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Off the Record (July 24, 2019)

CONGRESSWOMAN OMAR, chatting with Rachel Maddow the other day, said Trump "is the worst president we've ever had." Nope. By any objective standard, Andrew Johnson was a lot worse, especially for black people. Succeeding the assassinated Lincoln, Johnson not only encouraged violence against freed slaves, he severely retarded the post-war reconciliation of the South with the North. Woodrow Wilson was another unapologetic race man occupying the presidency. His favorite movie was ‘Birth of a Nation,’ and he liked it so much he showed it many times in the White House. Grant , succeeding Johnson as president, cracked down on the Klan and at least tried to ensure public safety in the Reconstruction years, but it wasn't until Truman desegregated the military in '48, and then the schools were in theory desegregated under Eisenhower in '54 that true Reconstruction began. The wonderful world of sports was also slowly and grudgingly integrated in '47-'48. The military and sports were, you could say, the primary liberalizing racial institutions, but it wasn't until the late 1960s that millions of genuinely affectionate and loyal cross-race relationships became commonplace. The huge push-back Orange Man is getting from his efforts to stir the race fires would not have happened in 1960.


OUTSIDE SAFEWAY, Ukiah, the other day, I ran into Andrew Maynard, a frequent flier who had just appeared in our Catch of the Day gallery the previous morning. Along with Mr. Hensley and several other iron-livered medical miracles whose lives play out in the booking logs, Maynard is living proof that there is no help available out of the annual millions County taxpayers fork over for the presumed care of people unable to care for themselves. 

Maynard, who is much taller than I would have guessed from his booking photos, is clearly a present danger to himself. Used to be the Maynards and Hensleys were held at the old state hospital at Talmage, and kept there until they regained control of themselves, at least temporarily. Now, there's nothing for them, although the drop-fall drunks, the habituals, are no more than twenty or so lost souls. There are many more helping professionals in Mendocino County than there are people who really need help. When I encountered him at Safeway, Maynard was already drunk, or had never sobered up from the few hours he'd spent out at Low Gap. He'd probably been released from the County Jail a little after midnight, an old accounting ploy that allows the County to bill the state for a full day's incarceration. And Maynard seems to have been in and out of jail so fast he'd been released before he was fully sober or had had time to avail himself of a shower. He looked a lot worse than his usual booking photos I asked him how he was doing. "I could use a coupla bucks," he said. As a faithful enabler of people whose sole remaining solace is self-destruction, I gave him the coupla bucks and he careened off toward the parking lot. I wondered if Maynard made it back to Fort Bragg, his listed home address.

SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN, as we know, is always on the alert to save taxpayer dollars (cough-cough). The Ukiah-based solon made the following observation after listening to a presentation about the pending grant-funded jail expansion project plans, which Mendo contributes to via a small local match:

McCowen: “Looking at the site plan, I see new landscaping between Sheriff admin and the secure parking. Is that an opportunity to save funds? I think there are some trees planted along there now. So is this new landscaping we would be adding in? Likewise, a long Log Gap next to the new parking? If we are really trying to economize, isn't that something that could be eliminated?”

Doug Anderson, Assistant Facilities Manager: “The only landscaping that is in the budget right now is the small pink area just to the north of the new jail. The crosshatched area between the existing planter and the sheriff's admin parking lot is the primary right-of-way for the state. It's a little neck of access to the public way which is Low Gap Road and the utility easements…”

McCowen: “I see now I was actually looking at the wrong little box in the legend with the tiny print. So I will withdraw that question and go to the new parking up by Low Gap. We are providing that be paved paid. Could we save some money if that were just a gravel lot? Would that make any significant difference?”

Anderson: “The new parking lot is part of the off-site improvements that we are looking forward to having done as a separate project. We can certainly develop the drawings for that with an alternate to pave or not pave that. We also want to look at other improvements along Low Gap to improve the pathway back to the 911 dispatch center. When we get those drawings together we will have an opportunity to look at those alternatives.”

PRELIMINARILY, we understand that the sudden, shocking death of Fort Bragg Advocate reporter, Kelci Parks, is attributed to a heart attack. Ms. Parks, only 34, was diagnosed with a heart murmur some months ago. She leaves behind a twelve-year-old son and family in Oklahoma.

RE THE POSSIBLE TAKEOVER of Coast Hospital by the Adventist octopus, Jeff Fox writes: "Thanks for the great article detailing the lesser known aspects of an Adventist takeover. Having just retired from MCDH after 23 years I had plenty of opportunity to interact with the Adventist people, and personally know several employees that left MCDH to work for Adventist, and vice versa. It’s not widely known how deeply the religious aspect is ingrained in the organization. Even though lower level managers are not required to be Adventists, one I know personally has told me they are subjected to giving prayer before managerial meetings. It’s also little known that Adventists are basically a doomsday cult, holding the belief and hoping for a God-induced global apocalypse that will destroy all unbelievers and leave only Adventists as survivors. I’m not expressing an opinion one way or the other as to whether MCDH should or should not affiliate with Adventist. There are definitely issues at MCDH that an affiliation would fix. But it’s important that the community be aware that much of what they are used to, such as services Adventist deems “unprofitable” will disappear without the opportunity for public input. Affiliation will leave the publicly elected MCDH board with practically zero influence over direction of the hospital. Those who have become accustomed to attending public Board meetings and expressing their views on important issues such as the closing of the Labor and Delivery unit are in for a rude surprise. Dr. Turner’s comments on profiteering are consistent with my own experiences both as a patient and as a department manager who interacted with them in my capacity at MCDH. In my opinion, should Adventist take over the hospital, the chances of keeping the L&D unit open is virtually nil. Additionally, expect the town to lose the jobs currently held by the billing, medical records, and the majority of I.T. staff. My off-the-cuff estimate this that we’ll say adios to around 25 benefited, living wage jobs in those three departments alone. Off to Roseville they’ll go (or Santa Rosa for the billing jobs)."


1. Driven or biked over Fish Rock Road to Gualala. And back.

2. Drank from the Indian spring on Manchester Road, kept on west and visited the round house on the Manchester rez.

3. Hiked the Lost Coast from the Usal end.

4. Seen the shell mounds at Black Sands Beach.

5. Driven the Mina Road to Alderpoint, then northeast to Weaverville, thinking about George White, "The King of Round Valley."

6. Read "Genocide and Vendetta."

7. Hiked in to the hot springs at Point Arena and the hot springs at the headwaters of the Garcia.

8. Visited the Held-Poage Library at least once.

9. Hiked Navarro Ridge Road from the Flynn Creek end or driven it from the ocean end.

10. Know where the old ballpark was in Fort Bragg. And Ukiah.

11. Walked from MacKerricher to Ten Mile on what's left of the old Haul Road.

12. Ridden the Skunk.

13. Eaten an authentic old time donut from the Redwood Drive-In and eaten a Jenny Burger in Fort Bragg.

14. Driven through the Drive-thru redwood in Leggett and on out west to Rockport.

15. Harvested chestnuts at the Zeni Ranch.

16. Hiked and camped from Willits to Fort Bragg on Sherwood Road.

17. Enjoyed a drink at Bobby Beacon's world famous Beacon Light (which I haven't done yet myself but fully intend to).

18. Hopped the fence for close look at the old Air Force base at Point Arena.

19. Hunted wild pig. Trespassed to a great abalone spot.

20. Driven from Laytonville to Westport on the Branscomb Road, and from Covelo to Willows over the Mendocino Pass.

21. Know where Eden Valley is.

22. Driven the length of the Ukiah-Comptche Road.

23. Visit at least once the Potter Valley Project for a look at America’s most precarious river diversion.

(click to enlarge)

MUCHO THANKSO to the anon reader who sent along a nifty old booklet (1954) called "San Francisco Street Names, Sketches of the Lives of Pioneers for whom San Francisco Streets are Named," complete with litho reproductions of early landmarks. The internet has pretty much wiped out the whole range of uniquely produced and written 'zines, chapbooks, single-topic booklets like, for instance, Jonah Raskin's interviews with the legendary Oaky Joe. The only place I know of where you can find an array of one-of-a-kind printed items like "San Francisco Streets" is the San Francisco Library's used book store at Fort Mason, where the excellent Byron Spooner presides.

ON THE SUBJECT of obscure publications, I just unearthed a page from "Rural California Report of Fall 1998," which seems to have been produced by the United Farm Workers: "At summer's end the UFW established its first foothold in Mendocino County, when workers at the 580-acre Anderson Vineyards Inc. voted 27-18 in favor of UFW representation. Boonville-based Anderson Vineyards Inc., which grows grapes for Roederer Estate Winery, employs about 80 hired farm workers at peak season. Just 45 of these workers were eligible to vote in the election since the other 35, all pickers, had been hired after the end of the pay period prior to the elections. The UFW says it has negotiated with Anderson Vineyards to raise wages from $6.25 an hour to about $11.00 an hour…"

WHICH was only the tip of a breathtakingly crumb bum effort by Roederer to beat back field worker unionization. After that heady initial victory of the UFW, the forces of darkness took less than a year to unravel the union, bringing in union-busting attorneys from the city, blacklisting local farmworkers who voted union, throwing single union workers out of Roederer's worker housing and so on. This specific thuggery by the French imperialists not being sufficient demonstration of who rules the labor roost in "progressive" Mendocino County, the county's wine grape growers soon convened seminars on how to prevent their seasonal crews from even thinking union.

SHERIFF ALLMAN spent an hour on KZYX Friday morning updating listeners on Measure B. Most of what the Sheriff talked about was not news to anyone following the Measure B activity, slow as it may be. But there were a few things that were news to us: The Sheriff said he has given up on advocating the conversion of Old Howard Hospital in Willits to a Psychiatric Health Facility. The Sheriff said he is opposed to modulars because they are not a long-term solution. (Nobody said they were. Advocates of modulars, especially leased modulars, think that they would allow the County to get started on upgraded services right away, rather than waiting years for “Brick and Mortar” long-term solutions that the County may never pull off. Allman also reported that the state is giving the Sheriff’s office a high-tech “shoot/don’t shoot” law enforcement simulator that is supposed to reduce the number of mental health patients who are unnecessarily gunned down by cops. The simulator is expected to be housed at the newly acquired Jehovah’s Witness Church property in Redwood Valley that is now in the process of being added to the County’s property rolls.

SPEAKING OF MEASURE B: The next meeting of the Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen's Oversight Committee is July 24, 2019. The main item on the agenda is: “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding a Request for Permission from the Board of Supervisors to Publish a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Orchard Street, or Other Location as Determined by Feasibility Study, Mental Health Facility Design Possibly Design/Build.”

FARM BUREAU NEWS. George Hollister of Comptche is the new president of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau. In his introductory message to the membership, Hollister says that the Potter Valley Project (i.e., keeping the diversion flowing from the Eel to Potter Valley and on downstream to Lake Mendocino, southern Mendo, Sonoma County and on to Marin County where Sonoma County sells it for a huge mark-up) will be the Farm Bureau's biggest challenge, adding "farming along the Russian River as we see it today would not be there if not for this project" — “farming” in this context meaning mostly grapes. "Before the Potter Valley electricity project was completed in 1922 with the construction of Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury on the upper main stem of the Eel River, the Russian River would go dry in the summer. Hard to imagine that, but having summer river flows for parts of both the Eel in the Russian where there were none before are the unintended good Lake Pillsbury and the Potter Valley Project have provided.” … Hollister, going Zen, then poses this riddle: “The question moving forward is not how do we mitigate damage done because of unintended consequences, but how can we make the good done because of unintended consequences better?"

IN OTHER Farm Bureau news, we see that our noble sons of the soil have held training and seminars on such topics as sexual harassment prevention, first aid and CPR, and the new Cal-Savers state retirement program. They have also hired a professional public relations company to assist in the “education campaign” for the Potter Valley Project and related power and water supply. "We are seeking donations to help with the costs related to the campaign so please contact the Farm Bureau office or visit the Potter Valley Project licensing page at their website," … "In partnership with Mendocino Wine Growers Inc., the Farm Bureau hosted their first 2019 Mendo Mixer event at Brutocao Cellars in Hopland with guest speaker Supervisor Ted Williams."

BOONVILLE Farm Bureau stalwart Peter Bradford, Chair of the Farm Bureau’s “Political Action and Education Committee,” offered a brief update about the Great Redwood Trail (the scam/fantasy proposed by State Senator Mike McGuire) pointing out that the Farm Bureau apparently has some concerns: "If you are one of the 1900 or so landowners adjacent to the railroad you need to pay close attention in the months to come as this process moves forward. How will you be impacted by hikers and bike riders passing by your property? What increased liability will you have from people using the trail? At this point there seem to be more questions than answers. It won't be just landowners adjacent to the railroad right-of-way who will be affected. When you consider that trail access points will have to be developed, landowners who happen to own property where these access points are determined necessary will also be impacted. How will Mendocino County provide emergency services along the trail? Are the many tunnels along the railroad safe for hikers and bikers? How do you open the closed tunnel north of Cloverdale? Where will all the millions of dollars needed to create this trail come from? Again, more questions than answers. It will be very important to follow this process closely as it is developed." At ease, Bradford, it’ll never happen.


AMONG the new Farm Bureau members listed in the Farm Bureau’s July/third quarter newsletter we find Harinder Grewal, the County’s recently hired Agricultural Commissioner whose employment status at present is up in the air. The guy’s been suspended and, perhaps, disappeared. No announcement as to his status has been made.

HERE’S A CRAZY PARAGRAPH about homelessness in Mendocino County, one of many, from Tuesday’s planned Homelessness presentation to the Supes next Tuesday: “Homelessness In Mendocino County — Mendocino County’s 2017 Point-in-Time Count identified 1,238 homeless individuals, 20% more than were counted in 2015. Assuming that the homeless population renews itself at least two times every year, with two additional people becoming homeless for every homeless person counted at a point in time, HHSA estimates that 3,714 Mendocino County residents (4% of the county population) are experiencing one or more episodes of homelessness annually. Note that the annual count relies largely on service providers and focuses on people who are in shelters or on the streets. Since not all people experiencing homelessness utilize service providers, the actual numbers of people experiencing homelessness are likely higher.”

CRAZY, that is, until you realize that pretending that the numbers are much higher than they are means more money for the people who are paid to do nothing about the problem. (Last year’s Marbut Report said that there were only a few hundred homeless and that the “point in time” county count was wildly inflated. The Homeless Helpers, natch, began ignoring Marbut’s report and recommendations before its ink was dry.)

YOU CAN LOOK through Tuesday’s entire 22-page small print homeless presentation (available on the Supes agenda website) with pages of charts and process diagrams and categories and resource lists and funding sources and on and on and you won’t find a single NUMBER of people actually helped or how they were helped. Instead you see sentences like this:  “In order to maximize agency use of HMIS, a system-wide all-agency information release-form should be developed and utilized by all agencies. Simply put, HMIS data entry needs to be in ‘real-time,’ it needs to be universal and it needs to extend well beyond HUD-funded programs in order to facilitate coordination of care across the entire service Continuum of Care (CoC).”

GET IT? What’s important is data entry, not helping anybody. Under “Solutions To Homelessness,” we find: “HHSA will use NPLH funding to develop permanent supportive housing for people who are homeless who also have serious mental illness. Working with community partners will ensure that clients have access to a range of services, such as peer support, drop-in centers, vocational training, etc. Project activities will be guided by the following principles: Housing first, followed by integrated care management to address non-housing barriers; No wrong door; Trauma-informed and recovery-focused practices; Client choice, respect, and empowerment; Crisis resolution and removal of barriers; and Use of best practices for integrated treatment of co-occurring disorders.”

IF YOU ARE LEGITIMATELY HOMELESS in Mendocino County, and are seriously interested in being re-housed, don’t expect any help from these people.

THEN THERE’S the “retroactive” non-competitive gift of $19 million to Redwood Quality Management Co. (RQMC) for Mental Health Services: “Agenda Item 5d) Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of Presentation Regarding Redwood Quality Management Company and Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Quality Management Company, Inc. in the Amount of $18,976,773 to Arrange and Pay for Medically Necessary Specialty Mental Health Services and Mental Health Service Act Programs to Medi-Cal Beneficiaries and the Indigent Population, Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. (Sponsor: Health and Human Services Agency)”

RQMC’S $19 MILLION DOLLAR GIFT PACKAGE comes with the latest “data dashboard” from RQMC which says that they have “served” about 3000 people from July 2018 through May 2019, about half of whom were adults over 24 years of age. The heart of the “dashboard” is this “services provided” chart:(services provided chart)

BUT IF YOU WANT TO KNOW, for example, how many of their clients have successfully returned to society without relapse, you’ll be disappointed.

SOME OF THE NUMBERS in their “services provided” chart are hard to believe. Almost 6,000 “individual rehabs” for youth? Almost 8,500 “individual therapies” for youth, and almost 3,900 “individual therapies” for adults? Over 3100 “psychiatric services” provided?

YIKES! Mendo’s crazier than we ever imagined! (Either that or you need a lot of people categorized as needing “therapy” to spend that whopping $19 mil — plus the many supplements that are handed over to RQMC as the year progresses.) PS. Assuming their 3,000 served number is correct, at a contract value of $19 mil, RQMC is getting about $6300 per client to do whatever they do “for” them. Not counting the contract add-ons and supplemental grants that come in every year. (Mark Scaramella)


HOWARD HERSHIPS of San Francisco on the Kenny Rogers case. Rogers' is the only man we know of convicted on zero hard evidence against him: Herships writes: “I have been piecing the Kenny Rogers case together, trying to help him out with his case against the County and the state of California. It's really bizarre. Most people don't understand that criminal defense attorneys have a duty to their clients first. The client should come first before himself. In this case Mr. Masuda violated that trust and walked away with all Kenny Rogers’ money, $128,000 in cash and he said, ‘I'm keeping the money, goodbye.’ You can't do that. There is a US Supreme Court decision on that point which came down in 2016. The state doesn't want to do anything because they don't want to admit to liability. So now Kenny Rogers is going to the US Supreme Court on a ‘petition of certiorari’ which is basically a Latin term which means to search the record and resolve certain issues. That's the problem they have. We are doing this basically on a shoestring. The cost factor is way out there. I'm trying to help but I need some assistance. I am getting some press coverage because it will be filed next week. The AP is covering it and a US Supreme Court blog is covering it."

ED NOTE: I've read the entire Rogers oeuvre, including the transcripts referred to here, and I think (1) there was no solid evidence whatsoever that Rogers conspired to shoot up Simon's front door in Westport twenty years ago. I think the gunman, a professional criminal, was simply repaying Rogers’ many kindnesses to him. He thought he was doing Rogers a favor. The transcripts, however, even by Mendo standards, are shocking. They reveal the late Judge Ron Brown blandly presided over a series of appointed lawyers who disappeared for no real reason at all other than Brown let them disappear, stripping Rogers of many thousands of dollars of his own money, and leaving him unable to defend himself. The case is on appeal and, judging from the transcripts, Rogers should win, but only after spending the past two decades in prison. Coast Prosecutor Tim Stoen told court observers during the trial that when he called the Peacock brothers out of their prison cells to testify he knew they had no credibility and could probably be made to look like liars on the stand by both sides of the case, but it didn’t matter because Stoen simply wanted the jury to see that Rogers was connected to these guys, one of whom had already been convicted of shooting up Simon’s front door. It worked. The jury came back with guilty verdicts for attempted murder for hire. But if Ron Brown had accepted that original plea bargain Rogers would be a free man today. The Rogers matter is one of the all-time Mendo miscarriages of justice, right up there with the Tai Abreu case and in the Rogers case, as was clear at the time, motivated to some extent by Rogers serving at the time as the high profile chairman of the Mendo County Republican Party. The fuzzy-warms were out to get him. And they did.

RANDOM BLIPS flit across a failing mind screen: Every time I've visited CostCo people are buying generators in anticipation of this summer's flaming apocalypse. "They go so fast we can't keep them in stock," a Costco manager told me last week. It occurs to me that a couple thousand people storing gasoline and firing up generators represents a rather significant fire hazard in itself, but we live in hope. 

A TOURIST remarked to us that he felt cheated that the Skunk train only carried him and his kids four miles out from Fort Bragg. "Cost me $70 bucks for me and three kids," he complained, "and lasted about an hour." Given the enormous investment required to rehab the entire line — tunnels, trestles and all — four miles out from the Willits end, four miles in from the Fort Bragg end, are the long and short of it forever. Ditto for Senator McGuire's rails to trails fantasy.

REASON TEN THOUSAND why Trump is a shoo-in for re-election: "Berkeley drops gender-specific words. There will be no manholes in Berkeley. City workers will drop into 'maintenance holes.' Nothing will be manmade in Berkeley but 'human-made.' Fraternities and sororities at UC will henceforth become 'collegiate Greek system residences'." And so forth. The city's council voted unanimously last week to retool 40 gender-specific words in the city code with gender-neutral terms.


There’s many abiding mysteries of life, some trivial, others of great import. Such as how did the foreign affairs community (aka The Blob) manage to accrete so many intellectually sub-standard, group-thinking non-thinkers and, given the foregoing, how is it that so many of these group-thinking-non-thinkers reach positions of influence? Given their inability to do anything but regurgitate shop-worn templates that don’t work anymore (if they ever did) why do they even get the time of day never mind get to occupy the Everests of academe and government? Is it a lack of will on their part to re-examine and re-think or is it a lack of ability? In the end, does it matter? The fact that they’ve been stinking up universities and government offices for so long is a discredit to the rest of us that should’ve rousted out these incompetents and cranks a long, long time ago. There’s a lot of propositions that might sound common sensical and practical on their face that would mark you by the Blob as “unserious” were you to mouth them. The Iran nuclear deal is making the news a lot nowadays. Maybe Trump is right in that it needs a re-think but maybe it needs a re-think in ways he’s not thinking about. First, look at the countries at the negotiating table in the original deal: the US, the UK, Russia, France, China, Germany and the EU. But -ahem – what about the countries a nuclear armed Iran would most affect? Like those countries in its vicinity, like Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel … you get the drill. Far be it from me to suggest that maybe these close neighbors have the greatest stake and should have been the chief negotiators and not the US, the UK etc. See, THAT would mark you as “unserious.” Should NATO be disbanded? To raise the question is “unserious”. But it’s an abiding mystery as to why incompetent, bone-heads who created so much calamity are the shot-callers. Why can’t we get rid of them, get some fresh thinkers, people with views that accord with reality?


  1. Ted Williams July 25, 2019

    Mr. Grewal is no longer employed by the County.

  2. Joan Hansen July 30, 2019

    Thanks for your common sense article. It gives hope to those of us that anxiously witness all the insanity going on in the Liberal wave of the government. The loss of respect and the lengthy, expensive attempt to impeach the president has become a complete farce and reveals the party at fault is more concerned with the infighting than they are with the problems that need their attention to assure a unified system that can work to solve them.

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