- Mild Weather
- Mize Memorial
- Bike Thieves
- DA Radio
- BOS Follies
- Bosco's Scam
- Split Decision
- KZYX GM
- Executive Privilege
- PV Coalition
- Propane Sale
- County Incompetents
- Neglected Greenwood
- Asbestos Award
- Lizbby's Bar
- PA Pier
- Boonville Farmers
- One Day
- FB Gerrymander
- Yesterday's Catch
- DNC Follies
- Art Kunkin
- Visit HumCo
- Frog Count
- Rebel Wit
- Mom's Drinking
- Usual Business
- State Budget
- Diaper Tax
- Plutocrat ROI
- Bonardi Art
- Manning Released
- State Parks
- Contented Class
- Phone Plague
- Marco Radio
WARM AND DRY conditions will prevail in the interior while cooler coastal conditions persist through the weekend. Temperatures will gradually cool to below normal next week. Widespread showers are expected mid to late next week. (National Weather Service)
STEVE MIZE’S MEMORIAL SERVICE will be Sunday, June 9th at 1 pm at the Boonville Fairgrounds.
BAIT BIKE HOOKS MINNOW
by Bruce McEwen
Travis Edward Alvarez took the bait: “The Bait Bike,” that is, a really nice touring bicycle donated to the Ukiah Police Department by Dave Metzinger of Dave’s Bikes on Gobbi Street in Ukiah, to help get a handle on all the bike thieves running the streets of Ukiah. The Bait Bike is valued at $650, but it also has accessories, such as a little pack attached to the seat worth $25, and a $25 headlight/taillight; not to mention a $400 GPS tracking bug hidden under the seat (by the police), bringing the total value of the Bait Bike up to $1100.99, well above the petty theft-grand theft threshold of $950.
Mr. Alvarez was not the first person to bite on the bait bike. Others have gone before and have come to court. As a result the defense bar has learned that the way to challenge the case is to argue that the thief would not have taken the bike if he or she had known it had a GPS tracking device hidden under the seat.
In an earlier case, Judge Cindee Mayfield granted a reduction to petty theft, a misdemeanor, because of the sneaky way the price had been jacked up on the bike with the hidden GPS. And in Mr. Alvarez’s case Judge John Behnke said he would be open to such a reduction as well.
It would seem that the Ukiah PD needs a more expensive Bait Bike.
The last time we posted up a story about the Bait Bike we got a comment concerning the rash of bike thefts in Ukiah, and how one senior citizen had a very expensive bike stolen from the senior housing apartments: Douglas Coulter lost his on March 26, 2019 at 9:39 am
"Eight bikes stolen from Sun House Senior Apartments in one year! And police have done nothing but take reports. Mine, a Gary Fisher Napa was worth $2,000. Steal a car and no question they will look and charge felony, even for a junker."
Mr. Coulter will be happy to hear that the police have finally apprehended one of these bike thieves, Michael Paul Jones who was in court last Tuesday trying to get released so he could go back to work as a tree trimmer.
Our valiant DA however, argued eloquently for a very high bail, stating that the professed tree trimmer (Jones), was not to be trusted on his own recognizance -- “And by the way, Judge, what would a tree-trimmer be doing in a senior housing area? [If not casing the joint, Eyster seemed to imply.] He [Jones] took this bike from outside the office at the senior housing complex, where it had been parked while he [the old guy] was in the office, and this guy [Jones, again] comes in and steals it practically right out from under him [the old guy].”
Judge Keith Faulder: “This wouldn’t by any chance be the same bike we’ve heard so much about in some other cases, the notorious Bait Bike, would it, Mr. Eyster?”
DA Eyster: “No, Judge. It’s a very valuable bicycle given to this older gentleman because he [the old guy] has trouble getting around. When the police apprehended Mr. Jones he told them he took this old guy’s bike because somebody had stolen his bicycle. [Eyster laughed mirthlessly, a kind of dismissive grunt, at the irony of it all.] Also, Judge, this defendant has a prison prior, a strike prior for a violent crime, and a long history of meth abuse cases, so we [the People] would be asking for the bail to be imposed as scheduled, at $115,000.”
Judge Faulder, a bicycle enthusiast himself, denied the OR as requested by Jones’s lawyer, Daniel Moss of the Office of the Public Defender, and imposed the six-digit bail as scheduled for a repeat offender. The case will be back for prelim in two weeks – about the same time Mr. Alvarez comes back to see if he can get his Bait Bike theft reduced to a misdemeanor, May 21st 1:30.
KATHY WYLIE writes:
Tune in to KPFZ 88.1 FM, Lake County's Community Radio Station, tomorrow (Saturday, May 11th) at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and have some fun listening to a special radio appearance by both Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster and Lake County District Attorney Susan Krones.
Eyster, an old pro DA serving his third elected term in office, and Krones, a newly-elected DA, are old friends who worked together in Lakeport as deputy district attorneys for a short time in 1996.
Saturday's show will be hosted by William Conwell, a Lake County-based criminal defense attorney and KPFZ regular.
EARLIER THIS WEEK, we posted the following item from Gary Levenson-Palmer who originally posted it on the Fifth District Facebook page being managed by a couple of women on the Coast:
WELCOME TO MENDO, GARY
“I can't find where a simple building permit is issued online? We need a new electrical box installed and will be using a licensed contractor. Even the process of getting a permit is not clear on the Building Department's County website. Seems I have to drive 45 minutes to Ft Bragg or 1 1/2 hours to Ukiah. And if I lived in Gualala - add another half hour to that. My contractor would charge us a half day (or more) so we were going to pick it up ourselves to save some money and time. I looked up most counties and they have a simple online system. Here's the one for Sacramento: actonline.saccounty.net/CitizenAccess/Default.aspx
And here's the one for Sonoma: sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Permits-Online/
If the County is worried about climate change, why have people in Gualala drive between two and four hours round trip for a simple building permit?
THE NEXT DAY, Mr. Wendal from the Coast commented:
“Welcome, indeed. County services in Mendocino aren’t designed in a manner to serve residents efficiently. They are designed for the convenience of department heads with no regard to those they are entrusted to serve. The department you’re attempting to work with is but one example.
“The Mendocino County website is a rude joke for anyone needing a building permit, or in search of any other information, for that matter. The “How Do I…” tab at the top of the home page brings up “Apply for a Building Permit” as an option. Click on that and the “Forms and Handouts” page pops up. There is a “Building Application” in the list of forms. That form doesn’t give information about what to do with your completed forms. Nor does any other page in that department. The “Frequently Asked Questions” brochure that you can print out doesn’t share how or where to submit your permit. It seems like that would be a frequently asked question. And the “Frequently Asked Questions” web page for Planning and Building Services is completely blank!
“Before getting in your car, give them a call. Some of the pages that show office locations include fax numbers; maybe you can fax your application if you have access to a fax machine. Good luck in your dealings with our county government.”
WHICH MAKES INTERESTING BACKGROUND for the following exchange between County Supervisor Carre Brown (this year’s Board Chair) and newly elected Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams who, before being elected Supervisor, was an accomplished professional computer/software guy:
Brown: “I'm looking at only the mandatory and urgent upgrades [in the county's computer system] in the IT Master Plan.”
Williams: “Public safety is our number one priority in this county. Response to 911, police or fire or ambulance. This is a high-level picture. Second is efficient government. And there's no way the five of us can look at the spreadsheet [listing various wished for capital improvement projects] and decide how much to put into the IT master plan. I see where the process of getting a permit involves coming to an office here, waiting in line, using a lot of staff time, especially if there is someone doing cannabis in front of them. That should be automated. As a roofing contractor I should be able to go to a website and fill out a one-page form, pay, and have my permit right there, saving the staff time. How do we get that out of the IT master plan? And what is the dollar amou—?”
Brown (Interrupting): “I agree with your emergency services, sir. I agree with what you're saying. But we will not have the money unless we upgrade and do one mandatory system — the system that's with our property taxes and what have you. We have got to make sure that we have revenue coming in in order to go out and provide all these others other nice services. I do agree with you in the fact that people should be able to access the website and do more of the permitting process. But on the other hand, if it's going to cost us money that we don't have for emergency services or other urgent mandatory computer programs that need to be upgraded, I'm not willing to go there.”
Williams: “We are talking about a one-page web form. Kids can kick that out in an afternoon, right? We are talking about a couple thousand dollars, ri—?”
Brown (Interrupting again): “If you have access!”
Brown: “If you have access.”
Williams: “Well, if you don't have access — at least for those who do — people who are in business as contractors have Internet access and they have smart phones and this would significantly cut down on the amount of staff time involved in the permitting process which would save us money so that we could fully fund Probation. I don't know how to talk about efficiency upgrades in terms of this spreadsheet. I think staff probably has a better sense for every dollar spent the return on investment. I think what the five of us want is the most return possible. We are kind of guessing here in $10,000 and $100,000 increments. We really don't know how that translates.”
Brown (abruptly changing the subject): “I think there's a number of other items and one of the ones that I had is the sheriff's office mandate for transparency…”
THAT was the end of discussion. No other supervisors, nor the CEO, nor staff commented on the permit problem.
SO, Mr. Levenson-Palmer, you and hundreds of others like you are going to continue to have to drive your car all over Mendo-hell and wait in line for even the simplest permit which apparently could be fixed (at least in a short-term, temporary manner) by paying a kid to set up an email/.pdf/webform file system for a few thousand dollars.
THE SUPERVISORS should be pretty damn insulted by yet another pair of RETROACTIVE consent calendar items. Time and again various supervisors have objected to the practice — which continues without even the slightest attempt to explain the latest retroactive consent calendar items. Yet here we are next Tuesday with two more retroactive consent calendar items. As is typical, both of them come out of Health and Human Services which obviously considers the Supervisors to be nothing more than literal rubberstampers, letting months go by before bothering to get Board approval for large dollar allocations to outside companies. CEO Angelo should know better as well as she blithely continues to allow these sizable retroactive items to appear on the CONSENT calendar!
“4e) Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Project Sanctuary in the Amount of $132,720 on Behalf of the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care to Complete a Capital Improvement Project Utilizing Homeless Emergency Aid Program Funds, Effective May 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021.”
“4f) Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center in the Amount of $68,957 to Provide Services to Severely Mentally Disabled Homeless Clients in Fort Bragg Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Grant for the Period of July 1, 2018 through June 30 of 2019.”
THERE ARE LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS about these items too: How did Project Sanctuary fund whatever they were doing to “complete a capital improvement project” without the $133k in the last nine months? And who suffered because it wasn’t complete? And why didn’t anybody point out the problem before last July? And in the case of the controversial Hospitality Center, what services were “provided” to severely mentally disabled homeless clients without the $69k since we know these people don’t work for free? And again, why wasn’t this problem raised sooner?
MISREADING BOSCO’S SCAM
AVA: You're misreading Bosco's successful milking of the NCRA as his somehow engineering the GRTA, which Bosco fought because it is taking his precious rail line away. Yes, we (the people of California) are having to pay off the NCRA's debt to NWPCo (& thus Bosco) to free up the line for the trail. But that's a consequence of the (almost certainly illegal, but never challenged by the complicit NCRA board) lease that Bosco & Stogner engineered between NCRA & NWPCo.
Wildly off base, Mark. Trails are extraordinarily popular in Humboldt. And while there's a substantial number of people riding the Pacific Coast every year, we anticipate a lot more coming from all over the world to use a trail along the wild & scenic Eel River.
The first part is correct, but that last bit misstates the facts. Stogner (Bosco's Chief of Staff when he was in Congress and the state leg) remains the Executive Director of the NCRA (a state agency), not Bosco's NWPCo (a private company).
Friends of the Eel River
MR. GRAECEN is a long-time close follower of the Little Train That Never Would and Never Will. We are happy to accept his assessment of the situation. Although we still see Bosco and NWP as benefiting from the project when California taxpayers pay their back debt to Bosco’s NWP which never really ran.
FORT BRAGG, Friday, May 10. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Thursday afternoon with a split decision against the accused.
On one count, defendant Ricky Faustino Santos, age 35, of Fort Bragg, was found guilty of hit-and-run driving. On a second count, the defendant was found not guilty of reckless driving.
As background, the charges filed against defendant Santos stem from his driving his car into a horse and rider participating in the Christmas parade and then fleeing the scene in December 2017.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 15, 2019 at 9 o'clock in the morning in the Ten Mile Courthouse in Fort Bragg. Any person interested in this case or this defendant is welcome to attend that hearing.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Fort Bragg Police Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
Background (AVA, Dec. 14, 2017):
LOTS of Fort Braggers were understandably indignant when a repeat misdemeanant named Ricky Santos managed to drive his loaded self into the Christmas parade, hitting Aura Johannsen and her horse. Santos didn't stick around but was eventually arrested and charged with hit and run. And promptly released.
SGT JONATHAN McLAUGHLIN explained the catch and release to Kelci Parks of the Advocate this way: “I know there are questions as to why Santos was not charged with a felony in this case. Unfortunately, because the rider in this case was reportedly uninjured at the time of the call, the felony section does not apply as it specifically applies to a person, [rather than] an animal.”
Aura Johansen herself later wrote to MSP: "So I guess the fact that I was hit after watching him hit my horse means nothing. I was struck while attempting to get farther away from my horse. I went onto the hood of the vehicle and slid off while vehicle while it was still moving and landed on my lower back. I immediately had back pain which was stated several times at the scene. Not going into details but no ambulance was ever called to the scene. I did decline an ambulance after the officers somewhat rude offer and I did not immediately recieve medical attention as I had an injured/tramatized horse to care for. I have since sought medical care for constant lower back pain since the incident but as of yet have not gotten a diagnosis. My current priority is getting my horse and myself healthy, I am already behind on bills due to vet/doctor bills but will be seeking legal council."
KZYX’S NEW GENERAL MANAGER
“Raised on the rural, western slopes of the Rockies in Delta County, Colorado, and recently relocated to Navarro, Marty Durlin now lives just a short commute to her job in Philo as the newly-appointed general manager of KZYX…”
COALITION IN MENDOCINO COUNTY FORMING TO ACQUIRE POTTER VALLEY PROJECT
by Justine Frederiksen
In Ukiah Thursday, at least two dozen people who depend on the Potter Valley Project for their farming operations gathered at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds to hear an update on the facility’s future.
“New information to come shortly, and a lot of work still to do,” said Janet Pauli, chairwoman of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, a Joint Powers Authority that is exploring the possibility of acquiring the facility that Pacific Gas and Electric owns, but has essentially abandoned.
When pressed further for details after her talk, Pauli said “You’ll just have to be patient,” but did add, when asked if the news would be coming from the IWPC or Rep. Jared Huffman’s office, that “The news will be coming from all of us.”
During her talk, Pauli said “We have been putting together a coalition (because) it’s going to take effort from everyone who is dependent on this project to move forward and acquire it. I would say that our desired future outcome for the Potter Valley Project is to maintain the water supply reliability that this economy, and our communities, have evolved with since the 1920s. But at the same time, work on a shared resource plan and the protection of the environment that is part of our quality of life, not just on the Eel River, but on the Russian River, too.”
As one of five members of the IWPC, the city of Ukiah has contributed at least $70,000 to its exploration of a potential purchase of the hydroelectric facility and dam known as the Potter Valley Project, since it began as a tunnel in Potter Valley dug to help provide electricity to Ukiah in the early 1900s.
“This money is part of a larger pool of money being contributed by all five members of the (Mendocino County) Inland Water and Power Commission,” Sean White, the city’s director of water resources, told the Ukiah City Council at its May 1 meeting, describing the dam facility as “essentially a diversion of Eel River water through a tunnel that provides major benefits to Lake Mendocino, which provides a significant amount of our water supply.”
Since the owner of the facility, Pacific Gas and Electric, has declined to re-license the project and now abandoned it, White said “this is a major water supply moment for the Ukiah Valley,” and that a potential purchase was worth investigating by the city to “see if it is of local interest to have it be locally controlled. And I think it’s important enough to stay invested until we decide which way to go.”
Also at the Economic Summit and Trade Show hosted by the Mendocino Winegrowers Incorporated (MWI) Thursday, Glenn Proctor of the Ciatti Company, which he described as a “broker” facilitating sales of wine, said that sellers of both grapes and bulk wine were definitely facing challenges currently.
“It’s a buyer’s market right now,” Proctor said, urging people who had yet to sell their inventory to “adjust your expectations, because this isn’t 2017, it’s 2019.”
Proctor described the 2019 wine market in areas such as Mendocino County as one with lots of inventory and not a lot of demand, urging sellers to start emptying their wine tanks by “becoming active in the marketplace and being ready to pounce on an opportunity.”
Bernadette Byrne, the executive director of the MWI, said that PDFs of all of the presentations given Thursday will be posted on the organization’s website, www.mendowine.com, by Monday.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
ANDERSON VALLEY FARM SUPPLY:
Sale on propane!! Beginning Customer Appreciation Day Friday May 10th at 9:00am through Sunday May 12th 4:00pm. Come get your propane! Just $1.59 a gallon! This weekend only!
LATEST COUNTY FARCE
I understand that our Board of Supervisors is going to appoint a “Climate Action Advisory Committee” of 15 people to help to “prepare for natural disasters and the changes coming due to climate change.” Yeah, right! If it were not for the fact that there are so many people involved in this thing, this almost sounds like a plot for a Three Stooges movie, you know, a bunch of airheads milling around trying to solve an imaginary problem.
I am personally of the opinion that the BOS sees this committee as a way to increase their revenue in the form of permits and fines due to so called climate change and I’m sure they can think up some real doozies to hit the public with.
I think the BOS want to put themselves on the same salary level as the City of Ukiah city manager and his assistant. They already make, thanks to a self approved salary raise, $85,500 a year. This is outrageous considering that a supervisor in L.A. makes a salary of $49,699 a year.
When are we, the citizens of Mendocino County going to put a stop to grossly overpaying the incompetents we have for our so called leaders.
POOR NEGLECTED GREENWOOD STATE BEACH …
MSP was asked why State Parks ignores Greenwood State Beach in Elk - “where’s the path to the beach? All there is are thistles & poison oak. It would be nice to see someone weed whacking once or twice - don’t they hire summer help?”
Yes, Greenwood State Beach is the neglected stepchild of the State Park properties. Don’t expect much because they don’t care…
ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IN UKIAH LEADS TO $3 MILLION JURY AWARD
A jury awarded $3 million Thursday to a Southern California man who was exposed to asbestos while working in Ukiah. Ervan Groves, 80, of El Centro and his wife sued D.W. Nicholson Corp., alleging that his terminal cancer was caused by asbestos exposure while the company was performing contracting jobs at a facility in which Groves worked. Groves worked for Masonite Corp. in Ukiah from 1964 to 1999, and D.W. Nicholson installed mechanical, electrical and piping equipment at Masonite more than 100 times while Groves worked there, according to lawyers who worked on his case.
WE'VE BEEN COOKING UP some new ideas for the Lizbby's Bar! Starting tonight, we have Happy Hour with $3 Domestic beers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 8 pm! Debuting this Tuesday, TACO TUESDAYS with $2 TACOS and $3 Domestic beers! Thirsty Thursdays: $5 micheladas and margaritas. Friday Fish Tacos or dinner plate specials, Sunday: Earlier Bar hours: noon-8pm.
Come join us for the special sports broadcasts and enjoy some cold refreshment! Cheapest beers in town!
Thanks for all the support over the past couple weeks! Come on by for a cold beer and as always FREE pool at the only table in the Valley! More to come… Stay tuned!
SPECIAL POINT ARENA City Council Meeting May 14, 2019
They don’t say what’s “special” about the meeting, but one of the items is interesting: “Protecting Point Arena’s Pier.”
THE BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET is every Friday from 4-7pm in the parking lot of the new wine bar Disco Ranch (where Aquarelle used to be) in downtown Boonville. Come enjoy food, wine and live music while you shop for local produce!
Last Friday was opening day and it was really hoppin'! If you missed it, no worries, we do it every week! We'll have fresh strawberries, veggie starts, mushrooms, meat, eggs, veggies, baked goods, fruit drinks, body care and more. See you there!
Find us on instagram: boonville_farmers_market
Geoffrey's plant starts for sale tomorrow!
“YESTERDAY IS DEAD, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
WHEN DARKNESS FALLS
by Rex Gressett
Fort Bragg City Council business is not a totally transparent process, but at least we are represented in a basic way. In all of their deliberations, there is the assumption that their decisions are ultimately subject to the approval and are made for the good of the community, even when it is necessary to fool the community. That’s what makes a council work.
The City Council is our line of defense against state and administrative overreach.
The states propose to take it away via gerrymandered election districts for Fort Bragg. We need our best people to prevent losing the power of the City Council and replacing it with a convocation of neighborhood amateurs.
After they give us a neighborhood forum instead of a city council, it's not that we will be living in caves, but we will have a very altered relationship to our neighbors. The city of Fort Bragg will not be what it was before districting.
When we escaped districting on the first bounce by a fluke, the city was required to form a committee to study the situation.
At the last city council meeting, the settlement mandated ESRC (Elections Systems Review Committee) imploded in a precipitate head-butt with the City Council. It was revealed that Scott Menzies and Tess Albin-Smith had broken from the committee to form their own subcommittee that they might more concisely and intelligibly make a recommendation to the Council and to the larger Committee about ranked-choice voting.
At the regular Council meeting, Tess asked for and then insisted on Council support for ranked choice voting. The City Council blew that back in their faces with rare indignation. Tess Albin- Smith's motion for a letter advocating for ranked-choice voting failed to get a second. It just sat there.
There was a full frontal council rebuke. Menzies stormed out of the meeting in a paroxysm of frustrated ambition.
Judging from the strong reaction by the Council, one might be forgiven for thinking ranked-choice voting is now decisively off the table.
What the Council will do with the flagrantly dysfunctional Committee dominated by Menzies and Albin-Smith at the next meeting is uncertain, but the implosion of the Committee was inevitable.
The anti-open election juggernaut passed into state law had slammed 100 other cities, richer cities, across the state. And then that fact again, in a hundred court cases there has not been a single victory that prevented state-mandated districting. Everybody got whacked.
Except for Fort Bragg - just for the moment and there it is in our lap . The take away: Districting is exactly as inevitable as it is unconscionable.
Now the City Council and the people of the city are going to have to look districting in the face. But the Fort Bragg City Council will not resist districting. Not twice. When it comes up again they will jump like frogs.
It's all the Council can do.
I talked to a well-known citizen, a hard laboring volunteer who has seen hard issues and passionate drama on committees and in many meetings. This guy has walked the talk. Let them sue us, he said to me, let them send in the troops. The city is going to feel like that about districting and the Council is bracing for impact and laboring on the straw man of plausible deniability.
Districting is coming even if we form a hundred committees. The CVRA is a state law.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 10, 2019
JOEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, smuggling controlled substance into jail, paraphernalia, suspended license (for reckless driving), disobeying court order, failure to appear.
NICKI BRADLEY, Willits. DUI.
ANDRES EMERY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SCOTT LEWIS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JOHN MENDOZA, San Juan Capistrano/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CHAUNCEY SMITH, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
KELLY WOOD, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, probation revocation.
CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?
by James Kunstler
For the Progressive Democratic “Resistance” (PDR), post-Modernism is in full flower. They have ruled objective reality inadmissible. There are only stories — his story, her story, they’s story, zhe’s story, and you must believe them because they come out of lived experience — for instance the lived experience of having lost a sure-thing presidential election to a cartoon character with zero political experience, and then having lost the grand inquisition to oust him.
For the PDRs, the metaphysical concept of reality refers to some land of dark make-believe over a distant horizon where numbers supposedly add up (ha!) and the actions of persons are said to entail a strange cosmic condition known as consequence.
Now that the Mueller Investigation has concluded empty of charges — despite two-plus-years of sedulous effort by fiercely dedicated antagonists of its target — everything about it, including the sacred Mueller Report, begins to emit odious vapors like unto a rump roast that has laid uncovered in a pantry for three weeks, attracting the attention of flies.
The PDRs might think twice about a closer examination of all that festering material. What they’re liable to find is evidence of how slovenly and dishonest it was and how the revered legal maestro in charge of composing it may well be subject to charges himself of obstructing justice and malicious prosecution.
Information emerged over the weeks since the Mueller Report’s release that Mr. Mueller and his team knew unequivocally that the Special Counsel’s mission and the FBI operations that preceded it were based on concocted political bullshit supplied by Mrs. Clinton and her network of flunkies and fixers, ranging throughout the permanent DC bureaucracy (a.k.a. the Swamp), to outposts in foreign intel services and the political kitty-litter box known as Ukraine. Mr. Mueller must have suspected this from the outset, but knew for sure by the summer of 2017, and omitted to advise the American public that he had uncovered a fraud. Rather, he rode on the back of that fraud for two years, as if touring a political landfill on a donkey, leaving the public to stew in anxious hallucinations.
What else did Mr. Mueller do, or omit to do? He never engaged US government forensic computer analysts to examine the DNC servers at the heart of RussiaGate story. Rather, he allowed the conclusions to stand of a company called CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC itself to supposedly investigate the theft of emails, especially those of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. (See Craig Murray’s commentary on all this.) Mr. Mueller never bothered to interview the one person who might have known exactly who supplied the purloined emails to Wikileaks, namely Julian Assange. Mr. Mueller also did not bother to interview several dozen retired Intel Community computer experts, led by William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who determined that the hack was accomplished by direct download by an insider onto a flash drive.
What could possibly be the explanation for these blunders? Well, we’re going to find out in the months ahead. The DPR chairs of various House committees have threatened to ask Mr. Mueller to testify. Bring it on, I say. He sure has some ‘splainin’ to do, if not in those venues, then in more than a few grand juries that will be convened to assess the actions of his confederates-at-law from every hummock and gator pool in the Swamp. These various parties may also seek to understand why Mr. Mueller omitted to mention the now reeking Steele Dossier in his 444-page report, and why in his 20-plus page recounting of the oh-so-crucial Trump Tower meeting he never disclosed that the two Russians present were on the payroll of Hillary contractor FusionGPS, and met with its principal, Glenn Simpson before and after the meeting. It does give off a scent of “colluding with Russians,” except obviously the odor came from the wrong direction.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared yesterday that we are in a constitutional crisis. You’re darn tootin’ we are, but it’s not coming from the flaccid threats of legal imbecile Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who wants to prosecute the Attorney General, Mr. Barr, for refusing to make public grand jury records in the Mueller report — since the law requires Mr. Barr to not disclose the material.
The crisis Pelosi mis-identifies is the coming indictment of so many supposedly untouchable and hallowed public figures, up to and including the former president, Mr. Obama, and the former head of CIA, Mr. Brennan, and Director of National Security, Mr. Clapper, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the sainted Mr. Mueller, a whole posse of former Intel Community subalterns, and an unholy host of creeping, crawling, and flying swamp creatures from Glenn Simpson to the shyster lawyers at DNC law firm Perkins Coie, to the errand boys at the Cable News Networks, Wash-Po and The New York Times who trafficked in leaked perfidious documents — that the cumulative institutional damage will destroy public confidence in constitutional government per se.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ART KUNKIN, Free Press publisher who was the pied piper of counterculture in L.A., dies at 91
by Steve Marble
Art Kunkin, the rumpled, curly haired publisher who arose as the pied piper of L.A.’s counterculture movement in the 1960s with the irreverent but vital Los Angeles Free Press, has died in hospice care in Joshua Tree.
Kunkin, who offered readers a brew of politics, drug talk and rock ’n’ roll, died April 30 at the Institute of Mentalphysics, where he’d lived for years studying philosophy, alchemy and meditation. He was 91. No cause of death was given.
The Free Press — known as the Freep to those who loved or loathed it — rolled onto the streets as L.A. was barreling toward the Watts riots, a tabloid that covered the antiwar movement, the emerging hippy scene and the free speech rallies at UCLA and Berkeley. It was derisive, profane yet sweetly life-affirming.
Inspired by the Village Voice in Greenwich Village and the listener-sponsored radio station KPFK-FM in Hollywood, the Free Press was all things the Los Angeles Times was not.
Kunkin said the mainstream media tended to cover all the events plaguing L.A. as isolated, unconnected events. The Free Press viewed the growing unease in the city as something larger and far more sinister.
“The sense of the 1960s alternative press was that these issues were all connected, that indicated a certain sickness in society,” Kunkin told The Times in 1996.
Launched in 1965, the Free Press was run out the Fifth Estate coffeehouse on Sunset Boulevard. The working environment was familial — reporters, aging beatniks, children, street musicians and the lost and confused milled about in what passed for a newsroom.
The late author Harlan Ellison, then a reporter for the Free Press, said in a 1996 interview that the tabloid seemed to function like “a rambunctious baby with a shotgun in its mouth; it didn’t know when to shoot.”
And that, perhaps, is what upended the paper’s run as the city’s edgy counterweight to the button-down stiffness of L.A.’s traditional media.
For reasons that were never abundantly clear, in the summer of 1969 — as Charles Manson’s followers were terrorizing the city and Neil Armstrong was stepping onto the moon — Kunkin elected to publish the names, phone numbers and addresses of 80 narcotics officers in California. “There Should Be No Secret Police,” the headline blared.
The reaction was explosive.
Kunkin was sued by the state and Los Angeles and after two years of legal skirmishes, he was ordered to pay $53,000 in damages, enough to bankrupt the paper. The Free Press limped along for several more years before shutting its doors in the late ’70s.
Born in the Bronx in 1928, Kunkin became a tool and die maker. Politically active, he became an organizer for the Socialist Workers Party and later worked for the party’s paper, the Militant. He came west in the 1950s, continuing to work on an assembly line.
In 1964, he was asked to publish an eight-page newsletter for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in L.A.. Kunkin filled it with strange and fantastical stories — Joan Baez’s supposed tax strike, an obscenity bust during a showing of the film “Scorpio Rising.”
The first issue of the Los Angeles Free Press was printed in July 1964. Along with his wife, Abby Rubinstein, the two put up $200 to bankroll the paper, money spent mostly on postage to solicit advertisers. They edited the paper at their dining room table, writing headlines, cropping photos, keeping their fingers crossed it would all somehow work.
The paper sold for a quarter, nearly double what The Times cost at a newsstand. The lifeblood of the Free Press were sex ads, which were unwelcome in traditional family newspapers. By 1969, circulation had swelled to 100,000 and the paper had growing political clout.
The Free Press turned Kunkin into a high priest of resistance in L.A.. He swapped story ideas with Yippies founder and satirist Paul Krassner, discussed music with Frank Zappa and hung out with Timothy Leary. In 1973, with his legal bills due, Kunkin closed the Free Press.
It was revived briefly after it was purchased by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and then shut for good when Flynt was shot in 1978.
For a while, Kunkin taught journalism at Cal State Northridge and then became involved with several efforts to revive the Free Press. None of them lasted.
Finally he faded away, heading off to Salt Lake City where he studied alchemy at the Paracelsus Research Society for seven years. He moved to the Joshua Tree compound after returning to California.
Lionel Rolfe, the late Herald Examiner columnist and author who said he first met Kunkin in the 1960s at the coffeehouse, wrote in a blog that his old friend remained as spirited and bohemian as ever at the institute, living in a trailer surrounded by a mountain of books and records.
“Those days are forever gone,” Rolfe wrote of the Free Press days. “Now Art reads The Times, mainly the obituaries to see which of his old Marxist comrades has died.”
Kunkin’s first two marriages ended in divorce. A third wife, Elaine Wallace, died in 2017. He is survived by two daughters, Anna and April Fountain.
VISIT HUMBOLDT COUNTY
VOLUNTEERS HELP MONITOR SOUTH FORK EEL RIVER FROG POPULATION
Every year since 2015, the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) has joined Dr. Sarah Kupferberg to help count yellow-legged frog eggs on the South Fork Eel River at Benbow. Another count will take place on Saturday, May 18 at 10 AM with participants meeting at the entrance to Benbow State Park. This year’s count will indicate whether the frog egg rescue in 2016 to avoid impacts from Benbow Dam were successful.
Egg masses are laid in quiet water near the stream margin where it is too shallow for fish to forage. The eggs look like a golf ball sized mass of caviar when newly laid and then the mass expands to about the size of a tennis ball just before hatching and is more tan colored as the mass gets covered in flocculent material. Yellow legged frogs in various life-history phases are important food for avian predators and garter snakes.
Dr. Sarah Kupferberg is one of the foremost authorities on yellow-legged frogs in California. She has collected more than 25 years of data on upper South Fork Eel River populations on the University of California Angelo Reserve. “It is great to do surveys in the Eel River because there is an abundance of yellow-legged frogs, but the species is showing declining trends in other parts of the State and are extinct in 2/3 of their former range” said Sarah. She counts frogs in the egg stage because enumerating tadpoles or finding adults to count would be much more difficult. Sarah has developed an index of egg masses per kilometer to track populations.
Sarah’s long term upper South Fork database has shown a range of 80-175 egg masses per mile, with the highest count coming in 2016 and lowest during the prolonged drought of 2013-2015. Filling of Benbow Lake ceased in 2008 due to concerns about endangered salmon and steelhead, but it took a while for frog numbers to increase as the former lake reverted to river habitat. Yellow-legged frog egg counts by Sarah from 2012-2015 indicated only 35-75 clusters per kilometer, but that number increased to 269 in 2016 and remained high in 2017 and 2018 with scores of 188 and 210, respectively.
In 2016, ERRP volunteers assisted Dr. Kupferberg with relocating yellow-legged frog egg masses that would be harmed by the removal of Benbow Dam. Kayaks and large plastic tubs were used to move eggs and the rocks to which they were attached to adjacent reaches away from demolition activity. Sarah chose the location for where eggs were placed making sure that depth and cover were similar to the species natural preferences. The 2019 count will be an indicator of the success of the 2016 egg mass relocation as females mature at three years of age.
I you’d like to assist in this year’s survey, meet Sarah near the entrance of Benbow State Park at 10 AM on Saturday, May 18. Wear river shoes and be prepared to wade the edge of the stream. Polarized sunglasses are ideal for cutting glare when counting frog eggs. Call Walker Wise at (707) 502-8170 for more information or see www.eelriverrecovery.org and ERRP Facebook.
REBEL WIT: During the Civil War when a hard-charging Confederate General in Missouri was fatally shot by a Union sniper the General exclaimed just before he died, “Oh hell.” One of the nearby officers drolly commented, “I hope that’s not a greeting.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Will there be grand juries? Will people be called to testify? Maybe. But I doubt, that any of the questions that JHK and others have raised will have been dealt with, or that we’ll be any the wiser, or, if there was official misbehavior, that anyone will be called to account.
If the multitude of uncomfortable issues get raised in a judicial or investigative proceeding, I think that what we’ll get is jut-jawed, elliptical non-answers. People will get lawyered up, will suffer severe deficits in their powers of recall, or even take the fifth. Or they’ll lie like absolute hell, confident that nothing will come of it.
You can see it now, if investigations happen to take shape, Sunday morning punditry pouring scorn on the mere notion of malfeasance or negligence, or investigative bias. They’ll proclaim that Mueller and Comey are the best of the best, that any suggestion otherwise is to impugn the reputations of fine men. Or, alternatively, they’ll tell us in their most serious manner, with furrowed brows, that the greater interests of the country and of world peace and of international stability were at stake, what with Russian interference and obvious signs of collusion and all that, and so more than justified any questionable measures.
And late night talk shows, with the usual exemplars of progressive enlightenment as guests, will put on their PDR faces, you seen it, the wide-eyed smirkiness, professing disbelief that not only is Trump still stinking up the Oval Office, but that he’s mounting a campaign against those that acted with the purest of motives. I mean, wasn’t Putin behind it all? It will all be unbelievable, jokes will be made, guests and audience alike will be in on it, and all will laugh.
What about hard evidence? Well, that can be made to go away. Paper records can get misfiled, they can get shredded, and it will have been a result of normal operational house-keeping, and if it wasn’t that, then it was clerical error. Electronic records may be degraded by means of technical malfunction, they can be accidentally over-written or erased, or they can get lost in storage. And anything that does still exist can be excruciatingly slow-marched through the mire of intelligence agency and FBI bureaucracy while they consider what can be redacted to the point of meaninglessness or made to disappear.
Can you say cover-up? The Deep State stands resolutely, shoulder-to-shoulder, against Trump. Trump is the bacillus that must be purged from the body politic and the people taking anti-bacterial action were, to a man or woman, patriots. It would be a dreadful miscarriage of justice to allow persecution of such individuals who were acting with the highest ideals at heart of public service and self-sacrifice, who were the best that the USA has to offer.
More dangerous than the bacillus is the toxin it spewed, an ideology that conferred validity and legitimacy to the interests of a societal class that all educated and well-informed people can agree has no valid gripes and is unworthy in character, that just wants to live off the efforts of those that take the trouble and expense of acquiring knowledge and skills required in the modern digital economy.
There’s a multitude of problems should be investigated. But, in my view, it will all come to nothing.
CALIFORNIA GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM proposed a $213 billion state budget Thursday that boosts spending on K-14 education, wildfires and ending homelessness while putting more money toward state reserves and debt.
NEWSOM’S TAX CUTS
As a female who faces the struggles of being part of a low-income household, feminine hygiene products are easily some of the most expensive necessities I’ve ever come across. Many times I’ve had to consider cost over my own comfort, which shouldn’t be something any woman has to surrender given that these are products biology requires us to buy (“Newsom wants to end tax on tampons, diapers,” Wednesday).
And people shouldn’t forget that there are some women who are less fortunate than others, who simply can’t afford these products at all, such as the female homeless population.
Additionally, it is no secret that caring for children is extremely costly. Eliminating taxes on diapers will allow some ease toward parents with newborn children, which I fully support.
My concern is how Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to make up for all the revenue that will be lost in the elimination of these taxes, but I am enthralled to see where he takes this proposal and how he plans to execute it.
EDGEWATER GALLERY'S FIRST FRIDAY FEATURED ARTIST: Barbara Bonardi
Friday, June 7, from 5 - 8 pm
Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main St., Fort Bragg
Admission is free. Light refreshments served. Barbara will give a brief presentation at 6:10 about her work.
Barbara Bonardi is Edgewater Gallery's Featured Artist in June. Bonardi's diverse artistic talents range from jewelry design to fine art. Barbara's colorful glass art jewelry includes one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Her talents spill over into other mediums, including glass on glass designs, vibrant abstract compositions, and paintings embellished with found objects. In addition to being an artist, Bonardi is a published writer. Barbara has layered a personal piece she wrote beneath cutout leaves and trees entitled "Living Life On Purpose" (acrylic on watercolor paper).
Bonardi is celebrating her 65th birthday in June and excited to share her latest piece, Zuri, an art book, which was chosen for the College of Marin's Annual Art Exhibit in May. Barbara is a professional writer and will be reading a short story that inspired one of her newest jewelry designs called Fishbowl Necklace.
CHELSEA MANNING RELEASED FROM VIRGINIA JAIL AFTER 62 DAYS
Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from federal custody after spending about two months in jail for refusing to testify about her disclosure of military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010, according to a statement from her legal team. … Manning had formally asked the court to release her earlier this month, saying "nothing will convince me to testify," according to documents filed in the Eastern District of Virginia court. Representatives for Manning had previously said she was kept in her cell for 22 hours a day, arguing that such solitary confinement threatened her health and amounted to "torture."
MAY IS CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS MONTH! What better way to celebrate than submitting an application to join the team? Visit us on Friday at the Mendocino Coast Job Fair from 2:00 to 6:00PM.
WHEN WILL THE CONTENTED CLASSES RISE UP IN REBELLION?
"As long as we’re speaking of shame, what about those millions of middle and upper middle class informed, concerned bystanders. They’re all over America trading “tsk tsks” over coffee or other social encounters. They express dismay, disgust, and denunciations at each outrage from giant corporations’ abuses, to the White House and the Congress’ failings. They are particularly numerous in University towns. They know but they do not do. They are unorganized, know it, keep grumbling, and still fail to start the mobilization in Congressional Districts of likeminded citizens to hold their Senators and Representatives accountable." - Ralph Nader
“I JUST HAD TO SIT DOWN because I got short of breath. I was at a restaurant earlier where the manager had to seat me at the counter because I couldn’t fit in the booth. I have pain in my knees and my joints. I sleep with a breathing apparatus at night. And I’m a great candidate for a heart attack. I hate it. I hate the way I feel. But I’ve been overweight for so long that people assume I don’t want to lose weight. Friends and family wonder why I don’t just stop eating. But it’s an addiction for me. When I walk past a bakery, I feel the same way that an alcoholic must feel when he walks past a bar. But people seem to think that the alcoholic is unable to quit. And they think I choose not to.”
“Humans of New York”
PANDEMIC: SMART PHONE PLAGUE
by Manuel Vicent (translated and edited by Louis S. Bedrock)
According to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the linguistic term meme is a basic unit of cultural information that is transmitted from individual to individual or from social group to social group.
The meme operates with the same transmissible and replicable power of a gene. Half of humanity expands that power with their cell phones through tweets, whatsapps, facebooks, and instagrams without knowing that they are harboring an obsessive addiction similar to that of the most potent opioids.
Memes proliferate like a pandemic in an uncontrolled way and their capacity of replication and accumulation produces structures that plant themselves into the human brain in the form of theories, religions, phobias, philias, rejections, flags, countries, nationalisms, and sporting passions.
Memes end up creating a new reality beyond scientific and empirical knowledge, composed of elementary units which are, in the majority, jokes, rumors, wisecracks, lies, calumnies, and insults. These simple messages stick to the brain of the recipient and there they multiply and spread to everyone who comes in contact with the one who has been infected.
In politics, the replicant memes form a weapon that is lethal, quick, and has a capacity of diffusion similar to viruses; during a campaign, they create a feverish and convulsive environment that reaches its climax with the recount of the votes. That’s what has happened in recent elections.
That’s what will happen in coming elections.
Around these new elections will swirl a new epidemic of memes with no memory of the previous fiascos—a memory which might have produced a certain immunity since the virus will mutate and there are no vaccines that will prevent the next infection. When you take a smart phone away from an adolescent, he begins to bawl like a baby from whom you’ve taken its pacifier. And the same thing is true with the rest of humanity, which is hooked on this drug that is turning everyone into an idiot.
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO
Friday, May 10, from 9pm to 5am I'm reading Memo of the Air by live remote from Juanita's apartment, /not/ from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so consider showing-and-telling at KNYO /next/ week, May 17, when I'll be there rather than here.
Deadline to get your writing on the air tonight is around 7pm. If you're not done then, email it whenever you /are/ and I'll save it and read it on the show next time. Or save it yourself for next time and come in and read it in person.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. Also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org and click on Listen.
And you can always go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show, and shows before that. By Saturday night, tonight's MOTA will also be there, right on top.
Here are a few buttons to idly push while you wait for tonight:
Neural network finishes your thought for you.
A neat way of playing chess that kids would like a lot. There would be a heated problem-solving discussion the whole time. Also it's like the play /Fool For Love/ by Sam Shepard.
And I just like everything about this post. I like the setup, I like that you have to click to another site to find the /educational/ punchline, and I like the choice of comical video to drive the ethical point to today's real life idiotic political extreme. Way to go, TYWKIWDBI.
Marco McClean, email@example.com,