- Wet Winds
- Outage 2,373
- Slide Removal
- Hotel View
- Pet Jetta
- Smith Story
- Coach Cavender
- SF Panorama
- Buzz Buggies
- Ed Notes
- Grafitti Removal
- Prisoner Rights
- Vivaldi Musac
- SMART Not
- Yesterday's Catch
- Pinchi Buds
- Locust Replacement
- Elite Displacement
- Nazi Flowchart
- WMD Revelation
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
PRECIPITATION AND WINDS will diminish in intensity this morning. Otherwise, showers will linger across the region through early next week, followed by drier weather during mid week. Wet and unsettled weather will likely return late next week.
HIGHEST WIND GUST REPORTS OVER LAST 24 HOURS (Mendocino County)
LOCATION SPEED TIME/DATE ELEVATION Hopland 5 NNE 56 MPH 0215 PM 11/30 2682 3.8 SW Willits (PGE) 55 MPH 0540 PM 11/30 2214 Yorkville 53 MPH 0610 PM 11/30 2342 1.2 S Manchester (PGE) 53 MPH 0640 PM 11/30 298 3.4 SW Willits (PGE) 47 MPH 0150 PM 11/30 2254 Point Arena 45 MPH 0554 PM 11/30 2.8 E Redwood Valley (PGE) 45 MPH 0600 PM 11/30 1790 5.3 NW Redwood Valley (PGE) 43 MPH 1140 AM 11/30 3187 3.4 NE Willits (PGE) 42 MPH 0640 PM 11/30 1325 7.4 N Laytonville (PGE) 37 MPH 0700 PM 11/30 2061 5.2 W Willits (PGE) 37 MPH 0450 PM 11/30 1916 4.9 W Comptche (PGE) 37 MPH 0230 PM 11/30 1021 Mendocino 36 MPH 0302 PM 11/30 157 6.1 W Calpella (PGE) 36 MPH 0640 PM 11/30 2455 6.6 W Navarro (PGE) 36 MPH 0150 PM 11/30 1188 Boonville RAWS 32 MPH 0750 PM 11/30 644 Ukiah Municipal Airport 31 MPH 0744 PM 11/30 603 5.3 NE Cloverdale (PGE) 31 MPH 0630 PM 11/30 2660 0.5 SE Leggett (PGE) 31 MPH 0500 PM 11/30 945 2.7 NW Redwood Valley (PGE) 30 MPH 0230 PM 11/30 825 6.0 E Point Arena (PGE) 29 MPH 0530 PM 11/30 920 8.9 E Covelo (PGE) 29 MPH 0620 PM 11/30 2161 Philo 28 MPH 0600 PM 11/30 944 4.2 SW Navarro (PGE) 28 MPH 0520 PM 11/30 1131 Willits 27 MPH 0228 PM 11/30 1358 6.9 NE Cloverdale (PGE) 27 MPH 0730 PM 11/30 3399 3.2 NE Yorkville (PGE) 26 MPH 0720 PM 11/30 2874 5.4 NW Willits (PGE) 26 MPH 0300 PM 11/30 2270
(National Weather Service)
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
2,373 PG&E customers are out south of Fort Bragg along Highway 20 (Saturday night).
SLIDE REMOVAL from Anderson Creek Bridge to Singley Cattlepass on Highway 253 near Boonville will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anticipate 10-minute delays. (Caltrans)
VIA MSP FROM THE MENDOCINO HOTEL
The MCN camera in a third-floor window of the Mendocino Hotel. The current temp [Saturday evening] is 49.3 °F, Humidity: 81%. The High windspeed today (so far): 37 mph at 2:45 pm
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Jetta is a sweet and very lovable dog. During her evaluation, Jetta met another female dog and she reacted very well. Jetta went on our monthly Empty the Shelter Pack Walk with volunteers from the CCC, who told us that Jetta will need to keep up on her leash training, as she tends to pull and get distracted. She has a very soft touch when taking treats and made lots of progress on her SIT, LOOK, and FIND IT. Jetta is treat-motivated and energetic, and responds to commands—she has a desire to please.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. Visit our website for information about our canine and feline guests, and all of our services, programs and events: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com. For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
SMITH STORY WINE CELLARS
Hi everyone, please keep us in mind on this Small Business Saturday. We have a beautiful selection of wines that are produced from 💯 family vineyards as well as unique vintage collectibles (mostly items to sip coffee, tea, wine, cocktails in), antique artwork, Toby Jugs from England, old & rare cookbooks and poetry, and always a few items for the kiddos. I think three Advent Calendars are still on the shelves. Smith Story Wine Cellars is located in Philo just inside The Madrones. Stop by at the very least to introduce yourself and let us know how we can support your small business too. Peace & Love, Ali Story (Lord Sandwich is here all weekend too).
— at Smith Story Wine Cellars Tasting Room.
