- Warm Front
- Gonzales Resigns
- $20 Mil
- Local Democracy
- Water-Projects Meeting
- Half Wits
- No Tagalog
- Acrylic Pouring
- More Brians
- Seizure Man
- Lighthouse Poster
- Mayor Cheat
- Aged Tree
- Wildlife Lawsuit
- Yesterday's Catch
- NH Next
- Glad Reasons
- Selfish People
- Uncle Barack
- Paint Cleaner
- Super Bombast
- Hockey Fan
- Good Company
- First Load
- Fascism Checklist
- Pencil Startup
- Love Uncorked
- SOTU Strength
- Sako's Button
- You're Safe
- Shadow Inc
- Found Object
A WARM FRONT will push across Washington and Oregon today, bringing some clouds into portions of northwest California, but expect only a few sprinkles to make it south of the Oregon border. Otherwise, temperatures will moderate through Friday, with light winds and some sunshine as Pacific high pressure remains in control. (NWS)
Measure B Committee Chair Donna Moschetti told the Supes Tuesday that their highly touted Measure B Committee Project Manager Isabel Gonzalez — briefly famous for her first official statement at the December meeting that she was “100% Mendocino illiterate” — has “resigned” having started less than two months ago. Her last day will be Friday, February 7. Apparently Mendo has now re-started a recruitment and replacement process. Deputy CEO Sarah Dukett will fill in until the next Project Manager is hired. (Never mind that CEO Angelo made a big point of telling the Measure B Committee that she wanted to make sure that anyone they hired would stick around for a few years at least.) Ms. Gonzalez’s sole accomplishment during her short tenure was getting the Measure B Committee to buy her some fancy AcrobtPro software so that she could more easily post committee agendas and minutes. Supervisor Williams guessed that Ms. Gonzalez quit because she didn’t have enough of her own staff (!), and Ms. Moschetti agreed. But of course there are other more likely reasons given Mendo’s management staff employment climate these days.
DURING PUBLIC EXPRESSION Tuesday morning, John Sakowicz mentioned in passing that “little oversight is provided for the $20 million the County gives Redwood Community Services.” Sako’s primary subject was the thuggish dismissal of public health director Barbara Howe, who has re-filed an “amended” wrongful termination lawsuit.
SUPERVISOR John McCowen immediately denounced Sakowicz, saying his remarks were “an example of how easy it is to make a series of false accusations with no accountability.” Of course McCowen didn’t clarify which of Sako’s accusations were false.
AND Redwood Community Services (RCS) CEO Dan Anderson said that Sakowicz, “made a comment about Redwood Community Services getting $20 million from the County that’s just offensive because it’s not true. To have somebody come up here and make that comment just without checking seems really unfortunate, and I don’t know about all the other things this person [Sakowicz] said, but I just, I was just sitting there and I felt like I needed to come up and say something. That’s not ok. It’s not ok.”
HMMM. On July 22, 2019 the Board approved the following “retroactive” agenda item: “5d) Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of Presentation Regarding Redwood Quality Management Company and Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Quality Management Company, Inc. in the Amount of $18,976,773 to Arrange and Pay for Medically Necessary Specialty Mental Health Services and Mental Health Service Act Programs to Medi-Cal Beneficiaries and the Indigent Population, Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.”
AT THE TIME, Supervisor Ted Williams had dissented, saying that the item was presented without alternatives and should have been broken into smaller segments so that alternatives could be considered.
ALSO, RQMC/RCS gets other money from the County (for homeless services separate from mental health) which legitimately brings their total receipts to something like $20 million, probably more.
WE FAIL to see anything “not true” about the $20 million estimate. And if Mr. Anderson is alleging that there is more than “little oversight” of that contract, we’d sure like to see it, and we certainly have “checked” to try to find it. Besides, Mr. Sakowicz’s opinion that there’s little oversight over the $20 million is a legitimate opinion, hardly worth the self-interested denunciation that it’s “not ok.” What’s next? The Appropriate Police?
This morning, I stated RCS gets $20 million a year from the County to provide mental health services which opened the door wide open for criticism. Supervisor McCowen jumped right on it.
Technically, I should have said RQMC gets the $20 million before they give it to RCS.
McCowen got me on a "technicality", and that's going to factually incorrect until corrected, so now I'm correcting myself. I should have said the Schraeders get $20 million a year from the County to provide mental health services. My remark sounded personal, but in essence it's entirely accurate and less confusing.
If I were Supervisor, I would request a list of any and all County contracts that have the Schraeders' signature on them -- be it RQMC, RCS, or some other entity -- and go from there. Those contracts are usually hidden in the consent calendars, so no one ever notices just how many there really are.
