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Off the Record (February 5, 2020)

THE COMMENT LINE PROB is common to all websites that maintain them. Take MCN's chat-back for instance where, round-the-clock, four or five guys insult each other, a man calling himself Zeke Krahlin being the primary provocateur. But the back and forth dominates MCN, every day, all day deep into the night. At the ava we try to keep the feedback at a reasonably civilized level, but it requires the constant vigilance of our tech guy. His theory, and it seems right to me, is that the new tech has gotten lots of people into the habit of firing off to comment lines whatever pops into their fraught heads, meaning tiny ballpeen hammers tap-tapping on the skulls of the rest of us. As tech guy puts it, "It's difficult for many of these people who seem to live in facebook world, where the interaction is more impulse oriented. They walk around with their phones, constantly plugged in, and interacting. Every waking thought can easily get transmitted, immediately. It's a kind of disease."

THE PHONE RINGS. A voice demands, "Who's this?" Could it be the person you're calling, Mr. or Ms. Manners? Jeez. I know that basic civility has disappeared, but ordinary social interactions these days are often downright savage. "You Bruce?" a twelve-year-old asks. I get that one all the time from children and adults, and not that I’m what you’d call a stickler about this stuff, but I agree with the traditionalists who point out that initially formal address, as in Ms. or Mr. gives us an instant to adjust to the person facing us. For his/her own good it's probably a good idea to instruct the child that out in the world of people unknown to him/her, and for him/hers future welfare, he/she should find someone who remembers the basics of social intercourse and ask him/her for a crash course. Not long ago as I sat down on a torturous metal chair for an inane hour at a public school meeting, I simply said hello to a pair of women sitting next to me. One of them, apparently recognizing me, shot back, "We don't read that paper." Excuse me, but I don't think I asked you a question. I didn't recognize either of the snarling hags — teachers, apparently — but what right? Huh? Answer me that! A man does that and you grab him by his snozzle, "How's that again? Speak right into the microphone."

IN A WORLD of annoyances major and minor, add the minor annoyance of the term "elder" as now applied to people over the age of 60 or so, especially by the more pious sectors of Mendolib. 'Elder' in their usage seems to imply wisdom which, and I offer myself as Exhibit A, does not come with mere age. There's as many dummies among the elderly as there are among every other sector of the population.

TED WILLIAMS: Cannabis update:Megan Dukett has been appointed to Acting Cannabis Program Manager. I worked with her on the Parks assessment last year when she was Program Administrator of Cultural Services Agency. I'm pleased she was selected and I have confidence she'll make a difference. In other words, I can work with her. I don't know that she has direct cannabis experience, but she understands the program needs, specifically removing barriers and finding ways to issue permits (which translates to less illicit market, greater county revenue). I was briefed on the recruitment process and thoroughness of interviews. The reassignment was based on merit. Cannabis license transferability has begun. Renewals have become an over the counter process, in place of the stunning full re-application process. I believe the tax appeals are complete. I expect Brent and Megan to bring further recommendations to the board for reducing complexity.”

MEGAN DUKETT is kin to Sarah Dukett who is a deputy CEO. Nepotism is an ongoing problem in Mendocino County, as is insider hiring. What Megan and Sarah know is how to massage CEO Angelo, who  obviously placed Sarah Dukett in the nicely compensated job.

THE TAI ABREU MATTER was up last week in Judge Moorman's court. Recent legislation, consistent with human experience going back ten thousand years, has belatedly recognized that human beings are not the same at age forty as they are at age 18. Mr. Abreu was age 19 when he was convicted 19 years ago of murder, and soon sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a one-day "trial." His two confederates pled out and got varying sentences of twenty to life. One of those confreres, Aaron Channel, has been out for almost five years, the other, August Stuckey, gets out some time this year. None of the three had a history of violence, or any legal history at all.

