- Dem Debate
- Bruce Brady
- Dalton Case
- George White
- Honeybee Wisdom
- Food Cuts
- 1945 Leaders
- Summery Weather
- Country Road
- County Wages
- LakeCo Firebug
- Ed Notes
- Previous Catches
- Alien Attack
- Name Change
- Education Crisis
- Modern Pagliacci
- Talent Show
- Beginning Acting
- Cat Lady
- Garberville Detox
- Voucher Crew
- Writing Workshop
- Reagan Memories
- Progressive Wing
THE PRIVATIZED DEBATE among Democrat presidential candidates was sponsored by several mega-corporations, including a health insurance corp, who paid CNN $300,000 for the dubious privilege. The event kicked off on CNN last night with the usual frenetic but chuckling discussion by a panel of people consisting of attractive blonde women with big, white teeth, one black guy, and several lumpy white boys orchestrated by the ubiquitous Anderson Cooper. This panel talked about what the candidates had to say to distinguish themselves one from another, and what it would take to beat Trump.
THE MOSTLY WHITE AUDIENCE in mostly black Detroit paid upwards of $500 bucks to watch. Outside in crumbling America, roughly 15 million citizens of our 340 million tuned in. The preliminary talking heads referred constantly to the party's "left" while earlier in the day Paul Krugman pointed out that Bernie and Liz are social democrats, not "left" in any traditional sense of the term. Trying hard to be objective, I thought Bernie and Liz stole the show but Mayor Pete was also good. The rest of the candidates were unimpressive. Mayor Pete's overview opening was the best statement of the overall situation — looming planetary death, hopelessness among a large swathe of citizens, endless wars, etc. He was also more lucid on immigration. Liz hammered the obvious that the system was corrupt and rigged. Bernie was on message. On the subject of gun violence, several of the lesser candidates descended into pure mawk with fake anecdotes about 13-year-olds worrying about getting gunned down at school, but no one stating the obvious which is more of an existential obvious in that millions of Americans have guns and millions of them are murderously unhappy. Bernie or Liz would make people less unhappy but as Rap Brown said years ago, "Violence is as American as apple pie." (or was it cherry?) Anyway, ultra-vi comes with citizenship and even the practical strategies like background checks are futile in the present psycho-social context. "Jake Tapper, of the three "moderators," was the most annoying. It went on for three hours. We've got Biden and Kamala and some other people tonight. Can any of these people beat the Orange Beast?
THE MAJOR'S PICK for best line of the Tuesday night Demo candidates debate was Elizabeth Warren's comeback to Congressman and corporate bagman Delaney who said Warren's ideas are impractical and "fairy tale economics." To which Warren replied, "I don't know why anyone would go to all the trouble of running for president just to tell us what we can't do."
WE WERE SADDENED to learn that our long-time correspondent, Bruce Brady, died on Wednesday, July 17th, at a care home in Oregon. Bruce taught English for many years at Laytonville High School. We remember him by printing an essay Bruce wrote in 2010.
by Bruce Brady
The social history of Laytonville High School is of interest to almost no one except (maybe) Beva. Beva, it is said, owns a copy of every yearbook that ever chronicled the exploits of a senior class at Laytonville High. Beva graduated in 1941 and went on to marry a redwood logger when he came back from the war, had two girls (who both died before they started school) and was the president of the Garden Club for years. At this point, Beva can’t hear and can barely move without hurting and so watches her snowy old TV without the sound as she forever, it seems, strokes Smokey, her cat, and takes little nips from her other constant friend, the bottle of Old Grand Dad tucked-in close to her hip.
The school Beva graduated from was new the year she tipped her tassel and stepped daintily down off the stage. These days it broods over its slow deterioration across from the junk yard and beside its low-slung replacement beyond the wire fence. With updated earnestness, the new school, like the old, and like most of its ilk, somehow suggests a medium security prison. The gym looms over everything, its cost presently a few thousand dollar a win, but this will doubtless drop over time.
On the whole, Laytonville High School remains an unlikely place for revolutionary change, and, indeed, none ever happened there. But happen it nearly did almost a generation ago.
To judge by the standard of the sheer amount of energy, emotion, and money expended, it would not be unreasonable for an outsider to conclude that the purpose of the contemporary public high school is to turn out kids who excel at sports, especially the traditional American sports of football, basketball, and, to a lesser extent, baseball, softball, soccer, track, and wrestling. When you add salaries and transportation to the requisite equipment and the necessary expenses of the needed facilities, the amount of money expended per student is startling: at Laytonville, it usually amounted to about twenty percent of all the money the high school ever had. But this extravagance just so Shelly can play shortstop and wear a uniform is not precisely the subject here: education and its purposes are. Besides, high school sports provide training for patriotism of the proper sort.
Looking down from a cloud (or whatever), God (or whatever) smiled kindly on Laytonville High School back in the nineties. Experience, desire, and blind luck contrived to bring a dozen or so teachers together with a principal of similar inclination, and the state legislature laid half-a-million dollars on their district to make education different. At Laytonville High School, things got very different. Folks with an eye to tie-dye strongly supported the changes, but all across the town, similar numbers of sphincters tightened in unison.
Glossing over the Wagnerian politics of it all, what Laytonville High decided to try was to bring all of its ‘services’ to bear by focus on our bioregion. The concept here was probably about as clear to the average person in Laytonville at the time as it may be to you as you read; it was certainly a slippery concept to the Laytonville School Board of the time, but the $500,000 from the state proved to be utterly irresistible. “Bioregion” is a term borrowed from the deep ecologists, and it is roughly equivalent to “watershed” with a social component comprised of a place’s history, economic development, biological and physical realities. It was a plateful, to be sure, but it was also a perfect fit for half or so of the staff; as for the other half . . . well, they were good at getting by, and most just hoped it would all go away. Which of course, it finally did.
