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Mendocino County Today: November 9, 2020

Cold Start; 3 New Cases; Courts Closed; Navarro Watercolor; Grape Giveaway; Lilies; Poor California; Cove; Enabling Tolerance; Coast Aerial; The Middle; Lighthouse; Concede Not; Bridge Repair; Medical Expense; Skunk Tunnel; Ed Notes; Moving Logs; Crisis Van; Yesterday's Catch; Engaging Knuckleheads; Selection Process; Challenging Amazon; So Long; Seizing Power; NRA Memories; Dog Approved; Marihuana Despair; Nation Healing; Dead Vote; Virtual Improv; Chappelle Monologue

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AFTER A VERY COLD START to the work week, quiet weather is expected through the middle of the week. The next widespread rain chances will return to Northwest California late this week. (NWS)

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THREE NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday, bringing the total to 1231.

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Mendocino County Superior Court Judge President Ann Moorman issued an emergency order Sunday (Nov. 8) closing the local courts this week due to COVID-related incidents within the court operations. 

Courts in Ukiah and Fort Bragg will be closed Monday through Friday. 

Individuals with court dates this week should call their attorney for further information and direction.

District Attorney David Eyster said his office operations including the Victim/Witness offices in Ukiah and Fort Bragg will remain open as much as possible during the week-long court closure. 

Because the public entrances to the main courthouse in Ukiah and the Fort Bragg course will be closed by order of Judge Moorman, anybody with urgent business with the DA or his staff should call the DA's main reception in Ukiah at 463-4211 and schedule an appointment time, to include an escort into the DA's offices, if appropriate.

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Navarro River, Watercolor by Malcolm West

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How much will “progressive” Congressman Huffman’s “Two Basin Solution” to the Eel/Russian River-Potter Valley Project cost?

According to a recent press release from the “coalition” formed to develop the details of the “two basin solution”:

“To date, only very preliminary studies have been completed to inform cost estimates for this effort. Based on these initial studies, direct capital costs in 2020 dollars for the proposed licensed Project facilities will range from $100 to $400 million. Developing new infrastructure to improve water supply reliability for the Potter Valley Irrigation District is estimated to cost between $30 to $120 million. The studies proposed for the next phase of the effort will further define and inform cost estimates. Annual operating costs are projected to be in the $5 million to $10 million range.”

These “improvements” are further described as “Construction of new infrastructure to provide water supply reliability for farmers and ranchers in Potter Valley.” Those “farmers” (i.e., grape growers who produce pricy wine) and ranchers will not have to pay for any of these improvements, not the annual operating costs.

To Repeat: Huffman’s “two basin solution” will provide up to $120 million of federal tax dollars “to improve water supply reliability for the Potter Valley Irrigation District,” aka the welfare grape growers in Potter Valley who will not pay one penny for that $120 million improvements and operations that they — and only they — will benefit from.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Lilies Mendocino

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In politically progressive California, it’s ironic that poverty rates are the highest in the nation when the cost of living is factored in the equation. A new study from the Urban Reform Institute sheds new light on this poverty problem by examining the economic impediments faced by minorities in the nation’s 107 largest metro areas.

Not surprisingly, the issue centers on the economic and regulatory policies embraced by big-city and state lawmakers. The group has developed an Upward Mobility Index that places California’s metropolitan areas at the bottom of the list.

“California, with the nation’s largest Hispanic population, now includes nine of the bottom metros on the Hispanic Upward Mobility Index,” according to the report. Likewise, California’s urban areas scored poorly for its African American residents. The coronavirus-related shutdowns have only exacerbated these troubling disparities.

California’s tough environmental regulations, labor code, tax rates and antipathy toward manufacturing industries have depleted the number of high-paying blue-collar jobs.

Other states, especially in the Midwest and South, offer better upward mobility opportunities for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

There’s no getting around the difficulties that our high cost of living pose for poor and working-class people. California’s home prices are among the highest in the nation. In the Bay Area, the median home price was $975,000 in October compared to around $250,000 in Dallas. Almost everything costs more here, from gasoline to taxes, which makes it harder to enter the middle-class mainstream.

Most of those sky-high costs are self-imposed. California’s slow-growth policies and steep developer fees inflate the cost of homes. This is a particularly tough state to start a small business, yet small businesses have traditionally been a path to prosperity. We have onerous occupational-licensing rules, which impose time-consuming and costly barriers on those seeking better-paying jobs in a variety of fields.

Too often, California’s policy makers view poverty as a static situation — and then seek to boost wealth-transfer payments to those who fall under the poverty line. In reality, poor people often move their way up the economic ladder. But instead of allowing opportunities to flourish, California lawmakers impose one hurdle after another on businesses and workers.

Yes, our tech sector is impressive, but not everyone can be an internet entrepreneur.

The report found that minorities do best in metros with the best tax and business climates, which is why so many Californians from all ethnic and income groups have been fleeing to places such as Texas, Arizona and Nevada. If California officials are serious about helping the poor and minorities, they need to re-examine their own policies.

— K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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Mendocino Cove

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When Lucas was a teenager we thought Ukiah High School had no more interest in him as a student than it did some loser druggie campus gangsta. But we were wrong.

Ukiah High actually cared far less about Lucas as a student than it did the campus drug dealer or a gang member, pregnant teen or violent moron. How did we know this?

Because for years we watched as school district funding was funneled to the losers and lowest-performing students. There was always plenty of money for extra classes, extra counselors, special buildings, personalized instruction and more, but only if the student had demonstrated zero interest in learning, behaving himself or becoming a contributing citizen.

The delinquent kids got the attention, and the money. Lucas got forgot. But once a year, when California’s Star Testing came around, we had notes in the mail and phone calls the night before making sure he’d be attending classes for tomorrow’s very important state exams that demonstrated what a terrific job local schools were doing educating students. Surprised they didn’t send a limo to pick him up in the morning. The school would then ignore him for 11 1/2 months.

Wife Trophy and I would jokingly advise Lucas that if he wanted to get ahead at Ukiah High he should join a gang, take drugs, get pregnant and threaten to drop out. Just kidding son, ha ha.

Funding priorities strongly favored the worst students in the district, with little spending for music lessons, foreign languages, driver education, wood shop, or auto shop, much less advanced classes in astronomy, literature or physics for top tier students.

It was always clear that the best students (those who demonstrated they might some day contribute to society and perhaps achieve great things) were ignored. A teenage girl exhibiting extraordinary math skills was not provided Mensa-level instruction. But if she was pregnant, took meth, got a tattoo on her face and started skipping classes there would be a roomful of therapists, counselors, teachers, lawyers, administrators, probation officers and various other advocates cobbling together a personalized “Individual Educational Plan,” known as an IEP.

These very expensive priorities were only available to those losers and teenagers determined to go to juvenile hall (with its own classes, teachers, counselors, etc) and from there graduate to county jail or state prison. I’d be willing to bet society got little return on the investments made in them.

I’m reminded of those bad old days here in 2020 when I consider how our local governing agencies spend tax dollars.

It’s pretty much the same thing. Those who work hard, don’t break the law and pay their taxes are allowed to use the library and the roads. That’s pretty much it, as far as a return on your taxes.

But people who take drugs, break into your home to steal things, have no ambition, shows no desire to conform to normal society rules, and have never held an honest job are also allowed to use libraries (to sleep in) and roads to drive (drunk) on.

In addition they get free food, free housing, free drug counseling, free lawyers, free medical care, rehab and free clothing plus three meals a day when they go to jail on Low Gap Road

Right now the county is polishing up a fine motel near the freeway, refurbishing it to higher standards than tourists visiting from San Diego or Phoenix are accustomed to, and turning it over to anybody but you and me. The motel will cost taxpayers $11 million to serve 56 homeless people.

Can you think of a time when local authorities provided $11 million in free stuff to you and 55 of your friends? Wouldn’t it be cool if once a year county supervisors selected 56 citizens who had contributed most to their communities and then rewarded each with an exotic vacation, a new car and $100,000 in cash?

Do you think a program like that would be an incentive for citizens to improve Ukiah and make it a better place to live? Or do you think investing $11 million for additional homeless services will improve Ukiah and make it a better place to live?

And the funny part is that the same high school dropouts who absorbed money from the school district 10 or 20 years ago are lining up today at one of the 32 agencies in Mendocino County dedicated to providing them more goods and services.

Or is the funny part the fact Mendocino County has 32 different agencies working thousands of hours a month to address homelessness?

A good start

Quite nice to read a front page story in the Ukiah Daily Journal last week about the city sponsoring a religious display on the grounds in front of City Hall. Karen Rifkin reports:

“For the first time the City of Ukiah has created an altar for the Day of the Dead in front of City Hall,” and says Council rep Mo Mulheren is helping organize it as one of the “regular events to promote cultural diversity.”

Mo’s mother, Juanita Pimental, says the Day of the Dead ceremonies are as much a part of her culture as going to church on Sundays. “We depend on the Catholic Church to help us follow our traditions,” she said.

“The traditions are Mexican and the church; you cannot separate them. You cannot separate what’s in our hearts and in our souls.”

Well said, and a good start. Let’s remember it next month, and without fuss or complaint allow the Catholic church along with Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon and all the other churches and worshipers, to display an altar at City Hall for Christmas.

Do it for cultural diversity, or do it because “You cannot separate what’s in our hearts and in our souls.”

Tolerance works both ways, my friends.

(Tom Hine and his invisible friend, TWK, live in Ukiah.)

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Coast Aerial View

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by Jim Shields

As I write this Thursday night with no “official” declared winner in the 2020 Presidential Election, I’m reminded of the time Richard Nixon issued his concession speech following his loss to Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (Jerry’s father) in the 1962 California Gubernatorial race.

Nixon admonished the press in attendance at the Beverly Hilton for their disproportionate negative coverage of his campaign, and that this was his “last press conference.” Of course it was not his last press conference, as he would be elected and then re-elected President in 1968 and 1972, respectively. Nonetheless, he told reporters, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore …”

The 1972 election was the greatest Presidential Election landslide in history, with Nixon winning every state in the Union with the exception of Massachusetts. The joke at the time was Nixon appointed Teddy Kennedy as his Ambassador to Massachusetts.

A few months later marked the beginning of the end for “Tricky Dick.” Something called “Watergate” became the final chapter in Nixon’s political life.

As a historian, I can tell you that Donald Trump is no Nixon, as the latter was the last liberal to occupy the White House. Nixon was the last President who created and sustained big-government, as well as FDR-New Deal-type social and economic programming, implemented an aggressive interventionist foreign policy, and fostered an activist federal court system.

The reality is that Richard Nixon would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party, or for that matter, the contemporary Democratic Party. Both parties are pimps for Globalism which is the main threat to our system of government.

Trump was never a threat, menace or danger to the constitutional underpinnings of our democratic republic. But these One-Percenters are, as they have no allegiance at all to our country, or any nation for that matter. In fact, their raison d'etre is a borderless, govermental-less world. In a stateless world, they would be free to conduct their business at will. Ironically, Trump the Businessman was a threat to Globalism, albeit on a limited scale, but he did more to fight the One-Percenters than either Republicans or Democrats.

In fact, campaign finance documents show that Wall Street has lavishly bestowed $57 million on Biden and only $13 million to Trump. Does that square with Biden being the defender of the Little Guy, the Worker, the Middle Class? What’s Wall Street know about Joe that the rest of us don’t?

As pointed out by the Brookings Institute, “Trump’s embrace of bilateral negotiations is borne out of his understanding of the global economy as a zero-sum conflict. From this starting point, it follows that the key question in assessing any trade deal is not whether it creates overall economic gains, but how its benefits are distributed between countries — who’s getting the biggest slice of the pie … in previous trade negotiations, and particularly talks involving several different countries, U.S. negotiators have allowed other countries to gain at America’s expense. But in one-on-one negotiations, Trump suggests the U.S. will have greater leverage and thereby be able to capture a greater share of the gains from any agreement.”

Although I’m a Democrat, I keep my distance from today’s Dem Party that rabidly supports Globalism, immerses itself in identity politics, slavishly practices oh so politically correct buffoonery, and persists in its long-time sellout of workers and the rapidly disappearing middle class.

As I’ve said before, all the pundits have it wrong who have diagnosed the Trumpster as a fascist or xenophobic nationalist. Hell, he couldn’t even spell fascist if his life depended on it.

In fact, he’s not even a politician, and he’s definitely not a statesman.

For the past century, the cry emanating from the business community has been, “What this country needs is a businessman in the White House!”

Well, we’ve had one now for four years.

How’s that worked out?

We’ve also had the best-to-offer Republicans and Democrats hold the Nation’s Highest Office preceding Trump.

How’s that worked out?

As I predicted last Spring, lawyers from both parties will once again be arguing the intrcacies of ballot tabulation before the Supreme Court.

Political polls, as I told you last week, and numerous times in years past, are worthless. They all showed that Trump was the deadest of doornails, with Biden the winner in a wipeout. And yet, paraphrasing the 2016 Hillary Clinton once ballots were counted, “those damned Deplorables, clinging to their religion and guns have screwed everything up again.”

Actually those Deplorables are no more theological or gun-toting than their familial predecessors were in the Great Depression who forged an alliance with someone who actually gave a damn about their plight — Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A man who understood my definition of leadership: You have to know how to lead yourself before you can lead others.

Roosevelt brilliantly accomplished two things simultaneously.

He dragged the capitalists — the Wall Street Sharpies — who caused the world-wide depression — kicking and screaming into the very same long-term economic recovery program(s) that saved working people and the middle class from economic extinction. He actually saved capitalism from destruction by capitalists.

Socio-economic polls — which if conducted properly, are very reliable — show that the number one fear of common folks in this country is the negative, long-term financial impact of the Pandemic. Those with lower incomes and children at home are especially fearful of the future.

There is also a general malaise amongst workers and the middle class about the real fear, verging on certainty, of being left behind in this new age of Globalism.

That’s why this country is split right down the middle over this Presidential Election featuring Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

That’s why they can count and re-count ballots until the cows come home, but nobody believes the other side is looking out for them. So behind closed doors folks on both sides tell themselves it won’t make any difference who’s declared the winner.

And you know something, both sides are right.

(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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Lighthouse In Fog

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JUST IN: Donald Trump tweeted late into the night on Sunday, continuing to push claims of voter fraud as he refused to concede the election to Joe Biden. In a slew of tweets sent around midnight Washington time - two of them flagged by Twitter for containing disputed information - the President pushed videos of his allies on Fox News alleging voter fraud and other irregularities, while calling for all claims to be fully investigated before the election result is allowed to stand. It comes amid reports that Trump is planning a series of rallies where he will show off obituaries of dead people that his campaign claims were allowed to vote, while touting other allegations of fraud. The Trump campaign is also said to be putting together 'a campaign-style media operation' to challenge the result, while building up staff numbers in states where legal challenges and recounts are likely to go ahead. It comes despite some Republicans urging him to accept defeat including former President George W. Bush who issued a message telling him the election's outcome was 'clear' and Chris Christie who said it was time for him to show evidence or 'move on.' (Daily Mail)

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Old Pier Pudding Creek bridge repair

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Many of you know I’ve been laying low due to some puzzling and rather debilitating health issues. Yesterday, I was dispatched to the Ukiah Outpatient Pavilion to provide a urine sample. I walk in, get my temp taken, provide the sample, walk out. Today I had to return at 6:00 am to provide an early-morning blood sample (and if you might think, “Oh, I’ll go early and beat the crowd, prepare to sit and wait. Lots of people there). A staffer takes me to a private cubby and informs me that they have a new policy. She was very kind, as most every medical person is. She showed me the cost of the blood draw, the estimate of what my insurance would pay and asked me to pay the balance. Two vials of blood: $1,200. My insurance coverage: about $850. Balance due, right then and there: $350!!!! I checked my bank balance, and that was not happening. She accepted $100. She said this is a “new policy.” She could not answer why I wasn’t charged for yesterday’s visit. So this little post is just a heads up that in order to get lab work done, bring all those quarters stuck in the couch seats, cuz you’re gonna need them. I am in no way impugning the wonderful folks who have provided great care for myself and family members. But this is just another sign of the times we are living in, and another sticker shock to absorb.

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Collapsed Tunnel, Skunk Train

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“SURREAL” is overworked, but Saturday night's prime time appearance by the president-elect and the president in-waiting fits the bill. They arrived in a banana republic cavalcade of armored vehicles and armed weightlifters, read a lot of tired rhetoric off the presidential teleprompter to a smallish but live parking lot audience and concluded they'd won “the battle for the soul of the nation,” a battle whose outcome is still up in the air after 400 years, assuming there even is a soul of the nation hiding somewhere behind your local Walmart. I hope Joe and Kamala hire some new speech writers, and Joe doesn't resort to lifting lines from the Brit like he did before, but neither one of them has the makings of an inspirational figure around whom us soldiers for the soul of the nation might care to rally. My opinion? I never thought you'd ask, but I think the rolling catastrophes set rolling in '67 will roll on, mostly unaddressed but so large they can't be arrested by the low ability political leadership we suffer in this country. I think the long emergency has sped up, and from here on Mendocino County will be a relatively safe place to ride it out with a few chickens, neighborhood cows and a little help from your friends. 

PS. We wonder if unsuspecting Kamala understood what Biden really meant when he said at one point, almost off-handedly, “You become an honorary Biden, there's no way out.” Not just Kamala. We're all Bidens now.

HI, MO MULHEREN. I've got some unsolicited advice for you when you're finally seated as Supervisor. Whenever Ted Williams says something just say, “I second.” Well, not every time he says something, but whenever he says something in the form of a motion. Haschak can be safely ignored as irrelevant to the matter at hand whatever it is. Gjerde? Be careful. He's so used to sleeping with his eyes open you might startle him into a panic attack if you address him directly. McGourty is no dummy but only has strong feelings about issues directly affecting the booze biz. You might want to second whatever he says once in a while on other subjects. As you may not know from your years on the slo-mo Ukiah City Council, whose blandly grasping admin of Sage and his Handmaidens has rolled right on past you and your bewildered colleagues, grabbing the big pay for themselves while the town is more ragged and dysfunctional by the day. But with the Supervisors, CEO Angelo is no Sage or the Westside passive-aggressives you already know never to turn your back on. No, ma'am, Angelo has clinical-quality anger management issues. She can, and does, go off at the slightest sign of independence from the Supervisors or her sub-administrators, several of whom have recently got her Monday morning perp walk. You'll want to tread lightly around her unless you feel you can withstand her wrath-fits. She should go, but given the pervasive wuss factor on that board Angelo's departure any time soon is unlikely. Williams, however, seems capable of dealing rationally with the CEO, probably because he's from Albion where mental un-even-ness is a fact of community life. Ms. Angelo has simply barred Supervisor McCowen from her office for his mild impertinences although he, and the four others, in theory, are Angelo's boss. It's a tough time to be in a position of authority at any level of government, what with the economy drying up and despair growing, but Mendo rolls on and you've got yourself a cush gig at 84 grand a year for two meetings a month and all those perks most citizens can only dream of. Good luck.

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Oxen Team & Logs

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Fort Bragg City Councilman Bernie Norvell has posted two recent comments/essays which in part touch upon what we’ve been trying to push for literally decades, going all the way back to the tragic death of Marvin Noble in 1998: A mental health crisis van. 

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Norvell wrote: 

…“The need for social services, unfortunately, does not occur only during regular business hours. Certainly not today during shelter in place (SIP) times. Suicides are up 40% in the county over the last seven months. When we look at how our current system is structured, we may find that law enforcement is the default call, not by choice. However, in our real world, the professionals who are trained and paid to handle the non-criminal calls, like Uncle Fester, are often called after the fact (meaning after law enforcement) to come in and evaluate. 

“We want de-escalation in the Uncle Fester situations. We all agree he shouldn’t be headed to jail, but we are not putting the correct social service workers in first. The current system is not working and most if not all would agree with that assessment. If the plan is to take money away from law enforcement because we shouldn’t be paying them to do the social work, I have good news for you, we aren’t. They do it by default. 

“So, does law enforcement need more money to do their jobs? I don’t know. The sheriff makes a pretty good argument for it. I am certain giving them less will not solve any of our problems. Perhaps we should take a harder look at who we are paying to do what.”

Then, a couple of days ago Mr. Norvell wrote about recent police department calls in Fort Bragg, 

“This is literally everyday. Now add in that 75% of their calls are transient or mental health related . If we reduce their [the Police Department’s] budget there is only one place the cuts will come from, staffing. This does nothing to remedy our problem. The calls for service will not decline, only the number of available officers to respond. Perhaps the county should look at modifying mental health contracts to cover the entire gamut. The COC [Chamber of Commerce] could look at investing into working with law enforcement by placing social workers in with the departments. LE [Law Enforcement] are not social workers. Continuing the same old same old by throwing more money at it has never worked. Maybe we need more money in law enforcement or mental health. I don’t know. What I do know is, what we are doing isn’t working. Let us not be afraid to admit we chose the wrong path and choose another direction. The first thing we need to do to get ourselves out of a hole is to stop digging.”

Further back — pre-covid — Mr. Norvell was a key figure in calling on the County to provide better reporting on the effectiveness of Mental Health Services.

But Mr. Norvell does not specifically mention Measure B which was supposed to do more or less what he’s talking about and he makes no mention of the County and the Measure B committee’s decision to fund a mental health crisis van. Yet, being a reasonably well-informed local politician, it’s likely he does know about these recent developments. So why not mention them? Especially when they bear so directly on his views about the roles of law enforcement and social services in mental health responses. 

In fact, Sheriff Matt Kendall has been working on getting the now-funded crisis van going in Mendocino County. But we suspect that the main reason it has not already gone into service is the usual obstructionism from the very staff that refuses to provide reporting and staffing to the kinds of calls Mr. Norvell is talking about.

As far as we know, current plans for the Crisis Van “pilot project” (apparently two of them are funded, but we’re not sure) are for a standard 8-5, five days a week conventional arrangement, and only for inland calls. Sheriff Kendall has researched the highly effective and in-place protocols being used in Butte County and has dispatched members of his staff to visit Butte County and borrow as much as possible from their experience. 

When they funded the Crisis Van, the Measure B Committee said they’d evaluate the progress in six months, i.e., in January 2021. But so far nothing much has happened. Nobody has put the procurement of any vehicles on any agenda. Nobody has scheduled any crisis van training at the new Training Center in Redwood Valley. No new job classifications have been prepared. No crisis van positions have been advertised in any help wanted ads. Nobody on the Measure B committee has asked about progress and preparations for the January review. They seem more interested in “strategic plans,” than in doing something about the problem Mr. Norvell rightly focuses on. 

We doubt that Sheriff Kendall has had much success in getting this important and funded project moving forward. 

We assume that the problem is in the very same unaccountable agency that Mr. Norvell is referring to when he casually suggests “placing social workers in with the [police] departments.” 

So we suggest Councilman Norvell take his ideas and priorities a couple of steps forward by: 

Asking his Fort Bragg Measure B rep, Mark Mertle, to get on top of the Crisis Van project because Fort Bragg needs it right now.

Asking his fellow Councilpersons to re-visit their still unresponded-to mental health services effectiveness reporting request. 

Asking Fort Bragg Police Chief John Naulty to make sure Fort Bragg is part of the Crisis Van service area.

Telling the County — the Supervisors, the Sheriff, the Mental Health departnent, etc. — that a crisis van that only operates during weekdays out of Ukiah is not much of a crisis van. Instead, set them up like an ambulance (which they more or less are) and have them be an on-call service carefully integrated with the 911 system.

Otherwise, Mr. Norvell will just find himself writing another essay in a few months on why cops are still stuck dealing with mental health calls all by themselves. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 8, 2020

Brown, Corona, Dawson, Dominguez

ANDREW BROWN, Covelo. Interfering with business, resisting.

FRANCISCO CORONA-CORONA, Ukiah. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, no license.

DREVEN DAWSON-VALENCIA, Ukiah. Contibuting to delinquency of minor.

DANNY DOMINGUEZ, Ukiah. Concealed weapon, loaded handgun-not registered owner, criminal street gang member with loaded firrearm.

Long, Murray, Nace, Smith

JEANETTE LONG, Ukiah. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail, parole violation, failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

JEFFREY MURRAY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

ERYCKA SMITH, Willits. Battery, resisting.

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HE SAID I SHOULD DESTROY MY MASK (nobody there was wearing one). I walked away. It was the kind of futile encounter between the self-appointed rationalist and the self-declared bearer of esoteric truths that happens online all the time, and it was no more satisfactory in the flesh. As soon as I opened my mouth I realized it was pointless to pick out this untruth or that misunderstanding in his leaflet. To treat it as amenable to critique was a categorical error, like scolding Ayn Rand for bad dialogue or calling out Trump for being unpresidential. I was reminded of one of the reasons it's so difficult to argue with conspiracy theorists: you're faced with a choice between challenging limitless errors one by one, or denouncing the entire edifice of belief, which usually means calling the conspiracy theorist mad or stupid, at which point conspiracy theory has won. It's like a forest fire that can only be put out one square inch at a time, or all at once, and so can never be put out. 

— James Meek 

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Bookshop, an ecommerce startup intended to help independent bookstores assert themselves online, has the tech giant in its sights.

Link to Bookshop:

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From Hari Kunzru, Indian/British novelist/journalist

You may want to mute this account for a while because I feel I may have to individually insult every member of the outgoing administration in crude and personal ways:

Mike Pence, you repressed joyless would-be witchfinder, every time you spoke you always looked like you were straining to expel an enormous bolus of your own hypocrisy from your clenched sphincter

Betsy DeVos, you blandly foolish soulless entitled child-stealing witch, rotting like a corpse inside your Chanel suit

All the generals, you spineless buzz-cut phallus-brained plastic Spartans fawning and wriggling to distract yourself from your moral cowardice

Kayleigh McEneny, you evacuated husk of a mean-girl cheerleader, the cavity where your heart once was pumped full of spite and moronic lies

Bill Barr, you vast pompous pus-filled bladder of casuistry, you are an enemy of justice, bloated with resentment and cruelty, wobbling like a jelly at the feet of the oligarchs

Jared Kushner, you vacuous dainty preening overpromoted nub of mediocrity, squeezed like an entitled smear of toothpaste into a silk suit bought with tear-stained dollars wrung out of the suffering tenants of your slum apartments

Ivanka Trump, you monstrous slug of vanity, you infantile ninny so marinaded in self-regard that in your pea brain you believe we ought to love you for your crimes

Mike Pompeo, you bubble, you booby, you flatulent zero, that roiling in your ample guts that you mistake for world shaking significance is just the acid reflux of irrelevancy

Don Junior, you scabrous single-nostriled unloved elephant-murdering human wreckage, vibrating with bitterness and impotent rage at all the opportunities you’ve squandered

Sarah Sanders, you crude hulking beetle-browed bully, working your multiple chins as you masticated another stinking quid of falsity, spitting again and again on the people you were supposed to inform

Interlude: all you staffers and interns, so eager to crunch your way in your shiny new work shoes over the bodies of the poor and powerless, I smite you and cast you out one by one

Eric Trump, you pallid clammy suppurating nocturnal semi-human grub, your absence of charisma is your only notable trait and the act of flushing you from memory will so be smooth and painless that in a month people will find it hard to picture your moon face

Rudy Giuliani, you capering cartoonish skull-faced bag of graft and corruption, too stupid even to ask who’s pulling your strings just so long as you can cake your crusty face in tv make-up and clack your jaw at a camera

And of course Stephen Miller, you weeping pustule upon the social body, you dreg, you homunculus, you noxious slime felched from the gaping cavity of Jim Crow, one day may you find yourself walking barefoot across hot sand, desperate for water, crying for your missing child

With that I'll rest a while, and go to find a street corner to dance on.

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Deborah Friedell wrote about the National Rifle Association recently.

In the winter of 1950, when Franny Colt, then 12 years old, and I, 13, learned to shoot, the NRA was the kindly teacher of gun safety and a cheap source of bullets (a hundred for 25 cents). We were the only girl members of the Dalton Rifle Club in the western Massachusetts town that was home to Crane & Company, manufacturers of fine stationery and, more important for this story, rag paper for US currency.

Instruction began with the ‘prone position’. We lay on our stomachs, targets many yards away from us, in the basement of the Federal Mill, which made the paper for dollars. Franny’s father, Zenas Crane Colt, was the heir of a Crane president; our instructor, Mr Teale (no first names in those days), was the nightwatchman for what went on up above. Franny and I loved the NRA. We bought felt NRA pennants, and hung our best paper targets in our rooms at home. At Zene’s funeral many years later, I was reminiscing about those days with Chris Crane, at the time the company’s president. There had been political pressure, he said, to arm the nightwatchman against bad people, probably communists, who might want to damage the currency paper, and so Mr Teale sported a pistol. He was getting on in age, set in his ways when it came to safety, and something of a joke to the young paper makers. They decided to spook him on his nightly rounds, and spook him they did. He ended up firing wildly, right through hundreds of sheets of currency paper hung up to dry, at a cost to Crane of big bucks. If memory serves, the sheets would have been worth $75,000 had they survived to be printed as bills in Washington.

Margo Miller

Boston, Massachusetts

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Joe Biden has two great dogs. Of course Trump had no pets. Animals hate him too. They know. Sanity is being restored. The skies are clearing.

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Rick Childs wrote: “…And inviting them into a ‘I hope we can find as much common ground and connection now as possible - to dampen that “us vs. them” fear and mindset that's infected so many of us, on both sides’.”

Marco here. I don't know. I'm not sure how possible it is for anyone with a brain in his head to find common ground with people like this lunatic and their millions of followers:

…nor with this clockwork imaginary-snare-drum-banging stuffed monkey and the millions of people too crazy to be able to see anything crazy about her at all-- here she is getting ready for a show, just warming up (click the sound on):

In fact, maskless Laughing Boy, see above, is on, I think, his third or fourth $40,000,000 private jet now, paid for with a religious-exemption untaxable income, which of course is wrong and needs to be rectified. You know, the ashtray was full in the airplane's restroom and it's time to trade it in. And Clockwork Blondie is actually paid with tax money to deliver her flock as supporters for Trump. And these are only two of them. There's the whole Fox News, and the whole Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. You can't get along with them, and even National Public Radio-- you can't reach them, teach them, improve them; you can't beat them or join them. Media corporations are a steamroller, even the warm and fuzzy ones. Really, try to reach someone high up in the hierarchy of NPR. You can't even find out who they are, much less contact them. And on the low end, ask your local NPR-colonized station's management simply how much they pay per year for this or that NPR show; just pick one at random. Here's where that gets fun, and you'll learn something: When they refuse to tell you, and they will, ask them why. 

It's a mistake to try to suck up to people and give a lot to get a little and end up with nothing at all. The new Biden administration, if it is to accomplish anything, has to give the people something crooks can't give, at least try in all good faith to get Medicare for All, and free higher education, and the Guaranteed Minimum Income, just lift everyone out of uncertainty and misery, and pay for it with the proceeds of a real Green New Deal and from welcoming immigrants especially from the shit-hole countries, and from writing off our worldwide military empire and cutting that horrendous ongoing obscene destructive loss, and put people to work improving the world instead of bombing it with fleets of drones and kicking in its doors and kidnapping it and torturing it in torture prisons. And just, right off the bat, outlaw private prison companies. End qualified immunity for cops. When a corporation murders and pollutes and lies and cheats and steals, everyone involved, down to the least stockholder, should be considered a henchman and accessory. The government and every system it supports should be as transparent as glass. If tax money pays for research --medical, archeological, industrial, geological, biological, astronomical-- the results belong to all of us. No more charging $7000 for a lifesaving pill that costs the company less to make than it does to put it in a box and mail it to your doctor. 

Baby steps aren't going to do it. And if you're worried about losing your friends by not putting up with their bullshit anymore, are they your friends, really? And then if we achieve as much as half of what we need to as a society, maybe we'll survive long enough to mildly regret the loss of a friendship or two. 

Marco McClean

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Zoom Show--Saturday, November 14 at 6pm

People of the Mendocino Coast and fans of improvisational theatre everywhere!

Hit & Run Theater is back with Zoom for another Improv comedy show!

“Hit & Run Under House Arrest! V”--Hit & Run Theater Virtual Improv Show Saturday, November 14 from 6-7:15pm on ZOOM

Please click the link below to join the show/webinar on Zoom:

Please note, our Zoom Show is capped at 100 attendees, but you can also click on the following link to live stream our show:

No one will be turned away from the YouTube livestream! Starring Janet Atherton, Mindy Ballentine, Ken Krauss, Jill Lemos, Doug Nunn, Kathy O’Grady, Dan Sullivan, and Robin Warman, with Joshua Raoul Brody from BATS Improv (SF) supplying music! Techmeister will be Marshall Brown of the SnapSessions! podcast. The Zoom link opens at 5:45pm with the show to last approx. from 6-7:15pm. You can be either an attendee and supply suggestions, or you can live stream our show! Stay tuned--More details to follow! If you have questions on how to connect, please write 

This “Hit & Run Theater Under House Arrest” virtual online show is our gift in these hard times to the audience that has supported us for so many years. If you would like to support our homegrown improvisational comedy, you can send a contribution payable to Doug Nunn at PO Box 1353, Mendocino, CA 95460, including a note to donate to HRT, or via PayPal by sending your contribution to labeled “Hit & Run”. We are grateful to you for whatever support you give us, and keep laughing! Join us for “Hit & Run Under House Arrest! V”. 

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  1. George Hollister November 9, 2020

    Something to note in Jim Shields’ pretty much spot on assessment, Trump ended the era of multilateral trade deals. Everything moving forward will be bilateral, with the exception of Canada-USA-Mexico. The multilateral trade deal was becoming increasingly unpopular, and Trump killed it. Trump has changed many things, more so than we know, or are willing to admit.

  2. David Jensen November 9, 2020

    Pier, Schmier. That’s a photo of the Pudding Creek bridge repair. Time to fire your inept caption writer.

    • Judy November 9, 2020

      The Collapse Skunk Train photo is actually the NWP tunnel at Mile 176 at Nashmead

  3. Marmon November 9, 2020


    ‘Stay at home’ stocks are taking a beating today with the news of a covid vaccine proven to be 90% effective and available for wide spread use by the end of the month. Travel and Leisure stocks are soaring. Good news for Trump’s private businesses. Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Peloton, Slack and Zoom are among a handful of companies that are feeling the pain this morning as it looks like things will be opening up in the near future.


    • Lazarus November 9, 2020

      Speaking of miracles, last night, The National Geographic Channel presented Ron Howard’s documentary, “Rebuilding Paradise.”
      If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look if you can handle the reality of what happened there.
      From Donald Trump’s misspeak, calling the town “Pleasure,” to the Superintendent of Schools pulling out all the stops to graduate the 2019 Senior class. For the first time in a long time, something on TV actually got to me.
      Be Well,

  4. Jim Armstrong November 9, 2020

    Mark Scaramella, the AVA’s Carrie Nation, continues his monomaniacal effort to take his hatchet to the Potter Valley Project.
    This plan is based in the desire of a few Humboldt County fishermen to restore commercial river fishing for salmon, an industry they destroyed by greedy over-fishing a hundred years ago and finished off with logging.
    The majority of Potter Valley residents are not grape growers and that industry is not especially popular here.
    What is popular here is being able to use our wells and irrigation water to maintain household usage (cooking and showers, you know), as well as gardens, orchards and pastures.
    While there certainly are costs to retain the benefits of Lake Pillsbury and the Eel River, they are vanishingly small compared to Scaramella’s claims.
    Jared Huffman panders to folks in other parts of his district and, by claiming the destruction of the Potter Valley Project is a done deal (which it is not) does that district a disservice.

    • Jeff Fox November 9, 2020

      “This plan is based in the desire of a few Humboldt County fishermen to restore commercial river fishing for salmon.”

      When you make bogus statements like that, it stains your whole comment as untrustworthy. Name one credible person or entity in the Eel River restoration community that is promoting the return of commercial river fishing on the Eel.

      • Jim Armstrong November 9, 2020

        Happy to.
        “And while the modifications are a start, it will take “additional comprehensive watershed restoration efforts” to “substantially increase fish populations to levels that fully utilize available habitat, sustain tribal, commercial, and recreational fisheries, and restore and protect cultural resource values,” the official study states.”
        There is the word “commercial” that you wanted, Jeff.
        There are more places (where it is even clearer) that you can find for your self if you care to do a little reading.
        I will supply them myself when I am less steamed by your insulting comment.

        • Jeff Fox November 9, 2020

          Yes, I had seen this article before. Since you replied to me in a civil way, you have my apology for being a bit caustic.

          That said, I still have to take issue with the honesty of the wording, because you referenced the greedy overfishing of a hundred years ago, where actual commercial fishing happened at the mouth, and canneries lined the river as they did at Klamath and elsewhere. The article you reference doesn’t state anything about “commercial river fishing”. What it says is that the goal is to restore populations to support commercial fisheries (among other fishing goals). For many, many years, all references to commercial salmon fisheries has been for ocean salmon, except for tribal fishing which has been a relatively small piece of the pie.

          Your comment created an impression that a few commercial salmon fisherman are pushing the two basin solution so we can return to the days of canneries with commercial river boats scooping them at the mouth of the river to supply them. We both know that a return to that scenario will never happen, not at the Eel, Klamath or any other rivers in California. To paint that picture is a misrepresentation.

        • Harvey Reading November 9, 2020

          Commercial salmon trolling and sport salmon angling take place in the ocean in CA; not in fresh water. However, salmon are anadromous fishes, meaning they are spawned and rear for a time in fresh water, then migrate to the ocean, returning once again, as adults, to fresh water to repeat the cycle.

          Freshwater spawning and rearing habitat would be improved by keeping Eel water in the Eel. That would likely lead to increased populations of salmon in the ocean, a portion of which could be harvested, also IN THE OCEAN, by sport anglers and commercial salmon trollers. The reference to the commercial fishery in the document is not at all suggestive that commercial salmon fishing would be allowed in the river. The document also assumes a certain, basic, level of familiarity with the subject on the part of readers.

          • Harvey Reading November 9, 2020

            My apology to Mr. Fox. I waited several hours to make my response in hopes that you would respond quickly to the insulting, misleading, comment made by Mr. Armstrong in his response to you.

  5. Professor Cosmos November 10, 2020

    For those not able to make it down to Church St in Ukiah, a current view of the Ukiah Mural to-be-finished next year::

  6. Jim Armstrong November 10, 2020


    “It’s encouraging to see the diverse stakeholders in this partnership coming together to support the removal of Scott Dam, which will allow Eel River salmon and steelhead to once again access critical headwaters habitat,” said Christopher Knight, executive director of California Trout, a sportfishing advocacy organization
    In its natural state, the Eel River was the third-largest salmon and trout fishery in California, behind only the Klamath and the Sacramento rivers. The annual chinook salmon run is estimated to feature as many as 800,000 fish in a given year before dams and other impediments were introduced in the 20th century. In 2019, a paltry count of 2,190 salmon was made on the river, which was down from 3,800 individuals counted the year before.”
    That is river fishing.
    Does anyone believe that reopening a hundred miles of Chinook breeding water is going have a great effect IN THE OCEAN as Harvey says?

    • Jeff Fox November 11, 2020

      Wow… you’re doubling down on the ludicrous position that stakeholders want to restore commercial fishing in the river? At first I was giving you the benefit of the doubt as someone who simply is ignorant of the biology and of how the commercial salmon industry works. Now I’m just wondering if you’re intentionally spreading misinformation. I challenge you to name one person advocating dam removal that has stated a desire to return to the cannery days, or something even remotely close to that. So far the links you’ve posted state nothing of the sort.

      It absolutely IS true that salmon populations in rivers, especially large systems such as the Eel have a great effect on fishing in the ocean. That’s the very reason CDFW, NMFS and fisheries regulators use river populations as one of their main guidelines for setting seasons and limits for the ocean.

  7. Harvey Reading November 10, 2020

    More than are there currently. Better to keep the water in the river of origin than divert it to grow grapes for wino yuppies.

  8. Harvey Reading November 10, 2020

    What exactly in your quoted material causes you to conclude, “That is river fishing.”?

    The numbers are estimates of the number of adult salmon returning from the ocean to spawn in the river (ocean escapement). Give your local Department of Fish and Wildlife office a call and ask them for more technical details regarding how ocean escapement estimates are made.

    • Jim Armstrong November 11, 2020

      Mr. Reading asks: “What exactly in your quoted material causes you to conclude, “That is river fishing.”?”

      “In its natural state, the Eel River was the third-largest salmon and trout fishery in California, behind only the Klamath and the Sacramento rivers.”
      Seems plain.

      • Jeff Fox November 11, 2020

        Sorry, can’t buy it.

        To go from that excerpt to your statement that “This plan is based in the desire of a few Humboldt County fishermen to restore commercial river fishing for salmon.” is one helluva stretch.

        If that’s the position you’re taking to advocate against dam removal, have at it. From the perspective of the folks undecided on this, taking such a nonsensical position is not helping your cause.

      • Harvey Reading November 11, 2020

        …and then the watershed was mismanaged, including unfettered logging and diversion of Eel water to another basin, which led to far less instream spawning and rearing habitat. Water is a fairly important element of habitat for fish.

        Your conclusion is as fantastic as your premise. I’ve had enough of your silliness. Toodles.

  9. Jim Armstrong November 12, 2020

    I have answered each of these two gentlemen’s demands, but it seems to be the week for failure to concede when called for.

  10. Harvey Reading November 12, 2020

    LOL. You provided misinformed conclusions based on sketchy information.

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