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Off the Record (June 12, 2019)

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 who gave Howe the axe. 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 fairly be described as intemperate, but a restraining order? And what provoked Ms. Howe’s lashing out? We want to hear Ms. Howe's side, and hope she 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

JAMES MARMON has been non-personed and legally restrained by the County's Borgia-like management. He writes, "From my sources, I hear that she [Barbara Howe] was coerced and threatened to sign a resignation letter written by Tammy Moss-Chandler, and if she refused they would terminate her. She was even told to try finding another job at 62 years old after being terminated. Ms. Howe, after leaving the building, changed her mind and hired an attorney and decided to fight back. If she sent them those emails she stepped right into a big trap. The County will completely dehumanize her and destroy any credibility she ever had. Her career is over. It's also being rumored that Ms. Howe fell out of County favor after she and Supervisor John McCowen had some kind of ‘in public’ disagreement regarding some presentation."

SOME RUMORS are fervently circulated as fact, but they derive from the wishful thinking genre. A lady called the other day to say that she'd heard from a Ukiah street guy named Ethan Hawke that body parts — a female head and arm — were found near the dumpster at the Ukiah Safeway. She said the grisly discovery was about a month old but there'd been nothing in the paper about it even though police had been seen at the site. The caller thought the body, however, is unknown to local law enforcement. There are presently two missing women whose disappearances are actively being investigated — a woman named Natalie Ruth Thomas is missing from the Arcata area, and Khadijah Britton of Covelo remains missing after being forced into a vehicle at gun point by her boyfriend, Neggie Fallis.

COUPLA INTERESTING REMARKS from Public Defender Jeffrey Aaron, at the County Budget Hearing last week: “In the interest of creating more diversity, we have hired an Hispanic attorney, an Hispanic investigator, a lawyer with Middle Eastern ancestry, a gay lawyer, and three women altogether.” 

I THINK that should be re-phrased to read, "In the interest of competence, historically in short supply at the PD's Office, we have hired seven (?) people."

IN ANOTHER more serious remark, Aaron said, “SB 1437 was a mandate effective January 1, 2019. It required re-sentencing of persons convicted of murder and other offenses based on the actual and probable consequences for aiders and abeters. In practical terms to us that means that we have 68 people who are potentially eligible. I have written personally to every single one of those persons. When they respond with a petition, I review it, and we file it, and we take the appointments. We currently have eight appointments and the Alternate Defender's Office has three. It is not a simple filing. These cases involve a subsequent hearing and perhaps a hearing in which evidence can be presented. So it's kind of like a mini-murder trial in each of those cases. Those cases are complex. The law is complex. And the record is long. In one of the cases that I am on, the record is 5,000 pages. If I were to read that whole record at 50 pages an hour, which is pretty fast for reading a record, it would take 100 hours, or more than two weeks for that case.” 

IF AARON is referring to the Abreu case, the first one to be heard this month locally, the DA's office is the complicating factor. DA Eyster says the "facts" of the Abreu matter prove premeditated murder, which they don't, but that's Eyster's story and I'm sure he's sticking to it. And the DA claims, if the Abreu facts don't keep the guy in jail forever although his record inside is blameless, and he went inside at age 19, the DA says the  re-sentencing law is un-constitutional. In other words, if the "facts" aren't sufficient grounds for re-sentencing, here comes a cockamamie law school constitutional exercise cooked up by a gang of Orange County Trumpians! Unfortunately for the sages of Orange County, they haven’t prevailed anywhere. Keeping people in prison for murders they neither committed nor participated in is not in the interest of justice, hence the revised state murder rule.

BTW, I've followed the Abreu case for years. I've got a transcript of his confession plus a box full of related material, probably more stuff than Aaron and Eyster combined. I think Aaron is exaggerating how much time it takes to read the relevant docs, and Eyster is scavenging the docs to re-lynch the guy, as he was lynched by the Public Defender during his first farce of a trial nearly twenty years ago.

ONE MORE THING: The previous Public Defender, Linda Thompson, was totally unqualified to assume the position, a fact noted at the time of her appointment by her legal colleagues. Her virtue, from the otherwise profligate perspective of the Supervisors, was her promise (and ability) to keep costs down, meaning she came in annually under-budget but at the expense of justice for some of her clients, especially Abreu, whose one-day trial was probably the cheapest murder trial since Tombstone Jack was hanged after a half-hour hearing in 19th century Arizona.

LAWRENCE REICHARD paid the price for writing in opposition to a proposed fish farm in his hometown of Belfast, Maine. The proposed fish farm is a product of Norway, and almost identical to the fish farm the Norwegians hope to install in Humboldt County, which Reichard also wrote a Beware Of article for the AVA called "Humboldt Fish Farm — Raw Deal?" HumCo publications rejected it although it's carefully composed and directly relevant to Humboldt County.

FOR HIS OPPOSITION to the Belfast fish project pending in that Maine town, and as appeared first in the AVA then in CounterPunch, Reichard lost his column in the local Belfast paper and is also now vilified on the City of Belfast's Facebook page. In other words, for doing what journalists are supposed to do — presenting a fact-based argument against a proposed business that may bring more harm than good to the locals, not to mention what's left of the natural environment, the entire elected apparatus of the State of Maine, from the City of Belfast to the state's Governor to its congressmen and senators, comes down on his head. And now Reichard, who survives by substitute teaching, doesn't get called for that work either!

NO ESCAPING HIM. Trump ought to be impeached not for his numerous crimes but because he's an obvious diminished capacity case. Off the cuff, which is where he is when he isn't stumbling through a simplified prepared script, Trump is incoherently free associating. But you don't have to listen too carefully to much broadcast and televised speechifying to know that a lot of professional yak-yakkers, especially when they're unscripted, are only a little more coherent than the dear leader. 

WITH all the talk about fascism, us lib labs inevitably conjure up visions of the World War Two version of mass mental illness —ranks of trim uniformed goose steppers mobilized for mass murder. But the fascism we're getting is much more subtle — the takeover of the courts and bureaucratic strangulation of social and environmental programs. Capture the courts and dry up the money for everyone except the owning classes and bingo! the new fascism.

THAT MINORITY of new Democrats is vilified as dangerous left wingers, especially the Cortez-Omar contingent whose modest proposals for economic reform are deliberately mis-characterized by Republicans and Democrats alike as akin to Bolshevism. In most of the rest of the world, where people are able to make simple political distinctions, reform figures like Bernie, Elizabeth Warren and Cortez-Omar are rightly seen as social democrats, not socialists.

AT THE TURN of the twentieth century, and brilliantly described in the wonderful history Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas, there were socialists who weren't just woofing, who not only threatened violence against the ruling class but did it. (Local note: the late Bob Lawson, Sr. of Yorkville, told me when he was a kid he worked a summer in a lumber mill near Yakima whose workers were mostly radicals — Wobblies and socialists. Lawson said “they scared hell outta me. I’d never been around tough guys like them.” They also put the fear in capitalists.) Can you imagine Bernie joining with Eugene Debs' call for a million working people to arm themselves for a march on Idaho to free imprisoned labor leaders? Not that the rightwing is taking in new info, but figures like Bernie, Cortez-Omar, Elizabeth Warren do not represent even a remote threat to current economic arrangements. FDR’s New Deal was considerably to the left anything Bernie and Company have in mind.

CORRECTION: Last week we reported: “The Point Arena City Council has approved conversion of the derelict Sea Shell Inn as a cannabis products manufacturing and distribution center. All this maneuvering around pot legalization, or quasi-legalization, reminds me of the build-up to Tulip Mania — huge investment, big crash."

TURNS OUT, the ICO report of the City Council meeting on which this item was based was incorrect. The ICO printed a short correction this week saying, "The cannabis processing and distribution facility described in last week's issue will be in a former gas station at the corner of Main and Mill Street in Point Arena, not at the adjacent former motel."

ACCORDING to a coast resident familiar with the proposal, it's nothing more than a small dispensary moving into the old gas station office with minimal if any "cannabis processing and distribution" capacities. The owners of the Sea Shell Inn also own the adjacent gas station property, which is probably how the confusion was created. We understand that the out of state couple who bought the Sea Shell Inn a few years ago is still trying to get through the maze of permits, both County and Coastal Commission, required to remodel the old Motel into rentable condition. (They deserve credit for even trying.) So far, they have reportedly finally solved the septic system problem but there are still several other hurdles to jump over.

