- Ramirez Patricide
- Kenyon Missing
- Feral Children
- Lovers Lane
- Over Development
- Humco Leadership
- Journalistic Foray
- B Committee
- Little Dog
- Ed Notes
- Rogue Cop
- Yesterday's Catch
- True Americans
- King Money
- Clark Buried
- Sniper Cheer
- Living Process
- Tectonic Musings
- Holy Selfie
WILLITS GRADE MURDERS
Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives continued to investigate the shooting incident Monday, July 2nd overnight and into Tuesday, July 3rd.
During this time, Sheriff's Detectives identified Calixto Ramirez (51-years-old from Covelo) as the deceased adult male at the shooting scene.
The second adult male has been identified as being Miguel Ramirez (30-years-old from Covelo). Miguel Ramirez, who was transported to an out of county hospital by air ambulance remains in critical condition.
Calixto Ramirez and Miguel Ramirez have been identified as father and son.
During investigations, which included assistance from the public, the shooting suspect was identified by Sheriff's Detectives as being Ubaldo Ramirez (23-year-old male from Covelo).
Ubaldo Ramirez is the son of Calixto Ramirez (deceased) and the younger brother of Miguel Ramirez (critical condition).
Thanks to assistance from the public, Ubaldo Ramirez was located on Tuesday, July 3 at approximately 1:30 am in a parking lot in the 77800 block of Highway 162 in Covelo.
Ubaldo Ramirez was taken into custody without incident for the homicide of his father (Calixto Ramirez), and the attempted homicide of his brother (Miguel Ramirez).
Ubaldo Ramirez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held without bail.
Specific details regarding the shooting are not being released at this time due to pending follow-up investigations by Sheriff's Detectives.
Any persons with information about this incident, including anyone who might have seen Ubaldo Ramirez between the scene (MPM 35 on North Highway 101 in Willits) on 07-02-2018 and Covelo on 07-03-2018 are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.
FIRST SHERIFF PRESS RELEASE
On Monday, July 2nd, at approximately 4:41 pm, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Officers from the California Highway Patrol were dispatched to a suspicious situation in the area of Mile Post Marker 35 on North Highway 101 south of Golden Rule.
Initial reports suggested a vehicle had been involved in a traffic collision and that an occupant was suffering from a gunshot wound.
Law enforcement personnel arrived and located a 2001 maroon Chevrolet Silverado 4-door pickup truck stopped in the southbound traffic lanes of North Highway 101.
Inside the pickup truck were two adult male occupants suffering from obvious gunshot wounds (undetermined amount at this time). One occupant was determined to be deceased and the other occupant suffered from a life-threatening injury requiring him to be transported to an out of county hospital for medical treatment.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives were summoned to the scene and have assumed investigative jurisdiction into the incident with assistance from the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Justice and Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives are actively conducting investigations and more information will be released at a later date by press release as information becomes available.
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GOFUNDME account set up:
I have always looked forward to the summer Concerts in the Park. When they first commenced, I was the only person who danced. During the third year other people began dancing. Such a good time!
On June 10 I noticed that as I approached the Dance Area, the sound was very loud. I put my excellent silicone earplugs in, and was able to dance a little, in spite of the children wildly running through the dancers. This is very disturbing to other people as well as me. They could run elsewhere in the park; not in the area designated for dancing.
I do not understand why the Concert Manager(s) allow for running in the Dance Area. I don’t understand why parents cannot allow their children to in that area. Children need guidance from parents, including learning respect for other people and their spaces. Letting children run the show will not help them in the long run.
When the intermission began, there was suddenly an excruciating loud sound that pierced through my earplugs and felt as if it was shattering my ear drums. (I was glad that a friend of mine had left as soon as she got there due to the sound being too loud). I picked up my chair and myself as quick as I could, to scurry out of the Park. I have excellent hearing and would like to keep it. Some people were alarmed at my sudden departure. One woman said, “I came to see you dance.”
I am disappointed that I probably cannot return to this wonderful music series. Other friends of mine no longer come to the concerts, due to the running children and too loud sound system. What a pity!
AG SÍ, SPRAWL NO
To the Editor:
There is no there there.
That famous line from literature has no meaning in Ukiah because we are something — an agricultural valley at the “gateway to the redwoods.” In order to transform our Ukiah Valley into the nothingness of that saying, we would have to remove our ag and build monotonous 50’s style suburban sprawl tract homes.
Surprise, surprise! That is exactly what is being proposed along Lover’s Lane — rows of homogeneous houses, cheaply built, sold for top dollar, with a sameness that defies aesthetics and all on top of prime agricultural soil. The Lovers Lane project makes every other development in Ukiah look like good examples of textbook urban design, including Empire Gardens, the housing up by the golf course, and Oak Manor.
Besides ignoring smart urban design, the Lovers Lane proposal ignores traffic issues with over 1,000 vehicle trips a day predicted to pour out from Lovers Lane onto North State Street or Despina Drive. If you think traffic is bad now, just you wait.
The final problem with this project lies in the fact that three new, sizable developments within Ukiah are beginning or on the verge to begin, on E. Gobbi, S. Oak, and N. Main. In addition, the City of Ukiah just approved new legislation concerning second units on residential parcels.
Patience, Mr. Selzer. Do not promote a loss of our precious there-ness. And blessings to Rainbow Ag for expanding their facility. Ag, YES. Suburban sprawl, NO.
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE
The primary function of government is to keep the people safe. As reported by CalFire and a recent civil grand jury, the government of Sonoma County, or more specifically the Board of Supervisors, failed that responsibility last October — with fatal results.
Contrary to the claim of being “unprecedented,” these fires could and should have been anticipated. Now, that same governmental body is doing its best to fast track more of the over-development that contributed to the fires in the first place. Why? To recover tax revenue, with which they will be equally irresponsible, and to enrich crony donor-developers. Maybe Sonoma County needs to be smaller, not bigger. Then again, there’s no profit to be made in that.
Who is going to hold these politicians accountable? The voters? Maybe. But The Press Democrat has a responsibility to address these issues as well, especially when it’s time to elect new supervisors.
HUMBOLDT COUNTY GRAND JURY QUESTIONS HUMCO COUNTY LEADERSHIP, Measure Z spending
(Also applies to Mendocino County)
by Daniel Mintz
Humboldt’s Grand Jury has found that Humboldt County leadership has failed to advance plans to deal with a range of pressing issues and that a “silo-ridden government” exists.
(Ed note: The Silo Mentality as defined by the Business Dictionary is a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.)
In a separate report, the Grand Jury describes a similar lack of focus regarding use of Measure Z public safety tax revenue. According to that report, the Grand Jury “located no tools or processes to measure the efficiency of Measure Z expenditures.”
The recently-released Grand Jury reports assess the effectiveness and accountability of county government.
In a report on overall leadership, the Grand Jury identified several “potential weaknesses” that could undermine the county’s ability to deal with issues related to housing, living wage jobs and ensuring “a sustainable growth rate to support the county’s needs.”
The Grand Jury “could find no effort to develop county plans to address the more serious issues facing Humboldt County today and in the future.”
The report also states that the Grand Jury’s research “uncovered no BOS (Board of Supervisors) strategic plans to solve the lack of affordable housing for all citizens; create jobs with living wages; ensure a sustainable growth rate to support the county needs; identify what facilities will be needed for the future; or develop ways to meet future transportation needs.”
Housing issues are particularly concerning. The report identifies a “first step” taken with the county’s creation of a housing trust fund and “homelessness solutions committee” but states that “county leadership needs to step up to the challenge and address these issues in a very aggressive manner.”
The Grand Jury found that key planning documents, such as the county’s recently-updated General Plan, a facilities master plan, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the Strategic Framework mission statement are either incomplete or lack actionable directives.
The Grand Jury also concludes that county departments and even divisions within single departments exist as disconnected “silos” that fail to collaborate.
The result, according to the report, is inefficiency, duplication of work and failure to serve the public.
“When speaking with county residents, many expressed total frustration in trying to locate the specific county government offices needed to get the services they required,” the report states. “They reported being sent from office to office because the county employees they asked didn’t know where to send them.”
To address the shortcomings, the Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors create “an alternative county administration system” to “maximize governmental efficiencies and interdepartmental communication, as well as minimize duplication of effort.”
Another recommendation is that by the end of this year the county should complete “a study on county work functions to determine which ones can be merged, how to increase collaboration, and how to reduce silos where warranted.”
Other recommendations include creation of a “2030 vision statement” backed up by a “strategic framework document,” more robust housing production strategies, and “a continuous improvement program setting annual goals for savings each year which can offset losses in other areas.”
Finally, the report directs the Board of Supervisors to “promote and advertise all accomplishments of Measure Z including positions funded by the measure.”
A separate report titled “Is Measure Z Measuring Up?” probes “whether Measure Z revenue is utilized transparently, appropriately, and efficiently by funding recipients.”
The Grand Jury concludes that Measure Z revenue has been “mostly allocated according to the original intent of providing public safety to citizens of Humboldt County” but “the failure of the Board of Supervisors to perform independent audits of over $50 million in Measure Z funds allocated to date contributes to a lack of transparency.”