LINDY PETERS ON DEMOCRACY (BOS Meeting, February 4, 2020)
REGULAR MEETING of the Water Projects Committee Anderson Valley Community Services District to be held at the Boonville Firehouse, 14281 Highway 128, February 6th, 2020 at 10:30am
CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL:
RECOGNITION OF GUESTS AND HEARING OF PUBLIC:
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
CHANGES OR MODIFICATION TO THIS AGENDA:
REPORT ON DRINKING WATER PROJECT
REPORT ON WASTEWATER PROJECT
CONCERNS OF MEMBERS:
CSD General Manager Joy Andrews adds: Attached is the agenda for this Thursday's meeting. Although we will have no new information to report on either project this month, during "hearing of the public" we will have a guest speaker from the State Waterboards to respond to a recent article in the AVA written by Mark Scaramella, regarding our public serving establishments (monitoring and permitting in the valley). Her name is Joy Wildflower from the Santa Rosa office.
ANOTHER SIGN the Apocalypse is upon us: More people tuned in for the Super Bowl half-time show than watched the game.
WHAT, NO TAGALOG?
We at W Real Estate would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce you all to one of the newest members of our local artist community, Elias Laughton! A native of San Francisco, Elias found himself a resident of Mendocino County in the early 1980’s. “My parents moved out of the Bay Area to get closer to the land and become a part of the Buddhist community in Talmage, and I’ve lived here ever since.” Acrylic Pouring, Elias’ main painting technique, is a new, exciting method for creating abstract art, which is rapidly gaining popularity both on social media and in the art world. About his work, Elias tells us that “Having no formal training in the Fine Arts, I feel unbound by convention, and my creative process is liberated from expectations of a certain aesthetic outcome…” It was almost an accident that Elias even began painting. “I was fortunate to discover an Acrylic Pouring workshop being offered by local artist Rossi Jensen in August of 2018, and I’ve been painting almost daily since acrylic pouring is dynamic, unpredictable, unpretentious, and extremely rewarding for the beginning artist such as myself.” Elias also credits the works of M.C. Escher, Hieronymus Bosch, and H.R. Geiger, who designed the set of the original “Alien” movies as his primary artistic inspirations. “I’ve always been deeply affected by powerful works of art, as a child, it was easy to lose myself for hours studying colors, forms, and textures.” Elias describes his art as “experimental abstract” and tries to explore the relationship between the seen, and the Unseen. “As an abstract artist, I chose to limit my own personal influence upon my audience, and instead, allow the paints to create the image.” A devoted father of 3 boys, one of whom, Ezra, has recently made the journey to adulthood after graduating High School locally here in Ukiah, Elias also proudly donates 10% of his total sales to the Anderson Valley Animal Rescue society. Thanks for your interest, and we hope you will join us Friday, February 7th at W Real Estate! If you have questions or want more information you can call Mo Mulheren at 707-391-3664, email at email@example.com or Check our Facebook page for updates @ukiahartwalk
—Maureen Mulheren, Ukiah Valley Networking Agency
FRISCO AS CESSPOOL? The debate rages. Well, not exactly a debate about the obvious deterioration of Baghdad by the Bay so much as unanimity from everyone except the incompetent mayor. But. But the street chaos is pretty much confined to downtown. Unfortunately, San Francisco being a small city, downtown is unavoidable by citizens and visitors alike. But most of The City is free of the unremediated homeless. The Inner Sunset, Golden Gate Park, the several thousand acres comprising the Presidio managed by the federal government, and pretty much all the rest of the residential neighborhoods are homeless no-go zones, as is much of Chinatown and North Beach. The Feds immediately roust anybody camping on federal property, and the cops do roust the "inappropriate" from tourist areas like Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf. But city police, as per City Hall, aren't allowed to enforce "quality of life" violations. The nut of the prob, as here in Mendo, is the Homeless Industrial Complex who, in SF, rake in $350 million annually ensuring that the homeless remain homeless. Not that the Complex sees it that way, but their annual work product is visible to everyone who lives or works in San Francisco. Why is a self-interested (and well-paid) apparatus of "helping professionals" allowed to destroy the very heart of the city? Because enforcement and even whispered suggestions to compel are off the discussion table. Persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves are to be negotiatied with, not cared for.
TAKE MY HAND, come with me as we part the mists of time back to the magic year of 1967. I was driving a cab at night and working to overthrow the government during the day, both being part-time jobs to be honest about it. One night, I was sitting at the cab stand in front of the Palace Hotel about a half-block off Market. Which I mention because unwritten city policy in all the years prior to Do Your Own Thing-ism was that vagrants and winos, as bums and drunks were categorized, could not linger on Market or anywhere north of Market. But there were still a lot of single room hotels where all but the people now unhouseable could find a cheap berth. The absolutely unhouseable — the insane, the drop-fall drunks, and the incompetent were confined to hospitals; straight-up petty criminals went to jail. Dope was still in its infancy, but now, as we know, the drug addicted shoot up on the street and whatever public place they choose to obliterate themselves in without fear of arrest. Anyway, I'm sitting there in my Yellow cab on a slow night when this neatly dressed young man collapses and begins to spasm as if in an epileptic seizure at the entrance to the hotel. A crowd gathers. Two young cops soon arrive. One cop says loudly to the other, "It's this asshole again," and turning to the young man shaking on the sidewalk, orders, "Stand up, goddammit." The guy had already stopped shaking at the appearance of the cop car, and stood up as ordered. The cop says to him, "You do this again tonight and we're going to arrest you." The cop then explained to the gallery, "This guy does this all over town." Thinking about this episode, I see Seizure Man as the great turning point in what's tolerated and what's not.
