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Off the Record (September 23, 2020)

THAT HOME INVASION/POT ROBBERY last week in Laytonville in the Black Oak Ranch area just happens to have occurred on the same property as the awful Settler stabbing murder a few years ago. Same old boy owns the place, which he leases to marijuana farmers whose pot ops tend to go seriously awry. The second old guy — Senior Week In Marijuana Land? — involved in what sounds much more like a pot transaction gone sideways than the usual love drug stick-up, is a career criminal named Louis Bagliere. Bagliere used to live in Laytonville. He has a long record of court appearances in Mendo, criminal and civil, going back to 2007, and arrests in the Bay Area for meth production, among other crimes. Among the people held at gunpoint at Black Oak where one of the gunmen fired a warning shot, was a little girl. Bagliere was cited and released from the Mendo County Jail because of — brace yourselves — his "pre-existing medical condition." This character is well enough to lead a Laytonville home invasion but too medically vulnerable for jail? The other bandidos, including Bagliere's son, are being held without bail.

SHERIFF KENDALL CALLS FOR HELP. Mendocino County Sheriff Kendall is currently acting in Unified Command with CALFIRE and has recognized that CALFIRE has a 53% decrease in their Type 1 Hand Crews that are staffed by inmates from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Because of this situation, Sheriff Kendall is seeking assistance from the Governor's Office in obtaining California National Guard resources to assist with fire suppression efforts related to the August Complex West Zone impacting Mendocino County. The California National Guard is trained to assist CALFIRE Type 1 Hand Crews in establishing and maintaining fire lines and will not be used for any law enforcement related purposes if deployed to Mendocino County as requested by Sheriff Kendall.

TEACUPS ARE A'RATTLIN' in the faculty lounges with the revelation that the University of Chicago's English Department will only accept graduate school applicants interested in “working in and with Black studies” for its 2020-2021 cycle. The academic trendies, sprinting to keep up with the zeitgist but falling on their fatuous faces, announced in July their “commitment to the struggle of Black and indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.” 

WHEN KAMALA HARRIS blurted out a reference to the “Harris Administration,” who's surprised? Assuming Trump loses to the clearly past it Biden, Harris will be president, probably about ten minutes after Biden is sworn in and rushed back to his basement before he can say anything off the teleprompter. I feel for him. It's cruel that the DNC has shoved him out there knowing he's incapacitated. The other day, when he approached the cameras in a sort of old guy prostate march to read off the teleprompter, he called Trump a "climate arsonist," and kudos to the speech writer who came up with that one. But this is what it's come to in a time of serial disasters — two old fools insulting each other.

KAMALA'S “Harris administration” slip, if it was inadvertent, came during a virtual roundtable. She quickly clarified: “The Biden-Harris administration will provide access to $100 billion in low-interest loans and investments from minority business owners.” Trump has previously called Biden “a Trojan horse for socialism.” And Pence has said that: “Joe Biden would be nothing more than a Trojan horse for the radical left.” Of which there is not one in this country at this time, unfortunately. Considering Bernie's commonsense stands for single-payer and a big public investment in green jobs were very popular with voters, so popular the DNC had to screw him out of the Demo nomination, who exactly is afraid of socialism, however defined by these lunkhead Republicans? The issue in this election is racism, not socialism — can Trump scare enough white fraidy cats that Antifa will be running through their suburbs stealing lawn ornaments to get his wacky self re-elected?

LEO BUC, KINGMAKER. A new name (to us) wafted into the Boonville bunker the other day in the form of an anon phone call. The caller said that this Leo Buc guy had interviewed both Mo Mulheren and John McCowen for 2nd District supervisor, essentially to see whose campaign he would work for. About that time there was a poll among the middle of the road extremists — active Democrats — with only two people on the ballot as in, Who would you vote for Mo or Mc? Mo polled well ahead of the sonorous incumbent and McCowen decided to drop out rather than lose to her. That’s when the old guard Dem club folks recruited Rodin to run, although Mulheren is a Democrat and indistinguishable from Rodin on the issues, such as they vaguely are in Mendo politics. Next thing you know, the apparently Leo Buc is working for Rodin as well as Glen McGourty, front runner for supervisor in the 1st District.

Whether Leo Buc is actually in the Dem Club or just hires out to them, I don’t know at this point. The smoke signals only fly by so often. The lighter sky ash also says that the pro-Mari Rodin letter in AVA on Sept 9, signed by Alex de Grassi, was really written by Allison de Grassi, for whatever that is worth.

EXCELLENT REPORTERS like Justine Frederickson of the Ukiah Daily Journal work within the straitjacketed strictures of "objective" journalism. Some people in this business, a business evolved from unemployables getting drunk with cops and phoning in their stories to the fully literate woman at the re-write desk, believe in objectivity, especially the C students with diplomas from college journalism schools. Ms. Frederickson is no dummy, but she works for a newspaper chain that compels her to stick to the facts even when she knows in her bones the facts, as presented by official Mendocino County, are laughably, demonstrably false, but not exactly untrue either. 

SO, the sorely put upon Ms. F is assigned to write up the latest in County homeless strategies, and out of the box many of the people reading this know in our bones homelessness is likely to increase, maybe even double. “The introduction to the plan,” Ms. F begins, “described it as being 'developed by the Strategic Planning Committee of the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC), a collaborative of more than 31 public agencies and private non-profit organizations throughout the county that serve the unsheltered population. The plan was reviewed by the MCHSCoC governing board and formally adopted on April 27, 2020.”

31 SEPARATE ENTITIES, in total more people than are homeless in a county of 90,000 souls, are selflessly going about the thankless task of getting the unsheltered indoors. If each of the dedicated (as they routinely describe themselves) “helping professionals” committed to this selfless work ran out of homeless reimbursables they'd all be out of work themselves. The trick, then, is to convert the walking wounded to cash, hence “strategic planning.”

THE COUNTY OF MENDO has spent a lot of money studying homelessness. The Supervisors even invited a portly Republican named Robert Marbut to take a look at homelessness and make some recommendations. Before Marbut nobody knew for sure how many people were outside every night all night, but every year our helping pros would fan out in the early morning and, uh, count homeless heads. “There's one, Debbie! That guy!” Male homeless enumerators would even stride manfully, but not too manly lest they touch off hand-to-hand combat in the brushy areas some people called home. This official homeless count was conducted by the people serving the homeless, sooooooooo. The count was wildly inflated. The more “homeless” there were/are the more money flows into Mendo from the state and federal governments and on into the pockets of Biden voters  manning and womaning those 31 agencies helping the homeless.

THE ENSUING Marbut Report scared the bleep out of the 31 apparatuses helping the homeless, scared them so bleepless that they convened a mass meeting in the ghostly, basement-like murk of the Ukiah convention center, a project of Westside libs who assumed the outside world was eager for the splendors of the County seat. Anyway, the 31 agencies turned out en masse to denounce Marbut as “cruel” and “heartless” and “heartless” and “cruel” for recommending what any rational person with or without Mendo-level compassion would recommend: Concentrate “services” on homeless persons with local roots and dispatch the legions of professional mooches north on 101.

BOILED DOWN, Ms. F's report for the UDJ means a buncha meetings between the 31 helping agencies and the heavy hitters from the City of Ukiah and the County of Mendocino will occur between now and, like, whenever. Her story could have been called, “Cops Prepare for Big Increase in Unseemly Street Behavior” or “Marbut-Shmarbut” or “Pass the Government Donuts, Please.”

A READER WRITES: “Why is the Editor surprised to read that it takes 31 agencies of oh-so earnest self-alleged helping professionals to assemble their homeless plan which doesn’t help anybody but the helpers? Maybe the Editor forgot to read Mark Scaramella’s more blunt description of that scam of a “plan” last month, way before Ms. Frederiksen made her somewhat restricted attempt to described it, in his article last month, “Mendo’s New Homeless Plan.” 

Scaramella pointed out: “Early in the introduction, however, the ‘Plan’ bluntly spells out its true purpose: ‘This Plan also fulfills Federal and State requirements that local jurisdictions receiving funding from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have a community plan for addressing homelessness’.”

Scaramella concluded, “In other words, the Plan is nothing but required eyewash so that the ‘31 public agencies and private non-profit organizations’ will continue to receive funding, not to actually help any homeless people.”

You are right, however, Mr. Editor, that Ms. Frederiksen, good reporter that she is, could never say that outright in the Ukiah paper, although it’s very likely that she knew it.

SOME PEOPLE. A true story. This guy, this argumentative, overweeningly pious, imperviously smug, oblivious guy who once told me with a straight face that he was “highly evolved” and “really, really spiritual” then stormed out of the office when I laughed, stops in for more the other day, starting right in, “I want to talk to you about white racism,” he begins. “Oh gawd,” I say. “Please, spare me. I'm more pink and gray than white… and besides....” But there's no stopping the righteous, the true Mendo seeker. “I'm serious, Bruce. This isn't funny. I want to know how you're dealing with your racism.” As if I have the slightest desire to go deep with some wacky hippie walk-in, a judgmental wacky hippie walk-in at that. “Do you think you're a racist?” he demands, daring me to say no. I think, goddam. Go away. But I get sucked in. “Well,” I begin, “on a scale of ten with the Klan being at ten and the highly evolved like you being a one, I'd say, I'm maybe, I dunno, who's to judge? You? Bob Bushansky? LeBron?” The sarcasm of course sails right by him, and he says, “You're influential because you have a newspaper. It matters what you think.” I let that illusion lie. “Tell you what, my friend, you place me on the handy scale I've just given you and we'll take it from there.” “Sorry,” he says, “I gotta go. We'll talk about it some other time. Got a lot on my plate today.”

FOR A GUY us libs assume is stupid and maybe even crazy, Trump just might have a specifically grand fascist scheme in mind. His intellectual inspiration, Steve Bannon, certainly has white nationalism on his Do List. On a daily basis, Trump has pre-emptively undermined confidence in the election with the apparent aim of staying in office regardless of the vote. He tweeted Thursday morning, “Because of the new and unprecedented massive amount of unsolicited ballots which will be sent to ‘voters,’ or wherever, this year, the Nov 3rd Election result may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED, which is what some want.” Trump's been saying stuff like this for months despite there being zero evidence, beyond isolated cases in the ones and twos, of mail-in voter fraud.

SOME RANDOM ROUGH COVID STATS: Assume Mendo’s total population is about 90,000 and a third of them are Hispanic (a very rough guess). Then assume that nobody has been tested twice (?), then assume that the approximately 24,000 tests so far are skewed toward non-Hispanics, meaning that maybe 6,000 of those tested are Hispanics. 541 of Mendo’s positive tests are for Hispanics. So 536/6,000 gives a positive covid rate of about 9%. Conversely, non-Hispanics account for around 280 positive tests (including 105 “Unreported”). So non-Hispanic tests are positive for 280 / 18,000 or around 1.5%. 

AGAIN, then, it looks from here like the County is not doing enough to notify and enforce covid rules on our Hispanic population, particularly in Ukiah. Only 46 of the cases are attributed to “work/out of county travel,” and most of those are probably out of county travel, meaning that very few covid cases are related to work/workplace. Mendo needs to make a much more focused effort to deal with the Hispanic population, especially in Ukiah, in their living and gathering places, not at work, if it expects to significantly lower the infection rate. But so far, most of what we’ve heard so far on this very particular aspect of Mendo’s covid experience is rhetoric, not action. (Mark Scaramella)

TRUMP: “I’m putting Ted Cruz as one of the people for the Supreme Court. And you know why I did it? Because I wanted to make sure that I had somebody on the list ... We had about 45 unbelievable people… the smartest, the best, the absolute creme de la creme. The best minds in the country, conservative; they believe in the Constitution. I have to have somebody that we’re going to make sure we get approved, and the only one I could think of was Ted because he’s going to get 50 Republican votes and he’ll get 50 Democrat votes." Trump continued, “We will defend the dignity of work and the sanctity of life. That’s why the Supreme Court is so important. The next President will get one, two, three, or four Supreme Court Justices...If you don’t get it right we will not have a country anymore.” Trump is expected to name a nominee to fill Ginsburg's seat in the next few days. 

BUT SATURDAY, the orange provocateur said his first preference would be an unbending papist called Amy Coney Barrett. Judge Barrett is a member of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and is the likely front-runner for the job as Republicans see advantages in replacing Justice Ginsburg with a woman. A former law professor at Notre Dame, Judge Barrett has a solid atta-girl rep in neo-fascist circles. 

HAD to laugh at that photo of the guy sporting a "No Habla Libtard" t-shirt, a guy who looks like he's suffered his share of 'tard insults. As our brief civilization hits the skids, if nothing else its descent has inspired lottsa funnies, especially in graphic form.

FOR YOUR PERSONNEL FILES: Jordan Sequeira, daughter of the memorable Paul, is the new hire at the DA's office. Dad left Mendo to become the top prosecutor for Solano County, and what better place than Mendo for his heir and assignee to learn the job? Crime being just about our last growth industry… This kid is assured of job security.

ANOTHER sign of the apocalypse: NPR anchor Robert Siegel earns at least $358,653 annually, while weekend nuzzlebum supreme, Scott Simon, rakes in a minimum $364,465, according to a copy of an NPR's 990 form in circulation, which isn't recent, meaning the NPR audio branch of Chuckle Buddies is probably up around half a mil annually. (Is it just old man cynicism or is NPR even sillier, more frivolous lately than it usually is?)

FRANTIC pleas everywhere to stop the orange beast from hustling in a Supreme Court Justice appointment before the election, which he seems to be on the way to doing, but only the Democrats could put a candidate who could possibly lose to him and may just manage it anyway. The forces of evil, with or without Ginsberg, are in the majority on the court.

THE MIGHTY AVA recommends a Green Party vote for president as a protest against California's one-party state. The fainthearted must know that Biden is a cinch here in the Sunshine State, as would a celery stalk be a cinch in Ca if it ran as a Democrat, so a protest vote isn't a vote for the beast among nervous libs as it might be in a swing state. 

MAGICAL THINKING, always strong on the Northcoast as hippie legacy, seems to be that with Trump gone we're soon back to soma and serenity. Isn't it obvious that the number and magnitude of the rolling catastrophes, social and environmental, will not only roll on but intensify no matter who’s elected president?

THE HYSTERICS on the political right post versions of this every day now: “BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, 39, is the principal of Black Futures Lab, an advocacy group for black people. The group is financially supported by the Chinese Progressive Association, it has been revealed. Its donate button links directly to the CPA site. The CPA was founded in San Francisco in 1972 and has held events with and in support of the Chinese Communist government. Garza has previously been described as a ‘trained Marxist’.” 

“A TRAINED MARXIST”? (Eek, a mouse!) I've read Marx and, before he put me to sleep, I remember something about his theory of surplus value. I wonder when the Trumpians get out the pliers and start pulling off my toenails off, demanding I cough up everything I know about Marxism, if they'll believe me when I say, “Well, boys, I could probably pass an elementary test on the old boy's ideas but, like most Americans, I don't have much of a head for abstractions of the philosophical type. Now, if you'll please let me go I'm late for the ball game.”

FIRST I've heard of the “Chinese Progressive Association.” I wonder If the scholars at Breitbart have it confused with the old and long extinct Progressive Labor Party, a Maoist association with my old friend John Ross as its Frisco rep? Hate to break the bad news to Trump's paranoids, but if there is any ethnic group in San Francisco, or any other place in America, more committed to free enterprise and capitalism than Chinese, name it. Hell, even the China Chinese communists are capitalists.

TYPICAL that the rightwing needs secret societies like the non-existent CPA and Ms. Garza behind the BLM protests. There couldn't possibly be legit grievances held by millions of black people that they're not treated fairly in this country. No, no, must be these hidden forces stirring things up.


[1] Former mechanic Shawn Shriver bought a storefront about an hour outside Pittsburgh years ago. He created a 400-square-foot gun shop that he runs with his wife. They sell guns, ammo, and holsters to their neighbors. They normally carry about 150 pistols on a regular day. But there haven’t been many regular days since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, as well as the public unrest that emerged in June. “I’ve got like three pistols in this store,” he said on Wednesday. “That’s it.” A similar story has played out in many gun stores across the country in recent months. Shriver’s experience may be more relevant to understanding the electoral implications of the recent riot-inspired gun-sales spike because of where it’s happening: a small town at the southwest tip of a swing state that could play a key role in electing the next president of the United States. “After COVID hit we sold out of ammo,” Shriver said. “And then they started with the protesting, and a lot more guns started going off the shelves.” Pennsylvania is not the only bellwether state where this is happening. A broader look at monthly sales data, as measured by FBI background checks, confirms swing state voters’ eagerness to arm themselves in 2020. The nine states at the epicenter of the presidential race between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden each saw historic seasonally adjusted gun sales in June—larger in all cases than the record-setting sales of March—a sign of surging demand for firearms in the wake of rioting and protests that have turned violent.

[2] You claim that mail-in voting is full of fraud and there are several cases of filled-out ballots. The word "several" means two or three. And you also cite no credible sources for your claim. Since I've read numerous investigative reports from the Brennan Law Center–and I just pulled up a 381 page report from the Heritage Center as well–there is only a handful of voter fraud cases each year–not enough to affect any voting total or election outcome. Los Angeles County–not the entire state–last year began removing inactive/dead names from the voter rolls. There were 5 million of them but the news reports said that only 1.5 million would be removed. The removal was the result of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative organization. Fraud was never mentioned.

As usual, you dumb fucks do no research because you want to believe it's all the Democrats' fault. However, nearly all of the election fraud (not voter fraud) has been done by Republicans. I could give you the list, but nobody is paying me to waste my time to further explain facts to you. And don't get me started on climate change, because I've read the scientific papers and you climate deniers are soon going to watch your homes burn or float away, thereby saving me time and trouble to explain that as well.

[3] The D-Party took two major wrong turns… first, after November, 1963 and the direction they shifted into, and later, when they suffered the Arkansas Coup. They hated how the Republicans rode the law-and-order wave of 1968 into the Oval Office, how the R’s took personal possession of the American flag with the emergence of Right Wing Talk Radio, how the R’s put together a coherent message that began to resonate with Working Class Americans while the D’s couldn’t come up with one, and while the D’s were selling out millions of American workers and allowing factory towns to be gutted financially and leveled physically while kissing up to Wall Street Bankers.

“The US economy began a slow and insidious collapse because its petroleum energy base became unaffordable…”

The US economy began a slow and insidious collapse when businesses and corporations sold out American cities and towns and the American people beginning in the 1960s which cut the heart and soul out of the American industrial and production base. The USA didn’t make real things anymore, so it began to sell moving digits around on computer screens and pretending that this kind of amusement was somehow real productive work. The USA had the greatest industrial engine and was the envy of the World. Now, the USA sells Narratives and Conflicts and Confusion and Fantasy-As-Reality. We used to go to old Carnivals to see strange sights and hear loud carnival barkers and see clowns and bizarre things going on. Now all we have to do is turn on cable TV at any hour of the day.

[4] Absentee voting began today here in flyover country and absentee ballots were mailed out to those who requested them previously. Coincidently, two presidential candidates showed up on our doorstep, Trump in Bemidji (an outpost about as remote as Saskatoon, but with warmer winters) and Biden in Duluth, a working class town in a beautiful setting that has cashed in recently on the pre-covid tourist boom as industry around it has fallen on hard times. Interesting to compare the media markets of both. Bemidji is a small-town market for sure, but the Forum News Service out of Fargo in neighboring ND (can you say red state?) pulls a lot of punch in the north. To be fair, they have some excellent writers, especially delving into environmental issues in the northland. Most out-of-staters don’t realize that the Duluth media market is heavily watched in northwest WI, decidedly a swing state. We may have our Minneapolis, but now they have their Kenosha. The difference between Superior, WI and Kenosha is like the difference between night and day. Believe me, I’ve been to both. Superior is a lot like Duluth (they’re called the Twin Ports), while Kenosha might as well be a suburb of Chicago. In fact, many of the Kenosha rioters came from across the border in IL Anyhow, back to Trump in Bemidji. A local wag covering the event there mentioned that “about a dozen” Bemidji State students marched in support of BLM. Not many blacks at Bemidji State and of course no professional sports heroes or Hollywood actors. Maybe a pro hockey player or two, but they don’t mess their lives w/ BLM. Pro hockey is an almost exclusively white sport in case no one noticed. Meanwhile, back in Duluth, Biden was Biden (yawn), appearing at a union hall in a Duluth suburb and schmoozing with some kids in Canal Park on the Duluth lakefront. Lots of angst on the boom-and-bust Iron Range (which Trump alluded to in his comments, playing the hero of course). The latest big issue is the Polymet mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Touted as big job producer, until the mine either plays out or pollutes the hell out of the environment. But then, the BWCA will be around forever, won’t it, so who cares? Local media continues to try to pique interest by saying both candidates may return to the (not yet) frozen tundra before the election. Better bring warm clothes…it can get a mite chilly by mid-October.

[5] What society needs to realize is that life is about calculated risk. If I want to eat a gas station tuna sandwich I’m taking a calculated risk of crapping my pants. If I want to run a red light I take a calculated risk of getting hit by another car. If I want to put my hand on a hot stove, I’m taking a calculated risk that I’m probably going to get burned. So if you threaten a police officer, or attempt to harm or resist a police officer, you’re taking a calculated risk that force will be used upon you. Most people can’t handle the fact there’s consequences for your actions in the real world. You can’t always hide behind a keyboard and say whatever you want.

[6] How many guns do you need? I’ve answered this question more times than I can recall. I have a rote answer by now.

The answer is: for a single user, six, at the minimum. But that is barely adequate and leaves no room for backups.

1) personal carry handgun (semi auto mid caliber pistol, I prefer a Glock 19, 9mm) but wait, I need a backup. Which would be better if it was smaller for added concealability and/or possible ankle carry. I think I need a Glock 43 as well …

2) shotgun for home defense (I prefer Remington 870 12 GA pump action), can also be used for larger nuisance animals and duck hunting. But wait, I need a 20 GA for the kiddos and the smaller/elderly members of the family…

3) small caliber rifle for small game/nuisance animals (I prefer Ruger 10/22 .22 LR) but maybe I want it in a Takedown model. But I don’t really need to take it down for use on the ranch. But I need to take it down for use in my go bag, but, but, but …. dammit, I NEED two Ruger 10/22s.

But wait, I also need a bolt action .22LR to train the kiddos. (I prefer the trusty Remington 514) Plus bolt action .22 really helps improve marksmanship and conserves ammo, so now I need three .22 LR rifles…

4) hunting rifle (I prefer Remington 700, bolt action, .308). Can double up in the (hopefully never) need as a sniper rifle. Tho this is not at all optimal if I need to reach out past (god forbid) 500 yards. But wait, I also need a real sniper rifle…

5) battle rifle. God forbid I’m ever facing a well-armed opponent trying to kill my family and steal my “Arsenal”. I prefer a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 .223/5.56 AR-15 style semi auto rifle). But wait, that doesn’t hit nearly as hard as the trusty AK-47. But AK rounds are so damn heavy, I can carry twice as many .223s in the same load out. But wait… AR, AK, AR, AK. Dammit, I NEED two battle rifles.

6) .22LR semi-auto pistol. Everyone needs a .22 pistol. (I prefer a Walther P22). Good to practice pistol marksmanship at 5 cents a round instead of 50 cents a round. But wait, revolvers are simple to use and basically never fail. I need a revolver…

So, I need six guns. Or maybe I need 12. Oh, my wife needs a gun to guard my six (o’clock). So do my sons, daughters, mom and dad. Actually, I need multiple types of guns for each of them.

Plus, when the WRoL (without rule of law) situation occurs, I need a gun for your dumb ass, because even tho you are a dumb ass who refuses to prepare, you’re still a good neighbor and part of my community. A valued part. So I guess I need a simple gun so I can train you to use it in a single day, so yeah, I NEED revolvers and bolt/lever actions, because I sure as hell ain’t gonna put an AK-47 into the hands of an ignorant SOB such as yourself…

Any more questions?


  1. Kathy September 25, 2020

    Ok… I need to re-read this. So much to unpack here

  2. Alex de Grassi October 1, 2020

    Thanks to the AVA for publishing my letter in support of Mari Rodin for second district supervisor. Just for the record, I did write the letter, not my wife Alison whose name, BTW, is spelled with one l. Alex de Grassi

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