THE FACTS, as known, are these: The three Fort Bragg amigos robbed an unwholesome 32-year-old Santa Anna man named Donald Perez, then duct-taped him to a tree on the north bank of the Noyo about a mile from the Fort Bragg Police Department. One of the three amigos may have stabbed the tree-bound Perez in the throat, but cause of death could not be determined because Perez's remains were not discovered for nearly a month and were too decomposed to for sure determine cause of death. All that time, Perez's corpse, still strapped to the tree, was clearly visible from both the logging road and the river. (In my several visits to the site, trucks, bicyclists, walkers passed often, as did canoeists on the river. One day I watched a dog walker smoke a cigarette about 15 feet from where Perez's remains had slumped from the river alder. Perez might be there yet if the most talkative of his killers hadn't told a friend who went to the Fort Bragg police.

PEREZ had been lured to Fort Bragg by August Stuckey, who went into prison as a man child but is emerging as a woman via a tax-funded prison gender "reassignment." Prior to the murder, Stuckey had had at least one prior sexual encounter with Perez, whose computer was subsequently found to be chock-full of child pornography. Which isn't to suggest that 19-year-old Fort Bragg stoners should decide who lives or dies, but it is to say that Perez's unhappy exit was not a great loss to the human community.

THE BASIC ISSUE here is simple equity: If three people commit one murder but two of those convicted eventually get out of prison while they're still young as the third, on the same set of facts, gets buried alive well, most people would say that isn't fair, which is what the state legislature concluded when it voted to change the life-without law that previously held if you're present when a murder is committed you, too, are guilty whether or not you did the actual killing.

OF THE THREE youngsters involved in the dispatch of Perez, Aaron Channel had made it known that he regarded Perez as a "child molester" because August Stuckey was 17 when he and Perez first met; Stuckey, at the time of the murder was, as his subsequent gender switch might indicate, sexually confused, leaving Abreu as the least likely of the three to have plunged a knife into Perez's throat — if that's how Perez died.

ENTER DA EYSTER who, like most prosecutors in the state, doesn't like the new law that gives certain lifers a second chance, lifers like Abreu. is resisting the reduction of Abreu's sentence to a robbery conviction and time served. Ignoring the fact that Abreu's confederates are either out or getting out although they were also convicted of murder but were wise enough to follow their appointed attorneys advice to plead guilty, Eyster apparently wants to re-try Abreu for murder, although there's no evidence there was a murder and even less evidence that of the three Abreu did it.

IF ABREU was one of these guys who gangs up in prison and manages to become worse for the experience, there would be no interest in seeing him get another shot at a life. But he's grown up. He's not the same person he was when, in a stoned fog, he helped kill Perez. Abreu has established an almost unblemished record in a context where it isn't easy, doing so well he's essentially a trustee assigned to prison office work. Abreu is highly unlikely to re-offend. Eyster is wasting the court's time and taxpayer money trying to keep the guy locked up.

JESSICA HOAGLAND of the Public Defender's Office is representing Abreu. This is the same office that doomed Abreu the first time around, but Ms. Hoagland, unlike her delusional predecessor, seems to be doing an honest competent job for Abreu’s defense. The case will really get going on March 26th when Judge Moorman will rule on whether the People (Eyster) are confined to the existing evidence (sparse in the extreme) and, at that time, a date will also be set for the evidentiary part of the show. Abreu will again be brought to town from the High Desert Prison at Susanville to fight for his life.

STEVE TALBOT alerts us: 

Bay Area Revelations: Female Sports Icons

On this Super Bowl sports weekend, I thought some of you might like to watch this one-hour documentary on women athletes from the San Francisco Bay Area. It's the latest episode of the local NBC Bay Area Revelations series that I co-produce and co-write (3-4 of these documentaries a year).

The original broadcast was last weekend. In the Bay Area, there's an encore presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 10pm.

(This is what I do for fun when I'm not senior producing short docs for Independent Lens.)

YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW. From 5th District supervisor, Ted Williams:

Candidates, the 60 second answers at the forum didn't give me a full sense of where you stand. Please provide unambiguous answers:

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process?

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

7) What’s your position on RQMC & RCS? How would you have voted on

SPEAKING of Mendo candidate forums, they’re traditionally unenlightening because, from our perspective anyway, they are much too tidy, much too constricted, much too polite, with pre-screened questions that often weed out the interesting stuff. Let the candidates speak to direct challenges from the audience, within reason of course. Mendo being Mendo there are always a handful of the unhinged who dominate any public event that isn’t ruthlessly moderated. But you can have a freewheeling exchange without it getting out of hand if the moderator knows his/her stuff. (KC Meadows of the Ukiah Daily Journal is particularly good in moderator mode.)

KATY TAHJA, Mendocino County historian, asks: "Ever heard anything about Jennie Matthews, the first woman on the Mendocino County board of supervisors? In A.O. Carpenter’s massive history tome on page 406 it says she filled in and finished her husband’s term after he died, more than 100 years ago. No wonder we’ve never heard of her."

WE FOUND MRS. MATHEWS when she was still Miss Mathews in 1890, and one of four Mendo reps to the Woman's (sic) Christian Temperance Union.


A Fourth District resident asked Supervisor Gjerde, “As your constituent, I urge you to work diligently to finally enforce Measure V, the measure passed by 62% of the county electorate. With wildfire being the clear and present danger, we don't need anymore dead stands of trees poisoned by lumber companies, as in this climate emergency, ALL trees are worth being left as green as possible. Please do the right thing, rather than the thing lumber companies are lobbying for you to do. It's good to remember there's another election shortly, and to also remember who got you voted in last time.”

GJERDE REPLIED: “So this happened:

I'm doing what I can. Here's an update.

On December 17, I voted to appoint Supervisors John Haschak and Ted Williams to an ad hoc committee to work with County staff and stakeholders. The hope was they would bring back proposals to implement Measure V without costly litigation that the County is uncertain to win in court.

I’m ready and receptive to hearing the committee's suggestions at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the agenda item submitted for the full board and public to read, you can see the committee provided no options or specific details with their agenda summary. This leaves everyone left waiting for their verbal report on Tuesday.

Thank you.

Dan Gjerde

PS: This is nearly the entire report written by the committee:

"On December 17, 2019 the BOS provided direction regarding Measure V by appointing an ad hoc committee composed of Supervisor Williams and Supervisor Haschak to look at alternatives and mitigations and also that code enforcement would investigate and gather data regarding the sole complaint to the County of a Measure V violation and report back within 30 days. The ad hoc met on January 29 with various stakeholders to discuss possible alternatives and mitigations to the Measure V ordinance."

"SUMMARY OF REQUEST: Code enforcement was directed to investigate the complaint and return and report to the Board their findings. The ad hoc committee will report on their findings from their January 29 meeting. The Board of Supervisors may provide additional direction or take action as appropriate."

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Even with a strongly worded refutation of MRC’s “we’re exempt” argument (after more than two years of waiting for the Attorney General to do absolutely nothing), the Supes couldn’t even send a demand letter to MRC saying they’d enforce Measure V unless MRC comes up with a compliance plan. 

GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL SCAM: According to a report in Sunday’s Ukiah Daily Journal by Justine Frederiksen, State Sen. Mike McGuire was in Ukiah Friday to celebrate the first completed segment of the Great Redwood Trail, which McGuire said will be “the longest Rail Trail in America” once it stretches from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay. Which it will certainly do some time around the Twelfth of Never. “This is going to be a ton of work over the next several years, but we’re on the right track,” said McGuire as if he were manning a shovel and, as with many of his public pronouncements you get that sinking feeling that he believes his delusions.

(photo by Chris Pugh, Ukiah Daily Journal)

THE DEMOCRATS completely screwed taxpayers with their previous decades of “Little Train That Never Could” propaganda, wasting literal millions of public dollars on bogus track maintenance and administration. Even my fellow amnesiacs remember this same kind of overhyped Trail rhetoric from the Demos for their equivalently fraudulent “North Coast Railroad Authority.” 

BUT THE UKIAH links will soon enable Ukiah’s more adventurous pedestrians to walk all the way to Ukiah’s wastewater treatment plant, a fitting terminus given the accompanying hype. 

WE WONDER how much “new housing” the $4.6 million dollars spent on this boondoggle would finance? Not to mention the nearly $1.5 billion the entire 320 miles of  the fantasy “trail” would cost at $4.6 mil per mile.

SPEAKING OF FRAUD, note that our big three reps — Huffman, Wood and McGuire — are playing it safe with presidential endorsements, not that they're permitted to make them on their own. They'll go with whomever the party endorses while praying that it isn't Bernie.

AM I HEARING things or are more people talking through their noses? Have to wonder if professional radio people, such as those heard on early morning radio, and often on NPR, ever listen to themselves? Some are so extremely nasal they're kinda like some kind of ethereal whinnying. Even Laura Trevelyan on the BBC Evening News talks through her nose, and the BBC announcers and news readers, men and women, used to speak from the very depths of their diaphragms, their voices as profoundly resonant as if they were reporting from the Kingdom of Heaven. In my case, my voice sensitivities may be genetic. My father seemed awfully voice sensitive, often reacting to a screeching female voice with an audible, "Jeezus, how'd you like to live with that voice?" And don't get me started on uptalk, and the weirdly affected, molar-chopping consonants adopted by both young men and women. Affectation translates directly as fear.


[1] The candidates that speak up on material issues affecting the vast multitude of the bottom 90% will win the election. If, in their time in office, that winning candidate delivers on those material issues, they will win re-election. If the political class advocates for the unworkable status quo and keeps fighting the tranny wars, it creates a political opening of the type that Trump spotted. That’s all he did. So did Bernie. If the ruling elite and its enabling clerisy keep talking Russian collusion-meddling and this abuse of office nonsense, the odds of insurrection go up, armed or otherwise. And that little get-together by armed thousands in Virginia should have been instructive. You can say it was about guns like you can say the on-going kerfuffles in Hong Kong are about democracy. I would say that both are about something other than guns or democracy. 

[2] Laytonville has quite the bright future in cannabis. Flow-Kana’s days are numbered and anyone who has lived in Laytonville 30 years or longer knows the Flo-Kana’s and the rest of the two-buck-Chucks of this world mean nothing to the long time growers who set the bar decades ago on quality weed. The foundation to Laytonville becoming anything other than a truck stop is to avoid the county process all together. Group the forces collectively and go straight to Sacramento. County level anything in Mendo is a joke. This thing at the Garden Club next a good start to see where folks are at. Peace!

[3] I know I heard about some commission for the county [Mendo] to deal with climate change. I have a lot of thoughts on many things but I have a few questions I'm hoping can be answered.

With climate collapse happening, we are already seeing how the fishing industry is not going to be something the county can depend upon. Logging we already know is not dependable with the shutdown of the mill and the hack and squirt debacle (is there a commission for dealing with all the dead standing trees both from this and the beetles?)

The wine industry does more damage than anything to the land and water in our county, why does the county allow so many wineries instead of encouraging actual food production.

To bounce off food production, is there any plans to make a centralized area farmers can take their products for processing and selling? In Japan that is often how it's done so it's not all on each individual farmer to process and sell which tends to make things a lot easier and keep pressure off. The weed industry could be very profitable if it was accessible to more people (licensing etc.) along with more legit perhaps, processing jobs too and taxed well, perhaps encouraging hemp too for people who would be uncomfortable cultivating or working with drugs. As it is though it is not benefitting the county like it should. Are there projects in the works for the county to make electricity? (Solar? Wind? Wave?)

We cannot rely on tourism or the current incomes we have, the county needs to bring in an actual industry again (one that won't be detrimental to the environment around it also, lookin at you lumber and wine and sometimes weed too). We need to be able to make our county into something that people want to and can actually move to and live in. (I didn't even touch affordable housing, just had friends move to Arizona because of that issue, that is two people who could have been helping out the county and area that are gone now.) It's hard to admit we are in a climate collapse and also a not very positive turn in our county when it comes to getting people to want to move here or stay living here but we are and gotta think forward and in the now.

[4] “Civil War Two begins in earnest”? A literal civil war? I cannot picture a shooting war. I just cannot. Disgruntled people, marching around, maybe. Maybe smashing some windows and burning cars. And then what? How would this go? Soccer moms manning the barricades around the Walmart? Cubicle dwellers seizing the radio and TV stations?

[5] The Transgender Reading Hours are not civilization ending in and of themselves per se….maybe. However, they are a sign that our civilization is ending. Make of it what you wish but the cold, hard reality of demographics agrees. Sorry. If not Tranny Story Hour, then what? What will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? The whole of the West is sinking. Some of it may stay afloat. Most of it won’t. Rome in its latter days can’t have looked as ridiculous as this.

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