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MCT: Sunday, May 10, 2020

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INLAND AREAS will see temperatures return closer to normal today while the coastal areas will see marine clouds. Mainly light rain, much cooler temperatures and breezy south winds are expected on Monday. Additional weather systems are expected to bring periods of rain through Thursday with dry day expected on Friday. (NWS)

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(photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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Press release from the office of Governor Gavin Newsom:

Recognizing the threat COVID-19 continues to pose to public health, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to ensure that Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe and accessible manner during the General Election this November. The order requires that each county’s elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election to all registered voters. Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities – including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, individuals experiencing homelessness, and others – will still be able to access in-person voting opportunities.

“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” said Governor Newsom. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote. Mail-in ballots aren’t a perfect solution for every person, and I look forward to our public health experts and the Secretary of State’s and the Legislature’s continued partnership to create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren’t able to vote by mail.”

The Administration will continue to work with the Legislature and the Secretary of State to determine how requirements for in-person voting opportunities and other details of the November election will be implemented, while preserving public health and giving county elections officials needed flexibility. If by May 30, 2020 counties do not yet have clarity for in-person voting opportunities and other details of the November election, it may be necessary to issue a further executive order addressing these issues.

“California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote. I thank Governor Newsom for taking decisive action now, to preserve voting rights and provide sufficient time to properly prepare for the General Election,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Today we become the first state in the nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing every registered voter a ballot. We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure, and safe election this November. Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Today’s executive order is a critical first step to ensuring California’s November 2020 election is safe and accessible,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “While other states are fighting for access to vote-by-mail ballots, Governor Newsom has ensured that for California voters and we can now push ahead, together, on the difficult work of ensuring in-person voting sites for voters with language needs, voters with disabilities, voters without reliable access to mail, and other voters who need in-person voting to access their vote.”

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(Fort Bragg City Presser, Saturday)

On May 8, 2020, Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued a revised Shelter-in-Place Order effective at 11:59 pm that will remain in place until June 8, 2020 and is applicable countywide, including the City of Fort Bragg. The City encourages everyone to read the Revised Order and the Summary of Changes issued by the County.

The Order aligns with Governor Newsom’s four-staged plan to reopen the State. On May 7, 2020, the State Public Health Officer issued an Order which allowed all local health jurisdictions to begin gradual moving into Stage 2 of Governor Newsom’s four-stage plan to reopen California. 

Mayor Will Lee stated “Opening businesses in Fort Bragg is necessary to save the economic health of our community, so it is absolutely critical that we get the COVID-19 testing capacity for Mendocino County that will allow us to move as quickly as possible to Stage 4 of the Governor’s reopening plan.” 

The County Health Officer’s Stage 2 Order includes: 

● Allowing all retail establishments to sell goods using curbside pickup only. 

● Allowing manufacturing, as permitted in the State Shelter Order to operate with adaptations as set forth in COVID-19 Industry Guidance Manufacturing

● Allowing cleaning and disinfection services. 

● Allowing animal hygiene and care businesses for health and safety purposes (not just cosmetic purposes) to operate, such as dog grooming. 

● Allowing construction operations as permitted by the state. COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction

● Allowing certain outdoor businesses such as golf courses, horseback riding facilities and other recreational facilities to open so long as COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols are followed. (Appendix C-1 to the order provides an example to follow.) 

● Allowing services provided by landscapers and gardeners (so long as not purely for aesthetic purposes) to open under proper COVID-19 protocols. 

● Providing for travel in the County within 50 miles (as a crow flies) for recreational activities, although recreation at parks, beaches and other open spaces must comply with any restrictions on access and use as established by the Health Officer, government and/or property owner. 

● Essential Businesses are expanded to include real estate functions and auto dealerships. 

● The term “Stable Group of 12” used throughout the Order, which allows groups of 12 or fewer who have worked, lived or interacted for over 30 days to continue to interact or recreate with proper social distancing and other protective measures. 

A copy of the Mendocino County’s four-staged plan provides a preview of what businesses may be opened under the various stages of the Governor’s reopening plan. 

Questions regarding the May 8, 2020 Revised County Public Health Order should be directed to the Mendocino County Call Center (707) 234-6052 (open daily from 8:00am to 8:00pm). The Mendocino County Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is another resource available to answer questions regarding the Shelter-in-Place Orders.

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Little Richard, the self-described "king and queen" of rock and roll and an outsize influence on everyone from David Bowie to the Beatles to Prince, died Saturday in Tullahoma, Tenn. He was 87 years old.

Bill Sobel, a lawyer for Little Richard, said the cause of death was bone cancer. Rolling Stone was the first to report on Little Richard's death.

With his ferocious piano playing, growling and gospel-strong vocals, pancake makeup and outlandish costumes, Little Richard tore down barriers starting in the 1950s. That is no small feat for any artist — let alone a black, openly gay man who grew up in the South.

Little Richard performs during the Eat to the Beat concert series in Epcot at Walt Disney World on October 17, 2006 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

He was a force of nature who outlived many of the musicians he inspired, from Otis Redding to the late Prince and Michael Jackson. His peers James Brown and Otis Redding idolized him. Jimi Hendrix, who once played in Little Richard's band, said he wanted his guitar to sound like Richard's voice. The late David Bowie was 9 years old when he first saw Little Richard in a movie. "If it hadn't have been for him, I probably wouldn't have gone into music," Bowie told Performing Songwriter magazine in 2003.

Little Richard was an audacious showman in everything he did: movies like Down and Out In Beverly Hills, music for children and commercials. But above all, he was a pioneer of rock and roll, mixing gospel, country, vaudeville and blues into something all his own.

Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932, in Macon, Ga. He was one of 12 siblings. His father was a brick mason, a bootlegger and eventually a nightclub owner. When Richard was 19, his father was shot to death outside of his club: Charles Penniman died on Feb. 15, 1952.

Little Richard told NPR's Morning Edition in 1984 that Macon was "a muddy little town."

"A lot of mud and a lot of cows and a lot of chickens and a lot of pigs," he recalled. "It was a beautiful place and I was singing all up and down the street loud as I can. Everybody hollering out there, 'Shut up! Shut up! You're making too much noise!' But I was singing 'Tutti Frutti' even then. And playing 'Lucille' at the piano at that time."

To develop his style, Little Richard borrowed a few things from the performers he admired, like a singer and pianist who went by the name of Esquerita. Esquerita was openly gay, and he wore make-up and loud clothing. He also taught Little Richard to play the piano.

Then there was gospel singer Marion Williams, from whom Little Richard said he got his trademark whoop.

Charles White, the author of an authorized biography called The Life And Times Of Little Richard, described his voice as "a fire blizzard across an arctic waste. I mean, every major rock singer tried to copy his voice."

In the 1950s, the music industry — like so much else in America — was segregated.

"Back at that time, the black records was considered race records," Little Richard told Morning Edition. "And black records was not played on white stations at the time."

White artists like Pat Boone often scored big hits by covering Little Richard's songs. And Little Richard claimed that he didn't see "a dime" from some of those covers.

"I been knocking for years and they won't let me come in," he said. "I keep coming back, trying it again. Haven't got nothing. While I was slipping and sliding, they was keeping and hiding — putting my money in unknown banks."

Eventually, Little Richard did make a lot of money from his recordings, movies and TV appearances. He toured the world. He was, in many ways, a living icon who was both respected and ridiculed.

Little Richard was a man of extremes: A wild pop star and a deeply religious person known to carry his Bible everywhere, and quote from it often. There were periods during his career when he left show business altogether to preach. He often said he wanted to be a minister, like others in his family.

The 1970s were rough for Little Richard. He was drinking and doing drugs daily, a habit that was costing him hundreds of dollars a day.

"I just started falling. I started sinking," he told NPR. "I just started getting out of it. I didn't want to make my engagements. I didn't want to do anything but just party hearty."

His younger brother died around this time, and two of his friends were killed.

"And then I said, 'Well, God is trying to tell me something.' Then the thought came to me: 'What shall he profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' Or 'What shall a man give God in exchange for a soul?' And I decided I would give my life to God."

It took someone like Little Richard — a fearless performer and gifted musician — to move American music forward. He liked to remind people he was "the architect" of rock and roll. He didn't build the music by himself, but he was one of its most original designers.


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Hello Yorkville!

Spring is here and everyday it is more and more evident we live in a truly special place- with great neighbors beautiful weather and an amazing sense of community.

Our grocery order system is gradually increasing which has been a great help in these last few weeks. Thank you for your continued support in helping the Market stay open. Remember to put your orders in on Wednesday for Friday pickup. If you have any questions at all, please contact the Market at (707) 894-9456

Our current hours are still abbreviated:

  • Wednesday-Thursday 11:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday-Monday 11:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday Closed

We will also be closed tomorrow, Sunday 5/10 for Mother's Day.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.


Lisa Walsh, Yorkville Market

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MENDO’ NEW (INTERIM) HEALTH OFFICER, Dr. Joseph Iser, was on KZYZ Friday morning with CEO Angelo. He told KZYX’s Alicia Bales that the “fraud” complaints against him had been determined to be “invalid” two years earlier and for some reason the Las Vegas TV station didn’t mention that. He said that the morale in his office got bad when he had to do some layoffs for budget reasons, also two years ago, but morale had recovered lately. And the claim that he was not present for work was “just not true.” He said that the woman who was reported to have opened and closed doors and turned lights on and off to make it look like he was at work denied that that happened. Iser said he was frequently out of the office for work reasons, but he put in lots of hours. Iser said he definitely intends to live and work in Mendocino County. 

CEO CARMEL ANGELO ADDED that the county had checked out the much misunderstood medico, “extensively” and all his references came back good and positive. Referring to the Las Vegas Channel 8 article and video, Angelo said she had not seen it before he was hired, but that “if the Board thinks the ugly press is too much, then they can direct us not to hire him.” Angelo said that “One or two stories can create a firestorm.” Angelo also said that they can’t just hire any old MD — public health is a specialty. “I hope Mendocino County and the Board gives him a chance,” said Angelo, adding that during the next month Mendo should consider itself “fortunate to have two good Health Officers” before Dr. Doohan leaves on June 1. 

MS. BALES is a good interviewer, articulate and bold, a departure from the usual KZYX format of "Tell us what a great job you're doing and what a wonderful human being you are. 

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SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN PROPOSES ELIMINATING THE STIPEND APPROACH TO SUPERVISOR TRAVEL, replacing it with a reimbursement/claim request as was the practice back when Supervisors Kendall Smith and David Colfax submitted bogus travel claims which were exposed by three consecutive grand juries until Smith was forced by newly elected DA David Eyster to pay back the $3100 she falsely claimed for travel she didn’t travel. Colfax never paid anything back beause the Grand Jury couldn’t figure out exactly how much money he falsely claimed reimbursement for. 

AT PRESENT the Supes can opt for a stipend based on the estimated distance they are from Ukiah. Brown gets $450 a month; McCowen $125 a month; Haschak $900 per month; Gjerde $810 a month; and Williams gets $700 a month. 

Agenda Item 6a) — Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Repealing Board of Supervisors In-County Travel Allowance Retroactive to April 1, 2020 and Reversion to the Previous Practice of Filing Travel Reimbursement Claims for Travel Actually Taken (Sponsor: Supervisor McCowen) Recommended Action: Repeal the Board of Supervisors In-County Travel Allowance Retroactive to April 1, 2020 and Reversion to the Previous Practice of Filing Travel Reimbursement Claims for Travel Actually Taken. 

SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE commented on the item: “Back in April I requested an immediate suspension of my monthly car allowance. Even though various County contracts say the monthly car allowance can only be adopted or suspended in January and July each year, in place for six months at a time, County staff was willing to immediately suspend the payment, as I had requested. I assume I wasn't the only County employee, or the only other County supervisor, to do this. — Dan Gjerde, Mendocino County Supervisor, District Four” 

MCCOWEN’S PROPOSAL might be intended to save a few bucks or maybe because they’re not traveling much these days, but if he and the Board were serious about the growing extent of the coming depression, they’d stop pretending this is not much of a problem and propose pay cuts for themselves and the CEO back to the days when Smith and Colfax filed their false claims. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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DEMOCRATS steadily reinforce the general sense of impending doom. Here's Newsom on Biden yesterday: “I'm enlivened by your candidacy. I'm proud of your service as we all are. This is a unique moment in time and unique moment in our history, and we're uniquely grateful to you. I just couldn't be more proud of you, and the prospect of your presidency."

AMONG the many unhappy consequences of the collapse is the rise of The Milk Monitors — busy bodies and snitches. Example: Someone has repeatedly reported a Philo woman for renting to outsiders when in fact the same person has occupied the same cabin on this same property for years. Back in the day when marijuana was still a criminal activity, I had a small greenhouse on my place visible from the road. Deputy Squires once told me, "You get turned in damn near everyday." He said one guy was positively jubilant. "We've got the bastard now!" Not that I've ever had a great reverence for the rules, but I'd turn someone in for murder or arson or some other life threatening crime, but I wouldn't rat out a fellow citizen simply for showing up in Mendocino County during the great shutdown.

CAN'T HELP but see the for sale signs sprouting on my San Anselmo street. Marin of course has the reputation as a kind of national haven of silly wealth — hot tubs and peacock feathers got their starts here — but overwhelmingly houses in most neighborhoods run to your basic three-bedroom, two-bath abodes, and on my street it appears that everyone works, and most are young families. But these houses, built post-War for working people, now go for lots and lots, and these mortgages must be killers. With so many people suddenly turned fiscally upside down, well, there goes the house which, in many cases around here, was purchased at huge sacrifice so the children would be assured of good schools.

HAPPENED on an interview with Steve Bannon the other day. Most readers of the ava being au courant and comprehensively cool will know that Bannon's considered the driving intellectual behind Trump-ism. Bannon has conceded that Trump was a "flawed messenger" for what amounts to white nationalism, but also concedes that Trump's the guy who gave international scumbaggery a great big boost. Bannon, on another occasion, was less kind to the Big Cheeto, denouncing him as "just another scumbag" when Trump fired him. Bannon now flits around the globe encouraging white dictators in Eastern Europe to keep out immigrants, and appears as cheerleader for fascist entities in Germany and England. I speak here as a person (obviously) with no special knowledge of global affairs, but scratch a Trumper and you come up scared white boy/girl. Just thought I'd pass it along because as things deteriorate the fascisti will be a force to reckon with.

SENATORS Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey have introduced the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. Under the proposal, Americans making less than $120,000 — most Americans — would be sent $2,000 each month and for three months after the pandemic is over. This would expand on the $1,200 stimulus checks sent to Americans as part of March's $2 trillion CARES Act, which is way, way too little. 

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by Malcolm Macdonald

Previously, we examined the murder of A.J. Shrum in his Round Valley field one evening in July, 1878. The authorities decided the deed was committed by eighteen-year-old Jesse Anthony so that his older brother, James, would be free to pursue the affection shown him by Mrs. Lizzie Shrum. All three were charged with murder. Jesse's initial trial resulted in a hung jury. James, on the other hand, was convicted and languished in the county jail while he appealed the verdict. On the first Friday in November, 1879, James Anthony and Dr. John F. Wheeler, a Mendocino dentist incarcerated on murder charges, escaped from the jail on horseback. The only witness to their dash north in the dark was a young musician, Nancy “Noonie” Boulon.

We pick up the story there: Mrs. Boulon rushed into the county courthouse, located under Sheriff Seawell, and told him about the two suspicious figures who galloped their horses out of town. Seawell not only found their cells empty, but each had left a letter of sorts behind. The correspondences were addressed to Sheriff J.R. Moore. Wheeler's writing is better left to a full examination of his case. Obviously, both professed their innocence. James Anthony accused the chief witness against him of perjury. However, Anthony also expressed regret at leaving the sheriff's hospitable mansion, and said he “had stayed as long as staying would do any good; that the Board of Supervisors had hired a lawyer to fight his application for a new trial before the [State] Supreme Court.”

Two other men locked in the same row of cells with Anthony and Wheeler remained in the jail. According to the Mendocino Beacon, they “politely refused the invitation of Wheeler to take 'a trip o'er the mountains' with him.”

The night of Wheeler and Anthony's escape proved intensely dark, with clouds covering the moon and starlight that might otherwise have been available. The two prisoners missed the turn to a trail that could have lead them east then north to Potter Valley. Their horses faltered in the gloom, each tumbling into a broad ditch.

When the pair dusted off and tugged their mounts from the ditch they lost all sense of direction. Taking to the saddle once more, they turned their horses south, riding directly into the pursuing posse a tad north of Calpella. James Anthony threw up his arms in surrender. Wheeler pretended to take the armed men as robbers. One of the deputized men closest to him, Paul Boulon (the husband of Noonie Boulon) drew his pistol to cover Wheeler, ordering him to halt. The unarmed Wheeler edged his mount away, saying he didn't have any money, that he was a simple, hard working man with many children. He jumped from the horse and raced away into the brush without a shot being fired. 

Anthony returned to jail. Wheeler's fate will someday be accounted for in a lengthier version than this. At the end of November, the California Supreme Court continued James Anthony's appeal into the 1880 docket. In December, the re-trial of Jesse Anthony was carried over, by mutual agreement, until the court's spring term. That same month, R.W. Briggs, the proprietor of the Ukiah stable from which Dr. Wheeler and James Anthony acquired two saddled horses, was arrested on a bench warrant for assisting in their escape. The following May, 1880, Mr. Briggs was found not guilty of the charge by a jury of his fellow citizens.

In July 1880, just past two years to the day from the killing of her husband, Lizzie Shrum's trial finally got underway. It didn't proceed in the usual manner, as Lizzie reported herself too sick to continue. The case was postponed from a morning session until two in the afternoon. At that hour she failed to show, sending word that she remained too ill. A deputation of physicians was sent to her. They pronounced her physically sound, but suffering from “nervous excitement.”

Judge Hudson, sitting in from his usual Lake County bench, ordered her brought into court even if upon a bed. This, of course, only piqued more public interest in the case.

Perhaps the sight of Lizzie Shrum on a bed in court proved too much. More likely the lack of direct evidence linking her to the actual deed, precipitated the prosecution to beseech the court for an acquittal.

Five months hence, in December, 1880, Lizzie married for the second time. No, not to either of the Anthony brothers. On the winter solstice, she wed in Marysville, to Duncan Berry, native of Dundee, Scotland, and precisely thirteen years her senior, the same age as A. J. Shrum, if he had lived. Duncan Berry was no stranger to family tragedy. By 1880 he had outlived both parents along with three younger brothers and three younger sisters.

Earlier, in September, 1880, James, along with two of Dr. Wheeler's co-conspirators, once again plotted an escape from the jail in Ukiah. Sheriff Donohoe and his deputies confiscated seven skeleton keys fabricated by Anthony. He had made two that fitted the prisoners' shackles and fashioned five more for the cell doors. The keys may have been prepared in anticipation of James Anthony's impending legal status. A few days later, the California Supreme Court denied his appeal, ordering him sent to San Quentin to fulfill a life sentence. Eventually, he ended up at Folsom Prison.

Delays and continuances in the re-trial of Jesse Anthony dragged into 1881, meanwhile he remained free on bond. The Mendocino Dispatch Democrat, publishing in Ukiah, took this point of view about Jesse's legal chances. “Hon. Barclay Henley is associate counsel with A[rchibald] Yell, District Attorney for Mendocino county, in the murder trial of Jesse Anthony to take place in this city during the present month.

“Anthony had better settle up his worldly affairs at once. With such a Yell as Mendocino county generally sends against a poor devil charged with high crimes, backed by Barclay Henley, the criminal sharp-shooter and bulls-eye maker of Sonoma county, his chances for San Quentin or the other world are better than his prospects anywhere else.”

Perhaps others were too impatient to wait for courtroom “sharp-shooters.” In mid-April, 1881, Jesse Anthony, while attending to affairs surrounding the recent death of his father, Josiah, rode horseback one day over Mt. Sanhedrin on his way to Round Valley. He was hailed by multiple men who ordered him to halt his mount. When he declined, they opened fire with Winchesters. One bullet tore a hole in his saddle, another split the top of his hat, but none of the rounds struck the intended target. The Mendocino Beacon, seemingly taking a much different approach than the Dispatch Democrat, wondered, “Jesse's adventure causes profound surprise, inasmuch as there can be no rational excuse for killing him at this juncture.”

Jesse's trial did not get under way until late September. Again, Judge Hudson presided. The prosecution did not have Brown's testimony to impeach James Anthony. The defense called several witnesses who testified that Jesse could not have been anywhere near the Shrum property on the night of the murder. After less than three and a half hours of deliberation, the jury brought in a not guilty verdict.

That finding precipitated the circulation of a petition for the pardon of James Anthony throughout Mendocino County and on to the governor. The premise of the petition stated that along with testimony that James Anthony spent the entire evening and night of the killing at least fifteen miles away, his alleged co-conspirators, brother Jesse and Lizzie Shrum, had been acquitted of the same charge. Therefore, why should James be punished? The Dispatch Democrat, which had seemingly taunted Jesse Anthony before his re-trial, presented the petition for pardon in a favorable editorial.

At Folsom, James applied his mechanical talents to a more communal use. In January, 1882, the Pacific Bee, of Sacramento, recounted, “James Anthony, one of the prisoners, who is an accomplished electrician, is at work preparing an electric light for the Prison yard.”

In an ironic juxtaposition an autumn, 1882, edition of the Folsom Telegraph reported, “A convict escaped from prison Wednesday night last by means of a rope suspended from a window... James Anthony, who was some two years since imprisoned upon a false charge of murder, was last Thursday pardoned and set at liberty.” To clarify, the references concerned two distinctly separate incidents. 

Lizzie Shrum's son, William, took his step-father's surname as his own. Lizzie had no further children. She lived much of her later years in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. She died less than two months short of her seventieth birthday in 1922.

Jesse married in 1884, but survived only into his forty-sixth year. James Anthony also married, to a young woman named Jennie Sparks. They had six children over a fifteen year span. He earned his living as a saloon keeper back in Round Valley for a time. By the 1910 census, Jennie was living in Marysville, along with five of her children and two grandchildren. She claimed to be widowed. Nevertheless, James appeared to be very much alive. He showed up in the 1930 census as a lodger in a home in Sutter County. He died there two years later.

No one else was pursued or investigated for the murder of Andrew Jackson Shrum.

(More Mendocino murders and mysteries at

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 9, 2020

Adelman, Artlip, Ayers, Campbell

LESLIE ADELMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

MARGARET ARTLIP, Ukiah. Use of tear gas for other than self-defense, disobeying court order, resisting.

KYL AYERS, Willits. Probation revocation.

ALAN CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Failure to register, transient registration.

Clearwater, Maciel, Mueller, Ray

SAWAYA CLEARWATER, Willits. Domestic battery, damaging communications device, probation revocation.

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ASHLEY MUELLER, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. DUI.

JASON RAY, Ukiah. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

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Arguably, even the poor, in other countries, understand a bribe to an official gets things done. In the US, we dress it up in legal armature, and must pay our bribes to attorneys and courts. A friend working for a major financial institution as in-house counsel explains it as a cost of doing business, or greasing the machine. A conspiracy? Paying fines and settlements? Knowing you’re skirting the law? It’s the American way.

Rules are perhaps for everyone, but successfully getting around them is assuredly not for the little people.

The supreme Techno-narcissist, Elon Musk (of highway holes in ground, fast tube trains, and terraform Mars fame) has a very lucid, open, and honest twithead account. When asked, he said he donates to political parties, both of them, because that is the only way he can get a seat at the table. One can detect in his explanation the tone of the patrician who simply does not have the time nor inclination to explain these real-world truths to the uninitiated, and he does so carefully. For he also knows that he lives in a world where most live and see through the middle-class bourgeoise values lens. It is against their mores, and those they perceive of the society writ large.

They use words like ethics and best practices and of course, laws.

The biggest conspiracy is them not seeing that these laws, created by the politicians, the government, comprise the bars of their prison. Big people bend bars. Not little people.

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11 MILES, $60 MIL


I’m shocked — shocked and outraged — at the cost for paving 11 miles of apparently little-used freeway between Cloverdale and Healdsburg: $60,000,000. That’s 60 million. That’s equal to $5.45 million per mile. Gasp.

I’m also shocked that people are shocked at the cost of adding this many miles of railroad track in order to better serve portions of our county with the train service that they have been paying for all these years.

Both of these expenditures are our tax dollars at work for necessary infrastructure improvements that help maintain and improve our lives, our leisure time and our work.

Jack Jackson


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PAULINE KAEL wrote one of her finest essays on the emotional experience of watching Shoeshine (h/t Alci Rengifo):

“When Shoeshine opened in 1947, I went to see it alone after one of those terrible lovers’ quarrels that leave one in a state of incomprehensible despair. I came out of the theater, tears streaming, and overheard the petulant voice of a college girl complaining to her boyfriend, ‘Well I don’t see what was so special about that movie.’ I walked up the street, crying blindly, no longer certain whether my tears were for the tragedy on the screen, the hopelessness I felt for myself, or the alienation I felt from those who could not experience the radiance of Shoeshine. For if people cannot feel Shoeshine, what can they feel? My identification with those two lost boys had become so strong that I did not feel simply a mixture of pity and disgust toward this dissatisfied customer but an intensified hopelessness about everything… Later I learned that the man with whom I had quarreled had gone the same night and had also emerged in tears. Yet our tears for each other, and for Shoeshine did not bring us together. Life, as Shoeshine demonstrates, is too complex for facile endings.”

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A combination of heat and humidity so extreme that it’s unendurable isn’t just a problem for the future — those conditions are already here, a new study finds. Off-the-chart readings that were previously thought to be nearly nonexistent on the planet today have popped up around the globe, and unyielding temperatures are becoming more common.

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What does it mean to be worth something? Or worth enough? Or worthless? What does it mean to earn a living? What does it mean to be hired? What does it mean to be let go?

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It’s that time of year again! Fort Bragg Garden Club is accepting nominations for its 11th annual Sidewalk Gardens to Bragg About contest.

Fort Bragg residents are asked to nominate any beautiful front-yard garden that can be seen from the sidewalk and is located within the Fort Bragg city limits. And yes, you can nominate your own garden!

Send the address where the garden is located to: or call and leave the information at (909)991-8573. An address is needed to send out our judging team.

The last day to submit a nomination is May 24th. Judging will be held May 25-28.

Shortly after, winners will be notified, and announcements made through local media.

Activities associated with this contest will be in compliance with statewide and county measures implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peggy Martin

Fort Bragg Garden Club

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GOOD NEWS on the Coast

An $845,000 state grant has been awarded for the acquisition of Mill Bend, a 113 acre parcel at the mouth of the Gualala River. Purchase of this property, when finally completed, will allow for greater public access, extension of the coastal trail, habitat protection and enhancement, and more.

See photos & info on the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy website:

Cheryl Harris

Support Mill Bend, join Redwood Coast Land Conservancy,

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by Bill McKibben

On some long-distant day when some as-yet-unborn historian sits down to write the story of climate change—the story of the greatest crisis humans ever faced—it’s possible that they’ll choose an anecdote from this past week as a way into the story. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it understandably didn’t get much notice, but JPMorgan Chase announced on Friday that Lee Raymond will no longer serve as the lead independent director of the world’s largest lender to the fossil-fuel industry.

I’ve told the backstory at much greater length here, but, briefly: Raymond was a key Exxon executive from the nineteen-eighties onward—the years when the company was one of the most profitable in the world. (If you want a full account, read Steve Coll’s majestic “Private Empire.”) Those were also the years when Exxon’s scientists discovered—before it was publicly an issue—that climate change was real and dangerous, and when Exxon’s executives decided to join with others in the industry to cover up that truth. Raymond gave the single most audacious speech of the era, telling a World Petroleum Congress audience in 1997, on the eve of the Kyoto climate talks, that the planet was cooling, and that it made no difference if we acted then or waited a quarter century.

Raymond retired from Exxon as C.E.O., in 2005, having earned a reported six hundred and eighty-six million dollars; in his retirement, his job was to help run the board at Chase. Advocates have urged Chase to remove him as lead independent director because of his climate-denying past, and last month the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer, joined the fight, pledging to vote the city pension fund’s Exxon shares against Raymond; he persuaded the New York State comptroller and the Pennsylvania state treasurer, in turn, to join him. One can only speculate, but this clearly put pressure on giant investors such as BlackRock, who have been making climate-friendly noises; in any event, as the Financial Times reported, Chase has removed Raymond from his position, though he remains on the board.

The effect is probably practical and definitely symbolic—Raymond’s removal ratifies the notion that, after a decade of relentless campaigning by activists, Big Oil is no longer quite as big. It’s true that, in the same week, much of the industry got the bailout that it had been asking for from Washington. But that was scant cause for celebration: the International Energy Agency released new numbers, predicting that global oil demand would drop nine per cent this year. As economists at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis pointed out, the fossil-fuel sector really faces long-term solvency problems, not just short-term liquidity woes. Demand growth had been slowing in recent years, as regulatory pressure began to mount, as a result of all that activism, and as renewable energy got cheaper. Even before COVID-19 really bit, Exxon had been “humbled,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek, becoming a “mediocre” company. Now it seems entirely likely that we have seen peak oil demand, a moment that the oil companies had predicted wouldn’t come for decades. Here’s the energy analyst Kingsmill Bond’s precis: “If demand for fossil fuels bounces back in 2021 by half the amount it fell in 2020, and grows at 0.5% a year, it would take 8 years to get back to where the industry started. And in the meantime, the renewable energy revolution has not stopped.”

This process will accelerate in places where governments rebuild their economies with Green New Deals, and lag in places where a move back to private cars combines with cheap gas prices to keep the S.U.V. era alive a little longer. But the key point is that, as the industry flags, so will its political power. “The ability of the industry to dictate to governments will weaken,” Bond said, “and the capacity of incumbents to frustrate the growth of renewables will reduce.” Exit Lee Raymond, stage right.

Passing the Mic

Vanessa Hauc took over in March as the anchor of Telemundo’s weekend newscast, but she didn’t give up her other role, leading the Spanish-language network’s environmental-investigative unit for its remarkable program “Planeta Tierra.” She’s also notable for the fact that, in February, she was the first climate journalist chosen to ask questions at a Presidential debate.

Every poll shows that Latinx Americans are the group most concerned about climate change in the country—why?

The climate emergency is affecting everyone on the planet, but not equally. It disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable populations—women, children, and minorities, among them Latinos. Here in the U.S., half of our community lives in the twenty-five most polluted cities in the country, and in neighborhoods that are close to factories and refineries with high levels of pollution. Latino children are forty per cent more likely to die from asthma than non-Latino white children. Our communities work in sectors that are directly impacted by heat waves and extreme-weather events, like agriculture, construction, and landscaping. For us, the climate emergency is a reality affecting not only where we live but where we work. Still, I see my community as a powerful force of change. We care deeply about the environment. Our connection with nature is ancestral—it’s in our DNA. I still remember my trips to the market with my grandmother, in a small town in Colombia, where all the fruits and vegetables were organic and sold to us by local farmers. I remember she didn’t use a plastic bag but a costal, a bag made of dry leaves to carry practically anything. Many of my dresses first belonged to my sisters. I then passed them on to my cousins in Peru. We walked when we could, we shared rides, and food was the center of family gatherings. We feasted around my grandmother’s delicious recipes from Peru.

Many Latino families are like that. We recycle by nature. We believe in conservation, and no food will go to waste in our homes. We are a community that is ready to act on the climate emergency and that wants to be a part of the solution. The challenge we face is to insure that those communities have a platform and the necessary resources and information to work on solutions and live sustainable lives.

What are the other issues that really draw a strong response on “Planeta Tierra”?

“Planeta Tierra” shines a light on the greatest challenges we are facing today, from plastic pollution to the loss of biodiversity and deforestation. But we frame our stories on solutions. We look for the stories of people who are making a difference. For example, entrepreneurs who are rethinking their way of doing business and creating more sustainable products. We interviewed a fashion designer in Mexico who is creating leather from the leaves of nopal, a traditional Mexican vegetable. We also ran a story about a factory that is producing plastic out of avocado seeds. We recently highlighted the work of women who are redesigning our food systems to make it healthy for us and for the planet, too. The story of our changing planet can feel overwhelming. Many of us have felt paralyzed in front of the magnitude of the challenge it presents. Therefore, as a journalist, my job is to inform my viewers about our changing climate in the most rigorous and scientific way. But, as an environmentalist, my job is also to give them hope, to empower them to be part of the solution, to offer the tools and information they need to really be agents of change.

Climate School

If there is one essay from the weeks of pandemic I wish I could make everyone read, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s offering on The New Yorker’s Web site. No novelist has engaged as long or as successfully with the climate crisis. (Anyone who loves Gotham should immediately buy Robinson’s “New York 2140.”) Speaking of our quarantine, he writes that “we realize that what we do now, well or badly, will be remembered later on. This sense of enacting history matters.” But, he continues, thanks to global warming “we’ve already been living in a historic moment. For the past few decades, we’ve been called upon to act, and have been acting in a way that will be scrutinized by our descendants.”

It’s true that coal, oil, and gas use have fallen as we locked down, but the interesting thing may be that they’ve fallen so little. As the Grist reporter Shannon Osaka points out, even with economies at an unprecedented idle, emissions are only slated to fall by five or six per cent. The NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt explains: “People focus way, way too much on people’s personal carbon footprints … without really dealing with the structural things that cause carbon dioxide levels to go up.” Every life, even in quarantine, uses lots of energy for light and heat. And if you’re binge-watching at all hours? According to one U.K. study, “The energy generated from 80 million views of the thriller Birdbox is the equivalent of driving over 146 million miles and emitting over 66 million kg of CO2.”

Thirty-two environmental organizations signed a letter to the asset-management firm BlackRock asking that it divest its holdings in Drax, which operates the biggest wood-burning power plant in the U.K. Rita Frost, a spokeswoman for the Dogwood Alliance in the southeastern U.S., where much of that wood is cut, said, “We witness the social and environmental impacts of the biomass industry first hand. If BlackRock is classifying this as sustainable investment, we urge them to think again.”

Here’s a really illuminating piece on the rocky but still remarkable progress that Germany has been making toward renewable power. Dan Gearino really explains what may be the most complex and hopeful energy story on the planet.


Solar power just keeps getting cheaper, especially if you have a large, hot desert to work with: the latest bids for a giant array in Abu Dhabi show the price continuing to drop toward an almost unbelievable one cent per kilowatt-hour.

A new study of tree mortality last month concluded: “forests are in big trouble if global warming continues at the present pace. Most trees alive today won’t be able to survive in the climate expected in 40 years,” because “the negative impacts of warming and drying” are already outpacing any fertilizing effect from extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “We really need to be able to hear these poor trees scream,” an Australian researcher said. “These are living things that are suffering. We need to listen to them.”

Warming Up

On the list of people who have willingly paid a price for their climate activism, few rank much higher than Tim DeChristopher. He was sentenced to two years in federal custody, for falsely bidding on Utah oil and gas leases as a protest. I will never forget visiting him in a high-desert prison on the California/Nevada line. He sent along this song, “Brother,” by the Los Angeles folk rockers Lord Huron. If it works for him, it’s probably useful.

(The New Yorker 08 May 20)

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    • Joe May 10, 2020

      So what is the solution for the 8 billion people on this planet that doesn’t involve Bill Gates and eating bugs?

      • Craig Stehr May 10, 2020

        Center your mind spiritually, and act from there.

        • Joe May 10, 2020

          I’m spiritually centered in God and the Devil runs the world at the moment.

  1. Alethea Patton May 10, 2020

    The new health order by our absentee health officer now allows landscaping and gardening work, but only if it is not for purely aesthetic purposes. This seems completely arbitrary – who is going to decide whether your gardening activities are for aesthetic purposes? The sheriff? What does this have to do with public health and preventing the spread of Covid? It is these types of proclamations that piss people off and make you feel like your fundamental rights are being violated. If one is practicing safe physical distancing while gardening, who cares if the work is aesthetic or not? What a crock.

    • chuck dunbar May 10, 2020

      Point well taken, Alethea, this one was not well thought-out and should be corrected. I know it’s really hard to get such orders done to perfection, but let’s see if they keep adapting/correcting as we go along, taking this kind of feedback seriously…

    • Joe May 10, 2020

      Every time they are challenged in court they are ruled unconstitutional. Your constitutional rights are being violated .

  2. Alethea Patton May 10, 2020

    RE: Gardens to Brag about. Remember, if you are thinking about nominating your own garden for this event, and need to gussy up the garden a bit, no aesthetic gardening activities are allowed under our County Health officers SIP order. Only “non aesthetic” gardening is allowed. Ugly it up citizens of Fort Bragg.

  3. chuck dunbar May 10, 2020

    Little Richard,R.I.P.

    “How hard must it have been for him: gay, black and singing in the South? But his records are a joyous good time from beginning to end.”
    — Lemmy, Motörhead[205]

  4. Lazarus May 10, 2020


    Everyone died but we stuck the landing.

    Be well

  5. Harvey Reading May 10, 2020

    For what it’s worth, I have found that playing the Stones’s Out of Time, loudly, and repeatedly, makes me feel better. The song says everything there is to say about this sh-thole country and the complete horses’ asses who rule it, not to mention the horses’ asses who respect and look up to them. It should be the national anthem, as I’ve said before. A much better tune and description of reality than that POS by Scott Key. Praise the lord for continuous repeat on CD players!

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