Off the Record (December 11, 2019)

THE DAILY TRUMP DELUGE is hard to keep up with, but a coupla weeks ago Trump threatened to round up LA's and Frisco's homeless and place them in government properties, especially the LA homeless who Trump thinks have reached an intolerable critical mass. Team Trump apparently has a plan ready to go but wants to replace the boss at HUD first because he "is not willing to compromise his principles and follow the Trump administration's lead on homelessness policy."

EARLIER this year, Team Trump visited LA and San Francisco, emerging from their tour of LA's Skid Row to announce, "While some governors and mayors have helped create this situation only to ignore it, President Trump is not going to sit idly by."

THE WASHINGTON POST reported in September that administration officials have considered razing tent camps for the homeless, creating temporary facilities, and refurbishing government properties as part of an overall compulsory push to re-locate the homeless in blitzkrieg fashion onto sites like an abandoned FAA facility in LA.

IF THE ORANGE BLUSTERER moves on the homeless it won't be surprising given the level of public frustration driven by the true perception that homelessness is on the rise, especially in LA and SF where the figures on the unsheltered are put at 44,000 for LA, around 8,000 for San Francisco.

HERE IN MENDO COUNTY, the Marbut Report put the total number of homeless at about 300, a figure well below that of Mendo's helping pros whose self-interested and highly inflated count put the number of our homeless at around 1200. The higher the number, the greater the state and federal reimbursements to the local pros.

MARBUT'S recommendation, paid for by the County to the tune of $50,000 boiled down to this: focus on our homegrown homeless, kick the professional bums down the road. Well! This bit of expensive advice did not go over well with the helping pros. They quickly convened a meeting at the City of Ukiah's ghostly, cave-like community center in numbers greater than the actual homeless themselves to denounce Marbut's strategy as "cruel," even "heartless." And the Marbut Report was shelved, and a year later it's as if the guy and his sensible recommendations never existed, but he cashed a nice check for about a month's work.

CONTRARY to the wildly inflated homeless count enumerated by the paid local pros, Marbut put the true number of in-County homeless at about 350, of them X number career transients clustered at handout centers in Ukiah and Fort Bragg and another X number hopelessly addicted to drugs, alcohol or mentally ill further befuddled by drugs and alcohol.

THERE were only a dozen homeless in Willits; about a hundred in Fort Bragg; and not quite 200 roaming the greater Ukiah Valley, with none at all reported between Mendocino and Gualala.

LOCALLY, then, homelessness should not be beyond the abilities of our elected officials to solve.

BTW: When Marbut presented and summarized his report to the Board of Supervisors in April of 2018 they voted unanimously to endorse Marbut’s recommended actions. Assistant Health and Human Services Director Anne Molgaard agreed with Marbut that Mendocino County only had about 300 homeless people [many of whom were passing through and not local] and that’s a much more serviceable number than in other areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles or even in Santa Rosa. “This is something we may be able to get a handle on,” Molgaard said, adding that the county had already “started” to implement some of Marbut’s recommendations, “with a high potential for consensus among county leadership on how to move forward.”

GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? That’s right: Nothing. Marbut’s recommendations were promptly ignored, and the Supes, despite their unanimous endorsement, never brought the $50k Marbut report up again.

GINA BEAN of Fort Bragg, wanted for the hit and run death of young Calum Hunnicutt, of Mendocino, turned herself in to the County Jail last Monday afternoon and was soon released on bail of $50,000

PAUL ANDERSEN commenting on the recent death on the streets of Charles Hensley: “It’s tragic, and shows how completely ill-equipped Mendocino county is in dealing with mental health and substance abuse services, despite receiving millions and millions of dollars from the state. Measure B which was supposed to help resolve these issues when it was passed two years ago, hasn’t done anything. Pathetic.”

LISTENING to the impeachment hearings off and on last week… Well, if anyone can make Republicans look smart and on-task it's the Democrat impeachers. We're deep into overkill here. Yes, obviously Trump tried to trade Americano armaments to the Ukrainians for dirt on Joe Biden, a dumb thing to do out front since Biden's sportin' life son, sitting on a Ukrainian power company board already had revealed the marauding Biden family as the sleazeballs they are known to be. As if the hours of repetition of this one fact has not made the point, we get a gaggle of lawyers in to also testify that Trump committed an impeachable offense to take to the Senate where impeachment is already a dead letter. As the first lawyer came on — from Harvard, natch, that presumed last word in rectitude — you could hear television sets and radios snapping off all over the country. But for the masochistic few who'd stayed to listen, we got three hours of tiresome lectures on the meaning of 18th century language as written in the Constitution by the founding aristos, who would have hanged everyone in the room if they sat in for five minutes of this posturing nonsense. If the point of these impeachment hearings is to so discredit Trump that a Democrat can beat him in the next election, it's not working, at least from the Boonville perspective, and speaking as probably the only person who heard or saw a lot of it today. First off, and I know this is superficial but we live in superficial times, none of these people present, uh, what might be called fetching visuals. And when they talk they look and sound like… Well, more evidence that we're doomed. PS. ABC Television hauled out David Muir, of all people, to "analyze" today's hearings. I guess we can expect Scott Simon tomorrow. PPS. The Stanford lawyer got all fake-huffy to say she'd spent the long Thanksgiving weekend prepping before her big day before the impeachers, studying so hard she has "like a turkey leg that came in the mail." Such sacrifice! Such austerity!

A READER COMMENTS: “Re: Edmund Wilson. I picked up To the Finland Station on your recommendation. Thank you very much. Am 125 pages in and the book is amazing. Why did I never learn anything about Michelet or Gracchus LeBabeuf in school? Was Lenin as unpleasant as Wilson claims? Probably so, but I still value him. Too bad Wilson is dead. It would have been worth a couple of hundred dollars to take the SOB to the old Russian Tea Room and buy him dinner for the pleasure of listening to him for a few hours.’ 

MEANWHILE, on the race front, the San Francisco 49ers suspended radio color commentator Tim Ryan last week for a dumb comment Ryan made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ryan said Jackson's "dark skin color" and his "dark football and a dark uniform" made it hard for the 49ers defense to figure out the dude's play calling. The professionally offended immediately denounced Ryan as if the old jock was a night-riding member of the Klan. Fortunately for Ryan, black athletes who know him, including Niner defensive back, Richard Sherman, said he wasn't offended by Ryan's gaffe while conceding it was a stupid observation, and went on to say he knows Ryan and knows he's not a racist. Sherman added that he, too, had trouble picking up the ball in the rainy gloom of that game.

THE VICCHIONE CASE: Following the District Attorney’s review of the investigation reports submitted by the Fort Bragg Police Department relating to the theater robbery in Fort Bragg, the case was returned to police for follow up. Thus, according to the DA’s office, “Mr. Vicchione has not been cleared of the robbery; rather, he remains a person of interest in an on-going Fort Bragg police investigation….. During the course of the original robbery investigation it was uncovered that Mr. Vicchione, a parolee working as a maintenance employee at the Heritage House – had been involved in an ongoing stealing of personal property belonging to the Heritage House and converting for his own use and/or selling same at his Fort Bragg residence.”

YOU READ it here first. Or maybe second. Or third, but Scott Warnock is poised to retire as Willits Police Chief. Warnock has been under fire since the Jones' affair, the hiring of whom has been denounced by DA Eyster as an impeachable officer. The entire affair can be found on the ava’s website.

2ND DISTRICT SUPE'S CANDIDATE, Joel Soinila "was very impressive" at an informal meeting of Ukiah voters the other night. "Descended from the Finnish folk who colonized Redwood Valley, a farmer, an ag guy, owns guns and is part of the Elizabeth Warren progressive arm for a socialist future or whatever the hell they/she wants. But the guy’s got lots of insights into the county power structure and where the money is going, especially with homeless funding and grants. I’m with him." 

UKIAH mayor Maureen 'Mo' Mulheren has also declared, and former mayor Mari Rodin is making noises that she, too, may enter the 2nd District contest. Seems from here — Boonville— that anybody who has held elective office in Ukiah over the past forty years has a lot of explaining to do about the current state of our county seat. A guy named Green is also in the mix for Carre Brown’s seat, but doesn't seem quite ready for political prime time, even here in Lilliput.

GROOMING TIP, assuming male toe nails fall within the embrace of appearances, but have I got a tip for you boys with thick nails, toe or finger. Paw Perfect! Ordinarily intended for anthromorphs to take the scratch out of dog and cat nails, this nifty little gizmo is, as I have discovered, just the thing for sanding down rather than cutting one's toenails, especially thick ones that defy toenail clippers and the other more hazardous clippers which, for me, always seem to also, and painfully, bite off too much cuticle. Paw Perfect, however, simply and painlessly sands those defiant babies down. Fast, too. $14.99 at WalMart.

I'VE BEEN BOMBARDED over the last week with salacious invitations from women the age of my great granddaughters, if I had great granddaughters. "Naked and willing, Sandra sends you a private selfie. … Tammy checked you out and wants you badly." This kind of thing. Tammy certainly couldn't have checked me out too carefully unless she has some very weird geriatric fetish. Then I got this one: "Naked and willing Boonville housewife wants to meet you." Hmmm. Who could that be? But why this sudden deluge? I'm not a porn guy. In fact, as I've said here several times, I think pornography should be banned as bad for public morale, but that horse left the barn years ago, along with the whole herd of global pathologies unleashed by the internet. But the oddest, most startling flooze-o invite came via Facebook. It juxtaposed a photo of a comely young woman in her underwear with, of all persons, Charley Hochberg, the talented landscape photographer who lives in Philo! These were separate photos mind you because Charley is a respectable person inadvertently placed next door to the flooze by cyber-vandals. I thought it was funny, but Charley might be less amused.

ON THE SUBJECT of cyber-destructiveness, there's a truly startling piece in the current issue of LRB called "How to Buy Drugs" by Misha Glenny and Callum Lang, the gist of which is that anything the depraved or stoner heart might desire is available via the "dark web," non-sanctioned sites from which any drug you ever heard of is available for sale, along with guns, assassins, and human beings. Already in Western Europe and the United States, at least the eastern areas of the United States, there are highly sophisticated hard drug distribution networks offering home delivery! The cyber-organizers of these networks have mostly overpowered police efforts to bring them down because of limited police computer expertise. The experts, being limited in number, can make a lot more money in private employment, and they can make millions through the criminal drug networks working the dark web. Although some major networks have been busted, as soon as they are three more pop up in replacement. I have to wonder if Mendo dopers are into acquisition through the dark web, because if they are there's no stopping them, not that there's any stopping them as it is.

COMMENTING RECENTLY on the Fifth District facebook page, Supervisor Ted Williams wrote: “Reallocating the bed tax for emergency services on the coast would mean cuts in county services. I’m more concerned about representing the county as a whole. We all drive through areas away from our homes and we should be looking out for all county residents. Further, our coast ambulances have been requested to respond over the hill. We need a county wide solution. What are we willing to give up in exchange for solid ambulance service?”

JULIE BEARDLSEY AGREED: "I’m not sure what you could cut without seriously affecting services. There are General Fund positions and non-General fund positions that are funded by State and Federal dollars. It’s general fund positions that are at risk.[CEO] Carmel [Angelo] suggests closing the juvenile hall and saving a million dollars a year."

MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIED: "There would be no need to cut any county services to re-allocate some of the Bed Tax Money. Reallocate some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on the Promotional Alliance. If they were effective there would be an increase in bed tax revenues over sales tax revenue rates for the same period. And there is no incremental improvement. Of course that would require some political courage by the Supes because they are afraid to say boo to the Wine-Tourism Brigades. Obviously, tourists are a significant demand on Ambulance Services so it makes sense too."

FIFTH DISTRICT PAGE HOST Kathy Wylie added: "I tend to agree that looking at promotional alliance funds should be on the table if it preserves mandated and life-saving services."

CORRECTING THE RECORD, Kathy Brigham writes:

“Thanks for mentioning the article on Judge Held which appears in the most recent Mendocino County Historical Journal. I am writing to point out an error on your part and confess to one (or more) of my own. The bearded fellow shown in Off The Record is not William Held but, rather, his father Wilhelm, who died in 1904 as described in the article. (I tried to scan and email you a photo of the young Held but found myself overcome with "old and in the way" syndrome.) The woman pictured is, in fact, the lovely Ethel Poage Held. My own possible errors have to do with the list of Held's achievements in the Assembly. I should first mention that the bills were described (correctly) in the article as having been "sponsored or supported" by Held. He was good but not that good. This list comes from secondary sources at best and I suspect they are over-simplified. For example, I've now learned that the Penal Code in California was enacted in 1872 (borrowing from the New York Penal Code) not in the early twentieth century. So I assume this referred to substantial amendments. Nevertheless, I'd say it's not too shabby a record for a dude in his twenties. And an interesting life he certainly had. One element that is particularly striking is how progressive Held's Republican Party was in comparison to the Democrats of those years. Which only confirms dear old Dad's comment: ‘It's all fixed. Don't trust any of them.’” 

"ENJOYED," if that's the word, a 2014 HBO documentary on the Nixon Tapes recently re-aired on CNN. In the louche circles I've always traveled in it was simply assumed that Nixon was first evil then, as reports leaked from the White House after his re-election, nuts *and* evil, careening drunk and on tranqs talking to pictures of presidents past. Nixon's inner circle — consensus opinion — would have been at home in any of the World War Two fascist governments, as would the collection of crackpots and incompetents comprising the Trump Gang.

BUT as a kid I knew lots of Nixons. That whole generation of the 1940s and 50s was teeming with them. A lot of them even looked like Nixon with their weirdly pomaded haircuts and ill-fitting suits. Nixon seemed like a departure because he couldn't seem to contain his self-pity, whining publicly how the media relentlessly pilloried him, him the man who shook hands with Chairman Mao and founded the EPA. Most bigots at the Nixon level don't tape their private remarks. Nixon did.

THERE aren't many surprises in the Nixon Tapes, but there were a couple of episodes that surprised me, the first one slam-dunk seditious, that one a character called Robert Newbrand planted in the Secret Service by the Nixon Gang. Nixon told Haldeman that he wanted to "catch Teddy Kennedy in the sack with one of his babes," probably for the dual purpose of his own titillation and to derail Kennedy from becoming a serious presidential candidate.

IN A TRANSCRIBED TAPE of a September 8, 1972 among Nixon and his aides Bob Haldeman and Alexander Butterfield, Nixon asks whether Secret Service chief James Rowley would appoint Newbrand to head Kennedy’s detail:

Haldeman: “He's to assign Newbrand.”

President Nixon: “Does he understand that he's to do that?”

Butterfield: “He's effectively already done it. And we have a full force assigned, 40 men.”

Haldeman: “I told them to put a big detail on him (unclear).”

President Nixon: “A big detail is correct. One that can cover him around the clock, every place he goes.” (Laughter obscures mixed voices.)

President Nixon: “Right. No, that's really true. He has got to have the same coverage that we give the others, because we're concerned about security and we will not assume the responsibility unless we're with him all the time.”

Haldeman: “And Amanda Burden (one of Kennedy’s alleged girlfriends) can't be trusted. (Unclear.) You never know what she might do. (Unclear.)”

Haldeman then assures the President that Newbrand “will do anything that I tell him to … He really will. And he has come to me twice and absolutely, sincerely said, ‘With what you've done for me and what the President's done for me, I just want you to know, if you want someone killed, if you want anything else done, any way, any direction’…"

President Nixon: “The thing that I (unclear) is this: We just might get lucky and catch this son-of-a-bitch and ruin him for '76.”

Haldeman: “That's right."

THE FILM from CNN includes a wonderful interlude featuring, of all things, the Ray Conniff Singers in a special White House concert when, just after the cornball group is introduced, a thrillingly brave woman, one of the singers we later discovered was named Carole Feraci, suddenly steps forward and announces to the audience, which includes everyone from “The First Family” to the "Christian" bomb blesser Billy Graham, and said: “Mr. President, stop the bombing of human beings, animals and vegetation. You go to church on Sunday and pray to Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ were in this room tonight, you would not dare to drop another bomb. Bless the Berrigans and Daniel Ellsberg,” Addesso added, referring to two Catholic priests then in jail for destroying draft records and the whistle-blower who leaked the Pentagon Papers, the Edward Snowden of his day. “I looked at him the whole time. Nixon was sitting there with a frozen smile, and he never bloody moved a muscle…. I was very calm throughout,” Addesso says. “I knew what I wanted to say, and nothing was going to stop me. I would do whatever I could to stop the war.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

 [1] It’s so true that the holidays tend to make a lot of people feel blue. It seems as if they are less about the special moments and times of thankfulness, appreciation, and generosity, and much heavier on gross spectacles of gluttony and envy. A lot of people are still paying off last years’ gifts and now there are commercials out the wazoo for every last little thing that one has to have to achieve happiness (lol) for this special season. Until new stuff comes out next year of course. Our society is wasteful and gluttonous and our government is wasteful and gluttonous as well. Wasting our precious time and resources carrying on illegitimate efforts to disenfranchise us, the losers of their hunger games no less, so we never have a vote again. Hopefully the ominous turn this season takes will spell in end for these parasitic influences in society and culture and Uni-Party DC.

[2] It is too late for Sanders. He sold his soul and the souls of his supporters to the DNC and to the totally corrupted Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

In order to run as a Democrat he has already made his dirty deal to support the nominee regardless of who it might be, including Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, in the end, has no guts to stand by the courage of his convictions. He is just another politician like all the others who “go along to get along.”

[3] I appreciate your concern for quality writing; I am often disgusted by the illiteracy that pervades our society — especially among professionals who ought to know better. The increasing dependence on spell-check and auto-correct software only makes it worse. This brings to mind the following statement which I suspect you will appreciate:

“Dew knot trussed yore spell chequer two fined awl yore mistakes.”

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