- Ukiah Breaks 200
- Ambulance Protocol
- Showing Rabbits
- CSD Election
- Timber Heyday
- WVFD Fundraiser
- Spiller Popped
- City Council
- Skunk Depot
- Ed Notes
- Not Invited
- Computer Class
- Inner Fauci
- Civic Duty
- Yesterday's Catch
- Go On
- Kenton Strong
- Eviction Crisis
- DNC Platform
- GOP Bill
- Vacate Notice
- KKK Matters
- Damn Machine
- Muir Maligned
- Puppet Show
- Miss Dana
- Green Room
- Sex Worker
- Eternal Graffiti
TYPICAL SUMMERTIME CONDITIONS can be expected for the next week, with cool and cloudy conditions near the ocean, and warm and sunny conditions farther inland. No precipitation is expected for the foreseeable future. (NWS)
COVID-19 Daily Update – 7/29/2020
13 additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 293. Data has been updated, showing that Mendo now has 223 released from isolation, and 59 currently in isolation.
MSP Digs Into The New Cases
Since we're left on our own with the "dashboard," MSP will explain what age and where the new cases came from:
- Ages 0 - 5: NO new cases
- Ages 6 - 12: NO new cases
- Ages 13 - 18: Two new cases
- Ages 19 - 34: Three new cases
- Ages 35 - 49: One new case
- Ages 50 - 64: Six new cases
- Ages 65-plus: One new case
- North Coast: Three new cases
- South Coast: NO new cases
- North County: One new case
- South County: NO new cases
- Ukiah Valley: NINE new cases
Definitions Of Locations:
- North Coast - Caspar, Fort Bragg, Cleone, Newport, Westport, Rockport
- South Coast - Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala
- North County - Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Covelo, Dos Rios, Leggett, Piercy
- South County - Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland
- Ukiah Valley - Ukiah, Talmage, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley
- Seven of the new cases were women, six were men.
- The Hispanic community has 59.7% of all cases
- The 19 years to 34 years age group has the most cases - 30.7%
AV AMBULANCE MANAGER Clay Eubanks reports:
COVID 19 has been an ongoing concern. We have begun to tighten down our COVID policies even more as we now have confirmed cases within the district. We have transported at least one COVID positive patient without incident and the crew followed protocols perfectly, minimizing patient contact to just the EMT. … We are not required to test and quarantine everytime we have a COVID patient. As long as all appropriate PPE is being worn by those who have had patient contact, HHS does not feel the need. They felt that if that were the case then we would have no healthcare workers left.
AV AG TEACHER BETH SWEHLA WRITES:
Kellie is one of my FFA members. She has been working hard raising a rabbit meat pen for the Virtual Redwood Empire Fair. Her rabbit pen will be judged on August 2nd. The online auction will take place on August 7th & 8th. You can register to bid at https://sconlinesales.com/. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your support. See her video in the comments
Dear Potential Buyer,
My name is Kellie Crisman and I’m 14. This fall I will be a freshman at Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School. I got involved with Anderson Valley FFA last year, and so far have been to three rabbit shows. This will be my first year attending the Redwood Empire Fair. In addition to being involved in FFA, I’m part of a group called the Service Learning Team. The Service Learning Team is a mostly student led group that completes projects to benefit the school or community.
I’m currently raising a meat pen of New Zealand rabbits that I purchased from Ms. Swehla, who teaches agriculture classes at Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School, and is the Anderson Valley FFA advisor. I also will be showing two New Zealand rabbits at the breeding show. I plan to save the money I make from my meat pen so I can continue showing rabbits. My future interests are working with animals and baking.
I would like to invite you to the online Junior Livestock Auction on August 7-8 at 8:00 a.m., and would appreciate it if you bid on my rabbit meat pen. If you choose to bid, click on this link: http://www.redwoodempirefair.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/How-To-Bid-2.pdf
Contact me, or my advisor Ms. Swehla if you have any questions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
VAL MUCHOWSKI WRITES:
The deadline for interested members of Anderson Valley to sign up for the election is August 7th (5 PM). Three openings are available - this is probably one of the most critical elections regarding the AV district in many, many years. Some members of the board have been continually appointed by the Board of Supervisors in lieu of an election because no one signed up to run in an unknown election. No election in years - some appointed positions go back before 2011 according to Mendocino LAFCo. Basically, Anderson Valley Community Service District directors have been reappointing themselves or like-minded members year after year after year!