COACH CAVENDER’S RETIREMENT
by Flynn Washburne
In a follow-up to last week’s canine report, Coach Cavender, whose relationship with his beloved Yorkie Gig should and does concern his wife about her own place in his affections (I would not care to speculate about the outcome of a Sophie’s Choice involving the two) was just as pleased and proud as a new mother to see his little sidekick gracing the front page. Normally the coach considers the AVA more of an aid to starting fires than reading material, he being a rock-ribbed, dyed-in-the-wool, no-nonsense conservative of the old-school, but he intends lobbying the Pulitzer committee to consider the piece for an award.
I call him Coach because once a coach, always a coach, retired or otherwise, and after 35 years teaching and coaching at Ukiah High, he can no more stop doing either than stop breathing. He coaches his wife, me, the dogs, the mailman, whomever enters his orbit is in for some training, like it or not. Dragged out of retirement this last season in a desperate bid to turn around a team that had won only 9 games in the last 8 years, Coach took a group of undersized kids from an underfunded school without any bench to speak of under his wing and, as defensive coordinator and offensive line coach, took the Willits Wolverines to a 9-2 record and the second round of the playoffs, where they were a beaten by a very strong Ferndale. Along the way defeating powerhouses St. Helena and El Molino, Willits confounded both their opponents and the pundits with a nearly impermeable defense and a surfeit of heart and grit.
So I tend to listen when he instructs. Gary Cavender came up from a childhood of poverty and neglect in gang-infested Hawaiian Gardens in L.A. County, on his way to a bad end as a thug and a drunk when he discovered a latent aptitude for math and science right around the time of his spiritual conversion. He and Jesus battled their way clear of his deterministic fate and into Cal State Fullerton, where he distinguished himself in wrestling and football and received two master’s degrees. As an athlete, one of his many honors was the title of California State Powerlifting Champion, and as an entomologist became the world’s foremost recognized authority on three species of insect. As Gary will tell you, though, he is “addicted” to kids and found his niche in the classroom where he racked up a raft of Teacher of the Year awards and made deep impressions on generations of Ukiah kids in his math classes.
Retirement means different things to different people and the rarest position you are likely to find Gary Cavender is sitting down. Seven days a week he is up with the birds and tackling one project or another, generally improving his gorgeous riverside property where, in addition to housing over 60 foster children over the years (one of whom has starred in these pages of late, accused killer Caleb Silver), he occasionally provides housing for homeless people. In the beginning he had a grand vision of a place where lost souls could rediscover sobriety and Jesus, learn some marketable skills and a decent work ethic, and turn their lives around, but quickly discovered how many of the homeless are in that predicament for a reason and have absolutely no desire for improvement of any kind, self or otherwise. He has not quit on his desire to help them, though, and is currently designing and building portable sleeping pods to at least give them a place to sleep safe from the elements.
Several days a week, Gary collects food from area merchants and distributes it around town to the needy (once being chastised by the Ukiah PD for bringing cold drinks to the residents of the old tent city by the airport during last summer’s heat wave), absorbing the costs of time and fuel in his insatiable effort to help others.
Despite his property appearing the domain of an upper-middle class country squire, Gary drives a 28-year-old pickup truck and appears to dress in the same ratty shorts and sleeveless t-shirt every day, only donning long pants and a shirt with a collar for his Sunday gig, pastor at the Calpella Community Church, where he not so much shepherds as coaches his flock into heaven. His sermons are more pedantic than charismatic and often feature lessons with more mathematical formulae than scripture, occasionally confusing the ragtag congregation but always bringing it back around to his primary message of love for God and reaching out to the less fortunate. The fact that my secular-humanist ass finds itself in a pew every Sunday tells you something about the charm and simplicity of the church and the earnestness of Gary’s mission.
It was an odd confluence of events that led me here and I’ve become something of an anomaly in my relationship to the place and the people. Gary and I disagree on pretty much any subject requiring an opinion and argue our positions regularly and usually civilly, but we have become close—as close an association as I have right now—and this just goes to prove my long-held assertion that any beliefs or opinions about meaningless abstractions or things that have nothing to do with you, e.g., politics and/or economic systems, are not only the least interesting things about you but the most ineffective at determining your character and suitability for friendship.
There is a very small percentage of serious, competent people with the ability to get things done in this world, the folks we slackers, dullards, and layabouts depend upon to advance civilization for us while we snack, nap, and amuse ourselves with internet memes, and it’s been a real pleasure and learning experience to be around one.
RARE 1877 PANORAMIC PHOTO OF SAN FRANCISCO SHOWS A CITY YOU WON'T RECOGNIZE
A rare 1877 eleven albumen print panorama, each mounted on card, by Eadweard Muybridge sold at auction with Bonhams in New York in October 2019.
Muybridge took the photos from a vantage point on the central tower of the unfinished Nob Hill residence of railroad baron Mark Hopkins, which was the highest point in the developed portion of the city at the time.
PHOTOGRAPHER RON HENGGELER stitched the photos together and added labels: ronhenggeler.com/History/Muybridge/panorama.html
ODD, OLD NEWS: “BUZZ BUGGIES”
Scarier than meeting a logging truck on the old 101 highway “slab” in Mendocino County, more frightening than a tailgating “grow-dozer” on a country road, the advent of automobiles in the first decades of the 20th century brought fear to many a country driver of horse drawn carriages and wagons.
