Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 14, 2018

* * *

MARCO MCCLEAN WRITES:

KZYX board meeting, 6pm Monday night, Senior Center, 490 N. Harold St., Fort Bragg.

Some new trustees, though one of them is Bob Bushansky, replacing his wife Meg Courtney, so technically not all that new. Bob's campaign paragraph was all about how the station needs to aggressively get more money. I think that's all Meg cared about; that's all he cares about: just keep everything the same and somehow get more and more and more money. Because that's the purpose of radio for people like that. I think it's creepy but, you know, it takes all kinds to make a world.

KZYX already flushes away $600,000 every year; that's many times what it should cost. A lot of that is because the manager pays himself and his gang lieutenants in the office $300,000 a year. Just Jeffrey Parker sucks $60,000 out of the station every year for himself. Keep that number in your mind.

* * *

JUST IN FROM MSP, the Navarro is silted over at the mouth as of Sunday, and will stay closed at the mouth, and to whatever fish may want to access their ancestral homes, until November.

* * *

MENDO MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

by Mark Scaramella

Sheriff Allman made the following declaration at the Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday:

“I am going to tell you about mental health in the jail right now. I am going to tell you some numbers that if they don't concern you then you need to rethink where you are going on this. On Monday of this week we had 297 prisoners in the County jail. Our County jail is built for 304 inmates. We had 297 inmates in the county jail. Of those 297, 111 are taking mental health medications. We don't ovemedicate. We have a team that does everything we can to reduce medications in the jail. But that should be a shock to the conscience of every person who's listening. Over a third of our inmates are on some type of mental health medication. I'm looking forward to the day that this Board of Supervisors can make the decision that we are not — and I'm not going to belittle or say that you have not made a decision — but the decision you have in front of you, or are going to have in front of you this year, the number one decision other than this [Measure B] needs assessment, is going to be where are we going to go on this? Is it going to be the old Howard Hospital? You have to start asking your constituents what they think. You have to figure out the pulse of this county to say, Are we going to do this? Is it going to be, as supervisor [Dan] Gjerde made a very good idea a few weeks ago, are we going to close juvenile hall? Are we going to turn juvenile hall into a psychiatric health facility? I don't know the answer. But the good news for me is, it's not going to be in my lap. It’s going to be in your lap. And there are some tough decisions that will have to be made. So our advisory committee is meeting, the bank account has been set, the first chunk of taxes will come into the County at the end of July and a budget will be in this upcoming budget presentation for Measure B.”

Supervisor Dan Hamburg, commenting on the proposed $40k Measure B Needs Assessment: “We are spending this taxpayer money as officially as we can. We have this crisis. There is the issue of staffing. There is a crisis in our own county’s mental-health services and social services. Behavioral health services. With respect to staffing. How can you have a really comprehensive needs assessment without looking at that particular issue?”

Allman: “I don't think the target of the needs assessment is how we are going to recruit, train and retain the necessary and qualified people who are going to work there.”

Hamburg: “Mr. Kemper is an expert in his field and obviously has some grasp on how difficult it is to fill positions like this, especially in rural counties. All over California there are the same kinds of recruiting and retention issues as we do. It just seems like one of the things he might analyze in this needs assessment is that issue. How do you get those people? How much do you have to pay those people? What do you have to do to entice those people to live in a community?”

Allman: “I agree with that. One county that does not have those specific problems is the county that is currently offering it at their local community college, and that is Napa County. Napa Community College offers a technician plan for mental health technicians. Our community college is waiting for this process to continue so they can model the Napa community college program so we can offer it here. Ten years ago registered nurses in our county were scarce until Mendocino community college started offering their program. And now we don't have an overabundance, but we certainly don't have the vacuum that we had earlier. I look forward to the resources from Mendocino community college to help us with mental health technicians.”

Supervisor John McCowen: “I think we should discuss what the needs assessment should be. And I think we should because nothing is specified in what has been presented to us. There is a throwaway line added to the existing definition of services, ‘including a mental health needs assessment.’ Not a word about what that assessment would be. I also think it's a poor practice given that Measure B is dedicated funds, approved by the voters for a specific purpose, we shouldn't muddy the waters by tagging a needs assessment on to an existing contract that was written for another purpose which has not yet been fulfilled. We have heard that this may wind up taking more money than we are setting aside for this. I absolutely believe that this needs to be a separate contract to make it very clear that Measure B money is being segregated and is being spent only for the voter approved purpose, and secondly the needs assessment has to have more specificity about what do we expect from it? Lee Kemper is the ideal person for doing this work and I am thrilled that he is available and willing. But one of the things that he identified in what has become known as the Kemper report, in looking at our mental health system, was that the contracts that the county had were too weak. There was no accountability in the contracts. There was a lack of clarity about who should do what and if they don't what are the consequences. So some of his recommendations were that the county provide for better accountability in its contracts with our providers and we have a contract administrator to verify the accountability and we were also supposed to complete the MOUs and we have never quite gotten a report back on that. So I think we should close the loop and have a report on how we have done on this additional $25,000 contract that we currently have. I think that should be a future agenda item. I also think we need to have a separate contract and we need to have a better definition of what the services are. … Frankly it's a little disappointing that it has taken four months to get a recommendation in front of us for a needs assessment and then it's as bare-bones as it is. A good starting point would be the matrix that was developed for the first mental-health services act ballot initiative. That matrix was later updated. That would be a good starting point — here is the range of things that we might be looking at. So Kemper already knows what we have so there would not be a big challenge for him to come up with that.”

After some grumbling and additional discussion the Board finally voted 4-1 (Supervisor Carre Brown dissenting) to let Kemper go ahead with a specifics-free $10k add-on with a promise that some day (presumably soon) Sheriff Allman’s committee will provide additional gibberish, er, contractual specifics, about what they want Kemper to actually do, at which time a separate contract will be written — and good luck keeping that separate now that $10k is already committed. (Supervisor Brown voted against the $10k-now/$30k-later approach because she was ready to just hand over the money with no specifics at all; how dare the Board even question the staff or the committee recommendation?)

Later that afternoon Health and Human Services Director Anne Molgaard opened her Mental Health status report presentation by acknowledging her fellow female power pals in the room:

“Madame CEO, Board of Supervisors — and as someone said this morning, Madame CEO, I do kind of like that, Madame CEO! Madame County Counsel!…”

Molgaard then immediately pounced on McCowen’s earlier mildly critical remark:

“Supervisor McCowen mentioned MOUs this morning that were recommended by Mr. Kemper. Those are all either finished or close to being finished. We can give that to you. And anything else you need that we are not providing today and we will make a note of it and get back to you.”

Later in the presentation another of Mendo’s many female power officials, Camille Schrader of Redwood Quality Management Company, recipient of upwards of $30 million a year in mental health services money, also pounced on McCowen’s earlier critical remark:

“There was a comment this morning that we didn't use information from the Kemper report. We actually did, in setting up the adult system of care, and it rolled over to RQMC to the degree that we could. Measure B addresses the holes and gaps in that in terms of our local capacity to do that. Where we could, we set up a system where you could evaluate the services and supports on the ground. … There's a whole range of updating that we are attempting to do. We are also charting RQMC open charges so that integrated care has happened via the clinics and the continuum of care really drives that treatment. …”

Supervisor Brown then mentioned something about how Ortner did everything in paper, but now RQMC is using oh-so-much fancier electronic records and this enables the county to do the necessary statistics.

Schrader: “…The county needs to have a way to hold us accountable in a way — so Tim [the newly hired Mental Health contracting officer in General Services who apparently is on a first name basis with the rep of the contractor he allegedly oversees] looks at and approves every single claim and assessment that goes through. So you can double that number because every six months. So there is just no way to avoid those records and it keeps us honest.”

McCowen: “The circumstances that would trigger an emergency crisis assessment I assume would be 5150. These assessments are done under what situations? What circumstances?”

Schrader: “Someone somewhere has requested an assessment for 5150, danger to self or others, or gravely disabled.”

