas Morning News banned the word after readers complained about its appearance in a restaurant review; a Boston reader com­plained to Britain’s “The Economist” magazine about the word, but the British editors just laughed at the Yank. “Where else in the English-speaking world could this happen?

Mr. Barrett said, “There are thousands of words he could have used other than niggardly.”

Really. Thousands?

“I was hoping,” Boaz said, “to build some fighting spirit in the union.”

When the commotion over the word broke out, a commotion deliberately begun by Barrett and his fellow intellectuals in Mendocino County school administration, there was speculation that the word was used as a slur aimed at Ukiah Superintendent Lois Nash. Boaz immediately wrote a letter to Dr. Nash stating that that was not his intent and apologizing for any inferences that she may have drawn. At the time, Dr. Nash said she hadn’t taken Boaz's choice of words personally nor had she thought he'd intended to insult her.

Boaz is also suing County School Superintendent Paul Tichinin. Tichinin’s letter accusing Boaz of racism was endorsed by all his subordinate superintendents, from one end of the county to the other, marking them forever as either sycophants or dummies or both.

Paul Tichinin is the superintendent of the Mendocino County Office of Education. To put his rank in bureaucratic perspective, consider this: His pay scale and scope of influence is roughly equivalent to a colonel in the military. They command a similar size staff to manage the personnel of a mission that involves roughly comparable numbers of people, whether it be a regiment of US troops, or a domestic school district.

The comparison is essential because the salary and rank was established in order to attract a qualified individual, someone with the leadership abilities and intelligence necessary for such a posting. The job pays $120,000 a year and includes perks most Americans can only dream about.

Colonel Tichinin’s signature appears dependably as clockwork on a great many paychecks in Mendocino County. He has been flattered often by those who are beholden to his mighty and highly lucrative pen, but always in the vaguest terms such as wonderful, great, and, especially, nice. Personally, I would describe him as cute. Especially when he was holding that sign “CUTS HURT KIDS” out in front of the courthouse a couple months ago, essentially using children as human shields to protect his own sweet salary. Exquisitely cute. Despite his many admirers, a constitutionally protected source told this reporter on Friday that a state budget expert has encountered something extraordinary at Col. Tichinin’s office. Apparently, deep in the bowels of the colonel’s bunker, the experts stumbled into a vault full of riches.

Bryan Barrett is the second in command at one of the battalions that make up Col. Tich’s regiment, a mere major, serving directly under Lt. Col. Lois Nash, but also serving as Col. Tich’s personnel officer, known as S-1 in the military command structure.

Col. Tich has presently withdrawn from the battlefield. He’s in retreat, digging in, having got his court action postponed to September. He's on vacation, you see, no doubt deeply engaged in study and prayer. He probably also wants to see how his S-1 officer, Bryan Barrett, does in the present skirmish.

After a couple hours of delay, the skirmish finally began in earnest.

It was a small claims action, with a $7500 limit, and Judge LaCasse conducts these things with a minimal formality. Mr. Boaz, to his credit, didn’t pose as a lawyer — he’s retired from that profession.

Mr. Barrett, on the other hand, immediately made a fuss. He wanted to submit a legal brief prepared by the school district’s general counsel, Margaret Merchat of Santa Rosa. Boaz chuckled mildly over the pretentiousness of this formality, but Judge LaCasse accepted it, saying Barrett was within his rights.

(We wonder about that. Small claims actions are supposed to be free of lawyers, just the two parties representing themselves as best they can. And where do Barrett and Merchat get off using school money to defend gross stupidity and malice?)

Judge LaCasse told Boaz, “You’re saying this is defamation. I want to know what was said.”

Boaz responded. “I worked as lead negotiator with UUSD. On March 3rd of ’09 I wrote a sarcastic bargaining report, criticizing the board, calling it Draconian. Then in a report written to my boss, Sherry Sandoval, from Bryan Barrett, Mr. Barrett stated that Mr. Boaz was inciting racism or suggested racism.”

Judge: “Is that the statements that are defamatory?”

Boaz: “Yes.”

Judge: “Who’s it addressed to?”

Boaz: “Sherry Sandoval. I was the lead negotiator. As a teacher, I volunteered.”

Judge: “When was the alleged defamatory statement made?”

Boaz: “March 17th, ’09.”

Judge: “Saint Patrick’s Day?”

Boaz: “That’s right.”

Judge: “How were you damaged by the statements?”

Boaz: “Well, economically, I felt I should no longer be the lead negotiator. It didn’t seem appropriate. So I received a reduction of $1,200 — I would have received $2,400. I was shocked, then I became angry. As a teacher I vigorously teach about the importance of civil rights. Racism has no place in my classroom. I am not a racist. My wife and daughter are Jewish. We attended the inauguration of President Obama. But as a writer and a teacher my reputation is important to me, and I was put in this position where teachers were clamoring for my resignation.”

Judge: “How many teachers?”

Boaz: “About 20 teachers, following the memorandum by Mr. Barrett.”

Judge: “How do you attribute that to Mr. Barrett?”

Boaz: “Sorry, your honor,” having shuffled through his papers, he found a page and passed it to the bailiff. “This goes to malice, written against me. Entitled, ‘To All Employees’ wherein I am singled out for criticism by Mr. Barrett. The purpose was to single me out and criticize me. It only goes to the intent of Mr. Barrett.”

Judge: “Okay. Tell me more about your damages.”

Boaz: “I kept waking up at night. My blood pressure was up. The turmoil of discussing this with several teachers. I was very upset with Mr. Barrett — for someone who knew me, to treat me like this.”

Judge: “Anyone else?”

Boaz: “Yes. A teacher came up to me and seemed to suggest that Dr. Nash was upset by all this.”

Judge: “Did you give her a dictionary?”