Now that a good many of the trees are gone, Laytonville’s biggest export is, once again, its kids. Students graduating from Laytonville High have become Senate pages and college professors, fashion photographers and air force pilots; scattered across the United States, but mostly in the West, some are teachers, a few are lawyers, and one lovely young lady even does roller derby. Others have also, of course, become, or perhaps remained, meth-addled delinquents and vagrants, bumbling alcoholics, and exceptionally fertile breeders. Along with a few of their friends at least temporarily into looking picturesque, most of the latter group spend their young lives a few miles, at most, from home. This fact leads – ahem – to a certain ‘deterioration’, shall we say, in the ambient vibe. From what I can tell, this coarsening of the local experience is pretty general throughout the country and the world. It’s tough to point to anywhere that’s getting better, except (maybe) Fallujah or anywhere that Dick Cheney just left.
Bio-Core, as we called it, was designed to counter this seemingly inevitable deterioration by fostering a positive sense of place. Our plan was that, over time, students from Laytonville would come to value their home place rather than sneering at it as something in their pasts that had to be overcome and somehow explained, like a noticeable scar or a vanished parent. This would come to pass, as it were, by relating what was in the curriculum guides, as much as possible, to the local environment. Large historical themes, political and economic development, the basics of science and the English language: the whole of what a young person was expected to learn in the last decade of the twentieth century pretty much comprised what we were paid to deliver. The only exception to this was math – from simple arithmetic to calculus – which somehow existed apart from anywhere at all, mostly untouched by anything else. Other than math, what Laytonville’s young would learn in school would be drawn as much as possible from the place where they lived.
Until the cold rains came to Long Valley that fall, we learned our science by stringing grids on creekside lands a five-minute walk from the high school and surveying what grew there and learning why in one-on-ones with the wandering teacher, and then we moved inside and inspected it all and hashed over everything; we read Wallace Stegner and Thoreau; we visited Big Sur and Bishop and drove the Grapevine on our way to Diablo Canyon; if there were true justice in the world, the young lady who made the necessary political work and backscratching her Senior project would see her name on the new school. We copped an attitude. At national conferences we noticed that ‘We could do that.’ We attained minor national prominence. The high school was, in ways that hadn’t been true since the first schools were built for the whites newly-moved to the coastal valley, the spiritual and – increasingly – the political center of the community. The center of gravity clearly had shifted toward the high school and away from the comfortable laps of the plutocrats.
As I said, this process caused not a few of the traditional scions of the community to curse at their midnight ceiling, apparently foreshadowing the end of the world; as well, it scared the bejeezus out of a few on the school board of the time. What had begun as an afternoon of the usual pointless talk at another in-service meeting had morphed into what amounted to class warfare, pitting the old Indian-killer families, their descendants and admirers and more-or-less thoughtless followers, against a rabble of newcomers allied with the kinds of people who lived somehow (wink) in the hills and who were nothing like the good folks who graced the stores in town with their names and burned their brands into the hides of the cattle. Bucks – so-called – especially were prized as targets out on what, decades later, would become the football field. It was outrageous, but such was the real history of the home of the Warriors up to about the time that the world was being made safe for democracy.
Except eighty years later the bikers came through on the Harley run once a year and the hippies had their Pignic at the Hog Farm, a few miles north of town; sometimes the Harley run coincided with the rodeo – even today, this sometimes happens. As the end of the summer approached, the Rastafarians filled up the place on their way to Reggae on the River just across the county line into Humboldt. Meanwhile, the decrease in the spawning salmon was alarming the Natives and the fisherfolks as well as the tree-huggers and most of the families who lived in the hills; it also alarmed the staff at the high school, who made finding an answer to the question ‘What Happened to the Salmon?’ the center of all their efforts.
While we’re recalling all this, let’s not neglect that guy over there belly up to Boomer’s Bar, his butt-crack looming and still, at this time, able to light up a Marlboro inside the building; without question, he is as real here as Monroe, the last full-blooded Wailaki and a junior at the high school, there with the basketball under his arm, frozen in the doorway for a moment by a teacher’s question. Monroe and his basketball notwithstanding, to the guy at the bar we were batshit crazy, each and every one of us, students and teachers and parents and even the school board, for letting us all get away with it. What the hell was going on over there at the high school, anyway? It was better when all they did was play football and have bake sales.
Well, the dream that we tried to follow at Laytonville High died soon enough. The principal got fired and landed softly in Mendocino; the money sent by the state went mostly for computers and software; when the money ran out, travel budgets shrank again – no more trips to Albuquerque or Los Angeles or Tahoe; some folks retired and some folks moved on; a few stayed to service the chimera of test results; No Child Left Behind zealotry claimed a couple. Monroe graduated and faded into America, nearly unnoticed.
What remains today is an empty space where care eked out a life for a couple of years. The (non-existent) Nobel Prize for Education surely awaits the person who finally figures-out how to teach kids to care. Until a person begins to care, there seems little to do except to make and spend money, to breed, and to fight, with perhaps a final cookie, in Thomas Pyncheon’s estimation, for good behavior. If young people can be brought to care, their easy cynicism morphs into idealism and enormous self-interest and energy. Laytonville’s Bio-core program tapped some of this energy. The high-school curriculum, arrived-at through literal centuries of meetings and maneuverings, was re-invigorated as something local, where possible, and having direct application to what was happening in town when it wasn’t local. As we had hoped when we wrote the original proposal to the state, our kids started to care. Those of them now nearing their thirties and on the inevitable edge of middle-aged angst will doubtless remember.
Imagine, here near the end, that the world, or at least our tiny piece of it, had started to care. This is not, perhaps, quite as grandiose as it sounds. If most of the folks in the world truly cared for their places – if they acted as though their lives fully depended on the long-term health of the ground under their feet – it is hard to see how clearcuts could continue; it is hard to understand how traffic chaos or pollution of our waterways and air could continue to plague us, why the whales and the high-mountain grasses and the glaciers would ever have to go: how nearly any of it could continue. The people wouldn’t stand for it. They would know at least some of the relevant science, and they would give room for their spirit to get its proper daily workout. They would know in their bones that money is not always the answer and they would live in ways that made that true. They would know the real truths of how their place came to be their place. In Laytonville, they would understand as much as could be known about where the salmon went, and that knowledge would help them to understand why the folks out on the Rez were the way they were, and why that three acres out on the ridge past the fire lookout looked the way it did, even when it wasn’t blowing dust, so.
At this remove, what we tried to make happen back in the Nineties in Laytonville looks far too naïve and idealistic ever to have lead to a permanent change in the ways that public schools fulfill their responsibilities; still less was there ever a real chance that we were going to change the ways in which rural communities looked at themselves. But such outcomes were always an implicit part of the plan. With the same sort of innocence that had led a few to live in stumps and to dance to the winter storms spinning in off the coast, we tried to hold up this new way of doing things as a kind of a model, helping our students, it was thought, to understand that, if a person cared, one person, or even a few, could change everything, or at least, everything that mattered. They would know that because their lives would teach them that it was so.
Well, get over it, he said. We couldn’t make it work. We couldn’t sell it here. The high school is normal again.
Seek out the most comfortable space that you have: outside is best. Pour a cup of coffee or a brandy: whatever. You might smoke a bowl or a good cigar or even a Marlboro. Be quiet until you can hear the sound of your heart. Imagine what might describe the world if most people cared. Imagine, just imagine…
JOHN DALTON & THE DRUG WAR
by Alexander Cockburn (June 1999)
All those present in a federal courtroom in San Francisco in mid-May were edified by the sight of a federal prosecutor getting off to a faltering start by having to admit that the government's prime witness and lead investigator — Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Mark Nelson — had committed perjury.
The object of special agent Nelson's probe has been John Dalton, brought to the courtroom from the federal detention center in Dublin, Calif., to hear his lawyer, Tony Serra, argue before Judge Susan Illston that the DEA's case against Dalton be dismissed for "outrageous government conduct." Among such outrageous conduct must undoubtedly be included the fact that special agent Nelson's perjury stemmed from his efforts to conceal the precise date on which he commenced an amorous relationship with Dalton's wife, Victoria Horstman.
Here, in other words, is a saga that gives us the government's war on drugs at its ripest malevolence, for which I'm indebted to Mark Heimann, who compiled the incredible tale from court documents for a recent series in the AVA.
Let's return to 1985. Dalton is living with his first wife on an 80-acre parcel in Mendocino County, some four hours' drive up 101 from San Francisco. This is pot-growing country. About 4:00 in the afternoon, bullets start raining down on the cabin, and Dalton sneaks out to the ridge where the shots are coming from. At this point, he's bushwacked by five men in camouflage, who beat him senseless.
He comes to, face in the dirt, to find his assailants are from the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, better known as CAMP. These are teams of federal, state and local cops. They ask him if he's a marijuana grower. Dalton says no and that he will sue. Sheriff's Deputy Charlie Bone, who's dislocated his finger in the encounter, tells Dalton that they know he's a pot grower and that his troubles are only beginning.
Within eight hours of the arrest, the charges against Dalton are dropped, and though an attorney tells him he could collect big time, Dalton reckons the safe course is to do nothing.
In 1992, Dalton, a brilliant mechanic favored by the hot-rod set, embarks on a relationship with Victoria (Tori) Horstman. They are married a year later in Las Vegas.
The Dalton-Horstman menage is not tranquil. Dalton calls the police from time to time to restore order, and though Horstman claims her husband is a brute, her own 19-year-old son has testified, most recently in Judge Illston's courtroom, that John was "a very mellow man" and a good dad, and that his mother was a mean drunk.
Horstman is a wanna-be cop, consorts with cops and by 1994 is passing bank deposit slips from her husband's machine shop to DEA special agent Mark Nelson, who forthwith signs her up as a DEA source, SR3-94-0054. Horstman has also become romantically involved with agent Nelson, initial overtures having been made in a DEA safe house, where, according to a sworn statement by Horstman, "Agent Nelson gave me a beer, and later, we kissed and fondled each other. I do want to make it clear agent Nelson considered me at all times his personal possession and got angry if I ever talked with other DEA agents." Among Nelson's other possessions are three children and a pregnant wife.
Nelson successfully presses Horstman to spy on her husband. On at least two occasions, she allows Nelson to search the house while Dalton is at work. Whenever she demurs, the DEA agent threatens to charge her with money laundering on Dalton's behalf. The most vivid episode in this sequence comes in September 1994, during a big fed/state/local enforcement drive against marijuana gardens in the area of Mendocino County. Nelson and a colleague seek out Horstman with the request that she place a "special FBI tape recorder" behind the headboard of her marital bed. Dalton duly returns home and describes the raids to wife and tape recorder, with the latter instrument soon returned by Horstman to Nelson.
Despite the surveillance, the DEA never gets a shred of evidence linking Dalton to marijuana growing. Thus balked, they turn to the drug war's favored tool, a snitch. Two, in fact. Using the statements of these snitches — one with prior convictions for perjury and fraud — they seize all Dalton's property for forfeiture, on the grounds that such property is the fruit of illegal labor.
After the raid, Nelson oversees Horstman's separation from Dalton; he and five feds load up a U-Haul with Horstman's stuff while Dalton is out. When Dalton finds out Horstman is in Blaine, Wash., and goes north to patch up their marriage, Horstman informs Nelson, who himself hurries north with eavesdropping equipment. Horstman rejects Dalton's overtures and ultimately divorces him at the urging of Nelson, who even drives her to the lawyer's office to sign the final papers.
On Sept. 27, 1996, the Feds arrest Dalton, on the basis of a secret federal grand jury indictment, charging him with marijuana cultivation and witness tampering. Among the witnesses against him is the operator of a speed lab facing a life term but rewarded for his testimony with a 10-year sentence. Denied bail, Dalton has been in prison for nearly two years, awaiting trial. He's suing the feds for $44.8 million for outrageous conduct. The feds' last desperate throw in the dismissal suit was rich with effrontery, seeking to paint Dalton as an abusive husband. At time of writing, Judge Illston is considering whether to dismiss the case.
What this has to do with marijuana cultivation is unclear. Even if Illston doesn't dismiss, it's hard to imagine a jury failing to agree with Serra that in its war on drugs the government is running amok.
JUDGE DENIES DALTON'S MOTION
No Outrageous Conduct
by Eric Brazil (July 1999)
Federal agents went too far in persuading the wife of a suspected marijuana grower to install a tape recorder in their marriage bed to gather evidence against him, a judge said in ruling that the government can't use the tapes as evidence.
