Off the Record (April 24, 2019)

A LITTLE BEFORE 8am the morning of March 27th, David Hayden pulled out of a Ukiah hotel parking lot. With him in the passenger seat was Mrs. Hayden and the couple's six-year-old daughter. The Haydens are 14-year residents of Covelo where they enjoy a reputation as good citizens and solid parents. They were in Ukiah for a MediCal meeting at precisely 8am, which is why they'd stayed overnight in the Ukiah hotel rather than drive from their home in distant Covelo. Applicants who miss appointments must come back another day. 

NEAR THEIR HOTEL, Hayden was pulled over by a Ukiah police officer because the directional signal on Hayden's car did not work. Hayden was subsequently arrested for driving on a DUI-suspended license, Mrs. Hayden arrested because the officer found doctor's prescribed Xanax in her purse. 

HAYDEN CALLED his father to come and get the little girl. Dad says he was on the way, but before he arrived CPS had taken the child. CPS also dispatched a team to Covelo to take the Haydens' 14-year-old daughter out of her 8th grade class, telling her to come along if she wanted to see her little sister. Mr. Hayden was booked into the County Jail and released three days later on his own recognizance, meaning he could have been cited and released as Mrs. Hayden had been on the same day of her arrest. By sundown, the Hayden family consisted of Mr. Hayden in jail, his two daughters gone, Mrs. Hayden missing her husband and her children.

CPS told the Haydens they would inspect the Haydens' home "and then we'll talk about you getting your children back." The Haydens passed inspection by Mendocino County's family and children experts, but a month later they still do not have custody of their children and no one will talk to them about when they are likely to get them back.

IN JUDGE MOORMAN'S COURTROOM the Haydens learned that it was up to CPS "discretion" as to when and how the family would be re-united. Unless CPS has changed lately, most, if not all, their staffers are single people who have never raised children. 

MEANWHILE, the Haydens were told that their six-year-old had to be vaccinated. Although they are anti-vaxxers, the Haydens agreed, but insisted that their child be vaccinated at the Covelo clinic where she felt comfortable. When the child appeared, the Haydens say their little girl was so sick, so dehydrated from a flu or whatever it was, that the vaccination had to be postponed. The Haydens have no idea where their youngest child is being held, but their 14-year-old has been placed with a 68-year-old woman who, reinforced by CPS, wants to enroll the girl in a school far from her home in Covelo, the assumption apparently being that the kid is never coming back to her parents. 

THE HAYDENS' CAR was impounded at the time of their arrest. To retrieve it from the impound lot in Ukiah Mr. Hayden would have to pay $1,400. "I don't have the money," he says, "so I just left it there and bought another car." 

AS LONG-TIME RESIDENTS of Covelo, the Haydens have had no difficulties in getting area officials to write letters on their behalf to the court. Mr. Hayden promised us he'd tell us when he got his confiscated children back. 

UPDATE: A little before 7pm Monday night, Mr. Hayden wrote: “Thank everyone that prayed for my grandaughters to be returned unharmed, god can do anything if you ask and then butt out. Praise god, they are home.”

MEASURE B represents a slight bump in the Mendo sales tax aimed at providing a local facility for the care and maybe even rehab of our in-county mentally ill. Sheriff Allman almost singlehandedly got the measure passed. An "advisory" committee of 12 persons, the twelfth a kind of secretary, was appointed to get 'er done. And then? More than a year-and-a-half of gridlock. 

LAZ OF WILLITS COMMENTS: "Getting eleven people to agree on anything is near impossible. Then add the element that at least half of them are beholden to the County aka, the CEO. The Sheriff was looking for a quick fix for his department issues and figured ole Howard was a slam dunk for him. He could manipulate it through the process and have a place up and running within a couple of years. Let’s see, how’d that work out for you? 16 months in and the committee is hiring someone to tell them what to do next, unbelievable Mendo, check that, yes it is believable. The previous poster is right, disband the damn committee and move on. Get ahead of the issues instead of using the “lock’m up” mentality as James [Marmon] says. Personally, I don’t think they’ll ever fix what’s wrong. There are too many players and too little money to do what everyone wants, let alone needs. Even if you build it, how you going to staff it…? There’s not enough money to even hire a psychiatrist, even if they could get one to come here, which they can’t."

