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Off the Record (June 19, 2019)

ADD to the bottomless list of things I didn't know: Convicted arsonists have to register with the Sheriff's Department. Mendo is home to 11 registrants, but unlike registered sex offenders the names and addresses of fire bugs are not made public.

MOST REPORTS on this episode read this way: "The New York Times will stop publishing political cartoons weeks after it apologized for an anti-Semitic illustration featuring President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."

HUH? How exactly is this drawing anti-Semitic? Of course as soon as I saw it I knew the professionally and perpetually offended would claim it's anti-Semitic, but all it depicts is the well-known relationship of the U.S. and Israel. I thought the cartoon was kinda dumb myself because it should have had Netanyahu walking Trump since the true relationship is the Israeli tail wagging the American dog. The cartoonist reversed the true nature of the relationship, and even then it was simply a statement of the obvious, not anti-Semitic.

A NEW YORK TIMES CARTOONIST, now former Times cartoonist, Patrick Chappatte wrote. "I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: that’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon - not even mine - that should never have run in the best newspaper of the world. I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow. " 

THE Portuguese cartoonist who drew the image, António Moreira Antunes, told CNN that he did not intend for the image to be anti-Semitic.

CHAPPATE is correct about censorship, certainly, an old fact of media life on the Northcoast.

CHUCK DUNBAR: “A couple of thoughts about the Barbara Howe issue:

Like the editor, I also wish we could know the whole story here. Having worked for the County in CPS for nearly 2 decades, I saw lots of strange, unfair, and sometimes downright cruel treatment meted out by managers/bosses. This general theme was commonly known and commented on by line staff. Most of us just hunkered down and kept doing the job we were paid to do as best we could. Of course, it’s worth saying, there were some managers who were smart and knowledgeable, and who treated staff with respect and fairness. It always seemed to me that the managers of the first type were engaged in truly self-destructive acts, when they treated staff badly. The consequences of their acts redounded to them in diverse ways, but staff generally came to disrespect and devalue them, even if it was kind of covert. Managers who treated staff well reaped, as anyone can imagine, the rewards that come with respected, happy staff. It’s really pretty simple. Barbara Howe must have been treated pretty badly. She’s clearly very upset and very angry. With fellow medical professionals supporting her, it seems a shame it happened. Yet, if the allegations about messages sent to Tammy Chandler-Moss by Ms. Howe are true, I wish she’d not sent them. That kind of quasi-Voodoo stuff might well be fantasized by someone treated badly, and who had lost a job she may well have loved. But to put such vindictive threats/predictions in writing several times goes over the edge– pretty self-destructive and hard to take back once it’s done. (I recall, many years ago, working for a mean, crazy boss, who treated me like crap. It was a social service job I loved and worked really hard at. When I began fantasizing ways to do the guy in, I knew it was time to leave, and did so—one of the best moves I ever made, led to a better professional life for me for many years. While I would have loved to have gotten even in some way with the guy, I was lucky enough to avoid that trap.) Without knowing the whole story, I think this mess is pretty emblematic of what goes on in Ms. Angelo’s workplace. Lots of mean-spirited stuff has occurred over years, as a good number of folks have commented on in the AVA. That’s the real shame, and we deserve better of our local government.”

MARK SCARAMELLA: I agree that Ms. Howe’s text messages don’t help her situation. But the key to understanding them, to me anyway, is her use of the phrase “spreading Carmel’s poison,” followed by “it is killing you. Dis-ease is in your near future.” And later, “I am certain it [presumably “Carmel’s poison” or maybe the “dis-ease”] will involve your stomach. Some sort of stomach cancer.” It seems to me that Ms. Howe was merely warning Ms. Moss-Chandler about what the physical ill-effects of blindly doing the CEO’s bidding might be, metaphorically, not threatening to literally poison her, a ridiculous interpretation. Ms. Howe then proceeds into what Ms. Moss-Chandler took as veiled threats, but could also have been predictions of the effects of the kind of workplace stress that is created by having to constantly do whatever the CEO orders you to do for fear of immediate dismissal yourself, no matter how vindictive or counterproductive it may appear, especially if promises were made by Ms. Moss-Chandler to Ms. Howe in the time leading up to her firing (i.e., the reference to “trust”). If top managers have to tippy-toe around on egg-shells under the constant threat of being bounced outtathere with no notice — as demonstrated several times in the last couple of years — it’s not hard to imagine how that kind of pressure-cooker feeling could affect someone physically over time. CEO Angelo cut her teeth by stepping up in 2010 to make substantial staff cuts. She’s clearly a person with no hesitation to fire people who she feels have crossed her in some way. There are other implications of this stressful situation which I could speculate further on, but that can wait.