Boaz: “No. I apologized to Dr. Nash in a letter.”

Judge: “To be defamed implies a loss of, well, support, respect, whatever…”

Boaz: “I got support from teachers who said, ‘We know you’re not a racist’ but this incident was creating a spirit in the union and in the fall of last year I resigned.”

Judge: “Anything else?”

Boaz said he wanted to question Barrett as an adverse witness.

Judge: “What does your other witness have to say?”

Shannon Bradford, the liaison to the executive board took the stand.

Boaz (Holding up a page): “This is the Welcome to Draconia document that set everything off. Last year in March, you were privy to a memo. We discussed poten­tial fallout and how people might react. Did you discuss the issue with other teachers?”

Bradford: “I did, but I don’t recall exactly who.”

Boaz: “What did they say?”

Bradford: “They were surprised that you would use racist language.”

Barrett had no cross-examination questions. Boaz wanted to ask him some questions.

Judge: “Go ahead.”

Boaz: “Mr. Barrett, you and I have been doing grievance negotiations for how long, now?”

Barrett: “I've been in that position for four years.”

Boaz: “During the year-and-a-half that I've been there did you ever hear me use any racist epithets toward any person?”

Barrett: “No.”

Boaz: “Ever hear me criticize Dr. Nash?”

Barrett: “Yes. Something about top-down management, but nothing recent, if that's where you're going.”

Boaz: “So you never heard me so much as suggest that anyone was inferior to me?”

Barrett: “There was nothing that would make me think you would... well, misuse words.”

Boaz: “But you called off a meeting because of my presence.”

Barrett: “Yes.”

Judge: “Look, I don't want to get into any of that. I want to know if you knew what the word meant. That it meant stingy, miserly, et cetera.”

Barrett: “Yes, I knew what it meant.”

Boaz: “So you must have drawn an inference…”

Barrett: “I'm not arguing that I drew an inference. What I was thinking was that we have the only African American superintendent, so my questioning of the use of the word was the time and place.”

Boaz: “Was Dr. Nash at the negotiating table?”

Barrett: “No. But she's the head of the district, so when you say the district, she is the district. You could have used other words.”

Boaz: “How does that make me a racist?”

Barrett: “I said racism or implied racism. My memo referred to tactics.”

Boaz: “But Dr. Nash was not at that table.”

Barrett: “She was at the table. She gives us our directions on what to do.”

Boaz: “Did you go to my principal and ask if I'd ever used racist language before?”

Barrett: “You admitted that someone might be able to take it the wrong way!”

Judge: “Again, I don't want to get into that.”

Boaz: “Who's idea was it to write that I was a racist?”

Barrett: “That would have come from Dr. Nash, myself, and the attorney, Margaret Merchat, who was very involved in the memo.”

Boaz: “What was your purpose?”

Barrett: “We wanted to have negotiations that were very professional.”

Boaz: “Weren't you trying to get rid of me? You said my integrity was at issue.”

Barrett: “I can't answer that. We had other teachers coming and saying 'We gotta get this guy off the negotiations board.' We took directions from our attorneys before we penned the letter.”

Boaz: “Did you ever think of discussing it with me before calling me a racist?”

Barrett: “There was no reason for me to contact you.”

Boaz: “Don't you think that since you knew what the word meant, you should have contacted me to see what I meant?”

Barrett: “I don't know what your intent was – maybe you could ask yourself that!”

Judge: “Gentlemen. I think I get it. There's only so much time. I've got other cases to hear today.”

Barrett submitted his trial brief and began his testimony: “This is a non-actionable opinion. An opinion is different from a fact–”

Judge: “Okay. You knew what the word meant when you wrote the memorandum?”

Barrett: “Yes, we” –

Judge: “Not we: You! You wrote the memo.”

Barrett: “Like I said, we Googled it and went to the principal.”

Judge: “Anything else?”

Barrett: “When I think about the situational circumstances, the time and place – these words were thrown out there and used! It's how people take them! It was the improper time and place to use that kind of word!”

Judge: “Okay. Well...”

Boaz: “When someone's called a racist, if that's provable it's not a matter of opinion. They jumped to the worst possible conclusion and decided to call me a racist. So I maintain that when you do call someone a racist, especially a teacher, it's going to undermine that teacher's reputation.”

Judge: “Okay, the facts are clear. One thing I'm not clear on was whether any of these are privileged communications. That's an issue I've got to research. And the point of whether it's an opinion. I want to do some further research on that. These things are in a state of revision. Decades ago being called a racist might have been considered an opinion that was not particularly harmful to someone's reputation. Today it can be devastating to a person's career. But the facts are known, the nuances and context are understood. Malice is implied if it's in writing, so I'm going to take it under submission. This is an area where the courts advise us to tread cautiously.”

Judge LaCasse has 60 days to reach a decision.

Mr. Boaz later said this was the first he knew of Dr. Nash's involvement.

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Boaz’s case against Tichinin and all the other school superintendents who also signed the letter calling Boaz a racist was postponed to September 3rd because Tichinin told the court he couldn’t make it to court on Friday.

Tichinin signed that letter, as did Gary Barr of the Potter Valley Unified School District, Mark Iacuaniello of the Point Arena School District, J.R. Collins of the Anderson Valley School District, Don Armstrong of the Fort Bragg Unified School District, John Markatos of the Laytonville School District, Catherine Stone of the Men­docino Unified School District, Dennis Ivey of the Round Valley Unified School District, Cindy Biaggi-Gonzalez of the Manchester School District and Debra Kubin of the Willits Unified School District.

Your children are being educated by these people.

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ED NOTE: Several weeks later Judge LaCasse issued his ruling in favor of the school district, saying essentially that Mr. Barrett and his motley collection of so-called educators were too stupid to libel anyone, under the very narrow terms of the libel laws.

In his decision, Judge LaCasse noted, however, that Ukiah Unified School District administrators may need adult supervision, especially considering that the educators’ attack on Boaz was conducted with the full participation of their top legal advisor, Ms. Merchat — who, by the way, still runs the Santa Rosa school legal outfit that provides overpriced legal “advice” to most school districts in Mendocino County.

"The facts in this case do not rise to a libel within the meaning of the … cases that the court has reviewed in connection with this case," wrote LaCasse. In his ruling dated June 28, 2010, LaCasse stated that although it appears "the district, knowing the meaning of the word, referred to (Boaz) as a racist (knowing) it would injure him in his occupation … but referring to someone as a racist is simply a matter of opinion and not actionable as a matter of law."

LaCasse added that he had "sympathy" for Boaz "in view of the school district's alarming response and the personal attack on him … and the court is also distressed that there appears to be a need for adult supervision at the district office."

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THE EXTORTIONATE THREAT from a young, homegrown lawyer to balkanize Fort Bragg to achieve ethnic electoral balance should be laughed out of City Hall tonight (Wednesday). The mere threat of a this uniquely silly lawsuit shouldn't make the City Council pay up to avoid it. I know I'm not the only one to smell a scheme by The Appropriate People to re-take city hall.

THIS ATTEMPT to shakedown Fort Bragg reminds me of that Jack Silver character out of a phony West Sonoma County environmental organization consisting of Silver and his immediate relative. Silver has become a multi-millionaire by going around NorCal suing and threatening to sue municipalities for minor violations of the Clean Water Act, violations typically in the process of being remediated via the local water board. Silver says, "Pay me" and I won't sue. The rare public entities who have resisted him have had to spend many thousands defending themselves, and many have chosen not to spend the money to do it, figuring it's cheaper than going to court with the guy.

WILL FORT BRAGG reorganize their small town into electoral districts, which is preposterous to consider on the face of it given the town's size, to avoid bogus litigation? I hope not, but given the litigious tenor of the times, not to mention the many criminals with law degrees roaming the land, the FB City Council will probably roll over, and this Paterson kid will get himself a big pay day.

PATERSON'S MOM, not so incidentally, is running for the FB City Council, or planning to run. It might help her candidacy to call off her kid's suit. A family shake down of the city doesn't seem like much in the way of a vote getter. In fact it seems downright inappropriate.

WHY NOT SIC Sonny Boy to sue Mendocino County or Ukiah or Willits or even Anderson Valley where there are many more non-English-speaking immigrants than there are proportionately in Fort Bragg with zero Hispanic representation on any of their public bodies. Anyway, so what? Can anyone cite so much as a single case of race-based persecution of anyone in Mendocino County over the past forty years?

YES, I CAN, but it only happened once, and that was in Ukiah what? thirty years ago when a pair of crumb bum city cops were caught rolling Mexican drunks. Who were the crooked cops caught by? Other cops.

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MILLIONS OF AMERICANS hate media, especially the corporate sectors of the media, and a perfect example of why the media are hated was the White House Correspondent's Dinner last weekend. First off, the White House correspondents are synonymous with "reporting" from the prone position, and are the last people who should be celebrating their own craven performances. Remember Helen Thomas? The old lady who would get up and ask real questions until she was falsely accused of anti-Semitism and forced out? In generations of White House correspondents she was the only one who consistently asked the tough questions.

SO, there they were, the whole lickspittle mob with an alleged comedian they'd paid somewhere north of twenty grand to insult Trump. But Trump wasn't there, and he's insult-proof anyway. His spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was there, so she got the ugliest ration of full-blast personal insults by proxy simply for doing her job most of us have ever seen. And she got that humiliation on national television for doing her job which, of course, is to lie, the same job many male spokesman-liars have done for many presidents before Huckabee and Trump. So it's somehow okay to make fun of Huckabee's appearance, to compare her to the most awful character in The Handmaid’s Tale? (A novel few of the millionaire "journalists" will have read.) I'm waiting for Rachel Maddow to condemn the attack on Huckabee as way, way over the line. I expect a long wait.

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RANDOM BLIPS: Did someone sneak up on KZYX and hit it over the head with a smart stick? This morning's (Tuesday) revamped news presented by Hope McKenney was not only live, it was lively and even informative, and spared us that usual insane weather recitation the station usually runs via a simple statement that it will be sunny but cool, with afternoon breezes all over the County.

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FORT BRAGG has a couple of Uber people, so how about at least one for Mendocino County's most happening community, Anderson Valley? (With Hopland closing fast.)

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A WILLITS READER sends along "Commercial Listings," an advertisement from the Willits Weekly with a note saying, "80% of the town's new businesses fail within two years." Seems kinda high, but there's an awful lot of commercial space in Willits relative to the size of its small population.

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REMEMBER that Ukiah guy arrested for molesting an infant? The guy whose wife (or girlfriend) said her nanny cam caught him in the act? So, what happened? If he was found not guilty of the charges we oughta know about it, especially given this is just about the most abhorrent crime a man can be charged with.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I ask Skrag, ‘Can't you at least say hello to your kids?’ He says, ‘Is it dinner time?’"

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To the Editor:

One clear attack on American democracy has been the removal of our polling places coupled with mandatory mail-in balloting for those wishing to vote. What has this achieved? Not greater voter turnout, not a reduced department budget, and not greater vote counting efficiency. Just the opposite. Voter turnout is down. Election costs are up. And election night Americana in Mendo has been stolen.

In 1998, the County provided a polling place for every voter and paper ballots were read by machine at each of those spots. Local politicos and friends awaiting results together knew them by 1 a.m. The next day UDJ & local radio reported those results.

