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Off the Record (May 8, 2019)


It was 44 years ago that Sharon Doubiago organized a three-day marathon of poetry in Mendocino town, and some continue writing here. Sharon also motivated this Revival of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, now in its fifteenth year, annually hosting some forty poets from the north counties and beyond. 

Theresa Whitehill and Devreaux Baker read Sharon Doubiago at Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration 2018

Sunday, May 12, 2019 * 44th Anniversary

15th consecutive revival

Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration

at the Hill House in Mendocino town on the coast.

This event draws some 40 poets from northern California and beyond. Two open readings: afternoon and evening.

Noon: sign up and gather; afternoon reading at 1:00.

Break: enjoy the town, the sea and the headlands.

5:00 PM: sign up and gather; evening reading at 6:00.

Choice comestibles. Open book displays. Contribution requested.

All poems considered for broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX&Z.

Info: Gordon Black, (707) 937-4107,

TYLER NELSON is the son of long-time Hopland grape grower Greg Nelson. Greg Nelson once ran for Fifth District Supervisor and now sits on the Planning Commission. Tyler Nelson is a Ukiah school board trustee. 

NELSON FILS appeared before Mendo’s Assessment Appeals Board (and you’re excused if you haven’t heard of them before) representing the family business, Nelson and Sons. You are also excused if you were unaware you can watch the Appeals Board's deliberations via YouTube, which would make an audience of two. 

THE YOUNGER NELSON’S appearance before this obscure body was on Earth Day, April 22, a pure coincidence and please pardon the irrelevancy. The Board put Mr. Nelson and a county tax assessment officer through a weird swearing-in process which we have never seen at any other County board or commission. 

NELSON then proceeded to explain the particulars of his situation. Apparently, because of mail thefts at his mailbox out on Highway 101 — mail box thefts are a commonplace tweaker crime in the county — the Nelsons did not get a County notice to file their property tax of 1% of the $48,000 business value, or $480, but he thought the 10% penalty of $4800, 10% of the assessed value, was too high, which it would certainly appear to be, especially since he failed to receive notice, and the Nelsons aren't the kind of people likely to try to evade their dues and assessments. Or make up excuses. 

APPELLANT NELSON added that they now have the tax payment on their business calendar. The Board asked a few pro forma questions about the tax notice process and then went into closed session with a lawyer from the County Counsel’s office, always a sign that the appellant is about to get "legally" screwed. 

AFTER about 15 minutes with the lawyer, Assessment Appeals Board Chair Leland Kramer emerged to proclaim, "What you have said touches us deeply, but we can't, under the theory of equity of everyone else is paying the fine, approve a reduction or elimination of the fine." 

I WONDERED if Nelson did a slow internal burn at the purely gratuitous and insultingly false, "touches us deeply," which is reminiscent of one's dear old mum saying, "This is going to hurt me more than you" as she lays on the belt. $4,800 is way too big a whack for anybody to pay for simply missing the filing date because of a mail box theft. 

NO ONE else appeared before the Board. The rest of the Board’s business were routine denials of a dozen or so other appeals that had been filed, one by one, and with no evidence that the board was deeply touched by any of them. (Mark Scaramella) 

UKIAH SUBWAY HEIST a few months ago? The Ukiah police has not sought prosecution of the customer who pulled his weapon and shot the hold-up guy. Investigators found that employees, customers and shooter were in fear for their well-being, one employee hugging the shooter who possessed a concealed carry permit. We also understand that the robber, armed with a replica hand gun that appeared to be real, was shot just as he seemed to hesitate whether or not to flee or fight. If, as it seems, the shooter, with only a split second to decide if the robber was going to turn his gun on the shooter and at least one employee, and he assuming the robber's gun was real, shot the would be bandit. Bingo bam boom!


Fashion Accessory Tribute pop quiz:

Noted accessory designer Richela Fabian Morgan has just published a guide to creating 40 hand bags using —

A. Roadkill

B. Duct tape

C. PVC pipe

D. Soda bottles

E. Cow Udders

(Answer: B.)

ONE BIG REASON a lot of people are on the street is the disappearance of tenement hotels in towns and cities everywhere in the land. There was even one in central Ukiah presided over by Paul of Paul’s Rice Bowl, where a dozen or so marginal citizens who otherwise would have been on the street lived in single occupancy rooms. South of Market in San Francisco there were whole blocks of SRO’s. These days, the few remaining are a coupla hundred a week and occupied by working people who can afford them but nothing grander. As a starving student Before The Fall back in '62, I lived in one at 5th and Brannan in San Francisco. I was the youngest person, by far, in the place, paying about $25 a week for a comfortable, high ceilinged room overlooking Brannan, a street absolutely deserted after 5pm when all the industrial businesses in the area closed. The bathroom down the hall tended heavily to fetid, consisting of a commode, toxic basin and tub. I forewent these facilities whenever possible in favor of the dependable sanitation in the campus gym. My fellow tenants were old men, some of them heavy drinkers, some of them crazy but not quite crazy enough to get a state hospital berth. Once a week, the silent shell-shocked veteran in charge of the place passed out clean bedding. There were probably fifty of us in the leaning old structure of three floors of single rooms. Passing each other out on the street, we would tilt slightly at each other in solidarity and homage to our home, the leaning fleabag of 5th and Brannan. A girl friend wanted to see my room, but no sooner had we climbed the first floor stairs when she started to cry, blurting, "This is the most depressing place I've ever seen!" Later that summer we went to see a MacBeth at the Geary Theater to sit in the cheap seats in the farthest reaches of the balcony, the only seats I could afford. This time girlfriend suddenly screamed, "Vertigo! I can't, I can't…" And collapsed in the aisle. I wanted to heave her over the side but could only manage, "I'll meet you in the lobby," and I walked as fast as I could to my SRO where I knew she wouldn't, couldn't follow without risking two emotional collapses in one day. That romance soon ended. It was way too exciting for me.

ON TOP of every other catastrophe brought to us by Orange Man… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced that American military intervention in Venezuela is “possible” following this week’s violent protests in that suffering country. “The president has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” Pompeo said on Fox Business Network. “We’re trying to do everything we can to avoid violence. We’ve asked all the parties involved not to engage in the kind of activity. We’d prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held. But the president has made clear, in the event that there comes a moment—and we’ll all have to make decisions about when that moment is—and the president will have to ultimately make that decision. He is prepared to do that if that’s what’s required.”


tattoo places

pay day loan

bail bonds

Collection Agency

Credit Repair

Debt Consolidation

Immigration offices

fast food joints,

liquor stores, Bars

pawn shops,

we buy gold

used car lots


dollar stores,

gov’t offices,

storage units

title loans

Bail Bonds

Casinos and Gambling

empty stores

Boarded up abandoned

Cigars, Pipes, Tobaccos

Electronic Cigarette

Nail salons

Dollar stores and walmart

Diet Programs

planned parenthood

Bad Chinese restaurants

Marijuana stores

Massage parlors

Methadone clinics

Military Recruiting Centers

reverse mortgage authorized providers

sex doll rental places

women shelters

islamic cultural centres


Apple stores

authorized marijuana resellers

late term abortions clinics

discount sperm banks

same sex marriage haberdashers & oufitters

detox centres

homeless camps in public parks

crumbling bridges

S&M sex toys shops

empty pedestals of statutes of Historical Supporters of White Supremacy

overweight female fire chiefs

face threading parlors

african bees

credit consolidation experts

pet grooming salons

pet cemeteries

pet bordellos (coming soon)

MENDO MYSTERY MATH: According to Mendo’s latest “Non-Departmental Revenue” chart Mendocino County budgeted $6.1 million in sales tax revenues. Their actuals “thru 3/31/2019” are almost $4 million ($3.974 million). That’s $1.3 million per quarter since July 1, 2018. So at that rate they should get about $5.3 million in sales tax. But what does Auditor Lloyd Weer “project”? $6.4 million. Not one mention that sales taxes are off everywhere on the Northcoast.

AND, at the bottom of that same chart the total actual “non-departmental revenues” for the first three quarters are about $40 million (or $13.3 million per quarter), but Weer’s revenue “projection” is still $74.5 million, instead of the 4 x 13.3 = $53.2 million which it would be at the quarterly revenue rate. Mendo needs the April property tax receipts to make up more than $20 million to get anywhere near the projected $74.5 million on which Mendo’s general fund budget is based. And no annotations in the budget presentation that maybe Auditor Weer’s “projections” may be off and should be discounted, if not disbelieved.

THE ONLY OTHER REFERENCES to revenues in Tuesday budget presentation are, first, in a chart entitled: “FY 2019-20 Revenue Options for Unfunded Budget Priorities” which lists only one new revenue source: “Increase [already very high] fees to full cost recovery level.” (The CEO’s mantra implying that the Supes are responsible for the deficit for not allowing the CEO to raise fees to “full cost recovery level.”) And among the possible cost cutting measures we find “hiring freeze,” “No new vehicle purchases,” and “no funding to outside agencies.” (Although the budget also says that the County wants to buy a bunch of new electric vehicles.)

AND SECOND, under “additional funding streams” we find the hoped for “cannabis tax” (unquantified, but previous wish-mentions are up to an extremely unlikely $3 million); several unrealistic years-into-the-future taxes, fees and assessments which would require voter approval, hitting up indigent defendants to pay more of the Public Defender costs and, perhaps most ridiculous: “Animal Control Fines/Citations.”

NOTHING about eliminating the $111k being spent (to an “outside agency”) on Alicia “Little Tree” Bales and her “Climate Change Advisory Committee,” (still listed under “Support Community Partners”), and nothing about scaling back the huge increases in Supervisor and top official pay over the last two years when everyone knew they couldn’t be afforded.

THEY DON’T EVEN present a department by department budget status chart, only a list of the “top ten over-budget departments/programs” which doesn’t even list the grossly over budget cannabis program or the CEO/Supervisors “department.”

WHAT ARE THE ODDS that any of the Supervisors ask even a token question about this looming shortfall, much less ask about the raises the employees have been promised and are expecting in the eight bargaining units that are in play this year? (Williams might, Haschak maybe, neither receiving backup from their colleagues.)

RECOMMENDED VIEWING via NetFlicks: "Alone in Berlin," based on the true story of a 1940 working class couple who urge the overthrow of Hitler via the surreptitious placement of handwritten postcards in central Berlin in full knowledge they are on a suicide mission. Having lost their own soldier son in one of Hitler's blitzkriegs, their two-person campaign against the by-then efficiently totalitarian Nazi regime immediately activates Hitler's secret police to find out who dares write things like, "Mothers, Hitler Will Kill Your Son Too." This is a painful but wonderfully acted film starring the brilliant Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson and Daniel Bruhl, "Alone in Berlin" is especially timely when, as the sage put it, "the stench of fascism" is again in the air, although a fascism unlike the originals in Germany, Spain and Italy. Our fascists are generally too fat for the goose step but will manage a torchlight parade here and there while Big Capital does a talent search for someone more generally acceptable than Orange Man. 

SODDEN THOUGHTS from a failing mind: Cyber-world's removal of racists and nut cases from circulation is unlikely to slow down circulation of evil opinions, but censoring them is your basic double-edged sword because us correct-thinking people could be next. If President Trump-Biden decides that left-speech is roiling the masses… Anyway, who's Zuckerburg to decide who we can read and listen to? 

SODDEN THOUGHT DOS: Am I missing something in the deluge of bullshit emanating from Congress? What "crime" has AG Barr committed? If Congress is unhappy with Barr's précis of Mueller's report, why aren't they complaining about Mueller's wishy-washy prose? Why is Mueller’s supposedly objective investigation open to interpretation? Did Orange Man collude with the Russkies or didn't he? If he did, I should think Mueller's Rorschach-like report would have been much more emphatic. Now we have all these photo-op Congress-ciphers, every single one of them on the corporate dole, hauling in rubber chickens to denounce Trump’s fat man for reading the Mueller Report Trump's way. (The Democrat lame brains seemed to think the rubber chicken was coruscatingly boffo.) Meanwhile, the globe warms, the desperate mass at the border, children are strafed in Yemen and Syria, Americans die for lack of affordable medical care…

SODDEN THOUGHT TRES: Cinco de Mayo isn't celebrated in Mexico. It was conjured here in Gringolandia by liquor salesmen hoping to boost sales of tequila. It appears to have worked.


ADAM SCHIFF seems to be on tv round the clock. Is he the best the Democrats can do? Probably, without going to the Bern, or Omar or Cortez, the only Democrats this Democrat can even bear looking at. Schiff looks like the guy back in grade school who took names when the teacher was out of the room. "And Bobby mooned us, Miss Brown, and Billy wrote those bad words on the blackboard, and Betsy encouraged them by laughing at them. Here's all the names, Miss Brown."

HEADLINE in Sunday's Press Democrat: "PD wins 23 awards in state journalism contest." 


1. Most front page stories on our wine advertisers

2. Most photographs of dogs and children running through sprinklers

3. Most cover-ups of rails to trails scam

4. Most tributes to "small town charm" of Santa Rosa

5. Most maudlin human interest stories 

6. Best photographs of swinish rich people drinking wine

7. Slickest evasion of Bosco-related businesses and clients

8. Highest subscription price for least content

9. Most stories on wine without mention of Mexicans

10. Most restaurant reviews as "news"

11. Best press release re-writes

12. Best paper in California for promoting vacuous Democrats

13. Most fatuous editorials (Pete Golis, perennial winner)

14. Best photographs of crooked real estate sales people 

15. Most photos of unappetizing restaurant food

16. Best evasions of SMART train failure

17. Most tributes to Napa and Sonoma as desirable (NOT!) tourist destinations

18. Most tributes to itself

19. Most fire disasters exempting local authorities from responsibility

20. Best front page resembling a TV Screen

21. Dumbest comments on comment line

22. Dumbest readers 

23. Most stories about us winning phony awards


(1) I think that for the most part people don’t even understand much of anything in their lives anymore. They get how to go online or use their smartphone but how it really all works is beyond them. They have no clue how the banking system works. No clue whatsoever about how to grow food or, for many, cook from scratch. No clue how to live without electricity, central AC, electronics etc. Kids have no clue how to entertain themselves without video games, phones, TV’s etc. 

All of this has sped up to a great degree in recent years. Contrast how we live now compared to how people lived in the 40’s or 50’s even. I think a lot of people sense that technology has gotten out of hand and that they have little understanding or control over the most essential things needed to keep them alive. So people are nervous and anxious.

(2) I was a farmer for quite some time. I gave it up due to the impossibly long hours and inability to support myself beyond basic subsistence. People are more willing to pay insane amounts of money on a per/pound basis for french fries or chips but balk at paying a local organic farmer a decent price for potatoes. I couldn’t compete with buy 1, get 2 free blueberry specials at the chain grocery. Those were generally “loss leaders” to get the customers in who then bought soda and snacks which is where the store made their money.

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