This comment objecting to our piece on the Supe's candidacy of Glen McGourty:
"PS Where are the stories about the Mexican cartels growing cannabis? Or is that the kind of REAL investigative journalism you don't do….Who are they? Where do they come from? Why are Berkeley forestry researchers terrified? They find pit traps in the woods from cartel types. You’ve got a lot of real criminals to go after. So muck rake away! Or is that kind of journalism cost prohibitive? Would it hurt your advertising base? If you really cared about water use, you’d go after them. But aren’t you funded by a lot of ads for pro-cannabis attorneys? Is there some possible editorial bias there? Have you read Mark Arax’s book ‘The Dreamt Land’? How about a book review on THOSE powerful Central Valley water barons who are the worst offenders in the water-ag wars?"
FIRST OFF, the Central Valley water barons, connected at the hip to Dianne Feinstein and her wing of California's Democratic Party, are only a larger version of Mendo's water barons in their greed and tenacious defense of what they seem to regard as their God-granted draw on the Eel River Diversion. The Napa Valley has instituted some basic rules re water use. Given the influence of Mendo's wine mafia, Mendo has none, and has even resisted a state suggestion that they write their own water rules!
ADVERTISING BASE? What advertising base? Anyway, if the cops can't get into the cartels, assuming they exist beyond family groups as mafia-like associations, let us know how we might get a Mexican cartel grower to talk to us? It's a big subject, so big that the big media, at least the accounts on the cartel subject I've seen, have been merely vaguely incriminating. Which isn't to say that organized drug operations aren't present in Mendocino County, as evidenced by the readily available but hopefully not prevalent methamphetamine and opioids. Water? To compare the water consumed by widely dispersed marijuana grows to the water consumption of the ever-proliferating vineyards defies logic. How many cartel grows would it take to equal in water (and chemical) consumption a forty acre vineyard? Lots. Anyway, outlaw pot grows in the Emerald Triangle these days seem to be a veritable United Nations of growers, ranging from Bulgarians in east Mendocino County to Cambodians in Trinity County, a whole new ballgame from the long ago days estranged hippies began their evolutionary botanic experiments that brought the world's stoners Mendo Mellow.
WHICH isn't to say organized crime isn't a problem in Mendo. Quick story. In March of 2001, a young man named Jaime Vasquez was shot to death in a vineyard less than a mile from my house. Someone had persuaded him to drive out for an isolated rendezvous on some pretext or other. When he arrived at dusk with his wife and infant, several men jumped from hiding and shot him to death. His wife, carrying the couple's now fatherless child, made her way back to Boonville. The body of Vasquez was never found, but the Sheriff's Department's dogged investigation did result in the arrest of one man eventually convicted of being an illegal in possession of a weapon, a handgun, but, as I recall, not the murder weapon. That man was packed off to the state pen but never revealed who else was involved in the disappearance of Mr. V. We asked around on our own and, no surprise, found out zero. I know from my experience of trying to get information on much less serious matters from the immigrant community that no one in that community, a large one in the Anderson Valley, is going to talk, least of all to a nosy gringo. Philosophically, I think things are out of control in so many ways that wealthy water hogs are just one more contributing factor to the prevailing social-environmental breakdown. PS. In terms of scale, the biggest crime in the history of Mendocino County (apart from environmental atrocities) occurred in 1987 when well-organized gringo criminals burned the heart out of Fort Bragg. And got clean away with it. And the twenty boxes of incriminating evidence "disappeared" from the DA's office (DA Susan Massini presiding).
I'D NEVER HEARD of NewsMax — "real news for real people" — until a relative told me about it. As a more or less real people myself, I immediately tuned it in and found an even more frothingly wacky production than Fox has going, with a fat guy threatening civil war if Trump is removed from office. (Better lay off the Cheetos, big boy, if you're going to war.) But then there was actually a sputter-free expose of Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire who has bought his way on to the Demo candidates' stage. Turns out Steyer, a hedge fund parasite, who is selling himself as an environmentalist, is heavily invested in coal-fired energy plants and tar sands pipe lines.
DID YOU KNOW that that famously wine-hating area called “Napa County” has a rule prohibiting weddings at wineries (unless, oddly, you’re one of the five famous old wineries)? That’s right: Most Napa County wineries are prohibited from hosting weddings, wedding parties, anniversary events or any parties that aren’t considered directly linked to the marketing of wine. Wineries must also abide by a rule that requires them to host tours and tastings by appointment only. Napa County’s “Winery Definition Ordinance” prohibits events that are not strictly “wine related.”
IN A RECENT Napa County press release, the Napa County wine industry representatives “commended the new rules. All four of the County’s major wine trade organizations supported the new ordinance and accompanying resolution.” And “Napa County Farm Bureau Executive Director Sandy Elles praised the rule as “one more important step in protecting Napa County’s agricultural heritage.”
IMAGINE, if you will, what would happen if someone In Mendocino County suggested anything even titled a “Winery Definition Ordinance.” Much less a “Winery Definition Ordinance” that excluded wedding and wedding related activities. Imagine what Mendo vintners would say. Or what the Farm Bureau would say. (MS)
FUNNY HEADLINE to a recent AP story: “Grocery-carrying robots are coming. Do we need them?” As if needing something ever mattered to the techie crowd.
To the editor:
I'm writing you because you say it as it is. I also shoot from the hip. I'm writing about my case and many others where our rights are being violated in the Mendocino County Jail. To wit, one of them is the Sixth Amendment right. This would be about their random urine analysis testing. During the collection process of the urine analysis, a chain of custody of the evidence is initiated. Uniform standards require "initials of person" and "initials of witness" -- two initials/signatures. And, "To wit: tamperproof seal!" Due to the lack of compliance or ignorance with the evidentiary requirements with Title 17 CCR pre-analytical error occurs due to lack of proper training and/or incompetency.
It starts with the lowly corrections officer to the Sergeant, the lieutenant and further up the ladder. They do not admit any wrongdoing. They believe they are an entity above the laws of this great state. The policies need to be updated and enforced.
Also: There is overcrowding. Four people in a two-man cell. Triple bunks which I believe the Feds mandated to be taken out over 10 years ago. People sleeping on the floor. Getting out of your cell for one hour out of 48 hours.
Even though I am a prisoner in Mendocino County jail, I still have rights like any other citizen of the United States. When will a civil attorney or prisoners advocate group or person help the inmates at the county jail?
Maybe Sheriff Tom Allman's a great sheriff and will take a cut in pay and hire more correctional officers and expand jail and fix the overcrowding with 10% overcapacity and feed us better and change and enforce their policy and admit wrongdoing.
Will it ever happen?
Jeff Chenier A# 850, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
GLORIFIED WINE TRAIN
What commuters is SMART serving? Definitely not the majority of Sonoma County. SMART is going to put 30 or so more trains on the track so wait time is cut. So what? If the train doesn’t go where you need it to go, it doesn’t matter how long or short a wait there is.
More trains on the track isn’t going to cut my commute by 30 minutes or my cost to commute by $30. Until SMART figures out how to get the Sonoma County-to-San Francisco commuters to work without having to utilize two or three different modes of transportation, it will continue to be nothing more than a glorified wine train.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 30, 2019
BRANDON CARNES, Ukiah. Sale/transportation of organic drug, paraphernalia, contempt of court.
JAMES DODD JR., Willits. Probation revocation.
COURTNEY DOEDING, DUI.
THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)
THOMAS JACOBS, Fort Bragg. Reckless evasion, evasive driving opposite traffic, child endangerment.
JAMES LANIK-SMITH, Temecula/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance for sale, transportation, addict driving a vehicle.
ALDEN LARVIE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JOEL LLAMAS-GARCIA, Ukiah. DUI.
JESUS MACIAS-SILVA, Ukiah Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ROBERT MCKEE, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SUSANNA PINTARD, San Rafael//Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RICKEY RADCLIFFE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
ARMANDO VALDIBIAS, Talmage. Domestic battery.
MARCOS VEGA-GARCIA, Ukiah. DUI.
GREÑAS (Part 2 of a continuing series)
by Del Potter
I arrived in El Paso for the first time on a morning flight in February, 1980. The weather was brilliantly sunny and unseasonably warm compared to San Francisco, where it was raining. Brian and his wife Leilani met us at the small airport in a perfectly restored pastel pink 1963 Cadillac convertible with the top down, revealing a white leather interior. As I climbed in the back seat, Leilani and Brian greeted us with that Texas accent that was at once subtle and charming. “Ya’ll are from California,” Leilani said excitedly, “We love California. We’re out every year to San Diego. Where ya’ll from?”
I told Leilani that I lived on the southern coast in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco where Cannabis was grown furtively. I explained that I had concealed a small sample illustrating the quality of the product grown there, eight ounces of a new genetic hybrid from Northern California, transported using new, odor resistant packaging techniques, in my luggage. I explained that Brian had asked me to save four ounces for our project, but that she was welcome to the rest. “Honey, we’ll smoke that in a week. Oh my God, we love California home grown here in Texas.”
After we had driven a short distance from the airport, I passed a pre-rolled joint I had packed separately to her and Brian from the back seat. The samples I brought were simply long clipped branches with huge tops that looked like small baseball bats. They looked impressive.
Leilani was a striking figure, a statuesque woman with long, waist length blonde hair and light blue eyes. On any day, at any time, she would be wearing at least a quarter million dollars’ worth of traditional and contemporary New Mexican or Native American styled jewelry, necklaces and belts, with precious stones, diamonds, turquoise, unique Rolex models not available to regular clientele, dripping with large diamonds, and, always, one of her Hermes Kelly bags. She always mispronounced Hermes, but no one corrected her. “I’ve got to have my Her-meees,” she would say. She combined these affluent accents simply with Wrangler jeans, silk blouses and exotically skinned cowboy boots. The accumulation of Leilani’s wearable art had the effect of an African queen from one of the groups that emphasized long necks piled with gold rings as the standard of beauty and a display of wealth. After taking a hit Leilani announced, “Honey, you and I are definitely new best friends.”
The Cadillac was equipped with a technologically advanced sound system and the Bobby Fuller Four ballad, “I Fought the Law and the Law Won,” played at top volume as we smoked and drove to Brian and Leilani’s home. It had just the right combination of country and rock and roll to frame my first trip to Texas. The Cadillac’s sound system was completely invisible. Apparently, Leilani had hidden an array of extremely small speakers in every vent and possible hiding place while still preserving the original white leather interior. Part of the trunk was devoted to a couple of large hidden amplifiers that drove the speakers to create an ambience effect like a concert hall.
Brian and Leilani’s home revealed an expansive inner courtyard when one walked in. Leilani had designed the interior to reflect her interest in the Santa Fe architectural style. The rooms had thick adobe walls with the spines of Saguaro cacti along the ceiling. Leilani excused herself and retired to let the men discuss their business.
After we sat down in the living room, Brian explained that we would be going to Juarez that afternoon to present our proposal to bring cultivation techniques that would improve their yields and quality to the major smuggling criminal organization on the border in Juarez. We would be meeting with “El Greñas,” Gilberto Ontiveros Lucero. Gilberto was fond of telling us that the nickname "El Greñas" was given to him by "an Indian who worked for me cultivating marijuana" in reference to his distinctive hairstyle. During his impoverished childhood, he sold popsicles, but he managed to finish high school and went to the United States, where he lived for several years and studied business administration. Brian described Greñas as a young up and coming cartel leader who presently controlled all of the smuggling traffic in the El Paso/Juarez corridor.
Conventional historical accounts of the early years of Juarez criminal organizations identified Amado Carrillo, as the leader and founder of the Juarez Cartel, but he had actually acquired his leadership position from Pablo Acosta Villarreal, the “Fox of Ojinaga (in Chihuahau)” who was killed during a raid by Mexican Federal Police in the small village of Santa Elena, Chihuahua on the Rio Grande. Villareal’s exploits were celebrated in the famous narco-corrido by Los Tigres Del Norte called “El Zorro de Ojinaga.” After that, Amado Carrillo “El Señor de los Cielos,” the “Lord of the Skies”, who acquired his nickname from the fleet of thirty Boeing 727 and Falcon jets he used to smuggle drugs, took full control of the Juarez organization. By removing passenger seats and baggage compartments in the fuselage, Carillo was able to outstrip his competitors who only used small private planes that carried 500 or at most 1000 pounds. Carillo used his modified planes to transport up to nine tons at a time. Brian explained, however, that it wasn’t Carillo but actually other drug traffickers who were principal founders of the Juarez Cannabis cartel in the 80s.
The actual founders of the Juarez Cartel were Rafael Aguilar Guallardo, Rafael Caro Quintero, Rafael Muñoz Talavera, and Gilberto Ontiveros, the latter who would later be considered "the first drug czar” of Ciudad Juarez. This largely ceremonial position was accorded to the individual who would deal directly with Gringo brokerages. It was occupied by an individual who was expendable if the US government leaned on Mexico. The individual occupying this position provided a shield that allowed both Mexican government officials and highly connected families who actually managed the drug trade to remain behind the curtain.
As his wealth and influence increased, "El Greñas" began to collect mansions, ranches, and luxury cars. He was always surrounded by bodyguards while traveling in his luxury Mercedes Benz limousine. Years later, in 1986, Greñas, who had a passion for horse racing, bet a million dollars on his horse to win. Greñas shrugged it off when he lost, but that’s another story. Strangely enough, the horse that beat his horse died mysteriously of a heart attack in the next race.
Greñas had the backing of the principals of the developing Sinoloa cartel, like Rafael Muñoz Talavera and his brother who were just beginning to construct the Colombian cocaine trade. Greñas handled Cannabis logistics for Rafael Caro Quintero, known as the originator of industrially produced, consistent quality, sin semilla (seedless) Cannabis in Michoacan. When Quintero’s Cannabis operation at Rancho Bufalo (Buffalo Ranch) was finally destroyed by the Mexican army, it contained 540 hectares of high grade Cannabis, a great deal of it Indica genetics from Northern California. The ranch was discovered by Enrique Camerena, the DEA agent who was subsequently killed by Quintero in retribution. The army netted approximately six thousand tons, worth billions, in the raid.
Greñas also worked with Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, “El Padrino”, the “Godfather” and former official of the Mexican Federal Security Directorate (DFS), who organized the Tapias, and other small organizations into the collective smuggling powerhouse that became the Guadalajara cartel. Gallardo was credited with creating a seamless drug highway from Colombia to Guadalajara to Juarez. He forged a relationship with Juan Matta-Ballesteros, who introduced him to Santiago Ocampo, his connection to the Cali cartel. As time went on, I was to form a close association to all of these progenitors, inviting them to dinner at my home in Tiburon and parties at the best restaurants in San Francisco and Beverly Hills.
Greñas was outspoken about the Cannabis that was cultivated under the direction of Quintero in Michoacan, and competed to represent the highest quality to his gringo brokers. Brian had told Greñas that he had a university professor who was an expert in both the genetics and cultivation of Cannabis whose guidance and products Greñas could use for his own or Quintero’s fields in Chihuahua. Greñas saw an opportunity to use Gringo inspired agriculture to distinguish his Cannabis production and show Quintero and Gallardo that he could produce a better crop than they could.
I got the samples from my luggage and met in the garage where I got into the back seat of Brian’s Mercedes. I put the two baseball bat sized branches, still in their packaging to prevent the odor from permeating the entire car, into a paper sack. I had just arrived in El Paso for the first time and we were already going to Mexico. I had some apprehension, but Brian had assured me that everything was safe and we enjoyed the cartel’s protection.
El Paso and Juarez share a metropolitan downtown separated by a bridge over the Rio Grande. In the middle of the bridge is a sign marking the border between the two countries. On the day we approached crossing to the Mexican side, there was a traffic jam of cars on both sides of the border. The line of cars entering Mexico was moving much more quickly, hardly stopping at the customs booth. I began to get nervous with the paper bag of Cannabis baseball bats sitting on my lap. As we approached, Brian turned around to the back seat. “I hope ya’ll have that hidden. They might inspect us.” It was later that I learned Brian was always joking. We were the next car in line and my palms were sweating. And then, miraculously, we sailed through without the Mexican customs agent even taking a look at us. Brian turned around and smiled. “You’re as safe as being in a pot field in Mendocino,“ he said laughing.
We drove for about an hour into the suburbs of Juarez and finally entered a private street with only three houses on it. We pulled up to the house in the center of the block. It appeared unusual because it had a two-story water tower on the lawn in front of it. I began to notice that everyone milling around seemed to have a specific job. The water tower was being guarded by large individuals in suits and ties wearing sunglasses and carrying AK-47s. We were approached by one of the guards who recognized Brian and used his radio to announce our arrival. We were escorted into the bottom story of the water tower where I saw more armed guards and a group of individuals sitting in a circle in chairs around the periphery. One of the guards protected the stairway while another indicated an empty chair for me. Everyone was waiting their turn to see Greñas and he was keeping them waiting at his pleasure.
I sat down next to a small older man with a dark complexion and dressed in the traditional style of Mayan campesinos, in a starched white shirt and white pants wearing a flat brimmed hat with beaded artifacts dangling from the brim. It was a iconic style with which I was familiar from my years of ethnographic fieldwork among the Mazatec and the Zapotec in central Mexico. It was a common belief that the ritual beads dangling on the brim of his hat would protect him from supernatural harm or avaricious competitors. I silently wondered why he thought he needed that protection.
I began an easy conversation in Spanish, but I could tell that his native language was Mayan, judging by his accent. He introduced himself as Don Pedro, master agronomist. I introduced myself and told him I was an anthropologist, a professor, and in the vernacular, a maestro or teacher. He nodded and told me that he was also a maestro. He said that he was in charge of all of Greñas’ cultivation projects, that he was the farmer of farmers, as he put it laughing, the Minister of Agriculture. He had been trained personally for his job by Rafael Quintero and that he managed all of the seeds and genetics Greñas used as well.
I looked at Don Pedro and thought to myself, I guess now is the time. I told him that I too had an interest in agronomy and that I studied the genetics of “marijuana.” In fact, I told him, I have something with me that you, Don Pedro, would be interested to see. I had used a razor blade to open the sealed odor barrier bags in the car and had been holding them shut to prevent the overpowering terpenes from filling the room. Now I opened them and with one swift move, pulled the two baseball bats of Cannabis out of the paper bag. The skunk smell was overwhelming. Everyone turned around to look. Don Pedro’s eyes got big and he stood up excited.
“Please, pardon me,” he said. He stood up. “If you don’t mind, I’ll just be a moment.” “May I?” he asked indicating the large Cannabis bud I was holding. I handed it to him. He turned abruptly and walked to the stairs. The men with sunglasses and AK-47s parted like Moses at the Red Sea and Don Pedro hurried past them. There was a brief commotion, a lot of walking overhead and then Don Pedro returned, gesturing for us to come upstairs. The guards with sunglasses and AKs were brushed aside and we were taken to the corporate offices of El Greñas.
Greñas was up and animated behind his huge antique desk. He was pacing, shuffling through bags, talking in staccato machine gun bursts. “Just a minute, you’ll see,” he said, “where are my pinchi [derisively small, inadequate] buds?” One of the guards tried to help him. “Where the fuck are my fucking buds?,” he yelled. He had a number of black garbage bags strewn around his desk and he was madly searching through them all for something. He opened one, reached in and stopped. He seemed momentarily satisfied. He pulled out a small Cannabis bud. “See”, he said, “See. My buds are every bit as good as your pinchi buds. See, look.” He held up his small thumb size bud and compared it to the baseball bats. “See, every bit as good as your pinchi buds.” As he held the flowers up for comparison, he hesitated but we remained silent. He seemed to come out of his drug induced fog and came to his senses. There was a fleeting moment when he suddenly became aware of the sexual connotation that his flower was small and inadequate compared to the one I brought.
In that moment, his mania ebbed enough for him to get some clarity. “Ok, let’s talk,” he said sitting down in his office chair. After he sat down, he took a few more verbal swipes at the pinchi buds, “Fucking pinchi buds. Big fucking deal, my buds are just as good, etc.”
As Greñas talked he began an elaborate ritual. He took a Marlboro out of a new cigarette pack, and rolled it so the contents fell out to produce a small pile of tobacco. He took a baggie out of his shirt pocket that appeared to contain cocaine base, its smokable form. He continued talking, making disparaging comments, while he combined the tobacco and the base powder. Then he carefully loaded the mixture back into the flaccid filter cigarette, tamped it in using a toothpick, and then sat back in his chair with his feet up and lit his newly constructed cigarette. Greñas would spend the rest of the meeting lighting cigarette after cigarette. How does he stay even moderately coherent?, I wondered.
Much calmer after his smoke, Greñas seemed to relent at this point. “Ok, my gringo friends, I want you to supervise my cultivation. I will offer you five percent of the entire load which you must split with your Texas partners. I will deliver the marijuana to your buyers in New York and California. I will handle all the transportation, all the cost of crossing the border. Just bring me those goddam pinchi semillas (seeds).”
Greñas stopped talking and looked at me intently for several seconds. “If you fuck me on this, I will cut your nuts off and feed them to you. I will control all of the seeds and cultivation knowledge that you bring. We will begin by using your knowledge to improve my fields in Chihuahua. Only then will we make this available to Rafael (Quintero). Brian has already explained to me how your plants are completely finished in two months. This will give us a tremendous advantage.”
“I want to show you where you will be growing,” Greñas said and he went to his file cabinet to pull out some Polaroid pictures. “Here,” he said and laid them out on the table. In the photographs, one could see vast fields of Cannabis, growing in a white, sandy soil, extending far beyond the limits of the foreground image. But the most unusual aspect was the appearance of Mexican army vehicles and soldiers in full dress uniforms in every picture. There were Mexican army soldiers guarding Greñas’ fields of Cannabis, Mexican half-tracks driving up dirt roads circumnavigating the fields, and Mexican army helicopters parked next to the growing weed. He noticed my surprise. “Yes,” he said, “we have the army under our control. We have the full protection of the Mexican government, the PRI. They will take down our competitors fields, but mine are always protected.”
Greñas discussed current transactions and loads with Brian, but there was certainly an increased sense of respect. Greñas knew that he was the one who had the fucking pinchi marijuana.
On the way out I chatted briefly with Don Pedro. “I assume we will be working together, my friend,” he said and bowed in my direction. “I look forward to that day with great pleasure.” I said and thanked him for his help. We were escorted from the compound by the guards who saw us all the way to the car.
I left the meeting feeling extremely satisfied. I would have all the money I would ever need and would have the opportunity to pick phenotypes from one of the largest cultivation projects in Mexico. Greñas would deliver to my buyers. He would handle crossing the border. I looked at Brian. We both knew we had it made. What could possibly go wrong?
To be continued…
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The thing that gets me is the blithe lack of awareness of what the ancestors of those people that come from Latin America accomplished, having built spectacular cities with pyramids and astronomic observatories and magnificent works of art.
If the alleged elites that run the show think that these humble campesinos will be happy to be lettuce pickers or chicken eviscerators until the end of time then they’re sadly mistaken. If they think that those darker hued fellas won’t keep their hands off their lily-white daughters and vice versa, then they’re wrong about that too.
What I’m getting at is elite displacement, something that isn’t remotely on their radar. If they had any reading of history they’d know their spot on top of the pyramid is pretty damn shaky. They look down on Hispanics and folk with amerindian blood. Bad idea.
You know how it is, those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud.
WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR
Truth to be Exposed at Mendocino Bookstore
by Mitch Clogg
The expression “framing a guilty man” comes to mind. We invaded Iraq in 2003 because, according to such towers of integrity as Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Don Rumsfeld and many, many others, liars and traitors all, because Saddam Hussein had nuclear (or “nucular”) weapons to blow us up with.
Surprise, surprise: he didn’t!
End of story, right?
He had an infant-formula factory. We blew that away. He had aluminum tubing for, they said, enriching uranium or something. Wrong. He had an underground communications hub in downtown Baghdad so he could plan our destruction with his henchmen. Wrong again. It was a bomb shelter. We dropped a bunker-buster on it. Oops. It was actually a bomb shelter, full of moms and kids who took shelter when our bombers came roaring overhead. Concrete and steel reinforcing rods are no match for bunker busters. We killed them all, all those moms and kids in their underground hiding place, every single one of them.
So. The world learned that we had been snookered. You could never trust Saddam. He didn’t have a single nuke in any way, shape or form, so, no WMDs, right?
Wrong! Again: WRONG!
Saddam did, indeed, have weapons of mass destruction. Inspection teams found, removed and destroyed almost all of them, but, by the time of our March 2003 invasion, they had overlooked one major stash. No one in the Bush administration knew it. Their outcries of WMDs were intended as deceptions, made to turn public opinion in favor of attacking Iraq. Little did they know — little did anybody know — the “false” charge of Saddam’s nukes was inadvertently true, but the WMDs were not nuclear weapons as claimed. They were poisonous gas of a kind known to only a few, supplied by us to Hussein and forgotten during the contentious runup to the second Gulf war.
“Midnight In Samarra,” written by Mendocino author and international bestseller Eleanor Cooney, in collaboration with its principal real-life character, Greg Ford, the man who snatched a U.S. shipping tag from one of the huge gas canisters hidden in Iraq that had a damning address of a giant, secretive U.S. firm, the truth about WMDs is revealed in print for the first time anywhere. Ford and Cooney will read and sign books at the Mendocino Hotel (hosted by Gallery Books) on December 5, starting at 6:30 pm, free to all!
An Iraqi colonel escorted Ford - an intelligence agent and medic — into an even deeper bunker at an air base not far from Baghdad. In a very deep, dark hole there was a bunch of very big bombs. They were still in crates. They contained the fixin’s to make VX gas, the deadliest mist ever imagined by the warped mind of man, made in Newport, Indiana from a German-invented formula. It was made for Saddam when we supported him in his stupid war with Iran, his next-door neighbor.
Like the blue-ribbon weapons makers and salesmen we are, we sold ordnance to both sides in that ocean of blood. When they tired of mutual slaughter, Saddam still had VX gas, but it was, again by his sometime ally, the U.S.,“reconfigured” — put in a different package, a different bomb, something more suitable for killing Kurds. (Everybody kills Kurds. They don’t have a true place of their own, so everybody treats them as trespassers. Also, they’re an ethnic class of one, not Arabs, not Persians or Turks, they’re just plain Kurds. They look more like us than most middle easterners, which makes it easy for their unwilling hosts to spot them, and they are not just Muslims, they come in all faiths.)
So we gave Saddam this VX gas in bombs made in Indiana. We didn’t give him nuclear weapons. (In fact, we didn’t “give” him anything. It was all cash on the barrel head, literally. (Iraq had — and has — millions of barrels of oil under its sand. The location of “the world’s biggest” untapped oil reserves keeps changing according to who’s talking. Big Oil has been industrial civilization’s biggest outlaw since it began in Pennsylvania in 1859. With treasures as great as all outdoors, its banditry goes mostly unchecked. Iraq has long been in contention for the “biggest” title, and it was the biggest actual motivator for the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. It’s all in “Samarra,” and the eyes-on expert will be there to tell you about it come Thursday evening at 6:30, at the Mendocino Hotel, free!
TRAISH LARUE VS. EL SANTO! AT THE PALINDROME ON THORGELLEN!
"Does it have to be human? … Does it have to be fresh? … Where'm I s'posed ta GET it?” —-Seymour Krelborn.
The recording of Friday night's Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0361
It was a circus last night. Hank Sims and Jenny came in. That's the Hank Sims of Lost Coast Outpost, providing real, old-fashioned small-town journalism but on the web. Al Nunez (say NOON-yez) came and reluctantly accepted the money help everybody gave this week to get him over this rough patch, and he was persuaded to sit down and talk for a little while, and if you've been following his saga on the MCN listserv I'm sure you'll be glad to hear it from his own mouth here. Kay Rudin called a couple of times to talk about the Big Band event coming to Lauren's in Boonvile next Saturday night, and I only hung up on her once. Alex Bosworth called from Arkansas, as promised, to give the skinny, the lowdown, the poop, etc., on Thorgellen, the ancient pagan festival of blood and fire in honor of Thor, which Memo of the Air celebrates every year and has done since 1997, including the Airing of Grievances and the solemn playing of William S. Burroughs' A Thanksgiving Prayer, hands and knees and heads bowed down. Thomas showed up to explain the financial term derivatives in a way even I could understand. Blues legend Lucky Otis called from Los Angeles. And people who didn't even want to be on the air kept coming in and going out. I didn't really get to start reading the material I brought to read until way after midnight. I have work tonight, so I’m not going into any detail here but, let’s see… If you want to hear the part where Al Nunez is there, you can skip directly to about an hour and eight minutes in. Oh, and Thomas heard me say something about a hamburger, so, just like about three years ago, he came back later with a hand-cooked cheeseburger on toast, with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a thick slice of onion in it. Oh, my god. Perfect. There's your Thorgellen feast, right there.
Besides all that, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
'Scuse me while I kiss this guy. Bow-bow-bow ba-da BWARR, ba-da BWARR. https://laughingsquid.com/ramones-i-wanna-be-sedated-on-dulcimer/
And a man with a really good video camera in his hat, with great stereo sound, just wanders around Osaka for an hour in the middle of the night, and it seems like a really night place. Very different from the anime shows I’ve seen where rocket-powered motorcyclists have sword fights and battle terrifying ghost bears from the other world. Nothing like that at all in real life. Use your good headphones.
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com