So hello Clerk/Registrar candidates: give us back our polling places & return us to mail-in balloting by request only. This is the only way to give us back our election nights. Gee whiz, am I the only fellow who enjoyed walking to vote and proudly greeting folks at the polling station who’d done the same? Then too, maybe others would like to know the election outcome sooner than 20 days later.

Phil Baldwin


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MSP went to the Costco "Jobs" site Tuesday morning but the Ukiah location hasn't been listed - yet. You can, however, fill out an application and it will be good for 60 days. The word on the street is they will start the hiring process this month or in June.…

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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Bears/Woodlands Wildlife

Indeed bears are scary and more than just nuisances. They just woke up and are hungry because none of their natural food is available yet. I can only tell you what I do, which is carefully sort and put any garbage that might have an odor in a plastic bag in my freezer until trash day. That includes soiled paper or packaging. I actually got an old, ugly non-working freezer and put it in a closed shed and store garbage in it because the rubber seal around the door keeps the odors from getting out. An old non-functional refrigerator would work too. Do not feed any animals outside or store their food outside. Bring them in, feed them, then put them out when they finish eating--for cats that's usually twice a day. If your animal can't or won't eat indoors, put a pad of some sort down (newspaper), feed them on that, set a timer and remove the food in 15 minutes, and pick up the pad--bingo, no smell left behind to attract the bear. Bears are looking for food, if you can isolate all your food that isn't in cans (including dry pet food) in the refrig or closed plastic storage bins in the house it will help a lot. Get yourself a boat horn, they come in air-cans, to keep by the front door if you are nervous about the bear coming close to your house, or a spray can of wasp spray that will shoot a stream of stinging, stinking stuff 30 feet. Banging on pots and pans with a big spoon is enough noise to scare away a bear also. They are actually quite timid unless they have cubs with them. If you can break their habit of looking at your place for food--they will usually go elsewhere. Anyone else got anything that works, please let us know. Yes, all these tricks rely on self disciplining the human. We can change our behavior, but we sure aren't going to be able to change the bears'.

Ronnie James/Woodlands Wildlife

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 1, 2018

Ellingwood, Guerrero, Hawthorne, Huang

EMERY ELLINGWOOD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

SHAYLA GUERRERO, Covelo. Stolen vehicle, probation revocation.

KARLY HAWTHORNE, Ukiah. DUI, no license, probation revocation.

ROBERT HUANG, Hercules/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.

Monday, Rodriguez, Soler, Youngblood

GABRIEL MONDAY, Fort Bragg. Battery, participation in criminal street gang, witness intimidation.

ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear.

WILLIAM SOLER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

DANTE YOUNGBLOOD, Ukiah. Unspecified offense.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Though known for its compassion to the needy, San Francisco may have hit peak saturation with tent camps, stinky urine and trash littering the streets, and the new interim mayor has vowed to do something about it. … It is not humane to let the mentally ill or houseless fester outdoors, Mayor Mark Farrell said. "The trash, our homeless, the needles, the drug abuse on our streets, I've seen it all in our city and it's gotten to the point where we need to really change course," Farrell said in an interview. "We've gone away from just being compassionate to enabling street behavior and that, in my opinion, is a shift that's unacceptable."

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Community Resiliency Model® Training Opportunity (On the Coast)


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[1] Without fuel for farm machinery, we’re reduced to a farmer, his plow, and his plow horse. But the only old-time plows are in museums, and there are no more plow horses. That situation can be remedied in time, but not before a lot of people starve.

Then there’s the fertilizer, herbicide, & pesticide addiction of modern agriculture – products made from petroleum. I live in the middle of Illinois corn country. It’s unbelievable how close together those 7 ft tall corn plants grow. Nature would never allow it; super doses of chemicals enable it. (I can’t prove it, but I swear the corn was father apart when I was a kid 50 years ago.)

Just out of idle curiosity I looked up some dairy stats. Today, the average American milk cow puts out 7 gallons per day. In 1952 it was one quarter of that. Soon there will only be a giant udder with a cow’s head attached. American agriculture is like a science experiment run amok. We get more and more at a cheaper price; but there are side effects.

[2] A plow is not necessry for agriculture. All that is needed in the strictest sense is a shovel, a hoe, and good seed. The devil in the details is in that final point. Good seed is hard to come by. I don’t know if you have ever gardened, but most seeds sold at retail outlets where I am are subpar. Good seed takes years of selection and refinement to grow well in a particular locale. The exception maybe would be with hardy grains, such as rye, but how many people do you know who have thousands of pounds of that sitting around?

If/when TSHTF there will be starvation, at least in the cities. In the first summer lawns will likely be converted to gardens, but will be deficient in topsoil in many cases and for that reason the effort will be fruitless. Poor soil and bad seed is a recipe for failure. I suspect by that first winter in a worst case scenario most people will no longer have pets, and yes cannabilism will probably be an issue.

The good news is that skills can be learned and seed crops are generally abundant, and nothing is more motivating than hunger to learn how to grow food and forage on weeds. The bad news is that it will take a lot of pain to get there. For what I believe would be an accurate potrayal of that first year read, “One Second After” by Forstchen.

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by Jim Shields

Recently we’ve been discussing concerns that adjacent properties and neighborhoods of the closed Laytonvile landfill, including the Laytovnille Ranchereria, may be contaminated by landfill off-site migration of contaminants. Without re-plowing old ground, ongoing monitoring operations and a number of investigations by regulatory agencies (local, state, and federal), have resulted in no findings of health risks to humans.

The most recent investigation was completed in January and a report was released in February regarding health risks and contamination issues on the Laytonville Rancheria.

As reported here last week, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), “The Cahto Tribe of Laytonville Rancheria requested assistance in identifying the presence/absence of hazardous materials/toxins on the Reservation. Through their own testing, the Cahto Tribal members discovered heavy metal contamination in soils around the Tribe’s 264-acre Laytonville Rancheria in Mendocino County, California. The Rancheria consists of forested areas, residential areas and Tribal office facilities.”