The report notes that at a June 18 budget hearing, the Board of Supervisors approved using $48,000 to fund an independent audit of Measure Z spending – a few months after the County Administrative Office’s original request for the funding was rejected.
The “broad and vague” language referring to public safety in the 2014 Measure Z ballot statement has “created an environment of multiple interpretations and different understandings of what qualifies as public safety and essential services.”
In addition to calling for independent annual audits, the report recommends creation of ad hoc committees to increase Measure Z financial transparency and assess the effectiveness of spending.
Other recommendations are geared to improving the tracking and monitoring of the spending.
Voters approved Measure Z for a five-year span that ends in 2020 and will vote again to renew it. The report finds that “if Measure Z is not approved in the next funding cycle the results to the county could be catastrophic, particularly with respect to public safety.”
The Board of Supervisors will respond to both reports, along with the Measure Z Advisory Committee on the Measure Z recommendations.
by Flynn Washburne
I have been considering for some time branching out into some of the other, more respected and admired areas of journalism. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with what I’m doing, per se, but there is an element of frivolity that smacks of immaturity and insignificance. Humor columnists may be necessary, in some small way, in the grand scheme of things — I don’t know, perhaps filling some incredibly specialized evolutionary niche like naked mole rats or something, appearing to the casual observer to be completely unnecessary but ultimately responsible for propping up an entire ecosystem — but one thing we’re not is taken seriously.
Were we all to disappear overnight the effect might resonate throughout the universe and result in consequences dire and disastrous, but as that’s not likely to happen, we will go on in status quo as the redheaded stepchildren of the journalistic arts, enjoyed and snickered at but definitely not marriage material.
Even the most successful and best-loved of the breed seem faintly ashamed of their success, as if they’d made a killing in dildos or enriched plutonium. They know that what they do is silly at best and offensive at worst, and making a living at it is little better than stealing. Investigative journalism, now, that’s a horse of a different color. Ferreting out corruption, exposing charlatans, putting oneself in harm’s way in pursuit of the truth — that’s the true nuts.
Social reformers like Jacob Riis and Upton Sinclair, ripping the covers off of the seamy underbelly of human existence to ensure better lives for the less fortunate. War correspondents like Richard Harding Davis and Martha Gellhorn, putting themselves in the line of fire to bring us the straight dope. Great film critics like Pauline Kael or David Edelstein, keeping Hollywood honest and the moviegoing public informed. These are honorable, respectable professions. Dave Barry, though? Lewis Grizzard? Art Buchwald? Amusing, yes, but something to which one might aspire? Not a clear-thinking individual, surely.
My view is that humor columnists are simply unfit for anything else, not unlike someone born with an undeveloped twin growing out of his torso going to work for a circus sideshow, because what the hell else is he going to do? We do it because we are simply incapable of honest work and have figured out a way to capitalize on our sophomoric musings and hijack column-inches that might be better served as underwear ads or celebrity gossip.
Still and all, I conceived of a plan to dig deep beneath the surface of one of Mendocino’s most enduringly pesky social ills, the hordes of walking wounded plying the streets and occupying the jail cells and bedding down under the bridges. Not the tweakers sliming around and racking up felonies, like the one I saw on my way to an NA meeting this morning karate-chopping trees in the town square, but the determinedly drunk vagabonds splitting their time between Low Gap and the downtown streets, marinating in malt liquor and shuffling around in their fragrant, layered rags. I wanted to talk to these people, to hear and report their stories in an effort to humanize them for those who might consider them past redemption and unworthy of concern. I felt that they might yet have a story to tell, one that might be worth hearing. They weren’t born that way, surely. Something happened to them and I figure some of them were maybe, one time, as respectable as you and I — well, you, anyway. I may be well-groomed and nattily clad, but respectable? Not so much.
To this end I endeavored to hit the mean streets and seek out a subject upon which to practice my stab at meaningful work, and perhaps do a little good in the process. That, I believe, is the essence of real, responsible, memorable journalism — a desire to not just write for the sake of writing, to strive for cleverness as an end in itself, but a desire to effect change and be a crusader for truth.
I would like to point out at this time that the following account is in all ways factual and without embellishment of any kind. You may read it and assume it to be simply more of the usual tomfoolery, but I assure you it is 100% on the level, in keeping with my elevated aspirations to be a real, daily-grade, muckraking, ink-stained son of a bitch.