ENTRY BY LAUREN SINNOTT — POSTER DESIGN CELEBRATING PA LIGHTHOUSE
OUR PREFERRED CONSPIRACY: The bungled Iowa Caucuses were deliberately bungled because Bernie was running away with the vote, so the DNC pulled the plug so his numbers could be adjusted downward. Thereupon commenced the excuses: "There was a problem with the APP." "Couldn't get anybody on the phone to turn in our results." Etc. By midnight, it was obvious that the clear winner was Trump.
NOT A GREAT LOOK: FAILED IOWA CAUCUS APP IS DEEPLY LINKED TO SELF-DECLARED WINNER BUTTIGIEG… AND HILLARY CLINTON
TRUMP USES STATE OF UNION TO CAMPAIGN; PELOSI RIPS UP SPEECH
HUMANE WORKS BETTER
Dear Friends of Mendocino Wildlife,
On Monday, February 3, Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance and Project Coyote served Mendocino County with a lawsuit that challenges the County’s 1) recent certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for its wildlife management program; and 2) its decision to renew its brutal, ineffective and unnecessary Integrated Wildlife Damage Management (IWDM) Program, to be operated by USDAWildlife Services(WS).
Based on advice from legal counsel with decades of expertise in environmental law, the plaintiffs determined that the County’s FEIRis fundamentally flawed and does not meetthe minimum standards required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Plaintiffs reached this decision to sue cautiously, only after on a 3-2 vote in December, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors chose to ignore the abundance of scientific evidence and dozens of comments submitted by many people in favor of non-lethal alternative programs, and despite the FEIR’s conclusion that a non-lethal program was the environmentally superior option.
This narrow Board majority reaffirmed the County’s inhumane and outmoded IWDM Program, which relies heavily on lethal and indiscriminate tools for killing native carnivores, including utterly cruel strangulation and neck snares.
Throughout the entire EIR process, Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance and Project Coyote presented the County with locally-administered models and methods from other counties in California, Oregon and elsewhere that are not only more humane, but that also work much better to protect human health and property andare more cost-effective than the WS IWDM Program.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 4, 2020
BRANDON BISIGNANI, Carlotta/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ROCKY DUMAN, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
TYLER ELZA, Willits. Probation revocation.
JENNIFER FRANKLIN, Fall River Mills/Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, resisting.
TODD FUTRAL, Clearlake Oaks/Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
JENNY HARRISON-HERNANDEZ, Rohnert Park/Redwood Valley. Stolen property, loaded handgun-not registered owner, criminal street gang member with loaded firearm, child endangerment, special allegation: street terrorism. Conspiracy.
BOBBY PARKS, Clearlake. Parole violation.
MICHAEL TINAJERO, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, false personation of another, probation revocation.
ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. Parole violation.
IOWA FIASCO RAISES THE STAKES FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE, WHERE SANDERS COULD WIN BIG
by Norman Solomon
While journalists pick through the ashes of the Iowa caucuses meltdown, thousands of progressive activists are moving forward to make election history in New Hampshire. In sharp contrast to the prattle of mainstream punditry, the movements behind Bernie Sanders are propelled by people who engage with politics as a collective struggle because the future of humanity and the planet is at stake. As a result, the Granite State’s primary election on Feb. 11 could be a political earthquake.
Whether or not the Democratic Party’s corporate backers truly understand what progressive populism is all about, they’re determined to crush its strongest electoral manifestation in our lifetimes—the Bernie 2020 campaign. And, since the bottom fell out of Iowa’s capacity for dramatic political impact, New Hampshire now looms larger than ever.
Monday night’s collapse of the caucus vote-counting process in Iowa has amped up the spotlight on—and political consequences of—what will happen in the New Hampshire primary. A clear Sanders victory would make him the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Perpetuating passivity is a key undercurrent when corporate media report on election campaigns. Routinely, the coverage is rendered as entertainment, historic events to be individually consumed rather than collectively created. Progressive social movements have the opposite approach.
Propagandistic attacks on Sanders and his campaign are likely to reach new depths between now and the New Hampshire election. Effectively countering the distortions and smears will require concerted individual efforts on a large scale.
