- Hot Days
- Sand Fire
- Ed Notes
- Car Planter
- Smooth Swing
- Josh Piszczek
- Raskin Event
- Boorish Billionaire
- Highway Fatality
- Summer Camp
- Social Services
- Homeless Village
- CEO Model
- Yesterday's Catch
- Life Pastoral
- Zepellin Fan
- Collapse Real
- Fundamentalist Terrors
- Growing Food
- Savage Transformed
- Lousy Libs
- Mount Refuse
- Jew Popping
- Drunk Sewer
- Ever New
- Dead Friends
- Pride Crashing
- Woodstock Pass
- Oligarch 7
HOT MONDAY and Tuesday with Mendo temps around 100. Lower summer temps for the rest of the week getting closer to 90. Cooler on the coast. Overnight lows around 60.
A LARGE SCALE FIRE broke out Saturday afternoon in the northwest corner of Yolo County being referred to as the “Sand Fire.” Mandatory evacuations have been ordered. Nearby areas are under an advisory to be prepared to be evacuated. A shelter has been opened in Esparto. As we went to press late Sunday night the blaze, driven by 25 mph winds, had consumed over 2,200 acres. Smoke was visible from Mendo vantage points east of Highway 101. Containment was reported at 20%, so crews were starting to make some progress by Sunday night.
POWER was turned off to approximately 1,600 customers in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties and about 43,000 customers in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties in the Sierra foothills.
PG&E WARNING- The Ukiah area may be without power up to 20 times this summer, with the power out 24-72 hours at a time. This is because of the utility's decision to cut power if conditions look bad for potential wildfires. There is supposed to be a 24 hour notice on NIXLE, so people can get gas, water, food, money and anything else that requires electricity. Better yet, keep your supplies replenished, your gas tank at least half full, and purchase all those things you keep putting off like wind-up/battery operated flashlights, radios and phone chargers, plus some cooking gear that doesn't require electricity. Ukiah provides its own electricity, but could be affected if the whole region/grid is shut down. There is a cooling station planned at Ukiah High School (big) and another at the hospital (small) so go to the high school if you are roasting.
BARBARA HOWE, Mendo’s (Former) Director of Public Health, was given fifteen minutes to gather her belongings and leave her job. Tammy Moss Chandler, Director of Health and Human Services, was Howe's boss. Dr. Gary Pace resigned his position with Public Health in protest.
VIA AN ATTORNEY named Christian Curtis from the Mendocino County Counsel's office, Moss-Chandler has filed the following temporary restraining order declaration against Ms. Howe, suggesting that Ms. Howe may be plotting to murder or harm Moss-Chandler, an implication everyone who knows Ms. Howe believes is not only preposterous but libelous. It's true, of course, Ms. Howe's e-mails can be described as intemperate, but a restraining order? We want to hear Ms. Howe's side, and hope Ms. Howe challenges the TRO when the matter is heard on Wednesday, June 19th, 9am in Judge Nadel's courtroom.
Declaration Of Tammy Moss Chandler In Support Of Petition For Workplace Violence Restraining Order
Respondent: Barbara Howe.
I Tammy Moss Chandler hereby declare as follows:
I am currently employed by Mendocino County as Director for the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency. I have worked for Mendocino County since May of 2016.
I am familiar with respondent Barbara Howe from her employment as the Director of Public Health for the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency. Ms. Howe was employed from October 2017 through May of 2019. In her position, Ms. Howe reported directly to me since November 2018.
On or about Friday, May 24, 2019 Ms. Howe submitted her resignation of employment with the County of Mendocino. On or about 6 PM on Friday, May 24, 2019 I received a text message from Ms. Howe’s personal cell phone indicating that she was angry at me about the circumstances of her departure from county employment. …
Approximately five hours later at or about 11:11 PM on Friday, May 24, 2019 I received a second text message from Ms. Howe further expressing her anger at the circumstances of her departure. The last sentence of that text message read, "You will have some dis-ease [sic] about this and then you will get sick over this, I assure you."
The next morning at or about 8 AM on Saturday, May 25, 2019 I received a third text message from Ms. Howe in which read, in its entirety, “And you are touting TTSA and HPO. What lies!!! Dis-ease [sic] don't you feel ill already? How can you live with yourself?"
The following morning at or about 8:50 AM on Sunday, May 26, 2019 I received another angry text from Ms. Howe. In that message she requested my personal mailing address. She indicated that she wanted to mail me "the THICK Book of Trust," in what appears to be a facetious reference to team building literature that had been disseminated within the agency. Although the book that she referred to does not exist, her request for my personal address and a reference to mailing me an unwanted package caused considerable alarm to me and my family.
