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MCT: Saturday, October 10, 2020

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A COLD FRONT will bring showers to much of northwest California today, with locally up to an inch of rain in Del Norte County, but less than a tenth of an inch in Mendocino and Lake Counties. Next week looks mainly dry, with warmer temperatures and offshore winds developing mid to late week. (NWS)

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DR. DEBORAH BIRX said Thursday that the Northeast is experiencing "troubling signs of a very different" way that the coronavirus is spreading as temperatures drop in the region, that Fall's cooler weather in the region has led to coronavirus spreading faster within families and social groups than in schools and workplaces where people are following precautions. "What we're seeing in the community is much more spread occurring in households and in social occasions, small gatherings where people have come inside, taken off their masks to eat or drink or socialize with one another." The doctor said it's like the spread pattern that was seen in Southern states over the summer, when people flocked to air-conditioned, indoor areas to escape heat and humidity.

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FIVE MORE COVID CASES again on Friday, bringing Mendo’s total to 1035. 

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by Jim Shields

As discussed here a few days ago, Sheriff Matt Kendall went public with a joint plea to citizens and the Board of Supervisors for support in combatting escalating violence associated with pot-related home invasions, kidnappings, and rip-offs all involving heavily armed criminals from outside the county. By the way, this is the classic “tip of the iceberg” issue given that it’s estimated that 90 percent of such crimes are not reported to authorities.

The Sheriff’s PR campaign paid off at last Tuesday’s BOS meeting as evidenced by a unanimous decision to back Kendall’s plan to beef up ranks by at least 10 deputies at an estimated cost of $2.2 million. 

To that end, the Supes plan to declare a County emergency that would certainly cite elevated public safety concerns and the rise in violence related to cannabis-related crimes. That declaration would open the door for additonal potential funding sources at the state and federal levels of government.

In reality, if the Sheriff also takes on cartels and other bad actors with their mega-grows who ride roughshod over isolated communities in the North County, he’s going to need additional resources, including personnel, equipment and money.

Funding for the Sheriff’s operational plan should not prove insurmountable given available options that include:

• A recent settlement payment to the County by PG&E of $24 million for its liability in the 2017 Northcoast wildfires; 

• As well other funds generated by state cannabis taxes, penalties, and fees.

Regarding state pot funding sources commonly called “cannabis tax revenue social allocations,” state Cannabis Regulatory Legislation earmarks all cannabis tax revenue—less regulatory costs—for public health, the environment, and public safety. At the beginning of the year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced social allocations totaling $332.8 million for fiscal year 2020-2021. I’m sure that the Sheriff and County staff will be contacting state officials to verify whether the proposed local plan qualifies for enforcement-related activities under the public safety account.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Horse In Redwood, Mendocino

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by Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall

I am reaching out to you today to discuss some concerns we’ve been hearing regarding our County Jail populations and the direct impacts the state prison system is having on Mendocino County. 

I continue to receive calls and emails regarding the status of the Mendocino County Jail. The Sheriff’s Office implemented strict COVID-19 precautions back in March and we’re doing well with these precautions while continuing to serve our populations. 

The population of the Mendocino County Jail was greatly reduced at the beginning of the pandemic. Several policies were instituted including judicial review for release of many persons arrested for new charges. This review is a team effort which includes our Presiding Judge, District Attorney, our Defense Counsel and Probation Department. These reviews focus on the safety of our public with equal emphasis placed on the safety of persons housed within our jail.

We have a duty as well as a moral obligation to serve all including those incarcerated in our jail. This collaboration has served our County and I can’t thank our partners enough for their work on this matter. This has increased the workload dramatically for our judiciary, however, they have taken it on as true professionals.

I am extremely proud of the work which is being done and realize it’s is due to the dedication we have to our communities and the people we serve. This includes the people we have housed within the Mendocino County Jail. Our excellent work and service to our community has become a double-edged sword. It seems the more we take on, the more work we receive.

I remain proud of the work our Corrections, Medical and Inmate Services staff are doing within the County Jail. We have a common goal, to ensure everyone who enters the jail is able to leave better off than they were when they arrived. Many of the programs we’re building are to ensure we are serving everyone. These programs include ensuring people have access to education and training that will allow them to secure jobs and a future after leaving our facility. From the High School GED Program to life skills and college enrollment and classes, we are dedicated to our goals and truly want people to succeed. Due to the limited funding at hand we have been working with our community partners, including our spiritual leaders, Tribal Governments and the Mendocino College. We have to remember many of the people housed within our jail are friends, relatives and neighbors and we are invested in providing opportunity for success. They are a portion of our community and we can’t afford to let them down. Sending them back out to the community without a skillset that will allow them to be financially and emotionally independent and valuable members of society does a disservice to all of us. 

Sadly our jail population is currently growing. We are facing issues with housing inmates, who, following their court proceedings, have been sentenced to the California Department of Corrections, in other words, the state prison system. We have almost 20% of inmates in our jail who have been sentenced to prison for their crimes. Recently, the State is refusing to accept them from us. This is causing a burden for our County. The State of California is paying a stipend to counties who are housing their prisoners, however this payment often doesn’t even cover the cost of medical care. 

This remains a topic of concern for me as we see many new pieces of legislation within the state where it appears state government is shifting their responsibility and liability to county government. We see the state releasing 17,000 inmates from state prisons this year. While doing this, the state is closing prisons, and, is in essence making private prisons out of our county jails.

What is troubling is how the Governor, his California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDC-R) staff, and the federal receiver are managing the prison population. Instead of sheltering in place, they moved inmates from prison to prison. Predictably, this spread Covid-19 throughout the entire prison system. The result is the shutdown of the reception centers that receive inmates sentenced to CDC-R from county jails. There are thousands of inmates throughout the State that are waiting to be accepted by CDC-R.

Locally, nearly 20% of our population is waiting for CDC-R to reopen their reception centers. This number is continuing to grow as the reception centers remain closed. Some are serving full sentences within our jail, even being released, with gate money ($200 from the CDC-R), from our jail because their prison sentence is complete. The majority of these inmates are convicted of violent crimes. These sentenced prisoners are often extremely violent and dangerous individuals. The necessary level of supervision for these subjects greatly exceeds what is needed for a standard sentenced county jail inmate. I fear this will force us to shift our focus away from the strides we have taken to improve our county jail and the well-being of our populations.

The closure of the reception centers and the past legislative measures to shift State responsibility and liability to the counties, is forcing us to do the work of the CDC-R. In the midst of this situation, the State is closing prisons. The State of California is paying a stipend to counties who are housing their prisoners; however, this payment does not even cover daily cost of housing an inmate. This is causing a financial burden for our county. 

The increased workload with little to no funding will eventually cause the same failures in the county jails which we have already seen in our state prisons. This begs the question, is this punishment for a job well done? Or is this simply the state using counties as scapegoats for the failures of their policies? These policies are not only affecting the positive work and programs we are completing in county jails across the state, but also public safety.

Shasta County is currently forced to hold nearly 50% of its capacity in state prison inmates. This week, Shasta County was forced to release an arrestee who had violated parole. This was due to the impacts of carrying the state prison inmate populations. This man committed murder only a few hours following his release. Following the murder, he was in a high speed vehicle chase endangering even more lives, he then fled on foot. I cannot risk a similar situation here.

I will be working with other Sheriffs within California to solve this problem. I believe the state government should be doing a better job with this issue. We have arrived at a point where it is apparent the state wishes to shift responsibilities, rather than properly manage their duties. I don’t believe we should be forced to take on this burden and put the people we are sworn to serve in Mendocino County in second place. I believe we all deserve better.

I believe we can all see the flaws in the state's recent policies. These flaws will eventually cause problems for our county. I am again asking Mendocino County to stand with me and make our voices heard at the state level. I would encourage all concerned to reach out to our state representatives and demand positive change. Rural counties are often the first to feel these impacts however the last to be heard.

Thank you for your comments and as always thank you for the support you continue to give the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Matt Kendall


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HALLOWEEN IS SATURDAY, October 31 this year and some local women are planning a Happy Halloween Parade with drive-by candy stops where kids in cars, in costume, can trick or treat on the go! That's October 31 from 5-8 PM at the fairgrounds. The women need volunteers to help organize and set up. Call D'Ann at 895-3414, Stephanie at 621-3061, or Ann at 489-3975.

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Mendocino Vintage

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GET YER FLU SHOT: Flu Shot clinic at Boonville High School, Wednesday, October 21st, 4-6.

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Ox Team Gualala

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FORT BRAGG – A defendant in a celebrated Mendocino Coast dog cruelty case decided to forgo a jury trial this week and enter a no contest plea to felony animal abuse. 

Katie Rhiannon Smith, age 34, of Caspar faces up to 3 years in Mendocino County Jail for shooting in December 2019 a dog now widely known as ‘Thunder the Wonder Dog: The Cone Dog from the Woods.’

By entered her plea, Smith admitted that she maliciously and intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, or wounded a living animal, to wit, Thunder.

Besides a jail term, Smith also faces a fine of up to $20,000.

As charged, the defendant's prison exposure could have been up to 10 years longer in length and would have exposed the defendant to a state prison sentence versus a county jail term. This is because the DA included in the charging a special allegation that Smith personally used a firearm in the commission of the crime. Superior Court Judge Clayton Brennan, however, declared during Monday’s plea hearing that even if the personal use allegation was found to be true by a jury, he would deny such a jury finding after-the-fact on his own motion. So, with that indicated judicial intervention favoring the defense, the gun use allegation was dismissed.

As it is, Smith is scheduled to be sentenced in the Fort Bragg court. 

Under law a “no contest” plea to a felony is the same as a guilty plea for all purposes.

‘Thunder the Wonder Dog: The Cone Dog from the Woods’ was an injured and abused canine found wandering in a Mendocino coastal forest in December 2019 and rescued by concerned citizens.

It was later determined by a veterinarian that Thunder was suffering from gunshot wounds, dehydration, and malnutrition.

Any interested member of the community who would like to weigh in on this matter, make respectful comment, and/or urge a particular outcome may send a letter no later than Nov. 18 to:

Mendocino County Adult Probation Department

Re: Thunder the Wonder Dog

700 S. Franklin, Rm 107, 

Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Community members interested in the outcome of this case are welcome to attend the sentencing hearing on Dec. 2 at the Fort Bragg court, 700 S. Franklin St. Facial coverings and social distancing are required.

The law enforcement agencies that investigated this crime were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County Animal Control, and the District Attorney's own investigators. Care and assistance for Thunder was provided by the Mendocino Coast Humane Society and their medical staff, particularly Dr. Bartholomew.

The case was originally reviewed and charged by District Attorney Dave Eyster. The assigned prosecutor is Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld.

(District Attorney Presser)

Katie Smith

ED NOTE: We cannot find any record of Ms. Smith’s arrest or booking. Katie Smith is listed on line as a Caspar-based real estate appraiser and co-owner of the Sunrise Café in Mendocino which itself is closed, apparently because of corona-virus restrictions.

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by Mark Scaramella

A reader sends this obscure item about a dubious pot raid in Potter Valley in 2018:

Current and Former Sheriff of Mendocino County Face New Allegations of Civil Rights Violations — Article by PHFM

The newly retired and well known Sheriff of Mendocino County Tom Allman and his newly appointed replacement Matt Kendall, along with Under-Sheriff/Operations Manager Darren Brewster and Deputy Sheriff Sgt. James Wells have been implicated on new Federal Civil Rights Violations.

This is the second and newly filed case in recent months involving Mendocino County Officials. This new scandal will follow the ongoing civil suit against twenty five Mendocino County Public Officials for the crimes of conspiracy and violating civil rights.

This new case list's violations by the Mendocino County Sherrif's Officers for proving false information to a judge — in order to obtain a warrant, destruction of property, willful misconduct and civil rights violations.

The civil rights complaint document was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California on October 8, 2020. The plantiffs will seek monetary compensation, and for appropriate actions to be taken by the court — in order to prevent further, similar unlawful raids and rights violations by the officers.

Both of these recent claims of rights violations involve raids on otherwise confirmed legal cannabis farms that were in full compliance of the law. These alleged unlawful tactics show a trend by Mendocino County Public Officials — who are likely complacent [sic] in numerous other raids involving similar misconduct. In our small community, whispers have continually surfaced throughout the years pertaining to stories of a relative nature; that have left legal, small cannabis farmers as victims of police misconduct and with very little legal recource.

Please stay tuned for our next feature article that will include information sourced from various rights organizations about "Knowing Your Rights & How to Exercise Them". We'll continue to do our best to bring you more coverage on these and other related stories.

The federal case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at

Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 10/22/2020. (bwS, COURT STAFF)

Back in August we covered the lawsuit filed by Chris Gurr and Ann Marie Borges who sued Mendocino County (and Fish & WIldlife) over another dubious pot raid conducted by State Fish and Wildlife officers at their small grow on the Ukiah end of the Boonville Road, Highway 253 in August of 2017. In that case, Gurr/Borges said Mendo’s pot policy and the personal actions of a non-uniformed Sheriff’s employee somehow made Mendo liable in part for the raid on and destruction of what appeared to be a permitted (or nearly permitted) pot grow: Marijuana Mendo — A Cautionary Tale

Apparently there was another dubious pot raid in Potter Valley more than a year later in October of 2018 in which a Potter Valley man (who actually lives in LA) claims that Sheriff’s deputies destroyed his perfectly legal grow. This suit filing date is listed as 10/8/2020. But we found a reference to the local Case on the Supervisors agenda back in June of 2019: 

June 5, 2019 Item 9c (closed session): 

9c) Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1) - Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation: One Case - Andres Rondon and Skunkworks Pharms, LLC - Case No. SCUK-CVPO-19-72649 

Off hand, we can’t find any information about how that local case went or the outcome. But we also can’t find any press releases saying that the plaintiff or defendant won. 

The Potter Valley case was a filed as a federal civil rights case by Andres Rondon and his company, Skunkworx Pharms, LLC. 

Andres Rondon

The only other minor factoid we could find as background is that the year before, on October 7, 2016, the plaintiff, Andres Rondon, was arrested in Potter Valley for pot cultivation, pot possession for sale, and armed with firearm. We don’t know how that case turned out either.

Nevertheless the claim is interesting, and at least on its face would place more liability on Mendo than the Gurr/Borges case. 

The text of the allegation prepared by LA lawyer Arthur Angel:

SkunkworkxPharms,LLC. … were duly licensed as a cannabis cultivator by the state of California, registered as a lawful cultivator with Mendocino County, and were in full legal compliance with applicable state and county licensing, registration, and certification requirements for the cultivation activities conducted.

On Sunday October 21, 2018 at about 7:10 am, Plaintiff Andres Rondon, who was in southern California at the time with his wife, received a phone call from one of his employees at the farm in Potter Valley who reported that there were some robbers at the farm, wearing dark tactical or combat garb. Plaintiff Rondon immediately called the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, advised of the report of a robbery in progress and passed along what the employees had reported. He requested that Mendocino sheriffs be immediately dispatched to the farm to apprehend the robbers. Plaintiff Rondon noted that the farm was a legally licensed cannabis cultivation operation that was registered with Mendocino County.

Instead of responding immediately, the Mendocino Sheriffs office took approximately two hours before deputies went to the farm in Potter Valley. When they arrived, they showed little interest in the reported robbery or the perpetrators and seemed more interested in impugning the credibility of the robbery report and the employees who were at the farm. A vehicle brought by the robbers was left at the farm and the deputies displayed little interest in it or in following up an employee's report about a robber who had fled the scene or in apprehending that robber.

The Mendocino deputies departed from the farm and returned several hours later with a search warrant. During that interval, the Mendocino Sheriffs Office, acting without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion, had obtained the search warrant by means of a sworn affidavit, signed by defendant Brewster as special agent supervisor, that falsely asserted: a) that there had been a check and it had been determined that the farm was not licensed or registered for cannabis cultivation activities; and b) that it "was obvious" to affiant Brewster that "the owner to this property is in violation of state law without being part of the counties (sic) permitting process."

Both of these were demonstrable falsehoods. Moreover, inasmuch as a) Plaintiffs' licensure and registration with Mendocino County were both readily verifiable through the applicable on-line databases; and b) Plaintiff Rondon had directly advised Mendocino deputies that the farm was in compliance with applicable legal requirements, the false statements made in the affidavit to obtain the search warrant seem to have been made intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth of the statements that were made under oath and under penalty of perjury. 

Additionally, the search warrant that was signed by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Jeanine B. Nadel authorized a search of 12805 Pine Ave., Potter Valley, California but Plaintiffs' property, where the sheriff's deputies had gone previously and where they returned, ostensibly in execution of the search warrant, was 12850 Pine Ave, not 12805. 

When the deputies returned to 12850 Pine. Ave., they brought a wood-chipper. They pulled off the cannabis buds and took them away in plastic trash bags and destroyed the 350 growing cannabis plants that were ready to be harvested the next day by running them through the wood-chipper. These actions damaged plaintiffs by approximately $350,000-$400,000. The deputies also destroyed plant cuttings for the next crop that were worth an additional $15,000. 

The deputies also destroyed eight light deprivation gardens, coverings and lighting equipment, damages of approximately $50,000. These destructions also damaged plaintiffs' ability to conduct their lawful business and deprived them of the next crop cycle and caused other business disruption damages of approximately $350,000. 

The deputies also seized and removed various items of plaintiffs' personal property from the residence, including cell phones, permits and other papers and other items, the value of which will be determined at trial.

Plaintiffs do not know what happened regarding the robbers but believe at least one was apprehended.

On information and belief, there have been a number of unlawful and unofficial raids of cannabis cultivators in Mendocino County by individuals dressing and acting like law enforcement personnel and indications that law enforcement officers from Mendocino County and neighboring towns have participated in such raids and have themselves trafficked in cannabis seized through such raids.

After the raid, plaintiffs retained legal counsel who attempted to contact the sheriff's office by phone, letter, and email to discuss the raid, identify the individuals involved, and to obtain return of plaintiffs' personal property. The sheriff's office ignored those communications. Additionally, several weeks after the raid counsel for plaintiff made a written request to the Mendocino County Records Department for a copy of the incident report on the 10/21/18 raid. The response was that the report could not be provided because it was part of an open law enforcement investigation. Plaintiffs are not aware of any valid factual or legal basis for a continuing criminal investigation concerning them.

Defendants maintained the pretense that they were continuing to conduct a criminal investigation of plaintiff Rondon to give their conduct a surface law enforcement legitimacy, to help block any outside investigation and discovery of details concerning the wrongful raid described above, and to frighten and intimidate plaintiff Rondon. 

As a result of the wrongful actions complained of herein, Plaintiffs have suffered economic and consequential damage, business interruption, and lost income. 

In addition to the direct economic damage noted above, plaintiff Rondon has also sustained and will continue to suffer general damages including fear, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress, the reasonable value of which is $400,000. 

(End of complaint text)

According to the County’s on-line list of cannabis permit applications, the Rondon Potter Valley grow (AG_2017-0654) was listed as an “active cannabis cultivation application” presumably in 2017 with status of “under review.” But the application is also listed under “withdrawn” applications. Neither of these entries are dated. We could not find any indication that the Rondon grow was formally “approved.”

It’s hard to assess these claims without knowing more about them which would take a lot more research time than we have. And the plaintiff and his lawyer did not provide any information on the outcome of their Mendocino County case. 

It’s certainly true that Mendo’s pot permit program is fraught with problems, incompetence and confusion in many cases. And you’d think that the Sheriff would check the status of a permit before throwing anybody’s pot plants in a chipper. So for now these two cases will have to remain as “allegations.” At the rate that these cases go, both in Mendo and in Federal court, we’re not likely to hear the outcome for a long time — if ever. 

Ed note: Rondon was completely cleared of any wrongdoing.

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POINT ARENA to hold Special City Council Meeting October 13, 2020

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From Supervisor Williams

Mendocino County’s cannabis ordinance has been an utter failure, the natural result of an incredibly complex framework mandated by the state and grossly understaffed by county. Supervisor Haschak and I have been actively engaged on a daily basis, working with state agencies, performing pilot studies with staff, digging deep to analyze why the program has failed and brainstorming paths forward. We don’t have all of the answers, but it’s important to review the overarching goal. 

California voters decided incarceration over a plant was poor public policy and steered our state away from the failed war on drugs. 

Mendocino County gained the opportunity to legitimize a long standing economic backbone. A robust regulated industry has potential to mitigate unwanted consequences of the industry, namely environmental destruction and violent crime. The first (and only executed) phase focused on prioritizing the transition of existing cultivators, those with proof of prior farming. Using public policy to create a monopoly, essentially rigging the market to only allow legacy cultivators, lacks legal foundation, but starting permitting with a focus of transitioning the existing market was common sense. 

Out of the estimated 9,000 cultivation sites, about 1,100 applied, with less than 275 receiving county permits and only a few receiving state annual licenses. Annual state licenses will be required starting Jan 1, 2022 when renewal of state provisional licenses are scheduled to sunset.

Mendocino County cultivators are presently positioned to involuntarily revert to the illicit market, jeopardizing the County’s cannabis business tax, which at present generates almost $6M/year in revenue. 

When California voters approved Proposition 64, cannabis farming was not declared to be agriculture, but rather commercial activity subject to the California Environmental Quality Act. CEQA compliance was met at a county level through a Mitigated Negative Declaration, which went unchallenged. Essentially, grandfathering existing activity did not create a new environmental impact. 

One of the major obstacles facing the program today is not the result of a poorly crafted county framework or staff execution. Rather, our state’s Department of Food and Agriculture decided to demand site specific CEQA analysis beyond what regulation appears to support. (See quote from regulation below.) 

The county’s fee schedule was not designed around this added requirement, which could add 35,000 hours of planning staff work, well beyond the capabilities of county staffing no matter how many positions we open and attempt to fill. 

Supervisor Haschak and I have not taken an adversarial position with the state, instead pleading for collaboration. The issue is not whether our colleagues will find support to direct staff to complete the state’s work, but rather, basic feasibility.

One fallback position might be for the county to work on county permits, our actual obligation, leaving the state to work with applicants directly to meet state CEQA requirements. This would leave the county in a more manageable position, but will it facilitate the original goal of transitioning the market from illegal to regulated or will the cultivators be forced out of the legal market? CDFA argues the state does not have staff to directly process CEQA documents, even though this is their legal obligation.

On Tuesday, the special BOS meeting will focus on what has been termed Phase 3 cultivation, agendized to discuss and approve a proposed zoning table. Under, Proposition 64 implementing a new cultivation ordinance will become more challenging after June, 2021. Planning needs to begin now, in order to prepare an ordinance for next spring. 

We asked Planning to produce a map to visualize the areas which would be eligible for cultivation under the proposed zoning table. Unfortunately, most of the legacy cultivation will be excluded. 

The problems I see:

• Vision: transition farms from illegal to legal and enforce ordinance

• Most cultivators: on resource land

• Proposed zoning: bans resource land

• Success: inductively impossible.

It’s impossible to force cultivators into the legal market if we ban the cultivators’ land or in the case of this proposal, almost all of our landmass. Our county has very little Ag zoning.

It may be that our entire approach is wrong. Instead of focusing on zoning classifications, should we focus on mitigating specific adverse impacts? Increased commercial traffic does not belong in residential neighborhoods. Forest land should not be cleared. Plastics should be avoided. Environmentally backed and neighborhood protective farming standards, not zoning codes, could steer policy to better balance competing needs. Our model should promote sustainable and resilient cottage farming, not intensive, climate and culture damaging agribusiness. By approving a zoning chart which categorically excludes the bulk of existing cultivation, local regulation will become the new prohibition, furthering an outlaw model and preventing the application of regulation. It leaves law enforcement with two possibilities: look the other way or bust small family farms.

Code Sections

(§ 8102. Annual License Application Requirements.

(r) Evidence of exemption from, or compliance with, division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The evidence provided shall be one of the following:

(1) A signed copy of a project specific Notice of Determination or Notice of Exemption and a copy of the associated CEQA document, or reference to where it may be located electronically, a project description, and/or any accompanying permitting documentation from the local jurisdiction used for review in determining site specific environmental compliance;…)

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We've issued a STOP WORK order to AT&T in regards to the above ground poles/cable on Navarro Ridge. I haven’t seen a Coastal Development Permit for this hideous eyesore and I can’t imagine the county approving it.

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To the Editor:

The County is proposing to buy the Best Western Motel on Orchard Avenue, and it is my understanding that escrow has already been opened. I have the very strong concern that this is the wrong place to put a homeless residential shelter. We live in a wonderful part of California, and we must not let one of our major corridors to the City of Ukiah be further impacted by a facility structured in such a manner just because money is being offered from another governmental agency. Remember! It’s your money no matter what pocket it comes from. Transparency has been lacking on the process, and its time our community knows what is going on.

My letters to the city: I am setting down my strong objections to this purchase for the following reasons:

It takes a successful, tax/BID paying business off the tax rolls which affects the income for the City of Ukiah The location is poorly chosen for the following reasons: There is a school, a day care center, and an elementary school within a three-minute walk.

There is a thriving real estate office within 25 feet of and other business in the near vicinity to the motel that will be impacted.

In looking to the future, the entire corridor of Orchard Avenue should be used for commercial that supports (not detracts from) the economy of the City of Ukiah.

The proposed mix of different types of homeless people is not conducive to a successful treatment/residential facility at this location. The severely mentally ill, high risk COVID patients, (with housing vouchers) nor those with complex medical conditions, as well as those experiencing domestic violence, should not be placed in this type of facility. Believe it or not, this is what is proposed.

The City has no allocated funds for homelessness, but this facility would create just one more policing nightmare just like Willow Terrace and Building Bridges, thus taking funds away that should be spent on other City defined priorities.

It is too far away from other services, i.e., Plowshares, Food Bank, etc.

The price being paid is $10,600,000. Now if you ask me, that is a lot of zeros. Then there is only $1.3 million allocated for maintenance and staffing. As we business people can tell you, that amount will evaporate in a very short time. We all know this COVID mess will end sometime, and when it does, the Federal dollars will dry up, and so will the handouts to local governments. Where will the money come to support such a facility?

I sit on the Adventist Health – Ukiah Valley Citizen’s Advisory Council, and for the last year, administrators have shared with us the plans for Adventist to build a $180,000,000—–$200,000,000 state of the art medical facility off Perkins Street north of the existing hospital. Orchard Avenue should be used for ancillary service buildings for the hospital and not be transitioned into another homeless encampment. It is recognized that the Crisis Residential Treatment Center will be down the street, but this is a very small facility with the correct funding and hopefully good management practices. Hopefully, it will look more like a doctor’s office than an encampment.

The County has contracts with the facility managers of both Building Bridges and Willow Terrace. Talk to your Police Chief Justin Wyatt about the failed effective management and burden on his department of these homeless facilities. There is absolutely no guarantee that this one will be managed any more safely or effectively to prevent impositions or conflicts with other neighbors.

Again, it is time for the City to demand more transparency on these types of projects that affect the long-range goals that hopefully do not include making Ukiah solely a homeless encampment. (There are many residents who already feel they are living in such an environment.)

I understand the City Council approved the proposal for the County to receive the funds for the purchase of a homeless residential facility, but this is the wrong place, and there are alternatives. The County already owns “COVID Motel” on Whitmore lane, so why not put the housing there? It’s much closer to Plowshares, would be in the County and not on the best commercial land in Ukiah.

In light of the importance of this matter, I will be asking the BOS and County Administrator Carmel Angelo for a public, widely spaced meeting, to allow concerned citizens to voice their concerns about this project.

Martha Barra


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Next week, we’ll see the first new sidewalks appear around the courthouse! These smaller sidewalks aren’t getting the full treatment that the others will (trees, lights, landscaping, etc.), but they will be slightly wider, smooth, and flat. Progress! 

Bioswale at Perkins

Also, the large pits in the center of State Street will be backfilled in the next week or two, which will make getting around town a bit easier. 

Speaking of getting around, we’d love it if people would get around a little more slowly…there are still people speeding through the construction area, which is obviously incredibly dangerous. Please remember that the speed limit through the project area is 15 MPH and that flashing red traffic signals should be treated like stop signs. 

Construction Update - Week of October 12

North Side: Perkins to Henry Street 

Ghilotti Construction will continue working primarily on the sidewalks around the courthouse (but not the business’ side), with irrigation and electric conduit being installed in the new sidewalks on State Street. 

Monday: New sidewalks will be poured on the courthouse side of Perkins Street. 

Tuesday-Friday: New sidewalks will be poured on Standley Street on the courthouse side; new storm drain will be installed at Henry; irrigation and electric conduit will be installed in the new sidewalks on State Street. 

Ukiah Sewer Night Work

During the week, West Smith Street between School and State Streets will be closed. 

Work hours are from 6am to 5pm in this area this week; no night work is planned. 

South Side: Church to Mill Street 

Wahlund Construction continues to install new sewer lines this week between Mill and Church. 

Monday: No work will occur due to the Columbus Day holiday. 

Tuesday-Friday: General excavation and sewer lateral work will occur between Stephenson and Clay Street. Also, the large pits in the center of the street will be backfilled. 

Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but through traffic on Clay Street (east-west) will be closed due to work in the manhole at the intersection. 

Construction work will begin at 7 am in this area this week, and no night work is planned. 

Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, October 9, 2020

Arnold, Azbill, Banda-Marin, Gahm


LEONARD AZBILL JR., Covelo. DUI, felon-addict with firearm, probation revocation.

JESUS BANDA-MARIN, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, misdemeanor hit&run.

ARNOLD GAHM, Ukiah. Mandatory Supervision sentencing.

Garcia, Martinez, Seeley, Washburn

CHRISTOPHER GARCIA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GERARDO MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated-vehicles, DUI causing bodily injury.

ELLIOT SEELEY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

RICHARD WASHBURN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

* * *


by Betsy Cawn

Brown Act violations: After only a few months of observing the Lake County Board of Supervisors for only a few months (early 2001), it became blatantly obvious that the creation of the agenda and the manner of presenting “proposals” by various department heads were the result of behind the scenes crafting — since the Administration has the ability to go to all of the elected officials without violating the law, and the public’s ability to get straight answers about their concerns is minimal, at best.

A popular dodge is the use of “boards, committees, and commissions” created by the authority of the Board. On the rare occasions when any of them actually report to their makers in a public forum, once in a while asking for permission to spend their meager budgets (not many committees or boards have them) in a manner designed to please the Board’s intentions, once again the public is given short shrift.

Seldom (if ever), appointed officials — many of them department heads — provide reports on the results of spending programs, usually when a formal “notice of completion” requires Board approval before submittal to a funding agency, such as some federal programs insist on.

Nowhere to be found are reports on results of funded projects or programs passed “through” to contractors, such as the non-profit organizations who are hired to deliver social services (especially for the extended, or never-ending, relief from disasters).

Official announcements of “Notice of Intent” and “Notice of Completion” are hand-posted on a clip-board fixed to the exterior hallway leading to the Assessor-Recorder’s office; “legal notices” are published in the state-approved “newspaper of record” — requiring the purchase of the paper in order to be “informed.” There is no Public Information Office to answer questions, and the dispersion of information sources requires an inquirer to find — or ferret out — the correct way to make requests of various departments. Contractors generally answer none, referring back to the hiring agency.

The Planning Commission here is presented with highly negotiated “Mitigated Negative Declarations” of “conditioned permits” endorsed by Community Development Department staff reports, which elide with aplomb any inconvenient details found in the “initial studies” which themselves are created under the county’s internally-divined “Environmental Protection Guidelines” (created in the 70s?) that manage to skip the extremely important question of impacts on water resources. Only on one or two occasions has a permit been “conditioned” by the requirement to provide a “Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan” (CEQA), and even then the act of compliance is left up to the permittee, with a one-time minor fee to have an inspector visit the site and certify that the required mitigation has been completed satisfactorily.

Major ordinances become “municipal codes.” Some of the most critical of these ignore the impact of unregulated water extraction, allowing the process called “ripening for development” to occur in front of our very eyes. One major vineyard operation installed huge water lines along “avenues” that can be seen — from 10,000 feet — as future “blocks” of side-by-side suburban homes; the potential claim for the “proof” of available water is established in the measurement of unregulated wells tapping into fragile aquifers uphill from established subdivisions (or, in the less visible countryside, above agricultural producers of “food and fiber” — the most sacred of sacred cows, but not shielded from groundwater depletion by any real restrictions in the county’s shameful “groundwater management” ordinance).

The antiquated and mostly unenforced “stormwater management,” “shoreline management,” and highly culpable “grading” ordinances leave the destruction of our most significant natural resources up to the developers and their real estate backers. “Watershed” management — authorized by state legislation in 2004 by NorCal’s very own Wes Chesbro — established in theory to meet the federal demands of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (and potentially “restore the beneficial uses” of Clear Lake in accordance with State Water Board “orders” — also unenforced, and in fact based on unenforceable monitoring and reporting requirements from federal, state, incorporated and unincorporated agencies), has never been codified in an “enabling ordinance,” so it is not even included in the municipal codes.

Making the process even more opaque is the general practice of placing contract approvals in the section of the Board agenda known as the “Consent” agenda. The agendas themselves do not appear for public consumption in a truly useful timeframe (72 WORKING hours prior to the hearing), so the persistent citizen must attend to proposed agendas that arrive after the close of business on Thursday — and find the offices closed to the public on Friday! (The Community Development Department is especially rude in informing a caller on the last day of the week, to call back on Monday.)

With diligence, patience, and the grudging willingness of some staff, one might be able to get a question posed, if not actually answered, on a Friday — by having a direct phone number to a “responsible party” — but the general public is SOL.

And a body of “Board of Supervisors Policies & Procedures” is completely unavailable to the public, kept in the offices of the Administration, and discerned in existence only when the Chief Administrative Officer or her deputies refer to the “established policy” guiding a past position on a proposed modification to management action — such as qualifications and classification of employees, which has been occurring here behind the scenes for agonizing months, after the critical department heads (and the Sheriff) reported ad nauseum the impacts of always having 20% fewer staff than are needed, and sometimes approved in “position allocations” in department budgets.

Even those departments whose services are funded mostly by federal and/or state revenues, not subject to the local pay scale limitations, cannot get permission to hire the necessary man/womanpower to meet federal or state mandated functions to protect the public health and safety of our poverty-stricken populations.

Despite the state’s Sunshine Laws, and various other challenges to the obfuscative practices, the Intent of the Ralph M. Brown Act brings no joy here:

“In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that  the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public  agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s  business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken  openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”  “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the  agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do  not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for  the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The  people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control  over the instruments they have created.”  

[Government Code Sections 54950-54963]

The subject should be taught in high school, and every member appointed to a “board, committee, or commission” by the Board of Supervisors should receive training in how their participation is governed by the law. Instead, the county employs a “risk manager” (a.k.a., “county counsel”) to make sure that “decisions” made during legally-noticed public hearings meet the absolute minimum criteria of preventing the threat of lawsuit. Good luck with that, if you don’t have deep pockets and a cohort of influential supporters.

The worst offenses are committed by the Local Agency Formation Commission, in which three elected county supervisors are in attendance and actively involved in important decision making — often related to those massive natural resource abuses not prevented by county municipal codes — even though, in strict practice, the “third” supervisor is an “alternate” voter in case one of the two voting supervisors is absent during a legal proceeding. And if you think these people don’t talk amongst themselves in unseen settings, please think again. Talk about a “culture club”!

“In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that  the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public  agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s  business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken  openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”  “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the  agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do  not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for  the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The  people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control  over the instruments they have created.”  

* * *


* * *


by Joan Didion

Thomas Kinkade was born in the late 1950s and raised in Placerville, El Dorado County, where his mother supported him and his siblings by working as a notary public, piece work, five dollars a document. The father had left. The family lived much of the time in a trailer. 

By the 1990s Thomas Kinkade was a phenomenon, a brand on his own, a merchandiser who could touch a snow globe or stoneware mug or a night light or a La-Z-Boy chair with the magic of his name and turn it to money, a painter so successful that by the end of the decade there would be throughout the United States 248 Thomas Kinkade "signature galleries," 78 of them in California alone, most of those in malls or tourist areas, four for example in Monterey and another four in Carmel, two exits down Highway 1. Since very few of Thomas Kinkade's original oil paintings were by that time available, and since those that were had risen in price from about $15,000 in the early 1990s to more than $300,000 by 1997, the figures sold in these 248 "signature galleries" where canvas-backed reproductions, which themselves sold for $900-$15,000 and were produced by the 450 employees who labored in the hundred thousand square-foot Morgan Hill headquarters of Media Arts Group Inc. ("MDA" on the New York Stock Exchange), the business of which was Thomas Kinkade.

The passion with which buyers approached these Kincaid images was hard to define. The manager of one California gallery that handled them told me that it was not unusual to sell six or seven at a clip to buyers who already owned 10 or 20, and that the buyers with whom he dealt brought to the viewing of the images "a sizable emotional weight." A Kinkade painting was typically rendered in slightly surreal pastels. It typically featured a cottage or a house of such insistent coziness as to seem actually sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hanswel and Gretel. Every window was lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire. The cottages had thatched roofs and resembled gingerbread houses. The houses were Victorian and resembled idealize bed and breakfasts, at least two of which in Placerville, the Chichester-McKee house and the Combellack-Blair House, claim to have been the models for Kinkade’s "Christmas" paintings. "There is a line of beauty here that I present in a way that's whimsical and charming," 

Kinkade allowed to the Pleasantville Mountain Democrat. He branded himself the "painter of light," and the postcards media arts provided to his galleries each for a while bore this legend: "Thomas Kinkade is recognized as the foremost living painter of light. His masterful use of soft edges and luminous colors give his highly detailed oil paintings a glow all their own. This extraordinary ‘Kincade Glow’ has created an overwhelming demand for Thomas Kincade paintings and lithographs worldwide."

This "Kincade Glow" could be seen as derived in spirit from the "lustrous, pearly mist" that Mark Twain had derided in the Bierstadt paintings, and the level of execution to one side, there are certain unsettling similarities between the two painters. "After completing my recent plein air study of Yosemite Valley, the mountains' majesty refused to leave me," Kinkade wrote in June 2000 on his website. "When my family wandered through the National Park Visitor Center I discovered a key to my fantasy — a recreation of a Miwok Indian village. When I returned to my studio, I began work on ‘The Mountains Declare His Glory,’ a poetic expression of what I felt at that transforming moment of inspiration. As a final touch I even added a Miwok Indian camp along the river as an affirmation that man has his place even in a setting touched by God's glory."

Affirming that man has his place in the Sierra Nevada by reproducing the Yosemite National Park Visitor Center’s recreation of a Miwok Indian village is identifiable as a doubtful enterprise on many levels (not the least of which being that the Yosemite Miwok were forcibly run onto a reservation near Fresno during the gold rush, and allowed to return to Yosemite only in 1855), but is Thomas Kinkade's Sierra in fact any more sentimentalized than that of Albert Bierstadt? Were not the divinely illuminated passes of Bierstadt Sierra meant to confirm the successful completion of our manifest destiny? Was it by chance that Collins P. Huntington commissioned Bierstadt to undertake a painting celebrating the domination of Donner Pass by the Central Pacific Railroad? Was not Bierstadt’s triumphalist Donner Lake from the summit a willful revision to this point on the locale that most clearly embodied the moral ambiguity of the California settlement? 

This was the lesson drawn from the pass in question by one of the surviving children of the Donner party, Virginia Reed, who wrote to her cousin: "Oh, Mary, I have not wrote you half of the trouble we've had, but I have wrote you enough to let you know what trouble is. But thank god we are the only family that did not eat human flesh. We have left everything, but I don't care for that. We have got through with our lives. Don't let this letter dishearten anybody. Remember, never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can."

Remember, never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can.

Did the preferred version of our history reflect the artless horror and constricted moral horizon of Virginia Reed’s first-hand account?

Or had it come more closely to resemble the inspirational improvement that was Bierstadt’s ‘Donner Lake from the Summit’?

‘Donner Lake from the Summit’ by Albert Bierstadt

* * *

THE GRIM TRUTH is that Trump and Biden’s COVID plans are pretty much the same. Both rely on a gutted for-profit medical system that barely functions under normal circumstances and is institutionally incapable of dealing with a pandemic. It could have been much different if Biden had proposed a single-payer health care plan. Now they’re arguing over minutia as a thousand people a day die and another ten thousand a day go bankrupt. — Jeff St. Clair

* * *

Mendocino Town, photo by Ansel Adams

* * *



A few thoughts on the situation…

As we slip into tragedy at an exponentially accelerating pace, maybe a bit of analysis can help prevent the future from degenerating into total disaster. Consider the mistake that millions made in 2016 by voting GOP: Can the world recover from it? Maybe, maybe not. Since then, so much evil has been foisted upon us that the chances for recovery diminish with every day that passes. Come Nov. 3, the luxury of voting GOP is not an option that can be afforded. 

Considering the ease with which new products roll off increasingly mechanized assembly lines, many wonder why the economy doesn't work better for workers, and why instead the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider, which advantage allows the ultra rich to buy off political reps with the instruction to keep things going just the way they are, thank you very much. The accelerating rise of productivity will take care of the rest, as an increasing share of the benefits of higher productivity accrue to the rich. The widening of the gap slowly converts our once-thriving democracy into a shameless dictatorship of the billionaires, and this corrupting process is exceptionally accelerated when a deluded electorate mistakenly elects a billionaire to be their savior, which borders on the unimaginable, had not so many previous tragic examples already been suffered over the ages. 

As human labor gets replaced by machine labor, people wonder aloud over what to do about the unemployment that results. Several work-sharing tactics have evolved over time that have proven at least somewhat effective: making overtime more expensive than mere time and a half, a shorter work week, longer paid vacations, sabbaticals, more paid holidays, and so on. All of those mechanisms deal with time, not money. With productivity on its relentless rise, more and more work-sharing tactics should be adopted to keep pace. Resistance to the measures arises from the inevitable fact that work-sharing does little to enhance profits. But, when the top three tycoons enjoy more wealth than the bottom half of the entire USA, should tears be wasted over a little belt-tightening on the part of the bosses? Especially when studies have shown that overwork, instead of improving productivity, can actually be more expensive. That work reductions can in fact enhance the bottom line may sound counter-intuitive, but it should be remembered that humans are not dumb machines that automatically produce more and better when the whip gets cracked over their heads. 

Conservatism is doomed, so say some pundits, and yet it seems to thrive in the USA. People want liberation from labor, but seem to care less that the conservative ideology to which they seem so susceptible is the very ideology that can only make things worse. As time goes on, and productivity accelerates due to tech evolution, more and more workers are bound to be displaced and laid off. Human labor signifies enslavement to the means of production, while machine labor signifies human liberation. As employment inevitably declines, would-be workers will call for relief, though little will come their way, as the very limited covid relief programs bear out. Conservatives will quote their bibles saying: "He who does not work shall not eat." But, workers will not be sufficiently nourished thereby, and may seek help from the more liberal among us who understand that a few words from the bible cannot put food on the table. 

Ken Ellis

New Bedford, MA

* * *


* * *


The ammo situation is ridiculous. When just last year I could buy a box of 9 mm hollow point ammo for around $25 more or less, it now costs around $100-$110 a box. I just purchased 200 rounds of Federal 115 gr ammo for around $37 a box. That includes shipping fees. I hated to have to pay that much, but luckily for me I can easily afford it. It’s just the principle of the thing. Go online to major ammo sites and they have none in stock; zero. I have to go to other sites at exorbitant prices.

I have to buy 38 special and 357 mag for my revolver. It’s even harder to find, and the prices are around $50 a box. Last year I paid $22 a box at my gun dealer’s store, and felt I was overpaying. I didn’t mind because they are nice guys and it was convenient to just go there and walk out with ammo.

Anyway, that’s my complaint of the day. I don’t want to harp on this, but it’s a fine example of how our country has gone to shit.

* * *

THE CITY EDITOR of the Grants Pass (Oregon) Daily Courier was attacked while reporting on a meeting led by the organizer of a local militia.

ED NOTE: The article accompanying the video which might explain the point of the reporter’s visit to the meeting is behind the newspaper’s paywall and unavailable, as is an accompanying opinion piece saying that photography in a public place is a constitutional right. 

* * *


by James Kunstler

The Coen Brothers must be writing Nancy Pelosi’s script now, a kind of Macbeth update set in a swampy Potomac lowland at Halloween time: Madam Speaker rides her fabled scepter up in the night sky, around the capitol dome, across the moon’s laughing face, to the White House, trailing vapors of hatred and malice as she curses the Golden Golem within. Her mask matches her designer frock, woven of cobwebs with dark strands of enmity. Her hair is perfect. Her flight-path not so much, as the Golem below easily shoots her down through the oval office window with a rubber band and a paper clip and she augers, smoldering, into the rose garden… Fade out….

Well, tomorrow is here, and exactly the hour this blog regularly gets posted is when Mrs. Pelosi aims to announce her latest scheme for ousting Mr. Trump: perhaps a bill for some kind of new 25th Amendment commission to work around the inconvenience of the law as currently configured, that is, an executive branch prerogative. The stunt has two purposes: 1) to paint Mr. Trump as unfit — a song as old and boring now as I am Woman, Hear me Roar — and 2) to put up a smoke-screen diverting voters’ attention from her obdurate refusal to compromise on the latest Coronavirus relief bill.

The paranoid hysteria on display among the Party of Chaos suggests that those polls showing Ol’ White Joe Biden up twelve points may just be more media dis-info. The purpose: to claim, when the time comes, that the President won reelection by some kind of subterfuge, and justify an all-out post November 3rd Lawfare offensive to challenge the ballots in every swing-state, and do exactly what they are blaming Mr. Trump for in advance: confounding an orderly resolution of the peoples’ will.

Is it possible that some Democratic Party voters begin to suspect that the party officials running this game have lost their minds? A good signifier, of course, is the ghostly figure carrying their battle-flag, Mr. Biden, the Flying Dutchman candidate whose mind slips in and out of fog-banks as he navigates the shoals of defeat. Why did the Party ship out with him on the poop-deck? My guess would be: to deflect indictments of himself and many other former officials as the steady flow of documentary evidence gets released by new DNI John Ratcliffe, including a batch this past week showing pretty incontrovertibly that everybody and his uncle in the Obama executive branch was keenly aware that RussiaGate was a Hillary campaign ploy and allowed themselves to be weaponized into the scheme — under the assumption that she couldn’t lose and they’d never be found out.

She lost. They’re found out. Grand juries have been convened by Mr. Durham. Something wicked is coming their way. Their ship is going down and the rats are all squeaking desperately in the scuppers at the rising water. Won’t this all be a shock to that crew of media fabulists who stupidly maintain that the Mueller Report actually proved something — the David Frenches, Max Boots, and Rachel Maddows of this world and their True Believer followers? History is rhyming again. It’s like 1794 in Paris. The Jacobins’ Reign of Terror comes to its sudden and ignominious end with Robespierre bawling under the national razor. So does today’s Reign of Perfidious Sedition close, with Jim Comey bawling, “I can’t recall,” into his laptop.

Incidental to this is the breaking news — sure to not be reported in The New York Times or by CNN — that one Devon Archer, business partner of Hunter Biden (and John Kerry stepson, Christopher Heinz) has just had his previously overturned conviction for security fraud reinstated by a federal appeals court. Sound abstruse? Yeah, kind of, but, believe me this boy is in some serious hot water, the rap being a federal one, and Mr. Archer now poised to sing like a canary to John Durham’s posse about his various financial exploits in Ukraine and other foreign lands with Joe Biden’s son (and Mr. Kerry’s stepson) in exchange for lighter jail time. You just watch.

Keep your ears pricked also for developments involving Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) and his role in 2016-17 as an active disseminator of Steele Dossier RussiaGate dis-info in coordination with the George Soros funded Democracy Integrity Project, run by former Dianne Feinstein chief-of-staff Dan Jones and assisted by swamp lawyer Adam Waldman, a Steele / Warner go-between who happened to be a $40,000-a-month lobbyist for one Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor (at least $1-million) who also employed Christopher Steele as a dis-info errand boy. Unpacking that one will be like unpacking the surgical batting in a sucking chest wound. Scrub for it.

In this now bi-polar nation, the mood swings get wilder by the week. The President had a bit of a rough seven days, what with his Covid-19 treatment at Walter Reed and stunningly rapid recovery, which sent his adversaries into a transport of hebephrenic distemper. Vice-president Mike Pence calmed the waters a little bit in his Wednesday meet-up with the Harris Administration candidate — no doubt the rogue housefly poised above his right ear fed him juicy debating points. Kamala Harris demonstrated a talent for mugging, face-pulling, eye-rolling, and leering. If the veep thang doesn’t work out, she might consider a career as a mime. Her home turf, San Francisco, used to be full of them until the local pols let homeless junkies take over the streets.

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

* * *

* * *


(We knew it was bad, but it was worse, much worse…)

by Elizabeth Kolbert

On October 27, 1962, a day that’s been described as the “most dangerous” in human history, a Soviet submarine designated B-59 was churning through the Sargasso Sea when suddenly it was rocked by a series of explosions. “It felt like you were sitting in a metal barrel, which somebody is constantly blasting with a sledgehammer,” Vadim Orlov, a communications specialist on board the sub, later recalled. “The situation was quite unusual, if not to say shocking, for the crew.”

Four weeks earlier, B-59 had been dispatched from the U.S.S.R. with three other so-called F-class subs as part of Operation Anadyr, Nikita Khrushchev’s top-secret effort to install ballistic missiles in Cuba. (The Anadyr is a river that flows into the Bering Sea; the code name was intended to make even soldiers participating in the operation believe they were headed somewhere cold.) Pretty much from the outset of the voyage, things had not gone well.

“For the sailors, this Cuban missile crisis started even before its beginning,” Ryurik Ketov, the captain of another Cuba-bound sub, once observed. The Atlantic that October was turbulent, and the pitching sea made it tough for the boats to maintain their desired speed.

“You have to hold on to something even in your sleep, or else you’ll fall off,” a crew member complained. Communications, too, were difficult. Once past Iceland, the subs had trouble contacting Moscow; for a while, according to Ketov, the only voices audible over the radio “were those of Murmansk fishermen.”

By the time President John F. Kennedy learned of Operation Anadyr, on October 16th, the subs were halfway across the Atlantic. By the time he announced the “quarantine” of Cuba, on October 22nd, they were nearing the island. They were ordered by the Soviet naval command to change course and take up positions in the Sargasso Sea. There a new set of problems arose. The subs, built for navigating farther north, had trouble operating in warm water. Temperatures inside rose to uncomfortable levels and kept on rising, to more than a hundred and ten degrees, and carbon-dioxide levels climbed, too. “It’s getting hard to breathe in here,” a crew member recorded in his diary.

By October 27th, conditions on B-59 were so bad that men were passing out; in the words of one, “They were falling like dominoes.” American destroyers were practically on top of the sub; this prevented it from surfacing to recharge its batteries and use its antenna. The boat’s captain, Valentin Savitsky, knew from previous days’ communications that a crisis was unfolding above the waves, but, unable to receive radio signals, he had no way of learning about recent developments.

To avoid escalation, American warships were supposed to follow a careful protocol when they came across subs. They were to drop harmless depth charges and instruct the subs to surface. But that day someone decided to drop hand grenades into the water. Savitsky ordered the crew to get ready to fire back.

“Maybe the war has already started up there, while we are doing somersaults here,” he shrieked. “We’re going to blast them now!”

What the grenade tossers did not know—what almost no one knew until four decades later—was that one of B-59’s torpedoes was carrying what the Soviets called “special ammunition.” The “special” part was a fifteen-kiloton nuclear warhead. Had Savitsky’s orders been carried out, chances are good that the Americans would have responded in kind, and a full-scale nuclear war would have broken out. There should, it seems, be a useful lesson to be learned from that frantic afternoon. But what, in God’s name, is it? …

(Courtesy, the New Yorker)

* * *


This is a photo of Louise Gluck a poet who just won the Nobel Prize for literature. I'm not a huge fan of poetry however here is something she wrote some time ago that seems to speak to us today although she wrote it in 2009.

"Afterward, you go back to the old place —

all that remains is char: blackness and emptiness.

You think: how could I live here?

But it was different then,

even last summer. The earth behaved

as though nothing could go wrong with it."

* * *

"LET US NOT BE AFRAID to help each other — let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country."

"Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."

"No man can occupy the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the people."

"The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"IT IS what it is."

- Donald Trump

* * *

* * *



What you say! Now you think you have heard it all? Grab onto your K-401 savings, a kid or two, the cat and get grandma's walker!

Last week on the morning news it was disclosed that your exalted ruler governor Cave-In Nuisance is putting together a research task force (I would like to know what that costs you and me) to see what can be done for: Black families who had ancestors who may have been slaves. 

A joke? I'm afraid not!

Reparations equals dollars of unknown quantity and/or costs payable in money or labor or goods etc.?

There is no question that history repeatedly verifies that the black race has/is being misused and abused! Let's learn from the past and correct all things correctable without masking over with monies and false promises.

A safety net should not in truth to be a financial hammock. A chicken in every pot should not equate to a T-bone steak for all at breakfast. Get it?

I can hear the peanut gallery now loud and clear: What the F___! You're paying, we want steak!

An opprobrious ode for your governor -- Cave-in Nuisance: May a freshwater Kraken in a stealthy movement rise from your water closet/porcelain throne and assail the genitalia leaving the reproductive capabilities in doubt.

Grandma says: not nice for Nuisance. You shouldn't be giving little Krak junk food. I said: make up a batch of your peanut butter cookies Gram. That may take the bad taste out of Little K’s beaked mouth, a Herculean task! Love you Gram.

God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick and the Kraken.

Older and angrier,


* * *



  1. Betsy Cawn October 10, 2020

    Apologies to your readers for the sloppy redundancies in my diatribe about Lake County’s systemic manipulation of the Brown Act. And a further note: Newly elected county supervisors are treated to a three-day special training event (paid for by public funds) in which they are informed (we guess) of their “special immunities” as the often ill-informed decision makers. It is obvious that the creators of programs and projects purported to be for the “greater good” are mostly motivated by the necessity to keep their employees on the payroll, and the ever-present threat of losing “staff.”

    Mental/behavioral health programs are a great example — resulting in differently visible “outcomes” in Mendocino than in Lake, but both counties continue to struggle with increasing loads of malfunctioning citizens. However, Lake County is reportedly working closely with Mendo’s mental health factory managers to address the need for localized psychiatric facilities, and in the mean time continue to transport severely impaired persons to out-of-county facilities, where the true “lockdown” features of their involuntary incarceration sites place them far from the communities in which their discombobulation arose.

    Hospitals become the front line scenes of temporary detainment, none of which (here anyway) have “wet rooms” — and nursing staff is faced with the violent anger of obese, diabetic, over-“medicated” belligerents out of their minds with “dual diagnoses.”

    Emphasis on construction of “traditional” American homes (multiple bedrooms and mandatory garages) continues to inhibit the development of low-cost residential settings in which a “recovering” addict with psychic disturbances rendered benign by the application of mind-bending chemicals — legally prescribed by theoretically qualified personnel, and dispensed by case managers — renders a growing population of lost souls ready fodder for real incarceration in our county jails. All, of course, reported to our Boards of Supervisors within the politesse of the Ralph M. Brown Act. What is it you wanted to know, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Citizen?

  2. Cotdbigun October 10, 2020

    Re: Morsel-Haye
    Having spent some time dealing with the public in the eighties, we noticed a trend common to ladies with hyphenated names. A majority seem to be breathing rarefied air while having an overinflated sense of their importance, also a talent to complicate the simplest tasks was common.

  3. Lazarus October 10, 2020


    HEY H!
    Who are these people, walking on our snow? And they even have a dog…

    Be Swell,

  4. Marmon October 10, 2020


    “And you’d think that the Sheriff would check the status of a permit before throwing anybody’s pot plants in a chipper.”

    Maybe they did, but they ran the wrong address like they did in the warrant application. I like to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt, but there’s been a lot of crazy stuff going on throughout the years. Hopefully the new sheriff can clean things up.


    • Douglas Coulter October 10, 2020

      Joe Kennedy never got raided because he always paid the right people. His sons went on to become president and almost president, and Chappaquadic tabloid.
      Proof that corrupt government is the direct byproduct of prohibition

  5. George Hollister October 10, 2020

    Donald Trump does not do “messaging”, or seldom does. Politicians always do, including FDR. But Trump is not a politician. So which is better? Shooting your mouth off about what immediately comes to mind, or having staff write what you are to say that is supposed to explain the inexcusable as being completely reasonable? Both approaches, at some point, become mentally exhausting to listen to.

    • chuck dunbar October 10, 2020

      FDR, to his everlasting credit, actually cared about the plight of the people back then. Trump does not, as is clear to most of us. That’s the difference and it is vast.

  6. chuck dunbar October 10, 2020

    It’s a week for the older folks in the AVA. Back to the 50’s yesterday with the Kramden’s Kitchen and Jackie Gleason, and now Whitey Ford is dead. As a kid, I watched him many times on TV from the mid-50’s on, a left-handed ace who made winning look easy. I was a Yankee fan; he was one of my heroes. It pleased me greatly that the New York Times today gave Ford nearly 2 full pages in the main section and another full page in the sports section. Told my wife, “The Times knows what’s important.” You have to get old to fully appreciate the value of reminiscence

    Here’s a great quote about Ford from an old rival hitter, Walt Dropo, of the Red Sox:

    “Right away, I could see this guy was going to be trouble…He was like a master chess player who used his brain to take the bat right out of my hands. You’d start thinking along with him, and then Whitey had you because he never started you off with the same pitch in any one sequence. He could start you with a fastball inside, a curveball outside, then reverse that, or even start you with a changeup. He played games with everybody, every hitter I ever talked to. He made them hit his pitch, and it was usually something they didn’t like.”

  7. Harvey Reading October 10, 2020

    “The ammo situation is ridiculous.”

    It always gets ridiculous when idiots–including wannabe vigilante groups so full of themselves that they start calling themselves “militias”–buy more ammunition than they will need or ever be able to use. No nooze here. It’s simply kaputalism in action…supply ‘n demand ya know.

    • Douglas Coulter October 10, 2020

      Load your own dumb ass! Toilet paper and guns are the first to disappear during panic

      • Harvey Reading October 11, 2020

        And, just what is your point?

        • Douglas Coulter October 11, 2020

          Look at the price people pay in any boom town. Read Jack London. Price gouging is the nature of capitalist world. Scalpers buy all the tickets for a concert.
          Were you born yesterday? Talk of civil war and ammo prices go up, the nature of the beast.
          Get a little Mormon here and stash for the zombie apocalypse

          • Harvey Reading October 12, 2020

            It’s economics all right. The economics of supply and demand, dummy. Just as I stated originally.

        • Douglas Coulter October 12, 2020

          What is really sad is that the stock market is built upon this fuckUation of price. Start a rumor and sell, start a rumor and buy, start a war the hog trough overflows.

  8. John Sakowicz October 10, 2020

    Chris Gurr and Ann Marie Borges are salt-of-the-earth people. Thanks to the AVA for reporting their lawsuit.

    However, the lawsuit is not an “obscure” case, as reported. It goes to the heart of public corruption here in Mendocino County.

  9. Harvey Reading October 10, 2020


    Might be helpful for readers to research the name, Vasily Arkhipov…

    Sorta like “The rest of the story”.

  10. Joe October 10, 2020

    Come on Bruce that’s the best you can come up with for violent right wing militia? A bunch of cranky old unarmed farts at a park?

    Independent reporter, Andy Ngo, who has been chronicling the Antifa protests for the past two years by following them around and capturing their violent acts on film, became the victim of these animals today, when they caught him off guard, and like a pack of wolves, surrounded the unarmed journalist and began beating him. They stole his camera and left him lying in the street.

    • mendoblather October 10, 2020

      “…that’s the best you can come up with for violent right wing militia? A bunch of cranky old unarmed farts at a park?”

      Would Mr. Joe think the kidnap and murder plot on the Michigan governor qualify as a nothing-to-see-here event? Tip of the iceberg is what some people are saying.

      As for Ngo, he’s being used as a sympathy pillow for the serially disaffected.

      “Nearly all mentions of Ngo were scrubbed from the upscale right-wing publication Quillette after a newly-released video showed him acting friendly with members of Patriot Prayer, a far-right hate group that has repeatedly sought out fights with leftists.

      Ngo, who has used selectively edited videos to paint antifa as a violent, criminal group was hit with punches and milkshakes during a clash between antifa activists and members of the Proud Boys, …”

      • Joe October 10, 2020

        Except the left believes every lie that comes from the MSM media because they trust them- too bad ;

        RE: Michigan Kidnap plot

        “One of alleged plotters, 23-year-old Daniel Harris, attended a Black Lives Matter protest in June, telling the Oakland County Times he was upset about the killing of George Floyd and police violence.”

        RE Proud boys:

        Enrique Tarrio insists that the Proud Boys aren’t White supremacists, and he would be in a position to know. For one, he’s the international chairman. For another, he’s Black.

        “I denounce White supremacy,” Mr. Tarrio said in a Thursday interview with WSVN-TV in Miami. “I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism. I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced toward people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin.”

        Mr. Tarrio headed the rising tide of those defending the Proud Boys against accusations of racism after President Trump came under fire for refusing to denounce the right-wing activist group at Tuesday’s debate.

        But you go ahead and come running to those George Soros dog whistles because he needs plenty of tools to use in transforming the U.S. into an Oligarchic technocracy. Or as they say at Bilderberg “The Great Reset”.

        • Harvey Reading October 10, 2020

          Giuseppe, you not only scrape the bottom of the barrel, you ARE the bottom of the barrel, you poor ignoramus.

          • Joe October 10, 2020

            Anyone notice that there are less flies around with the bit of rain we just received ?

          • Harvey Reading October 11, 2020

            Nope, but the amount of rat sparrow poop has increased.

    • Douglas Coulter October 11, 2020

      Like the bastard who got in Marlon Brando’s face with his Speed Graphics and earned a broken nose. Some (quote) journalists go places they do not belong. Time magazine ran the photo of popa rat zy with a football helmet following Brando after winning lawsuit.
      Do not stick a camera into the face of private citizens! It is not legal, Brando and Princess D were public figures, the law protects media pigs who photograph them taking a powder.
      Go down into the city and photograph drug deals in the Tenderloin and see how long it takes to bleed. I know many who will bust your face if you stick your camera into theirs. It is a violation of privacy.
      Yes I photograph police arresting the homeless, that is legal.

  11. Harvey Reading October 10, 2020

    “+ Eugene Gu, MD: “Trump kept telling us to take hydroxychloroquine and inject bleach into our veins to cure the coronavirus. Yet when he got infected, he took the most advanced monoclonal antibody cocktail made from fetal tissue obtained from abortions and never even once took hydroxychloroquine.””

  12. Eric Sunswheat October 10, 2020

    RE: This week, Shasta County was forced to release an arrestee who had violated parole. This was due to the impacts of carrying the state prison inmate populations. This man committed murder only a few hours following his release…
    I cannot risk a similar situation here.
    (TARGET: JAIL by Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall)

    -> May 05, 2020
    HEPA filters are very effective, certified to capture 99.97 percent of particles that are precisely 0.3 micron in diameter. (Particles that size are perfectly suited to maneuver through the filter’s fibers, while larger and smaller particles, because of the various ways they move in the air, crash into the structure.)

    The novel coronavirus itself is 0.125 microns, but Marr says the droplets it travels in—when people cough, talk, or breathe—initially are larger, around 1 micron. That’s a size easily captured by HEPA filters.

    … an air purifier has to be capable of consistently drawing in enough air to reduce the amount of virus particles in the air. The faster an air purifier can cycle air through the filter, the better its chances of catching virus particles…

    To use a HEPA purifier at home to help prevent transmission of the virus to other family members, Siegel suggests placing the unit three feet from the person who is sick with COVID-19…

    In our particle-reduction tests, the Honeywell HPA300’s air purifier scores Excellent and Very Good ratings at its highest speed and lower speed, respectively. For noise, it’s rated Good at any speed.

    (Limited availability, in stock various locations fire region, check website Home Depot, HPA5300B Honeywell InSight Series HEPA Air Purifier, automatic turbo mode, 500 sq ft windows closed.)

  13. Joe October 10, 2020

    How to profit from a political coup;

    With the next presidential election now in its final weeks, the Democrats’ national leader, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and her husband, Paul Pelosi, are endorsing the publicly traded firm in a different way. Recent financial disclosure filings show the couple have invested up to $1 million in CrowdStrike Holdings. The Pelosis purchased the stock at a share price of $129.25 on Sept. 3. At the time of this article’s publication, the price has risen to $142.97.

  14. Douglas Coulter October 10, 2020

    Crisis in nuke land?
    America put nukes in Turkey and Russia responded by putting nukes in Cuba
    JFK never bothered telling us that little detail but it sure lit the “anti commie buttons across our country.
    Just like the Iran crisis, we screwed with their election.
    The definition of terrorism? Anyone who attacks America
    The definition of National Security? Any country we attack

  15. Joe October 10, 2020

    • Douglas Coulter October 10, 2020

      Death by isolation will outweigh Covid 19

    • Bob A. October 26, 2020

      You were a good boy for a couple of days, but now it seems Joe that you’re cruising for another well deserved punishment from our esteemed editor.

  16. michael turner October 10, 2020

    Kunstler runs a sort of pyramid scheme of current events, always promising something momentous about occur. Which never does. Be sure to $upport his writings.

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