A READER WRITES: “The Planning Dept. is asking the Board of Supervisors to hire a consultant and begin a new Housing Element for the General Plan. I have heard that the County wants to eliminate the Inclusionary Housing Element this time around. It will be a while before there is any public input to the Housing Element, but it would be good to stay aware of this subject as it unfolds. The consulting planning firm who will do the work is called Place Works and is located in Berkeley

MARK SCARAMELLA RESPONDS: According to next week’s Supes agenda, Mendo plans to spend $85,000 on this project via Place Works. But at their lawyerish rates it wouldn’t take them long to run up an even bigger bill. We didn’t see any money in the 2019-2020 budget for the housing ordinance update either. And history shows that the housing ordinance has never done anything but collect dust. The Supes won’t consider any kind of rent control for trailer parks, haven’t so much as squeaked about trying to find locations for new trailer parks, as former Supervisor Pinches proposed; all they’ve done to create low cost housing so far is prepare some pre-approved Class K specs (which are still under review in the County Counsel’s office) and which may or may not actually be used by a Mendo home builder. As far as we know, Coast contractor Ishvi Aum was the first to propose that these pre-approved specs be developed some three years ago. We’ll withhold judgment on what Mendo is offering until Mr. Aum updates us after they’re finally released.

HASCHAK’S FREEBIE. Jeez, the guy makes $85 grand a year, more than twice that of the average employed Mendo person so, like, why doesn’t he pay his own way? The last time I asked this question the answer came back, “Each supervisor is allotted a travel budget.” Which comes out of the same big pot of dough, doesn’t it: Why do any of the Supes  have to go on these tax-funded trips, not a single one of which over the years has produced a single benefit to Mendo, not even a report back. Here it is: Item 4b on next Tuesday's consent calendar: “Approval of Out of State Travel for Supervisor Haschak to Attend National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 84th Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Authorization of Expenditure of Airfare and Lodging Expenses in the Approximate Amount of $2,000.”

SEEKING CLARIFICATION: Northcoast Opportunities, the grab bag, grant-funded, non-profit agency, has a No Caps policy. No, not a no hat rule, a don’t-write-to-us-in-capital-letters rule. All caps, you see, is akin to yelling, a major micro-aggression. Can’t clap at Supe’s meetings, also, but you can wiggle your fingers if someone says something you really, really like.

ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, the feds announced a prison crackdown on the Aryan Brotherhood, a series of prosecutions chronicled in an excellent piece in The New Yorker. The feds this week announced another crackdown on the errant white boys. Stories about the alleged dangers presented by the gang cite the Southern Poverty Law Center, which calls the AB “the nation’s oldest and largest white supremacist prison gang.

"The legal advocacy group also says the syndicate, formed in 1964 at San Quentin State Prison, is the deadliest prison gang in the nation and has nearly 20,000 members, inside prison and on the outside." That's a typical para from the scare stories inspired by the SPLC.

THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER doesn't kill people but it's a far more effective scam than anything a few incarcerated crooks might cook up. The SPLC raises literal millions by inflating the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism. They pay their top guns lavishly and they’re sitting on a huge endowment. The more people they scare with remote threats, the more money they accumulate. Which isn’t to say there aren't bad people out there, and not to say these bad people often hold false race notions. But Mr. Pollyanna (right here, sir, madam!) says race relations in this country have never been better, and anti-Semitism is virtually non-existent, largely because the dummies drawn to it are too stupid to master the required crank lit. 

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's a health clinic with guards."

JONAH RASKIN in conversation with Liz Thach at the Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Doors Open 6:30, conversation at 7pm. Subject: Raskin’s new novel “Dark Day, Dark Night,” exploring dark corners of California’s wine and weed country. More info:


 [1] The Queen should not have been shown walking within the penumbra of the American goliath. Not just in terms of the optics but also from a national security concern. What if Trump had tripped and fallen on her?! Heck she shouldn’t be shown walking at all! She should be conveyed from one location to the next via mysterious and royal means. One moment she’s in the garden; the next moment she’s seated at the grand dining table. Poof!

[2] 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 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.

One Comment

  1. James Marmon June 14, 2019


    “JAMES MARMON has been non-personed and legally restrained by the County’s Borgia-like management.”

    “a person regarded as nonexistent or unimportant; a nonentity”

    James Marmon MSW
    Personal Growth Consultant

    “don’t just go through it, grow through it”

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