Two days later at or about 1 PM on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 I received a fifth text message from Ms. Howe which read in its entirety, "I heard the meeting was a crock. You really need to stop spreading Carmel’s poison, it is killing you. Dis-ease [sic] is in your near future." I understand the comment about the "meeting" to refer to an internal staff meeting within the Public Health branch of the Health and Human Services Agency that had ended minutes earlier. That meeting was not public and Ms. Howe should not have had any knowledge of its existence or contents. As there was no legitimate reason for her to comment on the meeting, I can only infer that she wanted me to know that she had the ability to obtain nonpublic information through some undisclosed means.
Immediately after that text at or about 1:05 PM on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 I received an additional text from Ms. Howe in which she stated, "I am certain it will involve your stomach. Some sort of stomach cancer."
The following day on or about 9:54 PM on Wednesday, May 29 2019 I received a seventh text message from Ms. Howe in which she called me a liar and further expressed anger about her departure from the county. This message again appeared to reference the contents of her recent internal meeting within the Public Health branch of the Health and Human Services Agency.
From the time that I received the first of these text messages on May 24, 2019 to the present I have had no other communication with Ms. Howe. I did not reply or otherwise respond to any of these text messages. These messages were unwanted and not solicited by me. I am aware of no legitimate purpose for these communications.
I am personally familiar with Ms. Howe’s work history and education as reported by her. I am aware that she holds a Masters of Science degree and has more than a decade of experience working in nutrition and public health. The nature of her work and education leads me to believe that she holds more knowledge of infectious agents and toxics than the average person. Her repeated statements that I will get a disease, along with the specificity of her statement that it will be "some sort of stomach cancer" and her comment that it will occur in the "near future" has made me afraid that she intends to expose me to some sort of disease, contaminant, or poison.
As a result of these texts, I have experienced substantial emotional distress. The timing, frequency and repetition of these emails suggests a level of rumination, fixation and anger that is alarming to me. Her suggestive reference to a metaphorical "poison," or statements that I will develop a disease in the near future, her inquiries about my personal address, and her indication that she is aware of the content of nonpublic meetings have caused me fear and alarm. I have substantially changed my daily routines, become extremely concerned about food or drink offered by others and worried as to how she might discern the location of my home.
Tammy Moss Chandler, Director, Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency
May 31, 2019
UKIAH AREA PEOPLE are being advised to buy generators in anticipation of power outages this summer. One resident was told there could be "a dozen outages" even if there are no signs of a fire nearby or fires many miles away.
MENDO, TOO: the SoCo Grand Jury has called the SoCo jail "the largest mental health facility in the county… our Jail has changed. It is no longer a short-term holding facility for people awaiting trial and those serving sentences of one year or less…it's a health clinic with guards."
FAKE BORDER CRISIS: Days after tweeting that President Trump’s tariff threats against Mexico were about a “fake border ‘crisis’ to scapegoat migrants,” Bernie Sanders said the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border is a “serious problem” but not a crisis. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, Sanders was pressed by host Dana Bash, who noted that border apprehensions in May were the highest monthly total in 13 years. “How is that not a crisis," Bash asked, "when border facilities are dangerously overcrowded?” Sanders replied; “It is a serious problem, but it is not the kind of crisis that requires demonization of desperate people who in some cases have walked a thousand miles with their children, It is an issue we have to deal with. But the issue of climate change, the issue of tens of millions of Americans not having health insurance, the fact that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, those are more serious crises.”
NO NEWS IS…White House officials reportedly blocked a State Department intelligence aide from submitting written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on the dangers of climate change because some references in the document contradicted the Trump administration’s official stance on the matter. Which is that it's not real. Senior administration officials cited by The Washington Post said Trump officials tried to cut several pages from the testimony because it did not “jibe” with the White House’s understanding of climate science. The 12-page testimony reportedly warned of how greenhouse gas emissions are raising temperatures across the globe and causing a surge in extreme weather. The intelligence aide trying to submit the testimony, Rod Schoonover, works in the State Department’s office of geography and global affairs and had sought to include the documents in a hearing last Wednesday. The White House Office of Legislative Affairs allowed Schoonover to testify before the panel but ultimately barred him from submitting his written testimony, according to officials cited by the Post, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
THE SWING AND THE BOONVILLE CONNECTION
by Ken Hurst
Cal Berkeley standout first baseman Andrew Vaughan was recently selected number three in the first round of the Major League Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Andrew Vaughan will be offered millions of dollars to leave behind his senior year at Cal and enter the majors. He will skip his senior year and join the White Sox next year.
In 2018 he won the Golden Spike Award for the best amateur baseball player in the United States. He was one of four players to ever be nominated for that award two times.
When asked what he felt about his experience at Cal, Andrew replied, “Shoot — I love to play at the beautiful ballpark at Cal and I hope I left a good mark there.”
The Cal baseball team was picked to finish number eight in Pac 12, but they finished at number four in the league. They entered the playoffs for the first time in years.
Andrew Vaughn’s grandfather Ronnie Vaughn was a fellow Anderson Valley Panther of mine. You could say that Andrew got his start here, too.
A White Sox scout said of Andrew, "You can just throw him out on the field in the majors and he’ll bat .300 and put 30 homers of the park his first season. He has the best, smoothest swing I've ever seen."
MY NAME IS NENA GARCIA and I am the proud mama of Josh Piszczek. On June 9, 2018 my world and the world of all who loved Josh came to an unbelievable screeching halt.
Although the death certificate reads June 13, 2018, the fact of the matter is his life ended on June 9. It was a weekend long festival. At one point Josh was observed sitting on the dock at the Lake and then he was not seen until his body was discovered 3 days later.
I cannot begin to describe the wonder of my son. He was warm, lovable, kind, so witty, caring, loyal friend and an artist that had yet to reach his full potential. Mother and son shared the most special bond and to say that he is missed by his family is a complete understatement. Almost a year later and it feels as though time has stood still. We move ahead slowly because we must and because that’s the way Josh would want it.
I have many unanswered questions.
[Edit: Please note Mendocino Magic is the name of the private event where the death occurred]. Josh was familiar with those who had put together this event. My impression is that it was a bit off the grid from any “normal” venue. A festival gone rogue. In any case it was an event that had no permits that I am aware of, no lifeguards, and no security whatsoever. If Josh had to depend on “friends” that fateful weekend then in my opinion his friends failed him. Two days to report him missing? Seriously? Can anyone explain to this grieving mother why there was such a delay when reports indicate that he was observed on the dock one moment and then gone the next?
I have many unanswered questions.
I am writing this so that Josh is not forgotten and to bring awareness to this particular venue. I write this as a warning to those of you who will attend the festival in the future. An event that will generate money for those who put it together, but with disregard for the safety of those attending. I ask that you take some responsibility. Do SOMETHING to secure the safety of your participants. The success of your event is not determined by how much money you will gross. Insure that people will be able to return again. Josh did not have that assurance.
San Francisco/northern California swallowed up my son.
I have many unanswered questions.
Nena Garcia, San Francisco
ON-LINE CLARIFICATION: I’m so sorry for your loss. However, I believe you have your festivals confused. This death did not happen at enchanted forest, but rather on a property out Branscomb Road that is privately owned and the event that was being held there that weekend was not Enchanted Forest. As a person that works for the venue that EF was on last year, I just want to take a second to provide clarity. The “trout farm” is a privately owned piece of property, it is not an event venue and is definitely not the same venue that held Enchanted forest.
There's no excuse of course for the Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens shoving and berating Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry during game three of the NBA finals on Wednesday. However, my question is this: Why is their courtside seating for anyone other than players and coaches at an NBA game in the first place?
Given the physicality of the competition, such proximity of players with spectators seems like an open invitation for unnecessary injuries and confrontation. Furthermore, having to listen and see the antics of super fans like the Raptors’ Drake or the Knicks’ Spike Lee detracts from where the real focus of an NBA game should be: on the court.
I'm amazed but shouldn't be surprised at the gracious response by Golden State Warriors to Wednesday's incident involving Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors. It was heartwarming to hear the post game comments from coach Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Dramond Green and other team members. They were clearly concerned about the well-being of their opponent.
While Curry's ability to hit threes and Green’s canny plays are still maddening to Raptors’ fans, their reaction has shown once again that the Warrors are a classy organization.
Leadership starts at the top and all of Golden State's leaders stepped up and showed how it's done. After the Raptors win the NBA finals I hope the Warriors take some solace in that they carried themselves like champions.
This Mark Stevens character should definitely be forced to sell his ownership percentage of the Warriors. His actions are typical of a privileged billionaire mentality. An extreme example should be made of him. The Warriors have too much class to be associated in any way with this bozo.
ON JUNE 5, 2019 at approximately 3:40pm, an as yet unidentified 30 year old male from Plumas Lake was driving a 2009 Mazda westbound on Highway 20 west of New Long Valley Road outside of Clear Lake at approximately 55 mph. For reasons still under investigation, the Mazda veered off of the south side of the roadway and traveled down the embankment. It did not appear that the driver was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision. The driver succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending notification to next of kin.
IS SOCIAL SERVICES IN CRISIS?
by Mark Scaramella
It sure looks like it.
ACCORDING TO THE VACANCY CHART included in last week’s CEO Report, Social Services (which apparently includes MediCal, Food Stamps and Child Protective Services, among others), has 404 authorized, funded positions but only 307 of them are filled for a vacancy rate of about 24%. Mendo’s Human Resources Department says that 77 people are “in recruitment” (whatever that means) for Social Services and therefore the vacancy rate is “19.1%.” But that number makes no sense. 19.1% of 404 is 77. But that has nothing to do with the vacancy rate. If you add the 77 “in recruitment” to the 307 you’d get a 5% vacancy rate. But that’s obviously not the number either because only a percentage of those “in recruitment” will make it through the County’s lengthy hiring and training process, and even then they will not be able to perform their duties unsupervised for several more months if they make it past their probationary period.
THAT SAME VACANCY CHART says there have been 41 new hires since July of 2018. But 47 “separations” as well. Plus there are ten employees “on leave.” It’s not clear if those ten are included as vacancies.
BASED ON THESE NUMBERS, Social Services would appear to be seriously short-handed with nowhere near enough experienced line staff. And the turnover rate implies that more people are leaving than are being hired. The primary reasons for “separations” in Social Services are low pay and bad working conditions. (We’d pick bad working conditions, but pay and working conditions are related.)
YET NOBODY IN OFFICIAL MENDO is paying the slightest attention to these sorry and troubling statistics and nobody is curious about the backlog or wait times for people applying for benefits or services in Social Services. (They don’t even bother to break down the over-large 404 generalized number into position categories or pay grades so it’s just another dumb line in a chart that nobody’s trying to understand.)
REMEMBER, nearly all of these Social Services positions are funded by state and federal grant funds, not the County’s general fund. So the County should be able to deal with any legitimate pay disparities without making the general fund deficit any worse.
SOMEBODY IN OFFICIAL MENDO should be ashamed that this situation has been allowed to deteriorate to this extent. They can’t even get their own numbers to add up. It’s past time that Social Services got a close look from management and immediate steps taken to get it back to something approaching reasonable staffing, not to mention better working conditions.
IN A NORMAL ORGANIZATION, the Board of Supervisors would be demanding answers from CEO Angelo about this situation. But this is Mendo, so what do we hear? Not a peep.
UKIAH CAMPERS ORDERED OUT
by Justine Frederiksen
The dozens of people camping along Airport Road in Ukiah are being ordered to leave this month so the area can be cleaned and mowed, the Ukiah Police Department reported.
UPD Capt. Sean Kaeser said his department was allowing people to camp in the area, given that it was city property not immediately adjacent to a waterway, homes or businesses. However, Kaeser said that in recent weeks the situation was “getting out of hand” in terms of population and criminal activity.
On Friday, Kaeser said there were “40 to 50 people” living there in a growing assortment of RVs, passenger vehicles and tents, and that increased criminal activity, including assaults and a rape, had been reported there recently.
“We are also hearing about robberies occurring, but the victims hadn’t been reporting those incidents to us directly,” he said.
Another reason for asking the campers to leave, he said, is so that Chamberlain Creek crews can remove dead grass and other vegetation on the property that poses a fire risk.
“We have a letter from (Ukiah Fire Marshal) Kevin Jennings declaring the area a fire hazard,” said Kaeser, explaining that the city hopes to have inmate crews clearing brush there on June 19 and 20. “They cannot pick up trash; the crews are only there to remove the vegetation. And there can’t be people staying there at that time.”
So at least two days beforehand, on Monday, June 17, Kaeser said the city hopes to have public works employees come in and clear the area of debris.
Kaeser said the UPD has already posted signs notifying the campers that they will need to leave the area, and officers have begun talking with the campers and local homeless service providers so they are all aware of the plan to clear the property.
“We’ve made a list of everyone who is staying there and given their names to the service providers in the hopes that by the time they have to leave the area, they will have somewhere else to go,” Kaeser said.
When asked if there was somewhere else for them to go, Kaeser said when he was asked that by others he gave the same answer: “That’s not my job. My job as a police officer is to enforce the law.” He added that while he and the other officers could not provide the campers other options, the UPD did hope to be able to direct them to alternative shelter.
Anyone still remaining in the area after the minimum 72-hour deadline established will not be cited for camping, he said, but will be cited for trespassing. Because while a Ninth District Court decision last year declared camping arrests to be “cruel and unusual punishment,” Kaeser said “it does not allow people to set up permanent residency” on city property, which he said many of the campers appear to have done.
A visit to Airport Road Saturday morning showed a line of tents, tarps, passenger vehicles and RVs spanning about one-fourth of a mile near the railroad tracks, with some of the campers hanging laundry lines, flower baskets and lanterns at their spots. Also that morning, at least one vehicle drove up with people offering the campers pizzas.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
by Jim Shields
I highly recommend that you read the well-written, very easy-to-understand Grand Jury Report titled, “Who Runs Mendocino County?” It’s a point-on discussion regarding the governing dynamic between and among the Board of Supervisors and the Chief Executive Officer. It’s not a flattering account. You can find the report on the county’s website at:
Over the years, I have written about many of the issues raised by the Grand Jury in this report. Ever since the Board of Supervisors adopted the Chief Executive Officer model of government in 2007, the supervisors have evolved into rubber stamps, ceding most of their authority and initiative to the Chief Executive Officer, thus creating a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. The problem with this situation is the CEO is not elected and is unaccountable to the voters, while the supervisors seemingly conduct themselves as if they are not responsible for anything once they ratify the CEO’s proposals. Prior to the adoption of the CEO Ordinance, the county operated under the Chief Administrative Officer model, a position with less authority than the CEO model. The main difference between the two models is the Board of Supervisors (BOS) surrenders its authority to directly hire and fire department heads and make organizational changes to the CEO. In effect, the CEO operates quasi-independently of the BOS. The CEO model has been an unmitigated failure. It’s time to return to a system that worked. By the way, 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak went on record at the 2018 candidate’s debate in Laytonville that he would support repealing the CEO Ordinance and replace it with the previous CAO Ordinance. The Grand Jury Report validates the basis for returning this county to the CAO model of government, so Haschak now has all the reasons needed to keep that commitment.
Here’s a few excerpts from the report.
The Mendocino County Grand Jury (GJ), based upon its investigation, finds that the BOS has failed to establish and publish strategic county-wide policies with effective long term goals that address county-wide issues of public safety, health, economic, environmental and other needs of our communities, as it is charged to do. Rather, the BOS reacts to crises as they arise.
The CEO has an enormous responsibility to fill in the gaps of leadership that occur. Often it appears that the CEO is providing leadership that has been abdicated by the BOS. This imbalance needs to be addressed by the BOS so that the county as a whole can benefit from more effective leadership on the part of its elected officials.
The GJ became aware of public concerns addressing the issue of whether the CEO was exceeding her authority in determining and implementing policies that govern the County. The GJ turned its focus to the BOS itself and how effective the Supervisors are in addressing county-wide strategic needs, meeting the concerns of the public and establishing effective and easily accessed methods for constituents to contact individual board members.
There is no published long term county-wide strategic planning by the BOS, e.g., fire response, homelessness, cannabis, housing and economic development.
There is no written succession plan for the CEO of Mendocino County.
The BOS does not adequately track directives given to the CEO. The current list of directives has inadequate status and descriptors and there are no timelines or milestones for completion.
The CEO Report does not include substantive department updates, e.g. new jail addition, Sheriff overtime, BOS directive status, departmental statistics and major road project status.
The Consent Agenda has often included controversial items, e.g. salary increases and cost over runs.
In the BOS minutes, the name of the public speaker is listed but not a description of the issue raised.
There are no scheduled proactive meetings with residents of individual districts to speak with their Supervisor.
The GJ could not find a complaint or issue form on the Mendocino County website.
There is no procedural requirement for any Supervisor to respond to a constituent complaint or issue.
Nearly Half of Water Rights Holders Delinquent In Filing Mandatory Reports, Could Be Fined $500 Per Day
Over the years, in my capacity as district manager for the Laytonville County Water District, people who hold water rights have come to me for help with filing their annual water use report with the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board). This past week, an elderly woman called me to say, “I just received this letter from the state telling me I’m in trouble because I didn’t file some kind of water report.”
I asked her to read me the letter and once she did I knew exactly what she was talking about.
The Water Board is now warning water rights holders that failure to file their annual reports will result in significant fines. Annual water use reports for all appropriative water rights including permits, licenses, registrations and certificates, were initially due on April 1. According to the Board, only 57 percent of those with appropriative water rights had filed the required reports for 2018 as of April 2.
The report is not difficult to fill out as it’s an easy to understand form found on the Water Board’s website. I told the woman I’d be glad to help her out and would assist her in making the electronic filing with the Sate Water Board. I also assured her as much as I was able to that I didn’t believe she would be fined since she had an extenuating circumstance, her husband who always filed the report, had passed away a year ago.
SWRCB has been issuing notification reminders which state that “if you do not file your report in a timely manner, you may be liable for a violation in the amount of $500 dollars for each day in which the violation occurs.” Despite the deadline passing, the Water Board issued a statement saying that corrective action may help to avoid an enforcement action, or potentially minimize any penalty assessed by the Board. Anyone that may require assistance in filing the report, is encouraged to contact the Board’s Division of Water Rights directly. You can reach them at 916-341-5300. Also, if applicable, please be sure to have the letter you received from the Water Board accessible when you call so they can help direct you to the proper person for assistance.
Reports can be submitted electronically using the Board’s Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal. Here’s the URL that will get you started:
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 9, 2019
BASILIO ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JESSE DIAZ JR. Willits. Community supervision violation.
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JOHN DOYLE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JESSICA FLOWERS, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
JULIE GROTKOWSKI, Willits. False ID, failure to appear.
ANTHONY HUNT, Valley Springs/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WILLIAM LOCKETT, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence.
PATRISHA MOODY, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DARREL PINOLA, Ukiah. Tampering with vehicle, resisting.
CONSTANCE PRICKETT, Ukiah. Under influence.
MIGUEL REYES-ALFARO, Ukiah. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run.
MARGARITO RUIZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
DAVID SOWLES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JAIREN SYLVESTER, Pittsburg/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Probation revocation.
THE LIFE PASTORAL
by Flynn Washburne
I’ve been feeling lately as if I should be (or should have been) evolving. Not in the literal sense, although some kind of spontaneous flash mutation like growing gills or supernumerary phalanges or toxin-secreting glands might be fun, and of course being the launch point of the age of Novo Homo would satisfy that need to have Done Something Meaningful, but just not only acquiring but actually applying some wisdom to this accidental brush-fire I call my life. One believes one should extract lessons from one’s mistakes and act accordingly to not only not repeat them but to perforce forge new and more productive and salubrious paths as one ambles aimlessly toward death, and yet one continues, quite mysteriously and utterly without reason, to go a-strolling through minefields blindfolded.
Not that I’m actively firebombing my serenity at the moment, but I can certainly feel the weight of the Imp of the Perverse on my shoulder and hear his seductive whispers as he goads me toward blissful ruin.
I am drug-free, for the nonce, well-fed, decently housed, and living the life pastoral that so many have waxed rhapsodic about in prose and prosody, song and script, but I’m afraid I’m not exactly deriving any Walden-esque benefit from it. I’m pretty sure Thoreau was about 90% full of it anyway and regularly imported hookers and hooch in from Concord on the weekends to break up the monotony of cavorting loons and cricket-chirping.
For one thing, living on a large piece of rural property means constantly beating Nature back as she insistently reclaims her territory. She may be out-gunned and outmanned in the city and only gratuitously manifested through pocket parks, scraggly trees, pigeons, and rats, but out here she’s the boss bitch and not shy about letting you know it. Flora, fauna, and all their aggregate detritus vie aggressively for space, food, resources, sunlight, and blood. My blood.
I don’t know what the mosquitoes out here are eating besides me, but it’s probably on the banned list of every sports-sanctioning body in the country. These pesky little (compared to, say, a barn owl) hemophages are the size of sparrows and two or three working in concert at advantageously placed arterial positions could desanguinate a slim specimen like myself in nothing flat.
Then there’s the spiders. I have always been the guy who scoops them up and puts them outside, but those are the small, polite house spiders one encounters in civilization. Out here they feast on puppies and construct their webs faster than I can tear them down. I saw one carrying a weapon (thorn) to augment his fangs and poison which struck me as overkillish, but for all I know he was participating in some type of crusade. I don’t know what the spiders are up to beyond what’s visible, but for all I know they may have rich and complex inner lives and societies rife with contention and strife.
They’re nothing, though, compared to the centipede I uncovered under a pile of logs that made me want to climb inside an airtight lead container and never come out. Knowing that that beast, and surely his family and social circle, occupies the same acreage as me has given me a permanent case of the heebie-jeebies.
What there are none of, though, is free-range tweakers skulking around the grounds seeking saleable merch, nor wet-brained sots muttering incomprehensibly, and in six weeks I haven’t seen a single cop. Might there be a connection between the two conspicuous absences? I’m no sociologist, but I’m thinking maybe. The population out here is pretty well armed, though — and by pretty well I mean an invasion would meet some pretty stiff, Red Dawn-style resistance — and I expect the dirtbag population as a whole would prefer to take their chances with the constabulary, with a slight chance of terminal summary punishment, over the militia, from whom it’s guaranteed.
I’ve already heard stories of unfortunates coming out to raid growers or steal equipment and leaving… well, and not leaving. Returning to the soil whence they came. Distasteful as prison is, and I assure you it is unmatched experientially in embodying that adjective, it beats being holed out by an overzealous farmer looking to justify the Second Amendment and hold the spotlight for a few days over at the diner.
Might’nt all this bucolic splendor be contributing to my devolution, though? Up at dawn, feed the chickens, beat away Sisyphus-like at Ma’s encroachment into the crops and grounds, fix this, maintain that, kill the other thing, wake up and do it all over again. It’s no wonder farmers are so famously dour, a la American Gothic.
Looking as if a smile would actually kill you is a critical part of the farmer’s repertoire, like their crackpot sentimentality about dirt. Do not get a farmer talking about dirt, and I don’t mean nitrogen levels and clay content. That’s fine. Practical knowledge about your substrate is critical to successful agriculture, but when they start sifting it between their fingers and saying things like “this soil is in the marrow of my bones,” it’s “Check, please.”