I THINK IT'S UNFAIR to impugn the Sheriff's Measure B motives. Like everyone else, he sees who's out there while he and the County's law enforcers spend large amounts of time dealing with the walking wounded. We all want people unable or unwilling to care for themselves to be off the streets and into mandatory, benign care, hence Measure B's passage by the always difficult to achieve two-thirds approval required for tax increases. There's nothing humane about letting people drink and drug themselves to death, or allowing the mentally ill to wander around uncared for, but the very mention of compulsory treatment or sequestration here come the phonies, the loudest of them drawing fat public money, screaming stuff like, "The homeless have rights, too." Yes, but we're not talking about the legit homeless, who are likely to stay that way and grow in numbers given the present social-economic arrangements, we're talking about public suicides and free range nut cases, the extremely homeless.

BEFORE AMERICA lost its way (early June in ’67), drunks and miscellaneous incompetents, versions of whom are with us today in not only ever greater numbers but are ever more florid, were court-ordered to county farms, and every county had one, even this county out at Bush and Low Gap, Ukiah. And a state hospital out at Talmage for the more intractable cases. But now, to even do the simplest good for people who have lost their way, it's all just complicated as hell, and we need a whole bunch of specially trained people to.... drug the unmanageable into submission and keep them that way. Our dozen or so intractables are presently hauled to distant lock-up facilities where a psychiatrist and his Nurse Racheds juggle their meds and send them back to Mendo to do it all over again. If these dozen or so of the doomed could stay here it would not only save the county lots of money, some of them, with family monitoring their "treatment," might even be restored to more or less normal functioning. I thought that was the original idea of Measure B, but as soon as I saw the composition of the oversight committee I knew it would never happen in the way intended.

I AGREE with its critics that the Measure B oversight committee is not only overly-large with too many self-interested, professional doers of good sitting on it, but these entrenched interests, who have nothing else to do but go to meetings, are well on their way to sabbing Measure B, and the numbers of drop-fall drunks, career dopers and old fashioned bums busily destroying public morale and fouling public spaces as they go, steadily increase. Maybe we need a second, more candid Measure B, this one aimed at simply using the funds raised to expand the County Jail's psych wing to house the non-criminally charged mentally ill. And the habitual drunks and dope heads. And the transient lurks who refuse to move on because the helping pros give them enough to keep them drunk, doped and lurking. 

AS THE MAJOR POINTED OUT early on in the now hamstrung process, the County could have rented or bought a mobile PHF with four or eight beds and set it up immediately on the Orchard Street property they already own and get it going. This would have been the shortest path to meeting the stringent seismic requirements imposed on such facilities. Then, in the unlikely event that they got a brick and mortar PHF, the Measure B Gang could return the leased unit or move a purchased unit to the Coast where such a (smaller) facility is already sorely needed as a holding or feeder facility for the Coast versions of the intractables. 

AS IT IS, the project has been turned over to the CEO’s office where it will be bumbled and mumbled and meeting-ed and never see final approval while the crisis units get built (without seismic requirements) in the meantime. By the time they get around to figuring out anything about the PHF, the Measure B funds are likely to be overcommitted to the crisis stuff and the more expensive PHF (even a small eight bed PHF) will be left to beg for what few funds remain. So the “services” people will get their way by default, not that it will do any noticeable good for anyone but them. And the Sheriff and the emergency rooms, which were supposed to be the primary beneficiaries of Measure B will be left to deal ad hoc with the chronic nuts, drunks and druggies like they always have. 

AN INTERESTING PIECE in the Independent Coast Observer describes how MendoNoma, as the paper describes the South Coast of Mendocino County where it spills into northwestern SoCo, about the 2020 Census. "The federal government will give the state of California $2,000 for each person counted over the next ten years...."

MENDO uses the money thus kicked back to support all kinds of good stuff, including education, unemployment insurance, highways, failed, featherbedding mental health programs and so on. But here's the rub: Mendo is under-counted. "According to Julie Beardsley, a senior public health analyst in charge of the County's census preparations, 'We have people in Mendocino County who have spent decades avoiding the government; the Census is an opportunity to bring them back into civic engagement’."

UH, excuse me Ms. Beardsley, what makes you think people who have dedicated themselves to avoiding government all their lives desire "civic engagement"? In 2010, according to Ms. B, "four census tracts" alone failed to return damn near half their Census questionnaires. 

GUESS which four tracts? Think Laytonville, Spy Rock, Bell Springs, Covelo, way the hell out the Mina Road, and all points east and west and you think correctly. These anarchists, these slackers, these armed and dangerous hill muffins, these estimated 11,319 misanthropes who dare turn their anti-social backs on civic engagement, have cost Mendocino County an estimated $226 million since 2010.

AND GET THIS. "The homeless will be represented by community-based organizations that work with them," and how's that for a grand opportunity for stat-padding, better even than the annual homeless count the doers of good (for themselves) conduct every couple of years in the pre-dawn hours in Willits, Fort Bragg and Ukiah. 

I ALWAYS stopped in at The Book Store in Fort Bragg whenever I was in town, by far the all-round most coherent and interesting place in Mendocino County with Covelo running a close second. I was startled, then saddened, to learn that Jennifer had died. A book reader herself of the serious type, Jennifer always had an interesting, varied selection nicely organized in her Redwood Avenue store. Best of all, The Book Store was a used book store. Nothing against new books other than they're ugly, badly made and radically over-priced, and walking into a new books bookstore is like stepping into a jelly bean factory. All those garish, un-artful covers, not to mention the mostly dross between the covers. And Jennifer, a droll observer of the Mendo scene, always had interesting observations she shared with the simpatico, of which I felt privileged to be one. She retired from the store about ten years ago, and according to her obituary, died unexpectedly following a surgery. Fort Bragg seems a poorer place without Jennifer and her wonderful little book store.

HERE'S THE LEDE (newspaper code for lead) in a Washington Post last week: "The far left's frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the rise, as liberal advocates and lawmakers fume that she hasn't done enough to defend freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from attacks by President Donald Trump and other Republicans and has undermined their policies and leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.”

THE FAR LEFT? As in going, going, gone? "Far left" is code for any politician to the left of the turgid Biden-Pelosi Axis. Cortez and Omar are indeed to the left of the Democratic Party's geriatric mainstream, but remain to the right of Roosevelt's New Deal, which was reform not revolutionary. The "far left," can't be precisely defined because it can mean anything from Lenin's Bolsheviks to the IWW which, by the way, hated communists who the IWW viewed as bureaucratic and conservative. The Wobblies were the most radical political organization of any size ever produced in this country, and mos def in the American tradition of Don’t Tread On Me And People Like Me. The communists, as a friend always says, "were the ultimate liberals." (And there's like six of them left in the country, five since Mike Sweeney left for New Zealand.) But "far left,” as applied to Cortez, Omar, Bernie, and Liz, means nothing other than code for "These people scare our rich owners and oligarchical padrones because they will tax our surplus millions to pay for programs that help large numbers of Americans."

SO MANY areas of San Francisco are fouled by free range defecators, the city that used to know how has hired a five-person poop patrol, each paid $184,00 salary and perks, working out to almost $32 per turd, to do nothing but stool removal, according to the Chron. "And that’s not including the costs in trucks, fuel, and equipment such as the steam cleaning unit." And despite annual expenditures approaching $340 annual millions aimed at beating back homelessness in The City, there are more people living on the streets than ever.

FORMER SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG and Sara Stark have bought a home at 32386 Wilson Creek Road, Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424.

SNITCH LETTERS. Much as we enjoy anon communications describing the sexual hijinks of Mendo's Mighty, we can't publish them unless the author identifies him or herself to us. Please accept this assurance: Among our countless sins no one can say we've ever betrayed a source.

HOW COME you never hear opposing lawyers around here refer to each other as "my learned colleague…?" Oh. Well. Gee. I see. Never thought of it that way.

WAITING FOR THE BIG ONE. All media get a lot of mileage out of earthquake reports, dribbling out the small ones as they occur almost daily, and following up with monthly features on the History of Big Ones. When a 4.1 quake hit near The Geysers last week, many of us quake-anticipators checked our ammo stashes just in case this little one was a harbinger of ’06, self-protection units probably being more necessary to survival in the chaotic aftermath than potable water and stockpiled cans of Progresso out in the garage. 

THE USGS reported more than 360 earthquakes in The Geysers area within the past three weeks, though most were recorded at less than a magnitude 3.0. There's always been a presumption that capping The Geysers for energy production has caused the quakes at The Geysers, but there's also steady movement where the tectonic plates move, one north, one south, deep in the Pacific off Petrolia. Some experts say all this movement relieves stress built up along fault lines, other experts say the increase in movement is like an archer drawing back his bow until… 

MARC REISNER'S careful and fully informed earthquake book is the best scenario out there about what will happen to the Bay Area when the Big One hits: "A Dangerous Place: California's Unsettling Fate." Many of you will remember Reisner's seminal water study called “Cadillac Desert.”

DEPARTMENT of unintentional hilarity from the eternal journalo-fount of hilarity, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "Chris Coursey, the former Santa Rosa mayor, plans to run for the seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors held by Supervisor Shirlee Zane, setting up a battle of political heavyweights that is likely to be the most expensive and intriguing local race on the March 3 ballot."

HEAVYWEIGHTS? COURSEY was for years a Press Democrat writer and columnist whose prose Tommy Wayne Kramer once aptly described as, "If oatmeal could write…" With an unerring instinct for failed projects, Coursey subsequently became spokesman for the SMART train and then mayor of Santa Rosa. Zane is a member of long standing in the Northcoast's oppressive Democratic Party apparatus who of course support her re-election as a SoCo supervisor. Even if Coursey is able to beat his former girlfriend it would be a political lateral move, tat for tit so to speak.

AS THE DEMOCRATS spend all their time in futile attempts to bring down The Orange Monster, out where the rest of us live, homelessness and a general despair grow, roads and bridges crumble, people die because they can't afford their insulin, and the ultra-rich get more and more tax breaks, but here's our Congressman talking to KC Meadows of the Ukiah Daily Journal: "To that end, he [Huffman] says there’s probably no one better positioned to help Democrats reach out than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who he believes is 're-proving why she’s one of the most important figures in US history.' He says contrary to some interpretations, he does not believe Pelosi has taken impeachment off the table for Trump, but has only said that unless there are clear facts, she doesn’t recommend it. But she is not 'pulling her punches and going soft on Trump,' and Huffman says that shows she is more than ready to fight his administration. Personally, he said it would take him seconds to vote for impeachment."

THE LOVE THAT HAS NO NAME? A reader wonders: "Are John McCowen and Alicia Littletree Bales romantically involved? At the last two BOS meetings, it seemed obvious with this CAAC business. I know that for years John was pursuing Blank de Blank (without success). Now suddenly John is creating a cushy job for Alicia. Because it's not a Civil Service job, just a contractor's position, Alicia won't have to endure a competitive hiring process. John can just put his new girlfriend in the job."

SO FAR as we are aware, and as per the most recent Supe's meeting, this purely symbolic advisory committee remains in the planning stages. We'd be surprised if McCowen dared appoint any of the Littletree Brigade to a publicly-funded position, but as we often note, It's Mendo, Jake, where history starts all over again every day, and you are what you say you are.

McCOWEN, a Ukiah rentier in addition to his lushly compensated Supervisor's job, donates free space to the County's irrelevant "activists" at the Mendocino Environment Center at 106 Standley across the street from the County Courthouse. McCowen was once an Earth First!er and 106 was home to an array of dubious persons and activities during the Redwood Summer period, among them Mike Sweeney and the late Judi Bari, and among the dubious activities therein, imo, at least one pipe bomb was in transit and, as fact, one replica pipe bomb Sweeney (!) had built to emulate the original he blew up his ex-wife with. Interested readers, on the off chance there are any, can read Steve Talbot's revelations on the adventures hatched at 106 West Standley on the ava's website.

THE DA WANTS A DRONE

(No reason given)

Consent Agenda Item 4j) on Tuesday, April 23, Supervisors Agenda: Approval of Purchase of Advexure Aerial Drone in the Amount of $26,761.04 with an Equal Share of Cost between California State Association of Counties Excess Insurance Authority Subsidy Fund and DA Asset Forfeiture Fund 2110-760220; Approval of Associated Appropriation Transfer to District Attorney Budget Unit 2070 Revenue Accounts, Line Items 823310 in the Amount of $13,380.52 and 826390 in the Amount of $13,380.52, and to Line Item 864370 in the Amount of $26,761.04; and Addition of Item to County’s List of Fixed Assets 

 ACCORDING TO THE ADVEXURE DRONE WEBSITE: “The DJI Matrice 200 Series drones are designed with law enforcement in mind, providing top-of-the-line imaging technology in an ultra-portable package” for “suspect search, crime scene mapping, traffic collision mapping, search warrants or any other mission…”

 ANOTHER READER WRITES: "AVA: I want to run this by you because I know you will tell me if I'm wrong and not agree with me just because we know each other. I'm having a real problem understanding why the City is so hell bent on promoting drugs (marijuana) and alcohol as a reason to visit Fort Bragg. After reading the Fort Bragg Comprehensive Gang Assessment Executive Summary, I am even more confused why a City would promote drugs and alcohol. In the summary (which I believe was completed in 2011) risk factors including drugs and alcohol are pointed out more than once. This is right out of the assessment. 'Our Assessment found youth growing up in the Fort Bragg community are faced with a disproportionately high number of risk factors for gang involvement. Risk factors for gang involvement can be divided into five categories with premature consumption of drugs and alcohol at the top of the list. 

ED REPLY: I agree with you. Given FB's unsavory rep for drugs all the way back to the famous Life mag story on the amphetamine epidemic in FB in '54 or so, and the many negatives associated with booze and dope, you'd think the town mothers and fathers would be wise to emphasize Fort Bragg's real charms which, in my opinion, are considerable and unique to it. Wine and dope? Ho hum. And definitely not good for the young, as FB's school expulsion stats make clear. It's an established medical fact that marijuana often causes teen schizophrenia, and sloth and general indiscipline among chronological adults, a reality the Dope As Miracle Cure brigades seldom mention, or mention as a pro forma, "Not recommended for children." I could probably name fifty Boonville kids who terminally screwed themselves up via premature, heavy use of marijuana. Anyway, I always recommend Fort Bragg to visitors for the unique charms of its Cannery Row-like harbor, its Botanical Gardens, its miles of accessible sea and sand, its affordable accommodations, its interesting array of shops, its uncrowdedness. For the City of Fort Bragg to include booze and dope as among its attractions, both of which are available everywhere else on the Northcoast, definitely seems wrongheaded.

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] Look at how we’ve lived our lives. How many lies are we fed as if they’re the unalterable truth? How many of these lies don’t even pass a cursory logic-test or eyeball-test, yet, to get and keep gainful employment and societal acceptance, you have to talk and act as if you believe, as if what you’re told and what everyone else seems to believe is actually real. It’s not just people living in western societies that are required to imbibe and swallow and smile. The USSR and its eastern bloc allies fell under the weight of their own bullshit, the yawning chasm between official lies and the day-to-day reality of life a joke, the only item never in short supply being vodka, staying drunk the only way to cope with the necessary double-think. Come night-time, in the privacy of their own abodes, away from nonsense-spewing commissars and the ever present threat of informants, guys drank until they fell off their chair. Well, that’s history and we’re not good at taking the lessons of history, least of all the parasitic ruling class, who, without fail, think that they’re special, that history is dull and doesn’t apply to them. Well, history is about people and how they behave, and as far as I can see, human nature hasn’t changed all that much in ten thousand years, at least since folks settled down and started cultivating and raising pigs and chickens. If they don’t take the lessons of history, that’s more their problem than ours, because they might learn and forestall what’s happened to every regime now covered under a mound of desert sand.

[2] If anyone had doubts about so-called higher education, they were amply confirmed by the admissions bribery scam, crotch-fruit of Hollywood degenerates getting preference from eyes wide-shut universities, themselves blind to the most ludicrous misrepresentations, and not just any universities but the world’s most – cough – illustrious. Day-by-day, week-by-week, with favored treatment for the addled, coddled, unqualified offspring of the donor class, with openly racist admissions policies disqualifying high-achieving Asians with the excuse of inadequately formed personalities, these institutions disqualify themselves. Dishonesty is nothing new, it’s well-established in the human repertoire of behaviors. But there comes a point where dishonesty becomes the default societal mode, where to survive you have to be underhanded in your everyday dealings because everyone else is trying to chisel you, and you can’t trust anybody outside your own clan or family, if then. The rot starts at the top, lies as the stock-in-trade of the governing class, fraud the default setting of Wall Street, lawlessness the way of law enforcement, deception and self-deception the accepted mode of educators, casuistry rampant in a politicized judiciary, aggressive disregard for fact among the press, academics making shit up, peer-review a joke, replication a distant dream, scholarly journals nothing of the sort. The Democrats made themselves a laughing-stock by managing to lose an election against a laughing-stock. Unfortunately for the Democrats that laughingstock opponent had the one idea that the Democrats had no answer to, that Washington and Wall Street sold out the American worker and ruined America. In 2016 that one truth won the day. There’s no way to measure the depth and breadth of the full-of-shitness of Democrats still clawing to dethrone Trump. They lost the fucking election, that’s it, no more to say, they fucked it up. And they’re on course to fuck it up again in 2020. We can bow down and give thanks to the gods in this fold of the cosmos that killed Republicans as a credible party and we devoutly pray that those same deities chew up and spit out the twitching corpse of the Democrats.

(3) After a while, the public just tunes out the hysterical End-of-Days types, especially since their track record has been spotty at best:

The Population Bomb (1969) - world-wide famine and civilizational collapse by 1980s, didn't happen.

Energy Crisis (1973) - the world will soon run out of oil, gasoline will cost $20 a gallon by 1990.

Killer Bees (1974) - B-movie type invasion of aggressive South American insects stinging us into submission, didn't happen.

Global Cooling (1974) - goes without saying.

Nuclear Winter (1982) - not

AIDS Pandemic (1985) - prediction that HIV would rival the effects of the medieval bubonic plagues. No.

Global Warming (1988) - worldwide devastation within 20 years, blah, blah, blah...we're still here and global temps have stalled for the last dozen years or so (?). Maybe, some day.

Y2K (1999) - no.

WMD's in Iraq (2003) - nooooo.

Then again, while they were waiting for the Killer Bees to get here, none foresaw 9/11 or the sub-prime mortgage-fueled economic melt down of 2008. After the novelty of the latest apocalyptic prediction wears off people just go back to their lives and business as usual. Your song and dance was entertaining for a bit, but we've heard it all before and have bills we need to figure out how to pay.

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