CHUCK DUNBAR: “Those are interesting thoughts, Mark, about Ms. Howe’s possible intentions. And they actually fit with my–admittedly limited– knowledge of Ms. Chandler-Moss (or is it Moss-Chandler?, have seen it both ways) and her manner with and treatment of staff. I have in the past heard from a few of my friends (who remained at CPS after I left) that she is pretty staff friendly and is not an autocrat at heart. They actually liked her and had no real complaints about her. This feedback was from some time ago, so is not especially current. I once saw her speak at a mental health meeting, shortly after she was hired. She came across as an apparently good-hearted person, speaking with a good deal of warmth and humanity. I remember being struck by this and thinking that maybe she was a breath of fresh air. In contrast for sure, is Ms. Angelo’s manner. Her cold, arrogant persona is not hidden–it’s right there for all to see. More to be revealed in this sad story.”

SHERIFF ALLMAN told us last week that his deputies are seeing more and more fentanyl out there in bucolic Mendocino County. "All our deputies carry Narcan," Allman said. "And so does County Jail staff." The Sheriff is fully aware that death rates from suicide, alcohol abuse, and drug overdoses—the “deaths of despair”—aren't limited to redwood country. They've reached an all-time high in the United States, a finding confirmed by the Commonwealth Fund. Some states have been hit far worse than others, and California, according to the CF report, isn't as bad as the mid-Atlantic states—West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania— where drug-overdose deaths occur at the greatest per capita rate in the country. After West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Delaware and New Hampshire had the next highest drug-overdose death rates in the country.

SHERIFF ALLMAN told an audience gathered on June 6th at the Gualala Community Center that he has personally informed ten doctors in the County that he is aware of their opioid prescription practices, suggesting that the ten are over-prescribing pain killers. "We are third in the state for opioid overdoses," Allman said as reported by the ICO. "I see all of them. I'm the coroner." The Coast weekly quotes Allman as saying he "hand-delivered" his notices to the suspicious ten but "no doctor on the South Coast got letters."

ARGUMENTS were presented before judge Anne Moorman this morning in the Tai Abreu appeal. While the judge considers them, Abreu will be returned to High Desert Prison at Susanville. A full account of the hearing will appear in next week's paper. It's obvious to our regular readers where we are on the Abreu case, but in case it isn't, and writing as a person who knows it as well as the attorneys involved, Abreu is entitled to a sentence modification under recent legislation.

SIDE NOTE, and not to be too boringly obvious on the subject, but most places in the civilized world there is a fundamental social/legal understanding that few people are the same at age 40 as they were at age 20. The reason we have the largest prison population in the world, aside from China, is the harshness of sentencing, plus, of course, a rigid class system that dooms millions of people by birth, and a parole system dominated by persons from victim families. As any experienced prisoner can and will tell you, it's obvious who should be permanently put on ice and who deserves a break. A parole committee of prison staff and inmates would be more likely to make intelligent decisions on who should get out and who shouldn't, but as it stands, with all these extreme mandatory minimum sentencing laws, thousands of people unlikely to ever re-offend — people like Abreu — will remain locked up at huge public expense and at great social cost to them and their families.

THE VERY IDEA of a Mendocino County climate change committee is at least half nuts, especially if public money is thrown at it. And not to mention that it arises out of a tawdry scheme by Supervisor McCowen to steer public money to his tenants at the MEC, 106 W. Standley. McCowen's conflict of interest wouldn't fly anywhere but scruple-free Mendo. Anyway, want to halt climate change? Give up the deluded notion that capitalism — more stuff for more people forever — can somehow be "reformed" in time to prevent it from killing us all.

KLAY THOMPSON was injured in the wildly exciting Game 6 of the NBA championships last week when he came off awkwardly on an attempted dunk, reminding me of the great Rick Barry's observation, and I paraphrase, "Dunks are dangerous. The object is to score two points, not get on ESPN's highlight reel. Dunks also use up finite energy." Barry correctly complains about the pathetic NBA free throw percentages, and not just the NBA, at all levels of basketball. Barry put 'em up underhanded, the very, very old fashioned way, the "uncool way," as Barry characterized the resistance to underhand free throws, at which he was absolutely deadly. The NBA sets the styles of play, though, all the way down the line to pee wee hoops. Little kids imitate what they see on TV. My grandson, a seven-year-old, tries all kinds of fancy moves, especially on gramps, including the reverse slams he practices on a little kid's hoop he put up on his door. Bringing the ball up court at one of his peewee games grandson rolled the ball to half court because, as he explained, "That's the way Steph does it."

TOM HANKS, an Oakland native of austere beginnings, remembers the Oakland Coliseum: "I went down to sell peanuts and soda, and thinking it would be like in a TV show where you saw the young kid trying to make a thing," Hanks recalls. "Well, first of all, I got robbed twice. Note to self: Hide those wads of cash. Don't be walking with a wad of cash in your pocket. Then, I came across professional vendors, who did not like the fact that kids were there."

I WISH Oakland would have sued the Warriors to stay in Oakland, the team's true home. The Warriors never really caught on in San Francisco. You could walk in at game time back in the 60s and get a good seat at the Cow Palace or the Civic Auditorium in SF without taking out a mortgage to buy the ticket. In their new palace in San Francisco, the ordinary fan is priced out, and just try and drive to a game. Or take overwhelmed game time public transportation. Oakland had the huge convenience of  literal acres of parking. The Missus and I went to lots of games at the Coliseum in the Al Attles-Rick Barry years of the 1970s. (My late brother had season's tickets to the Warriors, which he generously distributed among his poor relations.” One season ticket now goes for what? a mil at the new arena near the ballpark? 

NPR'S mawk-soaked Scott Simon, the audio king of false feeling, was positively orgasmic Saturday morning over a book called, 'I Wrote This Book Because I Love You,' which was nauseating enough all by itself, but a few minutes later, one of Simon's colleagues pops to say, "I just want to say how grateful I am that my daughter allows (sic) me to be her father." Simon of course can't resist adding, "I feel the same way about my two daughters."

I REMEMBERED that Updike story about a writer who tracks down his critics and murders them, shoving one of them in front of a subway train. I fantasized about stalking prominent phonies like Simon to finish them off in ways that would mystify the police because, to most people, the victims would have no apparent link. Simon, of course, would go first, David Muir next then, at apparent random, even people who admired them like, for instance, KZYX's board of directors. "But...but why are you shooting me?" You wouldn't understand, Scott, and I don't have time to explain it you. Blam!

THE SKUNK RAILROAD announced last week that escrow has closed on 77-acres of the mill site purchased by the Skunk Railroad Friday. The Railroad is in talks with "several hotels" about building on the property with all proposals dependent on the Coastal Commission for approval.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "When They See Us," an absolutely brilliant Netflix production based on the appalling (even by prevalent justice system standards) conviction of five 7th and 8th graders for a brutal 1989 assault and rape in New York’s Central Park of a 28-year-old white woman, Trisha Meili, who had been out jogging in the park only to be found nearly dead. She remained in a coma for 12 days following the attack which, fortunately she retained no memory of, but eventually made something of a miraculous recovery from. There was zero evidence against the five boys. The assault on Ms. Meili was more than a mile from the "wilding" (random, recreational youth mob violence) occurring simultaneously in which the defendants may or may not have been involved. The terrible event revived and encouraged every gruesome racial trope of this country's gruesome racial history, complete with Trump taking out full page pre-trial ads in the New York papers calling for the death penalty. The performances by Jharrel Jerome and Michael K. Williams, the latter himself a victim of a wilding night when he was a kid, hence the scar running the length of his face, are absolutely gripping, by far the best I've seen in years. (Michael K. Williams was also outstanding in the groundbreaking HBO Series “The Wire.”)