Dirt is dirt, and I’m mainly concerned with how to get it out of my clothes, which appears beyond the reach of commercial laundry detergents once you start fucking around in dirt-intensive environments like this one. The plain white t-shirt is an integral part of my wardrobe, like Brando’s, and mine are now all richly patterned in permanently ground-in earth. I suppose if you’re a “son of the soil” this is all very dernier cri but I claim no kinship with the land. I am a child of concrete and steel, dope houses and delicatessens, sound and fury, movement and transformation, action and information.
Then again, as I write this, sitting outside late-dawn, the sun is being pleasantly filtered through the leaves of a massive oak and dappling the powdery feathers of a mourning dove waddling by a few feet away. The constant underlying soundtrack is of the river rushing by, not traffic, which is soothing and agreeable, not to mention unbelievably invigorating to jump into after a few hours toiling in the hot sun.
Scoring a bag out here would involve the kind of planning and logistics that I’m just too lazy to even contemplate, so there’s that. And it could be argued that every day spent not poisoning my body and brain represents (and is) a step forward in my personal evolution. So there are surely benefits to this life, although in the matter of my sobriety it feels a little like cheating.
It’s like when I got out of prison. No way was I going to go into a meeting and collect a seven-year chip for my years inside, which is why I went ahead and went on a tear. Clear the slate and forestall any discussion of asterisks.
I will say this, though, in defense of the life pastoral. Last week I made the decision to have a brief recreational relapse, because of course I have the self-control to terminate my usage whenever I want. I was going to meet my parole officer on Tuesday morning, give him a clean sample and glowing report, get a small sack of the ol’ ringading, buzz merrily about for a day or so and be freshly flushed for the following week’s inspection.
Because when that imp alights and begins that enticing sales pitch, I generally just shrug my shoulders and say, “You’re the boss!”, and it’s a wrap. This time, though, I actually did some thinking and the thing that I thought was, maybe he’s not the boss. Maybe I’m the boss. I can count the times on one finger that I actually resisted a fully thought-out plan to reinstate my active addiction and it happened here.
Coincidence? Maybe. Spider venom? Possibly. Personal growth? Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
THE SKID IS EVERYWHERE
All over America, large portions of our major cities are being transformed into stomach-churning cesspools of squalor. Thousands of tent cities are popping up from coast to coast as the homeless population explodes, even the New York Times admits that we are facing “the worst drug crisis in American history”, there were more than 28,000 official complaints about human feces in the streets of San Francisco last year alone, and millions of rats are currently overrunning the city of Los Angeles. And yet the authorities continue to insist that the economy is in good shape and that everything is going to be just fine. Perhaps everything may seem “just fine” if you live in a heavily sanitized wealthy suburban neighborhood and you only get your news from heavily sanitized corporate media sources, but in the real world things are getting really bad.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I've vegetable gardened intensively for the last 40 years. From my experience, there is no way most Americans (90%?) would adapt to this kind of life. Working in the dirt in the hot sun, nope, not going to happen. A good chunk of them couldn’t physically do it, especially the the sick and the elderly. It takes physical energy and skill to grow food for yourself. Have you seen your average citizen lately? Do you think someone who has been on the couch watching freak shows on TV for years would be ready to get out the shovel and start turning the ground over, just like that? No.
THANKS TO THE LIBS…
Homelessness. A tragedy going on in all our cities including Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, not just San Francisco. It's all over. Thank you to our so-called governor for trying to do something about it. After all he's the one who started it in San Francisco when he was the mayor. He's responsible for every bit of it. What really pisses me off is they are spending millions and billions of dollars on the California Air Resources Board which has forced people out of business, hurt lives, instead of fixing the homelessness situation.
Or the open borders where people are coming across the border with diseases like typhoid, Ebola, syphilis. They cross the border in San Diego and six hours later they are up in Boonville or Ukiah or Fort Bragg spreading it around. Thank you, you rotten Democrats for opposing closing the borders. It's people like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Rich, and all these other Democrats who are opposing what needs to be done. It's sickening. Our governor is sickening. Mary Nichols is sickening. Everybody that opposes the good things that president Trump is trying to do and what the American people need are all Democrats and they are all liberals. It's high time something was done about it before it's too late.
Political correctness ties law enforcement’s hands in this country. It is killing the American people. One of the worst things that could ever happen. It needs to be taken care of now. I know President Trump will take care of it in his next four years.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. Nancy Pelosi is a bad bad human being. All these people I've named before are all very bad. You know them by heart now. The bad ones. The ones we need to get rid of. Jerry Brown, Newsom. The whole bunch. The are all trying to do the same thing, convert the United States into socialism and do everything that's bad and create havoc for President Trump.
PPS. Every community in this county or the state has people growing marijuana. They need people to trim it. They hire anybody who can handle a pair of scissors. So a lot of these people coming across the border come right up to this area and get a job right away trimming pot or whatever. And they could be only a quarter of a mile away from you people out there with typhoid fever, Ebola, syphilis, or some terrible disease that they brought across the border with them. But California people don't care. Governor Newsom doesn't care. Nobody cares how the people who are already here as citizens are affected. That's the Liberal Democrat way.
PPPS. How do we know that somebody isn't going to walk into the Comptche store with typhoid fever or measles or maybe the Anderson Valley Market or the Navarro Store or the Ukiah Wal-Mart? How do we know these diseases will not be spread all over the United States? Measles. How did it get started? You people better get concerned and not leave it all up to President Trump. If you people don't get behind President Trump this whole god damn country is going to be unlivable. Something needs to be done about the borders. The Democrats won't do it. The liberals won't do it. Pretty sad.
24,000 POUNDS OF GARBAGE WERE JUST REMOVED FROM MOUNT EVEREST, LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF 4 DEAD BODIES
THE JEWS OF KRUPKI
A German soldier who took part in the mass killing kept a diary that was found on his body by the Allies. In it, he wrote of having volunteered as one of “15 men with strong nerves” asked to eliminate the Jews of Krupki.
“All these had to be shot today,” he wrote.
"The weather was gray and rainy."
He continued in the diary.
"The Jews had been told they were to be deported to work in Germany, but as we forced them into a ditch, the reality of their fate became evident. Panic ensued. We had a hard time controlling the crowd.
"Ten shots rang out, 10 Jews popped off.
"This continued until all were dispatched. Only a few of them kept their countenances. The children clung to their mothers, wives to their husbands. I won’t forget this spectacle in a hurry.
"The Jews of Krupki were dead. Who knew what would come later. We didn't think about it.
"What would come later was the void. But before the void there was the smell of cordite in the air. There was the screech of crows in the air. There was the terror of dogs. There were the demons in the birches and fir. There was Satan and his retinue."
The diary pauses with a blank page. Then it continues.
"In a distant forest on the Bobr River, somewhere in the Krupki Raion, near Mogilev, Belarus, and on a gray and rainy day, we, the Einsatzgruppen, killed the Jews of Krupki. On 18 September 1941, we killed the entire Jewish Ghetto."
Another blank page.
"The first massacre involved 100 deaths near a graveyard, but a later mad killing spree killed roughly 900 other Jews in the ditch in the forest. Very few, if any, of the local Belarusians, Gypsies, or Poles supported the massacre, but they did nothing to stop us.
"So we stood there shooting…doing an inhuman thing -- pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop."
I think that his name is Tim. My excuse for not being certain is that I have now lived here for just over a week. On the other hand, I have only lived here for just over a week. That is what it is like to be me, living here.
And that is what it is to be Tim, living here. I am sorry that I didn't remember to ask him how long he's lived here, but he wouldn't remember, either. This is what it must be like, to be Tim. He might think that he is the president, the leader of each and every one of us. He would be the keeper of our national conscience.
And it is he (or whomever follows him) who will lead us into whatever awfulness awaits as we stride bravely into the new world out there. Look closely. Over there. Run and catch that falling star. There, there Eh?
THE PHONE CALL
by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)
At this stage in life, when one checks out his pocket agenda, there appear the names of friends who have died, followed by a telephone number that no longer responds to calls. I don’t erase them because it’s as if they die for a second time. Only when I get a new agenda do I clean up this cemetery and allow those names to convert into the smoke of memory.
Every one of these lives that have accompanied one for so long comes down to one unforgettable image. Perhaps that grass you smoked together while listening to Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding right after the tear-gassed demonstration; or those embroidered tablecloths spread out under the shade of the pine trees by redskinned girls in some third world country. He had brought some sweet and sour pickles from Bulgaria and thus he thought of himself as a revolutionary.
Possibly half a century of friendship is concentrated in that first visit to New York when colonies of blind, white crocodiles lived in the sewers, or the memory of Sicily in the spring, or a walk through Valletta, Malta after contemplating Caravaggio’s The Beheading of John the Baptist.
One of the names in the agenda took you to a tertulia—a social gathering at a cafe; another will always be associated with laughter on the beach during summer. These friends were on the political right or the political left but the scythe has cut off their ideology beneath their feet and today they all militate in the single party of death.
One night of insomnia, in the wee hours of the morning, I ran a test. Just before deleting the the name of a dead friend, I found the courage to dial his number. After several rings, I felt someone lift the receiver at the other end. The long, deep silence that followed was filled with tears, good times, pleasures, misfortunes, successes, failures, and laughter.
LGBT+ pride marches in US interrupted by neo-Nazis and stampede
MUSICIANS who declined to perform at Woodstock included:
- Simon and Garfunkel
- Led Zeppelin
- Bob Dylan
- The Byrds
- The Moody Blues
- The Doors
- Roy Rogers
- John Lennon
- Chicago Transit Authority
- The Rolling Stones
KNOW YOUR OLIGARCHS (#7)