Full disclosure: As an active Bernie supporter, I’m part of an expanding team set to do independent on-the-ground outreach in New Hampshire until Election Day. (Information available: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Whatever its budget or priorities, no presidential campaign can possibly maintain a presence in every neighborhood to do what ideally would be done. The success of the Sanders campaign depends on supporters taking the initiative rather than waiting for a national campaign to fill the gaps.
I often think about how Bernie used the opportunity to make a closing statement at a Democratic presidential debate last June. Instead of tooting his own horn and touting his leadership, he got to the core of terrible realities that won’t change unless people organize effectively from the grassroots.
After reeling off a few lowlights of the status quo—“for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class. . . we have the highest rate of childhood poverty. . . 45 million people still have student debt”—he asked: “How can three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?” Then he closed by saying: “And here is the answer. Nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry. If we don’t have the guts to take them on, we will continue to have plans, we will continue to have talk, and rich will get richer and everybody else will be struggling.”
Whether they agree with Bernie or not, people widely understand that he absolutely means what he says. And that helps to explain why, during the next seven days, in national media and across New Hampshire, corporate forces will be in overdrive to prevent a Bernie Sanders victory in the New Hampshire primary.
It’s not mere happenstance that the sound system at a Bernie rally often blasts out the song “Power to the People” as he takes the stage. Only the power of people, determined and mobilized, can overcome the forces arrayed against the Bernie Sanders campaign and the movements supporting him at this pivotal historic moment.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
REASONS I’M GLAD I AM NOT A YOUNG PERSON
by Emily Flake
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The battle is not between Republicans and Democrats – that one is lost – Republican ruthlessness and corruption has trumped Democrat commitment to fair play mixed with naive incompetence, plus the decline of its union base.
The battle is not between “Progressive, One-World, Globalist Socialists” and “Freedom-Loving, Small-Government Conservatives” either … another total myth that might play night after night on Fox News, but hardly anywhere else.
Anyway – the US doesn’t have a social-democrat worthy of the name, let alone a genuine “socialist” – in many Western countries including mine, Backdoor Bernie would be indistinguishable from the local conservative Tories.
No – the battle is between decent people who care about the 75% of the population who do it tough every day, and those whose attitude seems to be “I’ve got mine (usually through daddy, like the Dumpster), go get yours!”.
Sure they wrap themselves in the flag and preach about individual freedom and individual liberty, but in fact it’s the wealthy who gain the most from government – they get far more.
They are the kiddies who read Ayn Rand at 18, had a few dorm sessions in college, and then never ever grew up. Trump is one of them … and he has surrounded himself with the swampiest cabinet and administration possible … he’s shit-scared because he knows he is unfit for the job.
But I don’t think anyone in the Democratic circus is fit for it either.
AFTER PROPERLY but privately identifying Trump (to a fellow conservative Democrat) as a fascist and shortly before leaving office to go kite-surfing with Richard Branson and become a multimillionaire (a deferred reward for his dutiful service to the nation’s corporate and financial masters), Obama said this to the American public: “We are now all rooting for [Trump’s] success in uniting and leading the country…Everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember we’re actually all on one team. We’re Americans first, we’re patriots first, we all want what’s best for this country.”
— Paul Street
THE POLITICAL BOMBAST OF THE SUPER BOWL
by Dave Zirin
You could choose your own country based upon your worldview. There was, “Look how awesome the United States is, because in three years we made America great!” Or you could order up, “Look at how Donald Trump has turned our country into a racist, festering shithole!” Two political ads bookended Super Bowl 54, and they portrayed two visions courtesy of two New York City billionaires, Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg.
The ads represented two stark perspectives that have nestled inside this country: one that is thrilled with the rising stock market as well as the naked bigotry of this administration, and another that believes Trump has dragged this country toward racist autocracy.
These ads gave life to the mission statement and rosy Norman Rockwell–esque politics projected by the 2020 Super Bowl. The NFL’s stated mission is to “keep politics out of sports.” Ita owners even colluded against a Super Bowl quarterback and banished him from their league because he dared to take a knee against racialized police violence. But, as was more than evident on Sunday, it’s not politics that the league wants to expunge but a certain kind of politics: resistance politics, anti-racist politics, anti-militaristic politics, the politics of human liberation. Instead, an entire other set of ideas was spray-painted all across Super Bowl Sunday, and somewhere in the middle of that political messaging there happened to be a football game.