MEANWHILE, at the Fairfax Theater this weekend, adult movie goers flocked to see, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (Pets 1 wasn't dumb enough, apparently); Dark Phoenix, an ultra-vi spectacular; and some other violent cartoon. 

TRUMP HAS FINALLY GONE TOO FAR for several local Democrats, aka WineDems, who have courageously called on President Trump to “do all you can to support the international competitiveness of US agriculture.” By doing what?

LAST WEEK, Congressmen Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Diane Feinstein — and 16 other elected Democrats — asked Trump to remove the wine tariffs that Trump has imposed on wine exports to China. (Thompson and Pelosi own wineries, Huffman represents Northcoast wine interests above all other constituents.)


[1] I need to find a new place to settle down after traveling for a while and living overseas. I’m torn between my own rural very white but cold snowy state versus someplace warmer such as NC or VA. I want to live in a rural locale far enough away from large cities. I have to confess I also want a place that’s fairly white but not full of meth heads with jacked up cars in front of their trailers. Looking for a place with some decent conservative political and social values but not neo-Nazi sorts(who would hate me anyway). Gotta be affordable too. I’m starting to feel the urgency of finding a place to call home again, starting a big garden, stocking up the woodpile etc. Trying not to let panic set in but it’s feeling really unsettled in the world these days. I want to have a place that’s a refuge for my son if he needs it too; living in a studio apartment and just shopping for groceries isn’t going to work if things get bad..

[2] Estmated US population, 2050, 400 million. China and India headed to 1.5 bullion each.

The reason I am cynical is, I don’t think any govt in the world is going to reduce energy usage or ‘carbon emissions, and switch to renewables, if it even remotely means mass unemployment, starvation, lower living standards, or political instability withins its own borders. It would be suicide.

To enforce reduced energy usage, it would take a repressive international governing body with a brutal police force not answerable to anything or anybody save the ‘Climate Change’ mandate. I don’t see that happening. The idea of nuking coal fired power plants in Russia and China probably won’t work either.

[3] It’s nice to see a few comments beyond the usual Deep States, rah rah Trumpers, and Hillary bad/me mad. Yes, the Clintons are bad, no bankers were jailed by Obama, and Obama sold Boeing 737max overseas and removed FAA oversights. And Trump? Well, the list is still being written and too long to fit in a book, let alone a comment section.

My 2 cents as this unfolds (and it is unfolding rather quickly): get rid of your debts take care of your health move to somewhere livable make a few preps (the list is insanely long and personal) develop community relationships don’t believe in political explanations (any), or solutions live each day deliberately etc etc etc


  1. Michael Koepf June 19, 2019

    There’s an old Nazi cartoon circa WW2 in which Winston Churchill is being led by a leash pulled by a hook-nosed Jew upon a globe of the world. Disagreement with the Israeli government has simply become a politically correct and convenient disguise for antisemitism. Portraying a Jew as a dog, a Jew as deformed: these are classic tropes of derision aimed at the Jewish people.

  2. Harvey Reading June 19, 2019

    Disagreement and disgust with the Israeli government is NOT antisemitism, no matter what brain-dead yuppies, ruling-class propagandists, and lying politicians from either wing of the wealth party tell you. It might be antizionism, which I consider a good thing, but it is NOT antisemitism.

    • Harvey Reading June 19, 2019

      Hating Arabs IS antisemetic.

      • Michael Koepf June 19, 2019

        So, therefore, in your mind (sic) it’s kosher to characterize a jew as a dog— the anti-zionist version—as, say, portraying him as a rat, the Nazi version? Perhaps you believe that dogs are further along the gradient of evolution than a rodent.

        • Harvey Reading June 19, 2019

          You really need to get your head out of your ass.

  3. Michael Koepf June 19, 2019

    Dear Harvey. When reason fails a man, who is unable to fathom bigotry in portraying a Jewish man as a dog, moving on to anatomical impossibilities does not help your racist point of view. What is needed here, Harvey, is not for me to “get your head out of your ass,” but for you to get a brain into your head. Or, failing that, a bit of compassion in your heart.

    • Harvey Reading June 19, 2019

      As I said before … Either that or go see a good shrink. You seem to live in a dream world, made up from your own personal, surreal definitions, none of which reflect reality.

      And again, disagreement and disgust with the despicable Israeli government is NOT antisemitic, though oddly, the Israeli government policy on Palestinians is totally antisemitic. There are plenty of Jews who share my views, right here in Freedomlandia. Even some of the early Zionists had second thoughts once they discovered that Palestine was already inhabited, years before Israel was established. But then I suppose a real zionist patriot like you would consider such people as self-hating Jews, huh? Now, you can continue your nutty zionist diatribe as you will, but enough is enough for me.

  4. Michael Koepf June 20, 2019

    Harvey, bless your little heart. Rather than engaging in the issue (the moral efficacy of a cartoon with a Jew depicted as a dog) you’ve descended into ad hominem invective, the final refuge of an argument in mad retreat. Harvey, my dear fellow, let us attempt to reason together. You are particularly incensed against Zionists, that is Jewish people (primarily European) who wished to return to the historical land of their origin. Why, pray God, would they want to do that? Prejudice, centuries of Pogroms; free trains to German sleep away camps in Poland? Why leave that all behind? Harvey, it’s clear by your hatred of Zionism that you are a progressive. Harvey, after world war two and the revealed horror of the Holocaust, progressives were huge supporters of migration to the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. Eleanor Roosevelt (America’s premier progressive) was a big supporter of the foundation of the state of Israel. Harry Truman (FDR’s political heir; no anti-progressive there) who integrated our armed forces, recognized Israel the day they came into existence. Even the Soviet Union, at that time, the shining shrine on the altar of progressivism, recognized Israel as a legitimate state three days after Truman did. Harvey, what happened? Why are Zionists now the bad guys for progressives when they used to be the good? Let me venture this: progressives think as a group and the Cold War intervened. America continued to back Israel, but as the Soviet Union became more antagonistic to the West, they saw a chance of hegemony in the Middles East. The communists began supporting Arab states with tanks and planes against Israel, which they perceived as a client state of the USA. Tragic wars ensued. Harvey, as you well know, progressives have always been enthralled with the dream of Marxism, that is, creating heaven right here on earth. During the Cold War, American intellectuals were inclined towards the Soviet Union, because, (they wrongly thought) that’s were their heaven lay. Thus, progressives, led primarily by their academic big thinkers, began to envision Israel and hence Zionism as bad. But, Harvey, weighed down by impossible theory and repression, the Soviet Union has disappeared. It’s currently run by a despot at the head of a gang of greedy gangsters. So much for heaven on earth. Unfortunately, progressives are slow learners. They’re even slower at admitting past mistakes. (who isn’t?) Therefore, Harvey, for progressives, hating Israel, hating Zionists is nothing but hate from the past disassociated from its roots. Harvey, if this is all too complicated for you, let me know, and we can switch to the easier topics of Palestine and Palestinians as well as the current growing hatred of Jews in our own country. We shall discuss the Quran, and one of my favorite guys: Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti and long-ago leader of the Palestinian Arabs.

  5. Debra Keipp June 29, 2019

    Ya know, Mark,… (Scaramella)… When Hugh was dying, and when I would give him a treatment for his pain, he shared with me one day that he felt like Carmel Angelo was instrumental in his illness, as he worked under her for a number of years up to the time prior to his death. Yep! You hit it smack dab on the nose: she’s POISON. Rest in peace, Hugh. You were a knd man.

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