Before setting off on my mission, I thought I had better outfit myself appropriately in journalistic attire so as to be taken seriously, but the only thing I had that I thought shouted “writer” was an old bucket hat, which for some reason I associate with the trade. I considered a small spiral notebook to display in my shirt pocket but dismissed this as a pointless anachronism, as even the most destitute and bereft of street people carry a smartphone these days. I figured a professional demeanor would probably serve me best and resolved to carry myself in the manner of the giants of the tradition upon whose shoulders I now stood, peering out over the limitless expanse of social pathology and official malfeasance. I donned my hat, squared my shoulders, and strode confidently off into the big wide.
I decided to begin my search for a subject in the Pear Tree Center, where people of the sort I sought like to enjoy the shaded sidewalks, parking their carts and bindles and sitting up against the walls over by the Big 5. Where the wall takes a jog there is a corner that seems to be prime real estate, there being no commercial entrances nearby, and it’s almost always occupied by one or more of the traveling people. This day was no different, and I saw a tall gentleman with his back to me rummaging around in his shopping cart and grumbling incoherently. The cart was piled high with bags and boxes and adorned with two homemade flags representing unknown or perhaps fictional nations in the front, in the manner of a state vehicle. On the lower shelf, where kitty litter and charcoal briquettes generally reside, was a large stuffed dolphin.
Apparently sensing my presence, the fellow turned around and glared at me. He was tall, grayhaired, bearded, with clear light blue eyes that seemed to indicate a possible measure of sobriety, sanity, and intelligence. Definitely a potential interviewee. “How you doin’ today, my man?” I said, cheerily.
“How the fuck do you think I’m doing?” he returned crossly, and turned back around to his cart.
“I’m sorry to bother you, but I wonder if I could have a few minutes of your time,” I said.
“Man wants my time,” he said without turning around. “Time is money, right? Good thing for you I operate on the barter system.” He turned around, slowly. “I’ll give you one ass-whippin’ in exchange for your continued presence in my space,” he said, menacingly. “We got a deal?” He smiled broadly and put up his dukes old-style, like the Notre Dame mascot.
“Whoa there,” I said. “I mean you no harm, bro. I’m a writer! I’m just trying to get some interviews for a series I’m doing on uh, people of the, uh, people that, uh…”
“People? What kinda people? I ain’t no kinda people. I ain’t nothin’ but a certified head-buster.”
He turned back to his cart, reached inside, and came out with a flail, the spiked-ball-on-a-chain that most people mistakenly refer to as a mace. A mace has the business end fixed at the end of the handle while a flail allows for free-swinging, which my intended subject was now doing, and dangerously close to my head.
“Never mind,” I said, backpedaling rapidly. “Sorry to bother you, dog.”
“Oh, now I’m a dog? Ruff, ruff, motherfucker. Come on and get some!” He advanced on me, flail held high and whirring through the air. I ran toward Orchard, seriously rethinking my intention to become a serious journalist. As I put more distance between myself and peril, I heard him yelling after me.
“Come back! I got a story for you! Nosy bastard gets murdalized! You damn sissy! Come back here and take your lumps like a man!” and more of that sort.
Sissy I might be, but all the Pulitzers in the world aren’t enough for me to deal with that level of unfriendliness. I figured maybe I should be content with my lot as an observer on the inconsequential and amusing aspects of life, leaving the more serious subjects to those composed of sterner stuff than I. I may not ever be recognized for addressing social ills or exposing government rascals, but on the other hand, my brains will remain firmly ensconced in my skull and not dashed out by a flail-wielding street-demon.
THE MEASURE B ADVISORY COMMITTEE’S vice-chair is Willits physician Dr. Ace Barash who presided over the Committee’s June 27 meeting in the absence of Chairman and Sheriff Tom Allman. Barash was instrumental in organizing the opposition to the county’s privatized mental health services via Ortner Management Group a couple of years ago when the County belatedly decided that Ortner wasn’t providing much service for the something like $16 annual millions in public dollars he was being paid.
So you’d assume that Dr. Barash has an intense interest in seeing that millions of dollars of Measure B mental health facilities money is spent effectively. When the meeting was winding down after about an hour the subject of what to report to the Board of Supervisors arose and Dr. Barash correctly noted that “there’s not a lot of news or issues to report.”
Oddly, at the beginning of the meeting, the committee members spent a few minutes reading the recently approved “Needs Assessment” contract with consultant Lee Kemper, even though the contract was approved and made public two weeks earlier. Nobody asked why they didn’t read them before the meeting. The committee members fumbled through their individual copies for a while but couldn’t come up with any comments or questions even though the contract is substantially expanded (presumably written by Kemper himself) from the oversimplified language the Committee had suggested, but which was ignored in the final contract language.
They also spent a few minutes leafing through the strongly worded four-page “resolution” from the City of Willits asking that the City’s rules be followed and that the City be “at the table” for any proposed facilities in the City limits. Everyone agreed that Willits should be involved. One committee member noted that the “resolution” assumed that they were proceeding with a 32 bed PHF unit at the Old Howard Hospital when in fact they hadn’t come anywhere near even considering it (besides listening to the Hospital Foundation’s premature proposal). Nevertheless, nobody on the Committee suggested writing a formal response to the City Council making whatever reassurances that might pacify the irked City of Willits. For his part, Willits City Councilman Jerry Gonzales, who was present, didn’t ask for a written response either.
In a normal world, a formal detailed written resolution from a City Council would call for a formal response. It’s called “answering your mail.” But not in Mendo. The resolution will just hang out there “unresolved” with no response, much less assurance.
The only interesting observation that any committee member made came from Fort Bragg electrical contractor Mark Mertle who said that he’d conferred with the Hospitality Center Board (Fort Bragg) and they told him that the single most important thing Mendo needs for mental health is affordable housing. “It’s interesting,” Mertle said, “that lack of affordable housing is a mental health issue. But I guess they’re right.” Will Measure B address housing? Probably not as such.
Several committee members repeated previous questions about numbers and categories of mental health clients and were told, again, that available data would be provided later. (It’s always to be provided later in Mendo.)
County Mental Health Director Jenine Miller handed out a summary of all the hoops a client has to go through before their “treatment” is considered “reimbursable” by MediCal. Miller said that Mendo provides some services that are not reimburseable “through realignment funds,” but that sometimes even if the hoops are jumped through the State can retroactively declare the service unreimbursable.
So Dr. Barash was right: Not much news, not much done, not much to report. But at least they got nothing done in about an hour less than the two hours it usually takes them.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm not a snitch, but the boss oughta know that Skrag spends a lotta time staring at the boss's pet fish.”
THE CURRENT SUNSET MAGAZINE includes a feature called "Back to the Land," with photographs of, among others, our very own Kendra McEwen and Nacho Flores with a short piece of prose on the Scomeggna's Bucket Ranch up on Signal Ridge. Anderson Valley averages about a feature a month in outside publications, running a close second to the Mendocino-Fort Bragg area. Although Ukiah paid $25,000 to an ad agency to come up with the town slogan, "Far out, nearby," or something like that, our county seat remains far off the tourist path.
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ANOTHER BIG WIN for Mendocino County's fastest distance runner under the age of ten, male or female, Ahilmar Perez, age 6. Ahilmar took first place in the recent "Legend of the Redwoods" foot race. “It was a great run remembering the natives whom ran it years ago when no one else would take the challenge,” said Ahilmar’s father Julio Perez.
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FROM HUMCO'S KIEM TV: "A group of volunteers are creating partnerships to develop a tiny house village for the homeless. The group is called affordable homeless housing alternatives. Their mission? To bring people in the community a safe, warm, dry, and legal place to rest their heads and improve their lives."
GOOD FOR THEM. In lieu of local government action to get people housed, private initiative is probably the only way it will ever happen. Tiny houses were discussed by Mendo's supervisors, and of course all the candidates are all for low cost housing, but no supervisor and only one candidate, Pinches, has suggested a practical, doable idea for getting the houseless housed: per Pinches, three trailer parks on three parcels of vacant public land. Do I hear any objections? A chorus of County bureaucrats screams back, "Nope, no can do."
MARK MERTLE, a member of the Measure B Advisory Committee from Fort Bragg, said at the recent meeting of the Committee, that he'd been convinced that being housed is the most direct path to mental health. Yup, he's right, and wouldn't a portion of the County's $26 million annual mental health budget diverted from wherever it's privatized millions are presently being pissed away and invested in tiny houses or FEMA trailers be something our supervisors could accomplish? (No, probably not. They don't dare do anything without full authority of their CEO, the person they theoretically supervise and who they live in trembling fear of.)
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CALIBRE, a Scottish made and acted thriller on NetFlix about a couple of city boys who go hunting in the Highlands and.... well, I doubt Scotland's Tourist Board approved this one but it's very well done and plausibly realistic throughout. Recommended Viewing for sure.
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IT WAS NICE to see the Press Democrat acknowledge Kym Kemp of the SoHum blog, Redheaded Blackbelt as the origin of the now widespread story about the rogue Rohnert Park cop "interdicting" dope and cash on Mendocino County's stretch of Highway 101. A lot of that interdicted cash and dope is unaccounted for, and the cop primarily involved, Brendon "Jacey" Tatum, is whining about how unfair the accusations against him are: "For 15 years I put my life on the line. I was involved with two shootings and it’s stressful. I have kids and a wife and I just want to focus on my family and be a good dad.” Dude, you volunteered, and you've been handsomely compensated, on and off the books.
