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Off the Record (May 22, 2019)

DEPT OF STARVING POETS: “When you live out on the edge, your life goes in cycles and at this particular moment, it's time to look for subscribers for what I do — patrons — if you will.

It's time now to move into reality. I would like to bring internet services into my cabin and, with the help of my web designer, expand my web footprint. Across the board. 

If you feel inclined to help in this process, go to, an Internet site that links producer of ideas, to people who are willing to toss in a few bucks each month and receive an exclusive piece from the artist... If you go to under the heading Poets, I am listed . There is also a link from my website. 

In my case, for a subscription of $10 a month I will send you frameable broadsides of my work, signed.

The whole financial transaction is done through PayPal. None of your financial information goes beyond PayPal. 

On my website I have created a Totem Pole, pictures and stories, bits of bent grass and several found deer skulls with antlers still attached, excavated from the far hills, mountain lion work, I assumed. Bill Bradd.”

MR. WENDEL: “Supervisor Gjerde has kept silent, both at board meetings and with his constituents until his recent comment defending himself after becoming aware of the Mendocinosportsplus post about the AVA article. Why did he feel the need to respond to that but not to stand up and represent the residents of his district and this county? He has been a huge disappointment. And it would not be so disappointing if we had not seen potential in him as a city councilmember. His term is up next year and I hope that Supervisor Williams can encourage capable people in the 4th district to run for that seat. I hoped that seeing Supervisor Williams in action would inspire Supervisor Gjerde to wake up and do his job. My hope for him to come back to life is dwindling. Unless a great change comes over Supervisor Gjerde soon, I will not vote for him again and I will encourage my friends and colleagues to decline to support him. Reading a list of board actions that he voted ‘yes’ on without comment or questioning, along with the effects of those actions on the county, would be enough for a ‘no’ vote for him."

I WOULDN’T WRITE Gjerde off yet. Prior to the arrival of Williams and Haschak, Gjerde was up against the entire apparatus, including four of his fellow supervisors. Which is no excuse for drifting along saying and doing nothing, but faced  that immovable apparatus. Pinches was always isolated, too, but he did and said what he thought was right despite the entrenched opposition he faced. It’s already clear that the apparat is terrified of Williams who, I hope, will galvanize Gjerde, and also drag Haschak onto the path to reputable local government.

DOCTORS are being attacked online by anti-vax zealots for recommending vaccines to patients, according to a report by the Boston Globe. The paper outlines the case of Dr. Monique Tello who found that she had been peppered with 100 negative reviews and derogatory comments on a number of physician ratings sites for speaking out in favor of vaccines. None of the people who posted reviews were her patients, and only after she threatened a lawsuit did the websites take down the reviews. The move to discredit pro-vaccine doctors is gaining speed despite an increase in measles in places where the anti-vax movement is strongest, according to the Globe. 

RECOMMENDED READING: If anybody is better qualified than Jonah Raskin to capture the NorCal zeitgeist, I can't think of him or her. From his youth as a left radical to his present life as the most prolific writer on life in Northern California from its vineyards to its marijuana gardens, Raskin's remarkably diverse oeuvre reflects his unusually diverse experience. Assuming someone will be writing a history of this unique place in this uniquely tumultuous time, it will all be right there in Raskin's many books from "Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California" to a wonderful biography of Jack London to the best book I know of about the grass roots experience of growing marijuana prior to quasi-legalization. In between, the prolific professor has produced a steady stream of journalism on everything from Healdsburg bread to the vivid adventures of Oaky Joe Munson, a legendary pot grower, Raskin has now managed to produce "Dark Day, Dark Night, A Marijuana Murder Mystery" that grabbed me from its opening line: "Two helicopters, salvaged Black Hawks, came out of the sky, hovered over the field and landed together, the wind from the propellers bending but not breaking the bright green marijuana plants…" to its last, which I won't relay here for obvious reasons of genre. Along the way, the finely attuned author gives us a kind of wild side tour of wine country. A fun read that tells it like it is, from the hilarious to the mayhem synonymous with the love drug. 

BTW, Oaky Joe Munson’s "Marijuana Adventures & Misadventures As Told to Jonah Raskin” is available for $10 from Jonah Raskin, 4903 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa, CA. 95404. Autographed copies upon request.


Lively numbers! The 44th Anniversary Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, in its 15th annual revival, hosted 48 poets on Sunday, May 12, at The Hill House in Mendocino. It was 44 years ago that Sharon Doubiago organized a seminal three-day marathon of poetry in Mendocino town, and some of those participants continue writing here. The annual revival attracts poets from the north counties and beyond.  

Poets reading were David Partch, Theresa Whitehill, Riantee Rand, Lawrence Bullock, Jay Frankston, Priscilla Comen, Peter Nash, Lyle LaFaver, Bill Vartnaw, Kirk Lumpkin, Terri Curtis, Ursula Schlichting, Mick Chalfin, Joe Smith, Janet DeBar, John Dooley, Bill Baker, Janferie Stone, Sondra Sula, Don Gaston, Mark McGovern, jeanine Pfeiffer, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Lynne the Poetician, Roberta Werdinger, Bill Bruneau, William Bradd, Dan Roberts, Jacquelyn Cisper, Maureen Eppstein, Marylyn Motherbear, Dan Barth, Dan Essman, Gordon Black, Chrissy Sullivan, Michael Riedell, Taylor Bowser, Tara Sufiana, Mitch Clogg, Mitchell Holman, Thallia Bird, Robert Spies, Oasis, Zia Cattalini, Christie Hollliday, Dan Hess.  

The readings ran once in the afternoon, with a break for town and headlands, and again in the evening. David Partch and Barry Schrager provided greetings with guitar and vocals. Former Poets Laureate for Ukiah Theresa Whitehill, Dan Barth, and Michael Riedell appeared in support, along with current Poet Laureate Roberta Werdinger. A couple visiting from Germany checked into the Hill House and decided to attend through the afternoon and returned for the evening. Invited to offer poems in German, they declined, saying, "We are not prepared.” Poets themselves? They knew about preparation! However, they were able to hear current performance from the western edge, and it was a delight to host them.  

The event producer was Gordon Black. The poems were recorded by Dan Roberts for KZYX&Z FM in coming weeks on Dan’s program of music and poetry, Rhythm Running River, heard from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on alternate Sundays, and broadcast to the world at 

A FRIEND WRITES: "I’m more and more upset at this country and can hardly follow the news anymore. The takeover of the Venezuelan embassy is disgraceful and Americans’ ignorance about foreign affairs deplorable, and, and, and on it goes and now we’re heading into Handmaidens’ country. I wrote a letter to our paper defending Ilhan Omar and the editor omitted the whole first paragraph, explaining conflating criticism of Israel with criticizing Jewish people so my letter had no meaning. I wrote him complaining and he wrote back that he thought he did publish the “guts” of my letter. I wrote responding to a column he ran by a prof. at Duke who wrote Jews have to stand up to antisemitism in which he attacked I.O." 

CRITICISM of the Israeli government is, among the cruder Zionist propagandists, considered anti-Semitism. Some of them probably believe it. Here in Mendocino County there are periodic efforts to get Jeff Blankfort's invaluable "Takes on the World" tossed off semi-public radio KZYX, the only place I know of around here to stand up for the Palestinians. I used to joke that thanks to the public schools people no longer read well enough to master the crank lit necessary to become an anti-Semite. But thanks to the internet, all manner of lunacy has made a big comeback, everything from anti-Semitism to anti-vaccination, and the full panoply of tin hat-ism. 

AS THE LIB LABS LURCH to the right, here's the conclusion of a recent opinion piece lauding Joe Biden: "The sensible center of America — that is, the people who choose presidents in this country — wants to see Donald Trump lose next year, but not if it means empowering the junior totalitarians of the left. Now is Biden’s chance to make it clear he’s just the man to fulfill that hope."

NAMES! There's nothing remotely 'totalitarian' about Cortez and the other insurgent Democrats, the only hope that  the Republican Lite party has, but it's mildly surprising that the "newspaper of record" would stoop so low as to paint good liberals as totalitarians. It's the kind of deliberate slander we expect from Republicans, or Fox News, where just last week a guy denounced Bernie as a 'Stalinist'! Bernie, the mildest socialist in the history of socialism!

SPEAKING of our flexible language, a video called "Be Not Afraid,” by a Marin County 14-year-old girl who goes by 'Soph.” She appears on YouTube wearing a hijab as she says, "Suffice to say, I’ve been having a fuckton of fun. Of course, I get raped by my 40-year-old husband every so often and I have to worship a black cube to indirectly please an ancient Canaanite god - but at least I get to go to San Fran and stone the shit out of some gays, and the cops can’t do anything about it because California is a crypto-caliphate."

'SOPH' was quickly identified as a student at Redwood High School in Larkspur and a resident of Tiburon, aka rich kid, but unlike most Bay Area rich kids, obviously untethered to the purple fog. The cops were soon at Soph’s door. (Yes, it has come to this.) Snowflakes everywhere demanded that Soph be suppressed, if not committed. Truth to tell, I think her act is pretty funny, and no more extreme than a lot of dubious comedy aimed at Christians. And 'fuckton of fun' is a wonderful addition to the lexicon of superlatives. 

DEPT OF DUBIOUS STATS, a reader writes: "This is from a report at a Fort Bragg City Council meeting on November 13, 2018, so I'm guessing it is the latest numbers. So, it looks as though there may be about 28 more than in 2016. (I have no idea what the difference is between "homeless" and "unsheltered" unless it means they have a camp or perhaps they are at the Hospitality House. “WHEREAS, the Mendocino County Point in Time Count found that 1,238 persons within Mendocino County were homeless and 1,078 persons were living without shelter as of January 26, 2017; and WHEREAS, the Mendocino County Point in Time Count found that 90 persons within the City of Fort Bragg were homeless and 47 persons were living without shelter as of January 26, 2017…

You can read the report here: So, if these numbers are correct: I would say Mendocino County is very close to even with Humboldt County with the unsheltered population count. My next question would be: Why are they coming here and where are they coming from? Some are locals but the majority seem to have migrated here for some reason. Handouts? Freebies, such as food and extreme weather shelters? Is California catering to these people which makes it the "hot spot" to come to? Yes, other places have a problem also BUT we are talking about Mendocino and Humboldt. Everyone likes to throw San Francisco or LA in to prove there is no problem here. That's comparing apples to oranges. Eureka has a population of 27,000 compared to Fort Bragg's 7,000. Humboldt County’s population is 136,754 with a total of 1,470 unsheltered people (according to Point In Time count). Mendocino County’s population is 88,018 with a total of 1050 unsheltered (that was in 2016) according to the PIT count."

HOMELESS STATS for Mendo and Humboldt are compiled by people whose own funding is pegged to them, meaning their numbers are undoubtedly on the high end. But literally beating the early morning bushes for people who might be sleeping in them, guessing at lots of others at visible camp sites, isn't like to yield accurate numbers. The famous Marbut Report said our numbers are much lower than those reported via the self-interested conducting point in time surveys. Here, and in the cities, one of the biggest obstacles to practical solutions to homelessness (short of genuinely low-income housing, which won't happen without a revolution) is the homeless-industrial complex, those comfortably housed and compensated people who "serve" the homeless.

THE PEOPLE I see shuffling around Ukiah — some of whom are moving quite rapidly thanks to the magic powders — may or may not be homeless. Ukiah also has a large population of marginal and otherwise dependent people who are housed but look and act like they might be homeless. In my weekly visits to our county seat I do see that more and more seemingly destitute persons are camping on the frontage road between the Ukiah airstrip and the big box stores, but a number of those people are living in vehicles of one kind or another. 

THE EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT tracks the hours it spends on homeless-related crime, mostly of the petty type but time consuming nevertheless, and from time to time the Ukiah and Fort Bragg police make it clear they, too, spend an inordinate part of their work hours responding to problems created by the unsheltered. The Sheriff's Department also puts in a lot of 5150 hours. The only Mendo town without a "homeless problem" is Willits because Willits doesn't offer the comforts that Ukiah and Fort Bragg offer. The rootless person terminally wed to altered states of consciousness can get out of the cold weather, get a meal, a sleeping bag and other stuff that help him or her to continue lives of public self-destruction.

MEANWHILE, honest working people lament as follows:

“Is there any way to post on here looking for a 1 to 2 bedroom dog friendly home for my small family? We've been in and out of hotel rooms and camping when the weather is nice. I have a great job and we are born and raised here. I've been struggling to hold my composure. It has been almost 8 months of searching and no one I mean no one, will accept us. I have good credit, references, and income. I don't need HUD either.”
(via MSP)

OVER THE WEEKEND, I took in several hours of CNN, MSNBC, NPR, plus the array of Bay Area Chuckle Buddy news shows. I wanted to see how the Biden "kick-off" rally, and Biden himself, were being reported. I pretended to myself not to know that Biden would certainly be hailed as the man to take down the Orange Beast, and sure enough, the MSM proclaimed Biden as not only the Beast Slayer, he would also beat back the Bolsheviks in the Democratic Party.

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND how it is intellectually or emotionally possible for any human-type being to consider Biden as either a plausible person-person or a supportable alternative to The Beast. By even the loosest plausibility standard, Biden ranks with Trump — lower, given that he purports to represent "hope and change." But there he was in cool guy shades, the blonde wife bounding up to him for a showbiz smooch, a rent-a-mob claque of "supporters" in identical t-shirts, all of them holding up Made in China Biden signs, cheering at every cliche. The media commentary was uniformly along the lines of Biden as the alternative to the left candidates, of whom there are exactly none with the possible exception of Bernie, the neo-New Deal Democrat. Prediction: Another four years for Trump. 

A READER WRITES: “Over several of the past years, concern has grown regarding the herbicides/pesticides that flow through the South Fork of the Gualala River which consists of two feeder branches; the Wheatfield Fork, and the South Fork. As a locally known fact, there are pot plantations and grape vineyards along the land abutting these waterways. And there are drinking water wells along the way also; Kashaya Reservation, and the Sea Ranch Water Company, to name two systems that serve their populations on a regular basis. So, it would not be an aberration to think that the water serving these wells associated with these waterways may come under the influence of constituents of runoff from the farming sites of profit. Pushed by some friends, I did some investigating to see if there was a glyphosate or other chemical threat to the populations served within this particular watershed.

“My first approach while sitting in my chair at home was to visit the Sonoma County Permit Resource Department (PRMD) website. There is a dropdown menu within the website that allows the user to go into what is termed “Active Map,” and even with all of its disclosures regarding non-county liability for the use of the contents, it is a very resourceful site. So, I coursed through the map and as I expanded and contracted the size of the map, I noticed the geographical features of the River coursing its way to two headwater locations, one near Las Lomas (Wheatfield) near Sonoma County Reservoir (Warm Springs Dam) and the second near Plantation (Near Timber Cove).

“Pretty interesting stuff to learn about the area, and as a portion of the map is enlarged, guess what appears? The Assessor’s Parcel Numbers (APN’s). I performed several print screens of the maps due to scale of a printed image, and then went to search on the PRMD website and typed in a Public Records request. I received a response from the SoCo Ag department that day by email with directions on how to complete the request for chemical information, the timing of response, etc. On the request, I listed the APNs deemed as part of a possibly affected watershed area, and emailed the request for information to the Ag department listing. Expecting a 10 day response to quite a few APN’s, I found that on the 11th day I needed to call and remind them of the request. Apologetically, the response from the County was made within three days. And no, the information was not “real time” but was two years old by the time I received it; a stipulation that I was informed about and expected. 

‘I understand that the constituents listed were laboratory tested for in the River water supplies and found to be non-existent. One other caveat by the County Ag department: “There are land owners that do not report,” and “we are not monitoring cannabis farms as they are not as prolific as timber operations and vineyards in Sonoma County.’

“My point is: Why is Mendocino not using this web type of technology to relieve the staff from becoming “burdened” with each public records request while providing an information medium of service? I mean, I was able to do the research on my nature of request in about 3-4 hours, and spent about an hour communicating by email with the Ag County staff, over an issue that bore environmental public health importance. And though the information had aged two years, a follow up on a yearly basis remains possible for those of a vigilant nature to protect a vital resource. Ted Williams is to be commended for just asking for a spreadsheet. We gotta start somewhere. “

BOB ABELES NOTES: Re: Pesticide use: Perhaps this is the same information that our county is hoarding:

WE'D PREDICTED that the Ukiah Costco would draw such huge crowds that traffic would back up out onto Highway 101. Wrong. Planning has kept traffic moving along Big Box Boulevard, culminating in the biggest box of all, Costco. Although the mammoth store has produced sales of such a volume that it has represented a sales tax bonanza for Ukiah which, depending on your perspective, is a good or bad thing, so far the Ukiah Valley's pre-Costco super markets don't seem to have been negatively affected. 

One Comment

  1. Rick Weddle May 26, 2019

    re: Bill Bradd’s Totem Pole…
    …we offer this Total Poem, humbly, for your entertainment and elucidation… working title: ‘Piss With A Twist’

    How many little neanderthal girls do you suppose,
    Dropping to urinate in the shade
    And cover of the Thorn Bush
    Here and there, over time
    And time again, back then,
    Toyed with the tendrils of the spiralled hair
    Ibex and Aurochs left on the spines
    Bouyed and dandled and coiled in the air
    Twirled in the breeze, one tug, idle,
    Pulls to string to yarn to goretex (R)
    Without really trying,
    Or even saying so, much.

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