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MCT: Saturday, June 20, 2020

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ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES will persist through the weekend for much of the interior, with even hotter weather likely next week. Lingering marine cloudiness and onshore breezes will keep coastal areas seasonably cool. (NWS)

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by Chris Calder

In this moment of shifting historical identities — the Fort Bragg City Council has taken up the question of whether to change the town's name on Monday — it might help to know what the original “Fort Bragg” actually was, leaving Braxton Bragg's career out of it for a moment. Braxton Bragg never visited the place and it is not much of a stretch to say that Fort Bragg was named after the man, but the town was named after the fort.

Fort Bragg was not some generic frontier outpost like you see in the movies. Though tiny and remote, Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Indian Reservation played large roles in the “settlement” of Northern California, if you understand “settlement” to mean ethnic cleansing.

From the late 1840s on, diverse, deeply-rooted peoples had to be cleared from every acre of Northern California before "Northern California" could exist.

The north part of the state had and still has the most diverse native peoples and languages on the North American continent, and some of the densest native populations in North America as well. Pomo, Yuki, Cato, Wailiaki, Mattolle, Wintun, Huichnom, Sinkyone and many others were the names of peoples that filtered into English — ancient peoples, each with their own language and culture while knowing several others, living side by side on territories of sometimes less than 100 square miles, for millenia. We truly cannot imagine what and who was lost.

Uprooting those peoples is why Fort Bragg and other reservation-based forts existed. The rancherias of Mendocino County and all over California — Sherwood Valley Rancheria has the closest ties to the land around Fort Bragg —- are home to those families who persisted and prevailed, and stayed on their home ground.

So let's take a look at old Fort Bragg, mostly through the able efforts of Beth Stebbins, author of "The Noyo,” a fine early history of the northern Mendocino Coast. Stebbins used the resources of the renowned Mendocino Historical Research, Inc., which evolved into the organization that runs Kelley House Museum in Mendocino today. Understanding better what the original Fort Bragg was, and what lessons it holds for us today — what's worth remembering, if not celebrating — might help decide if it's worth keeping the ol’ Bragg around after all.

On Sept. 15, 1857, Lt. Horatio Gates Gibson, who had just recently named Fort Bragg after his commanding officer in victorious Mexican campaigns (not just because Bragg was from North Carolina, like the namers of the eastern Fort Bragg did), had this to say about Mendocino Indian Reservation operations:

"Further observation has only confirmed the truth of all my former statements and the Indians are now in a worse condition even than they were at the date of my report to Capt. Keyes. Though not actually starving, articles of food are rarely issued to them, and only to those who labor, and such as are furnished to them are of the poorest quality, unwholesome, and insufficient for their subsistence. Complaints are made even by the employees on the Reserve in regard to this matter. That they are obliged to make the Indians work day after day, and yet have no food to give them; that the Indians complain to them and beg for food, but that they are unable to relieve their wants. I examined a few days ago some flour sent from San Francisco for issue to the Indians, and found it to be a mixture of bran, sawdust, coarse cornmeal and a little flour. It is so bad that even the Indians refuse to eat it. This flour purports to have been purchased, like all other supplies sent to the Agency, at the highest market rates. The supplies of grain etc. raised on the Reserve by Indian labor are totally inadequate for the support of the Indians. It is true they can procure shellfish and seaweed on the Reserve in abundance, and that they are permitted to leave the Reserve to gather grass seed, acorns, etc. for their subsistence. Fish are also abundant in all the streams which water the Reserve, especially the Noyau, and are there caught daily with the seine or deep sea lines outside the harbor. Except the refuse small fish, which are given to the Indian boatmen, I have never seen the Indians receive any. The large fish are dried and salted down, and I half suspect for other purposes than issue to the Indians."

That description captures much of the story of the Mendocino Indian Reservation — fraud, cruelty and exploitation, carried out largely by the civilian contract employees of the agency, who milked and bilked their ways through government contracts on an outpost which, in the 1850s, as far as outside oversight went, including law enforcement, might as well have been on another planet. The Mendocino Coast at that time was a three-day's journey by ship from San Francisco, a few weeks on horseback over millenia-old trails. There were no built roads.

Stuck out on a windy headland was the "fort,” really a cluster of whitewashed, plank buildings about a mile north of Noyo Station, which was the business and shipping hub of the reservation, and a farm, on the sunnier, southfacing slopes overlooking the Noyo River. There were stations on Bald Hill and on the Ten Mile River as well, and a large farming operation where MacKerricher State Park is today. 

Fort Bragg proper housed two dozen or so soldiers who, at least by the reports of commanding officer Lt. Horatio Gates Gibson (who, as noted above, named the fort after his commanding officer on victorious campaigns in Mexico), spent their time building fort buildings and chasing around the woods after native people, who left the huge, unfenced reservation at will.

The soldiers also chased, though apparently never caught, white criminals who made a trade out of attacking native camps and stealing children in the chaos. They then sold the children in legal markets in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Even into the 20th century, it was not uncommon for native children to be taken from their families at birth and placed in orphanages, later to be put with white families as indentured servants or farm labor. This slave trade was in addition to the official practice of taking native children from their families and putting them in special schools until they were 18, schools where "kill the Indian, save the child" was the watchword. Genocidal policies of the State reached into the spiritual realm: Native Californians' religion, kept alive despite decades of outright bans, was illegal in the State of California until 1934.

Old Fort Bragg's headquarters were about where the replica Fort Building on Franklin Street is now, next door to City Hall. The hospital, which was the unwalled fort's westernmost structure, was on the hill now occupied by the Guest House Museum.

Both Fort Bragg and Noyo Station (the station and its farm were approximately where the hospital, police station and health club are now) had housing — soldiers at the fort, native workers at the station — in the form of blockhouses arranged in a U-shape around a central square.

In the middle of the square at the fort was a parade ground for exercising the (artillery-less) artillery company stationed there. The square at Noyo Station centered on a sweat lodge built by the native people for meetings, religious ceremonies and general social purposes. (The government in 1857 apparently had not got around to outlawing native peoples' religion, or maybe the federal government's policy was more lenient than the state's.)

The life of the native people on the reservation — various tribes were driven there from all over the North Coast region — must have been one of misery and terror — also courage, resourcefulness and compassion, as families stayed together and sometimes even returned to their homes through horrendous struggle and privation.

The life of the soldiers at the remote, foggy outpost comes through as drab, frustrating, even infuriating sometimes. Gibson had to beg for basic supplies while frequently noting the corruption and waste going on around him, over which he had no authority. 

A later commander at Fort Bragg, Lt. Edward Dillon, cannot hide his anger at having to act as a kind of referee as the child-stealers plied their trade:

"There are several parties of citizens now engaged in stealing or taking by force Indian children from the district in which I have been ordered to operate against the Indians," Dillon reported to his superiors in 1861. "As many as forty or fifty Indian children have been taken. This brutal trade is calculated to produce retaliatory depredations on the part of the Indians. These men keep the Indians constantly on the alert, attacking and chasing them before us and following in our wake for the purpose of obtaining children to be sold in the cities and ranches to the south."

The chaos and unending grief no doubt played a part in closing the Mendocino Reservation after eight years, just as the Civil War ended, in 1865. Fort Bragg ceased being an operational fort, but retained the name of the rough, informal farming and logging community, including both settler and native people, who remained. Thus, the city kept the name already in use when it formed in 1885.

Genocide and ethnic cleansing was the State of California's explicit policy in the first 30 or so years of its existence, and essential to establishing uniform "legal ownership" of the state's lands. California Governor Peter Burnett declared in 1851 "That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct."

The Mendocino Reservation and surrounding forests and coastal meadows are good examples of how territory went from indigenous homeland to "free" public domain, to government controlled sections, to “private” property, often through transactions that were irregular to say the least.

Indigenous occupancy held no sway, unless no one else wanted the land. Squatter's rights often carried the day, as long as the squatter was white. Mexican, black or Asian people fared little better than Indians in those early days when land was parcelled out to the well-connected by the square mile and the rough shape of modern California was cut from the “wilderness.”

The area around Cleone no doubt was a favored spot before settlers came — even today it is rich in water and all kinds of wildlife, its meadows protected from ocean winds by a screen of pines.

In the years after the fort closed, a man named Duncan MacKerricher, who had been employed by reservation agent E.J. Whipple, just sort of inherited the rich farmland he was working for Uncle Sam a few miles north of the fort, along with a large native workforce.

“It is thought advisable," states a letter from the California Department of Indian Affairs in 1866, "that the Indians should remain at their present location for the time being; they desire to remain until the lands of the reservation shall have been sold by the government. At this locality they obtain large quantities of fish and clams, and many of them find employment at the lumber mills in the vicinity at fair wages, with which they obtain clothing; their presence is not obnoxious to the few settlers adjoining the reservation, nor is their labor required on the reservation at Round Valley at present; as soon, however, as the interests of the service require it, they will be removed.”

In 1949, the State of California honored the descendants of Duncan MacKerricher by naming Mendocino County's newest state park after him.

A little piece of Kadiu, the ancient Pomo town at the mouth of the Noyo, has never stopped existing, right through the fort days, the logging days, and now the tourism days. Much of Kadiu lies under the dredge spoils to the west of the North Cliff motel, and under the Noyo Beach parking lot and North Harbor Drive.

But native families have always lived on the millsite. First they were on the Noyo Bay bluffs and flats — the ancient site of Kadiu — then they moved to the north end, near Glass Beach, then moved back again to the bluffs overlooking Noyo Bay. Today that strip of land and houses is known as the Noyo Indian Community. Sherwood Valley Rancheria's tribal council is the governing authority. Their relationship with the Union Lumber Company, then Boise-Cascade, and now Georgia-Pacific/Koch Brothers, is private.

It wasn't that uncommon in early California for owners of large holdings to take on native communities, sometimes people living on their actual homelands, as resident workforces. A ranch in western Sonoma County included two Kashaya Pomo villages that were continuously occupied into the 1950s.

The old Fort Bragg is in some ways a miniature of California's beginnings: the uprooted and devastated native peoples; the varied groups of people, including indigenous, thrown together in unlikely new communities; the fantastical early land deals, the dishonored treaties.

But there is something inspiring too.

History is full of “lasts” when it comes to Indians: last chief, last stand, last “wild Indian.”… Tribes “vanish.” Whole peoples are suddenly just gone, or soon will be, the writer is usually sad to say.

The thing is, it's just not true. Not true in America or in California, and that is also the story of Fort Bragg.

The people living today as the Noyo Indian Community are the great-great-great or so grandchildren of people like Arthur Campbell, who grew up on the Noyo bluffs in a Pomo-speaking household in the first years the 20th century. Arthur Campbell stayed at Kadiu/Noyo all his life, and grew up to be a sought-after timber cruiser, known throughout the region for his ability to size up a grove of redwoods for its dollar value at a glance.

Arthur Campbell's great-grandmother was Lucy Cooper, who fled by night and hid by day all the way back from Round Valley, after she and her family and hundreds of others had been driven by the soldiers and their helpers, exactly like cattle, over to the inland reservation after the Mendocino Reservation closed.

Lucy Cooper made it back to Kadiu/Fort Bragg, raised her family here in the years between fort and town, and later became a renowned basket maker. (Fine Pomo feather baskets, Lucy Cooper's among them, are collected worldwide to this day.)

Harriet Campbell, who died in 2015, was Arthur Campbell's daughter, Lucy Cooper's great-grand daughter. Harriet went to the old one-room Noyo School on the north bluffs a little upriver, within the former bounds of the even older Noyo Station. But the families of her classmates in the 1940s were from all over the world — Finns, Swedes, Italians, Mexicans, Portuguese — whose parents and older relatives also worked at the mill and in the harbor and spoke the old languages at home, just like hers did.

Harriet remembered diving into schoolwork and softball, and mixing it up with the diverse, often first-generation immigrant Fort Braggers of the rough-and-tumble 1940s and 50s.

Later, Harriet was a longtime Fort Bragg High School secretary known for settling kids down. After she retired and was done raising her own kids, she served on many public boards and commissions and as an advisor to CalFire on how to handle native sites uncovered during logging and forest fires. Harriet, who lived on the north Noyo bluffs all but the last few months of her life, was instrumental in the content of the plaques concerning Pomo people at Pomo Bluffs Park. Her kids and grandkids (and great grandkids) and nieces and nephews, some of whom live at the Noyo Indian Community, nearly all of whom live locally, are teachers, business owners, organizers, artists, champion disc-golfers — in other words, at the heart of this area's most vibrant and neccesary communities.

The story of the first Fort Bragg is harrowing and dark in many ways, but there are stars against that darkness, like Harriet Campbell, Stanley Rhoades, and many others. One generalization about native people worth risking is, with some exceptions, they don't tend to toot their own horns. But they are here, most definitely. That is also the story of Fort Bragg, then and now.

That says nothing about how anyone, indigenous or not, feels about changing the name of Fort Bragg. But the names of places tell stories, true and false. At least the one Fort Bragg tells is true.

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A Press Release from the Fort Bragg Police

On June 22, 2020 at 6:00 p.m., the City of Fort Bragg will be holding its first public meeting since the announcement in March of a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 virus. The current restrictions and safeguards related to COVID-19 combined with an expected larger than normal turnout for the meeting requires additional safety and security protocols for the event. Here are a summary of those protocols: 

- The 100 Block of W. Laurel Street will be closed to traffic at 5:00 p.m. on June 22, 2020 until the conclusion of the City Council Meeting. 

- Seating inside of Town Hall for the public and media will be limited to nine members of the public and four media members due to social distancing requirements. Admission will be based on a first-come basis. Individuals hoping to secure seating may arrive early to the meeting and begin forming a line outside of the main entrance to Town Hall (west entrance). There will be no in-and-out privileges. If you leave the meeting once it starts your seat will not be reserved. The public and media are highly encouraged to view the meeting on one of the many platforms provided by the City. 

- Those participating in Public Comment will be required to form a line outside of Town Hall starting at the southeast entrance. City Staff will be at location at 5:00 p.m. to provide direction to the public. The line for Public Comment will move around Town Hall to the north and then west onto W. Laurel Street. Markings will be present on the sidewalk to assist with social distancing. 

- The open grassy areas of the Guest House Museum will be open to the public. The City will attempt to provide some outdoor speaker systems to assist in following along with the meeting, however individuals may livestream the meeting as it occurs on their cellular devices. 

- Social distancing requirements will be in place in all areas of the event. Facial coverings are required in the park area surrounding the Guest House Museum and in any area where a minimum of six feet social distancing cannot be met. 

- The majority of windows and doors at Town Hall will be open in order to allow for maximum air circulation to help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19. Unfortunately, this will allow outside noise to easily disrupt the Meeting and those participating in public comment. For this reason, the City is requesting that groups of people do not congregate near open windows or doorways. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department’s mission in assisting with this event is to provide members of the public the equal opportunity to have their voices heard. We are proud of our community and their willingness to come together to fairly voice their opinions on the matters presented. 

Questions regarding security and safety protocols related to this event may be directed to Sergeant O’Neal at 

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Post Date: 06/19/2020 10:39 AM

On June 12, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued guidance for new allowable activities under Stage 3 of reopening, starting June 19, 2020, for counties, such as Mendocino, with approved attestations and variance. 

As such, and due to relatively low cumulative number of COVID-19 cases (54) and no related deaths in Mendocino County since the beginning of this pandemic, Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued a revised Shelter-In-Place (SIP) Order today, Friday, June 19, 2020, which will be effective at 3:00 p.m., allowing Mendocino County to open up additional industries under Stage 3 and some revisions to clarify additional areas of the Order. In addition, the Order was revised to account for the newly issued State Order effective June 18, 2020, broadly requiring facial coverings statewide when in public or common spaces and which will apply to all industries.

Following State Guidance, the Health Officer re-opened Personal Care Services, a broad sector including personal care which requires touching a client’s face or body, e.g., esthetician, skin care, cosmetology, nail salons, waxing, body art professional, piercing shops, non-medical massage therapy, etc. This varied sector includes a statewide requirement that workers must wear a face covering throughout the entire interaction with the customer, and customers must wear wearing face coverings, except during a face treatment. The Health Officer also recommends that workers take additional measures to protect themselves from exposure. 

The Health Officer also clarified that industries which have been re-opened by the State per Industry Guidance (but are not specifically referenced in the local Health Officer’s Orders), may reopen in accordance with the State’s Guidance.

The order also includes revisions to transient lodging. Recognizing that some households include extended family in one household, the updated Stage 3 Order is revised to state each room, unit, or vacation rental (regardless of size) may only be occupied by no more than one household or living unit, including up to no more than 4 adults and the children of that single household or living unit. Additionally, the Health Officer clarified the purpose for the 24 hour vacancy between each separate occupancy (and 48 hours for Vacation Rentals). Further, while public saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs should remain closed in any transient lodging establishment, private hot tubs in such establishments, for use by only one household are permitted, provided that they are drained and cleaned in between each reservation’s use. 

The industry specific restrictions and state guidance information can be found in the Health Order. BEFORE businesses can reopen, they must comply with State and County guidelines, and file the Mendocino County self-certification form, developed by the County of Mendocino in collaboration with West Business Development Center, found at Additionally, all Permissible Higher Risk Businesses allowed in this new SIP order must file their Safe Business Reopening Plan for publication on the Mendocino county business website.

In addition, the updated Stage 3 Order provides an exemption to the self-certification requirement for Schools and School-based programs, and clarifies that guidelines for Childcare and other programs do not apply to public and private schools, early childhood education, and K-12 schools, which must instead follow the applicable (currently interim) State Guidelines for Schools and School-Based Programs ( 

Mendocino County’s revised SIP goes in effect today Friday, June 19 at 3:00 p.m. and will be in place until 3:00 p.m. on July 3, 2020. A revised order will be released upon the expiration of this Order.

The Health Order and summary of major changes are posted online at The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents and businesses to closely read the order and follow it.

More information on Governor Newsom’s resilience roadmap and four-staged plan to reopen California, please visit: For more information on the businesses/sectors that fall within the various stages of re-opening, please view the Resilience Roadmap Business Sector Chart. The Mendocino County approved attestation is available to view on the California Department of Public Health’s Website. 

For more on COVID-19:

Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email

The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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by Mark Scaramella

We received four separate press releases from the County on Friday regarding the Covid-19 situation. 

The first one we have posted like we have for all their previous pressers. But Friday it became laughably excessive. 

The first one (above) from the Health Officer is entitled “Health Order Revised to Align with New Statewide Guidance” and is two single-spaced pages long. 


Give me a break. Who in the the hell are they addressing? Do they expect “the media” to publish 30 pages of fine print that “the public” is required to “read carefully”? 

The third presser (yes, we’re not close to being done yet) is entitled “Summary of Changes: Updated Stage 3 Health Officer Order Shelter-In-Place Effective 3:00 p.m., June 19, 2020, Until 3:00 p.m., July 3, 2020.” This two page single spaced announcement from the Public Health Department is supposed to somehow help by describing the latest changes. 

It begins, “As the State and Counties (with Variances) move further into Stage 3, this week the State released a new Guidance for Personal Care Services, for reopening in Variance Counties no sooner than June 19, 2020. Consistent with that release, the Health Officer, issues an Updated Stage 3 Shelter-in-Place Order (SIP) to become effective 3:00 p.m. June 19, through 3:00 p.m., July 3, 2020. In addition, the Order was revised to account for the newly issued Order effective June 18, 2020, broadly requiring facial coverings statewide when in public or common spaces and which will apply to all industries (and all Guidances to be updated.) ( for-Face-Coverings_06-18-2020.pdf).” 

3pm! The changes are effective at exactly 3pm in the afternoon, not a minute earlier, not a minute later! 

As if we all read the previous orders carefully and now we will all be conversant with the “changes.” 

It continues, “In addition to these central changes to the Order, the Health Officer made some revisions to clarify the additional areas of the SIP.”

Why is this even necessary since we’ve already been “ordered” to read the latest health order “carefully”?

There also this helpful note: “Each Industry Reopened By Statewide Guidance Is Permitted Even if Not Specifically Mentioned In SIP.” (Their initial title caps.)

Got that? The “industries” (since when did massage parlors become an “industry”?) that they re-opened are also “permitted”! Great! 

Many in Mendocino County would probably be particularly interested in “Revisions to Transient Lodging.” 

But then we see that “Recognizing that some households include extended family in one household, the Updated Stage 3 Order is revised to state each room, unit, or Vacation Rental (regardless of size) may only be occupied by no more than one household or living unit, including up to no more than 4 adults and the children of that single household or living unit. Additionally, the Health Officer clarifies the purpose for the 24 hour vacancy between each separate occupancy (48 hours for Vacation Rentals), to allow thorough cleaning in a safe manner and disinfection between each re-occupancy. In the case of Vacation Rentals, the extra buffer is also needed for the extended stay of guests in the event of isolation or quarantine due to COVID- 19.” 

So, upon penalty of fine or imprisonment, somebody is supposed to make sure that each rented room does not have more than four people in it and that they’re all somehow related to each other! The night clerk at the Motel 6 in Ukiah is going to be very, very busy.

Oh, don’t forgot hot tubs. “Private hot tubs in such establishments, for use by only one household, are permitted, provided that they are drained and cleaned in between each reservation’s use.” Got that, tourists? You can’t get in the hot tub with anyone other than those in your “household.” No hanky-panky in the rented hot tub!

Any honest attempt to comply with these detailed and yet still vague rules is guaranteed to be worse than just staying closed. (For example, where is the additional cleaning and disinfectant staff etc. supposed to come from? DACA?)

Presser #4 is entitled “Requiring members of the public to wear Facial Coverings” 

Guess how many pages that is? Six (6!) more single-spaced pages of health orders to require facial coverings. In this one we’re told, “Certain activities cause people to more forcefully expel airborne particles, such as running, bicycling and singing, making the usual minimum six feet social distancing requirement, less adequate.” 

I don’t know about you, but I “expel airborne particles” whenever I shout at our hard of hearing editor. And I don’t care what they order or permit — I’m not wearing a mask when I yell at the editor. 

One of the many optional facial coverings is a “a neck gaiter” — whatever that is, it doesn’t sound like a facial covering. Also they felt it necessary to inform us that “Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service” are allowed to take off the mask. Wow! Kinda hard to get a nose job with a mask on, apparently. They also insist that “facial coverings should be used only by one person.” And, “a construction worker, plumber, bank manager, or accountant, is not required to wear a facial covering if that individual is alone in a space not regularly visited by the public, but that individual must put on a facial covering when coworkers are nearby, when being visited by a client/customer, or at any location where members of the public or other coworkers are regularly present.”

Presumably, some office workers will brandish a sheaf of Health Orders at any alleged violators and shout (with mask on) “WHERE’S YOUR MASK?!” which will make for wonderful inter-office relations.

This fourth “order” concludes: “the Health Officer requests that the Sheriff and all chiefs of police in the County ensure compliance with and enforce this Order.” 

We await Sheriff Kendall’s response to this “request.”

We have just barely scratched the surface. Apparently, this ridiculous crap is why we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on our own collection of health officials, the top one of whom lives in San Diego.

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I did see this on social media and was quite shocked Supervisor Williams and Haschak thought there was a problem however it wasn’t a big enough problem to speak with me about. I learned about this through a Facebook post. One would think if there was a problem with the sheriffs office someone would speak with the sheriff, both of these supervisors have my cell and home phone numbers. I had been on the telephone with supervisor Williams Wednesday night just prior to learning of this however he didn’t feel it a priority to discuss this with me. That leads me to believe he doesn’t believe there is a problem however wants to address some political issue over problems elsewhere. Currently the state of Arizona is having several kidnap for ransom cases. This is extremely concerning to me however it isn’t concerning me to the point I would pull detectives off of homicide cases or the Kadijah Britton investigation to send them out looking for kidnap victims that we don’t have. We aren’t experiencing those problems however someday we could. Until that happens I would be spending money and resources we can’t afford. However when politics get involved the money starts pouring out. Sadly it will be the citizens and our deputies that suffer when political pandering begins. 

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Construction Update for June 20-26

Sewer lines and laterals are nearly complete and the replacement of water lines will begin later in the week. There will be construction work on Saturday, June 20th, as well as ongoing disruptions to traffic in the construction area. Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained at all times. 

Please note that, while we make our best effort to forecast construction impacts, this is inherently messy work that is subject to change based on conditions in “the field.” We know that it is inconvenient to have so many street closures in the downtown, and we appreciate your patience as we get through this once-in-a-lifetime project. With the revised health orders to be issued today, nearly all downtown businesses are allowed to be open again, so please help support your local merchants!

Important note about parking: Jury trials resume on Monday, June 22nd, so parking may be particularly impacted. If you have a parking permit, please park in your permitted space. If you work in the downtown and don't have a permit, please reserve the 90-minute spaces for customers. We've recently added more five-hour parking spaces west of School Street, with even more to come!

Where will the work occur? 

Pipe “bursting” and other related construction activities will occur on State Street between Church Street and Henry Street and the intersections of State and Church Streets, State and Perkins Streets, State and Standley Streets, and State and Smith Streets.

What are the construction days/hours? 

This week’s construction day /hours are currently scheduled for Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 20th, 6 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Will there be any disruptions to parking access or streets?

Yes. Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but will be reduced to two lanes with limitations to parking on South State Street between Church Street and Henry Streets. Additionally, there will be closures to through-traffic on Henry, Standley, Perkins, and Church Streets. 

Will there be dust and noise? 

Yes. The pipe “bursting” will be minimally disruptive; however, other streetscape construction-related activities in the area will cause intermittent dust and noise.

More information can be found online on the City’s website at, or follow our Facebook page for updates and project photos at

Have a great weekend!

Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah

w: (707) 467-5793

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Mental Health Treatment Act Citizens Oversight Committee meets next Wednesday. Ross Liberty, the tax was to provide services, in part to reduce the burden on law enforcement. Years after passage, Measure B is sitting on millions of dollars, no application of services to date. The committee is comprised of hard working volunteers who care deeply about improving mental health treatment, but the effort is beyond stuck. I'd like to nominate you to represent a growing public sentiment: When can we see services begin? Can we address ACEs in some way? Can we put services to a vote and get moving now?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 1:00 P.M.

Teleconferencing to be hosted from 1120 S. Dora St. in Ukiah, California Zoom Video Conferencing - ​ ID: 928 3481 5478, Call-In:​ 1( 669) 900-9128 or 1 (253) 215-8782

Mark Scaramella Notes: Dear Supervisor Williams: Mr. Liberty is a personal friend of your CEO, Carmel Angelo. He will not do anything without taking a cue from the CEO who works for you/The Board. You would be well-advised to task your CEO with this request (along with your associates, of course), not Mr. Liberty, your supposed Measure B District 5 rep. PS. Why not ask about the crisis van proposal that Ukiah PD chief Justin Wyatt suggested and which was agreed to by all members of the Measure B committee?

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JIM SHIELDS WRITES: Funding for the state’s homeless projects is most accurately described as being in flux given the estimated $54 billion C-19 created deficit.

Back in January when Newsom released his budget, he said homelessness was allegedly his No. 1 priority. But $1.4 billion of his two-part plan is now on the chopping block.

One piece is called “CalAIM,” a new $695 million program that’s supposed to expand Medi-Cal by including funding for renter support services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Newsom admits the program is on hold right now, although it could be salvaged if the feds allocate additional stimulus money for states, which is looking more and more shaky.

The second part of his plan is found in the May revised budget that proposes using $750 million in federal funding from the CARES Act “to purchase hotels and motels that have been leased by counties, with state assistance, to house and isolate unsheltered and vulnerable populations during the coronavirus outbreak.” The budget portrays the purchase as “leveraging federal funds” for the pandemic response “to create a permanent (homeless) solution.” I’m somewhat skeptical of that plan ever coming to fruition.

Newsom is also encouraging cities and counties to use federal emergency funds to address homelessness — but the spending must be tied to the coronavirus pandemic. If I understand it properly because it’s a little bit confusing, the state is supplementing the federal funds with $450 million to cities who did not receive any federal assistance. That funding is contingent on compliance with federal “guidance” and California’s stay-at-home orders. Again, anybody’s guess whether this will prove successful.

* * *


* * *


DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL IRONY. This morning on the KZYX News, there was a departure from the usual audio massages the cringing semi-public radio station normally force-feeds us. No, my fellow binarys, it was an interesting and informative segment presented by Carol Brodsky, and so amusing I'm tempted to renew my membership.

MS. B interviewed a Bay Area woman who described how she and her husband were "deep in the process" of buying a house on Ukiah's Westside when they discovered a racial covenant buried in the transaction that forebad non-white people from joining the neighborhood. Excluding covenants have of course been rolled back everywhere, but not all that long ago, so it would be startling, especially to a Nice Person, to see one on their sales contract. 

ETHNIC COVENANTS were finally banned in Marin County, for instance, in the late 1960s where, prior to Marin's belated awareness that the prosperous county and its many flush individuals could get sued right out of their hot tubs, most of humanity could not buy a house. But Ukiah and Mendocino County, where officials have always had trouble decoding large-size print, nevermind the small print of item number 11 on a property sales contract, the illegal covenants remain a standard item but are simply crossed out on the rare occasions they're noticed.

THE WOMAN interviewed by Carol Brodsky said she was so shocked at the sight of an excluding covenant on her contract that she had second thoughts about moving to Ukiah. "What kind of place was this?" she wondered. And right there is where the giggles commenced. If there's a more righteous neighborhood in the county than the Westside of Ukiah, a population so thoroughly basted in the good and the true that even the thought that a racial covenant existed, or even once existed, would be enough to require mass resuscitation well… Fortunately, for both her real estate deal and peace of mind, our intrepid newcomer said she had walked the streets of her proposed neighborhood, discovering therein a veritable sea of correct opinion via inclusionary signage. Reassured that she and hubbykins were not in Klan country, that the Westside was NPR-certified, that their new neighborhood was as serenely vanilla as the 'burb they'd come from, "Bob, we've got a sale!"

APOCALYPSE TOMORROW? Saturday, as the whole world knows, President Trump rallies his faithful in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Home town of Mendo's very own, Pebbles Trippet, beauty queen, Trotskyite, beatnik, hippie, marijuana pioneer.) Tulsa's mayor had declared a weekend curfew, but rescinded after mass protests from the Trumpers, several thousand of whom are already camped out in front of the rally site. Every lunatic in the Southwest heads for town, including thousands drawn by an annual gun show.

MEANWHILE, Trump is either deliberately stirring up ultra-vi or he has at last gone around his final mental bend, with a string of tweets over the past week that indicate he's either 5150 or consciously pushing tensions to the max. He ran afoul of Twitter again on Thursday when he posted a doctored CNN clip showing a black toddler running away from a "racist white baby who is probably a Trump voter." In the original the toddlers are running towards each other to hug. Trump altered the clip to read, "CNN BREAKING NEWS" followed by the headline: "Terrified toddler runs from racist baby," then the clip. Trump has more than 82 million Twitter followers. 

IN AN INTERVIEW with his cretinous son Don Jr., Trump speculated about flying saucers and revealed a new campaign ad claiming that Biden has been "'endorsed by Osama bin Laden," dead since 2011. Trump said he was sad that the "Chinese plague" had arrived in the US to slow the economic progress that had previously arrived with his election, but claimed his handling of the corona-crisis was ending. He also said that if Democrats were elected in November there would be "bedlam."

FIRING UP himself and his moronic base on Friday, Trump declared that "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!" He also said that if he loses re-election "the whole country will be Minneapolis." (Ed note: Aren't lowlifes pretty much apolitical?"

* * *


(photo by Susie de Castro)

* * *



There was recently a thread regarding a racist restaurant-owner in our area; I thought now might be a good time to talk about another restaurant-owner who has, to my direct knowledge, sexually harassed several young women on his staff. I know this because I worked at this restaurant and heard their stories directly. It’s heartbreaking because when these women spoke up, they were silenced by the owners. This restaurant is popular, beloved, and a major tourist destination in the village. There’s a lot money can do. Families take care of themselves rather than exercising justice. Some call it “Business as Usual.” I call it way too passé for 2020. 

It won’t be hard to guess which restaurant I’m talking about, and I won’t hold my breath waiting for a substantial boycott. People want fresh bread more than they want to support vulnerable demographics. 

Nobody is untouchable. No matter how much money or popularity you generate. No matter how many tourists clamor for your tables. We see you. We know what you did last summer. 

And to the survivors: we see you as well. You held and heard and your stories matter. 

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.

E.L. / From: "Easy Lemons" (Coast Listserve) 

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 19, 2020

Britton, Frey, Guillory

NICHOLAS BRITTON, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

THOMAS FREY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

JEROME GUILLORY, Willits. Domestic battery, criminal threats, damaging communications device.

Lopez, McCallum, Wickstrom

JUAN LOPEZ, Willits. Probation violation.

CHAD MCCALLUM, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

NOEL WICKSTROM, Willits. Direct, supervise, recruit, collect, received proceeds earned from prostitution committed by another, criminal threats, offenses while on bail.

(Ed note: Wickstrom was previously arrested in Willits on June 3 for demanding in the streets that all cops be shot, among other things, and booked on charges of incitement to riot, arson or vandalism and criminal threats. Now he’s been arrested for pimping.)

* * *


Well, mob lit CNN HQ on fire last week. They managed to put the fire out — this time.

In Portland, Oregon, 100 yo George Washington monument pulled down last night and smashed on the pavement.

Cities allowing this sort of behavior are cutting their own throats. Article in today’s paper about sudden real estate boom in rural Connecticut, people with a lot of money desperate to get out of Boston and NYC bidding against each other for available properties in our countryside and small towns. That’s going to be the upshot of the Covid-19 lockdowns, and civil disturbances in the cities: anybody can possibly get out of the city, will get out of the city.

Disorder did not erupt as a result of a single ‘triggering’ or ‘precipitating’ incident. Instead, it was generated out of an increasingly disturbed social atmosphere, in which typically a series of tension-heightening incidents over a period of weeks or months became linked in the minds of many in the Negro community with a reservoir of underlying grievances. At some point in the mounting tension, a further incident –in itself often routine or trivial — became the breaking point and the tension spilled over into violence. ‘Prior’ incidents, which increased tensions and ultimately led to violence, were police actions in almost half the cases; police actions were ‘final’ incidents before the outbreak of violence in 12 of the 24 surveyed disorders.” (Kerner Commission Report on Civil Disorders, 1968.)

* * *


* * *


“Who could imagine that they would freak out in Minnesota….” It Can’t Happen Here – Zappa, 1966

Wednesday I watched the riot...
I seen the cops out on the street
Watched 'em throwin' rocks and stuff
And chokin' in the heat
Listened to reports
About the whisky passin' 'round
Seen the smoke & fire
And the market burnin' down
Watched while everybody
On his street would take a turn
To stomp and smash and bash and crash
And slash and bust and burn

And I'm watchin' and I'm waitin'
Hopin' for the best
Even think I'll go to prayin'
Every time I hear 'em sayin'
That there's no way to delay
That trouble comin' every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin' every day

— Frank Zappa, Trouble Every Day

What will you do if we let you go home,
And the plastic's all melted,
And so is the chrome?

What will you do when the label comes off,
And the plastic's all melted,
And the chrome is too soft?

— Frank Zappa, Who Are the Brain Police

* * *

“Whoa! This Trump Rally is really packed!”

* * *


1. it's another 100 degree day...frighteningly brilliant and 100 burning thermonuclear spheres 

2. vast swarms of yellowjackets just won't quit...they are keenly insistent on hunting...biting...eating...everything that yellowjackets do

3. our dog had her puppies this perfectly still stillborn among all the other fitfully twitching others...the stillborn born slick and wet like the others...but now he is just a stillborn puppy...and heartbreakingly his mother licks him clean

4. foxglove is blooming in our garden...digitalis purpurea...the original source of the heart medicine/toxin digoxin...also called digitalis

5. foxglove is an uncertain crapshoot due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin...the leaves, flowers and seeds of foxglove are all poisonous to humans and some can be fatal if ingested in the wrong dose 

6. like other cardiac glycosides, foxglove's digitoxin and digoxin are toxic and exert their effects by inhibiting the ATPase activity of a complex of transmembrane proteins that form the sodium potassium ATPase pump

7. foxglove's digitoxin, digoxin and several other cardiac glycosides, such as ouabain, are known to have steep dose-response other words, minute increases in the dosage of these drugs can make the difference between an ineffective dose and a fatal one

8. symptoms of digitalis poisoning include a low pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and uncoordinated contractions of different parts of the heart, leading to cardiac arrest and finally death...nothing to raphsodize about...yet foxglove is so lovely 

9. toxic

10. imagine the world after-world...foxglove is everywhere...the foxglove is lovely but it is not toxic...unblundering we make love on beds of foxglove...we sleep on beds of foxglove through the night

11. in that danger...loveliness, yes, but no real splendor...and no poem...something a person in love cannot easily explain

John Sakowicz

19 June 2020

Ukiah, California

* * *


* * *

'HEARTBREAKING,' Say Global Experts, Alarmed at Signs US Has 'Given Up' Fight to Stop Covid-19

Global public health experts are looking on in "alarm and disbelief" as the U.S. economy reopens even as Covid-19 case numbers continue to rise in a number of states, with President Donald Trump signaling he has no intention of calling for more economic shutdowns regardless of the outcome. "It really does feel like the U.S. has given up," Siouxsie Wiles, a specialist at University of Auckland in New Zealand, told the Post.

* * *


* * *


Point Arena City Council Meeting June 23, 2020

* * *


 Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 7pm. If seven comes and goes and you're not done, send it whenever it's ready and I'll read it on next week's show. 

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. Also there and anywhere else via and click on Listen. And any time of any day or night you can go to and hear last week's show and shows before that. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's MOTA will also be there, in the latest post, right on top. 

Furthermore, at there are exactly 400 pounds of educational delights to fool around with while you wait for tonight, such as: 

Regarding the Confederate flag, the flag of traitors and racists, the American swastika.

I know you've already seen this. I just want to express that the way the white woman and her white husband (it turned out they're married) talk, all poisonously scrupulously polite, while they positively /drip concentrated evil/ is exactly the behavior of everyone on every unassailable nonprofit corporation's board I ever had to speak with for any purpose. I think it's covered in a special class they're given; I don't think it's genetic, though it might be.

And I love this: Man simply invites people to look at the dang moon and it scrambles their brains, in a good way.

— Marco McClean,,

* * *


* * *


Open the window on the landing where a small tree waves

Breathe in the mingling

Jasmine and Rosemary

Put your lips for a flower kiss


Bend to embrace Japanese Maple

Let it spring back.

Maroon leaves lacy red.

Dance in the light.

Smile as someone scrutinizes and says "we all need hugs."

Lay in the grass: hanss, cheek

Smell the earth.

Rub your hands with fennel, then

Cup to your nose

Reach for Bee Balm

Do the same

Put a Mullen leaf in your pocket

See what happens

Taste wild mint and Miner’s lettuce

Pick up a Bay seed, take it home to a cool place,

Plant and wonder if…

Reach Indian Rock

Peruse the distant bay

Believe the joy of early birds

See the sky, read the weather

Sit over a small stream

On a rock wall, went with moss

Everything sings!

Watch in the darkness

How the lightning curves

Ever so slightly

While you fall asleep

To rain

— Susan Von Knopka, Berkeley, March to May, 2020

PS. Isolating alone I sought the companionship of nature. Each image was one I experienced and although happy at the time, I don't think I ever felt lonelier in reading my attempts to say, feel — complete.

* * *


* * *


by Ralph Nader

Frontline healthcare, transit, and grocery clerk workers are too busy risking their lives helping and saving people exposed to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic to see themselves emerging as the force that can overcome decades of commercial obstruction to full Medicare for All.

These heroic, courageous, and selfless people are getting the job done, often without protective equipment and adequate facilities. Many of them get extremely sick or die from Covid-19.

Fat cat CEO’s are placing full-page ads elaborately praising their workers whom they regularly underpaid and disrespected before Covid-19. These bosses are now recognizing both the physical and moral courage it takes for these exceptional saviors to serve their communities.

What is emerging from this catastrophe is an exceptional class of millions of potential advocates receiving mass media coverage. Deeply personal profiles and first-person accounts of the pain and anguish they endure fills the news. They have experienced firsthand the perverse priorities of the profiteering corporate health vendors that are leaving tens of millions of innocent families uninsured, underinsured, and without paid sick leave.

Now shift the scene to the only obstacle to single-payer universal health insurance in America – the corporate indentured Congress. Out of 535 Senators and Representatives, 135 in the House already support H.R. 1384 full Medicare for All with free choice of doctors and hospitals. This much more efficient and comprehensive lifesaving system is far superior to our current profits-first morass. In the Senate, add another 30 supporters. With about 200 more converts for Medicare for All, a veto-proof passage is possible.

Now can come the steely determined Covid-19 workers with their national advocates representing all their skills and geographic regions, heading straight for Congress. In relays, day after day, observing CDC guidelines, they will find Congress mostly AWOL. These days Congress is only periodically present for pressing financial legislation. The frontline workers can push for Congressional hearings, floor debates, and then voting. No more lies, delays, distortions, or domination of members of Congress by the corporate crime complex. The legislators are directly told they work for the people, not the corporations pouring money into their campaign coffers.

These Covid-19 workers cannot be stared down or flimflammed. They have the decisive karma that veterans’ groups often have with Congress. They have seen more fatalities among their protectees in three months then the U.S. soldiers lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars (apart from the massive greater casualties on the native peoples). They have experienced the staggering pressures of their hands-on service from ambulances to intubations and the solitary deaths of their patients. While members of Congress huddle at home, they are shamed by the low-paid valiant toil of exposed grocery, public transit, and sanitation workers who don’t have the luxury of laboring remotely.

This new unstoppable non-partisan assemblage of Americans will have plenty of backup. Funding by well-to-do people will be forthcoming. Experts like Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, Dr. David Himmelstein, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Dr. Michael Carome, former Nurses Union leader RoseAnn DeMoro, who keenly understand the tactics of the medical corporatists, are on hand. So are the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and many other consumer and labor groups.

The polls will expand from a present, majority of Americans, doctors, and nurses to even greater numbers backing universal health care coverage. Rising to greater prominence to lead the way in Congress will be the long-supportive Representatives and Senators energized and propelled by this new, relentless citizen dynamic demanding action now!

What should have been done over a hundred years ago, when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt proposed universal health care, should not be stalled any longer.

Not when 1500 to 2000 people lose their lives every week because they can’t afford to be diagnosed or treated in time, according to a new Yale study.

Not when an average of a billion dollars a day is taken by billing fraud according to a conservative estimate by the leading expert on such crimes – Professor Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University.

Not when a minimum of five thousand people a week die from preventable problems in hospitals (not including clinics) as reported in a peer-reviewed Johns’ Hopkins School of Medicine analysis. Putting people before profits would lower that horrendous casualty toll substantially.

Not when numerous countries, including Canada, cover all their people at half the price per capita with better outcomes, free choice of physicians and hospitals, and peace of mind.

Not when documentation for fundamental change is so overwhelmingly at everyone’s fingertips (See: Dr. John Geyman’s latest in a series of educational books by this sagacious practitioner and scholar – the galvanizing “Profiteering, Corruption and Fraud in U.S. Health Care” will be available very soon (See:

The Covid-19 pandemic and its bungling by Trump and Trumpsters leading to the loss of loved ones, the loss of patients, and the horrific experiences of frontline workers would pave the way to this long-overdue change. The humane laser-beamed arrival of workers, who have witnessed the tragedies caused by the pandemic will push Congress to provide Americans universal care and relief, from economic anxiety, dread, and fear. Americans deserve the same health care coverage enjoyed by people in every other western country.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! )

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

Historians of the future, boiling acorns over their campfires (a nice accompaniment to cattail tubers and milkweed pods in a squirrel-tail reduction), will marvel that the Democrats back in the woeful year 2020 thought that burning down the country would be a winning election strategy. Has anyone been fooled by the party’s straight-up support, comfort, and incitement of this season’s looting and arson? Now that all the old statues are torn down, beheaded, or drowned, will future statues of statesman Joe Biden portray him at his most heroic, with a face-mask dangling from one ear as he scours the vacant chambers of his prefrontal cortex for a fugitive homily?

No more Cocoa Krispies for you, racist America! Aunt Jemima has served her last pancake, Lord, and is quitting the big house for an endowed chair in critical flatbread studies at Princeton. Every last reel of Gone with the Wind will be melted down for guitar picks. And get this, Whitey: Uncle Ben is no kin to you and never was!

Actually, Huey P. Newton of the Black Panthers said it best fifty years ago: “Marxism is my hustle,” is how he put it. America, do you ever sense that you are being hustled? Importuned by means not altogether above-board? Faked out? Bamboozled? Gulled? You might have reason to suspect as much, under the circumstances. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi caught the spirit of the hustle last week when he stood before a burning liquor store in Minneapolis and declared, “This is mostly a protest. It is not, generally speaking, unruly. But fires have been started and this crowd is relishing that.” Yes, fire is a crowd-pleaser, all-right, and probably has been for a hundred thousand years or more. That is how we humans roll. This was just an entertainment-grade fire, set to amuse, to tickle that ancient instinct.

Now, the Democratic Party enjoys proud ownership of the phrase “defund the police” — and all the interesting implications of it. Let’s see which Democrat-controlled city will go first with an actual demonstration project of that policy. So far, it has just amounted to impromptu decrees from the mayors’ offices to stand down or standby while mobs do their thing (“shopping,” minus payment for goods received). Wait until it becomes an overt civic management mandate — call it zero law enforcement policy. The thing is, it will be most appreciated by people who don’t vote; for the voters, maybe not so much.

The scenario is playing out in Atlanta now, where one Rayshard Brooks was shot while violently resisting arrest after passing out in a Wendy’s drive-thru and failing a sobriety test. Mr. Brooks had a long rap sheet for activities such as domestic battery and cruelty to children. He was on probation for a previous driving-under-the-influence conviction. A new one would have sent him to jail, knowledge of which, perhaps, prompted him to assault the two arresting officers and attempt to taser them— a saint in-the-making, for sure

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has charged officer Garrett Rolfe with felony murder, which carries the death penalty under Georgia law. The DA decided to forego an official inquiry by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The DA has made self-contradictory public statements about whether a taser is a deadly weapon or not. The charges may not stick. In which case, does Atlanta burn down next? The Atlanta police have engaged in job walk-offs. Maybe this will be America’s first test of how a major metro area works when there is no law enforcement.

YouTube commentator Scott Adams, creator of the comic-strip Dilbert, raised an interesting question the other day about the re-energized push for “reparations” to black America and the difficulty of actually calculating it. What if it turned out to be something like a negative $11 trillion? That is, if you figure in the accrued costs to non-black America in the century and a half since the civil war. After the past several weeks, with epic looting and burning in many cities, that number may be looming larger in the national consciousness.

A heat-wave is upon us now in the northeast. It tends to depress spirits during the day, only to make them friskier when the sun goes down. There’s little to do in the cities these days, no simple entertainments, no sports, no eating out, in some places (like Manhattan) no more shopping — no place to go but the rooftops and the streets. The Democrats are on a roll with their hustle. But so far, they haven’t succeeded in goading the president into the use of federal troops to put down disorder. Nothing has stopped them yet from upping the ante on fomenting it. And today is Juneteenth, a day to celebrate. But how…?

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *


“The next time somebody comes in here and says he’s me, take him out back and have somebody hit a few balls to him. If he catches them you know he’s a phony.” – Lefty O’Doul

by Bill Gutman

If someone playing baseball trivia asked which player had the fourth-best lifetime batting average in history, many people wouldn’t know the answer. The first three are easy – Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Jackson. But the fourth, ah, that is a toughie. And the answer may surprise many. Behind Cobb’s .366, Hornsby’s .358 and Jackson’s .356 sits Francis Joseph “Lefty” O’Doul, who compiled a .349 batting average in a rather short, 11-year career. But there Lefty sits, not only as a player who could hit like the blazes, but as a rather unique baseball lifer who was also a long-time manager in the Pacific Coast League, a great teacher of the game, and a man who helped baseball grow and flourish in Japan. In fact, Lefty is in the Japanese Hall of Fame but has never made it to Cooperstown.

There’s another interesting connection. Like Babe Ruth before him, Lefty O’Doul began his career as a southpaw hurler. He showed some early promise, but didn’t have the mound success of the Babe. An arm injury finished his pitching career, but not his time in baseball. By then it was apparent that he could also hit, yet he was already 32 years old when he became a full-time outfielder with the Phillies in 1929. All he did that season was lead the National League in hitting with a .398 average while setting an NL record with 254 hits. Add to that 32 home runs and 122 runs batted in and you have superstar numbers. But where did it all come from? For Lefty, it had been a long journey.

A native of San Francisco, Lefty was born on March 4, 1897, and grew up in the tough meat-packing district now called Bay View-Hunter’s Point. At Bayview High School he was coached by a woman named Rosie Stoltz, whom he credits with “teaching me the fundamentals of the game,” both pitching and hitting. By 1916, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League signed him. He wound up pitching for Des Moines of the Western League for most of 1917, then back to the Seals the next year where he went 12-8 with a 2.63 ERA. After a short stint in the Navy, the Yanks drafted him before the 1919 season.

But pitching just didn’t work out. He was only in five games for the New Yorkers in 1919 and 1920 combined, went back to the minors, then pitched in just six more games in 1922. By 1923 he was with Boston and appeared in 23 games, all but one in relief. That did it for pitching. In parts of four seasons, he was just 1-1 with a 4.87 ERA, and he never got much chance to hit. In 1924 the Sox sent him to Salt Lake City of the PCL where he became an outfielder and surprised everyone by hitting .392 in 140 games. The next year he played in 198 games in the elongated PCL schedule and hit .375 with an amazing 309 hits and 24 home runs. Back with the Seals in 1927, he hit .378 with 278 hits and 33 home runs to become the PCL’s first Most Valuable Player. It was a glimpse of things to come.

Lefty O’Doul would end up playing more games in the minors than the majors, both before and after his big league career. In 1090 minor league games he hit a robust .352. Yet he didn’t get back to the majors until the Giants acquired him in 1928 when he was already 31 years old. He missed time with a broken ankle, but still hit .319 in 114 games. Lefty was a solid southpaw swinger with great speed, but by his own admission a lousy outfielder. That never improved. Yet when he went to the Phillies the next year he really exploded at the plate.

That was the season he hit .398 with 254 hits. He followed that in 1930 with a .383 season, was traded to Brooklyn the following year where he hit .336 and, in 1932, won his second batting title with a .368 mark. He split 1933 between Brooklyn and the Giants again, dropping to .284 in his age-36 season and finished up the next season with the Giants hitting .316 in 83 games. Lefty’s big league career was over after just 11 seasons. He retired with that great .349 lifetime average, but with just 1,140 hits, 113 home runs and 542 RBIs. He did have a .413 on-base percentage and .532 slugging average, but his career numbers have never been deemed Hall of Fame worthy. He was hurt by his late start and the years trying to make it as a pitcher. His peak seasons came between the ages of 32 and 35. He may have retired, but Lefty O’Doul was far from finished with baseball.

After leaving the majors, Lefty went on to manage the San Francisco Seals from 1937 to 1951, winning a PCL championship and four pennants. In 1945, The Sporting News named him Minor League Manager of the Year. From there he managed San Diego, Oakland, Vancouver and Seattle, all in the PCL, through 1957. He was also a part-time hitting instructor for the Giants from 1958-61 after the team moved to San Francisco. And that wasn’t all.

His connection with Japanese baseball is also impressive. He went there first in 1931on an exhibition tour, then returned the next year and stayed three months helping to train college ballplayers. Ted Lyons and Moe Berg were with him. He toured the country again in 1933 and ’34, bringing a group of fine major leaguers with him, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. He also helped form the Japanese professional leagues and, in 1937, supervised the construction of a stadium in Tokyo.

Though the War obviously distressed him, Lefty returned once again in 1949 with the San Francisco Seals team and even had an audience with Emperor Hirohito and his ballclub drew half a million fans in just 10 games. Then in 1952, he returned again, this time to make personal appearances with none other than Joe DiMaggio, and a year later led a group of major league stars to play a series of exhibition games. Finally, in 1960 he accompanied the San Francisco Giants to Japan for a series of exhibition games and more personal appearances. No wonder Lefty is in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. He may have done more than any other American to help the Japanese grow the game.

After retiring from baseball after the 1957 season, the 60-year old O’Doul opened a restaurant in San Francisco, a perfect business for a man beloved by so many in the city. It became one of the longest operating sports bars in the country. The original location closed in early 2017 due to a landlord-tenant dispute, but a year later it reopened at a new, Fisherman’s Wharf location.

As for Lefty, he was always ready to help people out. Some called him a soft touch, but he would often say, “Why shouldn’t I help the guy. He’s in trouble.” In November of 1969, Lefty O’Doul was felled by a stroke and died on December 7, of a coronary blockage at the age of 72. But his legacy as a baseball lifer lives on, especially in San Francisco, where a bridge over McCovey Cove at the Giants ballpark is named the Lefty O’Doul Bridge.

And then there’s that trivia question. How can you forget a guy who has the fourth-highest batting average in major league history? That’s Cobb, Hornsby, Jackson . . . and Lefty O’Doul.



  1. Jurgen Stoll June 20, 2020

    Kunstler appears to be entering Philbrick territory. Perhaps the remaining Koch bro can support his Patreon now that he’s gone full right wingnut……

  2. James Marmon June 20, 2020

    RE: Ed note: “Aren’t lowlifes pretty much apolitical?”

    The homeless may not vote but they do participate in un-American acts such as moving into the new country called CHOP, formally known as CHAZ, formally known as downtown Seattle. It’s a Cop free zone and they’re loving every minute of it.


    • James Marmon June 20, 2020

      Two people shot in the new Country of CHOP last night, one dead. Police and First Responders were blocked by CHOP residents from entering the crime scenes to investigate or provide emergency aid. I’m sure it was all just a matter of misunderstanding and we’ll all get through this. How can you have a crime when there are no police involved?

      God bless CHOP, land that I love
      Stand beside her and guide her
      Through the night with the light from above

      James Marmon
      Born on the 4th of July

    • Lazarus June 20, 2020

      Media is reporting two were shot, one is reported dead in the CHOP zone. Police nor fire personal were able or allowed to tend to the victims early this morning. Reports say the survivor is currently hospitalized, condition unknown.

      Just wait til the Mongols, the Hells Angels, the Bikers for Trump, and others go for their planned visit July 4th…The street says they’re going to take the CHOP back.

      Be safe,

  3. Marshall Newman June 20, 2020

    One of my childhood memories is eating a Rones’ skyscraper, which was basically a vertical hot fudge sundae.

  4. Jeff Fox June 20, 2020


    Thanks Mr. Calder for a great article.

  5. Jonah Raskin June 20, 2020

    Brilliant piece on the history of Fort Bragg and the Indians (the indigenous people) which ought to be in the history books and school kids (and adults too) should know about it. Many thanks.

  6. Eric Sunswheat June 20, 2020

    JUNE 19, 2020
    There is renewed vitamin D interest in relationship to COVID-19. Along with its bone-building role, vitamin D impacts immune function.

    Patients seriously ill with COVID-19 can experience an overactive inflammatory response called a cytokine storm. It is the cytokine storm that increases the risk of death from the disease. Initial correlational research suggests that vitamin D may decrease the risk of cytokine storm by helping regulate inflammatory response.

    Few foods contain vitamin D. The best food sources are fatty fish, egg yolk, shitake and Portobello mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight and fortified foods such as milk, yogurt, tofu, orange juice and breakfast cereals.

  7. Harvey Reading June 20, 2020


    Just more conservative apologetics, propaganda and BS trying to make us believe that preserving the racist/classist status-quo is our highest calling. Sort of like erecting monuments to slaveholders (and slave rapers, like Jefferson) and war criminals and putting out flags on the porch. The ultra patriots!

  8. Lazarus June 20, 2020

    What’s up with Google Drive? Can’t access your info, and who’s Zeke?
    Be safe James,

  9. Bob Abeles June 20, 2020

    SCENE V. Dunsinane. Within the castle.

    [Enter MACBETH, SEYTON, and Soldiers, with drum and colours]


    Hang out our banners on the outward walls;
    The cry is still 'They come:' our castle's strength
    Will laugh a siege to scorn: here let them lie
    Till famine and the ague eat them up:
    Were they not forced with those that should be ours,
    We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
    And beat them backward home.

    [A cry of women within]
    What is that noise?


    It is the cry of women, my good lord.



    I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
    The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
    To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
    Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
    As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
    Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
    Cannot once start me.

    [Re-enter SEYTON]
    Wherefore was that cry?


    The queen, my lord, is dead.


    She should have died hereafter;
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    • Bob Abeles June 20, 2020

      Ah yes, context: the mini-covidpalloza today in Tulsa, OK.

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