The reality of the Fox production of Super Bowl Sunday could be heard in a comment Boston Globe writer Ben Volin reported from a Fox executive: “If it doesn’t celebrate football or celebrate America, it’s not going to be in the show.” The NFL’s idea of “celebrating football” was seen in a commercial where a young black child, with dyed blond hair, is seen running through a field of would-be tacklers, without helmets or pads, as NFL legends cheer him on. There was a shot of 83-year-old legend Jim Brown sitting on a park bench telling him to “take it to the house.” The child, in the middle of his epic jaunt, stopped in sad silence at a statue of the late NFL player turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
This much-praised ad was football propaganda of the worst sort. Look at every box it checked. It portrayed the game as safe for people with individuality (the blond dyed hair), even though it is a league that tries to crush individual expression. It celebrated black athleticism, even though it is a league without black ownership and a shameful paucity of black coaches and executives. It projected a sport that is both safe for children and absent of physical tragedy, even though it is a game that breaks players’ bodies and causes life-altering concussive head injuries. It celebrated Jim Brown, even though Brown has a long history of violence against women. And, perhaps most cynically, it used the memory of Pat Tillman as a near mythological symbol of the synthesis of the NFL, the military, and sacrifice; positively genuflecting in front of his statue, even though Tillman’s history is profoundly more complicated than that. Even though Tillman turned into a critic of both the army and the invasion of Iraq while he was still in service, and then died under a very suspicious and sloppily covered-up instance of friendly fire; even though the NFL, with all its power and political connections, never lifted a finger to help Tillman’s family when they were pressuring the government to find out the truth.
As for celebrating “America,” this was seen by invoking militarism at every turn, even comparing NFL players to the troops. The only comparison, in the real world, is that both suffer from traumatic brain injuries that are covered up or scoffed at by their respective commanders in chief. The commercials also echoed this theme of one America, most grotesquely in an ad for Budweiser that celebrated the hugging of fully armored police by a young black man at a standoff between riot cops and young protesters who were calling on police to stop killing them.
The one respite from this was the epic halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, which, in an act of protest, had Latinx children in cages as part of their set. In a video taken before her performance, J-Lo said, “Other people can try to build walls, keep us out or put us in cages.” It was a harrowing image to have projected amid the glitz and glamour. Yet even this—not to mention her and Shakira’s scorching performance—rings somewhat hollow, since we know that the halftime show was planned and executed by Jay-Z as part of his NFL-branded social justice initiative, which seems entirely geared toward enriching Jay-Z and erasing Colin Kaepernick. But the two women rocked it and, in addition, they seem to have upset all the right people: evangelicals like Franklin Graham more concerned with the children at home seeing some skin than the children who live behind bars in our homegrown internment camps.
I swear a game was played somewhere amid this politicized din. The actual sport appeared almost quaint discerned through the blaring John Philip Sousa bombast. It was a fun game where the Kansas City Chiefs came from behind and scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to win 31-20. But the actual contest that will be remembered was the battle between the forces of Fox bleating about the greatness of America and those who see us turning toward a much darker place. There is no amount of football and no flag big enough to hide the fact that these are dangerous times, and any kind of national unity—even around football—only exists in the fevered dreams of Fox Sports executives and Madison Avenue hacks.
DENIS ROUSE WRITES:
The paper's arrival lately seems like good company I need in this vacuous little burg in Washington in which I reside. Your comments re MLK much appreciated, I remember the power of his anti Vietnam War speech, and am hopeful the stats are true that currently Black unemployment is at an all time low. Also liked the filler from Philip Roth's "I Married A Communist" (my favorite of his) and remember that he wrote the book in answer to his actress ex-wife's, Claire Bloom's, awkward mean-spirited tell-all about their marriage, "Leaving A Doll's House". It was a literary match he of course won handily. McEwen's court report "Honor Thy Father & Mother" got me thinking about my liquor cabinet and there were hours to go before five pm. Keep the flames fanned, I have a feeling the AVA has burgeoning readership in these dark days that so need more light.
Best, D. Rouse.
CHAPTER 4: THE FIRST LOAD ARRIVES
by Del Potter
“It’s the weather, Bob. They have to wait until it’s perfect. Right now it’s snowing in El Paso.”
“Snowing in El Paso?” he asked, “Is that even possible? I thought it was in the desert.”
“It’s the high altitude desert, Bob, and the crossers don’t want their movements tracked in the snow.”
“That’s ridiculous. Just get me the fucking load. Otherwise, I’m spending my money on what Neanderthal Ned brings me.” “Neanderthal Ned” was a reference to one of my border smuggling competitors. He notably lived in a luxurious, retrofitted cave in the mountains overlooking Tucson and was able to amass substantial amounts of Mexican Cannabis from independents operating along the Arizona border. Architectural Digest had produced a favorable article about his residence which was equipped with advanced automatic features well ahead of its time. Ned, operating outside of cartel jurisdiction, outfitted motor homes whose interiors had been altered to fit his shipments which averaged over a ton.
As well-known as Ned and his operation was, it was his girlfriend, Molly, who captured the most attention. Molly and I moved in the same circles. After she and Ned parted company, Molly showed up as a companion to Billy Mercedes, one of our main San Francisco distributors who lived in Marin County. After that Molly married a certain well-known television doctor, who wrote an anguished book, “Taming Molly” about his attempts to get Molly to conform to suburban life while married to medicine.
Ned was reliable, I explained, but this was on another level. We were sending the best genetics to Mexico. Commercial logistics were being arranged. Rafael Caro Quintero himself had ensured a steady supply.
“Bob, you’re about to be on the other end of a pipeline.”
“Snowing in El Paso? That has got to be some bullshit. Get here as soon as you can.” Patience was not a virtue with Bob.
Waiting is the hardest part of the game. Tension continues to build as the wait goes on. The tension is composed of one or two parts anticipation and several parts fear. Fear that your warehouse might stand out, that crossers would be captured and the authorities might start working their way up the supply chain. Every day you spend at the Las Cruces Marriot was another day that law enforcement might start to wonder what I was doing there, comfortably ensconced in one of their suites. Staying in one of the Marriot suites, playing the tourist and seeing the wonders of El Paso and Juarez? Hardly.
What to do with all that nervous energy? You couldn’t leave El Paso because the shipment was imminent. It could be seized at any point and then you were out whatever investment you had made and you might attract Federal attention. You couldn’t sit in your room or you’d go crazy with boredom. Every day, to avoid the anxiety, you make the circuit: breakfast at Lucy’s or Mi Pueblito with the great chili con queso, always followed by scrambled eggs with jalapenos or an egg over easy on one of their traditional red sauce enchiladas. Then we’d head over the bridge and spend the afternoon at the Florída in Juarez. Brian made sure that we were always supplied with an endless pitcher of margaritas.
If it was the right time of year, the Florída had cuitlacoche, the gray, stone-shaped fungus that becomes like tar when it is cooked and has an earthy, tangy, mushroom-like flavor with a hint of raw corn. Farmers call the dish el oro negro, or black gold. The Florída was also renowned for all of the classic Mexican dishes: mole with three kinds of chocolate from Oaxaca or carnitas tacos made the old fashioned way, carved from a roasting spit.
Later, after margaritas and a couple of joints of homegrown, we would reconvene at Juarez’s renowned watering hole, the legendary border saloon, the Kentucky Club. The Kentucky was frequented by Generals Pancho Villa and Alvara Obregon, the first president of Mexico after the revolution. “The Kentucky” had a timeless quality with pictures from the Mexican Revolution, of Pancho Villa riding majestically through town on a horse festooned with turquoise and silver bridles, Villa handing out chocolates or silver bullets to children, Villa with what looks like a Cannabis blunt and of the U.S. general, Pershing, who led the Villa Expedition to find and punish Pancho Villa for his attack on Fort Bliss. If you stay at the Kentucky Club long enough you hear all the stories about Villa. He was famous for his consumption of Cannabis, celebrated in La Cucaracha. It was well known that Villa smoked Cannabis at the Kentucky.
Tables at the Kentucky, with the afternoon light casting shadows, reminded me of an elegant bar somewhere in the British Raj as the sun was setting on the Empire. Any table held court on an international assembly of stealthy high-end thieves, secretive smugglers, cartel lieutenants and Federal agents trying to avoid detection. The Kentucky was styled with thoughtful attention to detail from another era like the soft green-tiled trough that circled the bar which allowed their card-playing patrons to urinate at will and not leave their cards unattended. Since the bar was constructed before refrigeration, every day at 4 PM, a skinny young kid, who looked as if he should still be in middle school, carried in the blocks of ice used for mixed drinks on his back. He was always accompanied by his boss, a seasoned four foot dwarf, who directed him and collected for ice. The dwarf danced back and forth with a nervous tick as he visited each table to offer an earnest “Buenas tardes”. He always stuck out his hand, expecting a tip in recognition of his status.
I formed a special bond with the Kentucky’s oldest bartender, Andres, when I brought him a New York Times Travel Section article about him and the Kentucky Club. He framed it and to this day it’s still hanging from a favored location on the wall behind the bar. With great ceremony, he offered to give me his secret margarita recipe which I will reveal now for the first time: One part Hornitos Reposado tequila, one part squeezed lime, one part the Mexican orange liqueur, “Controy”, and Andres was insistent that I not try to substitute the French version of this same liqueur, “Cointreau”. Add lots of hand-chiseled ice.
We blithely disregarded the DEA agents who would occasionally occupy a shadowy corner table, but years later, when Brian’s partner Charlie was indicted, we found out that an entire Justice Department task force had been listening and waiting for just the right time. Brian and Charley had arranged for a planeload of Colombian Cannabis, flown by some Southwest pilots, that was abandoned before it was fully unloaded in the Palm Springs desert. Years later, the DEA confronted Charlie right in the Kentucky, laid out their evidence among the shots of tequila, and secured Charlie’s cooperation.
Still half-lit from the Kentucky, we would hop back into Leilani’s Cadillac and get in line to go back across the border. It was time for a nap to sleep off the tequila, to clean up and get ready for the evening.
Brian’s answer to the waiting doldrums was to honor a Texas tradition and visit one of El Paso’s multitude of topless bars. El Paso, being part of the South, with the Fort Bliss army base and the University of Texas, was a prime location for the industry. On my second day in town, Brian took me to lunch in a small downtown café called the “King’s X”. Just as I was biting into my turkey club, the clock struck one and the staff, with matching uniforms, came out to engineer a spectacular transformation. A small stage emerged from a hidden panel and four gorgeous college girls from UTEP walked out in sequined bikinis. It wasn’t long before I stopped eating lunch to watch the performance. Maybe I had led a sheltered academic life previously, but I was from California and had never seen anything like this: one minute I was eating lunch and the next there were college breasts unexpectedly inches from my face. Brian noticed my discomfort and immediately called over one of the UTEP girls and insisted she sit on my lap.
He introduced me as a “professor” and asked her what her major was. “I’m studying law,” she said and asked if I could help her with her homework as Brian slipped her a twenty.
“This is my friend’s first time in El Paso,” Brian explained, “I’d like you to introduce him to the way we do things in the state of Texas.” At that narrow, two-person table, she took some time to show me the affability for which Texas was famous. My wire-rimmed glasses were smashed and bent, but I was infatuated.
Unlike California, topless bars were everywhere. There seem to be an attempt to anchor shopping malls with the classic triumvirate of Texas: a topless bar, a pawn shop, and a church. There were some that catered to those who liked heavier girls, to those that liked thin girls, to natural and artificially constructed girls and to every possible ethnicity. Some of them tried to overwhelm you with scale and sheer numbers of dancers and then there were others that were all nude. The latter required one to bring one’s own alcohol, because of an obscure Texas law that recognized the potential for social chaos if alcohol and complete exposure were sold in the same location at the same time. Another timely framed rule on the wall of every bar in Texas, “It is unlawful to discharge a firearm in an establishment where alcohol is sold.” Only in Texas would the constabulary feel the need to spell out the obvious. I gradually settled on two bars that stood out: the Lamplighter, and Prince Machiavelli’s. The Lamplighter became my favorite and it wasn’t long before all California propriety was gone and I started dating the dancers.
One morning, Brian showed up early at my room at the Marriot. Brian was always well dressed with a starched collared shirt, a selection of one of his Patek Phillipe watches and exotically skinned boots. “Del, it looks like we’re out of pocket today so I’ve decided we need to get you out of those tennis shoes.” Several of the cartel lieutenants had mumbled a comment or two regarding the informality of my choice of footwear.
“Man, you can’t wear tennis shoes unless you’re at home,” they told me. ”Why even your president wears boots, “ Armando, Don Chui’s son said, referring to George W. Bush. Over time, a growing consensus and low key concern from Leilani to our Mexican friends had determined that it was a matter of Texas pride, and notions of gentlemanly decorum that dictated that I should immediately be outfitted with appropriate boots.
Brian had shown up with Charlie, his Mexican partner, who was dark-complected, short and heavyset, with a mustache reminiscent of Emiliano Zapata. Charlie always wore shorts and sandals which drew attention to his ample abdominal girth. He was dating the widow of a West Texas oil tycoon, Deborah, who just idolized the notion of her Charlie as a wild, pot smuggling outlaw. Deborah, the stylish blond Texas cheerleader, with her expensive outfits and jewelry, presented an odd couple when matched with Charlie. “My former husband was in the awl business,” she explained with a full Southern drawl, “But I just love my Charlie”. She loved showing Charlie the outlaw to her El Paso society friends and she made it clear that Charlie had improbably captured her heart as a virile Latin lover.
We arrived at Brian’s bootmaker who occupied a small shop in the old part of town near the border. The bootmaker was a small older Mexican man whose hands were yellow dyed and worn from years of working with leather and lasts. There was hardly room to sit as the shop was filled in every available space with the exotic skins of endangered species. The bootmaker took my measurements to build a last that would serve as the foundation for many future generations of my boots. Having taken my measurements, the bootmaker, under Brian and Charlie’s direction, began to bring in a selection of skins. Once again, with my California sense of propriety, I began to cringe in alarm as they showed me crocodile (endangered), lizard (endangered) and elephant (obviously endangered). The bootmaker mistook my wide-eyed examination of the elephant skin as an interest in the species, so he brought out an “elephant face” skin. Really? I thought, elephant face? There it was with a bullet hole right in the middle of this poor elephant’s skin face. I settled on ostrich, which I knew to be farmed.
“Del, you’ll need a second pair. You can’t just have one pair of boots,” Charlie explained, Pick one more,”
“Yes, you’ll need more than one pair,” Brian echoed. At this point, everyone was beginning to understand my reservations.
“Since you’re from California,” Charlie said laughing, “ you’d probably be happy with the alligator. Alligators are farmed. Unlike crocodiles, there’s plenty of them.” I settled on the alligator.