McCowen: “And that comes even before the declaration of the 5150?”

Schrader: “It always came before because in order for you to bill a Medi-Cal service you had to have shown up and diagnosed them and found that they met the criteria or they didn't meet the criteria.”

McCowen: “What happens when the declaration is made on the spot?”

Schrader: “Then they go to the hospital and await psychiatric placement.”

McCowen: “But then that assessment often gets lifted. You are telling me that this assessment has to be done before you would do a 5150. But I believe that 5150s are sometimes declared without an assessment.”

Schrader: “By law enforcement.”

McCowen: “And then the crisis worker shows up and those are the ones that are often rescinded.”

Schrader: “They can be. ‘Often’ is a big word. Yes, they can be where appropriate. If they don't meet criteria. Yes.”

McCowen: “So when the declaration has already been made, would an assessment be made before its rescinded?”

Schrader: “Yes. In every case.”

* * *

THERE WERE A NUMBER OF unstated undercurrents in this brief exchange.

First, you have the cozy relationship between Molgaard, CEO Angelo, County Counsel Kit Elliott, contractor Camille Schrader and “Tim,” (last name unmentioned) the new mental health contracting officer. This kind of relationship is not one that fosters “accountability,” other than the self-alleged variety.

Then, you have Ms. Schrader’s admission that Medi-Cal billing seems to be the main factor as to whether any given 5150 is declared or rescinded, which, as we have learned from prior discussions, means “seriously mentally ill.” If you don’t meet Schrader’s staff’s application of Medi-Cal billing criteria you are not 5150, even if the cops say you are. So out you go, back to whatever situation the cops found disturbing. This is what we get for our almost $30 mil a year.

Next, you have the pouncing that Molgaard and her fellow female officials are so prone to. Whenever a Supervisor makes even the slightest hint at something critical, the power pals jump to the podium to rhetorically refute it.

For example, Molgaard claims that the Memorandums of Understanding between the numerous parties with their hands in the mental health cookie jar “are all either finished or close to being finished.” How do we know that? We don’t.

For the first few months after Ortner left, the Mental Health department gave the Supes a list of transition tasks including the MOUs and their status. After a few months, many of the MOUs straggled unfinished and were not completed because, they said at the time, some of the related outside offices and agencies had balked at what they were being expected to do in the MOU — the Sheriff, the local hospitals, the local clinics, the city police departments, tribal health centers, etc. Molgaard’s unsubstantiated claim that they “are all either finished or close to being finished” means nothing much has happened since a couple of years ago when they were also declared “either finished or close to being finished.”

Then we have the “accountability” recommendation from consultant Lee Kemper that McCowen mentioned was not in place. Schrader claimed that what she and her pals in County government do internally is plenty of accountability. McCowen was obviously talking about getting regular reports on mental health services using those wonderful electronic record statistics; he was not interested in whatever the cozy contracting club members may claim about the process.

Which brings us back to — and here I go again — management reporting. As long as the Supervisors do not demand monthly reports from these large bureaucracies, including the mental health contractor — they will be put in the awkward position of having to argue with their staff whenever they raise even minor complaints. Which they are not likely to do because arguing with staff looks bad on TV.

We are willing to lay long odds that even Molgaard’s wish-washy offer, “We can give that to you. And anything else you need that we are not providing today and we will make a note of it and get back to you,” will never come to pass in any formal report and the MOUs will languish in the same status they were a couple of years ago: “either finished or close to being finished.”

And RQMC will roll on — unaccountable except to themselves and their county pals — getting upwards of $30 million a year of taxpayer dollars without being asked to provide any evidence that it’s doing any good.

Rubbing it in just a bit more was the Board’s reaction to former Mendo social worker James Marmon who helpfully tried to remind the Supes toward the end of the day what the Kemper Report had said about accountability:

“The Kemper Consulting Group review of the Mendocino County Mental Health System focused primarily on programmatic and delivery system matters. As a result, we did not conduct a substantive review of the County’s budgeting process and allocations for the ASO contractors and county-delivered services, or associated cost accounting by BHRS/MH. However, in our overall review of financial documents associated with the ASO [privatization] model, we generally found an absence of easily understandable information about how the ASO system is budgeted by fund source (i.e. Med-Cal, MHSA, Realignment and County General Fund) and how this budgeting fits within the County’s larger framework for revenues and expenditures for BHRS/MH. Furthermore, we heard from a number of Key Informants that there is a lack of understanding about how the ASO model has been constructed and financed and how it is placed in the overall financing structure for mental health services in the County.”

Marmon (under close scrutiny from Ms. Schrader sitting right behind him) ran out of time at this point, but the rest of the related Kemper report on this topic said:

“Financing. The larger financial picture associated with the delivery of mental health services through the two ASOs and county staff is unclear, specifically how the overall system is financed, what the various revenues can be used for, and how the blend of these revenues supports delivery of services across the Adult System and Children’s System and by county staff in BHRS/MH.

“Budgeting. With budget allocations for ASO operations and county staff delivered services, it is difficult to understand each system component and make relative comparisons in terms of overall budgeting. Finding the right balance of financing for adult services and children’s services – prioritizing the use of available, limited resources – would be made more productive if decisionmakers and the public had easy to understand, comparable, and timely financial and programmatic information about both ASOs and the county staff delivered services. For county delivered services, this also means documentation of filled and unfilled full-time equivalent (FTE) staff and how staffing levels have changed over time.

“Financial Accounting for Services. BHRS/MH has various accounting mechanisms in place to track expenditures. For example, Medi-Cal claims data is incorporated through the County’s claiming system to Medi-Cal, and there are separate spreadsheets submitted by each ASO for Medi-Cal and non-Medi-Cal billable services and non-billable services. However, the public reporting of this information by BHRS/MH has been limited, which has left county decision-makers and the public with unanswered questions. Further, it is unclear whether and when BHRS/MH intends to require that an outside financial audit be conducted of each ASO contractor.

“We recommend the County Executive direct BHRS/MH to prepare and present quarterly ‘Financial Summary Reports’ that provide summary financing, budgeting, expenditure, and service delivery information on all aspects of the Mental Health Delivery System – both ASOs and county delivered services. In the first of these reports, BHRS/MH should provide a description and outline of the overall structure of financing and budgeting for ASO delivered services and county-staff delivered services. Further, we recommend the County Executive direct BHRS/MH to make a recommendation on when an independent financial audit of both ASOs will be conducted and for which time periods.”

Clearly, despite the pouncing and denials from Molgaard and Schrader, McCowen’s original observation that the MOUs were not finished and the Kemper recommendations on accountability have not been implemented — not even close! — was right on point.

(Click to enlarge)

But that didn’t stop Hamburg from immediately leaping to his feet after cutting Marmon off, and coming out from behind the dais to give County Mental Health Director Jenine Miller and Behavioral Health Advisory Chair Jan McGourty and fellow board members the Board’s official Mental Health Awareness Month proclamation, the theme of which is, unironically, “Deeper Connections: From Small Talk to Real Talk.”

Yes, lots of talk, but not much reporting.

* * *

PS. Here’s a typical mental health contract add-on from last Tuesday’s Supervisors Consent Calendar:

Item 4n): “Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center in the Amount of $53,598 to Provide Case Management and Supportive Supervisory Services to Residents with Severe Mental Illness in the Homeless Shelter and Transitional Housing Apartments in Fort Bragg for the Period of July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.”

The add-on to the Hospitality Center is for “mental health services for severely mentally ill who are homeless and/or have a dual diagnosis, including “supportive interventions aimed at engagement into both the mental health system of care and into habilitation and rehabilitation services to improve functioning in the community for 30 clients per year.”

The “services” include case management, work with other agencies, and “alongside the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) project” to “maximize the coverage to this vulnerable population.” Staff to include Operations Manager/team leader, case manager, coordinators.

Contract term #9 (indicating extreme paranoia about speaking to local media about their “services”): “Contractor shall notify County of all communications with media, including but not limited to press releases, interviews, articles, etc. Contractor shall not speak on behalf of county in any communications with media.”

There is no explanation why this contract is retroactive to last June and now in the last two months of coverage. Nor is there any indication of whether they actually “served” 30 clients. Nor is there any requirement to report to the County on who (categorically) was served or what was done (other than a monthly bill).

According to the accompanying cost breakdown the money will go to: $10k for Executive Director (including payroll costs), $18k for Operations Manager, $24k for case manager, plus expenses (travel, insurance, utilities). Total: About $54k, all to various coordinators and managers. None of the money will go toward directly helping anybody.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My job description is very clear — watch dog. But my job site has too many man-made hazards, like giant plants that suddenly fall over, like the one did yesterday that darn near got me. A watchdog shouldn’t have to look out for falling plants, should he?”

* * *

THE LOTTERY, TAKE 2

Dear Editor,

Your biased and ill-informed article “Silent Assassins” only serves to fan the emotional flames in the debate over the fate of Anderson Valley schools and superintendent Michelle Hutchins. Your decades-long disdain of public education in general, and of Anderson Valley Unified in particular, has blinded you to what is happening in your community. You seem to have gotten all your “facts” from the superintendent while claiming that the school personnel are incommunicado. As in all organizations certain information is confidential, but as a group, teachers are willing to debate all sides of the issues. You state “lawyers and staff are the tail wagging the school district dog.” I wonder if Ms Hutchins isn’t the tail wagging the editors’ dog!

Saying that teachers “bludgeon” co-workers into submission and want Ms Hutchins living out of a “shopping cart” is dramatic nonsense. No one wants to ruin her life; teachers and staff want to enjoy coming to work each day. Her “original sin” is that she lacks the character for the job. Ms Hutchins is a top down administrator who expects unquestioning compliance with her agenda. In addition, she lacks the necessary social skills to truly collaborate with others. For instance, unilaterally inviting her supporters to a private staff meeting does not show an intention to collaborate. Her quick temper is legend. A superintendent’s job is to lead not to rule.

Having to correct your divergence from the facts is annoying. For example, “personality differences with key ladies” at the elementary school is not the issue. At the board meeting you said yet again it was only an elementary school problem! No, Bruce, the Vote of No Confidence was 90% of the ENTIRE district teaching and classified staff. And… and Ms Hutchins repeatedly misrepresents the meaning of the vote as bearing only two signatures. In democracy balloting is secret and union presidents certify their members’ votes. Under Ms. Hutchins, teachers and classified staff are afraid of intimidation or retaliation. I have experienced both personally.

It is a matter of public record that Ms. Hutchins has cost our district unnecessary expense. A principal had to be paid off after an altercation with her. You chose to believe the superintendent’s story. Having seen Ms. Hutchins in action personally, my money is on the other horse. Precious dollars have also been spent on numerous consultants doing what Ms. Hutchins is well paid to do. And according to staff who have studied the numbers, administrative costs have doubled.

In a district with previously little turnover, the last three years have seen many valuable employees leave: I know personally that a revered and talented teacher retired nine years early; we lost the services of our speech and language therapist and now rely on a computer program to serve our students; the Special Education department has been a virtual revolving door of employees; and a twenty-year veteran cafeteria director quit. Many others have told me they wish they could teach somewhere else. What is the common denominator? The toxic school climate created by our superintendent.

Let’s address the list of accomplishments put out by Ms Hutchins. Contrary to what she implies, she does not control salaries and benefits or teacher workdays. These are negotiated items fought for by the unions and approved by the school board. Some of her other “accomplishments” are merely following state laws and established practices, such as coordinating safety procedures and updating employee contracts.

Your ‘female posse’ comments are insulting. Anderson Valley staff of both genders collaborated productively for decades with female administrators. Ever since Ms. Hutchins has been with us, Anderson Valley staff and parents have been complaining about her management style to the school board. Our current tragedy stems from the fact that no one thoroughly checked Ms Hutchins resume with her previous school district before hiring her. She had a Vote of No Confidence there as well. With so much ill will on both sides, it’s probably time to cut our losses.

When she needs to, Ms. Hutchins presents herself as smart and well spoken. She has some loyal friends, and, as she lists in her accomplishments, she has a gift for putting on parties. Now that she has chosen to become a candidate for public office, her statements and her character deserve further scrutiny. And her misrepresentations and half-truths need to be exposed. As much as we would all benefit from having women at all levels of government, I oppose Ms Hutchins for County Superintendent of Schools because she lacks the character and the resume the office deserves.

Valerie Smith

Retired Anderson Valley Teacher

Philo

ED REPLY: This all blew up and became public without any notice to the wider community which, incidentally, hasn't been a community in any true sense of the term for years. I don't have strong feelings about Ms. Hutchins one way or the other, but I think she's been unfairly vilified in the most insultingly vague fashion, as was on full nasty display the other night as one termagant after another got up and teed off on her. One woman said she'd witnessed "bullying" without, apparently, doing or saying anything about it. Another said she feared "retaliation," another felt "intimidated." It was all feelings, no facts, and the only high school staffer who spoke, spoke highly of the superintendent. I don't feel disdain for the local schools. I've been critical of their management, critical about low standards, etc., but my criticisms are echoed by lots of people. The nut of the current prob is that for years prior to Ms. Hutchins the schools have lacked clear lines of authority, the tail has indeed wagged the dog. Any person occupying the superintendent's chair who tries to make changes will instantly run afoul of The Blob, an entrenched group of teachers and ancillary staff who are certain to resist anybody who doesn't tell them what a great job they're doing and how wonderful they are on a personal level. (County gov runs on the same indulgent fuel.) As I said the other night at the meeting maybe the school board should simply abolish the boss job to let the schools run themselves as they did for years prior to Ms. Hutchins. No one's been in charge of local schools since Jim Johnson, and I can still hear the howls and whines he elicited from The Blob. And I still don't accept that 90 percent figure. Names, please!

PS. You say that I “chose to believe the superintendent’s story.” As a matter of fact, that version of events came to us directly from principal Reddick, who visited our office to complain about it and to explain why she called the cops. (Who didn't bother to take a report because, obviously, it amounted to nothing.) According to Reddick, Hutchins was lecturing her about something when Reddick got tired of being lectured to and got up to leave. Hutchins then got up herself and blocked the door, ordering Reddick to “sit your ass down and listen to me.” Reddick didn’t want to sit her ass or any other part of her anatomy down so she ducked under the Superintendent’s arm and left. A few minutes later she called the cops and reported an “assault” and “false imprisonment.” Again, this is what Reddick told us, backed up by a copy of an email she sent to the school board to complain about it. Which then soon morphed into the threat of a lawsuit, which the District's lawyers, that fount of unerringly bad advice, recommended be settled, with a cool $60 grand paid out to Ms. Reddick, a veteran victim given her history, for her pain and suffering. And Ms. Reddick left town without Ms. Hutchins blocking her way.

* * *

2018 ANDERSON VALLEY OPEN STUDIOS, a free self guided tour…

Artists open their studios to the public on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26th to May 28th, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. along Highway 128 in Anderson Valley featuring: ceramics, jewelry, architecture, painting, photography, printmaking, textiles, mixed media and assemblage. (707) 895-3053. andersonvalley-artguild.org/ EMAIL: sstudio@wildblue.net

* * *

Anderson Valley Open Studios

May 26 through May 28, 2018

by Marvin Schenck

Have you ever looked at a work of art or a finely crafted piece of jewelry and wondered how the artist made that? Now is your chance to ask such questions and explore the back stories of some of Mendocino County’s best artists. Throughout the Memorial Day Weekend May 26, 27 and 28, Anderson Valley artists swing wide the doors of their studios to welcome the public into their creative spaces for the sixteenth Annual Anderson Valley Open Studios art tour. This is a unique opportunity to not only see the environment in which the art is made, but also to speak directly with the artists about their creative process. This year’s Open Studios showcases the work of sixteen artists working in a variety of artistic media, including: ceramics, jewelry, photography, textiles, abstract and representational painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, assemblage, sculpture, mixed media, and architecture. A few artists are exhibiting in the studios of others as their own spaces are too isolated. Ten studios stretching from Boonville to Navarro will be open and free to the public from 11 am to 5 pm. A tour map at andersonvalley-artguild.org and signs along Highway 128 will guide the way.

(Click to enlarge)

The artists participating this year are located in the Boonville, Philo, and Navarro areas. In downtown Boonville, Judy Nelson (glass bead Jewelry) and Charlie Hochberg (landscape photography) will be showing with Steve Wood at his achitecture studio. On Anderson Valley Way in Boonville, Kate McEwen (Photography and Poetry) will be showing with Antoinette von Grone (paintings of animals, people, nature and whimsey) at Antoinette’s studio. Also on Anderson Valley Way is the studio of Saoirse Byrnne (scarfs, wraps and other textile works). In Philo, all the action fans out from the intersection of Clark Road, Holmes Ranch Road and Hwy.128. A turn onto Clark Road quickly brings you to the historic Barn Studio of Colleen and Marvin Schenck (jewelry, collage, landscape painting and printmaking). Across the highway, Holmes Ranch Road will carry the visitor to amazing vistas of the valley while providing three unique studios. First, among the redwoods, is Jan Wax and Chris Bing with their well known porcelain and stoneware pottery. Then, a bit uphill, is the secluded studio of Deanna Thomas (plein air painting). Finally, after driving to the ridge, is the Beat Gallery, the home and studio of Michael Wilson and Susan Spencer (painting and assemblage). Nadia Berrigan (photographs) is also showing with them. Heading towards Navarro, on Hwy.128 again, look for Rebecca Johnson’s big western barn filled with contemporary Sculpture and painting. A little further on the highway, Doug Johnson’s Pepperwood Pottery is marked by a large colorful ceramic mural. Finally, high on a ridge in Rancho Navarro, is the studio of Rachel Lahn featuring mixed media sculptural paintings and encaustic works.

(Click to enlarge)

For the artists, opening their studios is an opportunity to visit with friends and visitors, get feedback on new creations, and perhaps sell some work. It also allows them to share the beauty of a special location that imprints itself into their artwork in many inspirational ways. Open Studios is a great way to feature the artists’ creativity and showcase the studio spaces they have lovingly developed to foster the creation of art.

The early years of art tour efforts prompted the formation of the Anderson Valley Art Guild to organize Open Studios. The Guild also has presented group exhibits in Anderson Valley, Ukiah, Mendocino, and Fort Bragg. Such efforts allow the multimedia artists to share their passion for art and craft with the wider public. But, the Anderson Valley Open Studios event offers the rare opportunity to be part of the artists’ creative process while enjoying the scenic drive along Hwy.128. Travelers have enjoyed the adventure of meeting numerous artists, experiencing multiple studios, and adding that special new artwork to their own collection.

* * *

IF YOU'VE NEVER stopped in at Doug Johnson's Pepperwood Pottery you've missed one of the most intriguing and unique beauty spots in all of the Anderson Valley. We caught the potter in the act of potting last week, just after we'd turned in off the highway at what has become a Valley landmark, the blue tile wall that graces 128 near Navarro.

(Click to enlarge)

An unfailingly jovial man, a truly jolly giant at well over six feet, Mr. J. was throwing a big one, a big pot that is, with both his arms plunged elbow-deep in a mound of clay.

Back in the early 1970s, DJ bought an old chicken ranch from a branch of the Pinoli family and slowly converted its utilitarian structures to works of ceramic art surrounding flower gardens and a modest tile-lined swimming pool. He also built a second ceramic wall, this one a map of the Anderson Valley's landmark sites.

(Click to enlarge)

Apart from the brisk sales of an impressive array of his custom pots, the potter makes his own pinot from the vines planted when he bought his 7 acres in the early 1970s, when it was still possible to be both impoverished and a property owner. The home brew is, of course, stored in an above ground ceramic wine cellar. We reminisced about those halcyon early 1970s days in the Valley, early for us anyway, recalling Harold Perry's sky hook in the men's league basketball games and the softball games at the Boonville Fairgrounds dominated by Waggoners and Summits. Fortunate in having found an early vocation — pottery — in high school, and having learned the basics from a professional outside of high school, Doug Johnson these days sells his art as fast as he can produce it. In an annually vain Mother's Day attempt to ingratiate myself with my wife, I bought her a Doug Johnson Original Vase, and darned if she wasn't quite pleased with it!

* * *

INTERESTING PIECE in the current New Yorker is sub-titled, "Is capitalism a threat to democracy?" Yes, it certainly can be a threat, is the gist of the article, which also suggests that here in liberty land we seem to be drifting inexorably towards that threat, which is ultimately the Big F — fascism. The author, citing such impeccable sources as the great Karl Polanyi, says, in essence, that capitalist economies run along democratic lines do better for both the people living in them and for capitalism than unrestrained capitalist economies run along authoritarian lines with, in extreme cases capitalism resulting in Hitler or versions thereof. Welfare capitalist states do best of all as, say, things merrily work for everyone in the Scandinavian countries.

* * *

IS IT JUST ME or are election mailers getting even more insulting? Here's one from Marshall Tuck (a new name to me) that features Barack Obama on one whole side with the rest devoted to Tuck, who wants to be the state's superintendent of schools, posed with, you can be sure, a carefully staged rainbow array of children, although California's schools are more and more segregated all the time by race and income. We also get the requisite shot of the candidate with his wife and son, all three sporting the big shiny white dentistry that a majority of Californians can't afford.

THESE MAILERS are very expensive, and I have to wonder why Demo hacks like Assemblyman Wood and State Senator McGuire bother? They're running unopposed except for the usual sacrificial Republican, so why not spare us all these big full face glossies of demonstrable unreality? I laughed when I got to the back page of Wood's mailer where I read, "Supported by local leaders we trust." Included among the trustworthy are boards of NorCal boards of supervisors and city councils, including Mendocino County's supervisors. I didn't see a single name I'd trust to reliably feed my dog while I went on vacation, let alone trust to wisely advance desirable local amenities or expend millions of annual public dollars.

WHAT'S ESPECIALLY DEPRESSING about contempo officeholders is their endless bogusness. Only a true psycho can be so relentlessly phony with not so much as a hint of wit or humor or his real self, assuming there is a real self under layers of fraud. There's just endless statements like, "State Senator Mike McGuire, getting the job done every day in every community, for every one of us." I know if I asked the next twenty people who wandered past my office door few, if any, would know who these characters are. They would know, and probably emphatically state, that they don't feel represented by anyone at any level of government. And they aren't represented unless, of course, their net worth is on the sunnyside of five mil or so.

* * *

MORE OR LESS recommended viewing: Trust, starring Donald Sutherland on FX TV, is based on the Getty saga, especially the famous kidnapping of the old man's grandson in Italy, a crime emphasized when kidnapper's cut off the kid's ear and mailed it to the Gettys to verify they indeed were holding the right guy for ransom. Donald Sutherland as the infamously parsimonious patriarch is very good, as is the rest of the cast with only a couple exceptions. I don't regret watching it.

I DO REGRET sitting through Netflix's Kodachrome, except for the always wonderful Ed Harris. The rest of the cast range from ho hum to awful, and the whole of the half-assed script slides in and out of pure mawk. Except for Harris, who plays a dying big shot photographer who sets out on a road trip to develop a lost roll of film the old fashioned way, the acting is terrible.

* * *

SKYHAWK… OOPS, OH NEVER MIND

Dear Editor,

When I learned our US Congressional Representative Jared Huffman had endorsed local Fifth District Mendocino County Supervisor candidate Chris Skyhawk, I wrote him an email in protest. Never in my 38 years living here and being deeply involved in local politics had a US Representative endorsed a candidate in a local non-partisan county race.