* * *
ROHNERT PARK seemed to be horning in on Mendocino County's dependably lucrative "interdiction" racket, and how it came to be that this Tatum character felt free to bust people on 101 near Hopland, well on the Mendo side of the county line, remains unknown, but it's doubtful he did it without a wink and a nod from his boss. Tatum was apparently turning in at least part of his booty to the town. Rohnert Park would seem to have a major prob with its command structure, confirming the old cliche about police departments being as honest as the person in charge of them.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
A few thoughts in regards to the story in the Press Democrat about the rogue Rohnert Park cop:
- Once an officer is on the Brady list, I think it may be time to reconsider that officer’s employment in the LE field.
- I believe that officers should stay within their jurisdiction except in case of emergency.
- Body cams should not be turned off at the whim of the officer. Said officer better have a compelling reason for turning off a body cam. Honest officers shouldn’t have a problem with this.
- Asset forfeiture needs a second look, especially in this day and age. As can be seen, the potential for abuse is great. I believe it has a time and place but we need to tighten up the rules on how it’s applied.
- I feel bad for the good officers of the Rohnert Park DPS. There are good officers there that are being tainted by some shady dealings.
- Tatum said he’s concerned about his kids and his wife. That concern may be increased while he does prison time.
He’ll be lucky if he’s not brought up on charges.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 8, 2018
MANUEL FREASE, Covelo. DUI-alcohol/drugs, county parole violation.
JACK HAYWARD III, Boonville/Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ANDREW KARST, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, criminal threats.
KELLY MADEN, Oregon City, Oregon/Fort Bragg. Failure to register as sex offender, resisting.
MIGUEL MARIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JOHNNY SHIELDS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
DEVAN TOMPKINS, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse, paraphernalia, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
TRUMP: LOVE HIM OR LEAVE
There's a new poll out that says only 47% of Americans feel like real true Americans. I have an answer for that. If they don't like America the 53% who don't like it can get the hell out and go to Pakistan or Africa or Russia or Iraq or somewhere else. Just get away from here. Leave America if you don't like it. All these liberals and their liberal Congresspeople and lawmakers who are trying to encourage people to jump on staff members of the Trump administration or even people who are pro-Trump, I have an answer for that too: I love Donald Trump. I think he's one of the best if not the best president we've ever had and I guarantee you, I promise you that if you people want to jump on somebody, jump on me. Okay? Just go for it. See what happens. I might be the only one in the county sticking up for Donald Trump, but I'm sticking up for him. All you SOBs out there who don't like it, do something about it. Okay? We have to get a grip on what's going on around here. We should make it a federal offense for anyone to do anything treacherous or terroristic against anybody who wants to believe in something like that. So take it or leave it.
You filthy anti-American liberals have had 24 years to get yourselves embedded in our society ever since Ronald Reagan. Now you are facing a real president, a real man, and he is going to change the way that things to the way they should be.. He will get rid of a lot of you anti-American people and I can't wait to see the end of this current term because he will be elected for another term and then he's going to really fix things!
Liberals are the ones who developed this political correctness. They did that so they can do whatever they want and get away with it and conservative people cannot. That's why all these people who demonstrate and all that stuff never get put in jail. They get a little balling out and that's the end of it. So I recommend to all you conservative people out there, that instead of hiding in the brush and letting these filthy bastards get away with whatever they want, stand up for yourselves and your country and show that 53% who supposedly don't like America what can happen when 47% like it. Okay? I'm sick and tired of hearing about these protests that those filthy antifa pigs break-in on people's demonstrations. I want to see some conservatives break in on them for a change. It's time that we quit running away from them and started running after them.
God bless Donald Trump.
WHAT GOOD ARE THE LAWS where money is King,
and the poor are always wrong,
and even scoffers, who mock the times,
will sell the truth for a song?
The courts are an auction, where justice is sold.
The Judge who presides bangs a gavel of gold.
—Gaius Petronius (Satyricon c.a. 57A.D.)
DWIGHT CLARK buried near 'The Catch' goal post at Eddie DeBartolo's Montana ranch
TWO HUNDRED METERS AWAY, facing the Marine trenches, there was an NVA sniper with a .50-caliber machine gun who shot at the Marines from a tiny spider hole. During the day he fired at anything that rose above the sandbags, and at night he fired at any lights he could see. You could see him clearly from the trench, and if you were looking through the scope of a Marine's sniper's rifle you could even see his face. The Marines fired on his position with mortars and recoilless rifles, and he would drop into his hole and wait. Gunships fired rockets at him, and when they were through he would come up again and fire. Finally, napalm was called in, and for ten minutes the air above the spider hole was black and orange from the strike, while the ground around it was galvanized clean of every living thing. When all of it cleared, the sniper popped up and fired off a single round, and the Marines in the trenches cheered. They called him Luke the Gook, and after that no one wanted anything to happen to him.
— Michael Herr, Dispatches
ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS to realize when one is young is that all the awful odds and ends taking place round one are, in fact, the process of living.
— Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time
by Bruce Brady
I can't from this easy chair recall the man's name from 1963, but for some reason I remember that he was hispanic, and that he often wore a beret. As his name is of no importance to the scintillating narrative which is about to unfold before you, I will call him Mr. Valdez and get on with it. Mr. Valdez taught Geology I at American River Junior College, where I was a sophomore about to transfer to the University of California in the Fall. Somewhere near the end of the term, we spent a Saturday on a field trip to see “places of geological interest” within reasonable driving distance from Sacramento.
I remember Cache Creek Canyon, which at the time was new to me, best. The state highway follows the creek's path for miles as it twists and turns to follow its complicated way between Clear Lake and the Great Valley by way of the relative calm of the Sacramento River. The exposed rock which marks its remarkable canyon are twisted and contorted sometimes to vertical. In general, these rocks make up what geologists term “the coastal melange.” It's what happens to whatever happens to be on the surface as continental plates collide. It's sort of like the part that remains on your teeth after you scrape the artichoke. In geology talk, it's what remains of the Pacific tectonic plate as it dives under that composing rock that covers much of North America, at pretty much the rate at which your fingernails grow. At the time of our field trip, this kind of science was just beginning to be manifested, mostly due to huge technological leaps. Do not (at your peril) lose sight of the fact that I majored in English, and that my knowledge and understanding here is necessarily limited. Come to think of it, the same could in fact be said of most things that aren't of the, um, literary canon.
The most dramatic visual reminder of this state of affairs may be drawn as an unsteady north-south line one or two hundred miles from coast. It's most remerkable places are called Lassen, Shasta, Mazama, Hood, St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Olympia. Mostly, they are made of what's left of the Pacific plate after being driven downward maybe seventy-five miles and melted. Eventually, a volume equal to what's melted finds an out, and even more eventually, national parks sprout.
Somewhere in the vastness that is Annals of a Former Time, John McPhee comments that every syllable of his door-stopper book may be summarized in the simple statement that the summit of Mt. Everest is made of marine limestone. Recent oceanographic research of submarine canyons sixty miles or so offshore of the West Coast from Vancouver Island to Northern California has allowed an increasingly accurate portrait of the past, confirmed by Native American legends and tales of inexplicable tsunamis in Japan, as well as increasingly accurate predictions that also grow in probability as the months and years pass without cataclysm. It is now known, for example, that the last cataclysm occurred at about nine o'clock in the evening of January 26, 1700. Undersea evidence going back perhaps millions of years suggests virtual certainty, eventually. Much writing aimed at the “popular” audience aims to make this unfolding story of millenia after eon after epoch into general knowledge.
I certainly do not wish in any way to make light of the situation in which we find ourselves as I write here at the beginning of July, 2018. An hour listening to any credible news program, CNN, BBC, NPR, Pacifica, et al, resembles an equal time spent in some psychedelic chamber of horrors. It is the broadcast version of a mega-tsunami. Perhaps the most arrogant, stupid, and personally offensive man I have ever imagined, appears to be doing his level damndest to destroy most of what I have ever valued (except, perhaps, my love for WB Yeats, although this may be due only to the fact that he has probably never heard of him).
Possessing at least a general understanding of the relentless subducting of the Pacific Plate a few dozen miles beneath one's chair can provide something of an antidote to the mental and moral landfill which festers in the here and now. It is currently about ten-thirty in the morning, and I turned on CNN for a sense of what's happening now-ish as I brew the first of the day's coffees and get ready to sit down and write. Wolf is replaced by someone else on this Independence Day. His replacement informs us that the invasion of Venezuela has been discussed “at the highest levels” in the White House. Subduction helps.
Years ago, I got very worked up about the fact that the English Department at Laytonville High was expected to operate on a budget a small fraction the size of the relative bazillions presented to the P.E. Department and the athletic teams. The real question of what in hell was going on lay behind this. What made the exercise habits of local teens worth these huge investments of time and over half of the district's “discretionary” income?
I think it is because athletics are a visible, crowd-pleasing way to make the world, at least for a little while, make sense, or at the very least, seem to. At least more sense than sudden mega-thrust subduction earthquakes. The lurking unavoidable is, of course, that the event -- and its effect -- is emphemeral. A baseball game, for example lasts usually around three hours.
Case in point: Invading Venezuela does not make sense; scoring the winning run by hitting the ball over the left-field fence makes perfect sense. As everyone files out of the stadium, no one is confused about who won or who lost, and almost never is there even an argument. Of course the world descends again, often before regaining the parking lot, but meanwhile, the illusion is a considerable attraction.
Although a clinching argument escapes me, I believe that, in some ways both important and defining, America is beyond understanding without accounting for the role of sports -- that's sport in the form of a friendly game of ping-pong with Grandpa all the way to a 12-2 loss in the final game of the World Series with 47,000 in the stadium and tens of millions across the country and, thanks to the wonders of technology (and the military) much of the geographical world as well.
Speaking only from personal, almost daily, experience, somewhere on the aftergame trek to the car, huddled with thousands of others out on the ocean of blacktop, the world descends again, often with the prefatory observation early in the walking that, for the most part, the past few decades seem to have bled most color out of cars. Until very recently, most cars were shades of black or white or silver. From this, with a subtle-but-irresistible and saturating thoroughness, it all descends again.
I find myself hesitant here. Anything resembling a list could easily grow to pages, but for reasons of resisting any conceivable claims to complete knowledge (not to mention utter pointlessness), nothing like a list will ensue here.
Yesterday afternoon, I forced myself to undergo the national news on MSNBC for about two hours. I did that yesterday because I expected to be working on this today. Making notes as I listened, I of course came up with a list of subjects covered. None of them are small things, the national affairs equivalent of a persistent squeak in the rocker when you get it just… so. These are more the equivalent of a 747 having just crashed into the lot next door. Racism, the destruction of what used to be called “truth,” the meaning of the American Dream. The list, arbitrarily ended at two hours of listening, goes on for a bit over half a page.
Back when I was a high school English teacher, I often conceived of seminar and writing assignments as framing a theme: Is Nature the Enemy? How Does the Twentieth-Century Mirror the Nineteenth? What Is the American Dream and How Is It Expressed? Etc. These are obviously not tidy issues, and their ramifications go a large way toward defining just what the hell it means in the end to be an American. Thinking about these things, and motivating young people to think about these things, was the stuff of my teaching life. So it is rather a cataclysmic challenge to one's very notions of being and reality to see them being beaten about the head and shoulders, gang-raped, and left gasping in the dust, especially when brought about by the ill-tempered ravings of an apparent madman who pretends to know everything and never does anything wrong.
Not least of the challenges in dealing with it is the staring fact that the election of this incompetent fool happened because millions of people voted for him, and a significant number still do, a fact which stands as a mute and rather huge condemnation of American education. How people can roam free (and even sign their own checks unsupervised) as they sneer at climate change, dismiss concern for the First Amendment, and apparently swallow the racist and dangerous drivel coming daily, could hardly have happened if they had truly learned what we were supposedly teaching.
All this is -- to say the least and state the obvious -- disconcerting. Most who came into adulthood imagining that the world makes at least some broad form of sense find it crazy-making. Suicide, opiate addiction, NRA membership numbers, and random shootings are up nationwide. A couple of years ago, I used a Janis Joplin memorial stamp to mail my ballot to legalize marijuana. With the best will in the world, some measured escape is necessary, at least for me.
Taking a short break here from this heretofore-private existential crisis by watching the marine layer dissolve above Eugene, it occurs to me that a subtle-but-powerful component of American culture is the fundamental belief that it is somehow possible to live a life without suffering. Relief awaits in the form of the wildly inventive intricacies of Chinese medicine, a cruise to Cancun, a new Lexus, a few pills, or a night with Freddie from the bowling alley. This is emmpatically not one of those oft-followed nostrums. This ramble does not complete the sentence that begins, “All you need to do is…”
For me, it all comes, in a way, to knowing something. In the end, it probably does not matter much whether that something is the art of preserving old manuscripts or fiberglassing the fender on that ’41 Ford. It's a way among many of understanding. For me, this something is that fact and reason define and make sense of my life on earth. Put that way, it doesn't sound like much, but it pretty much defines my awareness of the world I witness. When the world I witness has me living in a country that locks small children in cages and acts as though it's OK to sneer at anyone not agreeing with its lunatic leader, taking a daily break where suddenly the fact that the batter bats .342 with a runner on third is important is a good and a necessary thing. Contemplating the inexorable building of mountains the fraction of a fingernail at a time in the place where one sits is another.
Finally (and here comes the RKO ending), we can only say, “Thank you.”
TAKE A SELFIE with God and I'll resign.
—Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines