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Off The Record (November 11, 2020)

MENDO COUNTY Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Katrina Bartolomie has announced that as with every other election, there are ballots left to process as part of the official canvass. Mendocino County has 15,501 Vote By Mail ballots to process and 1,800 Conditional Provisional/Provisional ballots to review and process. 

Of the outstanding ballots left to count: the 1st Supervisor District has 3,902; the 2nd Supervisor District has 2,892; the City of Ukiah has 2,695; the City of Willits has 893; the City of Point Arena has 140. 

Per State law, we have 28 days to complete the canvass. The Statement of Vote, which breaks down results by precinct, will be available at that time. 

If you have any additional questions, please call our office at (707) 234-6819. 

MEME OF THE WEEK: “Sure, I spent 50 years of my life studying viruses just so I could trick rednecks into wearing paper masks. That was my career goal.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci

THE ONLY LOCAL measure of true import on the Mendo ballot was the Willits sales tax. If it doesn't pass there will be major and dire negatives for the Gateway to the Redwood Empire, among them a radical downsize for city government, maybe even the heave-ho for the Willits Police Department, the city’s largest budget item of all. (It passed.)

SUPERVISOR ELECTION in the 1st and 2nd districts? We expect Ms. Mulheren and Glenn McGourty to step aboard the sinking ship SS Mendo, and we see them as pretty much a lateral move from McCowen and Carre Brown. Jon Kennedy, McGourty's only opposition in the 1st District race, might have joined Williams as an independent vote, independent of Ma Angelo who runs the whole show, but Kennedy was up against both the Mendo Water Mafia and inland “progressives,” who also endorsed McGourty. Gotta hand it to McGourty, he got the gamut behind him.

NO MORE PERFECT EXAMPLE of lib-think, Mendo division, was Ellen Drell's statement that “they” liked McGourty's answers to “their” questions (Drell and her husband, David are the they who liked) better than, presumably, they liked Kennedy's answers. Kennedy, natch, was libeled as a “rightwinger” by inland libs and environmentalists, translating as they think present water policies are environmentally just swell for what's left of the Russian River's natural environment. The supervisor position is supposed to be non-partisan, but hey, he's not one of us.

THE RIGHTWING is pumped up beyond all reason, which it doesn't have an abundance of in the first place. A Maga commented somewhere on-line today, “We're all rooftop Koreans now,” the ref being to the armed Koreans defending their businesses during the Rodney King riots in LA.

AND FROM THE LEFT, this comment: “A civil war where one side is primarily elderly, obese and delusional. Should be over quick.”

BIDEN is fading fast, and how cynical is the DNC to keep shoving him out there as if he's up to it? Biden missed his cue to appear on stage at a rally alongside Barack Obama on Saturday, compelling Obama to call out his name three times before Biden eventually jogged over from a nearby building. At the end of the rally, the candidate had to be reminded to put on his face mask, which sent him back to the podium to look for it, finally re-discovering his mask in his pocket. Then in another bizarre moment, he picked up the microphone as if he were about to speak again before putting it down and leaving the stage. During the rally itself he slurred his words, telling attendees that it's their right to have “'badakathcare,” apparently a reference to health care.

AS OF WEDNESDAY AT ABOUT MIDNIGHT, it’s pretty clear that the Democrats’ expectations of an overwhelming victory over Trump were somewhere between an exaggeration and self-delusion. It’s looking like the race for the Presidency will be closer than most observers thought and that it will come down to early voting but late counted votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, many of which are in areas with Democratic majorities. It seems unlikely that there will be a clear outcome by the time you read this. By midnight, oddsmakers were saying Trump’s odds of winning had gone up to around 70% as Biden failed to win several key battleground states in the upper midwest that he needed to win. Freshman social democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was well ahead of her Republican challenger in New York.


  • PROP 14 Stem Cell Research: PASSED 51.1%
  • PROP 15 Property Tax Reform of Prop 13: FAILED 48.3%
  • PROP 16 Affirmative Action: FAILED 43.9%
  • PROP 17 Right to vote after prison: PASSED 59%
  • PROP 18 17 year olds vote: FAILED 44.9%
  • PROP 19 Certain Property tax rules: PASSED 51.5%
  • PROP 20 Parole restrictions: FAILED 37.7%
  • PROP 21 Expanded rent control: FAILED 40.2%
  • PROP 22 App Based Drivers/Employee Benefits exemption: PASSED 58.4%
  • PROP 23 Kidney Dialysis Regulation: FAILED 36%
  • PROP 24 Consumer Privacy: PASSED 56.1%
  • PROP 25 Elimination of Money Bail System: FAILED 44.6%

MO MULHEREN WRITES: "This is it. I announced 661 days ago that I was running for the Second District Supervisor seat. There are many reasons that I want to be a County Supervisor but the most important is to bring my dedication and connection to this community to this County elected position. The citizens of the Second District and the County deserve someone in that seat that is willing to do the work 24/7 and hear from every resident and work side by side with our community to come up with solutions. Will I still be as involved in the community if I’m not elected, of course. To be in a position to create policy change in areas that affect us all including housing development, protecting the environment and creating sustainable economic development for future generations is why I voted Mo and I hope you do too. #VoteMo #ConnectMendo #TheMoYouKnow"

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.

JUST IN. Readers following the career of Joe Hart will want to know that Joe will soon board the southbound prisoner bus for San Quentin. Hart's been held since October in the Mendo County Jail but had his Mendo sentence doubled when he admitted to having a prior strike conviction.

THAT OLD SAW, "It's all over but the shootin'" hopefully doesn't apply to our high anxiety election last night, but we predicted if it was close there'd be big trouble. Sure 'nuff, here it comes with Trump challenging the results and recreational rioters and 100 percent off shoppers, under BLM cover, gearing up to challenge Trump's challenge.

THE LITERAL BLOOD SUCKERS of the dialysis business got Prop 23 passed via effective television ads. Most Americans, older ones anyway, get all their info about the great world outside from TV, and the actors who pretended they would die if the dialysis industry was reformed were quite convincing to the millions of voters who don't know that 23's advertising was funded by the two giant corporations who dominate the blood-wash business. And Uber and Lyft got voters to agree with them that their drivers, aka their funding units, not only didn't need to be protected like other employees, they absolutely loved the "flexibility" their status as "independent contractors" give them. Predictably, the state's rentier class, and its largest apartment building businesses, spent more than enough on false advertising to convince Californians, among them thousands of renters, to vote against rent control. 

BUT DEPEND on the Press Democrat for both the unintentional humor and the reminder that there's no one home in their editorial offices with this thundering statement of the obvious: "The votes are in, the next priority is counting them all."

POSTED against a Facebook purple this nice bit of false feeling from outgoing supervisor, John McCowen: "Congratulations to Mo Mulheren and Glenn McGourty," the two winning supervisors. McCowen is probably sincere in McGourty's case since both are for a continuation of wine-rigged water delivery systems, but McCowen has bad mouthed Mulheren for years, although he wussed out of running against her for supervisor. And what's with the cheapo Facebook congrats? Should be roses for the lady, exploding cigars for Glenn.

BOUNCING from channel to channel last night, as always lingering on the highly entertaining Wolf Blitzer in CNN's Situation Room, poor old Wolfie looked like he just might burst into tears as Trump's big numbers turned CNN's vote map red. As it was in 2016 with the MSM's beloved Hillary, the great Blue Wave predicted by our national sages failed to materialize.

AMONG THE TOTALLY WRONG was an ABC-Washington Post poll that had Biden ahead by 17 points in Wisconsin, a state where he ran neck and neck with Trump all night. Now, Big Media are asking, "Golly, how come these Trumpers are so darned shy? It wasn't us that got it wrong, it was them hiding from us."

OREGON has voted to decriminalize heroin and methamphetamine, and to legalize therapeutic 'shrooms. I wonder if America's tweekers and smackers will find new homes in the Beaver State? Hallucinogens as a therapeutic tool seems majorly iffy, but in a profession teeming with quacks and charlatans, the profession that put children on pharmaceutical speed and shock-treated Aunt Eleanor, magic mushrooms are a natch for their medical kit. 

DEAD MAN WINNING. David Andahl, 55, a North Dakota Trumper, died on October 5th, just months after he won the Republicans' endorsement for Congress in the June primary. Andahl went on to easily win election, tweeting from the other side, "Covid killed me but I still don't believe in it. There's lots of us up here. Go, Trump!"

KNOCK, KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? Tweekers. Tweekers who? Tweekers here to rob you. 

On Monday, November 2,  at about 12:30 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an in progress burglary of a marijuana/cannabis farm located in the 2100 block of Highway 20 in Willits. The caller reported there was a van at the location with several subjects in the process of stealing marijuana/cannabis. Deputies learned that a minivan and a small sedan vehicle arrived on the property at about 12:15 AM and drove to a large storage building approximately 50 to 60 yards uphill from where the farm workers were camping.” Several subjects exited the vehicles and one of the farm workers witnessed the subjects break into the storage building which contained semi processed marijuana/cannabis. The subjects then proceeded to remove several boxes and containers of semi processed marijuana/cannabis from the storage shed and dumped the marijuana into both vehicles before driving away from the area. The farm workers who witnessed the incident telephoned the marijuana/cannabis farm operation owner who in turned called 911 to report the incident. Etc. Christopher France, 24, of Willits, France and getaway gun moll Miranda Mullins were quickly detained. Deputies learned Willits Police Department Officers had located three subjects in a sedan vehicle located at a mini market and gas station at the intersection of Highway 20 and Main street in Willits. The vehicle matched the other suspect vehicle observed by Deputies fleeing the marijuana/cannabis farm. A search of the vehicle revealed evidence that two of the subjects were involved in the burglary of the marijuana/cannabis farm. Two of the subjects in the vehicle, Brandon Langenderfer, 27, of Laytonville, and Angelo Martinez, 21, of Santa Rosa, were taken into custody for the burglary.

France, Langenderfer, Martinez, Mullins

NO THANKSGIVING CRAB. The predictions that local Dungeness crab won’t be available in time for Thanksgiving have come true: This year’s commercial fishing season will be delayed until at least Dec. 1 to prevent the risk of whale entanglements in fishing gear. On Wednesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the delay of the commercial Dungeness crab season for Central California, including San Francisco, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 1 after a large number of endangered whales were spotted in fishing zones in the past week. The delay was triggered by new rules established Nov. 1 giving the state the authority to close certain fishing areas when there is evidence of a certain number of humpback whales, blue whales or Pacific leatherback sea turtles in the area. “While no one wants to delay the season, CDFW and the Working Group feel a delay is necessary to reduce the risk of entanglement,” said department director Charlton H. Bonham. “The fleet has gone to great lengths to be more nimble in order to protect whales and turtles, and the results are promising.” 

THE BACK STORY, although it would take a novel, as all murders do, to fully explain: Last September the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was called out to a shooting that had just occurred at a residence located in the 2500 block of Twining Road in Ukiah. Since shots were fired, deputies, the Ukiah PD and the CHP were soon on-scene where the shooter, Thomas Dean Jones, “self-surrendered” without further incident. 


JONES, who has a lengthy criminal history, had shot and killed Jamie Eugene Wilcox, 44, of Ukiah, and shot and seriously injured Wilcox's 28-year-old friend who has survived. The shooting appeared to be the result of a family dispute over the development of the family property. The version we've heard is that Wilcox, a shirttail relative of Jones, told Jones he had to leave the property because he, Wilcox, was selling it. Jones was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of murder, attempted murder, being armed during the commission of a felony and prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He has been held ever since at the Mendocino County Jail on a No Bail status. 

MURDER DEFENDANT Jones appeared for his preliminary hearing on Tuesday afternoon in the courtroom of Judge Keith Faulder. The Public Defender's Office, apparently concluding that it takes two public defenders to lose a case whose perp, we understand, handed the cops his confession when the cops arrived on the scene, nevertheless double-teamed prosecutor Eyster by assigning Public Defender Jeff Aaron and Chief Deputy Public Defender Eric Rennert. Why two? No grander motive, it seems, than an effort to derail DA Eyster's case. 

TO THOSE looking on, however, the twofer strategy failed miserably as the DA presented his evidence in an efficient and irrefutably convincing manner. When all was said and done, Judge Faulder held defendant Jones to answer and bound him over for trial on both primary charges — the special circumstance murder of Jaime Wilcox and the attempted murder of Jayme Garden, as well as use of a firearm special allegations. It has been reported that the DA will now add all six of the defendant's prior Strike convictions, all of those violent robberies, to the murder charges going forward. The defendant will be back in court on November 17th for setting a jury trial date, although why he wants to take his seemingly invisible defense to a jury remains known to only him and his twin attorneys. 

I WROTE, “Most Americans get all their info about the great world outside from TV…” A reader promptly responded, “Used to be true, and probably still is for a slice of elders, but with the youngsters coming up that needs to be amended to ‘their phones.’ I watched an interesting documentary last night called ‘The Social Dilemma’ — basically about the phenomenon of social media. Not the smoothest production as it veered into some clunky reenactments a few times, but there were so many interesting revelations and ideas kicked about during interviews, that it was well worth wading through the schlock. Especially for those of us who choose not to participate in this recent gizmo-based social experiment. The thrust of the doc is how the phone phenom has affected society in not a good way. Those of us outside can sense it, but it was fascinating to get the details on how it all works. The solution most insiders agreed upon is regulation of the industry.” 

YES! Double yes to Scott Ostler's proposal that the 49ers sign Colin Kaepernick. “This also is not about politics, although the 49ers signing Kaepernick would restore some of the NFL’s dignity and credibility sacrificed when team owners blackballed the guy because they are greedy and spineless. This is about football, and Kaepernick would provide two benefits: 

• He would energize the 49ers. The plague of injuries had been a drain on team spirits. The players who are still ambulatory will play hard for Mullens, Beathard or whomever quarterbacks the team, but Kaepernick would bring a new energy and an explosive offensive element that would perk up the fellas. 

• Kaepernick would provide an opportunity for Shanahan to try out his offensive magic with a run-dimension quarterback. The playbook’s movement and misdirection already create high anxiety for defenses. Imagine if defenders also had to account for the four or five times a game when the 49ers’ quarterback keeps the ball and turns on the burners.” 

61 OF THE 80 members of the California Assembly are Democrats; 29 of the 40 State Senators are Democrats; the governor is a Democrat; 43.5% of Californians are registered Democrats, but 65% of Californians voted for Joe Biden. All eight of the state’s top elected officials are Democrats. (Pop quiz: Who is California’s Lieutenant Governor?)

SO WHAT DOES IT SAY, about California’s Democrats when most of the ballot propositions they “endorsed” went down to defeat? The California Democratic Party endorsed nine of the 12 ballot propositions this year. Of those nine, only three passed — Stem Cell Research funding, giving the right to vote to ex-cons, and some minor property tax rule changes. But the big six endorsed by the Democratic Party — Prop 13 reform, restoration of affirmative action, giving 17 year olds the right to vote, expanded rent control, kidney dialysis regulation, and elimination of the money bail system — all failed, most not even close. And, of the two propositions the Dems urged a NO vote on, the big one— job protections for app-based workers — passed comfortably. (Voters agreed with the Dems on saying No to a few new parole restrictions.) The Dems were officially “neutral” on the consumer privacy proposition (#24) which passed easily.

WE’VE HEARD several theories about why the results tended to be counter to the Democrats recommendations: 1) An expensive and slick ad blitz from the Uber-Lyft outfits, the Rentier class, and Big Dialysis; 2) Many Californians who vote for Democrats are not really Democrats; 3) California voters are stupid and easily swayed by TV and on-line ads; and 4) The Dems made no real effort to publicize or explain their positions on the Propositions, just postured as usual, 5) Few voters give a damn what the Official Democrats think or say, or 6) The California Democratic Party is living in a time warp and is (and has long been) out of touch with the majority of Californians.

EXPLANATION NUMBER ONE may be true in the cases of dialysis regulation and Uber-Lyft and expanded rent control, but we saw quite a few well-done ads for Prop 13 reform along with the usual “it’ll raise the cost of everything” ads. And there were more ads in support of Affirmative Action restoration than against. Yet both of them were defeated. And we saw no ads for or against 17 year olds voting, the money bail system, yet both of them were defeated, despite the Big Dem endorsements.

PS. Here are the names that Big Dem are floating as possible appointees to replace Kamala Harris in the Senate. Mostly, they’re the same people who can’t get their own party to vote for their propositions: LA Congresswoman Karen Bass, Adam Schiff (yes, that Adam Schiff), Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Controller Betty Yee, Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter, Congressman Ro Khanna, SF Mayor London Breed, Lt. Governor Elini Kounalakis, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

PPS. The self-identified “progressives” on that list are Ro Khanna, Katie Porter, Karen Bass, and Barbara Lee who are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Hey! Jared Huffman’s a Progressive too! (In fact, 23 of the 97 members of the Progressive Caucus are from California.) (Mark Scaramella)

THIS MCN MESSAGE gave me a jolt last Thursday morning. An old lady living by herself in the Coast woods can't be blamed if her imagination runs away with her. Hell, I get the heebie jeebies just watching the television news or driving down State Street, but here's this poor old thing alone and lost in her delusions. On the other hand, given the ever larger number of pure creeps out there…

SHE WRITES: “A person has been stalking my bedroom window, pretending to try and get in, talking pictures with a special camera, making noise outside, waking me up for over 3 months. In the past two weeks, the person has been blowing cigarette smoke into my home several times during the night. Not sure exactly how they are doing it because it keeps changing. This occurs every night! Last night, the smoke came into the house 3 times 11:00PM, 2AM, and 3:30AM. Somehow, I think they are getting under the house. I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke and it is burning my throat and lungs. I have 2 air purifiers that help but it is very difficult. I called 911 and 2 Sheriff's deputies were sent out. It took 40 minutes to get here. It is difficult to capture anyone because I live in the forest and they either go into the trees or perhaps their home. I live on GURLEY LANE, MENDOCINO. I need some help! Emotion support, a place to sleep at night, help with a trail camera installation, advice. I thought I had found a large room to rent, but she changed her mind. So I had to pay my rent on the 1st. I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. I have always paid my rent on time and my credit score is 811. The highest possible score is 850. I had no sleep last night and haven't slept much in the past 3-1/2 months. Last week I slept at a friend’s house for 4 nights. She is not able to have long term overnight guests per her landlord. Please help with anything!" 

READER ALERT! Here comes the editor's monomaniacal pursuit of his very own Great White. Yes, the mere mention triggers him. And it. A press release from the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, a front group for the pathetic, terminally corrupt Democratic Party and, historically, at total odds with justice and as psychically a violent coven of wacky old ladies and old lady-like men as you'll find south of Mendocino Public Radio.

THE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER said it was holding a candlelight vigil for the late Judi Bari. The flier advertises an hagiographic film produced by the Bari Cult Scammers called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’, which just happens to come with the same title as an honest film produced by Steve Talbot of KQED and PBS, also called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ Talbot's film panicked the Bari scammers into making their own fake film because Talbot lay responsibility for the attack on Bari at her ex-husband's doorstep — in other words, a fancy case of domestic violence not cartoon left boogeymen like corporations and/or federal police.

IF BARI was in fact bombed by her ex the scammers could not only go to federal prison they could lose the several millions of dollars they falsely raised deliberately keeping Bari's ex out of the primo suspect pool. Bari's ex is a cunning little psychopath named Mike Sweeney, presently a resident of New Zealand but a man associated with left cult bombs and murders all the way back into the thrilling 1960s.

THE BARI CULT pulled it off, though; they kept the ex-husband out of the suspect pool, along with a great big assist from the FBI, an agency the cult has always pretended to abhor but in living fact is a crucial co-dependent in this matter of literal useful idiots at places like the Peace and Justice Center and the now apparently defunct Mendocino Environment Center. (After you've saved the Mendo environment, what's left to do?) The latest solidifying piece of evidence that the Bari interlude still scares people occurred last year when the FBI returned the Lord's Avenger's Letter to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, whose reporter Mike Geniella the confession letter for the Bari Bombing was addressed to.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT says it lost the letter. The paper maintains a meticulously kept library and this letter was/is a key piece of evidence not only in the so-called mystery of Who Bombed Judi Bari but an important piece of Northcoast history because it was written by the bomber and presumably contains recoverable dna. But the Press Democrat “lost it.” Mike Geniella isn't the only person who doesn't believe the letter is lost, and he's also among the many non-cult persons knowledgeable about the case who thinks it's obvious that Sweeney is the primary suspect.

IT ROLLS ON, the Bari Bombing scam, an ongoing testament to the corruption of what passes for a left in this country, an article of faith among every mindless dupe of a so-called progressive on the Northcoast (and Amy Goodman on the national level) that the FBI did it. Or a timber corporation did it. Or a logger did it. Or a misogynist did it. Or all of them together in one great big ass conspiracy.

ONE MORE IRONY: Judi Bari herself always called the Peace and Justice Center the “Peace and Quiet Center.” She had nothing but contempt for the place and its people who regarded her similarly, but now that she's safely dead, here comes the candlelit piety.

I KEEP HOPING that one day there’ll be a presidential candidate who just says very plainly: I don’t want to invade anyone else’s country or drone their wedding parties; I don’t want to torture anyone; I don’t want your family to go bankrupt from the bills for your daughter’s chemo; I want you to be paid fairly for the work you do and not be preyed upon by bill collectors when you’re unemployed; I want you to have a roof over your head and clean water to drink; I don’t want your kids to go hungry at school or be thrown in jail for smoking grass or be shot by the police while walking home from the 7/11; I want you to have time off to enjoy your life and not worry about your house burning down in a wildfire or being swept away in a hurricane. Is that too much to ask? Where is this person? — Jeff St. Clair

DEMOCRATIC PARTY INSIDERS are already deploying their blame cannons, and the progressive wing of the party is a big target. One of the big complaints of corporate Democrats who did or nearly lost their seats is that they were smeared as “socialists” in attack ads. The Democrats need to quit running from socialism and start explaining that America already practices socialism for the rich (with examples) and maybe it’s time for socialism for ordinary people (with examples). But the problem is that the Dems are culpable of promoting socialism for the rich, as exemplified by the “no accountability” bank bailouts and the reluctance to address student debt and ever-rising health care costs. At the same time, as readers know well, there are boatloads of “progressive” policies that are very popular with voters, like raising the minimum wage, strengthening Social Security, providing for more income support during lockdowns, getting rid of the ACA and replacing it with government-provided insurance, and cutting military spending. And if 2016 and 2020 demonstrated anything, it’s that the Democrats aren’t benefitting from being joined at the hip with big corporations and billionaires. Bloomberg spent $100 million on the party’s behalf, for instance, yet what difference did that make? So the Democrats institutionally could break away from the grip of corporate big money, but too many pols and operatives are in their vise for that to happen. It will take at least another epic failure for them to be rooted out. And in the meantime, the scapegoating will continue.” — Yves Smith

THE FOLLOWING is based on an oddly zealous presser from the District Attorney, odd because of the apparent lost vulnerability of the perp: “With a jury trial scheduled to get underway Monday, defendant Lillian Ruth Maddock waived her trial rights and plead no contest to robbery in the second degree, a felony.”

LOOK at the booking photo of this woman. I ask you, is it the face of a person who should go to prison for a decade? Or the face of another confused, utterly lost young person. Appearances can be deceiving, natch, and she did point a gun at a convenience store salesman for a pack of smokes, but the prison recommendation seems way off given the known facts: “Captured on the store’s surveillance camera, Maddock entered the store and went into the store’s restroom. When she came out of the restroom, she had a handgun drawn. She pointed the firearm at the clerk and demanded cigarettes. Maddock left after being given a pack of cigarettes… When the defendant was located and arrested, she did not have the firearm in her possession. Willits Police officers backtracked the route she would have taken after leaving the store. They found an unlocked vehicle with an open door parked just south of Sinclair Gas. The defendant’s firearm had been stashed inside this car.” Let me guess. Under the influence of whatever with no plan other than a smoke and off you go for ten years? This is clearly a diminished capacity case. And the required sentence is no excuse for demanding it and, as the cliche has it, there's no justice if sentences are out of all proportion to the offense; disproportion is exactly why there is so much unhappiness with our justice system.

BUT THIS  from DA Eyster: “My prosecutors and I understand that our neighbors and business friends have no tolerance for and have a right to be protected from robbers — especially those armed with guns — who threaten to do grievous harm to hard-working night clerks and other citizens here in Mendocino County,” said Eyster. “I hope the court also understands this and sends the right message on the 18th that robbers brandishing firearms should not expect nor receive unearned leniency.”

O HELL YEAH. All the bandits out there are trembling at the warning. They keep a close eye on media alerts.

MS. MADDOCK is still to be evaluated by Probation who, I'll bet, will assess her as I have. And then it will be up to Judge Carly Dolan to either show some common sense mercy or doom her.

BERNIE NORVELL WRITES: “Fort Bragg Police Dept. Busy! This is literally every day. Now add in that 75% of their calls are transient or mental health related . If we reduce their 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 could look at investing into working with law enforcement by placing social workers in with the departments. LE 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.”

AMEN, BRO. Police everywhere occupy much of their duty time dealing with 5150's and a floating population of unreformable petty crooks, alcoholics, drug addicts, and plain old mooches, formerly known as bums back when words still had meaning. Meanwhile this lightly populated county spends an annual $26-plus million on mental health. Of course there's the imploding social order that's untethering the unable, the vulnerable, the un-anchored faster than they can be productively tethered, and who knows where it's all headed but all the signs indicate Not Good. The dependent population is only going to grow, and this is no time to defund the police who have to babysit them. In Mendo, though, we have a situation where the comfortably-paid helping professionals and institutions like Plowshares and Hospitality House — apparatuses nearly as large as the helpees — subsidize and enable the troublesome population the police deal with everyday all day and night.

CLARITY at the Supervisor level might help cut through the romantic bullshit surrounding the "homeless" population, but when the Supervisors paid $50,000 to Marbut to supply it, the helping pros quickly convened a mass whine-in and the Supervisors backed away from his recommendations which, boiled down, were: housing and help for home grown marginals, a meal or two for the professional mooches followed by a boot in the ass down the road if they hang around for seconds.

ABOUT 8:30 Sunday morning, the usual crypt-like silence of San Anselmo was suddenly a cacophony of cheering, cowbells and even a couple of celebratory firecrackers. “Hell, it must be Free Latte Day downtown,” I thought but, nope, Joe Biden was irrefutably elected President. For now. That crafty old orange man has unleashed flying squads of lawyers on the contested states while he went off for a round of golf rather than sandbag the White House he will probably have to be dragged out of. I don't see much to celebrate. Biden's out of it and, on his record, a Republican himself. But Trump's dangerously stirred up the yobbos who make up a solid half of our fine, fat population, and guns and ammo are flying out of WalMarts as fast as Wally can shelve them. Could be a hard landing in January, or it can all end with a whimper rather than the bang lots of pundits are predicting.

KAMALA HARRIS will be President a year from now if not sooner as Biden's dementia grows step for step with Biden family scandals. One or the other will soon have the old hack outtathere.

THE RIGHTWING is portraying Kamala as “hard left,” which isn't surprising because they also characterize Pelosi and Schumer as “the left” and Bernie and AOC as absolute Bolsheviks. (God save us from the pure hell of single payer!) I'll defer to my colleague Fred Gardner who knows Kamala quite well from the time they worked together in the Frisco DA's office, but it occurred to me, seeing how unprepared she was for the debates, that Kamala, prior to being hurled onto the national stage, hadn't thought much about big picture stuff like present-day social-economic organization of the country. She's a solidly middleclass woman raised in comfortable circumstances by academics. She became a lawyer and a prosecutor — a prosecutor, not a public defender or a poverty lawyer. As a young person and attorney, Kamala wasn't rushing home to read The Nation and Noam Chomsky. As President, she'll be a nicer, smarter version of Hillary, middle of the road all the way, as the Democrats are and will be.

WE'LL PAUSE HERE while I congratulate my fellow Two Percenters for voting Third Party. For me, the last time I voted for a Democrat, was a vote for George McGovern, Republicans always having been unthinkable. And I've been Third Party ever since. Salud, Comrade Two Percenters! They can't blame us for whatever ensues. Our hands are clean!

DRINKING GAME add-on: Go ahead and down one every time you hear the phrase “bring us together.” (Slobber drool mawk.) Only the dimmer libs dare say it out loud and won't be satisfied until we all have uniforms. Bring us together? East of I-5 it's a sea of red all the way to Manhattan. This sucker is split and as spilt as Humpty Dumpty. Always has been really. Trump simply heightened the contradiction, as the old Commies used to say.

A READER NOTES: “That is one thing about facebook, it can be a great source of photos of people. I've recently noticed, females in particular, seem to be using some sort of photo filter to transform their online faces. Weirdly smooth and blemish-free skin is the most obvious sign. Noses reduced, eyes enlarged, wrinkles removed — digital plastic surgery.”

WE DOUBT UKIAH'S BRAIN TRUST realizes how dumb and dangerous their new State Street re-design is. Sure, the underground utilities probably needed rehab. But the reduction from four lanes to three and the installation of accidents-in-waiting downtown intersections has yet to kick in with most Ukiahans, with the possible exception of Tommy Wayne Kramer. And everyone else at the mercy of the Ukiah City Council. 

IT WAS BAD enough that they’re converting Ukiah’s central artery from four lanes to two. But the biggest problem with the new design is the enlarged sidewalk corners with clumps of pavement called “bulbs” extending out into the lanes. Not only will the three lanes — two for traffic with a middle left-turn lane — cause some Ukiah antsy drivers to try to get around slower-clogged traffic, but they will then run right into the enlarged intersection corners where, presumably, pedestrians will be standing waiting for the light. And larger vehicles will have to swing even further out into oncoming traffic to make a turn. How long will it be before some poor soul has to die or be seriously injured downtown followed by the inevitable personal injury lawsuit against the city? 

THESE HORRIFIC CORNERS are being installed up and down State Street. Imagine driving through this at rush hour. It’s the craziest street design we’ve ever seen! Somebody should be fired — not that anything can be done about the problem this late in the game. For now, the only thing we can recommend is: Stay away from downtown Ukiah! (Mark Scaramella)

THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE is closed this upcoming week because of a covid outbreak among court staff. Tracing is underway. The DA's office is not affected, and staff will be working but not available to the public unless there is an existing appointment.

MORE WELFARE FOR GRAPE GROWERS 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)


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.)

UKIAH'S CAROL BRODSKY WRITES: “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.

“SURREAL” is overworked, but Saturday night's prime time appearance by the president-elect and the president in-waiting applies. They arrived in a banana republic cavalcade of armored vehicles and a hundred armed bodyguards, 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.


[1] How does Joe get inaugurated when he and his family are up to their nuts in Chinese money, not to mention Ukrainian moolah, and who knows what else? 

How does the American investigative and intel apparatus avert its gaze when the Potus-elect looks to be thoroughly compromised by way of these associations? 

Well, in the first place, the Davos Class and the Donor Class, that is to say, that handful of billionaires that own the outstanding stock of the Fortune 500, are all in it together with the Bidens. The men in Beijing have them all by the short ones because of the idiotic misapplication of some farcical economic theory cooked up to justify the exportation of the guts of America’s industrial might to China. 

It helps to know who ultimately gives the orders. I would say that it’s a matter of serene indifference to Beijing which American puppet sits in the Oval Office so long as Chinese oligarch interests aren’t threatened and the same with the Chinese Communist Party. Trump threatened the status quo. He stirred things up. So, can’t have Trump. That much is obvious. 

What about Biden? No worries about Biden. Biden will rule unmolested because the Chinese want it so, because American oligarchs have to keep Beijing happy to keep their fortunes intact, because the American Deep State will ensure it, having bamboozled itself through generations-long indoctrination about how things are and how things have to be, and bedazzled itself about American supremacy and their own grandeur at the center of it. 

But mostly it’s about money and power. The oligarchs fund American politicians. In turn, American politicians enact laws that extract money from ordinary citizens by way of taxes, and with this money they hire soldiers and cops and spies to safeguard both the oligarchs and themselves. It’s a symbiotic relationship, something like Taibbi’s vampire squid, sucking America dry. That they work against their own interests and America’s national interests seems never to have occurred to them. 

And the voters? What’s the matter with Kansas? Nothing wrong with Kansas, Kansas woke up and isn’t buying Republican bullshit anymore as K-dog so aptly put it. I don’t know what to say about people who vote Democrat, especially about non-white supporters. What’s the matter with them? Don’t they know the Democrats work against their interests? 

[2] Take a look around. Collapse isn’t coming, collapse is here, large areas of the USA ruined, financial carcasses of towns and cities and families and businesses littering the landscape. All it takes is open eyes and ears, the willingness to see things as they are, to remember things as they once were, things well within living memory.

America’s prosperous past, when a decent standard of living was widely available to ordinary people like my own relatives, guys with just a grade school education or even less, a time when breadwinner jobs were the rule rather than the exception, is no figment of the imagination. Those of us of a certain age remember it well. 

Optimism is easy when all is good with you. So, tell me, are things good with you? Optimism is tougher when they aren’t and it’s tougher when you can see circumstances deteriorating for large numbers of people. What we have in my own estimation and that of a lot of others, is an economic elite and their enabling clerisy inside and outside government working for their own benefit to the exclusion of any other consideration like whether anybody else’s interests matter outside their own circle, including that of the country as a whole. 

These people claim their about science and reason and rationality. They’re not. They claim to work for the underclass, people that are downtrodden and marginalized, whereas in fact, they work against them, doing their level best to keep them down, to create more of those same people they say they’re working for. 

What they are about mostly is dollars, their own, and those of their own caste, dollars in anybody else’s pocket a travesty of justice. To say that they’ve taken leave of their senses is understating the case, they’ve ruined the country they rely on to ensure their own survival, alienating those people they rely on to take up arms to defend them, making a mockery of common sense, and reason and rationality.

What Kunstler does is point out the obvious twice a week, a chronicle of things as they happen, telling us how things may go, how he hopes they will go, with the rest of us pitching in our two cents. As far as Trump goes, he looks to a lot of us as the lesser of two evils, the Democrats and their nominee being by far the greater. But you can see things your own way. After all you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. 

[3] There’s nothing in the great moral arc of the universe that sez that good must prevail in the end. Does it really bend towards justice? From the perspective of an individual human lifetime and those many millions existing at the same time, an imperceptible curve is worthless. For long stretches ordinary people lived short and hungry and sick lives with a few bullies at the top making conditions unbearable for them. 

Do we ever learn from history? I don’t see it, I think that nobody ever learned from history and nobody ever will, especially current day shot-callers at the top and the so-called “educated” elite talking down to everybody, insisting that they’re all about facts and evidence and “science”. For my part, I’ve had more than enough dealings and day-to-day exposure to them and in my estimation they’re corrupt, self-seeking, incompetent liars, full of shit, top to bottom. 

[4] When I was a young man/student I worked as a barman at a huge, state-funded complex that staged major sporting events. It had about a dozen bars and a number of food outlets, including a fine dining restaurant.

At the end of the night, the barman’s instructions were not to count the money, do a stock check and square it all off against the cash register printout.

No, it was to throw everything, uncounted money and printout together, without any stock check, into a calico bag and to deliver that bag to the boardroom where six or seven men stood laughing and smoking and drinking around a boardroom table about 30 feet long and covered to some depth with piles of loose cash.

I was there instructed to dump out the contents of the calico bag onto the table with the rest of the undifferentiated cash and then hit the road. It was kind of like a scene out of Casino. 

The person who was overseeing this is now a very senior and well known bureaucrat-manager in the national government-sports scam.

Seeing something like that can teach a very young man a lot about the world.

[5] "I live in a Oakland neighborhood consisting of about 250+ houses... About 40% of the residents are African American,,, about 25% other people of color, and about 35% white. Talking to dozens of neighbors over the past months, I would estimate that less than one person in ten of ANY Of those groups favor defunding the police... or in any way reducing the number of police patrolling the neighborhood. If anything they want more frequent police presence. Local Democratic leaders,, city, county, state, and federal, are out of touch with the residents of my neighborhood. Instead they seem to only reflect the position of the shouting protestors."

[6] Looking from the outside, American politics have taken a dark turn. Close to half the voters will not accept that the result of the election as legitimate.

Both parties will be discredited out of this dumpster fire of an election. The good news is that there is an opportunity for a new populist party to bring together both Trumpeters and Bernie Bros into something that will advocate for ordinary people. Surely in a nation of 330+ million people there are a few people who can organize a new approach to politics now that the old establishment is thoroughly discredited. That would be better than civil disorder or open revolt.

[7] 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.

[8] On this date in 1855, labor leader, reformer and socialist Eugene Victor Debs was born in Terre Haute, Ind. He was not baptized by his formerly Catholic mother. The family living room contained busts of Voltaire and Rousseau. When a teacher gave Debs a bible as an academic award, inscribing it "Read and obey," Debs later recalled, "I never did either." He dropped out of high school at age 14 to work. By 1870 he had become a fireman on the railroad, attending evening classes at a business college. His labor activism began in 1875. As president of the Occidental Literary Club of Terre Haute, Debs brought "the Great Agnostic" Col. Robert Ingersoll, whom he always revered despite political differences, Susan B. Anthony and other famous speakers to town. He was elected to the Indiana General Assembly as a Democrat in 1884 while continuing his labor activities. He married Kate Metzel in 1885. They never had children. As editor of the Locomotive Fireman's journal for many years, Debs routinely attacked the church, promoted women's and racial equality and promoted justice for the poor. "If I were hungry and friendless today, I would rather take my chances with a saloon-keeper than with the average preacher," Debs once said. He saved his strongest denunciations for the Catholic Church for being an anti-democratic, authoritarian "political machine." Debs organized the first U.S. industrial union, the American Railway Union in Chicago in 1893. It conducted a successful 1894 strike for 18 days against the Great Northern Railway. Debs and leaders of the union were arrested that same year during the Pullman strike and were jailed for contempt of court for six months. Debs ran for president as a Socialist Party candidate in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. He was associate editor from 1907-12 of the Appeal to Reason, a popular weekly published by freethinker E. Haldeman-Julius in Girard, Kansas. In 1918 he was arrested for an anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, and was sentenced under the wartime espionage law to 10 years in prison and loss of citizenship. While in prison he was nominated for president and conducted his last campaign, winning nearly a million votes.

President Warren G. Harding commuted Debs' sentence and released him on Dec. 25, 1921. He was welcomed by 1,000 Terre Hauteans upon his return. His health broken by his imprisonment, he died at age 70 in 1926 in a sanitarium. The Terre Haute home he built with his wife in 1890 is a National Historic Landmark of the National Park Service and a museum. “I left that church with rich and royal hatred of the priest as a person, and a loathing for the church as an institution, and I vowed that I would never go inside a church again.”—"Talks with Debs in Terre Haute" by David Karsner (1922)

[9] PONDS. One day in 2016 the State water board, Fish & Wildlife and CDF (Dept. of Forestry) showed up at my doorstep in lower Salmon Creek. They stated that they had seen my pond in Google Earth and that it was constructed illegally.

I said that is strange, since the State of Calif. built and paid for it using funds from CFIP (Calif. Forest Improvement Program) in the late 1960s.

Of course, they had never heard of that program.

They spent two days looking at the pond and came up with nothing. These guys came all the way from Sacramento for nothing.

One would think that they would have done some research, which would have saved them a trip.

Or, they could have called me first and I would have sent them the paperwork.

Just as they were leaving, they saw a fish jump. They asked what type of fish were in there.

I told them Large Mouth Black Bass, Blue Gills and a few Channel Cats. They stated that the fish were illegal. I said that is strange, as the State planted them. They were crushed when I showed them the paperwork.

It is lucky that we still had all the paperwork. My Father told us when the pond was being built, that sometime in the future the State would probably come after us and he was right.

We also planted over 250,000 trees under CFIP.

By the way, my pond was built to hold 13 acre-feet of water.

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