BIA then contracted with Tehama, LLC, a to conduct site characterization for the presence/absence of hazardous materials/toxins in soil and drinking water on the Laytonville Rancheria.

Tehama is tribally-owned small business that delivers environmental consulting and engineering services to federal, state and municipal clients nationwide. Tehama is one of eight individual businesses that make up the Tepa Companies, owned by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. According to Tepa’s wfebsite, “the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians is a Lower 48 Tribe based in Northern California, east of the Coastal Range in what is now known as Tehama and Glenn counties.”

In coordination with BIA, Tehama completed three phases of soil sampling and analysis and one phase of drinking water sampling and analysis on the Rancheria. According to BIA, “All work was completed in accordance with the approved Work Plan dated August 2017 and two contract modifications provided by the BIA.”

The completed investigation resulted in a nearly 1,500 page report. Last week, I shared with you excerpts of the first part of that report which focused on who did the investigation, the various protocols and procedures utilized in sample collection, the methodology surrounding sample locations, and other task-related matters. This week we’ll look at the actual sampling that was done and the analytical results from the collected samples. I’ve left in references to charts and tables but did not include them due to space considerations, but the results are summarized.

Next week we’ll take a more detailed look at what the analytical results mean, but cutting to the chase, nothing was found that indicated the Rancheria was contaminated or that there are health risks to humans. Anyway, I’ll let the report speak for itself.

One quick note. The report addresses dioxins and furans, so you may be asking just what are dioxins and furans. According to the Environmental Protection Agency ”dioxins and furans are not made for any specific purpose; however, they are created when products like herbicides are made. They are also created in the pulp and paper industry, from a process that bleaches the wood pulp. In addition, they can be produced when products are burned. Dioxins and furans can enter your body through breathing contaminated air, drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. About 90% of exposure to dioxins and furans is from eating contaminated food. Dioxins and furans can build up in the fatty tissues of animals. You can be exposed to dioxins and furans by eating contaminated food. Dioxins and furans typically stay and build up in the fatty tissues of animals. This means that eating beef, pork, poultry, fish as well as dairy products can be a source of exposure. There are several sources of exposure to dioxins and furans. If you work in or near a municipal solid waste incinerator, copper smelter, cement kiln or coal fired power plant you can be exposed to dioxins and furans. Individuals who burn their household waste or burn wood can be exposed as well. Even forest fires can contribute to the creation of small amounts of dioxins and furans. Dioxins and furans have been found in the air, soil, and food. Dioxins and furans are mainly distributed through the air. However, only a small percentage of exposure is from air. Eating contaminated food is the primary source of exposure.”

Drinking Water Samples

Drinking water samples were collected from 11 representative HUD homes, nine representative HIP homes, the tribal office, and the water supply tank (Figure 5). One duplicate drinking water sample was collected at 111 Acorn Drive.

Drinking water samples were collected from the cold water faucet in the kitchen of each residence/building, excluding the water supply tank which only had one outdoor spigot to collect the sample. Tehama ensured the faucet/spigot was free of excessive dust, rain, or other sources of contamination. If any contaminating devices were in place on the faucet/spigot (screens, aeration devices, hoses, or purification systems) they were removed prior to sample collection. A sample for metals analysis was collected first in order to collect the “first flush” after the water had been allowed to sit for at least 6 hours prior to collection. Once the metals sample was collected, the faucet/spigot was opened and thoroughly flushed for 3 - 5 minutes. All remaining sample bottles were then filled following EPA’s “Quick Guide to Drinking Water Sample Collection” (EPA, September 2016).

Drinking water samples were immediately placed on ice and shipped to Pace Analytical (Pace) based in Davis, California for California state drinking water standards 64432 - Primary Inorganics and 64449-A &B – Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels.

Summary of Phase I Surface Soil Analytical Results


Analytical results of the surface soil samples indicated RSL exceedances for arsenic in all 20 quadrants. The Region 9 EPA RSL for arsenic in soil is 0.68 milligram per kilogram (mg/kg). Analytical results for arsenic ranged from 2.06 mg/kg to 8.04 mg/kg, as shown in Table 1 below. No other metals exceedances were identified. Laboratory data summary tables are provided in Appendix B. The complete laboratory analytical report prepared by ALS is provided in Appendix C.


Analytical results of the surface soil samples indicated one RSL exceedance of the Toxicity Equivalency Quotient (TEQ) in Quadrant 13. The TEQ concentration of 5.66 nanograms per kilogram (ng/kg) exceeded the RSL of 4.8 ng/kg. Analytical results for TEQ ranged from 0.078 ng/kg to 5.66 ng/kg, as shown in Table2 below. No other dioxin/furan exceedances were identified. TEQ is the weighted quantity measure based on the toxicity of each member of the dioxin/furan list and is relative to the most toxic of the group (EPA, July 2016). To calculate the TEQ, an internationally agreed upon toxic equivalent factor (TEF) is assigned to each member of the dioxin/furan group. The TEF is the ratio of the toxicity of one of the compounds to the toxicity of the two most toxic compounds. The TEQ is calculated by multiplying the TEF of each member of the group to the actual weight (grams) and then summing up the results of each compound.

Summary of Phase I Drinking Water Analytical Results

Analytical results of the drinking water samples indicated three exceedances of the California Secondary MCL for iron and one exceedance for arsenic. Samples DW-2-081417, DW-4-081417, and DW-7-081417contained iron at concentrations of 0.485 mg/L, 0.416 mg/L, and 0.645 mg/L respectively, above the MCLvalue of 0.03 mg/L. Iron concentrations ranged from non-detect to 0.645 mg/L, as shown in the table below. Sample DW-7-081417 contained arsenic at a concentration of 0.0104 mg/L, above MCL and California Secondary MCL of 0.01 mg/L. Arsenic concentrations ranged from 0.0058 mg/L to 0.0104 mg/L, as shown in Table 3 below. No other exceedances were identified.

Phase II Surface Soil Sampling

Based on a review of surface soil data obtained during the initial sampling event, the BIA requested thatTehama perform a targeted Phase II surface soil sampling event in select quadrants. Quadrants 6, 9, 10, 13,14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 were selected to be analyzed for metals and Quadrants 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17,18 and 19 for dioxins/furans. The follow-up sampling was used to provide better definition of contaminant distribution within the quadrants. Tehama, along with tribal escort Mr. Fred Simmons, mobilized to the site on November 7th, 2017 and began surface soil sample collection activities. Five surface soil samples were collected from each of the original five aliquots per quadrant. Duplicates were collected at Q5-P1, Q9-P5, Q11-P1, Q14-P2, Q15-P4, Q19-P1,and Q20-P3 for QC purposes. Surface soil samples were collected by removing surface gravel or vegetation to expose the soil and then using a stainless steel trowel to collect a representative sample from the upper three inches of soil. All surface soil samples were collected as close as possible to the original sample locations from Phase I sampling. Each soil sample was analyzed individually, and not combined as a composite sample as they were in Phase I. Tehama recorded individual aliquot sample points using a handheld GPS (Figure 6).

Summary of Phase II Surface Soil Analytical Results


Analytical results of the Phase II surface soil sampling indicated RSL exceedances of arsenic and cobalt. All samples collected contained arsenic in excess of the RSL value of 0.68 mg/kg. The analytical results for arsenic ranged from 1.58 mg/kg to 10.3 mg/kg, as shown in the table below. The grab sample collected at Quadrant 5, Point 5 (Sample ID Q5-P5), contained cobalt in excess of the RSL value of 23 mg/kg. The sample contained cobalt at a concentration of 23.4 mg/kg. Cobalt detections ranged from 6.37 mg/kg to 23.4 mg/kg, as shown in Table 4 below.


Analytical results for the Phase II surface soil samples showed five RSL exceedances of the dioxin/furan TEQ. Samples Q5-P5, Q9-P4, Q10-P2, Q10-P5, and Q13-P1 had TEQ values of 5.25, 5.3, 5.9, 6.52, and 60.9 ng/kg respectively. The Region 9 EPA RSL for TEQ is 4.8 ng/kg.

Phase III Surface Soil Sampling

Upon completion of Phase II, the CCA requested that Tehama perform a targeted Phase III surface soil sampling event located in Quadrants 1 and 20. The sample points were selected based off of information provided to the CCA on previous sampling completed by Cahto Tribal members and Ahtna Facility Services, Inc. Phase III surface soil samples were analyzed for metals by method SW6020A and hexavalent chromium by method SW846 7199.Tehama, along with tribal escort Mr. Fred Simmons, mobilized to the site on December 13th, 2017 and began surface soil sample collection activities. A concentric circle grid was laid out to locate sampling points, with center coordinates for both quadrants provided to Tehama by the BIA. Using string anchored to the center point, three concentric circles with radii measuring 10, 20, and 30 feet (ft) were laid out. Sample points were located directly north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and northwest on all three circles. Eight soil samples were collected from each circle as well as one sample in the center location, to make a total of 25 soil samples. Five duplicate soil samples at Q1-SS11, Q1-SS21, Q20-SS6,Q20-SS17, and Q20-SS25 were also collected during the sampling event. If obstructions occurred at the11sample location, the sample was taken as close to the intended point as possible. Surface soil samples were collected by removing surface gravel or vegetation to expose the soil and then using a stainless steel trowel to collect a representative sample from the upper three inches of soil. Tehama recorded individual sample locations using a hand-held GPS (Figure 6).

Summary of Phase III Surface Soil Analytical Results

Analytical results for the Phase III surface soil samples indicated RSL exceedances for arsenic in all surfacesoil samples collected. The detections of arsenic ranged from 1.06 mg/kg to 3.94 mg/kg, as shown in the table below. Surface soil sample Q1-SS9 contained Cr(VI) at a concentration equal to the RSL, 0.3 mg/kg. Cr(VI)analytical results ranged from non-detect to 0.30 mg/kg, as shown in Table 6 below.

Summary & Conclusions

Tehama completed three phases of surface soil investigation and one phase of drinking water investigation at the Laytonville Rancheria located in Laytonville, California. Based on the activities described and the analysis presented in this report, all project objectives have been achieved. Phase I included surface soil sampling utilizing composite sampling techniques within 20 quadrants and drinking water analysis of 21 houses. Analysis from Phase I indicated exceedances in arsenic in all quadrants and dioxin/furan TEQ in Quadrant 13. Drinking water results indicated three exceedances for iron and one exceedance for arsenic. Phase II delineated the exceedances and elevated detections found during the Phase I investigation. Five samples were collected from each quadrant and individually analyzed for selected analytes. Quadrants 6,9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 were selected to be analyzed for metals and Quadrants 5, 6, 9, 10,13, 14, 17, 18 and 19 for dioxins/furans. Results indicated exceedances in arsenic in all soil samples and dioxin/furan TEQ within quadrants 5, 9, 10 and 13.Phase III included surface soil investigation for the potential of metals and Cr(VI) contamination in Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 20 at a CCA specified location based off of data from a previous investigation. Seven surface soil samples were collected within each quadrant in a concentric circular grid at 10, 20, and 30 ft increments with one collected in the center for a total of 25 samples in each quadrant. Results indicated one exceedance of Cr(VI) in Quadrant 1.A brief summary presenting the conclusions of the investigation for each of the phases is given below:

Phase I Surface Soil

  • 22 composite surface soil samples collected (20 parent and 2 duplicates).
  • Quadrant 13 exceeded the RSL for dioxin/furan TEQ at a concentration of 5.66 ng/kg. TEQ

RSL value is 4.8 ng/kg. Additional sampling and analysis was performed in Phase II.

Phase I Drinking Water

  • 23 drinking water samples collected (22 parent and 1 duplicate).
  • DW-2, DW-4, DW-7 exceeded California Secondary MCL for iron at concentrations of •.485, 0.416 and 0.645 mg/L, respectively. The concentrations were slightly over the secondary MCL value of 0.3 mg/L. Based on concentrations detected, it is assumed the presence of iron at these locations is the result of iron deposits within piping or faucet fixtures.
  • DW-7 exceeded Region 9 EPA MCL and California Secondary MCL for arsenic with a concentration of 0.0104 mg/L. Both MCL’s are 0.01 mg/L. Based on the concentration detected it is assumed that the presence of arsenic is natural occurring and not the result of contamination from other sources.

Phase II Surface Soil

  • 72 surface soil samples collected (65 parent and 7 duplicates).
  • Q5-P5 contained cobalt at a concentration of 23.4 mg/kg, slightly over the RSL value of 23.0 mg/kg. All other samples contained detections of cobalt ranging from 6.37 mg/kg to 17.0 mg/kg. Based on the concentrations detected it is assumed that the presence of cobalt on the site is naturally occurring and not the result of contamination from other sources.
  • Q5-P5, Q9-P4, Q10-P2, Q10-P5, and Q13-P1 had TEQ concentrations of 5.25, 5.3, 5.9, 6.52, and 60.9 ng/kg, respectively, exceeding the RSL value of 4.8 ng/kg.

Phase III Surface Soil

  • 55 surface soil samples collected (50 parent and 5 duplicates).
  • Q1-SS9 exceeded Region 9 EPA RSL of 0.3 mg/kg for Cr(VI). The concentration of Q1-SS9 was 0.3 mg/kg.
  • All 135 surface soil samples obtained during the three sampling events exceeded Region 9 EPA RSL screening criteria for arsenic. Numerous studies have been conducted by (USHHS) to study why levels of arsenic are high in northern California. It was found that arsenic levels in the area of Laytonville are high due to the type of naturally occurring rocks in the area (USGS 2014). USHHS has also sampled multiple private wells and tap water from locations surrounding the now closed Laytonville Landfill (USHHS 2005). USHHS concluded that the levels found during their study was typical of the amount of arsenic found in the local soils and rock.
  • During Phase II, the Tehama field crew observed residents of the Rancheria burning trash or excess leaf and wood detritus. Dioxin/Furan’s are produced as a result of combustion processes during: waste incineration or from burning wood coal or oil: or during the manufacturing of man-made materials (EPA, 2017).


Based on the Dioxin/Furan results from Phase I and Phase II, Tehama recommends additional sampling at Q13-P1 to further delineate the Dioxin/Furan contamination. Sample points should be placed in a concentric circular, grid like pattern, similar to what was conducted during Phase III. Q13-P1 should be the center point of the grid. Sample aliquots should be positioned directly north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and northwest along three concentric circles measuring 10, 20, and 30 ft away from center. Soil samples should be collected at 0 – 6 inch and 6 - 12 inch depths at each aliquot to delineate depth as well as extent.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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My wife Trish found the attached and said you may want to use it as an epigram. I, too, like it a lot. Oh, it tickles me that neither ya'll can bring yourself to answer my questions about the last prez election. Why play your cards close to the vest when you've got no chips in the pot? Anyway, I was just trying to save my time is all: 2 questions with only 4 possible answers: if you've gotta think about it you've already wasted your time. Anyway, I bit the bullet, got on the search engine, took my beating while getting the galloping run-around thru cyber-chatter but did find out that Trump got thumped in Mendocino Co. Shows how out of touch I am: very encouraging. Hey, Mark, I liked your family roots bit. Interesting story well told. Oh, thanks for trying to stop the fan pricks. No excuse for that shit except the Divine Rights of Property, those plus false economy and a rich boy's inalienable right to be a prick and a sucker.

Bruce Patterson, Prineville, Oregon


I am ready for the patriarchy to go down, even if it brings me down with it. Because the end of patriarchy won’t mean the beginning of the oppression of men. When the slaves are freed, the masters are freed as well. It’s painful to be a “real man”: to constantly fear—and despise—weakness; to live without humor and poetry and whimsy. It’s a prison with oneself as inmate, guard, and warden. I am personally sick to death of it.

--Sparrow, The Sun magazine, March, 2018

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It was down in the square of that market called Hay

Where the speakers were talking the eight hourday.

It drew a fair crowd and, of course, the police.

And you know they were there for to help keep thepeace.



May Day! Now it's time you came back to your native land.

May Day! Come and help us pull our heads out from the sand



Since that Haymarket scene the first day of May

Has a whole different meaning with much more to say.

Not just for those martyrs all framed by that square,

But for all working people, for all that is fair.





The Mexican women--September nineteen;

The May First Movement of the Philippines;

The workers of China and Korea too

All know our labor history much more than we do.





Maquiladora! Runaway shop!

Industrial magpies, they never will stop

Until we're determined to all take a stand

With our sisters and brothers in all distant lands.





So the boss has no borders, then neither must we.

We must organize all or we'll never be free.

We must fight for fair wages, free health careand more.

We must fight for all workers no matter theshore.





If it's jobs that must feed us then jobs we musthave.

Not much dignity here, only money's the salve.

Stop the shop that would runaway before it's toolate,

And for all working people now's the time--sixfor eight!



— Dennis Jones

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The Grace Hudson Museum will be open from 5 to 8 pm this Friday, May 4, as part of Ukiah's First Friday Art Walk. The Ukeholics, a ukelele-based acoustic group from Anderson Valley, will be performing. The Museum is also showing "Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change," a photography exhibit focusing on the beauty of the state¹s wildflowers while documenting threats posed by climate change. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 Main St. in Ukiah. Admission is free for First Friday. For more information go to or call 467-2836.

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“The best part is it’s completely funded by the taxpayers.”

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THE RHODODENDRON SHOW is free to attend with regular Gardens admissions and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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Mother's Day is May 13! Make a donation to the Cancer Resource Center in honor of your mother and we will send her a beautiful card created by local artist Julie Higgins.

For a donation of $25 to the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, we will mail your choice of card to your mother or another beloved woman in your life. Each card commemorates your donation in honor of your chosen recipient. We will even mail your card(s) for you, if we have your order in time (May 7). Cards are also for sale in each of our offices.

To order by phone: 937-3833, speak to Lori or Carla. By e-mail:

By Mail: CRC, P.O. Box 50, Mendocino, CA. 95460

Or, place an order through our website:

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Warmest spiritual greetings from Washington, D.C.,

Am continuing to be supportive and participate at the Peace Vigil across the street from the White House. The primary theme remains (since 1981) opposition to nuclear weapons. Secondarily, is a lengthy list of human rights issues, and in recent years, global environmental concerns. Across Pennsylvania Avenue, the republican presidential administration is under siege from several fronts, which is constantly being broadcast and reported. It appears that "the swamp" is more active than ever here, what with the deepening and widening of the investigation(s), increasing lawsuits, west wing appointment changes, and then there is the president's complicated personal life. Routinely, the tourists are moved to the back of Lafayette Park by the secret service, as an additional safety precaution for the incoming helicopters. This strikes everyone as unnecessary, but it does give the crowd a glimpse of the Trumps returning from a golfing weekend in Florida. The business as usual attitude displayed by the Trumps is curious, insofar as the local media portrays a vulnerable president with enemies closing in from all sides. In demeanor, Donald Trump appears unconcerned. There is constant debate locally about what he is actually politically vulnerable to. The current public view is that it's all still hazy, and there is nothing yet specific that could be an impeachable offense. A lot of vague innuendos by the special prosecutor, but no clear criminal act to charge the president with. Lots and lots of unanswered questions, but no outright criminal act. And then there is the view that the democrats did in fact lose the election due to their own blundering, such as getting caught sabotaging the Bernie Sanders campaign, which resulted in a loss of democratic votes for Hillary Clinton, enough many believe to have cost her the election. Obviously, this has nothing to do with Russians at all. The entire question of Russian involvement in the election is very unsubstantiated, and it is not believed in the District of Columbia that even if there was meddling, that it was sufficient to change the outcome of the election. Everybody here believes that the democratic party's meddling is what cost the democrats the election. The Russians are seen as being uncritical. Nobody here is really interested in the subject anymore, certain that the continuing investigation is politically motivated. Nobody here believes that Donald Trump "colluded with the Russians". In actuality, the charge appears to be ridiculous. Interesting to note, that most residents of the district are bored by it all at this point, believing that Donald Trump did not actually commit a criminal act, which would subject him to impeachment. There is not a significant emotional attitude against him here, but rather, a somewhat resigned indifference, so to say the district residents have seen the like before, and expect this from "the swamp". Most people who have discussed this at the Peace Vigil believe that if he is impeached for a tangential reason, such as obstruction of justice, that he will not be convicted. The predominant view is that he is secure to serve out his first term, regardless of his political enemies closing in. And by the way, nobody cares about Stormy Daniels. At all. This is what I am objectively seeing here. Period. I will be in Washington, D.C. until May 21st. I will continue to "follow Spirit" and write down the bones. Done properly, that's sufficient challenge for me.

Craig Louis Stehr

May 1, 2018, Washington, D.C.




  1. Jim Updegraff May 2, 2018

    Letter from Phil Baldwin regarding voting by mail ballot and eliminating polling places. I first starting voting at age 22 by absentee ballot when I was in Korea with the 3rd Infantry Division. Since that time I have voted in every local, state and national election.
    I started voting by absentee ballot when I had a job that involved travel. since that time I have always voted by mail ballot.
    I never enjoyed go to polling places and standing in long lines. I prefer voting at home and am a strong supporter of our current system of elimination voting places.
    As far as turn out is concerned there always has been a segment of the population who do not vote and never will.

  2. Jim Updegraff May 2, 2018

    Susan you don’t what you are talking about re mail ballots and the way they are handled when received.

  3. Jim Updegraff May 2, 2018

    And the farmer hauled another load away.

  4. George Hollister May 2, 2018

    I vote in person, and have most of my voting life. To me, it is the only appropriate way. Voting is the the most important civic responsibility citizens have. Ensuring the vote is credible, is the most important job government has. Along with a responsibility, voting in person, at a poll, should be a duty embraced and shared by every citizen. More so than going to church, if your faith requires that.

    Voting in public, also better ensures the vote is being made by the person whose name has been signed. Voter ID is a good idea as well. In elections where the difference in the vote count is only a few votes, making sure the vote is credible is important.

  5. UkiahTeacher May 11, 2018

    I was a teacher in the union meetings when the issue with Dennis Boaz occurred.
    -Boaz cared little about anything other than engaging in activism.
    -Boaz was disliked by significant population of teachers mainly because he wanted to pick fights where many thought fights weren’t necessary.
    -Boaz knew exactly what he was doing in the letter and that was to get attention.
    -Most teachers didn’t see Boaz as racist, they saw him as a selfish, attention seeking, petty person. He almost seemed bored with the profession of teaching so he dedicated himself to fighting-the-power instead.

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