Representative Huffman responded in a timely and candid way. I submit his response to my query in full thusly:

“Lee, Several of my trusted friends and longtime Dems are supporting Chris, including Rachel Binah who encouraged me to meet with him and consider an endorsement. I was not aware the Club had endorsed another candidate. I wish I had the benefit of that information before I made the decision last week — it probably would have convinced me to stay neutral in the race. But Chris strikes me as an exceptional candidate, and while I have nothing against any of the others, I stand by my endorsement. I do apologize for the lack of communication though.”

Sincerely,

JH

The upshot is that had Representative Huffman known the Mendocino Coast Democratic Club had already endorsed Ted Williams for Fifth District Supervisor, he would have remained neutral. Thus, his is a non-endorsement endorsement.

And rightfully so.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lee Edmundson

Mendocino

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, May 13, 2018

Bray, Doss, Elledge, Feliz

JAMES BRAY JR., Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

JUBILEE DOSS, Covelo. Domestic abuse, damage to connecting power lines.

KYLE ELLEDGE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

RICHARD FELIZ JR., Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Fonseca, Henry, McAlister

SANTOS FONSECA, Salinas/Redwood Valley. Loaded handgun registered to someone else, concealed weapon in vehicle, false ID, probation revocation.

SARAH HENRY, Hopland. DUI.

VIOLET MCALISTER, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocatioin.

Miller, Preciado, Sandoval-Reyes

GREGORY MILLER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

ARTURO PRECIADO, Santa Rosa/Redwood Valley. Suspended license, probation revocation.

JOSE SANDOVAL-REYES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

* * *

HOW ABOUT GAV?

Editor:

In an election year for the next governor of California, I ask how come the #MeToo Movement has not asked Gavin Newsom to stop campaigning for this position? The reply is that there was no sexual harassment when Newsom, as mayor, and his best friend’s wife had an affair while she was working for him. Newsom and the woman both said it was consensual and the San Francisco city attorney made a statement that there were no laws broken or ethics violations.

Yet what about a hostile work environment created for other women working in the mayor’s office or city government? Don’t you think that many knew about the affair but would not say anything publicly worrying about the retribution from a powerful mayor? How about the public money payment to the woman? She received the quickly approved money from a catastrophic-illness program.

Worse was the fact that Newsom, the woman and her husband, who worked as the chief of staff for the mayor, wouldn’t cooperate with investigators from the City Attorney’s Office. So how come Newsom got off with no punishment?

Politics should not lessen what he did because Newsom is a liberal Democrat and many like his policies. Otherwise the credibility of the #MeToo Movement is being tested.

Andrew Smith

Santa Rosa

* * *

YES ON PROP. 69

We encourage a yes vote on Prop. 69 which will be everyone’s ballot in the June 5 election – or on the mail-in ballot you have probably already received.

Prop. 69 will require that the money raised through new gas and diesel taxes and vehicle charges in SB1 – the enormous gas tax bill passed last year for road and transportation improvements – actually be spent on road and transportation improvements. Those transportation priorities include:

  • Safety Improvements: Repairing aging and deteriorating bridges, tunnels, and overpasses, as well as highways, freeways and local streets and roads
  • Filling Potholes: Paving over cracked and crumbling roads
  • Relieving Traffic Congestion: Adding new lanes and making repairs to remove bottlenecks that cause congestion
  • Upgrading Public Transportation: Including expanding investing in light-rail, buses and other transit that reduce congestion and improve air quality

Local cities and counties, including ours, will see millions of dollars in road fixing money over the coming years as part of that legislation and don’t want to see it diverted to other state priorities. Mendocino County will see abut $100 million over the next 18 years if SB1 funds are spent as intended.

Just about everyone – from local government to the League of Women Voters, to the California Chamber of Commerce – is supporting this measure. As far as we can tell, the opponents are a few state legislators who claim to be insulted that they need to be told by the voters to spend transportation money on transportation.

Mendocino County has hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation needs for our 660 miles of county paved roads that will take years to accomplish even with the boost of the extra SB1 funds. We can’t afford to let a single penny go to other state funding needs.

Vote ‘Yes’ on Prop. 69

(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

* * *

* * *

NO REAL HOUSING CRISIS

To the Editor:

The headline ‘Major Housing Bill Fails’ splashed across the front page of the April 22, 2018 Ukiah Daily Journal must’ve brought clouds of doom and gloom across our fair valley. The Money Fairy (with all of the strings attached) will not be coming any time soon to alleviate the housing ‘crisis’ here and throughout California.

On a broad scale, California does not need one million new residents. Too soon our leaders in Sacramento have forgotten the recent years of drought and the relationship between water storage and rainfall. California is already home to several of the most polluted cities in America. Bay Area roads and the I-80 corridor from Vallejo to Sacramento often resemble the 24/7 parking lot in the LA Basin. The number of people already living in poverty in the world’s fifth largest economy is unacceptable. All of these things would not have happened without the ‘help’ of state and federal government…and we don’t need to make things worse.

What’s the answer? It’s Liberty and the Free Market. Individuals and families have to make a choice between living in a state of unparalleled natural beauty with wonderful weather and high housing costs, high costs of living, high taxes, long commutes, congestion, high taxes, and lots of regulation. Without tinkering by government to subsidize housing, an equilibrium will be reached and housing prices will be what the market will bear.

It’s about waiting and being patient. About 12 percent of the state’s adult population is age 70 or older. As they move on, family housing becomes available. Moreover, a lot of people who are nearing retirement see the neighborhoods in which they live not being what they used to be and not where they want to live through their golden years. If they have made the decision to pull up stakes, then the possibility of moving to another state where taxes and the cost of living won’t take so much of their retirement nest egg becomes attractive. This makes family housing, near places of employment, available.

Then there’s the topic no one wants to talk about…about 7.5 percent of the state’s population really is not supposed to be living here. That, in itself, represents a significant amount of housing which could be available.

Let’s look locally…there is definitely a shortage of rental housing available for individuals, couples, and very young families. There is also a stock of empty buildings on South State, South School, and South Oak. These are probably zoned for commercial use, and it is doubtful there will ever be sustainable commercial tenants. If the owners were asked if they would invest in converting these properties to residential use and if the City would allow the change in zoning and issue permits with minimal fees, regulations, stipulations, it would create a win-win-win situation. Additional low end housing would become available. Owners would be able to generate cash flow. The blight of boarded up entry ways, newspapered windows, unmaintained landscape, trash, and attractive nuisance would go away and instantly make our fair city more attractive. These additional residents in the core area would be within walking distance of shops, stores, restaurants and services alleviating the need to drive a car and would help to spur economic activity downtown. The other win is that this would be done at no cost to the taxpayer.

There are also a number of vacant lots around town. Many would be perfect for small apartment complexes or townhouses. Owners should be approached to see what it might take for them to develop these properties, especially if fees, regulations, and red tape stand in the way.

Of course, there is the famous Palace Hotel. It really is time to get off the dime and encourage private investors to change this eyesore to a productive asset.

Bottom line, we have the resources right here to alleviate a tight housing market and attract the young professionals and their families needed in our community.

D.E. Johnson

Ukiah

* * *

I KICKED MY OPIOID ADDICTION WITH POT

by David Henry Sterry

“Do. Not. Do. This.” It was a miserable Saturday, two months after my skin was sliced open, my dead knee cut out, four metal plates screwed into my bones, one large wafer of hard plastic inserted, then got everything stitched back together like Frankenstein’s monster. The voice sounded like it was coming from the bottom of a million mile well deep inside me.

I stared at the pills. Eight Oxycodone. Forty milligrams. I’d become very good at ignoring the little voice that always told me the right thing to do. It helped that I felt like raw sewage. I popped the pills and washed them down with organic beet apple ginger turmeric juice.

Over 20,000 people died of synthetic opioid overdose in 2016. You may have heard that due to the epidemic of synthetic opioid addiction, doctors are reluctant to give prescriptions to patients, and careful to inform patients of their dangers. My doctor — an excellent cutter and well-respected pillar of the medical community — must not have gotten the memo. He handed out Oxycodone pills like they were Pez and my dispenser always needed a refill. Donald Trump recently stated publicly that he would like to see the death penalty for people who sell opioids. Sen. George Amedore said, “It’s poison. They’re profiting on our most vulnerable.” They weren’t talking about legal drug dealers: doctors. The majority of whom are white. They were talking about illegal drug dealers. The majority of whom are brown. A dealer who sells drugs that lead to death can now be charged with homicide. But what about doctors like mine, affluent white men who deal drugs that kill their patients?

Knee replacements are painful. Bone-deep pain. Opioids kill pain dead. But of course the more you take the more you have to take. I started with two. Days later 10 milligrams was like trying to bring down an elephant with a pea-shooter. So I went to four. But by that time I wasn’t just killing pain anymore. I was chasing that shimmery floaty feeling that makes you see how beautiful life is, how gorgeous your wife is, and how awesome it is to be alive. Then of course the next morning my head pounded, my joints ached, and every bump bruise or scar I’d ever gotten throbbed like Satan was torturing me. At that point there was only one logical choice. Toss back lots more Oxy. My brain would insist that every time was the last time. But inevitably my body wrestled my brain into submission and I’d hop back on the hamster-wheel cycle of addiction.

My mojo vanished, I shuffled around like a ghost of myself. Being a maniacal athlete, I still rehabbed the whole time. But because my pain was masked, I did massive damage to my new knee, which puffed up like it was pregnant with twins and screamed in agony. I was so pill happy that I canceled my two-month checkup and got an anonymous nurse to mail me a prescription for another 60 Oxy. It came in the mail the next day and I rushed to the pharmacy like a happy junky.

Back on that miserable Saturday the 40 milligrams hit me and my eyes half-masted while my face slid into dopey slackness and my body screamed: THANK YOU!

But instead of floating down Narcotic Creek without a paddle, my guts rumbled and roiled. I tried to stop the regurgitation at the checkpoint between my guts and my throat. But my stomach wanted the opioids out, and it refused to take No for an answer.

I’m a violent vomitter. So when I stumbled to the throne and kneeled before it, the retching racked me from my crown to the soles of my feet. Every time I was sure it would be the last eruption. But it never was.

Ten times that day I tossed my cookies. Until I was purging foul air because there was nothing solid left to purge. When I looked in the mirror my face was blotched with red pixelated dots where the blood vessels had ruptured. My eyes were glassy, watery, not-quite-there. My hair had little bits of upchuck dangling like ornaments on the world’s nastiest Christmas tree.

Moment of clarity. I had to get off the drugs.

So I quit. Cold turkey. Two-hundred degrees below zero turkey. No more opioids for me.

But as I shivered in misery, I knew I needed something to stop the monkey on my back from screaming:

So I brewed some magic tea. Secret ingredient: Cannabis. Marijuana, Mary Jane, Devil’s weed. Grown organically in my friend’s backyard.

I drank. I waited. Breath bated. Hoping the power of ganja would be a match for the Opioid King.

Fifteen minutes. Nothing. Half an hour. Nothing. Forty-five minutes. Nothing.

Just as I was about to glug down the whole rest of the batch, a wave of peace swept through me. It was different from the Oxy high. More happy than ecstatic. Energizing instead of enervating.

I notice that a big dopey grin is on my lips and the monkey has scurried away to find another junkie to torment.

The Cannabis effect lasted about six hours. Then I fell into a golden slumber and stayed under until the next morning. When I woke the monkey was back, digging its sharp little fingers into my neck and screaming:

“FEED ME!”

I scarfed down more magic tea. Fifty minutes of freezing, sweating, and moaning followed, as I waited to be rescued again from the opioid’s stranglehold. At minute 51, the sweet peace again eased into me, and the monkey stalked off in a disappointed huff.

I got better at timing my high so it kicked in before the serious jonesing began. A week later my mojo was back. I changed my rehab workout into a mindful-of-the-pain-warnings ritual.

It’s now three months post-surgery. My knee is largely pain-free for the first time in four decades. I’ve been off the poisonous opioids for a month, and I feel zero desire to take another ride on that death-trap roller coaster. I’ve reduced the magic tea intake to micro-dosing.

Using marijuana, an illegal federal Schedule 1 controlled substance felony drug, I kicked my addiction to a killer opioid which is ​legal. A drug produced by Big Pharma, handed out by many wealthy doctors with no warning, guidelines, or consequences. And yet, I am unable to legally buy the herb I needed to heal. An herb that requires no R&D, FDA approval and, if not illegal, would be affordable. So is the solution to jail the illegal purveyors of drugs that I got 60 at a clip without even an appointment? Or do we need to re-examine the chain from the top down? The questions contain the very obvious answer. And now that there’s hard numbers to back up the anecdotal experience of myself and countless others who use cannabis to relieve pain to resist opioids, isn’t change finally possible?

Like most Americans, I’m exhausted, exasperated and beyond frustrated by how much I pay for my health care, how little I get for that money, and how broken our medical system is. If there was a march on the subject, I and my new knee would be there.

But on this lovely spring day, I’m overjoyed that I am myself again. Thanks, Mary Jane.

(David Henry Sterry is the author of 16 books, a performer, muckraker, educator, and activist. His first memoir, Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Man for Rent, was a national bestseller and has been translated into 12 languages. His book, Hos, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys, appeared on the front cover of The New York Times Book Review. He’s been featured in or on The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NPR, and many others.)

* * *

IN PRAISE OF THE NEWS ON PAPER

You can read and read online, but unread stories are still everywhere.

Here’s an unpopular opinion: There is a future in newspapers. I don’t mean newspaper companies. I mean physical, hard-copy newspapers — the kind you buy on the street, the kind someone tosses onto your driveway early in the morning. The kind everybody says will be a thing of the past in a few years.

My conviction on this point stems from a decision I made about a year ago — to subscribe to, as we used to say, the paper. I was reluctant to do this, and for the usual reason: you can read all the newspaper’s content online, either for free or for a smaller subscription price.

For several years though, I had trouble with online news reading, and I thought maybe it was time for a regressive revolt. I had begun to notice, first, that I remember almost nothing I read online. I must have read scores of online articles in 2016, say, but I can hardly remember one, yet somehow I can recall things I read in hardcopy newspapers and magazines 20 or 30 years ago, in some cases I can see the words on the page.

I had also begun to feel anxious that despite all the news reading I do I was never able to catch up. When you get your news by searching online news aggregators and perusing twitter you can spend an hour reading articles — two hours, three hours — and you still feel you've only read the smallest slice of relevant news. You read and read, but unread stories are still everywhere and you spend the rest of your day feeling anxiously ill-informed.

Newspapers mostly rid you of that anxiety. When you read the paper in the morning you spend 45 minutes or an hour doing one thing: reading the news. When you put the paper down, assuming you’ve made a decent effort to read and understand a fair sampling of items, you have read the news. At that point you can go about your day happy in the knowledge that you have some idea of what sort of things happened in the world yesterday and what intelligent people think about them.

The newspaper, and especially the serious metropolitan daily, allows you to ingest the news on an array of topics — and be done with it. After spending an hour reading the paper you are as caught up on national and world affairs as any person can claim to be. You are not aware of all the profound and amazing writing "out there," but you are sufficiently well-informed and for the remainder of the day you can apply your mind to other tasks without anxiety or guilt.

The newspaper brings a kind of epistemological definition to the everyday work of being literate. You can hold today's knowledge with two ink stained hands and when you are done with it you can throw it away. It won't update and demand to be read in a few hours and it won't follow you around on your smart phone.

I don't know what the future of newspapers may be. But I know there is one — because newspapers are physical and limited and so are we.

— Barton Swaim

* * *

NO BOYS ALLOWED!

Women's Shamanic Journeying Circle
Wednesday, May 23rd, 6pm - 8pm, Fort Bragg

Explore and experience the empowering practice of shamanic journeying in a small group setting with a maximum of 9 participants. In this 2 hour women's journeying circle you can expect to learn the basics of shamanic journeying or deepen your existing journeying practice and journey to a unique Goddess with the intention of receiving the support and healing you need in your life now. Monetary investment $25. Space is limited - RSVP required. Contact me directly off list to reserve your spot 357-5869 or theyewtree@gmail.com. Further details including exact location, preparation and what to bring with you will be sent to those who have submitted an RSVP prior to the event.

* * *

AT HOME WITH THE THOMASES

A few hours later Dylan and Bill came to take me to the Cross House where Dylan was to meet friends who had just come over from Oxford. They were a married couple — he a beet-faced, Englishman who might have stepped out of Punch; she was a steely-hard patrician with a Marxist, America-hating bias that crept into even the most innocuous moments of conversation. They had come to Laugharne to spend a fortnight's holiday in a little whitewashed cottage. As we drank in rather minimal cordiality in the Cross House, the customary Saturday night song fest raged about us. We bore it until our eardrums ached, then said good-nights and walked by the Village route back to the boathouse. Sitting down to dinner some time after 10 we came around to discussing weird murder cases and our various notions of proper punishment for convicted sex fiends. Dylan zestfully told of a man who had disemboweled a young virgin, arranged her entrails in decorative patterns, and written her name in her own blood on a window pane. Caitlin felt that this was a case where the murderer should receive the same treatment. Dylan felt that all sex fiends should be shot. There seemed to be no disagreement in their points of view, but, as the gruesome conversation progressed, I became aware of a rising tension between them and of a tendency in Caitlin to ridicule any idea that Dylan might express. Holding an empty matchbox in his hand, Dylan suddenly flipped this in Caitlin's direction and it landed on her shoulder. She picked up the matchbox and threw it in his face. Dylan said that that was unfair — the matchbox had just slipped from his fingers. Before he could finish his sentence, Caitlin, with one fierce grip, reached for his hair and pulled him out of his seat and onto the floor. Before Bill and I knew what was happening, we were in the midst of a melee. Chairs got knocked over, dishes were pushed from the table as blow for blow, the combatants wrestled toward the kitchen. Gaping, we sat benumbed over our cooling food and listened helplessly to sounds of scrimmage coming from the next room. With a sudden sharp cry, Dylan broke away and we could hear him running up the stairs. In a moment Caitlin came back to the dining room and, towering over us, her eyes flashing, her face steely said, "Thank you for helping a lady in distress!"

—John Malcolm Brinnin, ‘Dylan Thomas in America, an Intimate Journal’

* * *

BLOODY GINA

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold hearings Wednesday to decide if Gina Haspel should be the next CIA director. The vote in committee and on the floor of the Senate is going to be close. And if Haspel wins, we will have the Democrats to thank for it.

You remember “Bloody Gina” Haspel. She’s already the CIA’s acting director and has had just about every high-level job in the building. She’s the godmother of the CIA’s immoral, unethical and illegal George W. Bush-era torture program. She was the chief of a secret prison, where she oversaw the implementation of the torture program and was personally responsible for directing the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. Nashiri’s attorneys say the torture of their client was so severe that he has lost his mind and can no longer participate in his own defense.

I had personal experience with Haspel. She was my boss in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC). She worked directly for the notorious Jose Rodriguez, the creator of the torture program, who trusted his protégé and confidante to implement it.

I chose to go another direction. In May 2002, a senior CTC officer asked me if I wanted to be “trained in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.” I declined. I’m sorry to say that I was the only one to decline out of 14 people approached. A few months later, the CIA began to torture Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee.

In December 2007, I decided to go public. I told ABC News that the CIA was torturing its prisoners, that torture was official US government policy and that the torture had been personally approved by President Bush. Three years later, I was charged with five felonies coming out of that interview, including three counts of espionage. I later took a plea to a lesser charge and served 23 months in a federal prison. It was worth it.

John Kiriakou

The full article: truthdig.com/articles/gina-haspel-debate-spotlights-americas-soul-sickness/

* * *

* * *

MAY 15, 1968: Mayor Joseph L. Alioto said yesterday he will walk through Golden Gate Park this weekend to inspect first-hand reports of lewd and illegal behavior there. The Mayor refused to be drawn into the growing fuss over hippies and criminals in the park until he had the opportunity to make the scene himself. “Saturday and Sunday afternoons I plan to go down to North Beach, buy a sandwich and take it into the park to eat while I walk around,” he told his press conference. If violations of the law are uncovered, said Alioto, “we’ll do something and quickly.” But the Mayor saw nothing wrong with the poetry reading on the steps of City Hall. “As long as there isn’t any pornography — as the Supreme Court defines it — I have nothing against these daily readings,” he said. Waxing a bit poetic himself, the Mayor added: “After all we wouldn’t want any of these Miltons to remain mute and inglorious, or to blush unseen or to waste their sweetness on the desert air.” Members of the no-nonsense police tactical squad meanwhile raided Hippie Hill … and arrested 17 juvenile hippies. The squad then made a sweep of Haight Street and picked up another 28 suspected juvenile hippies. Ten were booked as runaways five as truants and one turned out to be an AWOL Marine from Camp Pendleton.

(SF Chronicle)

 

14 Comments

  1. Arthur Juhl May 14, 2018

    Accountibilty is what is still needed. I sat in on the BOS meeting on Tuesday and did give my speech on creating satellite units in each town. Maybe a larger unit in Ukiah. That would cover the county in Mental health. And not have more incompetent people running a hospital like the county.
    Another issue that I will bring up is since my fellow candidates were born and educated here why did not they see how the roads were deteriorated? It took a long time to get that way, what were they doing about it?
    I was born and raised in San Francisco and when I observed something I did not like, I made a complaint to any authority I knew or would find. I did not wait until someone stole a million dollars from the road fund. Yes, they got caught but how long has it been happening?
    I am beginning to wonder how many Supervisors know how to read a balance sheet! Maybe that is why the county needs more money because they can not find the money they have! Being an “old coot”, I have a great deal of experience and it would be difficult to fool me. And I will make the changes that the county does need, not go along with the crowd. I will bring the issues to the public if my fellow Supervisors do not agree to change, and you can deal with them. If you want change, vote for Me. If you like the way the county spends your money vote for the other candidates. They are part of the country club and things will continue until the county is really broke! Arthur E. Juhl candidate for the 5th district Supervisor

  2. james marmon May 14, 2018

    RE: MENDO MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

    “— so Tim [the newly hired Mental Health contracting officer in General Services who apparently is on a first name basis with the rep of the contractor he allegedly oversees] looks at and approves every single claim and assessment that goes through. So you can double that number because every six months. So there is just no way to avoid those records and it keeps us honest.”

    Not to sound argumentative, but I think the Tim Camille is talking about is her husband, and he is RQMC. He and one other person run it. Camille’s other business RCS actually does all the billing in their administrative office and then sends the billing across the parking lot via Internet to Tim’s RQMC’s computer where Tim rubber stamps them and then forwards them to County Mental Health. It’s all part of the shell game.

    However, we could both be wrong, its really hard to follow Camille when she talks, she’s all over the place.

    Redwood Quality Managment
    1050 N State St
    Ukiah, CA 95482

    Contact: Timothy B Schraeder
    Title: Executive Director

    Business Description

    “Redwood Quality Managment, which also operates under the name Rqmc, is located in Ukiah, California. This organization primarily operates in the Management Services business / industry within the Engineering, Accounting, Research, and Management Services sector. This organization has been operating for approximately 5 years. Redwood Quality Managment is estimated to generate $199,400 in annual revenues, and employs approximately 2 people at this single location.”

    http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Rqmc-707-472-0350

    James Marmon MSW

    Where’s the Money Camille?

    Mental-cino County, where every month is Mental Health Awareness Month.

  3. Dan Raymann May 14, 2018

    Re:Andrew Smith and the credibility of the
    #MeToo Movement, I always wondered why it’s called
    PoundMeToo

  4. Stephen Rosenthal May 14, 2018

    I think I have a good grasp of the English language and a large vocabulary, but I’ll admit to not knowing the meaning of “termagant.” So I looked it up. Brilliant use of the word. As Mark Twain wrote, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.” Thanks for adding a new word to my lexicon.

  5. james marmon May 14, 2018

    LOL, I couldn’t help but seeing some humor in how the Measure B tax (aka the Allman Tax) has all of sudden become a big hot potato that no one wants ownership of.

    “But the good news for me is, it’s not going to be in my lap. It’s going to be in your lap.”

    -Tom Allman

    May 8, 2018, Board of Supervisor’s Meeting.

    • james marmon May 14, 2018

      RE: “Mental Health Treatment Act”
      Measure B Citizens Oversight Committee

      It was supposed to be all so simple, collect the money, and then give it to Handley and Schraeder.

      To Handley for the Old Howard Memorial Hospital restoration

      To Schraeder to operate it.

      How did things get so screwed up?

      James Marmon MSW
      Former Mental Health Specialist

  6. james marmon May 14, 2018

    Grand jury advises Mendocino County to keep Juvenile Hall open

    “In addition to how the closure will affect the children and their families, the report points out that the closure will create new costs for the county as well:

    • Many additional hours of transportation for the initial intake in and out of a county facility, the initial court hearing and each subsequent court hearing in Mendocino County and the return home upon release.

    • Each trip requires two staff members to accompany the juvenile, who must be handcuffed during transport.

    • Increased travel time for court appointed attorneys.

    • Ongoing maintenance cost for the mothballed juvenile hall building.

    • Expense to reopen the juvenile hall should the need arise.”

    http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/general-news/20180512/grand-jury-advises-mendocino-county-to-keep-juvenile-hall-open#disqus_thread

    James Marmon writes in UDJ comment section

    “The Hall could be converted into a locked Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF unit), which would actually generate funds for our County coffers. The conversion and operational costs could be paid for with Measure B tax dollars. The touchy feeling approach to this situation is not what our county needs, we need to use some good common sense. Half of the Hall is already closed and the other half is averaging 7 detainees a day, it takes at least 3 times that number of correctional officers and support staff to run the place 24/7. Mendocino County needs to start thinking with their heads, not their hearts. Kids and parents need to know that if your kid commits crimes, there are consequences, like being shipped out of the County.”

    James Marmon
    Social Worker

    P.S. I’m sure the Grand Jury didn’t factor in the above before making their recommendation.

    • james marmon May 14, 2018

      Probation could cut Hall staff down to about 2 or 3 people for transportation purposes only, or even privatize the transportation to the Schraeder bunch. The Court could calendar Juvenile cases down to just one or two days a week, if they haven’t already.

      Cha Ching $$$$$$

      The GJ’s findings and recommendations regarding this issue is exactly why I haven’t filed a complaint about mental health with them.

      Groupthink Exists!

  7. chuck dunbar May 14, 2018

    Regarding the Michelle Hutchins debate, which I have not followed closely, as I do not live in Anderson Valley, and have no personal knowledge of anyone involved: Still, after reading the letter by retired Anderson Valley teacher Valerie Smith (“The Lottery, Take 2”), I’ll add some reflections about my experience with leaders who were not fit to lead. Ms. Smith’s feedback to the AVA struck me as worth considering. It had the ring of truth to it, as I consider it from the perspective of my own 30-year experience in social service agencies.

    Her words describe the impact of one kind of leader/administrator I’ve worked for too often: “No one wants to ruin her life; teachers and staff want to enjoy coming to work each day. Her ‘original sin’ is that she lacks the character for the job. Ms Hutchins is a top down administrator who expects unquestioning compliance with her agenda. In addition, she lacks the necessary social skills to truly collaborate with others .”

    Those words describe in essence nearly half of the leaders I worked for in my career–at a local senior center, at Mendocino County Child Protective Services, as well as several other agencies. The impact of such leaders—harshly negative, damaging and far-ranging—cannot be exaggerated. Their bullying practices do great harm, and as Ms. Smith describes, often result in the loss of experienced and committed staff who cannot abide such treatment and leave work they love. I have watched this scenario play-out in at least 6 instances (one leader was male; five were female). In nearly all of them, the organizational impacts and personal toll on staff were profound. Agencies were left adrift and at worst, crippled, and services to clients community were badly affected. It was particularly disturbing to me that these were social service agencies, where one would think assume that respect and decency and good communication practices would be honored. I learned as my career went on, not to assume this.

    In all the cases in my experience, the agency leaders in question, as I reflect back, clearly lacked “the character for the job.” It’s a perfect way to describe such folks. There was a wisdom, an empathy, a respect for others, a humility,even a sense of humor, that was missing. In only one case in my experience was a leader able to take feedback and change for the better, becoming a far better leader for it, and earning the respect of staff over time.

    So, that’s my perspective for what it’s worth,from a one tangent of this issue.

    • George Hollister May 14, 2018

      In government, the six leaders described go on to have full careers of destruction. In the private sector, these types eventually get fired because a company can not survive in a work environment where everyone hates the boss. There are exceptions, of course.

      The rise of unions was/is dependent on poor management. Strong unions means poor management. The strength of unions today is in government. Not surprising, since I hear more horror stories about bad management from government than I do from the private sector. It is part of the lack of accountability that is inherent in government.

  8. Eric Sunswheat May 14, 2018

    REGARDING: Thomas Allman: “ On Monday of this week we had 297 prisoners in the County jail. Our County jail is built for 304 inmates. We had 297 inmates in the county jail. Of those 297, 111 are taking mental health medications. We don’t ovemedicate. We have a team that does everything we can to reduce medications in the jail. But that should be a shock to the conscience of every person who’s listening. Over a third of our inmates are on some type of mental health medication.“
    —-> I found the new college level mental health professional education book, to help avoid and reduce the use of, mental drugs that have not been proven safe, from a nutritional health perspective, that the Mendocino County Ukiah Library bought for me to read.

    I wrote numerous times to the County Board of Supervisors, either directly or through this AVA blog, and never received any acknowledgement, except by James Marmon.

    County government for most intent and purposes has been privatized, so no wonder your undies are in a bunch. Good luck.

  9. james marmon May 14, 2018

    Breaking News! Carre Brown has a long drive tomorrow, she better get up early. It takes about 3 hours to get from her house to Eureka. She is the guardian of that Dam and diversion.

    Friends of the Eel Decries ‘Secret Plans’ For Future of River-Draining Potter Valley Dams; Board of Supes Meets on Issue Tomorrow

    “Friends of the Eel River is sounding the alarm about “secret meetings” that have been taking place over the future of the Potter Valley Project, which has diverted Eel River water into the Russian River for over a century.”

    https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2018/may/14/friends-eel-decries-secret-meetings-over-eel-dams/

    • james marmon May 14, 2018

      Carre, Carre, Carre, shame on you.

      “Last week, PG&E finally publicly announced its intent to auction the Eel River dams/Potter Valley Project off this fall. (letter attached) Also last week, FOER learned through a series of Public Records Act requests that Eel Russian River Commissioners (including county supervisors Estelle Fennell, of Humboldt County, James Gore of Sonoma and Carre Brown of Mendocino) held a series of at least five secret meetings with PG&E and various Russian River interests over the last year to put together a plan to keep the Eel River dams in place.”

      • james marmon May 14, 2018

        “Supervisors Fennell, Brown, and Gore all denied having these meetings. We now know that they did in fact meet. They even went to the trouble of preparing explanations in case they got caught,” said FOER Conservation Director Scott Greacen. “And now we know why they kept their plans secret: they are trying to keep the Potter Valley Project in place, even if it leads to extinction of the Eel River’s salmon and steelhead”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

-