We decided to go out that night to celebrate my boot purchase. I selected the ostrich skin for a night on the town. We settled on the Lamplighter which was always our favorite spot. I called Theresa, my latest flame, and she came to pick me up in her classic 68 Mustang with her name, “Theresa”, written in sparkling letters on each side. My memory of the evening’s events was hazy, but I did remember a chorus line forming at one point with all the dancers joined together in a Rockette like performance.
I woke up early to the sound of a knock on my door. It was from Brian. He was up and ready.
“The crossers came through last night and the first load is in the warehouse, “ he said smiling.
(To Be Continued…)
UMBERTO ECO’S LIST OF FASCISM FEATURES
DNC OFFERS STARTUP $500 MILLION TO DEVELOP PENCIL THAT CAN ACCURATELY RECORD ELECTION RESULTS
"LOVE UNCORKED," Parducci Wine Cellars' 8th Annual Valentine Celebration
Parducci Wine Cellars invites you to attend “Love Uncorked,” Saturday, February 15th, 11AM-5:30PM at the Parducci Tasting Room in Ukiah. This fun-filled Valentine’s Day-themed event features: Enjoy 5 chocolate and wine pairings, including our Brut with chocolate-covered strawberries! LUNCH available for purchase by CULTIVO. Love Uncorked is a great way to enjoy your Valentine’s weekend celebrations.
Wine Club Members, please sign-in to www.parducci.com and redeem your 2 complimentary tickets. 100% discount will be applied at online checkout. The general public may purchase tickets for $15 per person, online or at the event. For directions or more information, please email@example.com or call (707) 467-3480. Ages 21 & up.
Parducci Wine Cellars is located at 501 Parducci Road just off of the Lake Mendocino Exit in Ukiah. For tickets and more information visit us online at www.parducci.com or call (707) 467-3480.
JAMES MARMON WRITES:
Re: Attacks On John Sakowicz And Accusing Him Of Electioneering.
I think the Registrar of Voter was wrong today at the BoS meeting when she cited section 319.5. claiming her office was officially declared a polling place so John Sakowicz could no longer wear his button and/or identify as a candidate at board meetings. I believe Electioneering only applies to election day, or at any time that a voter may be casting a ballot. John should speak to a attorney.
319.5. “Electioneering” means the visible display or audible dissemination of information that advocates for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within 100 feet of a polling place, an elections official’s office, or a satellite location under Section 3018. Prohibited electioneering information includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(a) A display of a candidate’s name, likeness, or logo.
(b) A display of a ballot measure’s number, title, subject, or
(c) Buttons, hats, pencils, pens, shirts, signs, or stickers
containing electioneering information.
(d) Dissemination of audible electioneering information.
§18370 of the California Elections Code states: No person, on election day, or at any time that a voter may be casting a ballot, shall, within 100 feet of a polling place, a satellite location under Section 3018, or an elections official’s office: (see d.)
(a.) Circulate an initiative, referendum, recall, or nomination petition or any other petition.
(b.) Solicit a vote or speak to a voter on the subject of marking his or her ballot.
(c.) Place a sign relating to voters’ qualifications or speak to a voter on the subject of his or her qualifications except as provided in Section 14240.
(d.) Do any electioneering as defined by Section 319.5.
Should Polling Places Remain Politics-Free? Justices Incredulous At Both Sides
“A person may not display campaign material, post signs, ask, solicit, or in any manner try to induce or persuade a voter within a polling place or within 100 feet of the building in which a polling place is situated, or anywhere on the public property on which a polling place is situated, on primary or election day to vote for or refrain from voting for a candidate or ballot question. A person may not provide political badges, political buttons, or other political insignia to be worn at or about the polling place on the day of a primary or election. A political badge, political button, or other political insignia may not be worn at or about the polling place on primary or election day.”
James Marmon MSW
CLINTON CAMPAIGN VETERANS LINKED WITH APP THAT CONTRIBUTED TO CAUCUS CHAOS
by Jason Clayworth
The smartphone application blamed in part for the ongoing delay in reporting results of the Monday Iowa caucuses is linked with key Iowa and national Democrats associated with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The revelation came as the Nevada Democratic Party announced Tuesday it would not be using the same app in its Feb. 22 caucuses, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
The app was issued by Jimmy Hickey of Shadow Inc., metadata of the program that the Des Moines Register analyzed Tuesday shows. Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis who worked for Clinton’s 2016 campaign, co-founded Shadow.
Company officials did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment. But a short time after the Des Moines Register published a story revealing the link, the company tweeted an apology.
"We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night's Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers," Shadow's message said.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price worked as Clinton’s 2016 Iowa political director. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday about the relationship between the party and Shadow, which it paid $63,184 for website development and travel expenses, according to reports filed with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board.
The Nevada party paid Shadow $50,143 for “monetary expenses,” filings with the Nevada secretary of state show. The filings provided no further details.
It was unclear whether the Iowa Democratic Party had chosen the app on its own, or had received guidance from the national party. Shadow's website indicates close ties to the National Democratic Party.
(Source: Des Moines Register: