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Off the Record (Sep. 18, 2019)

MAYOR LINDY PETERS of Fort Bragg has taken out papers to run for 4th District Supervisor against incumbent, Dan Gjerde. The popular Peters just might unseat Gjerde, who has been virtually invisible as a Supervisor. Another popular mayor, Mo Mulheren of Ukiah, is taking on incumbent John McCowen in the 2nd district, which will also be a tight race assuming McCowen runs for re-election. It’s been many years since the 4th District seat has been contested; McCowen has faced opposition before.

GOOD NEWS FOR TAI ABREU. In a ten-page opinion, Judge Ann Moorman has ruled that the legislature’s revision of the California Murder Rule is Constitutional. The judge's exhaustive opinion basically says that SB 1437 is lawful. Passed into law in January by the California State Legislature, the new legislation permits persons convicted of murder, if they were not the actual killer, to have their convictions vacated and re-sentenced. In Abreu's case, DA Eyster has made it clear that he will argue for continuing Abreu's murder sentence of life without the possibility of parole, apparently in the belief that he can prove Abreu not only knew the victim would be killed but participated in his murder. Based on the known facts of the case, the DA's conclusion is fanciful, to say the least, not to even mention that Abreu, 19 at the time, received the least competent defense perhaps in the history of the state, a farce of a one-day trial during which his court-appointed attorney said her doomed "client" was guilty as charged and called no witnesses on his behalf. Abreu, who has been a model prisoner during his nearly 20 years of incarceration, will be back on court at 9am, Friday, September 27th. 

JUDGE MOORMAN'S opinion seems careful unto excruciating. I doubt DA Eyster and the Orange County savants he admires who came up with the bogus constitutional arguments will be eager to try to refute the judge's research and citations, which seem, at least to this reader, so well done they just might be the defining argument that finally wins in the higher courts.

A LITTLE LIE causes a huge hullabaloo. Officer Jacob Jones told his boss he'd taken photos of a dead dog. He hadn't, but cops are sworn to tell the truth in matters large and small, and this seemingly small matter blew up into not only Officer Jones’s dismissal from the Eureka PD, a number of cases involving him have had to be dismissed by the HumCo DA. Under the Brady Law once an officer is impeached as untruthful, for court purposes he's untruthful forever. The Jones matter has also blown up in Willits where Jones, fired by Eureka, was soon hired by Willits PD Chief Scott Warnock with Warnock's apparent foreknowledge of Jones's difficulties in Eureka, which could result in Jones's and Warnock's dismissals. The text below Jones's photo is from a story in the Northcoast Journal by the excellent Thadeus Greenson:


Eureka Police Officer Jacob Jones had been on the force about a year and a half when, shortly before 6 p.m. on May 25, 2018, he was dispatched to a report of a potential weapons violation. About 40 minutes earlier, a 46-year-old man had opened the back door of his Eureka residence to call in his dogs. When one dog — described in police reports as a small-breed female with brown, curly hair — didn't come, he worried she'd escaped, as she sometimes did, and stepped out into his fenced backyard to look for her. Along the north fence line, he found her lying dead, a bloody wound visible on the left side of her chest.

According to dispatch records, Jones arrived on scene at 6:58 p.m. and didn't stay long. The dog's owner would later tell Jones's supervisors that the officer "was very unsympathetic." Three minutes after arriving at the home, Jones radioed dispatch to say no further resources were necessary. Within six and a half minutes of arriving at the house, Jones was en route back to EPD, having radioed dispatch to say he was closing the call without a report or assigning a case number.

Jones was back in the classroom at EPD headquarters when his supervisor, Sgt. Edward Wilson, followed up with him. Wilson would later tell an internal affairs investigator that he'd seen the call pop up on a dispatch computer screen when it came in but his attention was quickly diverted to another incident — a report of someone brandishing a gun — in another part of town. Wilson said he just wanted to follow up with Jones and asked him about the call. Jones reportedly told his commanding officer that there'd been a dead dog at the residence with a deep circular wound that looked like it had been stabbed or shot with a BB gun. Wilson then asked if Jones had taken photos documenting the wound and where the dog had been found.

"He said, 'Yeah, I took photos'," Wilson later told investigators.

An internal affairs investigation completed seven months later would conclude that Jones lied about the photos that day, repeated those lies when pressed and that he subsequently took steps to conceal his dishonesty from his superiors. He was suspended without pay for a month, about the most severe discipline a patrol officer can receive short of being fired. But the reverberations of Jones' actions didn't end there.

The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office is in the midst of a months-long effort to re-evaluate all prosecutions involving the officer, with at least three cases resulting in dismissals or pleas to lesser charges and another 19 still needing to be reviewed.


The DA’s extensive denunciation of Chief Warnock’s defective personnel policies can be read on our website at:

TOO EXTREME FOR THE EXTREMISTS? John Bolton’s firing as Trump’s National Security Advisor is rare good news out of the White House, but don't expect a Gandhian to replace him. We'll get someone with the same ferocity but more restrained in his blood lust. (Beginning with Trump himself, on through his family and into his government, Bolton is strictly long-distance ferocious, managing to avoid military service himself.)

NOTED this line in the daily deluge from cyber-space: "Those generations that grew up without values, or discipline, would learn both at the end of a boot. Ask any former 'youth at risk' what he learned in Marine Corps boot camp." 

THE REFERENCE seems to be to the old practice of the 1950s and early 60s to court-order delinquents into the military, especially the toughest branch. I went through Marine Corp boot camp in 1957 as a 17-year-old. What did I learn? Lots of stuff, everything from how to field strip an M-I to how to take a punch, and we all got lots of those, plus some specialized tortures like having one's collar twisted until one passes out, standing at attention until one swoons at the feet of the grinning perp, which was done to me twice. 15 weeks of criminal assault plus lots of creative insults — "syphilitic mis-fucks" was particularly memorable. Recruit "maltreatment" was outlawed by the Marines in the late '50s. 

MOST PEOPLE seem to have the idea that the movie, Full Metal Jacket, realistically portrays the Marine boot camp experience, which I guess it does, but Full Metal Jacket was, compared to the fifties, a day at the beach. Not saying we were tougher, just saying boot camp was a lot tougher prior to the Vietnam era. 

THINKING back on it, and I liked the Marines after boot camp and thought about staying in, I always think about a guy I recall as Billy Saunders, a trained fighter, who did the neatest of a one-punch knockout of a guy I've ever seen,, a feat observed by one of our drill instructors, who was positively gleeful at the sight, so gleeful that Saunders, at night, was forced to fight tough guys from other platoons bare knucks as the DI's placed bets and the rest of us cheered the poor guy on. Saunders always won, and he always managed to get through the day even with cracked ribs, but that's the way it was. I was stunned when, as the Marines got chewed up in Vietnam, that young guys got drafted into the Marines, then and now definitely a volunteers-only organization.

ODD to agree with The National Rifle Association on anything, but Frisco took virtue signaling a little too far when its city council passed a resolution declaring the wacky gun club as a "terrorist organization." The NRA sued the City of San Francisco on Monday, alleging the City is violating the NRA’s First Amendment rights and has effectively moved to “blacklist anyone linked to the N.R.A.” The lawsuit comes less than a week after San Francisco’s board of supervisors declared the group a terrorist organization and limited relationships with companies that do business with the NRA in the City. 

CALIFORNIA is poised to pass into law a measure that will force app-based companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees—meaning these workers will get sick pay and paid vacation. About one million workers, including Uber drivers, food-delivery couriers, janitors, nail salon workers, construction workers, and franchise owners will benefit. 

NEVER HAPPEN, but instead of fines for corporate malefactors mainline their managers and boards of directors in the county jails nearest their headquarters for at least a year. What's the point of fining, say, Google, a billion dollars, which to Google is like a dime, when an effective deterrent is just down the street? Or simply shoot them, as the Russians used to do and the Chinese do now. American crooks of the high end type would truly fear a year in close quarters with the Catch of the Day; the fines levied against their corporate shields are trivial to them.

NO SURPRISE, but there's a wine grape glut on the Northcoast. With new vineyards being planted all over the area for the last fifty years, the surplus everyone predicted is now here.

MENDOCINO COUNTY has voted into what they thought was law in Measures V and B. Measure V was to prohibit forest owners from poisoning non-commercial tree species, while Measure B would fund an in-County mental health facility. 

AND nothing happened. Why? Our Supervisors referred V to the County Counsel's Office, a half-dozen or so wusses with law degrees who either farm out local matters to expensive private lawyers or, in the case of V, ask the State's legal thumbsuckers for an opinion as to V's legality. The State took two years (count 'em) to claim some nebulous dodge like "conflict of interest." Now what? Nothing, that's what. Our votes meant nothing, thanks to the lawyers we ourselves employ in their air conditioned offices on Low Gap Road, Ukiah. Remember the Office of Circumlocution in Little Dorrit? That's them.

MEASURE B is being slowly tortured to death by its "oversight" committee. Any time you want to kill a good idea in Mendocino County appoint 12 people to get it done.

IF THE TWO MEASURES were "illegal," they would have been headed off at the ballot. Bu they weren't, and we voted on them, we passed them into law and our will, quaintly and formerly known as the "people's will,” has been thwarted ever since.

THE LAST REAL County Counsel we had in Mendocino County was Peter Klein, who screwed me over once big time, but at least he wasn't afraid to step into the fight to knock me out quick, with an assist from the State Appellate Court in their lush Frisco offices. In that one, the Supervisors told County Counsel Klein to get me and he got me. Ever since Klein, the County Counsel's office, with the possible exception of Doug "The Midnight Rambler" Losak, has been an office of time servers and incompetents, rather like the Supervisors themselves prior to the current board. Losak actually went into court to contest phony claims against the County. 

MEASURE V is law. Send the Sheriff out to the Mendocino Redwood Company with a cease and desist order. If the poison practice persists, arrest whoever's boss out there. And in the meantime, encourage our cadre of professional demonstrators to hassle MRC's owners, the Fisher family holed up just down the road in San Francisco. Lights! Cameras! Action!


Board of Supervisors Agenda for Tuesday, September 17, 2019:

Item 6e — Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Long Distance Travel from October 28-31, 2019 for Supervisor John Haschak to Attend Meetings in Washington, D.C. with Federal Representatives to Advocate for Additional Disaster Recovery Funds for Mendocino County (Sponsor: Supervisor Haschak) That makes two pointless, tax-funded jaunts for Haschak. 

SO, I had this nightmare......wait! please, don't run, it's not going to be all that boring. Reminisce is an old man’s weakness, as Chekhov told us, so indulge this gaffer. It was in the middle of the day when I awakened with a start to find myself punching at the air above my bed because a large, hostile lizard was poised to drop onto my chest! Which brought me back to a memory from 1964. I was in a remote Borneo village called Mukah on the South China Sea, playing basketball with descendants of headhunters, wowing them with Hoop Moves, Americano, when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a giant lizard running upright towards a patch of nearby jungle. I instinctively sprinted in the opposite direction, to the great amusement of my playmates. "Monitor Lizard, sir. Not dangerous." A six-foot lizard as fast afoot as a deer was not dangerous? The sight of the thing alone could stop an inexperienced heart. I'd seen my first Monitor, a creature I'd never heard of. Turns out they were a common pest in the area but had never been known to attack humans, unlike the array of other jungle and river predators in the neighborhood, one of which, a crocodile, had recently carried off a child bathing in a village stream. And snakes galore, and of all sizes, and monkeys, one of which, a gibbon, was given to me and my bride as a wedding present, or perhaps a curse as the thing was totally out of control, his specialty being to climb into the rafters of our tiny house and poop down on us. A Dyak whose hornbill followed the man wherever he went, perching close by as his master conducted his affairs, was delighted to take Gib off our hands. 

PLEASE EXCUSE the vulgarity of the following, but it's another memory I might be able to expurgate if I relay it. I was 7 or 8 and already captivated by sports, especially baseball, the reigning sport of the time. I had just begun reading the sports pages and can still recite the roster of the San Francisco Seals. The daily newspaper accounts of ball games inevitably featured an infielder leaping high into the air over second base, suspended in air as he made the throw to first. As a little kid, I assumed from the photos you had to jump into the air to make that throw. I didn't know you made the throw then jumped to avoid the runner sliding into second. 

One day I'm practicing jumping up and simultaneously throwing a tennis ball against a wall, thinking to myself, "Darn, it's hard to jump and throw at the same time." An older kid walks by and says something like, "What the hell are you doing?" I tell him I'm practicing the double play throw. He says, "You know what, kid? You're gonna be the man with the paper asshole," and he sauntered off before I could get a clarification. What a fate! What were the mechanics, the anatomical adjustments involved? Could it happen to me? I definitely did not want to be that man, a freak. Of course it was extremely risky to ask an adult any question wherein an obscenity was necessary to it. I soon learned from the unsupervised streets, where small boys absorbed much forbidden knowledge in those days, that it was just a more emphatic way of telling me I was stupid. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP: “The light bulb. People said what’s with the light bulb. I said here’s the story, and I looked at it. The bulb that we’re being forced to use. Number one, to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst.”

FROM SUPERVISOR GJERDE: Here is a helpful tip: If you see trash left on public land, such as a mattress left alongside a public road, please report it. MendoRecycle, a partnership of the County and our cities, will clean it up. I've reported problems on MendoRecycle's easy-to-navigate website, and they have cleaned up the roadside debris. 

SECOND DISTRICT Supervisor John McCowen spends his off hours cleaning up after the Ukiah Valley's ever-larger "homeless" population, a tiny minority of whom are legitimately homeless. The Supervisor has been at it for years. I'm aware that McCowen even took it upon himself to personally drive a particularly noxious pair of campers habitually fouling a feeder stream way to heck outtahere. By drive I mean the Supervisor, at their request, drove them hours from Ukiah and left them there. They probably drifted back, but for true commitment to the health of what's left of the Ukiah Valley's natural world, McCowen deserves much credit for his one-man campaign to keep the slobs out of the Russian River and its battered tributaries.

FOR HIS EFFORTS to pick up after habitual drunks, drug addicts and miscellaneous walking wounded, McCowen is seen by the irresponsible as their primary nemesis, with Officer Hoyle of the Ukiah Police Department probably running a close second.

AS OFTEN HAPPENS, the people hounded by the Supervisor to at least pick up after themselves and to not use the Ukiah area's river and streams as latrines, call the 911 emergency to accuse McCowen himself of criminal misconduct, as happened the other day when a woman called the police to have McCowen arrested for looting her teepee!

BTW, the "homeless" aren't the only people trashing public spaces and the County's roadsides. Lots of housed people dump stuff to evade dump fees. Which are increasingly, onerously expensive. To discourage illegal dumping, the County should work out a method whereby people who can't afford present-day legal dump fees are permitted to dump at a reduced, affordable rate. The County does offer trash removal once the trash is in place, but reduced, County-subsidized dump fees would keep trash from midnight off-loading in the first place. We think the money for subsidized trash (and County ambulance services) ought to come out of the pointless Promotional Alliance's annual million-plus budget that allegedly promotes tourism to the County.

One Comment

  1. Kathy September 19, 2019

    Terry Vaughn has also taken out papers to run for supe in the 4th

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