Nevertheless, US District Judge Susan Illston found that the conduct of the Drug Enforcement Administration wasn't outrageous enough to compel dismissal of the charges against Mendocino County machinist John Dalton.
"Outrageous government conduct requires more than negligence or poor judgment," Illston said.
Dalton, 44, was indicted in October 1996, on 12 felony counts involving a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana for sale. He goes on trial Aug. 16.
In seeking dismissal of the charges against Dalton, his attorney, J. Tony Serra, argued DEA agent Mark Nelson, 37, is a perjurer who seduced Dalton's then-wife Victoria Horstman, 40, and manipulated her to obtain evidence against Dalton.
Nelson and the DEA went so far over the line that the entire case against Dalton, who has no criminal record, is irreparably tainted, Serra argued.
Nelson admitted inappropriate behavior in violating his agency's regulations by meeting with Horstman alone and falsifying documents relating to that meeting at a DEA safe house, where he and Horstman drank beer and kissed.
He also testified that the DEA paid her $4,800 in expenses when she moved to Washington. But both he and Horstman denied a sexual relationship.
The judge rejected defense contentions that Horstman, an admitted alcoholic, was coerced into cooperating with the DEA and that Nelson and Horstman had a sexual relationship.
Providing Horstman with a tape recorder and persuading her to install it in the bed she shared with Dalton was highly inappropriate conduct by the DEA that goes beyond poor judgment, Illston said.
Consequently, she ruled that the "bedroom tape" cannot be used as evidence at Dalton's trial.
Serra has made alleged outrageous conduct by the DEA and Nelson the centerpiece of his defense of Dalton, and Illston erected a formidable barrier to that defense in her ruling.
Unless Nelson and Horstman testify at Dalton's trial, she said, their relationship and its effect on the investigation is irrelevant, and evidence about it won't be admitted.
(Courtesy, San Francisco Examiner)
September 1999, by Bruce Anderson
WILLIAM "JOHN" DALTON, 44, of Redwood Valley, has been found guilty by a federal jury in San Francisco of growing pot in Mendocino County. Dalton is looking at life in prison when he's sentenced in December. For running what the government says was a "continuing criminal enterprise" that allegedly took in millions off a pot patch in Branscomb, the snitch-built case seems to have cost at least that many tax dollars to construct. Teams of dope cops followed Dalton around for five years without nailing him for anything until they stole his wife from him. The depressing and dramatically un-American facts of the Dalton case were exhaustively explored in the AVA back in July. Those facts ought to give all democratically-oriented people pause. They include a married DEA agent named Nelson sleeping with, then persuading Mrs. Dalton to place a tape recorder in the Dalton bedroom to secretly record her husband's alleged activities in the drug biz; the same DEA agent, backed up by some apparently under-utilized FBI agents, packing Mrs. Dalton up and moving her to the state of Washington; The DEA agent arranging for Mrs. Dalton to see a divorce attorney to shed Mr. Dalton; the same DEA agent taking Mrs. Dalton for a joy ride in a cop helicopter; the same DEA agent getting drunk with Mrs. Dalton and boffing her in a tax paid so-called "safe house"; the same DEA agent giving Mrs. Dalton $4,800 in tax money to move to the state of Washington; and the government of the United States placing Dalton in federal prison for two years without bail, confiscating all his property and holding him without charges until he finally got into court. A no-spine U.S. District Court judge based in San Francisco by the name of Susan Illston had earlier ruled that the government's police state behavior in pursuit of Dalton did not amount to "outrageous government conduct." If agent Nelson's and the DEA's behavior in pursuit of Dalton doesn't amount to "outrageous government conduct," what does? Tony Serra is working on challenges to the Dalton verdict but as of right now the government, in the form of the always out-of-control DEA, can do whatever it wants to do outside the rules if it thinks you've made money in the pot business.
December 1999 by Bruce Anderson
FEDERAL JUDGE SUSAN ILLSTON, the judge responsible for sorting out the Remco pollution case vexing Willits, doesn't seem to have much of a sense of justice herself. Illston just gave Redwood Valley's John Dalton 27 years in the federal pen for growing and selling pot he grew at Branscomb near Laytonville. Dalton was the object of an intense, and intensely illegal, pursuit by the Drug Enforcement Agency whose agents, primarily a badged scofflaw named Mark Nelson, consistently ignored the laws federal judges are supposed to have some regard for. Not Illston. She said that it was alright with her if Agent Nelson boffed Mrs. Dalton while she was still Mrs. Dalton, moved Mrs. Dalton and the kids from Redwood Valley to the state of Washington at taxpayer expense and without so much as a phone call from the missus to the mister to tell him she and the kids were gone, swore Mrs. Dalton in as a DEA agent in private ceremonies celebrated by another rounds of government-funded, work-time boffs, got Mrs. Dalton to place a tape recorder beneath the Daltons' marital bower the better to hear Mr. Dalton's dope schemes, took Mrs. Dalton for joy rides in the fed's helicopter, and got Mrs. Dalton drunk and boffed her in the DEA's "safe house" near the Ukiah Airport. When Dalton's attorney, Tony Serra, asked Judge Illston to dismiss the case against Dalton on the grounds of "egregious government misconduct," Illston declared that Agent Nelson's conduct was cool with her although she did disallow the bedroom tapes Mrs. Dalton turned over to Agent Nelson.
DALTON, by the way, was held without bail for more than two years at the federal pen at Dublin before he got into court, his right to a speedy trial casually waived by the Nor Cal federal courts. The feds claim his pot operation was "the largest in North Coast history," a wildly inflated claim typical of the self-aggrandizing DEA and belied by the easy availability of Mendo Mellow everywhere in the land.
AS IF 27 years in prison for a 45-year-old pot grower isn't a life sentence for what a majority of California voters regard as a non-crime, Judge Illston tacked on five years "supervised probation" if Dalton ever does get out while he's more or less alive. To make sure Dalton's days as a free citizen at an advanced age are lived out in absolute poverty, Judge Illston tacked on a $165,000 fine on the apparent assumption Dalton's still got some money. If he does, its discovery has eluded a decade-long, full-time detection effort by every local, state and federal narc assigned to Mendocino County, and how many of these armed, Agent Nelson-style love bunnies are out there, anyway?
JUDGE ILLSTON'S judicial sadism is an ominous sanction for gross police misconduct, and Agent Nelson is the most ominous kind of federally-sanctioned thug. Just last month the guy called K-WINE Radio in Ukiah to demand the names of the people who paid for the pro-pot Yes On G ads the station ran during the recent elections. Agent Love Nuts wasted no time cashing the free pass Judge Illston gave him in the Dalton case.
GEORGE WHITE, ROUND VALLEY KING IS DEAD
Special Dispatch to The San Francisco Call, June 10, 1902.
COVELO. June 9.— George E. White, the "King of Round Valley," died at his ranch near here today at the age of 71 years. White was taken ill three weeks ago, but not until Sunday could he be induced, to take to hls bed. Although suffering from sickness which would have compelled almost any other man to remain in his couch. White a couple of weeks ago traveled alone to San Francisco and back, and only two days ago he was on horseback giving orders at his ranch. It is said that his trip to San Francisco was made to consult a spiritualist who had promised to warn him when his death was near. The body of the cattle baron will be embalmed and shipped to Virginia, his native State for burial. J.S. Rohrbough, his favorite nephew; will get the bulk of his estate, which is valued at probably $1.000,000 or more.
George E. White's was a remarkable career. He was born in Lewis County, Virginia, on August 17, 1832, and was related through his mother to the celebrated Jackson family, General Stonewall Jackson having been his cousin. In April, 1843, he started with some relatives across the plains to California, traveling with ox teams and arriving at Lawson's ranch on Deer Creek in September. For a-time he followed mining in Shasta County, but, growing ill, he returned to the Sacramento Valley. After trying various occupations in different places he finally, in May, 1854, crossed the mountains from Stony Creek, in company with five others, bent upon prospecting for gold, and chanced to enter Round Valley. He found that a party headed by one Kelsey [infamous white founder of Kelseyville] had been there before him, but had gone. White located a ranch of about 1000 acres and in 1857 went to reside there permanently. The first house in Round Valley was a cabin on his land. Continuing to acquire land he finally became owner of 35,000 acres in Mendoclno County and 30,000 acres in Trinity County, with. 30,000 sheep and thousands of cattle. In 1867 White returned to Virginia, and in May, 1863, married Miss Alice Fettey. He brought his wife to Round Valley, where, in 1873, she died of consumption. In 1878 he erected on his broad domain the most palatial residence at that time north of San Francisco. Later he married Miss Frankie White; the beautiful sister of Clarence White, the man who afterward killed Wylackie John: The cattle king and his young.wife did not live happily long, and a sensational divorce suit followed, in which Mrs. White was awarded $100,000.
Then came the long litigation which resulted in White losing or disposing of the bulk of his vast property. Not satisfied with his former ill luck in the matrimonial line he next, under the advice of a spirit medium in San Francisco, married a young lady of . that city, but domestic happiness was not for him. His wife now has a suit pending for divorce, which was called up in court in Ukiah thls morning.
White was a man of wonderful energy and adventurous spirit, determined to carry out his purposes at all hazards. For many years feuds existed in and around Round Valley between the White and anti-White factions. There was land jumping and cattle stealing and the pop of the pistol was heard more than once. It was a turbulent time and its true history probably will never be written.
A certain spirit medium In San Francisco has had a wonderful influence over White for several years. When a few days ago he went, while very ill. to San Francisco to consult her it is said she told him that he would recover and that his death would be some years distant.
MENDOCINO CATTLE BARON: A PICTURESQUE CAREER IS AT AN END.
(Ukiah Dispatch-Democrat, June 13, 1902)
Death of George E. White. The Mendocino cattle King passes away at three score and ten.
Last Monday the news came from Round Valley to Ukiah that George E. White, the well-known pioneer of Northern Mendocino was dead. The news came as a surprise as Mr. White was in this city looking about as well as usual only a few days ago.
He died Monday morning and the news reached here wire at about nine o'clock. F.L. Brunson of the Ukiah Mercantile company started for Covelo on the arrival of the train Monday night to take charge of the remains.
George E. White was born in Lewis County, Virginia on August 17, 1832. He was a descendent through his mother of the celebrated Jackson family of Virginia, and the late General Stonewall Jackson of Confederate fame was his cousin. He was reared on a farm and remained in his native state until April 1849 when he started with some relatives and ox teams for California arriving at Lawson Ranch on Deer Creek in September. He went to the mines in Shasta County but coming ill, he spent the winter of 1849 50 in the Sacramento Valley. After following various occupations in different places and making several trips to the east, he finally in 1984 in company with five others passed over the mountains from Stony Creek and entered a beautiful Round Valley in the north part of Mendocino County. The party was prospecting for gold and came upon the valley by accident. In the valley they found the trail made by Kelsey and his party and found the names of the party carved upon a tree. The grass in the valley was so high that they saw no Indians although their presence was made known by the waving of the grass as they moved about. Mr. White was the first white man to ascend to the top of Blue Nose Mountain north of Covelo and for that reason it was long known as White's Mountain.
Mr. White located a ranch of 1000 acres in Round Valley and in 1858 he moved there to reside permanently. He then went to Los Angeles where with Andrew Hunter he purchased about 700 head of cattle and drove them to Round Valley. The first house in Round Valley was a cabin built on the White Ranch by Charles Bourine and occupied by him while in charge of the ranch.
From that time on Mr. White continued to acquire land until he had in Mendocino 35,000 and in Trinity County 30,000 acres. These broad ranges he stocked with cattle and sheep owning at one time 30,000 sheep, thousands of cattle and 300 horses and mules. In 1867 he returned to Virginia and in May 1868 married Miss Alice Fettey and brought her to Round Valley, having all the modern conveniences including gas and water in every room.
By this time Mr. White's name as a great stockman and a millionaire was known throughout the coast. He next married Miss Frankie White, a sister of Clarence White, who afterward killed John Walton commonly known as "Wylacki John." Mr. White's married life with his beautiful young wife proved to be unhappy and ended in a sensational divorce suit followed by long and complicated litigation over property. In this litigation Mr. White's princely estate was finally absorbed by others leaving only a small homestead in his name. Not daunted by past experience, on February 16, 1898, Mr. White again married a San Francisco woman. But on March 7, 1902 this last wife brought suit for divorce and this suit is now pending in Mendocino County.
Mr. White's career has been a long and busy one. He had great energy and determination of character as well as business sagacity. He was capable of taking hold of large things and managing complicated and even daring enterprises. In the later years of his life he came under the influence of a female spirit medium in San Francisco and by her was led to do many foolish things, notably, it is said, his last marriage and his subsequent trouble with his wife. But a short time before his death he came to Ukiah on his way to consult the medium although he was at the time quite ill.
Mr. White's connection with the turbulent times around Round Valley a few years ago is an unknown quantity. There was much trouble and his name was often connected with it. But the true history of that time will perhaps never be written.
The funeral and interment of the late George E. White took place at Round Valley on Wednesday. The remains may be removed to Virginia at some future time.
IN PRAISE OF HONEY BEES
by Shepherd Bliss
I attended a honeybee gathering recently at a wild place in rural Sebastopol. During my nearly 30 years of organic farming here, I have usually had honeybee hives on my farm. The berries need their pollination.
We two-footeds can learn much from the winged honeybees, especially during this time of international crises. Such bees can help us at this time, which some describe as possibly the final days for humanity, as we move toward a possible exchange of nuclear weapons and the mounting climate change. Fortunately, people in Peru, Scotland, India, and elsewhere honor and pay tribute to honey bees.
“Bees are our family members,” one person at the gathering said. “We honor and pay tribute to this ancient ally of humans. They know the way,” bee whisper host Michael said. “Honeybees call us to awareness. If you are angry or aggressive, the bees feel it." “How can we transform our anger?” Gary Pace, M.D. asked.
“Tiny they may be, but powerful,” another person added. “Be good, be kind.” We could benefit from honeybee wisdom at this difficult time in human history.
I have never been stung by a honeybee, though I have often been stung by yellow jackets—big difference. While I work on the berry vines, honey bees often land on nearby vines without touching me or getting in the way.
“This time of growing crises is a time to get over our separation. We belong with other beings,” one person said. “This inspiring being calls us to awareness. If you are angry or aggressive, the bees feel it,” added another.
I cannot imagine a world without bees, birds, and butterflies. May they continue, even as we two-footed humans damage this one wild, precious, and beautiful planet.
(Dr. Shepherd Bliss <email@example.com> is a retired college teacher and farmer who has contributed to 24 books.)
‘WE’RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE’: Why Californians Could Bear the Brunt of Trump Food Stamp Cuts
by Jackie Botts, CALMatters
When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries.
Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap.
“If it’s not under a dollar then I don’t buy it,” Martinez said, bypassing $2 lettuce as Caden clambered into her grocery cart. “It’s about stretching the dollar.”
The food budget isn’t as tight as it used to be since Martinez, a single mother, got a job at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz County. She helps people sign up for food stamps, known in California as CalFresh.
Between her $2,380 monthly paycheck and about $100 she receives in CalFresh, Martinez can make it through the month without her or Caden ever going hungry.
But under a new proposal from the Trump Administration, Martinez and her son would lose their food stamps. So would many clients she helps at the food bank, along with an estimated 3.1 million Americans.
Californians are likely to be hit particularly hard. Here’s why:
The proposed rule, announced last week, would undo the ability of states to provide food stamps to households that have incomes above the federal food stamp limit — 130% of the federal poverty line — but hefty expenses.
That would have the biggest impact in states like California that have raised the minimum wage to try to chase the skyrocketing costs of housing. As California’s minimum wage creeps towards $15 per hour by 2023, many more workers could be bumped off food stamps when their monthly incomes rise above the federal limit.
Under current law, a California family of two with a gross monthly income between 130% and 200% of the federal poverty level — or between $1,784 and $2,744 — can qualify to receive CalFresh as long as their net income after housing, childcare or medical costs falls under 100% of the poverty level, or $1,372.
For now, Martinez falls right into that bracket.
The rule would also cut the benefit for families who have savings or assets above a federal limit that many states, including California, currently waive. That limit — $2,250 for most families — is only slightly over the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in California ($2,110) and about half that of a two-bedroom in San Francisco ($4,730).
“It’s clear that states like California are a target on this,” said Jessica Bartholow, a policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said that the proposal to eliminate what he called a “loophole” would reduce fraud and save the federal government money — more than $9 billion over the next five years, according to a federal estimate. The proposal could go into effect following a 60 day public comment period.
“Our job is to make sure folks have the tools they need to move away from (food stamp) dependency… and preserve the benefits for those most in need,” Perdue said.
But advocates counter that the move would largely cut benefits for working families who spend large chunks of their paychecks on housing and care-taking costs for young children or ill or disabled family members.
“There’s actually no evidence that making someone hungrier makes them less dependent on public benefits. And there’s plenty of evidence showing the opposite,” said Bartholow.
The Western Center estimates that some 250,000 Californians could lose CalFresh, based on estimates made when California expanded eligibility in 2008 under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and again in 2013 under Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown.
Additionally, children in those families could lose automatic eligibility for free lunches at school.
The proposal to cut food stamps is the latest in a series of Trump administration initiatives to curtail government benefits for low-income people, including a rule that would tighten food stamp work requirements, another to block some legal immigrants from getting a green card if they are deemed likely to use public services, and another to adjust the way the federal poverty measure is calculated.
Those other proposed rules have cleared their comment periods, but the Trump administration has yet to impose them.
Opposition from California’s Democratic leaders to the latest proposal was swift and predictable.
“There is not a state in the country that is probably more aggressive in pushing back from a litigation perspective, so that will be analyzed by the lawyers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told CalMatters. A spokesman for Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has sued the Trump administration over 50 times thus far, said his office was reviewing the proposal. (CalMatters is tracking those lawsuits here.)
U.S. Rep Jimmy Panetta, who represents Martinez’ district, sent Secretary Perdue a letter, signed by 45 California Democrats in Congress, asking that he “take into consideration the harmful effects of this proposed rule and act quickly to rescind it.”
Martinez knows the feeling of hunger well. For many years, she said, she was homeless, battling addiction and mental illness.
“When I was homeless… there was no place to eat,” Martinez said. “I wasn’t really too sure where to go.”
She recalled what happened next: She got pregnant, enrolled in CalFresh and was finally able to count on a steady source of food. Then she entered an intensive program to help homeless people get back on their feet.
Martinez and her son have now been housed for two years. She said she’s close to finishing her associate degree in human services at Cabrillo College and dreams of being a case manager for a non-profit, helping others battle addiction and poverty.
She worries about what the food stamp proposal would mean for her and her growing son. But she said she’s also concerned about the rest of the community she serves in Santa Cruz.
Within the county, 21.7% of residents live in poverty, the third highest rate in the state after Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, according to new data from the Public Policy Institute of California.
“CalFresh is the first line of defense against hunger; the food bank is the second,” Martinez said. “We were barely surviving but we’re not going to be able to survive if (President Trump) continues to push this.”
(Jackie Botts is a journalist at CalMatters working for The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California. CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.)
AV HIGH LEADERSHIP CLASS AND PRINCIPAL, 1945
by Anne Fashauer
I read a headline in a local newspaper that said something about the “last days of summer.” I thought “What? Already?” It feels like our summer has just begun, with the wintry rain lasting into late May and not too many really hot days yet. In fact, last Saturday was miserably hot and it finally felt like summer to me.
I’m not really a hot weather person; I get easily overheated and prefer days that don’t get much over 80 degrees. I love showing property down in Rancho Navarro and the Deep End when it gets hot; not so much Yorkville on those really hot days. On Saturday I showed two properties in the Deep End and one on Bald Hills in Rancho Navarro; even there, at 5pm, it was 90 degrees in the shade!
Technically, we are only in the middle of summer. However, with schools starting earlier and earlier (it seems) every year, summer is about over if you are a kid, a teacher or a parent of school-age kids. Back to school sales will be starting or have started (I don’t actually track that) and thoughts will turn to our Fair and the coming Holiday season.
In the meantime, I plan to enjoy the sunshine, take evening walks at 8pm, wear shorts and drink a few more gin and tonics. If the past week or so are any indication, I’ll be busy showing property as well, which is a good thing in real estate!
"ROAD TO NOWHERE"
MSP ASKS THE QUESTION WE'RE ALL ASKING (and Supervisor Gjerde responds)
MSP: Your $85,500 per year mendo county supervisors voted themselves a pay increase in late 2017 - going from $61,200 to $85,500. All the administration & department heads have received pay increases - yet the rank & file are still laboring for 22% less than they should be making.
DAN GJERDE REPLIES: Hi Paul, yes, we now know that County employees are, on average, roughly 22% behind the market. That's why this year's budget set aside a record $5 million in local tax dollars plus another roughly $4 million in State and Federal dollars to move all salaries as close as possible to market. We are in negotiations to work out the details. …For the record, I am one of the few people you have ever met who has voluntarily declined part of his salary. In solidarity and in fairness with my co-workers, my salary is $15,000 below the approved amount.
LAKE COUNTY FIREBUG #1
LAKE COUNTY FIREBUG #2
MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, announced this afternoon that we've produced the one thousand eight hundred and fiftieth ava as of this Wednesday, and that's counting from the first issue under present auspices in January of 1984. Yes, my friends, as our many detractors put it, "36 years of vicious personal attacks, lies, half-truths, fabrications, gratuitous libel, wrong-headed opinion, and demented humor." Hell, nobody's perfect, but in recent visits to the archive hidden deep in the hills east of Boonville, and trying to be objective as I can, I'd say our record has been pretty good, serving nicely, I'd say, as a much truer, clearer Mendo picture over these years than is available elsewhere. Biggest journalo-regrets? Being completely duped by the rolling scam involving the Bari Bombing for at least six months too long, and not being able to nail down the perps who committed the Fort Bragg Fires of 1987, which I'm sure we could have done if the accumulated evidence hadn't disappeared from the DA's office, the last a perfect metaphor for how this stumbling jurisdiction operates at its command levels.
WHAT I MISS MOST are the years the paper was hand-made, the pre-internet years, when the paper's content was more varied, more argumentative, much livelier. The eccentrics who used to mix it up in our pages seem to have either passed on or they've gotten their own websites. Not that we're quite entombed, but cyber-production is more impersonal, the end product much less varied than it was when there was more room for drawings, many of them by local artists. But newspapers are fading, the blip-brains don't read anything longer than a line or two, or read nothing at all and, despite the steady stream of state, national and global catastrophes, the culture, to me anyway, seems dull, blanded down. The incentive to keep at it, however, comes from the pure joy I get knowing that all the right people hate us. Now, if they'd only write in…
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 29-30, 2019
ADAM BUSHAW, Redwood Valley. Honey oil extraction.
FRUMENCIO FUENTES-MEZA, Redwood Valley. DUI.
ADAM FULLER, Ukiah. Evasion.
NARCISO HERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WILLIAM HILLER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
PERRIN HOAGLEN, Willits. DUI, controlled substance, felon with stun gun, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
RHANDA JACK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DEBORAH LINCOLN, Covelo. Controlled substance.
BRADLEY MAXFIELD, Willits. Trespassing.
JOSHUA MEDINA, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, probation revocation.
STEVEN MICHELS JR, Willits. DUI.
JOSHUA MOORE, Ukiah. Battery on peace officer, battery on emergency responder, resisting, county parole violation.
MANUEL MUNOZ, Willits. Controlled substance, pot for sale, paraphernalia, concealed dirk-dagger.
WILLIAM THOM, Willits. Honey oil extraction.
REFUGIO TORRES-HERNANDEZ, Covelo. Failure to appear.
PAUL WHITE, Cloverdale/Ukiah. DUI.
TEMESGEN WUBEYE, Willits. Transportation of controlled substance.
MENDOCINO COAST HOSPITAL FOUNDATION BECOMES MENDOCINO COAST HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
Fri, Sept. 6 - A Pinot Noir Celebration
Sat, Sept. 7 - Winesong Charity Auction & Tasting
FORT BRAGG, CA – To adapt to changing times and community needs, the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation has become the Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation. Executive Director Michelle Roberts said, “We’ve updated our Articles of Incorporation so we can continue to support our local hospital, regardless of how it may change. We also expanded our mission to allow us to respond to essential healthcare needs in the healthcare district that may fall outside the hospital’s purview.”
Since 1984, the Foundation has supported healthcare on the coast via its annual fundraising gala, Winesong, and through charitable gifts from individuals, corporations, and other organizations. Roberts said, “The Foundation’s name has changed, but our commitment has not. We remain dedicated to supporting the health and wellness of our coastal community.”
Since 1985, Winesong has raised more than $8 million for improvements to the hospital’s equipment and facilities, including support for the diagnostic imaging center, medical evacuation helipad, outpatient surgical services, and emergency department equipment. The Foundation has also raised significant funds through planned giving opportunities “that can provide substantial tax advantages to the donor and their heirs while supporting one of our community’s most vital resources,” Roberts said.
In the 35 years since the Foundation was established, state and federal healthcare funding structures have shifted dramatically. Roberts explained that Foundation board members recognized this and chose to be proactive about it. “Since it is hard to predict exactly how healthcare funding will change in the future, we decided to build enough flexibility into our organization to be sure we can continue to respond to the needs our community,” Roberts said.
She went on, “We will continue to work with the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District as they assess local needs and we’ll do what we can to fund projects that are likely to have the biggest impact on our community’s health and wellness.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Public education is not free. A majority of public school students could just as well not show up and they would be just as “educated”. In fact, students might find themselves more inclined towards self-education if not burned out in those ghettos of learning. I have seen it first hand as a teacher and previously as a student. Our institutions are fraudulent and need to be reconsidered on a mass scale to the demands of our time. Our industrial base is decimated and it follows that a public school system based on the industrial factory model is falling short.
The property taxes folks are forced to pay more and more towards would be better served to secure those folks' own well being. Step into a classroom for a year or two and see yourself how respectful students are for their “free” education at the expense of the folks footing the bill. Classic case of stealing from Paul to give to Peter.
The worst students run the classrooms. They know there are no consequences and when inclined those students can turn the entire classroom into a zoo at the drop of a hat.
Can’t hit ’em and they can’t be kicked out. Public schooling is a total shit show.
KIDS TALENT SHOW AT THE FORT BRAGG LIBRARY
Saturday, August 10, 2019 2:00 pm
Join us for our second annual Kids Talent Show where children from Fort Bragg and the surrounding communities are invited to showcase their talents in music, dance, magic, etc. at this non-competitive amateur production.
Open to kids 12 and under, participants in the Kids Talent Show will perform in front of an audience of their peers and family members at the Fort Bragg Library.
This is a free event and there is no need to audition. Just sign up by August 7th at the library and we’ll put you in the line-up!
Refreshments provided by Friends of the Fort Bragg Library.
For more information, please contact the Fort Bragg Library at 707-964-2020 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRY YOUR HAND AT ACTING
Coast Center Fall 2019 Classes
THE 210B Beginning Acting
Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 - 11:50 amLearn fundamental acting techniques and terminology. All levels welcome.No prior work in theatre required. Students will develop ability through fun exercises, scene work, and improvisation.Instructor bio: Director, dramaturg, and producer, Virginia Reed has worked with professional theatres in Princeton, New Jersey, Lost Angeles, San Francisco and numerous companies across the greater Bay Area. She has directed productions of plays by Shakespeare, adaptations of classics, experimental and contemporary plays, solo and devised performances, new plays in development by emerging playwrights, and founded a women’s theatre company. Ginny holds degrees in theatre from Northwestern University and Trinity College, Ireland.
Mendocino College Coast Center, 1211 Del Mar Dr., Ft. Bragg, CA 95437 • 707.961.2200
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!
79-year-old woman sentenced to jail for feeding stray cats
"I would always feed them and take care of them because I was worried about them and I'm a cat lover,” the woman said.
Will be in Garberville, CA for awhile…
Please know that I will be in Garberville, CA for awhile, because it is necessary that I address personal issues, which can no longer be ignored. I've got a doctor's appointment next week, and will be asking for a diagnosis, because there are simply some aspects of my life which need help. Much of my situation is good, certainly due to years of peace & justice work and performing service for the sake of others. However, all that plus regular spiritual practices has not fully resulted in my being happy or satisfied. There are behavioral problems which just don't work themselves out. Binge drinking is one example that requires my seeking outside assistance. I thank all of my friends for being supportive of me at this time. You may not have expected to ever receive a message like this from me, but I decided that it would be very positive to send this out. Frankly, I wanted you to know. I am accepting all prayers, and believe that I will receive whatever I need to get myself healed. I am leaving this in the hands of God.
Craig Louis Stehr
CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP FOR TEENS AT UKIAH LIBRARY SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2:00 – 3:30
If you are a teen and an aspiring writer, now is the time to hone in your talents at the Ukiah Library! Natasha Yim will be running a creative writing workshop for ages 13-18 on Saturday August 24th from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Local children’s author, Natasha Yim, was introduced to the world of creative writing as a seventh grader and has a passion to share the joy of writing to teens and children. Whether you have already been writing on your own, just starting to write, or only thinking about it, all aspiring teen writers age 13-18 are invited to this friendly, informative and constructive workshop. Participants will learn story structure, character development and most importantly how to let your imagination unlock your inner author. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. For any questions please contact Katrina at email@example.com.
PROGRESSIVES TO DEMOCRATS: We're Watching the Way You Mistreat 'The Squad'
Building on Bernie Sanders’ outsider progressive legacy in the Senate and his two surprisingly successful presidential campaigns, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are a symbol of the progressive challenge to a Democratic Party still controlled by Third Way/Democratic Leadership Council/Clintonista/Rahm Emanuel corporatist right-wingers despite the fact that 72% of its voters are self-identified progressives. Democrats’ dismissive and condescending treatment of the Squad sends a clear signal to progressives: We don’t like you. Go away. They will.