Press "Enter" to skip to content

MCT: Monday, January 13, 2020

* * *

WIDESPREAD SHOWER ACTIVITY resumes this afternoon and will persist through roughly Tuesday afternoon, bringing light to locally moderate rain and high elevation snow. A stronger storm on Wednesday will bring heavy rain, heavy mountain snow and potentially small hail to the coast through Friday, with lower snow levels and travel impacts expected. (NWS)

* * *


by Bruce McEwen

Travis Strickland robbed a string of banks from Ukiah to Santa Rosa until he was finally apprehended after robbing the Chase Bank in Cloverdale on December 4th 2018. Mr. Strickland was arrested by Cloverdale police officers only a half-block from the bank on South Cloverdale Boulevard while Strickland was in his black Mercedes in what was described as a “high-risk” traffic stop.


Mr. Strickland was sentenced last Friday after a plea of no contest for robbing the Chase Bank of Ukiah on a stipulated agreement between his lawyer Anthony Adams of the Office of the Public Defender and Deputy DA Scott McMenomey.

Judge Carly Dolan sentenced Strickland to the base term of three years on count one; count two, two years imposed and stayed; count three, one year consecutive; count four, eight months imposed and stayed; count five, one year consecutive; count six, eight months imposed and stayed; count seven, six months; count eight, eight months: for a total of five years and six months.

For the Mendocino County case, one year consecutive was added to the Sonoma cases, for six years and six months total.

As this was considered a violent crime Strickland will have to serve 85% of the term in custody. Strickland stipulated to restitution of: $2690 to the Exchange Bank of Santa Rosa; $1000 to the Chase Bank in Cloverdale; and $805 to the Chase Bank of Healdsburg. A fine of $10,000 was imposed, along with $300 for the victim’s restitution fund, and another $300 if he violates his parole or probation when released. He will have to pay $320 in court costs and $240 in conviction assessments. He got credit for time served of 403 days actual and 60 days at 15 percent for a total of 463 days served.

(Previously/Dec. 12, 2018) TRAVIS R. STRICKLAND, 37, of Ukiah was caught leaving a Cloverdale bank robbery a few days ago. He is also a prime suspect in last summer’s robbery of the Chase Bank on South State Street in Ukiah. Mendocino DA David Eyster, however, says he has yet to be apprised of a plan to prosecute Travis Strickland in Mendocino County, but expects to be notified by Monday. Your trusty correspondent knows Travis pretty well, because he used to tend the bar at Ukiah’s downtown Saucy Restaurant – now called Cultivo. So I knew Travis pretty well, I say, but not enough to avoid being shocked to find he was moonlighting as a bank robber. (Bruce McEwen)


Dec. 6, 2018 — On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Cloverdale Police Department responded to a bank alarm at the Exchange Bank on S. Cloverdale Boulevard. After the suspect left the bank, CPD officers located his car on the 200 block of S. Cloverdale Boulevard, and eventually apprehended Travis Strickland. Strickland, 37, is linked to the Nov. 16 robbery of the Cloverdale Chase Bank, as well as four other robberies.

Strickland entered the bank and passed a note demanding money, disguising his appearance with a wig and a hat. After the suspect left the bank, Cloverdale officers located a black Mercedes driven by the suspect and conducted a high-risk traffic stop.”

Strickland, a resident of Ukiah, was transported to the Sonoma County Jail and booked for attempted robbery, robbery, burglary and an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor out of Mendocino County. More charges are pending.

Cloverdale officers worked with a joint task force which included the Ukiah Police Department, the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Healdsburg Police Department.

A man matching the description of the bank robber has robbed banks in the jurisdiction areas of all task force departments. Most recently, a Chase Bank in Healdsburg was robbed on Nov. 29.

* * *


(photo by Dick Whetstone)

* * *

THE BITTER IRONY in the murder of 77-year-old Jim Cummings in August of 1997 (apart from the irony of being murdered at an advanced age) is that Cummings had been quite kind to both the accused killer and the accused killer’s family over a period of many years. Cummings, ruthless in his business dealings, had a soft spot for derelicts and the miscellaneous walking wounded, many of whom found shelter in Cummings’ Cannery Row-like complex at Noyo Harbor. Cummings’ assassin, William Alton Vargas, Jr. then 45, had been employed by Cummings to do odd jobs around Noyo in exchange for rent and walking around money. Twenty-three years later Vargas is still incarcerated at Napa State Hospital where he is supposedly being restored to sanity, or enough sanity to stand trial for Cummings' murder.

PERSONAL NOTE: Having corresponded with Vargas for many years, he's the only crazy person among my epistolary acquaintances who writes well, so well it makes me wonder, How nuts can this guy be? People writing from the bin are typically incoherent, in my experience anyway. Vargas was deep into methamphetamine when he shot Cummings, meaning he was in a state of altered consciousness that often doesn't carry over into life without the drug, at least that seems to be the case with the small army of post-tweek Mendo meth heads who've regained themselves after years on the white powders.

IN HIS LETTERS to Boonville, Vargas has mentioned another Mendo guy, Joe Mannix, who is held in the same unit as Vargas. Joe grew up in Boonville. I knew him as a kid, remember how much he enjoyed playing basketball. But he got into marijuana at an early age and, as so often happens, it seems to have triggered adult schizophrenia in Joe, and he became dangerously unhinged, once stealing a small plane from SF International and steering it into nearby San Bruno Mountain. (Joe learned to fly in the flight class then offered at Boonville High School.) Another time he miraculously landed a Cessna on a cliff outcropping on the east side of the Anderson Valley almost directly opposite central Boonville, the marooned plane a sight we all marveled at for weeks. Joe also threatened to do a kamikazi into the high school gym when it was full of people. And then he was shut away, apparently forever. Vargas wrote that they keep Joe in a drugged stupor at Napa, and you have to wonder if the chemical healers make any real effort to bring Joe back.

DEVELOPERS have coveted Noyo Harbor for years, envisioning a tourist trap similar, albeit on a smaller scale, to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. With Cummings gone, and his tangled affairs involved in a lengthy probate, the wolves circled but soon roosted, and broadly considered the Harbor looks pretty much as it did when Cummings dominated it. He owned property up and down the Coast valued, some say, at perhaps as much as $25 to $50 million but, when all was settled, came in at about $10 million. In addition to his extremely valuable holdings at Noyo, Cummings owned most of Chapman Point overlooking the Mendocino Headlands, not to mention other parcels up and down the Coast. Some of the properties are under his given name of Boyle, some under Cummings, the name of his stepfather. Bob Peterson, the Fort Bragg attorney, was executor of the Cummings estate. A baby Brinks — an armored SUV-like vehicle — was needed to haul off Cummings' cash, gold coins, and various antiques from his modest, elevated (for high waters) home. A pair of accountants tabulated the treasure.

CUMMINGS was married several times, his last connubial contract being to a Brazilian immigrant he’d hired to assist him recuperate after an automobile accident near Yorkville. His wife was not with him on his last night; she lived at another address. Cummings has two teenage children from his marriage to a much younger Fort Bragg woman, Aura Johansen, a scandal of sorts at the time because Ms. Johansen was a teenager when Cummings took up with her.

MS. JOHANSEN and the two Cummings heirs made the national news a few years after Cummings death when mom, a recovering drug addict, was falsely arrested by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and charged with possession of black tar heroin. The black tar heroin turned out to be a batch of popcorn balls mom was making, prompting unkind community speculation about the abilities of police officers to distinguish dope from a jam sandwich. Ms. Johansen had been videotaped by her son allegedly in the act of doing drugs. The son went to the police with the claim that his surveillance showed that Mom was supplying drugs to her young daughter, all of which turned out to be untrue but provided much grist for the national talk show moralists for about a week.

THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT, by the way, described Cummings’ accused killer as being “highly educated” because, in a stormy court case with his former wife, Vargas had deployed the word “uxorious,” to describe himself, presumably. The defendant is highly educated for sure given the quality of his correspondence, but probably not in the formal college sense, whatever "educated" means anymore, college or no college.

VARGAS has admitted that he went to Cummings home at Noyo shortly after midnight on a Wednesday of August 1997 where he tossed a small bomb up on Cummings deck to lure the old man outside, then shot Cummings when Cummings appeared on his porch with a pistol. Vargas’ usufructuary plan seems to have worked in that he shot Cummings before Cummings could shoot him, dispatching Cummings with an odd handgun outfitted with a can't miss night scope.

FOLLOWING his father's death, Jim Jr., at the time only 17, soon alleged that his father's trust was being looted by its trustees. Junior spent several unhappy years in litigation with the managers of his late father’s bequest, finally settling with them and moving first to Texas with his wife, the former Amber Brown, also of Fort Bragg, and then to Bangor, Maine. (Cummings' trust managers hired past and present girl friends to perform nebulous to non-existent tasks, enjoyed expensive meals on the trust's tab and so on. Junior wasn't particularly wrong about that.)

IN 2009, Cummings Jr., 29, was shot to death by Amber, then 31, in the couple's home in Bangor, Maine; the couple's 9-year-old home-schooled daughter was present. Police attributed the shooting to "domestic violence," implying that Mrs. Cummings was defending herself when she shot her husband. She was described by neighbors and acquaintances as a "quiet" and "very pleasant lady." Jim Jr. was described as "a fat, loud mouth with a Napoleon complex."

CUMMINGS JR. had earlier come to national attention when he was arrested in Bangor for possessing bomb-making materials, and threatening to blow up President Obama's inauguration.

THE BANGOR DAILY NEWS, in an account by Walter Griffin, says that Cummings bullied Amber, that she "cowered" in his presence. “It didn’t shock me at all when I heard about it,” said Mike Robbins, who spent a month painting and roofing the Cummings home last summer. “He was a very angry person and was verbally abusive to his wife all the time.” Robbins described Cummings as a heavyset man who liked to walk around his house wearing a cowboy hat and an ankle-length black leather coat. He said Cummings would often sit outside on a lawn chair and watch him work and make disparaging comments. He said Cummings had a mean streak and was particularly abusive toward his wife. Robbins said Cummings also spoke about how he “really liked the Nazis” and claimed to have a large collection of Nazi memorabilia, including pieces of Hitler’s silverware and place settings.

Jim Cummings Jr.

ANOTHER CONTRACTOR who worked on the Cummings' Maine house had similar recollections. The man declined to be identified because he was preparing legal action against Cummings’ estate because of unpaid work. He said he and Cummings disagreed about the work he performed and that he decided to walk away without getting paid because of Cummings’ explosive personality. “Normally I’d go after payment, but in this case I walked away. He was absolutely the worst customer I ever had,” the unnamed man said. “I just perceived that the guy was dangerous and capable of real violence. I was afraid of the guy. He talked all the time about guns, one of those guys that would let you know he had guns.” He added that “this guy was a huge fan of Adolf Hitler; he had silverware and dinner sets Hitler used.” He described Cummings as “verbally abusive to his wife and just about everybody."

AMBER CUMMINGS plead guilty in 2010 to manslaughter for shooting Cummings Jr. and received an eight-year suspended sentence. The legal proceedings revealed that Amber and her now 10-year-old daughter, Claira, had been subjected to years of emotional and physical violence at the hands of James Cummings Jr. [Her story: No Way Out: The True Story of Amber Cummings]

VARGAS wrote the following letter to the AVA in December of 2001



I just returned to Ukiah from Napa State Hospital for a court hearing and this young man in the jail, Tai Abreu, who grew up in Noyo Harbor, shows me this story titled “Sgt. John Naulty the ideal street sergeant,” by Neil Boyle, which contained two paragraphs regarding Sgt. Naulty’s role in the July 1997 death of Jim Cummings.

There was mention of officer Naulty having a “sixth sense.” First of all, a deputy sheriff arrived at Mr. Cummings’ residence minutes after the attack who testified at the preliminary hearing as to Mr. Cummings’ possessing a loaded .38-caliber revolver. My point being it’s doubtful Officer Naulty was the first to respond.

Second, the fuse found on the front seat of my car was not left there by me, to my knowledge, nor was the cotton for bomb making found in my trunk later at the Sheriff’s station by Sheriff’s Detective Jay Miller put there by me. But I agree how officer Naulty deserved credit for this.

Third, I was never hiding under the fuel dock watching them (the police) and I never dumped the gun in the river. I understand how Officer Naulty was, or could be, misinformed, but to assume I came out because he and his men made a scene about leaving is half-logical and false. The fact is that I was near the south end of the piers and, having decided to wait until daylight to emerge, fell asleep. At my trailer, I let Detective Miller inside to look, then agreed to drive up to the station with him, where I was detained and agreed to be questioned by him.

Fourth, and for what it’s worth, I was never arrested by Sgt. Naulty. That can be checked in police records. My question and concern is why did such a good cop claim something which isn’t true? Or was it simply an exaggeration or honest mistake? I’m the one with the certified mental illness and delusional beliefs, after all.

William Vargas


* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS: Gloomy grey day here in Boonville, but there's always a song in my heart for youuuuuuuu, dear reader, and all it takes is a chuck under the chin, a pat on the head, and no cats in my viewshed. Go, Niners!

(The boss told me he saw a dwarf Saturday morning togged out in a Niner's jersey — number 97, Nick Bosa — and knew the Niners would beat the Vikings that afternoon. I'm not an omens kinda dog myself, but that one seemed to work for the old coot.)

* * *

CHRONICLE LOOKS BACK AT OFF-BOOKS TICKET PRICES in 1982. (Compared to as much as $23,000 in 2020.)

* * *


Below is a link to a calendar of events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. Plenty to keep you busy! Note: We try to maintain this calendar as events change, especially AV Village events. Other events listed here are subject to change without notice so contact the particular organization/ venue for the latest information. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us: Anica Williams 707-684-9829

* * *


Sketch by inmate Jeff Harnden, Jan. 3, 2020

* * *

JANET PAULI TO SPEAK on the Potter Valley Project on Tuesday, Jan. 21

Janet Pauli will explain the components, history, and current challenges of The Potter Valley Project, a diversion of water from the Eel River to the Russian River through a tunnel in the mountains at the northern end of Potter Valley.

* * *


To the Editor:

Dear Sheriff Kendall,

Welcome to your new job and a new type of controversy! I think that with the new law enforcement transparency laws, your agency will be under more scrutiny from the public who read news reports of the misdeeds or errors of law enforcement personnel.

I’m one of the readers of such reports, including the most recent one (and how much of a backlog is there?) in the recent article about the demotion of a Corrections Sergeant. I discussed the piece with friends at breakfast the other day, and they were both quick on the draw (ha!) to write to you and the paper, but I too had a commitment to write of my concerns.

Several questions come to mind. I know you’re hampered by human resource laws in terms of giving a thorough response, but perhaps you can suggest some answers about the situation.

1) I wonder how the reassignment was chosen — it seems a little like the fox guarding the hen house to have a deputy accused of misconduct vetting the backgrounds of other potential deputies.

2) Not a question, but it seems as if there was little consequence for the misdeed, other than to taxpayers who are footing this bill of $180,00.00 in some form or another, and I would prefer the deputy contribute in some way, other than no lost salary.

3) Is there review of relevant certifications such as the taser cert, which was expired in this case?

4) Is there ongoing de-escalation training for staff, along with means of reducing undue reactivity? I know the jail and all the work of the agency is both crucial and stressful, and I hate to think that the stress encourages poor decision making.

Finally, I salute the other deputies and nurse who were present and were willing to acknowledge that unnecessary force was used — I imagine that took some courage.

And thank you to all the staff who work conscientiously to keep our community safe.

Leslie Kirkpatrick


* * *

RECOMMENDED READING: "Families, A Pictorial History of Round Valley, 1864 to 1938, A Project of The Friends of Round Valley Public Library, Covelo, California." Anyone interested in the history of Mendocino County will want to have a copy of this very nicely produced book which, apart from its copious and fascinating collection of photos of early Covelo and its residents, also contains many passages from memoirs and newspapers of the time, which illuminate the history of a very small place with a very big history. The book has been steered to completion by Elmer Bauer and Floyd Barney, Covelo old timers whose roots go back almost to the middle of the last century when the first white slavers and outlaws — since upgraded to pioneer and explorer status — stumbled into Round Valley. I was especially fascinated by excerpts taken from the memories of Judson Liftchild, Covelo’s first doctor who seems to have arrived in town in the 1880s. Of a time when educated people not only were expected to be able to write and talk, Liftchild, as many educated people of the time, wrote in a vivid prose which, like no other I’ve read on local history, enables us to feel what it was like in this unique, and uniquely volatile little community in eastern Mendocino County in the last quarter of the 19th century.

“CARTER ROHRBAUGH was the opposition lawyer and indulged in a number of sallies at my expense, in what I thought was rather poor taste, and I resorted to a little sarcasm myself, to the great enjoyment of the spectators, who always expected to be entertained whenever Judge Redwine’s court was in session. To my client’s surprise, as well as my own, as I really believe he was guilty, he was acquitted by the jury and Brad was returned to society, his remaining period of existence being spent in getting drunk and sobering up again. Poor Carter died under mysterious circumstances several years ago, having been shot while riding home one night. It was probably accidental, as he was too passive a character to incur enemies and passed through life as easily as possible, being satisfied with plenty of smoking materials and a book. He received an excellent education but lacked initiative. And there was little in Round Valley to stir his ambition, so he found refuge among his books, becoming a sort of literary hermit.”

BAUER AND BARNEY have made a large contribution to County history with this wonderful book,which is available from, and whose proceeds go to support, the Round Valley Public Library, P.O. Box 620, Covelo, Ca 95428. $41.04 per soft cover copy including postage and handling.

* * *

* * *


Book Review: “The Man Who Listens To Horses,” by Monty Roberts

by Dayla Hepting (1997)

Although I am over a half a century old, my life with horses started only seven years ago. I was born in Montana. My family is the normal Montana mix of cowboys and Indians. My Uncle, Rex Thill, was Montana State bronc riding champion for a couple of years in the fifties. Lots of rodeo in these men. Lots of horses. But because of an incident between a horse and my father there were no horses in my childhood. My father got kicked when he was 12 years old. He lost a good chunk of his skull. He was in a coma for several months. He lived, but he lived with nothing but a flap of skin covering a his brain above his right eye. No plate. No bone, just skin.

It changed his life dramatically, this accident. He could not go to war and fight the Japanese as the rest of his peers did. That bothered him. He could not ride broncs and rodeo like his brothers did. Although he never said it, I’m sure that bothered him. And there were no horses for us, the way there were horses for his brothers’ kids.

If you’d told me 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago that I would be running a ranch that raises thoroughbred race horses I would have thought that absurd. I spent those years in Miami, San Francisco, LA, NY… No way could I make such a drastic life direction change. Certainly not as I approached fifty. Who would want to begin a career working with high strung, volatile animals weighing 1200 pounds when you got to be that old? And certainly I have never been an athlete. I’m short. Chubby. And old.

But that’s what happened. As a result I have read every book, every magazine, every horse-related thing I could find. Playing catch-up. Over time my reading has become more discerning. I tend to select horse health and horse behavior above other subjects.

Monty Roberts has written a passionate story about horse behavior and the behavior of the people who are involved with them. I like the title, “The Man who Listens to Horses.” Listening, I have learned, is the key to it all.

I recently read another book called “Talking With Horses” by Henry Blake. It is dry reading. Although mostly anecdotal, it still manages to be non-personal. The best thing about it is a brief dictionary of phrases (verbal & non-verbal) that horses commonly use with each other and us. If you work with horses you’d get a chuckle as you recognized suddenly what you already knew. In fact, you must know these horse messages. If you don’t, you will find being around horses is more pain than it’s worth. Because you won’t know when to get out of the way.

Monty Roberts’ book is a national bestseller. Why is that? Obviously many more people than just horse people are reading it. I would think that the horse people who most need to read this book will be the least likely to do it.

Why are non-horse people reading it? Probably because of “The Horse Whisperer,” a popular novel about a man patterned after Monty Roberts who saved a neurotic horse and healed a family as a result. Now here is the story of the real man. But it has to have more than that to turn into a bestseller, to hold the attention of the general public. After all, Stephen King didn’t even do a jacket blurb for it.

I think it’s because Monty Roberts is an open wound and a happy colt all at once. He pulls you into the raw joy and pain of his life. It’s a big secret I’ve learned, that horse people are happy people. It somehow takes the focus off the petty little melodramas of human life. Horses are bigger than we are. They live in the now. They are the great Zen Masters. They teach us to let go of all that brooding. “Go get us some oats,” they say, “And stop being silly!”

The pain, of course, is that so much misery often comes to these wonderful creatures through no fault of their own. And death seems to come to them so suddenly, so easily.

Roberts talks about Crow’s Landing near Salinas where he grew up. Crow’s Landing was a slaughterhouse for horses. His first horse ended up there. All his father’s horses ended up there when pop’s horse training facility was confiscated for a Japanese interment camp. He talked about seeing the workmen at lunch setting their lunch boxes out on the carcasses of the dead horses.

For those of us who love and admire horses there is so much pain in the knowledge that if you sell a horse, no matter how careful you are, that horse may end up starved in a backyard by some asshole who bought a horse on a whim and then lost interest in it; or that horse may one day be smashed into a transport with horses she doesn’t know and perhaps get her leg broken before she even arrives. (What difference does it make? She is dog food anyhow.) Then she is shot in a horrible place full of blood and the screams of the dying and soon to be dying. What will she be thinking when she sees this place?

These are animals who thought they could make a deal with us. They thought that we were intelligent, honorable creatures just as they are. They would run races, jump big jumps, manage cattle, do barrels, take us on long trail rides into the mountains and babysit the kids, all of it in exchange for us simply feeding them some hay. Give them a little land to stand around on. A shelter from the rain if possible. Even that was not a must. What are they thinking when they see that they are about to die? That we have betrayed them in an ignoble, ugly way? For 20¢ a pound?

Monty Roberts learned the language of horses by watching mustangs interact with each other out on the high desert of Nevada. He called it the language of Equis. He has spent his life studying this language and applying it to the training of horses for the various tasks required of them.

Although I have nowhere near the skills he has, I know what he’s talking about.

Seven years ago when I started I had no reason to question what was told to me about handling horses. I started out with whips and chains. The idea was you had to win every battle with the horse. And everything was a battle. It didn’t take me long to figure out that there was no way a 50-year old, short, tubby little dumpling was going to control a thousand-pound, two year-old thoroughbred stallion by brute force. I wasn’t going to win many battles that way. So I stopped listening to people and started listening to horses. I started mimicking the motions of my lead mare Lanakai when I wanted the horses to do things. I learned to rub the babies at the withers to calm them the same way their mothers do.

After a while I found my little group of 30-40 thoroughbreds of all ages had accepted me as the lead mare human. I don’t have big battles anymore. The horses try to co-operate. They know that generally I will have my way, but that way is what I think is best for them and they have not been hurt so far. In fact, things have gotten better and better. I am constantly amazed by this. So different from the time of whips and chains. Now only occasionally do I pull out a stud chain. Before it was in daily use with all but the sweetest of mares.

At the core of “The Man Who Listens to Horses” is his life long battle with his dad. His father was an old time cowboy. Broke horses all his life. Probably was considered a damn good cowboy and “one tough son of a bitch.” (That was compliment in that world). He did it the old way. The horse was a dangerous animal, and you had to hurt him before he hurt you.

He tied up their legs and left them for hours and hours in unnatural and painful positions. He tied them up tight and got a loud crackling grain bag and flapped it all over them. This was called sacking the horse out. It was supposed to teach them to not be afraid. It was (and still is) a terrifying and unnecessary experience for the horse.

They broke horses then. These men wanted to break the horse’s spirit. Generally the horses bucked like crazy when they were first ridden. Many horses and men were hurt in this process. But it was the way it was done. And Monty’s dad did it. He was a professional trainer.

Then Monty came along and learned that you don’t need all that. He could take an unbroken horse into a round corral and within an hour, just by learning to communicate with the horse, have the horse happily saddled and carrying a rider around the arena without a buck. Monty Roberts, of course, is one of the best in the world at this, but many other trainers are doing it all over the country.

Our horses here in Boonville get their early training from Connie Hiatt. Connie doesn’t beat them, doesn’t tie their heads to the saddle to “teach them to bend,” doesn’t scare them to death, and within a few days she’s riding them quietly. They rarely if ever buck. They are happy, often quite proud of themselves, eager to work, waiting impatiently in their stalls for Connie to arrive so they can work during our two-year old training period in February and March.

A few years back we sent them off to a trainer in Clements. Our eager young horses came back confused and frightened. This guy was from the old school. No kindness was spared for the horses. They were, after all, just raw meat. Cannon fodder for the race track. Racing machines. The horses went away self confident and came back completely unsure of themselves. One thing I have learned so far is that a horse will not win a race if he has no self confidence.

Monty Roberts spends a great deal of time dwelling on the fact that his father would not ever give his approval and blessing to his son’s work. And for Monty that is what mattered most. The Queen of England had him in routinely to do her horses. She loved him. He ended up a millionaire but he still never got his dad to say, “You know what, son? You really do have something there. I was wrong.”

But there is a darker side to that one, too, that Monty doesn’t want to look at. See, if his daddy admitted that Monty had a better way of starting horses, then he would be saying that the rough, dangerous way he worked all those years was ineffectual, unnecessary, if not downright foolish and stupid. That’s the way he saw it. At the core of it is a simple truth: His father was afraid of horses. Monty Roberts is not. He likes horses.

And maybe there is a part of Monty Roberts that hates this man. This man who beat him and brutalized animals and people just like all the good cowboys before him. Maybe Monty wants to say to him, “Hey schmuck. I am right. You were wrong. Get a clue, dumbshit.”

I know what it means to love and hate a sometimes brutal cowboy father. I sat at the foot of my father’s bed while he lay there unconscious and dying of cancer, and I thought, “Please don’t let him wake up while I’m here because he will fix his eye on me and tell me his last words for me, which will be… ‘I hate you. You did everything wrong. You haven’t been a wife or a mother or anything else that amounts to a pile of shit’.” He didn’t wake up. He had no last words for me.

I hope the non-horse and the off-course horse people who read this book are learning that animals are much more intelligent than we once thought. I hope this book will save the lives of some horses who would have been lost without it.

Monty Roberts says his goal is to leave this world a better place for horses. He just may do it. Humans are made quite stupid by their arrogant notion that only they have intelligence. So much injustice has been done to the beautiful horses of the world and, as Monty Roberts says, we owe the horses a big apology. We have misunderstood and abused them for so long.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, January 12, 2020

Adams-Penrod, Cardenas-Bacerra, Carrasco-Santana

KELIE ADAMS-PENROD, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse, probation revocation.

VICTOR CARDENAS-BACERRA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.

NATALIE CARRASCO-SANTANA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

Chenier, Collins, Felton, Heilig

JEFFREY CHENIER, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, county parole violation.

KAYDEN COLLINS, Lakeport/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MYLES FELTON, Willits. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JEREMIAH HEILIG, Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.

Hilton, Hoaglen-Lockark, Loewer

MICHAEL HILTON, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Petty theft.


RYAN LOEWER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.

Lugo, Montano, Paredes

JORGE LUGO, Ukiah. Controlled substance.

MICHAEL MONTANO, Ukiah. Probation revocation, resisting.

ARTURO PAREDES, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Rash, Stanton, Strasser

JONATHAN RASH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

BRANDON STRASSER, Redway/Willits. DUI, unlawful registration, failure to appear.

* * *


by John Arteaga

Wow, it's just overwhelming, the anxiety of waiting as one after another big climate shoe drops; while vast swaths of Australia go up in smoke along with endangered pandas and millions of other creatures (among them some Homo sapiens), Jakarta, the teeming multimillion-inhabitant capital city of Indonesia, is stricken with biblical-scale flooding and landslides. Delaware-sized icebergs are floating away from the Antarctic ice sheet, causing statistically measurable sea level rise in a world that is just not at all prepared for it.

Clearly, if human civilization of any recognizable sort is to survive the next generation or two, it's time for us all to step up to the plate, put on our thinking caps, and give it all we've got, as communities, as states, as nations, as the whole world, to slash back radically at the earth's human-caused carbon footprint, before it's too late.

Right now, it seems like the Earth's most significant impediment to a rational and orderly effort in the right direction is the Republican Party. Noam Chomsky, perhaps the world's most quoted intellectual, has described the GOP as the leading threat to human life on the planet. Besides the absurd myth promulgated by them that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Chinese propaganda to damage US competitiveness (as if the Chinese were worried about their competitiveness with us!), there is the GOP’s slavish devotion to big entrenched Capital and the support for the status quo that serves its interests over those of the rest of us. Perhaps even more immediately lethal to us all is the GOP’s limitless support for nuclear weapons (it’s only by luck that we haven’t had a nuclear war yet), and whatever other boondoggles the Pentagon concocts to bilk you and me, Mr. and Mrs. taxpayer, out of close to $1 trillion a year for, as far as I can see, nothing but an endless project of job security for the US military; creating and fostering hatred for everything US-related in ever increasing quadrants of the earth, necessitating future 'stabilization' of countries halfway around the world with which we have no history, no rational excuse for meddling in their internal affairs. It's really just the continuation of the whole 'bringing Christianity and civilization to the savages' ethos on which, unfortunately, our nation was founded.

It's kind of unbelievable, the passes being given to Trump by the mainstream media. He has become the very definition of the Republican Party, despite his life history of representing every kind of excess they had formerly decried. He gets credit for things like the economy; they can never tell us enough about the record highs of the stock market (more money for those few at the very top rungs of the economic ladder) and the record low unemployment numbers (without ever informing us that the unemployment numbers are based not on how many people are unemployed, but on how many people are collecting unemployment benefits!). Quite a difference between those two. Wherever one goes in the US, it is impossible to escape the signs of a nation in decline; tent camps everywhere, deranged hobos dying in what Prof. Chomsky calls deaths of despair (drug, drink, anything to escape the hopelessness of their lives). While those at the bottom rungs of the economic ladder struggle to make ends meet on the niggardly wages paid by fantastically wealthy companies like Amazon and Uber, our cities grant those companys huge tax holidays in a cargo cult-like hope of luring them to their area and employing some of the desperate denizens of once productive sections of our country, for near starvation wages.

No wonder our civic infrastructure is crumbling at our feet; while there is not even a discussion about the wisdom of spending $1.4 trillion to completely overhaul and rebuild the Minuteman missile system (the need for which, all those years ago, was based on complete BS), and I’m sure that Congress will have no issue with spending the $5 billion or so (enough to pay for Orange Man’s idiotic border wall obsession) to replace the B-1 stealth bombers they were destroyed by the hurricane last year in Florida (they weren’t airworthy to fly out of the area). Insanity, to squander resources that could and should be used for saving us all from a horrible fate of climate collapse, not to mention more mundane needs like roads that don’t wreck your car or truck, bridges that don’t collapse into rivers, and if it would not asking too much, some effort toward modern rail infrastructure; SO much more fuel-efficient than cars and planes.

Check out sometime, on You tube, the mindboggling ambitiousness of China’s ‘Belt and Road initiative’; while they are preparing to send high speed trains gliding high over valleys with cutting-edge innovations in bridge construction, we can’t even build an urban transit center building without smack-oneself-in-the-forehead type major construction errors. In the time it’s taken to build the 40-some mile SMART train, China has probably laid thousands of miles of high speed rail. Do you think there are many Chinese carping about how they can’t afford it, as SMART Rail’s critics constantly do?

While we squander our nation’s economic and intellectual resources on counterproductive military excesses, the Chinese are building the highly efficient infrastructure to bring their sprawling nation, and those near it, together to accomplish whatever goals they set their sights on. It’s looking more and more like eventually the Chinese will conquer the world without firing a shot.

* * *

NEOLIBERALISM WORKS BEST when there is formal electoral democracy, but when the population is diverted from the information, access, and public forums necessary for meaningful participation in decision making. 

—Robert McChesney (1998)

* * *

* * *


So my toaster finally died. I went on Amazon to order a new one. There’s a shitload of toaster manufacturers. I found that the vast majority of them are in China. Curious, I began reading reviews from actual purchasers. It seems the China-made toasters look sharp, some even work well, but the one thing they have in common is they last only for a year or two. In contrast, I went to another site that sold refurbished American-made toasters from 100 years ago; they still work.

Toaster sales are a very minor fact of life, but my two points are that this is an example of how far we have fallen, and how we are consistently willing to put up with inferior quality. It shows in our politicians, too.

* * *

* * *



Our sweet, honorable, beautiful, ungodly awful governor is making a statewide ban on all gas powered tools like lawnmowers, pole saws, tree trimmers, weedeaters, chainsaws — anything gas powered will be banned statewide. Any day now. No more gas powered tools. That's our governor. It should make everyone sick and rise up and say, Hey, enough is enough! But no, no, nobody will do a goddamn thing.

The other day they did tests at the DMV and discovered they registered 250,000 illegal voters. And California is already one of the most illegal voters voting places in the United States and they get away with it. But not for long. Mr. Trump will put an end to all this bullshit and the right people will be running this state before long. It's pretty damn sad how California people have to take what they are taking.

God bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


PS. Happy new year to Rob in Covelo. He's the heroic anti-American of the year. Keep it up, you're being a good anti-American.

PPS. The scumbag liberals are about to present the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Ha! Makes me laugh. They will throw it so far out the window that the birds won't even see it go by. A joke. $51 million for the Mueller probe and there was nothing there. $17 million for the Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment. Nothing there. Lord only knows how many millions of dollars of our tax money they spent on this stupid hypocritical impeachment bullshit. We need to do something different in the United States. It's getting real bad and the people are suffering for it.

* * *


On January 9, 1493, explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three “mermaids”—in reality manatees—and describes them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

* * *

* * *


I am hard at work designing my new class at MAC and hope some of you will join me. The goal is to give you a great experience and walk away ready to create unforgettable photos. There are just a few requirements: you take photos (the kind of camera is not important (iPhone, point and shoot, DSLR, Mirrorless, whatever), you want to take better photos, you bring your camera (although I will have several cameras that you can try out while in the class and a range of lenses), and that you bring to class three photos: an example of an unforgettable photo you have seen, a photo you have taken that is unforgettable to you personally, and a photo that you have taken that you believe is unforgettable to others. We will go from there - playing with portraits, nature photos, street photography, and a number of other genre. The result? A better eye. Increased enthusiasm. An unforgettable experience. Please sign up.

* * *

DR. DAVID N GIBBS on Heroes and Patriots, January 2, 2020

Hear Dr. David N Gibbs speak on the origins, foreign policies and evolution of NATO on Heroes and Patriots.

This program is the first show of 2020 and was produced at KMUD Community Radio. The show and all programs are archived at KMUD.ORG & our show website:

Happy New Year!

John and Mary

Heroes and Patriots is a program about national security, intelligence and foreign policy. The show is streamed live the first Thursday of each month, 9-10 a.m. at KMUD.ORG

* * *



  1. James Marmon January 13, 2020

    Not a single word about Homelessness, Mental Health, or the Schraeders in today’s MCT. cancel my subscription.


    • Lazarus January 13, 2020

      Really James, really…?

    • James Marmon January 13, 2020

      I made that comment early this morning before they added the found object, all is good now.

      • Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

        How disappointing.

  2. Lazarus January 13, 2020

    Found Object

    Looks to me like business is good.

    As always,

  3. Harvey Reading January 13, 2020


    Seems to me the statement could have been phrased more clearly than it was. At first I thought it was a misquote, but apparently it is verbatim.

  4. Rick Weddle January 13, 2020

    re: Wet week…As of this morning, local meteorological experts report the last 48 hours here on the Big Island (‘Hawai’i’), rainfall has been recorded as 30 (thirty) inches. Get out the waterwings and BRACE YERSELVES…

  5. Harvey Reading January 13, 2020


    Many items are produced in Asia, including most electronics–like computers and radiotelephone-computer-camera-flashlight devices–and have been for decades. I have not experienced any more problems, including longevity problems, with items produced in other countries than I have with items produced here in freedomlandia. That is not surprising to me. I remember when I was a kid, that certain curmudgeons would always be whining in a vein similar to that of the person who made the comment.

    To say the least, I find the veracity of the comment to be suspect.

  6. Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

    I see the Comptche scumbag is alive and well…

  7. James Marmon January 13, 2020

    11 species that are destroying the planet

    Overpopulation can threaten our biodiversity.

    “Worried about animals going extinct? Here’s another, less talked about problem: too many animals.

    In the animal kingdom, predators typically keep overpopulation in check. If those predators no longer exist, however, the populations of other animals can soar. And that can cause all manner of other problems.

    Here are some of the animals in desperate need of a good predator.

    Australia: Kangaroos

    Our friends from down under are taking over the streets of Canberra. It’s so bad that government officials are now advocating killing much of the population to protect the endangered plants and reptiles kangaroos like to eat. Kangaroos have also broken into homes and become traffic hazards in recent years….”

    • George Hollister January 13, 2020

      Americans have opinions about what others should do based on the slimmest of knowledge. It’s what we do. Don’t kangaroos eat vegetation, including grass? Isn’t grass an important fuel that is currently burning in Australia? I am not the expert on kangaroos, but I know they have a similar digestive system to ungulates, which in our county would include deer, goats, sheep, and cattle. These are animals that can be used to reduce fuel for fires by grazing.

      • Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

        Right, George, and don’t forget the importance of raking, too! Talk about the “slimmest of knowledge”. Why don’t you tell us about Aussies and rabbits?

    • Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

      Why, James, do you not tell us why the predators disappeared? Could it have been because the Aussie sheep farmers killed them?

      • Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

        By the way, James, the species that is destroying the planet is Homo sapiens, you know, humans.

  8. Lazarus January 13, 2020

    This guy Les U. Knight has been calling for human extinction for a while, I don’t think it’s been well received though.
    As always,

    • Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

      Sometimes it takes many decades for a really, really good idea to catch on. People tend to enjoy staying in their current rut, whatever it may be. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the majority of scientists finally bit the bullet and began realizing that Einstein’s General Relativity was valid, though Einstein proposed it during the early part of the century. Everything predicted by the theory had been observed so many times that it had become impossible to ignore it.

      His Special Relativity caught on much more quickly, which was fortunate, else we might be even less technologically advanced than we are now. I like computers and calculators and the like. Radiotelephone-computer-camera-flashlight devices, not so much…

  9. chuck dunbar January 13, 2020


    Many, many years ago, living as a boy of 7 or 8 in the great state of Kansas, I won a set of finger paints from Captain Kangaroo, won’t ever forget him for that little gift. There–that’s my invaluable contribution to this very important comments chain.

  10. James Marmon January 13, 2020


    California cities could face lawsuits over homelessness, Gov. Newsom’s task force says

    “Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring people in from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness called Monday for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians.

    The proposal, which came as Newsom kicked off a weeklong tour of the state aimed at drawing attention to the homelessness crisis, urged the Legislature to put a measure on the November ballot that would force California cities and counties to take steps to provide housing for the more than 150,000 Californians who lack it, or face legal action.”

  11. Harvey Reading January 13, 2020

    I vaguely remember Captain Kangaroo. My parents didn’t get a (used, B&W) TV until 1957, when I was 7. I thought the good captain was goofy, almost as goofy as the Mickey Mouse Club. I much preferred Jungle Jim and Circus Boy.

  12. Randy Burke January 13, 2020

    Whatever happened to the population bomb by Paul Ehrlich?
    Good dog, little dog. nice to see him, now how bout some bodkins?
    As so Jerry Philbrick… Is something amiss? Welcome comment especially Mr. Trump… HE AIN”T helpin no one. ..He is just out for himself…get a grip my old logger buddy as this guy is only out for himself. You have got to have figured out that by now,

    • Harvey Reading January 14, 2020

      The population bomb is still ticking merrily away, headed for 11 billion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *