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Posts published in “Essays”

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.

Guns, Butter and Inner Preparedness

Mendoland is gearing up for Y2K, stockpiling rice right along with apocalyptic homilies in a sort of mounting purplish frenzy. KZYX is abuzz with end-of-the-world…

The Week that Was

Five years ago this Christmas, an elderly aunt of mine from a little town in Illinois came out to Boonville for a visit. Like lots…

Will Affinito Get Away With It?

Dominic Affinito says he didn’t punch Fort Bragg City Councilman-elect Dan Gjerde repeatedly in the back and threaten to kill him Thursday, November 12th in…

Jim Jones

Didn’t know the man myself, but by the time I arrived in Mendocino County in 1970, the Rev was already a local big shot. He…

Private Ryan, Manila, 1945

I’ve decided that the very least I can do is put you wise on how us warriors are making out in the far reaches of…