Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Essays”

Banker Dunham as Metaphor

Banker Norman Clow takes a bit of umbrage at Part I of “Fort Bragg Fires” where the AVA outlined Savings Bank Manager Bill Dunham's predatory…


When I worked for the American Petroleum Institute (the AMA of Big Oil) I was asked to evaluate a “documentary” on the smog in Los…

Who Burned Fort Bragg & Why (Part 4)

Superior Janitorial's distinctive red van was a familiar sight in late night Fort Bragg. Peter Durigan, Superior's owner, went to work about midnight with his wife Irene, formerly Irene Specie. The two Durigans were assisted by a series of young people who helped the couple sweep, mop, scrub, and tidy up businesses as various as several restaurants and bars, both branches of the Savings Bank of Mendocino in Mendocino and Fort Bragg, and even the Pacific Bell Telephone facility in downtown Fort Bragg.

Millennium Fever

A transcript of the KZYX radio show "Two Girls on the World" which aired on February 3, 1999. Clarissa Shaeffer: We have been talking about…

The City of Fort Bragg is Bankrupt

Reading the City of Fort Bragg’s annual budget package each June for the past seven years has been like trying to divine meaning from goat…

Willy Loman As Arsonist (Part 3)

Vince Sisco began his working life in Stockton where he and other members of his family ran bars and restaurants, most famously in the old Stockton Hotel. He enjoyed a certain success in the business early on and, by 1970 when he arrived in Mendocino County, Sisco was in his early 40's. He soon earned a reputation for deals whose wheels came off.

Fort Bragg Burned In More Ways Than One (Part 2)

Affinito family roots run deep here in Pittsburg, not the east coast steel town, but Pittsburg, California, a sprawling Contra Costa County community where the…

National Notes

Many people go through life rehearsing a role they feel that the fates have in store for them, and I've long thought that Christopher Hitchens has been asking himself for years how it would feel to plant the Judas kiss

The Queen of Coyote Valley

Nobody really gives a damn about the Indians. They’re invisible until some tumultuous event like the 1995 shootings in Round Valley gets every one tut-tutting…

The Fort Bragg Fires (Part 1)

Early in the morning of September 20th, 1987, three brazen Fort Bragg arson fires destroyed the Ten Mile Justice Court, the adjacent Fort Bragg Library and, just down Main Street, the venerable Piedmont Hotel and restaurant. No one was ever prosecuted. And these three blazes, spectacular and as disheartening as they were, were only three in a series of arsons-for-profit that plagued Fort Bragg in the 1980s. We're re-posting the five-part series on these unprecedented Mendocino County events as they appeared beginning in February of 1999. This first installment can be confusing; essentially, it describes the startling financial machinations, and related matters, orchestrated by a rogue loan officer employed by the Savings Bank of Mendocino in their Fort Bragg branch office.

Synanon Foundation Inc.

We lived in a building called the Delmar Club. The Delmar Club sits at the base of Santa Monica Boulevard. It was once a private beach club boasting an all white clientele including Ronald Reagan. No Jews at the Delmar Club.