If no one applies by August 7 for the election then another 4 years will be added to current members' appointed term; that could possibly total over 13 years or more!! No mention who is up for reelection or appointment as the case may be from the local service district. In the Legal Notice it states three directors - Long Term (meaning four years).
Three members equals a quorum, future critical decisions are in jeopardy if no new members are seated. The pending Developer fees up for consideration August 5 will substantially cripple new development in the Valley. Available housing is a huge issue - developer fees impact all new building in addition to the mandatory sewer/water plan that charges new development $10,000 for hook up to mandatory sewer/water.
Candidates wishing to file for board membership may contact the Office of the County Clerk, located at 501 Low Gap Rd, Room #1020, Ukiah 95482. Phone 234-6819.
MENDOCINO COUNTY BACK IN THE DAY
WESTPORT FIRE DEPARTMENT FUNDRAISING
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Westport Volunteer Fire Department is unable to sponsor its main fundraising activity -- the Annual Barbecue -- this year. To help fill the fundraising gap, Mountain Mike's Pizza in Fort Bragg and Ukiah has agreed to make a generous contribution to the Westport Volunteer Fire Department from the proceeds of sales during the first four Saturdays in August. Enjoy great Mountain Mike's food on August 1, 8, 15 and 22 and help support the Westport Volunteer Fire Department, which provides year-round initial 911 emergency response service for medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, traumatic injuries and fires in a response area covering roughly 108 square miles on the Northern Mendocino Coast. Pizza, salad and sandwiches can be ordered ahead for pick up or delivery by calling Mountain Mike's in Fort Bragg at 964-9999. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Board Member, EMT and Firefighter
Westport Volunteer Fire Department
INMATE SAYS NO TO SPILLER
On Tuesday, July 28 2020 at approximately 11:02 a.m., Officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to the area of the pudding creek bridge for a possible instance of illegal dumping.
Upon arrival Officers made contact with Shawn Spiller, 32, of Fort Bragg.
While on scene it was determined the registered owner of the vehicle was currently in custody at the Mendocino County Jail and may not have given Spiller permission to utilize the vehicle. Officers contacted staff at the Jail and requested they contact and ask the registered owner if Spiller had permission to possess his vehicle.
While awaiting a response from the Mendocino County Jail Officers conducted a search of the vehicle pursuant to Spiller’s terms of probation. Inside Officers located drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine. Officers also located several cordless power tools that were similar to those reportedly taken from a vehicle in Fort Bragg a few weeks prior.
Staff from the Jail ultimately confirmed the registered owner of the vehicle had not given anyone permission to possess or operate his vehicle and desired to report the vehicle stolen. The California Highway Patrol was contacted and responded to the Mendocino County Jail in order to complete the stolen vehicle report.
Spiller was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, and violation of probation. Spiller was processed at the Fort Bragg Police Department and transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
If you have information related to this investigation please contact Officer Lopez at (707) 961-2800 ext. 141 or email@example.com.
Covering the city council by Zoom is sure different. A lot happened at the last meeting, but there wasn't much public comment. One thing I'd like to add was that City Manager Tabatha Miller got back the $10,000 pay cut from her annual salary she voluntarily took to help the city through Covid times. She is also doing more work following the departure of Victor Damiani, who was treasurer/finance director. Other interesting stuff to be covered in the future included all what can be revealed through testing of Fort Bragg's sewage for Covid now underway and a predevelopment loan agreement between the city and Humboldt builder Danco for a housing project to built by the hospital at 441 South Street, which will feature senior and supportive housing. What is most important? Drop us a line anytime or comment.
AT THE SKUNK TRAIN DEPOT (photos by Chris Calder)
EVERY MORNING you wake up and say to yourself, "No way can it be crazier than yesterday." And then it is. This morning we learned that Trump is taking medical advice from Dr. Stella Emmanuel who runs the Fire Power Ministries in a strip mall next door to her clinic in Houston. The doc was born in Cameroon and did her medical training in Nigeria. On her Facebook page she says she's a "Physician, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Deliverance Minister, God's battle axe and weapon of war." She says her church is against "'unmarried couples living together, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, etc," with no explanation what's covered under etc. Lots, undoubtedly. She goes on to say that her "attitude toward demonic forces has been described as cut-throat, a warrior to the core." She is also a "wealth transfer coach" and believes "you can be saved, anointed, fire brand and wealthy too."
ANOTHER psycho running for office somewhere in the South promised her voters, "There are people that are ruling this nation that are not even human." Yeah? Tell us something we don't know if you want my vote.
FOR YOUR PERSONNEL FILES: We've had many, many questions on the theme of, "Where's McEwen? I miss his court reports." So do we. It happened that the stars aligned in such a way that America was struck by plague on the same day that McEwen married and, departing the turbulent world of crime and punishment, our star reporter set sail on the presumably less turbulent Sea of Love with, as it happened, Ms. Marilyn Davin, also an ace reporter for Boonville's beloved weekly. McEwen's marital voyage coincided with the abrupt closure of the courts, but now that the new rules of distance and masks have taken hold, and some cases are being heard in semi-public, we expect McEwen to return to his beat.
REX GRESSETT is our most controversial contributor, and certainly our most passionate in his zeal to defend what he sees as the best interests of Fort Bragg. The editor has occasionally intervened to remove gratuitous insults from Rex's piping hot prose, but overall we think his opinionated reporting offers a perspective often shared by many people affected by Fort Bragg government, especially during the previous Ruffing-Turner regime. Gressett was just what the doctor ordered. Fort Bragg has since joined Willits as a model of civic functioning, the only two in Mendocino County.
VIRTUAL COMPUTER CLASS offered through the AV Adult School August and September 2020
(Anderson Valley Village <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
Note: Please do not reply to this email. If you are interested in registering or have any questions, you can contact email@example.com or leave a message at 895-2953 with your name, number and mention of this class and they will call you back.
Update: At this point they have some people registered but they are still short a few registrations to be able to run this class.
Dear friends of the AV Adult School,
We hope this email finds you faring well in these uncertain times.
Attached please find an informational flyer about a virtual (online only) computers class being offered by the Adult School.
If you are interested in registering or have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 895-2953 with your name, number and mention of this class and we will call you back.
Virtual computer class
Dates: August 19th-September 23rd
Wednesdays, 5-7 pm*
(*First hour is instructional, second hour will be practice exercises with teacher support)
Requirements: For each class you will need a computer with an internet connection and if possible, a web cam.
Class will take place via video conference call.
Cost: $75 for all 6 sessions (price goes down if more than ten people enroll. Scholarships available! Contact us for an application.)
1. All about Technology devices and Media
2. Basics of Laptop/Computer:
3. Using the Default Programs on a Laptop/Computer: MS-Paint, WordPad, notepad etc., advantages of using built-in programs
4. Pen Drives (Thumb Drive), CDs, DVDs
5. Techniques for effective emailing
6. Intro to Social Media use
7. Google: Use, understanding cloud and internet, other Search Engines
8. Microsoft Programs- MS Word, MS-Excel, MS-PowerPoint etc.
9. Using Antivirus: Differences between Mac and Windows, organizing your computer, virus scanning
MARI RODIN CHECKS IN
I was so excited and scared the night I first joined Ukiah City Council in 2002. I felt a huge wave of responsibility to our community, and as I expected, there was a lot to learn.
Before serving on the Council, I thought I knew what it was to love a place, but over the course of my 3 terms — I grew to appreciate our City so much more. It sounds corny, but City Council made me really understand how a city or county is more than the lines on a map or its buildings and roads. It's the people, and the connections between them, that make it. The people are the reason to do the job.
In addition to the race for County Supervisor, there are a number of School District Board of Trustees seats and other local offices up for election this November. The deadline for candidates to declare is next week and if you have any inkling to run for office, my door is always open.
TLDR: If you're thinking about running for office. Go for it. You will not be disappointed.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 29, 2020
JUSTIN GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. DUI causing bodily injury, evasion, suspended license, assault on peace officer, probation revocation.
CASEY HARDISON, Fairfax. False imprisonment, fugitive from justice.
DANIEL KOWALSKY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, using someone else’s personal information without authorization.
SHAWN SPILLER, Controlled substance, paraphernalia, stolen property, probation revocation.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE, AN EXCHANGE
Beverly Smith wrote (Coast Listseve):
...Known = Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug used for decades. Cutting Edge = Moderna's fast track vaccine being encouraged by Fauci and Gates...
Marco here. I suppose that windshield wipers and brake parts are technically all car parts that can be used to fix a car, and, Beverly, you and Alan are right about it costing more for brake parts (vaccine) than to replace a windshield wiper (hydroxychloroquine). Going the brake-part-route to fix the brakes of a car will definitely enrich a company that makes brake parts, and windshield wipers are cheaper, and easier for a child to understand than a hydraulic brake system, but I'd still rather they use brake parts to fix cars' brakes, rather than do a rain dance and slap at the tires with windshield wipers and expect that to do the job, because windshield wipers are good to get water off a windshield but useless and dangerous and crazy to expect to fix broken brakes with so they can stop a car.
Hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to cure the novel coronavirus. It's for something else, and it doesn't help in this case. It has been show to be dangerous and can kill people, so you should only use it when you have to and for what it works for, which is lupus, last time I checked. And so far everyone pushing hydroxychloroquine in the big world as a cure for novel coronavirus turns out on inspection to be a loonball. Case in point: this latest doctor practicing in a strip-mall in Texas next to her church (Fireball Ministries Church) where she preaches that the government is run by lizard aliens, that vaccines can't be trusted because space alien DNA is being used to make them, that feminine belly diseases are caused by a woman unwisely dreaming of having sex with devils and demons and actually having sex with the astral-projected ectoplasm of witches and evil "spirit husbands". I'm not making any of this up. It's from videos of her preaching. Now, she got her medical degree in Nigeria, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, and she's certified to practice some sort of medicine in Texas, and that might be, but she's only considered an authority on this subject among people who are as crazy as she obviously is. And there are more people that crazy than ever, thanks to Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. and the news bubble that people form around themselves with social media anymore.
I was reading the comments after the video that Alan sent a link for. Here's a common comment: "What a courageous woman! She's so right!" And: "It is amazing that the ignorant Democrats would rather see people die then have a shot at a cure just because HCQ was touted by Trump! LMFAO! Liberals getting denser by the day!" And, "Like clockwork, the CBS affiliate comes out smearing her for being a Christian."
Smearing her for being a Christian? Oy fucking gevalt.
WHERE AM I? I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on.
— Samuel Beckett
KENTON, North of Portland
HOW THE EVICTION CRISIS ACROSS THE U.S. WILL LOOK
An unprecedented eviction crisis will soon hit the U.S.
HOPE AND CHANGE. HERE COMES BIDEN
DNC Platform Committee Votes Down Medicare for All Amendment
NOTICES TO VACATE
There’s been coverage of the executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom signed to halt evictions. In my opinion, there has not been enough coverage concerning the thousands of renters who are receiving “notices to vacate,” aka get out, with shelter-in-place orders still in effect.
These are people who are paying their rent. Why does the media under-report this issue?
Renters in San Francisco and Sonoma counties are told you’re only protected by the governor’s order if your income is impacted by Covid-19. This is unjust. These counties are not the only ones. Sonoma and San Francisco counties should address this clearly, as some cities in Los Angeles County did, by including landlords “may not issue notices to vacate” during the pandemic.
There’s a housing crisis in California. Notices to vacate can make some renters homeless, especially low-income renters.
This issue should never be ignored. It’s more important not to ignore it during the orders to shelter in place, and it’s very important when there’s a coronavirus spurge in California. Please cover this issue.
THIS DAMN MACHINE!
Notes from a scattered mind
It’s not like the only thing I have to do is dash off a note to my Facebook frenz or see how resistant I am to clickbait today. I have a life to live, and people are generally kind enough to not annoy me with “Here’s a helping hand for you, you poor old man.” No, and don’t think I’m not grateful (unless they want to fix my car ((carZ, actually)), computer, roof fascia, pickup truck, half a dozen broken power tools, fence, knee, ears or bank account—any of those things God sends to remind me I’m a pauper—those I’ll let somebody else do, as long as they do it out of the kindness of their heart because I believe in paying fairly and couldn’t) ...not grateful for that.
This damn machine keeps calling me away from the respectable things I need to do. (What the hell, the days are still long and mostly dry. Respectable reschmectable!) If I had a harem of dozens—scores—of languid young things panting to prove I’m the studliest creature who ever gladly proffered a rib that we mens might have partners with breasts and stuff to hatch the little rug rats with, even then the varied and pixie voices of the Net would call me away like mermaids calling from a rock.
How can you keep up with something that doubles in volume every two seconds? In 1995, when the Net was still New, four hundredths of the people on earth had access to it. Twenty-five years and six months later, sixty percent of the people on earth have access to the Internet. The calculations of the growth of content brings up numbers with funny names. “Google” is an accidental misspelling of “googol,” which means “one with a hundred zeroes after it.” "Googol" is the short form for—oh, I don’t know—ten trigintillion? (If that’s more to your taste.) If you hunger for information, real or fake, that’s a lot to keep up with.
How is mowing the last of the lawn going to compete with that? Or fixing the mower, for that matter.
SO, washing dishes, looking out the dreaming window, this morning, there’s this bird. It’s bigger than a hummingbird and smaller than a pterodactyl. It’s camouflage brown, but then I noticed it had a ruby-colored throat. What IS that?
Up I come, wondering what to ask the machine. Could it be a thrush? A thrush is a bird—right?--as well as a damn painful condition you get in your mouth while they’re treating you for throat cancer? (See? See how I worked that in?) So I made up a name. I’ll say it’s a “ruby-throated thrush” and see if Google Images shows a picture of the bigger-than-a-robin brown bird out back. The dishwater is cooling. I’m here at this damn machine.
No. Close, but no. It has a formidable beak. Maybe it’s some kind of woodpecker. Good guess, but still no. (Wonder what Republican insult Ocasio-Cortez turned back on the insulter?) Yoho. Congrssman from Florida. Boy, he sure backed into a fan! Great name for the villain in this melodrama: Representative Yoho!
The clickbait-sirens are calling, inviting, taunting: Ocasio-Cortez—yum! Maybe I’ll vote her for president someday. If I live that long, and why did a couple in Florida get massacred? Is two enough for a massacre? Inquiring minds want to know.
I glance at the tray at the bottom of my computer screen. Look at the time! Rats! I poke the button that darkens it, bird forgotten.
I wonder what that was, pecking the tree stump out back.
— Mitch Clogg
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There is a lot of misinformation about Muir. John Muir kept a journal for more than 50 years and recorded what he saw. By the time he arrived in California in 1868 the Yosemite Indians had already been removed during the Gold Rush. John Muir had nothing to do with it, and they weren't removed for the purpose of creating a national park. In 1868 the California Indians had suffered through nearly a 100 years of Spanish missions, European diseases, and genocide during the Gold Rush. Muir had nothing to do with that, and he could be excused for thinking that these Indians looked like a downtrodden people. Also, in his book "Travels in Alaska" he traveled by canoe with members of the Tlingit tribe, and wrote many positive things about them. If he was blindly racist about American Indians in general, then why would he praise this tribe? Also, Muir never said that wilderness should only be for white people. California had very few black people until World War II, and even now only 6% of the state's population is black. In the 1960's the Sierra Club started the Inner Cities Outings Program, which takes inner city minority teenagers on backpacking trips into the wilderness. About 15 years ago I assisted a leader on one of these outings into the Emigrant Basin Wilderness. The kids loved it. I think John Muir is being unfairly maligned.
LOVE REARS ITS BAFFLING HEAD
by Flynn Washburne
I was recently afflicted with a real humdinger of a sore throat while concurrently and intimately involved with someone who’d had close contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. Finally, I thought. It’s out of my hands. No more torment over my lapses and failures, no more fretting for the future and what may or may not happen; no more deaths to confront, no more addictions to conquer, no more demons to bedevil me. The utter absence of fear or anxiety was itself troubling, at first — I am well-known for dire and terminal self-diagnoses at the first sign of anything amiss in the system — but on consideration deemed my reaction logical and, for someone as chemically addlepated as m’self, remarkably percipient and public-spirited. What better way to serve a community riddled throughout with toxic social pathology than excising a few of the offending cells? After a few days on the street and witnessing the new order among the free folk, which can best be described as Anything Goes, I made two determinations: one, that the prospect of that kind of life was unacceptable, and B, that the possibility of my personal ability to avoid a fate so inherently shitty had a low probability. It’s a pity. For maximum effectiveness, go back and read the previous sentence with a Sharpton/Jackson cadence. I really shouldn’t have to give you people instructions at this late date, but too many people have written too many very serious letters in response to things meant entirely in jest, and being misunderstood is the bane of most writers. Some, of course, thrive on it and do everything but splash hot sauce in your eyes to prevent you reading it, making their work so incomprehensible, disordered, and pointless that I could literally produce better work with a Random House unabridged and a blender. Doris Lessing and William Gaddis come to mind.
And so the prospect of death, not normally a thing to be sought or desired, became a lot less like tragedy and more a way to both escape the pain and ignominy and to recapture a modicum of respectability. No shame in dying from something over which I’ve no control, right? I could even blame Trump. I got tested, though, and came up negative. Luckily there resided a barely discernable residue of hope, buried somewhere deep and inaccessible in my corpus - probably somewhere around the calcaneus - that prevented my finding and making out with the first coronavirus sufferer/carrier I could unearth. If I can somehow find a way to pinpoint, retrieve, nurture, and raise it up to a size where it might be able to do some good around this failing operation, take some steps toward becoming a going concern, I may yet live to do few things I’ve had my mind on while shoving years of my life into the shredder. Seeing my family would be nice, as would spending some time clean and sober when I’m not forced to be so, and perforce being in a state of satisfaction with myself (and my lot) enough to want to and to be happy in that condition. That’d be great.
But for now, things aren’t looking well. Halfway through my assigned term at Humboldt I violated an express oral directive and was invited to seek treatment elsewhere. And just how long did it take me to wind up back in the bag? Before I even left. I was packing up my stuff, saw a likely-looking member of the tribe noodle-grooving down the street (noodle-groove: to, due to prolonged meth use, be unable to control one’s body movements, resulting in bizarre undulations, twists, and particularly one’s arms flailing and intertwining like a pair of sex-mad snakes rolling on Ecstasy), accosted him and after listening to the obligatory tale of monsters in his teeth managed to procure a quantity of just the thing to completely undo the progress I’d made and send me again spiraling drainward. I know, you’re shocked beyond comprehension. What, Flynn relapsed? Inconceivable! I agree, totally took me by surprise too.
So there’s that, and in addition my mother’s condition is worsening and I cannot possibly go back to Colorado without committing a serious parole violation, and I have no place to stay, and someone stole all my valuable property besides my phone, upon which I am now typing, my (wrist) surgery has been postponed because the anesthesiologist won’t even consider putting me under without 2 weeks clean.
I’m turning 60 on Tuesday the 7th and worst of all, or best, or something, I’m in love. So on the one hand I want to just lay down somewhere and die and on the other I want to to unleash a barbaric yawp composed of poetry, testosterone, and valentines and trumpet at deafening decibels my joy and love for the incomparable, the amazing, the one I’ve been waiting my whole life to find, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the talented and charming Miss Dana Savile. I’ll wait as you applaud and cheer.
I haven’t been afflicted with this particular disorder since about ‘02, when after years of serial monogamy, philandering, sexual adventuring, and barely concealed gigolism, I experienced real, honest-to-goodness, major-league heartbreak. Not the self-indulgent type common to teenagers and emotionally stunted young adults I’d taken so much pleasure in, planning and executing elaborate take-me-back schemes involving spray paint and public edifices, writing poetry as purply precious as ripe blackberry drupelets, and flinging myself headlong into any perilous situation she might witness or hear about, but the sitting-in-a-dark-room-with-a-bottle-of-vodka kind, realizing that there’s no trenchcoat long enough, no boombox loud enough, no Phil Collins lyric treacly enough to make her ever look your way again. I knew then that I was done for the duration and every remaining moment of my life was going to suck. It hurt so bad that for years I literally shrank from any suggestion of intimacy, affection, or sexual advance; when I did finally attempt to get back in the saddle it was on provisional and casual bases only, and any mention of the L word sent me into post-traumatic shock. I took it a little hard, is what I’m trying to say.
Then, 18 years down the road, comes this woman into my life who is pretty much the exact opposite of every other one I’ve ever been with, being of necessity attracted to upper-middle class liberal-arts majors with trust funds and a burning desire to find and rehabilitate a diamond in the rough with their purifying love. They provided me the means to realize my dreams, which went spectacularly unrealized as I laid on the couch and drank beer. Eventually, of course, they wised up and moved on to a diamond without all that pesky rough exterior to hack through, and I like to think that I am responsible for lots of happy families that got their start because their experience of me brought them around to their parent’s way of thinking, husband- wise.
And then there’s Dana. She’s a survivor of many things - abuse, trauma, hunger, violence, grief, pain of every description, a lot of crappy men doing their level best to lever her and yet, as unlikely as a desert trout, from that adulterant-riddled crucible was cast something .999 fine and now, all mine. Funny, passionate, wise, talented, brave, strong, intelligent, and compassionate, she deserves someone better than me and were I were the sort of man I’d like to be I’d cut her loose and hope that happened, but somehow I’m convincing myself that I can pull myself up to snuff and be worthy of her love.
She’s the unwelcome product of a one-night stand who, at the age of 6, was so self-loathing, the consequence of abuse, that she contrived a scheme for introducing herself to a mean girl down the block as “Dana’s twin sister” and would join her in savaging her “sister,” e.g. “That Dana is so stupid!”
“Ew, I know, and ugly too. She’s so gross.”
Her life followed predictable patterns until she ran away with a punk band at the age of 15 and wound up in Austin, TX, which path ultimately led to our getting together. We never met there, so far as either of us can remember, but I being a figure of some notoriety, or rather infamy, in that scene she knew who I was and seeing me on Facebook thirty-odd years later saw me whining about my drug problem and reached out with a offer of general help-just a blanket carte-blanche for whatever I might need, within reason, I suppose.
She wielded the syringe that delivered her husband’s fatal overdose, and after that moved to New York City where she worked as a dominatrix to support a heroin habit that lasted 12 years. In East Oakland she lived on the street, scavenging aluminum and dumpster-diving, suffering heartbreaking indignities along the way, but emerging triumphantly as a fully-formed person wrought of valuable lessons learned the hard way.
And today? She lives in a mobile home with a sleek, spunky little pinniped of a dog called Lucy, who is her heart and joy. By day she attends Academy of Art University on full scholarship, returning to the education she abandoned and never really invested in anyway at 14, working twice as hard as the other students to compensate for a near-total lack of knowledge of the procedures, routines, and rigors of higher education. And yet her intelligence shines through in her work, as well as her dedication and creativity, and the real beauty of it is that she has undertaken this journey not for financial gain or career opportunities but to acquire a solid foundation in the bedrock principles of the art that has been her driving passion from the beginning, and for the simple joy of learning and the sense of accomplishment she derives from it.
At night she folds papers for a newspaper distribution center, parking her home on the meanish streets of Vallejo among the unfortunates she still claims kinship with, providing what succor she can to all who ask. Her motives are not entirely unselfish, fully aware that peaceful coexistence is the only way to survive in that environment, but her heart is full and her love of humanity genuine.
To have acquired, after her history and experiences, the callouses protecting feelings that simply cannot stand to be hurt anymore would be understandable, and she is capable of sealing up every crack watertight, but at the same time has the vulnerability and capacity for wonder of a child. Witnessing natural beauty moves her to tears and shouting out thanks to God and the universe for the privilege. She makes real human connections wherever she goes and in the briefest encounters, professing (and meaning it) love for all. I imagine she’s become a kind of model for the sort of person Jesus had in mind after rectifying the rather stern strictures Pops had emplaced.
It’s a dizzying and wonderful thing to listen to her expound on the big questions and the unique perspective on them her life has given her. She pooh-poohs my inflexible rationality as her mind roams unfettered and unfiltered wherever she wants, mostly able to resolve the eternal mysteries plaguing philosophers throughout time to her own satisfaction. She’s a little smug about it too, but her confidence is contagious and I enjoy experiencing the convoluted routes to enlightenment she travels.
And what has she done for me? Not much, really, only showed me what real love and real beauty were. Like her ignorance of MLA standards and research papers, my own shallow, self-serving ideas about these concepts rendered me unknowingly bereft. Because of her I’m seeing the world through fresh eyes. If I don’t use them to see something that leads to salvation I’ll lose her, and not spending the rest of my life with this woman is, in a word, unacceptable. It’s a real pivot point I’m at right now and every decision I make has to be the right one- not, it goes without saying, a process I’ve had much success with. But I (and we) will make it, or not, and if we don’t she’ll survive yet again, and I’ll…God knows what, but it won’t be pretty. Wish me luck.
THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
(short fiction: a surprising sentencing statement by a defendant, "in her own words")
In my plea deal, I made two admissions. One, I am a sex worker. And two, I am the owner and operator of own online escort service.
In other words, I am both a prostitute and a madam.
Many women working as escorts or sex workers seem to want to make me their spokesperson.
Others want be to be a some kind of a feminist martyr.
They want me to talk about "legalization" and "safety". They want me to talk about "choice" and "personal liberty". They want me to talk about "financial independence".
The student journalists at UAA's The Northern Light want to reinvent me as a folk hero.
Others want to make some sort of convoluted philosophical distinction between voluntary prostitution and sex trafficking.
But they are all fools.
After doing some soul searching, I've come to see prostitution -- all prostitution -- as the furtherance of victimizing one's self. It is a business where the pieces of one's soul are bought and sold.
At first, a sex worker becomes numb to sex. After a period of time, a sex worker becomes numb to life.
In the end, a sex worker becomes dead inside.
And that's why so many sex workers are addicts. Many just commit suicide. Some in obvious ways. Others in not-so-obvious ways.
People can rationalize prostitution all they want, but I know the negatives all too well. Prostitution is not a victimless crime.
The Court probably views me in one of two ways. Either I'm yet another defendant practicing the art of telling a sentencing judge, or parole board or probation officer, what she thinks they want to hear, or I'm a defendant caught in yet another lie in a long history of eloquently self-serving statements.
In other words, a pathological liar.
If the Court credits my acknowledgment that commodifying a person’s sexuality is a fundamentally exploitative, abusive, and misogynistic practice, regardless of my own gender, then the strenuously optimistic appraisal of the commercial sex trade described in my defense memorandum should be given little weight.
If, on the other hand, the Court believes that I'm merely telling the Court what I think will result in the lightest possible sentence, then that should confirm the characterization of me as "manipulative" by prior PSR authors and service providers.
My defense memorandum is optimistic, not only in terms of the commercial sex trade broadly, but it also eludes the uglier aspects of my own enterprise in the sex industry.
One example of my business can be found in text messages exchanged by myself with an unidentified individual in April of 2013 attached as exhibit A to this memorandum.
In those messages, I state that I hate “snitches”. I further state, "Snitches get stitches". And I said, "Thieving bitches get stitches. Especially them."
On April 22nd I wrote the following: “I have to tell you about this thieving bitch I had work for me. She went up to Fairbanks with another one of my girls. I never got paid by either of them. If they don't pay me my money, I’m gonna be looking for these two bitches shortly. I’m giving them some time. But then its on. I'll hurt the bitches. They'll never work again.”
I state in a subsequent text message: “The bitch is on Backpage. Again. All I need to do is set up an appointment. And I got her ass. Waiting on my Albanian friend – the hit man. I think he’s in New York. Until then, I'll be looking for someone to rob her. Unless she pays me my money. Either way, this won't end well for the bitch.”
In that text, my interlocutor responded: “I have someone. He'll hurt her. Bad. What’s the bounty pay?”
To which I texted back: “Whatever money the bitch has on her. She would have a few bills on her. She already has $400 of my money. I'm not willing to spend a penny to put the hurt on her.”
In a follow up text message I wrote: “Too many people owe me favors for me to pay a bounty. Even a penny. lol.”
This exchange assumes some chilling implications. It assumes I am aware of my own capacity for violence, as evidenced by the assault case years ago when I stabbed a man I didn’t know in the throat with a beer bottle, and my earlier conviction for organizing an armed robbery.
The fact that I tried to arrange for a retaliation robbery of a sex worker I believe stole from me provides an insight into the ugly reality of the commercial sex trade and prostitution enterprises like the one I owned, operated and managed.
From reading my own defense memorandum, a detached observer would think that my case echoes the plot of “Pretty Woman” and that the State of Alaska was prosecuting Julia Roberts.
Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. While my case is not the most violent or exploitative commercial prostitution enterprise prosecuted by the State, it does not follow that it is a de minimus offense worthy of a mitigated sentence, as proposed by my defense attorney.
Given my two prior felony convictions related to violent offenses; my consistent and effective pattern of manipulation and deception upon the Court; and the degree to which I profited off of the bodies of my “employees”; I recommend the State give me the maximum sentence allowed by law.
Finally, Your Honor, I have come to regard the situation of a prison inmate not as a punishment, but as a utilitarian vocation. It's cliché to say prison is an opportunity for self-improvement. I'll be more specific. For myself, at least, prison is an opportunity to reign in a rebellious mind. It is an opportunity to develop the gifts of the intellect. It is an opportunity to disabuse oneself of one's delusions.
The cruelest delusions, of course, are self-delusions. And for all my life, I have chased them.
It is time to chase truth. Truth. And self-awareness.
I am ready to die to my former life. I am ready to be born into a new life. I am ready this very instant.
Thank you, Your Honor.
POETRY is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti