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Mendocino County Today: November 23, 2020

Weak Fronts | 35 New Cases | Yorkville Market | Sued Individuals | Digger Burn | Ed Notes | Ukiah Lodging | Motel Bound | Forklifting | Devil's Bargain | Reckless Motorcycling | Redwood Highway | Glib Robey | Ukiah 1965 | Little Lake Roads | McMaster Watercolor | Dahlia Sale | Yesterday's Catch | Judge Judy | Ocean Wonders | Leaders Failing | Old Towns | Cold Hearted | Early NYC | Really Matters | Assembly Line | Morbid Symptoms | Launch Pad

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LIGHT SHOWERS will come to an end today. Another weak front will bring a chance of light rain late Tuesday into Wednesday, mostly north of Cape Mendocino. Dry weather will return late in the week. Large surf will build on Wednesday and Thursday. (NWS)

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35 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday bringing the total to 1424.

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Our current winter hours are 11:00am-5:00pm everyday except Tuesday, when we are closed.

We will also be closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27 for Thanksgiving, and December 25 for Christmas. As in years past, we will be closing the store for the first few weeks in January for our annual inventory, cleaning, and new year’s planning.

We will be having our last burger day of the year on Saturday, November 28th. Call or drop by for a delicious made to order cheeseburger, veggieburger, or portobello burger.

Lastly, mark your calendars for our final take away dinner of the year!! On Friday, December 11, we will be preparing a delicious feast of Chicken Cacciatore, with polenta and winter vegetables. More details on this will be sent in early December.

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season!


Lisa at Yorkville Market

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THE LATEST IN THE BORGES/GURR SUIT for the raid on their permitted gro on the Boonville-Ukiah Road a few years ago reveals that the County individuals involved — Supervisors McCowen, Brown, and (then-supervisor Georgeanne) Croskey and another county employee named Sue Anzilotti are being sued as private individuals: 

From the amended complaint:

“The Plaintiffs also note that County Counsel has appeared on behalf of Defendants John McCowen, Carre Brown and Georgeanne Croskey in their official capacities, but not as individuals. Accordingly said defendants cannot raise immunities that might otherwise be available. Bateson v Geisse, 857 F.2d 1300, 1304-05 (9th Cir. 1988). The County Defendants do not contest the adequacy of the conspiracy allegations relating to certain County officials and a third party, Sue Anzilotti."


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COVID-19 vaccine program head boss, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, said the first batch of Americans to be vaccinated could get their immunizations the second week in December. “Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December,” the doctor said on CNN’s 'State of the Union' show with Jake Tapper.

PFIZER submitted an emergency use application to the Food and Drug Administration, and a committee thereof meets on December 10 to consider and probably approve distribution. Slaoui leads Trump's “Operation Warp Speed.” He also said he believed life in the U.S. could get back to normal in May. 

DR. SLAOUI said if the vaccine works as well as it did in trials, “70 per cent or so of the population being immunized would allow for true herd immunity to take place.” The doctor added, “I really hope and look forward to seeing that the level of negative perception of the vaccine decreases and people's acceptance increases. That is going to be critical to help us. Most people need to be immunized before we can go back to normal.”

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: The problem, if there is one, might have more to do with the intended recipients of the vaccine than with its deliverers. According to a Harris Poll released last month over 40% of Americans said they would not take a vaccine right away, even more among Black Americans, especially from the Trump administration. Also, early indications are that the pharma companies that developed the vaccine will charge between $4 and $20 per shot, and some vaccinations require two shots. If you have a large family, that cost could run up to over $100. Moderna already has deals in other countries to sell shots for $32 to $37 per dose. How much individuals will have to pay remains unclear. Apparently, most health insurance plans will cover the cost because it’s a “preventive health service,” but because the “HEROES” Act is still held up in DC uninsured people could be charged for it unless it gets approved first. The extent to which the cost is a disincentive has not been surveyed. However, we found an interview with a Medicare/Medicaid official who insisted that Americans without insurance “will be covered,” whatever that means. And all that assumes that the unprecedented high-speed roll-out is problem-free. (Oh, and did we forget about the rest of the world?)

‘WE ARE IN A HUGE SURGE’: Mendocino County Public Health Officer Addresses a rise in covid cases, curfews, and a new round of closures

MENDOCINO COUNTY has not suffered a "huge surge" in covid cases, and most of the cases we have have come out of the Ukiah Valley. Parts of the country, especially those areas where large numbers of dodo's think covid isn't dangerous, have suffered large rises in cases.

LAURA COOKSEY puts it all in sensible proportion: 

“This alarmist rhetoric is one cause of many people writing off the whole thing. The out-take quote about 250,000 lives being “2.5 times more than American lives lost back to WWII” is ridiculous. 250,000 is not far above the average monthly fatality rate (from all causes, prior to Covid-19) in the US, which was something like 222,000. So in nine months we’ve added a month’s worth of deaths… Which of course, now won’t happen next year or in the next ten, so the future numbers will balance out and the average will recover. Exaggerations do nothing to forward a cause in the long run, because people get burned out on the bullshit. I realize that they’re talking about war deaths, but why compare those? Death from humans lobbing flesh-ripping ammunition or dropping incinerating bombs on entire villages for no personal reason is an entirely different matter (and, in my mind, unquestionably more tragic and worthy of hand-wringing) from succumbing, usually when past the average age of death, to one virus rather than another– which is just life. It involves death at the end… or didn’t people get the memo?”

NO KISSING! NO EATING WITH YOUR MASK ON! NO CHANTING! No trombone or tuba playing! (Oboes and bassoons though ok?)

AMONG THE BOLD RECOMMENDATIONS County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren made during Friday’s covid press conference about the recent “huge surge” in covid cases were the following (as transcribed by Matt LeFever on his informative website): “Wave instead of shaking hands or hugging or kissing. If you’re eating or drinking, remove your mask at that time. Avoid shouting or singing loudly, chanting or playing wind instruments.” (Mark Scaramella)

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Holiday Lodge, Ukiah, 1960s
Satellite Lodge, Ukiah, 1960s

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To the Editor:

I’m writing to express my support for the new homeless housing site being created at the former Best Western Inn. I’m so glad to see that our county government and local non profits, under the able leadership of Megan Van Sant, are working collaboratively to provide an innovative solution that has great promise.

More and more of our community members are at risk of losing housing, a problem exacerbated by a dearth of affordable housing, job loss related to the pandemic and the generational poverty that many of our families experience. Homelessness affects all of us who live here. Let’s all step up and do whatever we can to support this project.

Margo Frank, Ukiah

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

I grew up in Cleveland during the 1950s and ‘60s, a time when the city was a powerhouse and a mighty industrial colossus.

Everyone worked and everyone had money and things were pretty darn good. Steel mills were the engines that drove the robust local economy. Steel mills surrounded the downtown outskirts, running 24-hour shifts seven days a week. Steel kept the money rolling into workers’ wallets and county budgets.

Cleveland at that time was the ninth biggest city in America. It billed itself, perhaps with a self-mocking wink, as “The Best Location in the Nation” because it was in the geographic middle of everything. Cleveland was close to both the natural resources needed to make steel and to big neighboring cities that combined to create a vast synergy of industrial production.

The Motor City was no further from Cleveland than Ukiah is to Oakland, and Toledo, the Glass Capital of the World, was closer than Detroit. If you looked south from a top floor of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower you could see Akron, the Rubber City.

Unfortunately steel wasn’t the only thing Cleveland was producing in the middle of the 20th century. There was also pollution, and plenty of it.

The skies around Cleveland were smoky and the water was mucky. The air was smelly and the fish were dead. The Cuyahoga River caught fire, repeatedly.

Not to get too cosmically philosophical about things but it was almost as if a gigantic, semi-complicated agreement had been struck with the Devil: Allow us to us make a lot of money, and in exchange we’ll destroy our own habitat.

Because that’s pretty much what it boiled down to. A neighbor a few doors from where I lived drove forklift for Jones & Laughlin Steel, and in the late ‘50s when he worked overtime during Christmas holidays he was paid $50 an hour. This was at a time minimum wage was something like 85 cents an hour. It dazzles me still.

Yeah times were good and wallets were fat, except for the fish who never learned to drive forklift and the Clevelanders who lived near the steel mills. Those living in the shadows of the mills were born with lungs and respiratory systems no better than mine, but I lived a dozen miles south, under the sunny blue skies of Seven Hills.

Why am I exploring all this history about citizens growing prosperous while their city grows sick and their quality of life worsens? Because I think something similar is taking place in Ukiah.

The Devil’s bargain Ukiah made is like the one Cleveland made a century ago: Give us filthy lucre and in exchange we’ll ruin our city. Except Cleveland did it by polluting its skies and waters; Ukiah is doing it by ruining its streets and parks.

Cleveland had its steel mills; Ukiah has its homeless.

Both generate a lot of income, and both produce a lot of problems. Please note there is no equating pollution with people, only that the systems accept them as collateral damage, or pawns, in pursuit of financial goals.

I sometimes wonder if city and county officials quietly acknowledge that the endless parade of people roaming our streets is the price they’ll gladly pay in order to retain a lot of high paying jobs. Most street people are uninvited newcomers, and many are criminals or mentally ill. Some, of course, are local and a few are genuinely “homeless” due to circumstances beyond their control.

As a group they do not enhance Ukiah’s quality of life. They create filth, squalor and crime. Some are addicts and some roam around drunk. They drain resources. No one thinks the majority come here to help make the town better or safer.

It’s plausible that city and county administrators, intimately familiar with the salaries earned and the taxes paid by the hundreds of workers at nonprofits and in county jobs servicing the homeless, have quietly struck a bargain with the Devil. Terms of the agreement:

“Funnel millions of grant dollars to us and our colleagues, and in exchange we will destroy our own habitat.”

Yes, they might privately concede, Ukiah will suffer if we lure more and more hopeless druggies, thieves, crazy people to town, and we will get rich.

Remember: The steel executives and bosses running Cleveland’s mills didn’t reside anywhere near those mills. They lived in Rocky River, Hudson, Shaker Heights and Gates Mills. They lived a long way from the problems they created and sustained.

Just like in Ukiah. County and city administrators and those running Ukiah’s nonprofit agencies don’t reside where homeless people congregate. Instead, they have homes tucked deep into Ukiah’s tony west side, Deerwood or Potter Valley, all comfortably distant from the problems they create and sustain.

Cynical and depressing if true. But it won’t last forever. A new reality eventually hit Cleveland, and it’s now the 53rd biggest city in the USA.

And grant money providing life support to Ukiah and Mendocino County will someday dry up, and those soft, fancy nonprofit office jobs will disappear. A new reality will eventually hit town.

Our leaders depend on homeless services to produce lots of eggs for city and county budgets.

But someday those eggs will disappear, as will the basket they rode in on.

(Tom Hine has lived, worked, and retired in Ukiah, and has been writing under the TWK byline since the late ‘70s.)

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On November 22, 2020 at approximately 11:43 P.M., an Officer with the Fort Bragg Police Department was completing a call for service at the Adventist Mendocino Coast Hospital when he observed a yellow off road motorcycle operating on the roadway without proper lighting. While checking the area the Officer located the motorcyclist in the 300 block of South Street. Upon viewing the Officer the motorcyclist fled and a brief pursuit ensued. The pursuit concluded in the 400 of Cypress Street where the motorcyclist, identified as Devin Tompkins, 25, of Fort Bragg, was taken into custody without further incident. 

Devin Tompkins

Subsequent to his arrest a search of his person revealed Tompkins was in possession of drug paraphernalia, brass knuckles, and a switch blade knife. He was transported to the booking facility at the Fort Bragg Police Department where he was booked for evading police, reckless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of brass knuckles, and possession of a switch blade knife. Tompkins was then transported to the Mendocino County Jail. 

Over the past two months the Fort Bragg Police Department has received numerous reports of motorcyclists riding recklessly within the city limits. On two occasions the Fort Bragg Police Department attempted stops on motorcyclists who fled and eluded Officers. At this time it is believed Tompkins may have been one of those subjects. 

If you have information related to this investigation please contact Officer Anthony Melendez at (707) 961-2800 ext.169 or . 

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Mill Valley, Highway 101
Redwood Highway, Crescent City

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I will never forget my first conversation with Ed Robey, former First District Supervisor in Lake County, back in the late 90s, early 2000s — I had just driven around the lake and passed by the hundreds of acres of rolling hills south of Highway 29 that were completely stripped bare of vegetation, the rust red soil ready for planting, and was curious about it. In the county courthouse, Ed came strolling out of his office when I asked if there was someone who could explain to me where, if indeed these expanses of expectant acres were to be planted with grapevines, the water for their irrigation would come from. “Oh,” said he, “grapes don’t take much water.”


Not only is that untrue, but that is not the question I asked. He instantly deflected my question without realizing that I had considerable knowledge about viticulture practices from living in the Livermore-Amador Valley, where the Wente family converted similar landscapes to 50 acre “estates” with 45 acres “managed” by the Wente corporation and privately constructed McMansions with equestrian facilities for executives and their fine families — eventually closing the open space gaps between Pleasanton and Lawrence Livermore Labs, as the propitious intersection of Highways 680 and 580 metastasized from the East Bay’s first shopping center and business park to the eventual housing tracts dependent on “Zone 7” water from the soon-to-be (now long done) Los Vaqueros Reservoir, stretching from the Altamont Pass to Tracy and Stockton and Modesto.

I would venture to say that Mr. Robey has been one of the principle architects of Lake County’s conversion from bucolic agrarianism to two-bit whoredom, and the exploitation of precious natural resources (ill-defended by the faux Sierra Club) at the expense of irreplaceable oak woodlands is just one example of his avarice. He still sits on the “board of directors” of the Public, Education, and Government cable channel (appointed annually by the Board of Supervisors) and the Local Agency Formation Commission (“elected” by that perverted body of deal-makers to represent “the public”), having first accomplished the incorporation of the City of Clearlake — enabling the County of Lake to divest itself of responsibility for the destruction of fragile Burns Valley Creek and Molesworth Creek watersheds and any responsibility for the considerable pollution of Clearlake (all blamed on the Kelsey, Scotts, and Middle Creek stormwater inflows). Not to mention the wholly inadequate Lake County Groundwater Management ordinance, obscene Grading Ordinance, and the “blow me” 2008 County General Plan. What a guy.

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New Ukiah Road, 1965

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Little Lake Valley is where Willits is located, and the name preceded the establishment of the city of Willits. Mendocino Little Lake Road is the old horse and wagon road from Mendocino to Little Lake Valley. It still connects to Highway 20 about six miles east of the coast, although the upper portions of Little Lake Road past the turnoff to the Mendocino Woodlands camps is mostly a single lane, very narrow dirt road. What we usually call Road 409 is historically Caspar Little Lake Road, and it joins together with Mendocino Little Lake Road at its eastern end. Little Lake Road is designated County Rd. 408. I live on Little River Airport Road which is historically the Little River Comptche Road. Another historic horse and wagon road is the Sherwood Road from Fort Bragg to Sherwood Valley, north of Willits. Although it's a county road it is closed in the winter, and not a good road even in summer. Same goes for the Usal Road up the coast north of Cottoneva Creek although only the part north of Usal Creek is closed seasonally. 

(Nick Wilson)

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South Of Elk, watercolor by Grace McMaster

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Dahlias By The Sea Annual Dahlia Tuber & Plant Sale is Open

Greetings Fellow Dahlia Lovers,

Dahlias by the Sea's annual Dahlia Tuber & Rooted Cutting sale starts this weekend. Our virtual store is now open on our website at

We are offering a wide variety of beautiful and hard to find Dahlias for you to enjoy in your garden.

We deliver to your doorstep free of charge from Cleone to Albion.

Spread some Dahlia Love!


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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 22, 2020

D.Brown, G.Brown, Calvo, Churchill

DAVID BROWN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.

GERALD BROWN JR., Vallejo/Ukiah. Grand theft, taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, selling lost access card, switchblade, concealed dirk-dagger.

DAVID CHURCHILL, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

Curtis, Dishman, Hille-James

HAROLD CURTIS, Willits. Probation revocation.

LEWIS DISHMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

JOSEPH HILLE-JAMES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Marin-Juarez, Maynard, Ramon

JAIME MARIN-JUAREZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

VINCENT RAMON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Tompkins, Villalobos, Vincent, Willis

DEVAN TOMPKINS, Fort Bragg. Reckless driving, paraphernalia, brass knuckles, switchblade, evasion.

LUIS VILLALOBOS, Hopland. Suspended license.

LYLE VINCENT III, Ukiah. Reckless driving in off-street parking facility, child neglect/abandonment, offenses while on bail.

PATRICK WILLIS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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A buddy of mine was being sued by his daughter to recover/control child support…at 16 years of age. She had moved into the home of an older female neighbor, and the older woman probably had a large say in the pending suit.

You do know that the Judge Judy program pays all of the costs of appearance, coach flight, decent motel, food and travel vouchers, PLUS an honorarium to attend…my buddy did not want to go until they offered him $2,000 for his trouble…I got $100 as his travel companion (they require two people to attend). The program also pays ALL judgments, with a $5000 limit. The show is shot in LA…not New York.

Sooo…we went. Neither of us had ever watched the show. When the cab picked us up on our day of appearance, he asked us which show we were attending (The large warehouse affair had several sound stages)…when we told him Judge Judy, he said “…Oh, she doesn’t like men….” We took this as a bad omen.

We were let into this large warehouse (maybe 20 blocks from Hollywood and Vine), thru a single man door guarded by a guy with no neck. We were ushered into a green room that had a supply of day old doughnuts. There were other unfortunates in the room…all male, all plaintiffs, as I recall. Thence to the make-up room, where we were powdered. I asked the make-up girl attending to me to make me appear vaguely “Nixon-esque”…the comment went over the Valley Girl’s head without comment. “Pearls before Swine”, I thought.

Well, Judge Judy savaged my buddy, awarded $5,000 to the daughter. The woman who she was staying with admitted on camera that she had prostituted herself for milk for her baby. I later commented to the security guards located in the small foyer where they film the final comments of the winners/losers that “I would also have brought her doughnuts with the milk…that’s the kind of guy I am…” Much hilarity. All the sets are open…the many cameras positioned not to show the open walls/warehouse setting.

My buddy was pissed…his comments were not aired. The security guards were there for a reason.

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Totem Pole Park, Crescent City

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by Jim Shields

One of the first things I learned about being a leader when I was in the Labor Movement, and with everything I’ve done since then, is you have to know how to lead yourself before you can lead others.

That single characteristic is never found in most people who think they’re leaders, whether they’re in the public or private sectors. It also explains why we have so few leaders anywhere today.

Here’s a couple of examples of what I’m talking about that occurred in the past week.

News about a party Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife attended back on November 6 broke over last weekend and he’s received a great deal of deserved backlash since.

Newsom apologized for what he called a “bad mistake” at his Monday, Nov. 16, COVID-19 news conference.

Newsom said he attended a birthday party for a close friend and broke the same rules he has been preaching to all Californians to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The reports were that Newsom was at a party with about a dozen friends at the pricy French Laundry restaurant in the Napa wine country.

Newsom says he recognizes that he must practice what he preaches and set a proper example.

He said there were more guests than he expected celebrating the 50th birthday of a longtime political adviser and that he should have left but didn’t.

“I made a bad mistake,” said Newsom. “Instead of sitting down I should have stood up and walked back and got in my car and drove to my house.”

Newsom said he will not let it happen again.

He also said that those at the party wore masks and practiced social distancing. That declaration turned out to be a whopper though as a few days later a photo surfaced that was taken at the soiree. It showed the partiers gathered at a large table inside the restaurant. They were all seated shoulder-to-shoulder and no one was masked, including Newsom who appeared to be chatting on a cell phone.

The second story involves a group of California lawmakers who reportedly took a “work” trip the past week to Hawaii amid the ongoing pandemic, just days after the state issued a travel advisory firmly warning against non-essential and out-of-state travel.

The Sacramento Bee reports the unidentified group went for the Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference.

The state travel advisory urges people to stay close to home and, if they do leave California, to self-quarantine for two weeks when they return. According to The Bee, the chairman and executive director for the Independent Voter Project said about 50 participants were in Hawaii, including fewer than 20 legislators from multiple states. He declined to say how many California lawmakers were in attendance but added that both Democrats and Republicans were there.

These are just two illustrations (there are lots more) of elected officials, all of whom consider themselves “leaders” yet they couldn’t even lead themselves to do the right thing by obeying the same Public Health Orders that all citizens are expected to comply with. Is it any wonder why folks are so cynical about the governing process when those doing the governing live by the code of “do as I say not as I do”?

This barefaced hypocrisy contributes to far too many people flouting compliance with Public Health Orders.

Given the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the nation, including California where C-19 rates increased by approximately 50 percent during the first week of November, politicians need to at least pretend they are not above it all due to their self-designated elite standing and open-ended privilege. They are under this Pandemic Siege just like the rest of us.

Here’s official actions taken in the past week:

• Late last week, California issued a travel advisory, along with Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home from travel outside the state to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The travel advisory urges against non-essential out-of-state travel, asks people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourages residents to stay local.

• On Monday, Nov. 16, the state put more than 94 percent of California’s population, including Mendocino County, in the most restrictive tier, the color purple.

• California also strengthened its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.

• On Thursday, Nov. 19, Newsom issued a curfew in the guise of a revised Stay at Home Order requiring that “non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier.” The order took effect at 10 p.m., Saturday, November 21 and will remain in effect until 5 a.m., Dec. 21.

Advice for Biden

If I were President-Elect Joe Biden, I’d stop complaining about Trump refusing to start the transition process. He’s most likely not going to initiate it anytime soon. He’s what’s known as a sore loser. So try and go around him. It may not work but you have nothing to lose by trying at this juncture.

As Vice President for eight years, you know all the people, agencies, and departments in the Executive Branch that can brief and update you on transition matters and issues. Contact them directly, requesting that they assist you — “for the good of the country” — during the transition period.

I realize that Trump will most likely order them not to meet with you, but you might be surprised how many of them may decide to do the right thing “for the good of the country.”

I would also contact the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate and invite them to a joint bi-partisan meeting where you could talk to them about working together on a Economic Recovery Plan, since our country is in the midst of a virulent Pandemic surge killing record numbers of people and many millions of Americans are jobless, or about to transition into unemployment. Time is running out for many Americans who through no fault of their own find themselves in pretty desperate straits.

As I said, you have nothing to lose by following this advice because things can’t be much worse than they are now, 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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Old Eureka
Old Petaluma
Old San Francisco-Richmond Sunset

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She came from across the water
A devil's daughter was in disguise
I crid for mercy - she bound and chained me
and then she played me, I was mesmerized
When she gave me blood red roses
They were wrapped in razor thorns
She was sly in her temptation
Then she left me on my own
Such a cold hearted woman
She promised passion everlasting
And now I'm haunted by her name
I gave up all that I ever cared for
Oh if I only had my yesterdays again
I've been blinded, now I'm broken
Sometimes I can hear her song
No man's grass was ever greener
Now I find that I don't belong
With a cold hearted woman
She touched my world and I was shaken
But she was fakin, I never knew
These days are colder and there's no shoulder
I'm just the shell for the man I was before
If there's somewhere I can run to
Till I kill the pain inside
I've been walking now for hours
Can't forget her, the Lord knows I've tried
Cause she's a cold, cold hearted woman

— Ritchie Blackmore

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Early NYC, 1900s
New York City

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On the shuttle bus

to the airport terminal,

they are discussing

Mitt Romney's candidacy

.      "As long as he is fiscally responsible

.      and doesn't hurt us financially,

.      none of the rest really matters."

.      There are nods of agreement.

i think of a hand on the nuclear trigger;

the hand of a man

who does not believe in evolution,

who does not have the vision

of one planet, one people,

circling the sun


none of the rest

really matters.

— Peter Lit

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THE CRISIS consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born, in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.

— Antonio Gramsci


  1. Eric Sunswheat November 23, 2020


    State Senator Mike McGuire commented previously on the Great Redwood Trail, as reported November 11, 2020 by the Mendocino Voice website, that seemingly contradicts Page 7 of agencies Report to the Legislature 2020 (California).

    McGuire appears to be set to seek federal removal of the rail tracks before a management plan is created for the Great Redwood Trail, while the Report to the Legislature 2020, leaves room for the possibility to retain gravel ballast in place (and thus potentially retain train track), for reduced trail project cost.

    If the supposition is that federal and other cost share funding, requires removal of train tracks for ‘rails to trails’ project funding, then as part of the project management plan prior to rail removal implementation, there should be effort to amend the legal grant writing and regulatory framework funding statutes.

    There needs to be an allowance to recognize and permit adaptable rail bikes, which pedal roll on train track and are able to be walked or carried by hand over most terrain, and are particularly suited to the Great Redwood Trail from start to finish, as the trail conditions currently exist or may persist absent mudflow and steep crevice ravines.
    Eric Sunswheat 11/23/2020

    -> By Lana Cohen, November 11, 2020
    “I don’t want anyone to think we’re gonna have a trail completed in two to three years,” notes McGuire. 
    “We need to do this project right, not fast,” he says. 

    The master plan will answer questions such as what the trail should be built from, which sections should be built first, whether it should be just for people on foot or for bikers and horseback riders as well, and more.

    There are certainly many  questions to answer one of which will be workshopped in community forums beginning in 2021. 

    Additionally, before the state can begin building, they need to get permission from the Federal Government to remove the tracks and transition the railroad to a trail.

    “The Federal Government has approved the transition from rail to trail all across the U.S., we anticipate they will do the same here,” said McGuire, who expects the states formal application to make the switch to be submitted before 2021…

    Once the final master plan has been written and engineers and rail-trail experts have been consulted, the building phase may begin.

    -> Page 7 Report to the Legislature 2020
    If the Great Redwood Trail project moves forward and the railroad corridor is converted to a trail, wetland mitigation and hazardous waste remediation will be required.

    The level of effort and therefore, cost, varies greatly depending on the chosen project design and site-specific characteristics not yet identified through environmental studies….

    The remediation estimate assumed that all ballast (gravel in railbed) would be required to be removed and cleaned off-site and that only 50 percent of the track would be easily accessible from the road, with a cost estimate of $3.9 billion to $4 billion for full remediation of the entire corridor.

    If the trail project does not move forward, or if the ballast does not require removal, this liability cost estimate will be reduced. (See Appendix F)
    [Note Appendix F – Not yet released to public as of 11/22/2020]

    • Douglas Coulter November 24, 2020

      Trails are a great alternative to cycling on roads. I have been run over 4 times in my 200,000 mile cycling history.
      We claim to want a move towards low carbon footprint yet all our laws favor automobiles. Steal a $300.00 car is grand theft auto. Steal a $2000.00 bicycle and most Mendocino cases end up misdemeanors. State street is a death trap for bicycles. Until we make human power a good alternative to fossil fuel don’t expect America’s carbon foot print to shrink.

  2. Marmon November 23, 2020


    The 3 supervisors in that case should hire their own attorney just like co-defendant Sue Anzilotti had to. She hired the very expensive Real Estate attorney Brian Carter. There is no reason the County should be defending them for their conspiring as individuals to bankrupt Borges and Gurr and run them off their property. County Counsel is just hoping they can find some immunity for those 3 that just doesn’t exist. The County should be worried about it’s own culpability mentioned in the lawsuit for allowing John McCowen, while acting in his official capacity, to influence County Counsel into doing his bidding. All these people who are being sued in their individual capacity all have money and will hopefully have to pay up out of their own pockets. The Borges/Gurr property wasn’t even in their districts, it was in Hamburg’s district, and he lived just up the hill from them. He’s not being sued, has anyone ever wondered why?

    Where is he by the way, in a witness protection program somewhere?


    P.S. Brown and McCowen had no problem with bankrupting me.

    • Lazarus November 23, 2020

      “Where is he by the way, in a witness protection program somewhere?”

      Why James, what, pray tell, is up with that?
      Be Swell,

      • Marmon November 23, 2020

        County issues statement on absence of Supervisor Hamburg

        MENDOCINO Co., 11/21/18 — Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg has missed several of the recent regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meetings, as well as a several additional meetings focused on potential changes to the county’s cannabis ordinance proposed by the Cannabis Ad Hoc committee, of which he is one of two members. His absence has been widely noted, particularly by local cannabis farmers, but until today no explanation had been provided by either the supervisor himself, his family, or the county government.

        This morning Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo, released the following statement concerning Hamburg’s absence:

        Statement Regarding Supervisor Dan Hamburg

        “Fifth District Supervisor and Board Chair Dan Hamburg has been under medical care since October 28th. His wife Sara asks for the public’s understanding and patience during this difficult time. Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

        “Hamburg’s first public absence was noted at the Cannabis Ad Hoc community meeting held in Willits on Oct. 29, organized so that he and Supervisor John McCowen could present proposals to the county’s cannabis cultivation regulations and hear feedback from the public. He has not been present for any supervisors’ meeting since, nor was he present at an all-day meeting centered on potential changes to the county’s cannabis cultivation ordinance held on Friday, Nov. 16.

        Hamburg announced that he would retire earlier this year, and that his current term would be his last, and he did not run in the recent election. The supervisor-elect, Ted Williams, ran effectively uncontested in the general election, after his opponent, Chris Skyhawk, suffer a major stroke — he will be sworn-in and sit at a meeting for the first time in early Jan.

        Hamburg’s absence, coming as it has during negotiations over an important cannabis regulation ordinance, has recalled to mind the sudden absence of former supervisor Tom Woodhouse, two years ago. Woodhouse was also on a cannabis ad hoc committee, and many believed, at the time, that his absence had an effect on how various cannabis related policies were eventually hashed out.

        For much of the discussion of the county’s cannabis regulations, Hamburg had recused himself due to a conflict of interest, but he joined the ad hoc committee to provide recommendations about amending the cultivation ordinance in July. Supervisor John McCowen told the board that the recommendations provided from the ad hoc had been reviewed by both himself and Hamburg, despite his absence.

        In the halls of the county offices, and on social media, many people described a feel of deja vu, in seeing a member of a cannabis ad hoc committee vanish without a clear explanation yet again.


        • Marmon November 23, 2020

          Cannabis overlay zones see pushback from neighbors

          September 14, 2018

          A proposal to create special zoning districts that would allow Mendocino County cannabis growers to stay in residential neighborhoods after 2020 has drawn sharp criticism from residents of the Mitchell Creek area south of Fort Bragg, one of three neighborhoods in the county designated as areas to try out the idea.

          Cannabis overlay zones, recently renamed cannabis combination districts, have an opt-in version, allowing permitted growers to stay in residential areas with lots smaller than five acres if they can win approval from at least 60 percent of their neighbors. Mitchell Creek, South Leggett and Covelo were designated as pilot projects for the idea. The Deerwood neighborhood near Ukiah and Woody Glen in Anderson Valley were designated as test areas for opt-out zones, where property owners could choose to ban cannabis operations completely.


          • Marmon November 23, 2020

            “The Deerwood neighborhood near Ukiah and Woody Glen in Anderson Valley were designated as test areas for opt-out zones, where property owners could choose to ban cannabis operations completely.”

            Borges/Gurr lived on Woody Glen just off of the Boonville Road going towards Anderson Valley. The Deerwood neighborhood was an Association, Woody Glen was not.


  3. Lazarus November 23, 2020

    I see attorney Sidney Powell has been canned from the Trump election fraud team. They said she was spouting unsubstantiated allegations.
    Well if true, she suckered me in, my bad…
    As always,

    • Marmon November 23, 2020

      The Trump team is distancing themselves from her because she is going after Republicans who benefited from Dominion as well, such as Georgia’s governor and secretary of state. They bought votes. Hang in their Laz, those two Georgia senate seats are in play.

      What Does dominion mean?

      “the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority. rule; control; domination. a territory, usually of considerable size, in which a single rulership holds sway.”


    • Bruce Anderson November 23, 2020

      Ms. Powell was raving about “communist” money from the Chinese and, of all people, Hugo Chavez (widely assumed to be dead), being used to throw the election to Biden. This bizarre outburst occurred over the weekend during one of Giuliani’s wacky press conferences. Sid probably fools people because she doesn’t present as visibly deranged like most Q-anon psychos. But even Rudy and Orange Man have announced she isn’t talking for them any more.

      • Marmon November 23, 2020


        “I agree with the campaign’s statement that I am not part of the campaign’s legal team. I never signed a retainer agreement or sent the President or the campaign a bill for my expenses or fees.

        My intent has always been to expose all the fraud I could find and let the chips fall where they may —whether it be upon Republicans or Democrats.

        The evidence I’m compiling is overwhelming that this software tool was used to shift millions of votes from President [Donald] Trump and other Republican candidates to Biden and other Democrat candidates. We are proceeding to prepare our lawsuit and plan to file it this week. It will be epic.

        We will not allow this great Republic to be stolen by communists from without and within or our votes altered or manipulated by foreign actors in Hong Kong, Iran, Venezuela, or Serbia, for example, who have neither regard for human life nor the people who are the engine of this exceptional country.

        #WeThePeople elected Donald Trump and other Republican candidates to restore the vision of America as a place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

        You may assist this effort by making a non tax-deductible contribution to #KrakenOnSteroids”

        -Sidney Powell

        • Harvey Reading November 23, 2020

          LOL, Marmon. Your sources are as “impeccable” as usual Communists? Gimme a break. Even if it was true, I’d take commies over fascists any day. They won the war in Europe against the fascisti for us back in the 40s after all.

        • Harvey Reading November 23, 2020

          One more thing, Marmon, if my last comment got through the censor; you should take a look at the “article” linked below. Even the owner of the web site, which is very, very libertarian, had to make a sort-of disclaimer for the nonsense and wishful thinking of the writer. It still beats what you posted…for plausibility at least.

  4. Betsy Cawn November 23, 2020

    County elected officials and the impacts of their actions (or inaction, in the case of a few, like Mendocino’s Dan Gjerde) reflect life-long ambitions and collaborations that the mostly oblivious or at least inattentive “public” are unaware of but certainly pay for, one way or another. The differences between our two counties’ are minor but significant. In both, the “leaders” shape the contour and features of the system that benefits some and neglects others. In both counties, the “Latino” populations suffer more from the latest health threat of communicable disease, but the conditions in which their vulnerability is increased are the results of class/wealth based choices. Grape growers and winemakers enjoy the privileges of exalted industrial magnates, while pot growers and distributors are treated as the underclass (but still mostly independent of the moguls). Meanwhile the expendable classes — old, poor, sick, unemployable — remain the victims of unchecked immiseration.

    To put my comments in today’s edition in context, they were prompted by the republication of a beautifully caustic essay by Phil Murphy [“Dear Luisa” (March 20, 2002)]. On this side of the Cow, Mr. Murphy lost his local radio program due to the objections of a former good friend/neighbor’s complaints to the KPFZ programming committee — for alleged “racism” voiced in his comments on how poorly our county treated the woebegone youth of various demographic sectors he accurately portrayed as underserved by the vaunted authorities, and minority groups still practicing fratrilineal insistence on “family values” over modern means of protection from “unwanted” pregnancy (resulting in underage parents, “welfare moms,” and their unruly spawn).*

    In the year Y2K, our soon to be retired District 5 Supervisor, Rob Brown, attested to his opposition to restoring “family planning services” in Lake County after a Board of Supervisors’ ordered hiatus in 1985, during which time the level of socio-economic ills such as fetal alcohol (or drug) syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, developmental disabilities, and struggling or insouciant dependent mothers. He argued against the restoration of family planning services (Planned Parenthood had offered to restore them with their non-profit model of reproductive health care options — the least of which is abortion), on December 19, 2000, because the instruction of pre-pubescent youngsters and teens in schools conflicted with his religious beliefs. Fortunately, the BoS did not accede to his preference, but the communities with “severely economically disadvantaged” populations (mostly Clearlake and Lucerne/Nice, followed by Upper Lake and Clearlake Oaks) — also home to many older adults with limited means — are homes to many of the “families” created during that 15-year suspension of basic public health care, whose progeny are now among the “second generation” of unproductive (and sometimes destructive) young child-bearing victims of minimized support systems, which the local schools are tasked with “educating.”

    All the “key performance indicators” of unhealthy populations, rehashed annually in the Robert Wood Johnson county “health assessment” profiles, place Lake County perpetually in the lowest 5% of all California counties. And those reports publish only the data results of those programs that report their “units of service,” which are always received by the Board of Supervisors as ill-chosen focal points of our whole county’s otherwise fine, “upward bound” students and socially cohesive circles of traditional achievers. Efforts to address the extreme costs of “super utilizers” of emergency services, funded by Adventist Health Corporation in five cities across the nation — one of which is Clearlake — deploy social workers into the “field” (i.e., homeless encampments) and multi-agency annual surveys of our homeless populations (the “Point in Time” counts required by the US Housing & Community Development agency) reveal hundreds of more or less helpless citizens for whom “housing first” has become the local “answer.”

    Our two counties’ Mental Health Departments desire to provide ameliorative solutions to help, but — as we can see from Mr. Scaramella’s reports (for example, in describing the wholly inept “Measure B” committee), the priorities of our boards of supervisors reflect the continuing notion that attracting “tourists” and investing in promotion of over-simplified “easy living” opportunities. If anything has become unavoidably clear here in the past five years, it is that for roughly half the residents daily life is anything but easy, and as always the top decision-makers pass the buck to home-spun community organizations mostly sustained by volunteers.

    The organizational model for addressing “natural hazards” and “disaster preparedness” — for those able bodied of sound mind (and preferably sound income sources) — is still reliant on the obvious “social distancing” of the authorities from the people by means of delegating their responsibilities to “boards, committees, and commissions” who are comprised of either sycophants and advantage-seekers with the unseen collusion of powerful land and business owners, or the earnest but politically innocent community volunteers bearing the brunt of hoary policies and undivulged practices conducted in the inner sancta of government “administration.” Such is the fate of the Lake
    County Mental Health Advisory Board, a premium example of official neglect and misdirection by our elected chieftains.

    After long “dark ages” of exclusionary wheeling and dealing by the responsible parties and their public servants (not our public service providers, of course), the advent of “social media” and more widely spread information technology is beginning to expand citizen-based understanding of systems we fund but receive the short end of the stick from. Small communities striving to overcome the handicaps of all sorts of socio-economic impairments have new tools for generating civic collaboration, and Anderson Valley is among the many in Mendocino who have succeeded — in no small part because of the AVA — in creating resources for all local inhabitants.

    What’s up with the City of Ukiah? How do city and county elected officials manage to create intractable messes like the highest rates of COVID infection and mentally-disturbed abandoned souls — for whom the enormous employment base of “helping professionals” provide perceptibly ineffective, short-term cycles of “assistance” that continue to attract the burdensome but nonetheless human street dwellers — or, as in Lake County, unmanageable levels of “petty” crime that plague our poorest neighborhoods committed by socially undesirable drug addicts and thugs (many of whom are not the impoverished “homeless,” but residents in “substandard” structures).

    Sheriff’s departments in both counties, given the responsibility for isolating mentally incompetent or chemically dependent misfits from the good germans, as the groundskeepers of civic institutions and janitorial class of “correctional” systems, continuously report the capture and incarceration of “petty” criminals (the “Catch of the Day” on any given day exemplifies the emphasis on small-time crookery), but the creators of malfeasance and abuse of authority favoring misbegotten schemes that we all pay for, collectively, blithely enjoy their “special immunities” and relatively comfortable paychecks.

    The past forty years of such adventitiousness, practiced by wholly unaccountable elected officials at all levels of governance, have ushered in this new era of intellectual depravity — from which the original “back to the landers” sought isolation and “self-determination” in wilder Northern Coastal counties in the 1970s (with some exceptions like your John Pinches and Ted Williams) — and we are left with the weakest civic system imaginable. Will the center hold? Will the asshole in charge leave the People’s House without coercion? Will the scandals of this century leave anything behind but bitter cynicism, hostile taxpayers, and congenitally amoral “leaders”? I’ll take my answers off the air, but once again laud all of you for “fanning the flames of dissent.”

    *Outspoken critics of “civil servants” are always skating on the proverbial thin ice, and our dicey relationship with local ownership of broadcast media — back to Mr. Robey as the mastermind of our PEG channel’s choke-hold on the only other outlet of “alternative” news and information — includes remaining in the good graces of public officials in order to remain on the FCC-regulated public airwaves. How the beloved Editoria of the AVA handle the sensitive issue of selecting public comments or keeping this feature from being overrun by bickering and back-biting repetitiveness is no different. Why they choose to print my musings and soliloquies is a mystery to me, but to the best of my knowledge the AVA is the only fora for this kind of very local discourse — use it with care, if you value your First Amendment rights, my fellow Americans.

  5. Douglas Coulter November 23, 2020

    The grapes of wrath
    I used to camp along Russian River when I cycled through Ukiah. Close to Hwy 20 was my regular spot. Frogs always sang me to sleep.
    I had to attend court in 2008 so I rode the bus and found a nice campsite off Perkins behind an old plum orchard. The frog sang there also.
    When Covid 19 shutdowns began I expected riots within 30 days and went back to that plum orchard to camp away from public.
    The frogs don’t sing anymore. That orchard is gone, replaced with grapes.
    The soil along the River is corrosive, I had to treat my shoes with bee oil to get the white leather back to brown.
    My rope rotted, just cheap jute but 30 days does not cause that in normal soils.
    Well the riots never came and Im back in my apartment waiting to die with the rest of America’s senior population.
    I see the two big spikes in Covid 19, are they linked to grape workers migration? Do the math.
    Migrant workers are packed into small shacks, ride small busses to work site, all violations of Covid protection. When do they come to Ukiah in large numbers? Vine tending and harvest!
    Most Covid cases are Hispanic in Ukiah. Is the wine industry being protected?

  6. chuck dunbar November 23, 2020

    Trump and Giuliani Lose Again on Voting Issues

    “A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit President Donald Trump’s campaign brought seeking to block the certification of the presidential election results in Pennsylvania. The judge’s withering opinion dismissing the case said the suit, which Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani turned up to argue in a small Pennsylvania city this week, was both legally flawed and lacking in evidence.”

    “ ‘This Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence,’ U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote. ‘In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.’ ”

    “ ‘This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated…. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption . That has not happened.’ ”

    “ ‘Even assuming that they can establish that their right to vote has been denied, which they cannot, Plaintiffs seek to remedy the denial of their votes by invalidating the votes of millions of others. Rather than requesting that their votes be counted, they seek to discredit scores of other votes, but only for one race. This is simply not how the Constitution works,’ the judge wrote.”
    11/21/20 and 11/22/20 Politico

  7. George Hollister November 23, 2020

    It appears we have gone way beyond this at this point, but at some time, not that long ago, it should have been pointed out that government paying drunks, drug addicts and bums to come live on our streets is government playing the role of codependent. Codependent behavior used to frowned on. What has changed?

    • Douglas Coulter November 24, 2020

      In 2004 I attended Alternatives Conference in Sacramento, a gathering of survivors of mental health industry. The money was going to dual diagnosis, drugs and crazy. The people with mental health issues were being ignored unless the used drugs or alcohol. This left a large number of people in twilight zone.
      People who could live in public housing and not cause problem as long as they were not distressed or bothered.
      Addiction produces too many variables to be controlled by any program. Rehab with zero tolerance helps some but repeat seems to be the norm.
      Crazy people are rarely dangerous except to themselves, yet the stigma of Psycho and the shower scenario rule the public view.

  8. Craig Stehr November 23, 2020

    Just got done feeding the pig the leftover refried beans, and the new pot of miso soup is on the stove top, plus a couple of quiches are out of the oven to be enjoyed with Black Oak´ s fine coffee. Ignoring the mental thinking machine (and I believe that the body fell away some time ago), the Immortal Atman is the all pervasive absolute reality. Messages from near and far are received, mostly in favor of “spiritually focused direct action groups emerging worldwide”. Meanwhile, it is another beautiful sunny morning in Redwood Valley, California. Toodles.

  9. Douglas Coulter November 23, 2020

    Judge Judy
    I have watched a dozen or so Judge Judy show and do not see a bias against men. I do see she does not like lame excuses and arguments. Simple yes or no answer to simple questions seem to work best.
    Blow smoke up her ass and you will pay.
    Far more entertainment than a cooking show or a game show, unless it is Japanese ninja challenge.

  10. Douglas Coulter November 24, 2020

    Have you ever been arrested?
    My first experience was April 4 1968. The same day Martin Luther King Jr was murdered. Truckee NewsPaper ran the headline, Coulter Gang Rides Again! They could print the names of juveniles back then.
    My two brothers and I spent most of our time unsupervised. Dad worked at Sugar Bowl as head maintenance man and often was gone 3 days due to weather on Donner Summit.
    My brothers and I explored, three teen age boys unsupervised, with advanced skills in locks and security. Most Truckee houses were not occupied year round and we loved exploring. Very little theft but we did steel booze and a fetish for binoculars. We had 30 of them. 31 counts of burglary at 14 years of age would equal a few years probation. 1st offense non-violent BUT I pissed off judge Vernon Stole and did not show fear, terror, and obedience. A 50 year old man/judge is bothered by a 14 year old boy? He gave me 7 years California Youth Authority.
    A psychiatrist declared I was schizophrenic after ten min interview and a written exam so I ended up in Napa State Hospital Ward M 6
    What does it take to wake you up to the reality of a police state?

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