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MCT: Sunday, February 23, 2020

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A WEAK COLD FRONT will bring light rain and drizzle to primarily Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties today. High pressure will spring back and provide dry weather next week. (NWS)

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Carol Kiparsky, 77, and Ian Irwin, 72, were found alive Saturday after being missing in Marin County for more than a week, authorities said.

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by Malcolm Macdonald

At its February 10th meeting, the Fort Bragg City Council unanimously approved sending a letter to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

The first two paragraphs: “Mendocino County’s reliance on Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) and Redwood Community Services (RCS) for Behavioral Health and Recovery Services appears to increase each year. As the services that RQMC and RCS provide are expanded, the Fort Bragg City Council would like to see more data on the success of those programs locally, here on the Coast, and countywide. Most, if not all, of the information provided by RQMC focuses on numbers served and not on measuring the improvements in the health and wellbeing of their clients.

“Without compromising confidentiality, it would be helpful to know how many clients enter programs with substance abuse or undiagnosed mental health illnesses and are successfully treated. For example, a metric that measures the baseline of clients entering the system and tracks and reports progress over time will provide accountability for County funds and a measurement to gage ongoing improvement. Although the City Council is not well versed in Behavioral Health and Recovery Services standards and metrics, we have no doubt such assessments exist to guide and evaluate these programs. The City Council feels strongly that we should compare our local programs to others in the region and across the nation, to evaluate success and pursue means to improve our programs, not just the numbers served.”

Later the letter states, “[T]he Fort Bragg City Council respectfully requests that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors require a professional assessment of the services provided by RQMC and all of their subcontractors using an appropriate industry standard. The results of such an assessment can be used countywide to evaluate the quality of services provided and measure success and progress going forward. The County could use these same results to build standard requirements or metrics into their service agreements.”

The bottom line amounts to a desire to see measurable outcomes. The initial data may need fine tuning, but once measurable outcome information is more fully available improvements can be far more readily achieved. So too, can realistic goals regarding budgeting, staffing and potential expansion of services.

Want something that isn't measured very well. Try the “Point in Time” count of homeless on the Mendocino Coast. Along with 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams and Fort Bragg City Council member Bernie Norvell, I attended a brief training for the PiT on the last Tuesday evening of January. Essentially, if you could sign your name and show up two mornings later at 5am, preferably with a driver's license, you were in. So, after counting and feeding all the cows here on the ranch at 3 am that Thursday, I made my way to Fort Bragg and the Hospitality Center, the entity responsible for the PiT.

Some of us from the Tuesday evening training had hoped that the 2019 PiT report from the Hospitality Center might be available for perusal, if for no other reason than to get an idea of where the homeless had been located last year. Such information was not available.

Ted Williams and I were teamed for the January 31st PiT count. We both searched through a box of clipboards with designated zones for the count, seeking the clipboard with the town of Mendocino as its subject. It was nowhere to be found. Instead we took possession of two other clipboards that covered Comptche-Ukiah Road, Little River, Albion, a portion of Albion Ridge Road, the Navarro Headlands and beach as well as Highway 128 out to Philo. Off we went in Ted's car at a couple minutes after 5am. As you might imagine, not even the homeless are up and at 'em in the pitch dark of a late January at 5 am, nor at 6 am. Even on dirt side roads off Albion Ridge, not a creature was stirring.

Only after we had looped around from Philo, back through the town of Navarro for a second time then onto Flynn Creek Road, through Comptche, and more than a hundred miles of driving later in the 7 o'clock hour, approximately seven miles east of Highway One, did we find a man living in his car on a dirt wide-out.

Though it was light by then, he was none too happy to have our headlights shining through his side window. He directed a F-bomb and an a-hole comment, as one should when choosing between an elected official and a writer, at the supervisor.

Ted and I headed on back to Highway One and over the Big River Bridge, having enjoyed a couple of hours of personal and political conversation, but both feeling rather sheepish about finding only one homeless person. Part of the conversation, of course, included a list of methods of improvement, too long for one article, for the manner in which the PiT count could or should take place. Later in the day, city councilman Norvell heard one of the offshoots of that conversation, Williams' idea to ask for more measurable outcomes from RQMC. This may have provided a genesis for the City's letter.

As we headed north, passing Mendocino, while I double checked my report on the man in his car on Comptche Road, what did I find buried at the bottom of the clipboard designated for Comptche Road and Little River? Yes, indeed, there, by its lonesome was the missing town of Mendocino PiT sheet.

We doubled back into town in time to spot three regular Mendocino homeless folk coming out of the brush toward the bus stop east of the Ford House on Main Street. We spotted one more homeless fellow near Moody's coffee emporium then parked the car and beat the bushes and soggier locales of the Mendocino headlands and beaches, but with no more visible homeless heads to count.

Of course, about eight hours later, on my way to a meeting in Fort Bragg I spied two recognizably homeless persons near the Highway One and Little Lake Road intersection. A couple of hours further into Thursday evening, I stopped on my return from the Fort Bragg meeting and met three of the usual homeless fellows who patrol Lansing Street of an evening. By then, Ted and I had long since turned in our clipboards.

Our obvious undercount of four homeless people (one woman, three men) for the town of Mendocino had been superseded by the five other homeless individuals I saw later on the same day.

Two days after that Bernie Norvell and I walked through a series of homeless encampments alongside Highway 20, on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. The time was early afternoon. We encountered four different individuals and a literal boatload (probably several boatloads) of trash. Three of the homeless individuals spoke with us at length, including a woman in her late twenties who was clearly high on meth and stated as much. Despite her condition, which on a chilly day included nothing more than a tee shirt and sweat pants as clothing, she recalled classmates from Mendocino High a decade earlier and other specific details, including her refusal to accept services from Hospitality Center and Hospitality House.

Later that week, Councilman Norvell contacted out-of-state relatives on her behalf. They would have taken her in, but when we returned to the site eight days later with the potential of bus tickets for her, she could not be located. Since then she has been arrested (again). She's on the Ten Mile Court docket for multiple hearings before a March 10th trial date. Whether she is classified as merely an alleged criminal with a drug habit or also diagnosed under our county's mental health system is unknown at this time to me.

One of the other people we spoke with at the string of homeless camps running east along Hare Creek was actively engaged in picking up bag after bag of garbage during both weekends that we stopped by. Farther east, alongside the creek, a woman kept her camp as neat as one could possibly do under her homeless circumstances. There was no visible evidence of alcohol or drug consumption at her solo camp. She talked at some length of her several years as an “outdoor enthusiast.” She had long ago given up on Hospitality House or the winter shelter system, stating that she had been passed over unfairly for housing through the Hospitality House/Center system for too long to consider further attempts at using their services. We did find this woman when we returned the following weekend. She politely refused an offer to work with Project Sanctuary as an alternative to Hospitality Center in an effort to find housing. The youngish man who spent much of his days cleaning up has also refused the housing offered by Hospitality, but he did state he occasionally uses the showers at Hospitality House.

The request by the Fort Bragg City Council is now mirrored by an agenda item offered by Supervisor Williams for the February 25th Board of Supervisors meeting. This item would “direct [the] Mendocino County Director of Health and Human Services to request aggregate patient outcome data from Redwood Quality Management Company and subcontractors, pursuant to the scope of work under the County’s various contracts with RQMC, and disseminate with trends analysis.”

The problems of homelessness and the lack of substantial mental health services extend beyond Mendocino County to the state and the nation. All the holes and pitfalls in services cannot be attributed to RQMC, RCS, or subcontractors like Hospitality Center. However, the abilities of these entities will remain in question unless truly measurable outcomes of the clientele become a commonplace work product.

That Point in Time count for last year? During the day, following the 2020 PiT, I texted the executive director of the Hospitality Center, requesting “a 2019 PiT count for [the] Coast – or even 2018 – that is available for public perusal.”

The Hospitality Center's executive director responded in text form that night, “Yes, I have the report for 2019 almost complete for the public. I just need a final edit of my work. It's about 13 pages long.”

More than twelve months to complete a 13-page document is a measurable outcome of sorts. According to reliable sourcing from outside this county, the national Point in Time report for any given year should be ready for the public by mid summer.

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Wallace is a unique doggy combo, and at 22 pounds, he's a great size too. Wallace is a bit apprehensive, but he is making progress at the shelter. Right after his evaluation/Meet & Greet, Wallace went on a walk with a volunteer and he looked like a happy little dog without a care in the world! It takes a few minutes for Wallace to warm up and feel comfortable with new people, but when he met Deena, a happy-go-lucky and social female dog, he perked right up! It would be great for Wallace to have a "helper dog" in his new home who can show him how to feel secure and content and confident. But, if Wallace is the only dog in his new home, we know that he will continue to make progress with some good old fashioned TLC! Wallace is a 2 year old neutered male.

The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit our website for information about our canine and feline guests and all of our services, programs and events: For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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Interviewed by Bruce Anderson

(Ed note: After 22 years in a variety of federal prisons, John Dalton is at home in Laytonville picking up the pieces of his shattered life. His case was the worst example of egregious/outrageous government misconduct we know of. So far as we know, Dalton was held longer on marijuana-related charges than any other Mendocino County resident. We spoke to him about his unbelievable case and the aftermath last weekend.)

AVA: How did your case become a federal case and not just a Mendocino County matter sorted out on the local level?

Dalton: I don't really know. It's been a long time. There was the burglary mentioned in your earlier AVA articles, I think one of the local cops got ahold of the DEA agent in the area after that.

AVA: So the DEA just took it over and made it a federal case?

Dalton: That's right. They thought there were assets involved and they had more power to steal them.

AVA: When did you realize they were after you? Was it when shots were fired at you at your place near Branscomb?

Dalton: That was just the local cops back in 1986. Just county deputies. That was basically the first time I realized they were after me.

AVA: You were living in Redwood Valley. You were working. Life was going reasonably well. You had a stormy relationship with your wife, Ms. Horstman….

Dalton: That was well after that initial 1986 timeframe. When those shots were fired I was living on the mountaintop near Branscomb. That was back in the 80s. Hostmann got involved with the DEA in 1993 or 94.

AVA: Ms. Horstman was romantically involved with at least two DEA agents for whom she placed a tape recorder beneath the marital bed. Did you suspect that she would be as treacherous as she turned out to be?

Dalton: Not even. She was a demon in disguise, I kid you not.

AVA: The feds arrest you…

Dalton: Yes, and I was at Dublin Jail for almost four years, then Oakland County Jail for about 11 months. Over four and a half years, fighting my case. I went to court many times. I filed motions and I was trying to overturn this indictment. Fighting it left and right, one way or the other, any way I could. Several attorneys. They all seemed to be on the side of the government, to be truthful about it. I was denied bail before my conviction. When they arrested me, they didn't have anything on me. I knew I would be out of jail within two weeks on bail so I could defend myself. But that never happened. Four and a half years went by before I even went to trial. Then they sentenced me.

AVA:It was a jury trial?

Dalton: My trial was a jury trial. As it should have been. But it was more like a circus, not a trial. By that time they had already stolen my defense from me because months before the trial when we had an evidentiary hearing for outrageous government conduct we thought the judge would allow us to bring in all this ridiculous government conduct, the tape recordings, my wife flying around in a DEA helicopter, etc., and let the jury hear it. That part was just before the judge. The judge ruled against me. She said, 'You have brought all this out at the evidentiary hearing but we are not going to allow the jury to hear any of it. So the jurors who convicted me knew that something was being hidden from them but they did not know the extent of what was being hidden. We were not allowed to say anything about Agent Nelson and my wife, making a double agent out of her and getting into her head and screwing her over — they wouldn't allow any of that to be presented to the jury. The jury was out for two and a half days. If they had been able to consider what we brought up in that evidentiary hearing two or three months before trial — but they were never able to hear any of that. If they had, they would never have convicted me.

AVA: The jury look ok?

Dalton: The jury was about half men and half women. There were two or three young people on it. My trial attorney, Tony Serra, I have respect for the man. And Sherry White also. Very much. But before the evidentiary hearing on the outrageous government conduct I told him, Hold on a second. If we put all this evidentiary hearing evidence in front of them now about this agent with my wife in this case — will they let us put it in front of a jury? And he did not say anything. He just looked down. I thought for certain we would be able to bring it up. But he knew at that point that we probably wouldn't be allowed to bring it up. After the judge denied us, Tony never even told me that that was the ruling. It was about a month later. There was a ruling and she denied it. It killed me. I had to find out for myself a month later after the ruling.

AVA: And now, twenty-two years later…

Dalton: I was incarcerated from the time I was imprisoned in Dublin to October of 2019 when I walked out the door and my son was outside to pick me up. That was my son John. Josh Corrigan was Victoria's son.

AVA: Inside?

Dalton: Being in prison is another life. A terrible life. You're just trapped in there. You can look beyond the fence and know you never can go out there or anywhere. The only time we went out was for some medical reason or from one prison to another or a plane ride across the country to another prison. Shackled and chained all the time, well over 100 times in those 23 years on different occasions. They still call it bus therapy.

AVA: Your exact conviction?

Dalton: I was convicted of a continuing criminal enterprise and that is a very high charge for the feds. I know of one other case out of this area that was handled like that. Eddie Lepp. He just got out of a few of years ago as well. He did a lot of years in the federal prison system too for marijuana. I'm pretty sure he was out of Mendocino County. But he's in some other county down south now. He was a big-time dude. I wasn't into anything like that. I was a small-time marijuana grower that they made out to sound like a big one. They convicted me of 9,000 plants over a three-year period. That's nothing compared to what's going on in this county today! I was just a simple grower.

AVA: How many prisons were you held in?

Dalton: I was in seven different federal prisons in those 23 years. Beaumont, Texas was the worst, probably. There are a few variations in the food and medical help, which is lacking in all of them actually, but some are little better than others. Nobody ever messed with me. I didn't have to gang up. I weight lifted and I was in good shape and nobody ever messed with me. A lot of racial politics in the federal system between races and gangs. Oh yes. You have the black shot callers and the white shot callers and one-shot caller will go and talk to the other shot caller and cool things out. Some prisons it's much worse than others. You don't want to get into that.

AVA: Are you a Mendo native?

Dalton: I had lived in Mendocino County since 1983. I moved up here from Porterville. And by the time I finished 11th grade I had been to 26 different schools in four different states. My father was a truck driver and we seemed to always be on the road from the get-go. I've always been mechanically inclined, I've worked at several diesel truck companies, picked it up pretty easily. I was considered to be the top-notch mechanic and an up and comer in the mechanic world. I built hot rod engines there in Redwood Valley. Doing fine until these people came into my life. It didn't take long for the word to get around in those small towns that the federal government was on my case. It put a real cramp on any business coming in. At one point they even rented a house behind me to spy on me in Redwood Valley. They did that while Victoria [Horstman] was living with me.

AVA: How many times did you go up for parole?

Dalton: I was never up for parole in my 23 years. They don't have federal parole anymore. They stopped that 25 or 30 years ago. I had to do all my time, complete all my time, every day of it. There was a point when Obama was President in 2016 when they were considering reducing sentences for all drug crimes. But if you are convicted of a criminal enterprise, that was not included in the eligibility. They commuted everybody else with a drug crime and gave them a two-point reduction in their sentence. But I could not get that. I watched all these thousands of people getting reductions but I couldn't get a thing. I kept appealing with the courts and I was denied and denied and denied, time after time.

AVA: Did you have any representation while you were inside?

Dalton: Most of that time I was in the federal system I did not have an attorney. I had an appellate attorney who did my direct appeal. He messed that up. Dan Horowitz, from the Bay Area. He tried to bring up the outrageous government conduct in my appeal and it was still denied. They were going out of their way to convict me. I had a $48 million lawsuit against these people. It was a dead-bang winner. But they had to convict me in order to get past that and they had to make sure on appeal that I did not overturn my conviction. I think they would have been more lenient if I had not filed that suit and it's possible I might have won my trial.

AVA: I know the feds took most of your property. Do you have anything left?

Dalton: I have about 80 acres out in Branscomb that my son lives on. And my brother. That's about it. I now live in Laytonville with an old friend and his wife who stuck with me throughout this entire fiasco. They were nice enough to let me locate a little trailer here where he lives. True friends.

AVA: How’s your health?

Dalton: My rib injury is feeling a little better. Sciatica in my left leg. Herniated disc. Several crushed vertebraes. Bulging discs. I’m 64 years old. I'm on SSI right now.

AVA: Family?

Dalton: All my brothers and my sister are still alive. I have two grandsons from my daughter who passed away in 2014, an 18-year-old grandson from her and a 10-year-old. The oldest is in Florida and is about to go into the military. I have not seen him since he was real small, maybe six or seven. I've never seen my 10 year old. I'm in contact with him by phone all the time from Carson City, Nevada. He's going to visit pretty soon. I’m looking forward to that. He's looking forward to it too.

AVA: Computer world?

Dalton: Just the phone. No computer. Can't afford anything like that right now.

AVA: Any contact with local cops? Deputy Bone?

Dalton: Bone lives over in El Dorado County now somewhere. All those guys are getting up in age. Those guys don't want anything to do with me and I certainly don't want to see any of them. They got me dirty. Every single one of them knows that they screwed me around worse than anybody that they've ever screwed around. I'm the last person they want any contact with. And I don't want anything to do with them. I don't want to talk to them. I don't want to even see those sons of bitches. I'm trying to live a clean life. I'm on probation and just trying to get on with life. I've put all that past stuff behind me and I just want to go on with my son and my grandson and just live. I was 41 years old when they arrested me and I'm 64 now. Took the best years of my life. I'm starting to break down physically now.

AVA: A lot of people are following in your case. It's been online. A lot of interest.

Dalton: I'm struggling out here. We will make it, but it will be slow for a while. I wish we had more money coming in. But it's going to be this way for awhile. I may have to start cutting some trees on my property before long

Ed note: The late Alexander Cockburn's piece on Dalton's case is again repeated here.


by Alexander Cockburn

All those present in a federal courtroom in San Francisco in mid-May were edified by the sight of a federal prosecutor getting off to a faltering start by having to admit that the government's prime witness and lead investigator — Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Mark Nelson — had committed perjury.

The object of special agent Nelson's probe has been John Dalton, brought to the courtroom from the federal detention center in Dublin, to hear his lawyer, Tony Serra, argue before federal district Judge Susan Illston that the DEA's case against Dalton be dismissed for “outrageous government conduct.” Among such outrageous conduct must undoubtedly be included the fact that special agent Nelson's perjury stemmed from his efforts to conceal the precise date on which he commenced an amorous relationship with Dalton's wife, Victoria Horstman.

Here, in other words, is a saga that gives us the government's war on drugs at its ripest malevolence, for which I'm indebted to Mark Heimann, who compiled the incredible tale from court documents for a series in the Anderson Valley Advertiser.

Let's return to 1985. Dalton is living with his first wife on an 80-acre parcel in Mendocino County, some four hours' drive up 101 from San Francisco. This is pot-growing country. About 4:00 in the afternoon, bullets start raining down on the cabin, and Dalton sneaks out to the ridge where the shots are coming from. At this point, he's bushwacked by five men in camouflage who beat him senseless.

He comes to, face in the dirt, to find his assailants are from the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, better known as CAMP. These are teams of federal, state and local cops. They ask him if he's a marijuana grower. Dalton says no and that he will sue. Sheriff's Deputy Charlie Bone, who's dislocated his finger in the encounter, tells Dalton that they know he's a pot grower and that his troubles are only beginning.

Within eight hours of the arrest, the charges against Dalton are dropped, and, though an attorney tells him he could collect big time, Dalton reckons the safe course is to do nothing.

In 1992, Dalton, a brilliant mechanic favored by the hot-rod set, embarks on a relationship with Victoria (Tori) Horstman. They are married a year later in Las Vegas.

The Dalton-Horstman menage is not tranquil. Dalton calls the police from time to time to restore order, and though Horstman claims her husband is a brute, her own 19-year-old son has testified, most recently in Judge Illston's courtroom, that John was “a very mellow man” and a good dad, and that his mother was a mean drunk.

Horstman is a wanna-be cop, consorts with cops and by 1994 was passing bank deposit slips from her husband's machine shop to DEA special agent Mark Nelson, who forthwith signs her up as a DEA source, SR3-94-0054. Horstman has also become romantically involved with agent Nelson, initial overtures having been made in a DEA safe house, where, according to a sworn statement by Horstman, “Agent Nelson gave me a beer, and later, we kissed and fondled each other. I do want to make it clear agent Nelson considered me at all times his personal possession and got angry if I ever talked with other DEA agents.” Among Nelson's other possessions are three children and a pregnant wife.

Nelson successfully presses Horstman to spy on her husband. On at least two occasions, she allows Nelson to search the house while Dalton is at work. Whenever she demurs, the DEA agent threatens to charge her with money laundering on Dalton's behalf.

The most vivid episode in this sequence comes in September 1994, during a big fed/state/local enforcement drive against marijuana gardens in the area of Mendocino County. Nelson and a colleague seek out Horstman with the request that she place a “special FBI tape recorder” behind the headboard of her marital bed. Dalton duly returns home and describes the raids to wife and tape recorder, with the latter instrument soon returned by Horstman to Nelson.

Despite the surveillance, the DEA never gets a shred of evidence linking Dalton to marijuana growing. Thus balked, they turn to the drug war's favored tool, a snitch. Two, in fact. Using the statements of these snitches — one with prior convictions for perjury and fraud — they seize all Dalton's property for forfeiture, on the grounds that such property is the fruit of illegal labor. After the raid, Nelson oversees Horstman's separation from Dalton; he and five feds load up a U-Haul with Horstman's stuff while Dalton is out. When Dalton finds out Horstman is in Blaine, Washington, and goes north to patch up their marriage, Horstman informs Nelson, who himself hurries north with eavesdropping equipment. Horstman rejects Dalton's overtures and ultimately divorces him at the urging of Nelson, who even drives her to the lawyer's office to sign the final divorce papers.

On Sept. 27, 1996, the Feds arrest Dalton, on the basis of a secret federal grand jury indictment, charging him with marijuana cultivation and witness tampering. Among the witnesses against him is the operator of a speed lab facing a life term but rewarded for his testimony with a 10-year sentence. Denied bail, Dalton has been in prison for nearly two years, awaiting trial. He's suing the feds for $44.8 million for outrageous conduct. The feds' last desperate throw in the dismissal suit was rich with effrontery, seeking to paint Dalton as an abusive husband. At the time of this writing, Judge Illston is considering whether to dismiss the case.

What this has to do with marijuana cultivation is unclear. Even if Illston doesn't dismiss, it's hard to imagine a jury failing to agree with Serra that in its war on drugs the government is running amok.

(AVA Reporter Tim Stelloh’s 2010 update)

THE JOHN DALTON CASE: Egregious Government Conduct

by Tim Stelloh (April 2010)

It was a little over a decade ago [from 2010] that John Dalton, formerly of Redwood Valley, was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for growing large amounts of marijuana in the rugged hills near Branscomb. He received the sentence after the DEA agent investigating him amassed a mountain of on-the-job improprieties — including a romantic tryst with Dalton's alcoholic, drug-using, unstable wife, Victoria Horstman, who the agent had cultivated as an informant and who was found dead in 2007 under mysterious circumstances in Montana.

Those improprieties were the spine of a civil lawsuit filed late last year by Dalton in San Francisco Federal District Court for $44 million against Janet Reno, the DEA, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendo’s pot raiders (COMMET) and everyone in between.

The agent, Mark Nelson, met Horstman in the summer of 1994. She had long harbored law enforcement ambitions, so she began aiding the drug cops in their investigation against her husband. It started with Horstman handing Nelson bank deposit slips from her husband's machine shop. The agent subsequently made her a snitch (and allegedly threatened that she could be prosecuted for money laundering if she refused). In an effort to collect more information on her husband — and with Nelson's encouragement — Horstman placed a DEA recorder behind the headboard of their bed, a violation of marital privacy rights. It was around then that things turned romantic between the agent and his informant. When it came time to fingerprint Horstman — who was now officially a “source of information” — Nelson blindfolded her and drove her to the county drug cops' secret “safehouse.” Then he gave her a beer.

“Soon after, he put his head in my lap as if nothing was abnormal,” Horstman later wrote in a letter to prosecutors. “I froze up out of disbelief of what was happening to me. Soon after he then turned over on his side on the couch and swung me down and over facing him and began kissing me while he took my left leg and pushed it into his crotch area.”

In Horstman's telling, Nelson tried, over the course of their relationship, to have sex with her multiple times — though she refused — and he even drove her to a divorce lawyer and “forced” her to leave her husband (which she did). During Dalton's trial, a close friend of Horstman's testified that it was far more than fondling, kissing and “trying” to have sex, however — she said that Horstman and Nelson were having an affair.

In those letters to prosecutors, Horstman said that all that DEA pressure had damaged her irreparably — that she'd filled her garage with exhaust in a suicide attempt. In the years following Dalton's eventual conviction, in 1999, Horstman moved first to Potter Valley, then to Montana, according to her son, Josh Corrigan, who testified in Dalton's trial but soon after left Mendocino County for Oakdale, near Modesto, to live with his grandparents.

“She went up there because part of her heritage is Blackfoot Indian,” said Corrigan, now 31. “When we were kids, she talked about going back there, about knowing her roots. One of her favorite movies was ‘A River Runs Through It.’ But she couldn't handle it. I felt so sorry for her.”

Corrigan kept in touch with his mom through letters, and occasionally they talked on the phone. Then, several years ago, she sent family photo albums — the only possessions she'd taken with her up north — to Corrigan's sister. On the evening of July 5, 2007, her body was found floating in the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula. Horstman was taken to the hospital and placed in intensive care — but she was already brain dead. She died 15 days later.

The medical examiner found that Horstman had drowned, and classified her death as undetermined. Detective Chris Shermer, who investigated the case for the Missoula Police Department, said her apartment — which was at an Elk's Lodge — was nearly empty, save for a few jugs of wine, some bottles of anti-depressants and recently purchased bed sheets. Neighbors described a troubled woman to Shermer: On one occasion, he said, Horstman was seen crouched in the lotus position outside her apartment, a bottle of booze beside her. She'd been screaming. Other times, she told neighbors that she worked for the DEA and that the KGB was watching them through their televisions.

“They drove her insane,” Corrigan said. “When my sister visited my mom, she was really paranoid, especially with TV screens. She thought the DEA was watching her.”

When agent Nelson was questioned about Horstman's allegations during Dalton's trial, he denied some, admitted some, took the fifth on another, crucial point — and was accompanied by a non-government lawyer to the witness stand. Yes, he'd taken Horstman to the safehouse. Yes, he'd given her a beer. No, he didn't know she was an alcoholic. Yes, he'd kissed her — but only once, at the safehouse. No, he'd never fondled her. Yes, he knew he'd broken DEA rules. Yes, he'd driven her to the divorce lawyer. No, he'd never forced her to leave her husband. Maybe he'd threatened her with prosecution. When Nelson was asked about the precise day he'd taken her to the safehouse, he took the fifth. Nelson, prosecutors told the court, had falsified the date on Horstman's fingerprint cards so as to conceal when he'd taken her to the safehouse.

Tony Serra, Dalton's attorney at the time, tried getting the government's indictment dismissed based on Nelson's “outrageous” conduct (he also argued that Nelson's search warrants were based on bogus info). While the judge, Susan Illston, found that the agent exercised “poor judgment,” and that what he did was “highly inappropriate,” she didn't find his behavior so “grossly shocking” that it violated the “universal sense of justice” and tainted the government's entire case.

She barred the bedroom recordings, but allowed the prosecutors to proceed. Though they had no physical evidence linking Dalton to the pot gardens the DEA said were his, the government got a conviction based on the testimony of several informants, including Horstman.

Dalton — who filed the same civil lawsuit in the late '90s but voluntarily withdrew it in 2000 due to lack of access to a law library — says despite potential statute of limitations problems with his case, he's confident the judge will agree to hear it. “The lawsuit is a dead-bang winner,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I just basically need someone with some balls to go after the government and hold them accountable for what they have done.”

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SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS, commenting on the Fifth District’s Facebook page recently concerning his and Fort Bragg’s request for some useful information about mental health services: “…We want quantitative and qualitative [information]. The former should be trivial to hand over and is a starting point in a data anemic county. I hear a mix of reports, but overall I don’t have a sense of progress or success.”

* * *

HOPLAND-BASED RETECH moves HQ to Buffalo, New York

* * *



I hope this note might give you a moment of cheer:

The February 19 issue is really outstanding in its diverse content and quality writing.

Should give all your readers hope that AVA is America's last Newspaper because with (The United States is currently home to more than 7,000 non-daily newspapers with more than 150 million readers) there's a lot of years ahead for weeklies..

Washburne shows he can write engagingly with knowledge about issues other than crime and drugs. Informative.

The dystopian "The Destruction of California" well-written and I hope overly pessimistic.

Malcolm Macdonald always surprises, this time with a cow on center stage.

Bill Grimes


* * *


On Saturday, February 15, 2020 at about 9:10 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 8600 block of East Road in Redwood Valley. Deputies were advised a male subject was physically assaulting a female subject at the location. Upon arrival, Deputies learned an adult female was being transported to the hospital due to injuries sustained during the altercation. Deputies were advised the adult female's boyfriend had caused her injuries. When Deputies were trying to investigate the incident, they were confronted by KC Stillwell, 26, of Covelo. Stillwell stood in the doorway to the residence and would not let the Deputies inside. Stillwell stated there was no one else in the residence, but that she did not live there. Deputies could hear movement inside and Stillwell changed her statement to say her friend was inside. Stillwell continually interfered with the Deputies efforts to investigate the incident and was arrested for resisting/delaying a Peace Officer.

Stillwell, Norton, Riley

The Deputies entered the residence and found Jessica Norton, 28, of Redwood Valley, Weston Riley, 24, of Covelo, and Nicholas Britton, of Covelo, inside. Riley exhibited signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Riley was further found to be on Parole with terms to submit to search, submit to drug testing and obey all laws. Riley's Parole Agent was contacted and a Parole hold was placed on him. Norton was found to be on summary probation with terms to submit to search and obey all laws. Norton also resisted/delayed the Deputies’ investigation. Norton was arrested for violation of her probation and resisting/delaying a Peace Officer.

Britton, Morrow, Whipple

In a locked bedroom, after knocking numerous times, Christina Morrow, 48, of Redwood Valley, opened the door. In the room Deputies saw Douglas Whipple, 33, of Redwood Valley. Sheriff's Office dispatch advised Morrow and Whipple were both on summary probation with terms to submit to search and obey all laws. In the bedroom, Deputies located 2.2 grams (gross weight) of methamphetamine and two hypodermic syringes with a clear liquid (suspected methamphetamine). Deputies were able to connect Morrow to possessing the methamphetamine/syringes and was arrested. Deputies determined Whipple as being the person who caused the injuries to the adult female that had been transported to the hospital. Deputies determined the adult female had been hit and kicked after being thrown on to the ground during the incident. This attack caused a dislocated shoulder, bruising, swelling and scratches. Whipple was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery, Battery causing Great Bodily Injury, and Violation of Probation. Whipple was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail. Weston was arrested for Violation of Parole and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Weston was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of no bail. Morrow was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, resisting/delaying a Peace Officer and Violation of Probation. Morrow was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail. Stillwell and Norton were arrested for resisting/delaying a Peace Officer and Violation of Probation. They were booked into the Mendocino County Jail where they were held in lieu of $10,000 bail each.

* * *

* * *



There has never been a more straightforward choice than on Measure C. Either we have a hospital or we don’t. I hope everyone understands that and votes Yes.

It is enlightening to understand how this came about. Forty years ago the local hospital was staffed by a great group of doctors, the area was financially much better off with thriving fishing and lumber industries and a growing tourism business. The practice of medicine still valued the general practitioner and the health business was not yet dominated by big pharm, specialists, huge insurance companies and a convoluted federal Medicare and Medicaid system. Although the advances in the ability to diagnose and cure the ill have advanced tremendously in those forty years, those benefits haven’t flowed to rural medical community. As a result health care in communities such as ours has declined.

Although the Mendocino Coast Hospital District was founded in those more halcyon days in 1971, that business model has been inadequate in many ways. 1) The concept of a community hospital that has a board of directors elected by the district citizens with the only qualifications to serve being twenty-one years old, living in the district, and having enough name recognition to be elected is hardly the way to oversee a $50 million plus business. There are perhaps a dozen people in the district that have the knowledge and skills to fill this critical role. But it is a rare thing for one of those people to run. What we usually get are usually well meaning citizens who have limited if any experience running large businesses and it shows. 2) In addition, board members are saddled with the Brown Act that in the interest of transparency and the fear of skulduggery, prevents more than two board members talking with each other in private. Creativity and free flow of ideas does not happen when the only time you can work together is with cameras rolling and activists watching. There could be much better ways to insure honesty without throttling the ability to work together. 3) Trying to attract top-notch board members to oversee a multi-million dollar business with administrators making hundreds of thousands of salary dollars gratis, putting them under the Brown Act, and expecting them to want to work with board members who are not really qualified for the task and do it gratis is a fool’s errand.

In addition, a hospital board and staff that feel it needs to respond to the whims of an electorate rather than use their professional judgment on what can realistically be provided within the restraints of the market and the legal requirements can lead to devastating decisions. In MCDH’s case, after the bankruptcy in 2014 there was a huge opportunity to restructure the MCDH business. A knowledgeable business leadership team would have reworked the union contract to significantly reduce costs and eliminate the OB department. If that had been done, over $10,000,000 would have been saved over the past six years and the hospital would not have been on the edge of bankruptcy again.

Another major problem is that MCDH has significant difficulties attracting specialists to such a small patient market and our area’s paucity of available housing. MCDH is hobbled by having to use traveling specialist and nursing staff at a huge premium. Our hospital also has a difficult time attracting first rate permanent CEOs. Since I have lived here, every CEO has left with less than a glowing report card on how well they ran MCDH. Is this the way to provide critical services? As one very knowledgeable person in the medical community told me, “We do not have the expertise on the coast to run a hospital.”

I have been informed that the only critical access hospitals surviving in California are: 1) two in ski areas where they have developed renowned orthopedic departments whose cash flow fund the other health services shortfalls or 2) those that are affiliated.

Our community is indeed fortunate that Adventist is not only willing, be apparently enthusiastic to affiliate with MCDH. This opportunity will give access to a much broader range of services and skilled practitioners, competent leadership, and financial stability.

Welcome them in with an overwhelming Yes vote on Measure C on March 3.

Larry R Wagner

Fort Bragg

* * *

IN THE LOBBY of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in Caracas, a sculpture of the former Chilean President Salvador Allende’s glasses. The socialist leader died during the US-backed coup in 1973. Sculpture by the Chilean artist Altamirano.

* * *


Raising livestock in Northern California is a tough job. On top of one’s dependence upon the vagaries of the weather, the cost of feed and the distance to suppliers and markets, are the laws. We operate a small family farm, Petit Teton Farm, in Anderson Valley. For the past six years we have raised a small number of cows and pigs which we must have USDA slaughtered and butchered in order to sell off the farm and at farmers’ markets. Our customers appreciate what we are doing and how it benefits them both taste wise and health wise. Two new issues make this job even tougher.

First, our nearest USDA slaughterhouse closed to the public on January 1st of this year. For the past several years, Marin Sun in Petaluma, accepted animals for slaughter from small farms like ours. Now it will only be processing its own cattle. In essence, they have created a mini meat monopoly for themselves in our area. Their action has left all small farmers and ranchers in Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Lake Counties with no USDA slaughter facility within a viable distance, and there are a lot of animals ready to go to market. The next nearest facilities are in Orland and Eureka; both at least a four-hour one-way drive from our farm. Not only is that not economically feasible, it is awful for the animals, especially for pigs, which become car sick like humans, and the stress harms the meat. There are about 80 farmers and ranchers who are left in this same untenable situation, many of whom have far more animals than we.

There is a consortium of small farms working on alternatives. One is to explore the purchase of a small mobile slaughter facility that would be USDA compliant. Another is to build a brick and mortar slaughter facility possibly somewhere along the 101 corridor. Either or both would be welcome, but they will be years away and hugely costly. These solutions do nothing to help the farmers who have animals at present ready for harvest.

Secondly, did you know that about 85% of the meat sold in this country labeled "Product of the USA" comes from anywhere on the planet but here? In 2015, corporate America, with the help of Congress, changed the law on labeling so that consumer products, anything from meat to fruits to screwdrivers, could be born elsewhere, shipped here, repackaged and relabeled "Product of the USA." Most consumers are unaware of this deception and a lot of grocers and restaurateurs have no clue from whence come the foods they prepare.

Of course this is a huge hurdle for family farms, which are not corporate, want or have to pay good wages to their workers, and are to some degree having their farming practices checked to make sure that they are doing what they say — grass feeding/organic, etc. No one has any idea what foreign countries are doing to or with their products despite what is said, and our costs are much higher than those in other countries which translates into more expensive products. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to change this law back to what it was and should be, at least with regard to specific meats — pork and beef. Big Ag, with its international supply chains and lobbying armies will defeat this effort, unless enough consumers make their voices heard.

Nikki Ausschnitt and Steve Krieg

Petit Teton Farm, Yorkville, CA

* * *

“And tonight, live from Washington, it’s America’s Funniest Conspiracy Theories.”

* * *



Regarding the "hat-backwards boys" mentioned by the editor in the Feb. 19 Off the Record section, those who he believes would enjoy the "Bronze Age Mindset" book he was mentioning:

I once saw a George Carlin stand up routine on TV in which he explained the origin of the hats-backwards males. He said certain males wore their baseball hats backwards so the bill of the hat would not block the view in front of them when they got into a fight.

I wonder how many hats-backwards males in 2020 are aware of this history? (less than 1%?).

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

* * *


On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, it was reported that citizens in the Ukiah area were receiving fraudulent telephone solicitations for donations to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. These telephone solicitations are in no way associated with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and are an obvious phone scam with no legitimate law enforcement purpose. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office does not solicit for donations over the telephone or in person so any such request should be reported. The public is urged against making donations to these fraudulent telephone solicitations and immediately report any such behavior to local law enforcement. It was also reported to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office that people are being asked to leave donations under their front door mats for pickup. These requests are also fraudulent and the public is strongly encouraged to not leave money or donations outside of their home. In an effort to combat identity theft and fraudulent donation requests, please do not provide any personal identifying information over the telephone to include social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or your personal address.

(Sheriff’s Office presser)

* * *

* * *


To the Editor:

In his Jan. 31 letter to the editor titled “Predators a serious concern,” Kyle Farmer accuses the Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance of having “dealt a serious blow to progressive ranchers’ ability to influence our more conservatively minded colleagues when they opened up yet another divisive lawsuit against our under-funded county.” Mr. Farmer’s letter recycles many of the old myths about the USDA Wildlife Services (WS) wildlife management program that need to be laid to rest.

Mr. Farmer claims that as “trained professionals” WS trappers “make sure that when animals are killed it is done as humanely as possible.” This is a demonstrably false public relations ploy by WS. WS regularly deploys neck snares that result in long agonizing deaths by slow strangulation for animals caught in them. WS also regularly deploys leghold traps that snap shut on an animal’s leg, leaving it to suffer until the trapper returns to kill it, often several days later. Animals caught in leghold traps experience such terror that they often try to gnaw their own leg off to escape. For those who doubt this, we urge you to watch the video “EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife” by the national nonprofit advocacy organization Predator Defense, at this link:

Mr. Farmer goes on to make the dubious argument that without WS, ranchers will kill even more predators. He claims that “Those counties who have suspended Wildlife Services are not animal sanctuaries — the killings simply go deeper underground,” offering this as a reason to retain WS. While there is only anecdotal evidence of how many animals are killed by ranchers, there is actual data from WS showing their kill rate in Mendocino County. Between 1997 and 2017, WS killed 8,802 wild animals in the County, which includes 181 mountain lions (cougars), 261 black bears, 235 gray foxes, 112 bobcats, 4,119 coyotes, 1,287 striped skunks and 868 raccoons. These figures do not include many more non-target animals including threatened and endangered species and domestic dogs and cats.

Far too often, WS actions are abominable and Mendocino County should not be complicit in the damage WS inflicts on the natural world. Since a narrow majority of our county’s Board of Supervisors has refused to terminate its association with WS, Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance felt compelled to sue the County to end this unnecessary slaughter of native wildlife and to preserve the integrity of the county’s natural ecology. We have been clear that we are looking for a fair settlement next month, not costly extended litigation.

We reject Farmer’s false claim that protection of livestock and other property is not offered in counties that have terminated their association with WS. In fact, Sonoma County has a model program, operated by the non-profit Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, that offers a non-lethal wildlife exclusion service to mediate human/wildlife conflicts. Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance proposes that our county adopt a wildlife management program based on this Sonoma County model, including the following four attributes:

1) Mendocino County would vest responsibility for wildlife damage management with the county’s Animal Care Services and/or a non-governmental organization capable of providing such services.

2) Mendocino County would adopt a fundamentally non-lethal plan, whose terms would include a ban on killing wildlife in non-emergency situations until all non-lethal methods appropriate to the situation have been exhausted over a reasonable period of time.

3) Mendocino County would hire and train two professional wildlife exclusion technicians who would help property owners (including livestock owners) implement appropriate non-lethal methods to protect their property. Exclusion technicians would be prohibited from using lethal methods.

4) Mendocino County would not hire a full time trapper, but rather, in the event lethal methods are indicated, the County would hire a licensed trapper on a fee-for-service basis.

There is one point on which we surely can all agree: Mendocino County’s wildlife have as much right to live here as we do, and it is our duty as human beings to protect them with our wildlife management program.

Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance Steering Committee: Rose Ireland, Don Lipmanson, Carol Misseldine, Jon Spitz

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, February 22, 2020

Anderson, Byrne, Danielle

CHARLES ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Arson of property, battery on emergency responder, interfering with emergency communications.

PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ANDREW DANIELE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Garnica, Howe, Johnston

OSVALDO GARNICA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.

RICHARD HOWE, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

MARTIN JOHNSTON, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.

Kidd, Laflin, Langley

SHANNON KIDD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.

ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

Leo, Luna, Mitchell

PAUL LEO, Mendocino. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

RYAN LUNA, Ukiah. DUI, battery, no license.

RONALD MITCHELL, Fort Bragg. Assault, unauthorized entry into dwelling.

Rhodes, Sanchez-Hernandez, Schlapkohl

RAYMOND RHODES, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.


CARLEY SCHLAPKOHL, Willits. Battery, criminal threats, offenses while on bail.

* * *


Sanders is on first. Who’s on second?

* * *

* * *


The threats to Democracy and the administration of justice come from Democrats and their allies in the permanent governing bureaucracy, not from Trump.

The thing is this, if Democrats stop making a point of screwing the very voters it counts on to get elected, they might actually get what they want – the Presidency, and Trump would never be an issue.

But it was a Democrat President that shepherded NAFTA and China into the WTO and who de-regulated Wall Street. It was a Democrat President that threw trillions at Wall Street in the aftermath of the 2008 financial mess and who declined to prosecute the malefactors sitting in those glass and steel Manhattan towers. You can’t minimize the destructive effects on ordinary Americans.

Was it racism and idiocy that got Trump elected? It was people in hundreds of counties that previously elected Obama that switched their votes.

I would address this to the NY Times and all those other august coastal publications if they were listening which they’re not: it wasn’t racism you mentally enfeebled dick-heads, it was enlightened self-interest, and to make it as plain as possible, they declined to vote for a Party that was most obviously working against them.

* * *


California lifer admits killing child molesters, says warning to staff was ignored

“Along came Molester #1 and he put his TV right on PBS Kids again,” Jonathan Watson writes. “Someone else said ‘Is this guy really going to watch this right in front of us?’ and I recall saying, ‘I got this.’ And I picked up the cane and went to work on him.”

Watson said he then left to find a guard and turn himself in, but on the way, he saw “a known child trafficker, and I figured I’d just do everybody a favor,” Watson wrote. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

“Being a lifer, I’m in a unique position where I sometimes have access to these people and I have so little to lose,” Watson wrote. “And trust me, we get it, these people are every parent's worst nightmare.”

* * *

SUPERSTITION is for the ignorant, the childish, the lame—and me. Watching trends in the 2020 race, I feel that saying too much might affect the outcome. Somebody might hear. I didn’t see the movie, “Waiting to Exhale,” but I can sure relate to that title.

For the record, on Monday I made a survey of the “front page” of the digital New York Times. I counted fifty-six proper names—writers of the stories, people written about. Names that showed up more than once (Joe Biden’s was the most) I only counted once. So, there were fifty-six different names on Monday’s online Times.

One name not on Monday’s Times was that of Senator Bernie Sanders. The current front runner in the 2020 presidential election, eight-plus months from now, was not mentioned in the American “Newspaper of Record.”

What we call The Establishment, sometimes referred to as The Deep State, often conflated with The One Percent—by whatever name, the Ruling Class, the technocrats, kleptocrats, plutotcrats, autocrats and all the other types of crats that decide for the rest of us little people how our lives will be, are hysterical about scuttling the candidacy of Bernard Sanders.

It is in the interest of this crowd to not display their terror. The American population has always been more progressive than its leaders, the loud and bumptious Trump faction notwithstanding.

The reason for our first election laws and for creation of the electoral college was to keep the popular will, the dominant mood of the people, from prevailing, because the desire of the ordinary citizen to have the same opportunities as the rich is way too expensive to allow. Too much taxes, doncha know, too much money for social programs — “giveaway” programs, like early childhood education, health care, higher education, child care for working parents, repair of the “commons,” like our streets, train tracks and airports — on and on and on.

NO! We need more weapons, more weapons! We need to keep america safe! There are some very cool new weapons, land, sea, air, undersea and space weapons, planes that fly much faster than bullets or sound. We need these to keep the no-account Nicaraguans, Hondurans and Guatemalans from swarming across our borders. Salvadorans, Mexicans — there’s no end to them. They’ve messed up their own shithole countries, and now they want to mess up our purple mountains’ majesty. These Hispanic welfare recipients will break the bank, use money that should go to national defense, to keeping sick Chinese outa here. We only have more weapons than everybody else put together. That’s not enough! It’s a dangerous world out there!

You want to wake up with half a dozen ISIS men raping your baby girl? THAT’s what’ll happen if you elect some subversive to the presidency, somebody like George Washington, who was all for crippling the presidency, making a constitution that would keep the president from assuming kingly powers. GW was totally stubborn about that.

Or Lincoln — we still haven’t recovered from his Emancipation Proclamation and the unspeakable harm that did to our white people, and the do-gooders never stop worshiping Honest Abe for the slavelessness he forced on the country. Washington, Lincoln — our Hoodwinkers-in-Chief - and just as the nation was starting to prosper again, along comes Franklin Delano Roosevelt to end the Golden Age and set us on the road to communism.

At unpredictable intervals, these populist “leaders” get control, and there goes my right to riches, to passing on the fruits of my labors to my kids and to good causes, like national defense and a robust financial system. Some politicians, for instance, work hard at eliminating regulations on commerce, at promoting business rather than strangling it, at blocking death taxes so you can pass on what you’ve won to the family.

Bernie Sanders represents DISASTER to the fine people of the nation, the job creators, the true patriots. Don't make frontpage noise about his standing in the polls as long as it's high.

So stay scared, folks. That’s the only way to stay prepared, the only way to see through the lies of people like Sanders, to see the common-sense governance of visionaries like our duly elected president, our genius, our wise and stable one.

The cartoon speaks for itself. The photo is of Dick Cheney swearing in newly elected Senator Bernie Sanders. They call this "collegiality," folks, and for my money it's a major achievement of American governing. Two people as utterly different as these two smile and act their parts, despite the fact that one of them isn't really a human being!

(Mitch Clogg)

* * *

TED DACE NOTES: I watched tonight on NBC Nightly News as Lester Holt said the $3 billion fine levied against Wells Fargo resulted from its employees creating new accounts for the bank's customers without their knowledge. Does anyone else find this strange? Why not blame the executives who ordered employees to create bogus accounts? This kind of bias mostly goes unnoticed, but the message is received nonetheless.

* * *



  1. James Marmon February 23, 2020


    “The problems of homelessness and the lack of substantial mental health services extend beyond Mendocino County to the state and the nation. All the holes and pitfalls in services cannot be attributed to RQMC, RCS, or subcontractors like Hospitality Center.”

    BULLSHIT! Homelessness has been going down throughout the Nation except for in California where it continues to rise out of control. Homelessness is a local issue and should be solved at its lowest level, by city councils. Liberal policies are to blame here in Mendocino County and there are not two other ways about it. I applaud the City of Fort Bragg for finally standing up and requesting answers, especially in light of the Allman’s Mental Health Treatment Act tax that folks are being asked to pay to improve services. There’s no reason the City leaders shouldn’t question if taxpayers are just “throwing good money after bad’ with no measurable accountability.

    Like Trump said last week in his visit to California, “you fix it, or we will”. Even Grewsom Newsom has stated in his new homeless plan that he is going to hold local governments responsible for their homeless situation. I guarantee you Marbut has a special plan in mind for Mendocino County who treated him so badly when he was brought in to help.

    Malcolm needs to stay on the farm caring for his cows instead spreading his bullshit everywhere.

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon February 23, 2020

      The problem is that California and Mendocino County, especially the two cities of Ukiah and Fort Bragg, want more Federal Money for “Housing First” complexes and rental vouchers. That’s not going to happen until local government do more to reduce the high cost of building construction and local rents. The practice of leaving people on the streets in order to apply for more grants is coming to an end. The “homeless industrial complex” is nobody’s friend we need to get these people off the street first, and then talk about permanent housing for them.

      “Housing Fourth”

      James Marmon MSW

      • Ted Williams February 23, 2020

        “ until local government do more to reduce the high cost of building construction and local rents”

        What could local government do to reduce the cost of building? Almost all of the regulation comes from the State. Supply is low because wages don’t support modern construction.

  2. Malcolm Macdonald February 23, 2020

    Mr. Marmon pulls two sentences out of my piece, presenting them as if they represented the thesis statement. He chooses to skip over the main point, which is to concur with the request of Fort Bragg’s city council and Supervisor Williams for more accountability and clearer measurable outcomes from RQMC, RCS, and their subcontractors. Whether homelessness is actually decreasing nationwide, and given the suspect methods used in counting the homeless one has to remain at least skeptical, homelessness is still a problem and the delivery of mental health services is still a problem as well.
    While I think that RQMC, RCS, and subcontractors like Hospitality Center should be held far more accountable I can also recognize that within those organizations, as flawed as they may be, there are still some good people actually trying to do the right thing. I have been highly critical of the leadership at Fort Bragg’s Hospitality Center, but even those folks do good things for people.part of the time.
    The point being, Mr. Marmon, sometimes tone matters. If all you do is rail in capital letters, folks will start skipping over your comments. After awhile people tune out the boy who cried WOLF!! no matter how many wolves are literally present.
    Though I have gotten to the point of tuning Mr. Marmon out at times, I’m pretty sure that we concur in many ways when it comes to the subjects of homelessness and mental health services. There is a time to rant and rail, but there is also a time to find common ground.
    In addition, a close reading of my piece on Wanda the cow et al makes it clear that there are no bulls on the Macdonald ranch at present, only heifers. Therefore, I possess no manure from bulls to spread. If Mr. Marmon would like to come for a visit, however, he can see that Wanda is capable of producing a prodigious pile of heifer poop on her own.

    • James Marmon February 23, 2020

      I think it’s been proven that I’m not the boy who called wolf. I’ve been right about CPS, mental health, and homelessness. Those who tuned me out are tone deaf anyway. I may not be a farmer, but I’m more than qualified to speak on the social issues I mentioned above. Stay in your own lane Macdonald.

      “With a moo-moo here
      And a moo-moo there
      Here a moo, there a moo
      Everywhere a moo-moo
      Old MacDonald had a farm
      Ee i ee i o”

      James Marmon MSW

  3. Judy February 23, 2020

    February 24, 2016 Fort Bragg Advocate News
    The meeting opened with City Manager Linda Ruffing’s staff report.
    She started with a foundation of how the city has been involved with homelessness prevention over the years, outlining tens of millions of dollars of Community Development Block Grant funding over the years, which has helped organizations like the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, Project Sanctuary and more.
    However, she explained that homelessness in small communities such as ours is technically not the city’s responsibility.
    “Certainly affordable housing and jobs are where the city has a responsibility to help, but the safety net, the social services that help homeless people, that’s actually not the city’s responsibility.”
    She informed those at the meeting that Fort Bragg is considered a non-entitlement jurisdiction, which means that no funding is directly received from the federal government to provide social services to help with mental health issues, an overwhelmingly large contributing factor in the current homelessness situation.
    “In a small city like Fort Bragg, and a rural county like Mendocino County, those funds funnel through the county. So in terms of who is responsible for providing the safety net, it’s the state and federal government. The taxes that you pay provide services to homeless people,” she said.
    It’s the county, through the department of health and human services that receives most of those funds and funnels them to different organizations and agencies.

  4. Malcolm Macdonald February 24, 2020

    Mr. Marmon,
    You do not know what lane I was born in, raised in, nor the lanes of those closest to me. The subjects of homelessness and mental health are not a private highway that only you have a right to travel or observe.
    I have a modicum of respect for your opinions. Don’t deliberately undermine yourself by pushing people into the “lanes” you think they should stay in.

    • James Marmon February 24, 2020

      Fair enough, I hope you’re successful in solving Albion’s homeless crisis. The County can use more experts like you. You should offer some of your expertise to the Cities of Ukiah and Fort Bragg since you’re so on top of things. Maybe you could convince everyone to throw some more money at the Schraeders and their sub-contractors, if you think that’s the only means of getting an handle on things.

      James Marmon MSW
      California State University, Sacramento

      The MSW Program

      “The MSW program at California State University, Sacramento, was established in 1964. We prepare graduates to become social work professionals who can both lead and serve our region, the State, and beyond in a host of professional settings, ranging from health, mental health, aging, and child welfare to nonprofit and government agencies, diverse communities, and forensics.

      The MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It is designed prepare graduates to be globally-conscious and locally responsive, have a lifelong passion for learning and excellence, and to commit their practice for social justice, health and mental health equity, and sustainable human and societal development in order to address the challenges of our society.”

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