AFTER AN HOUR of irrelevant, stumbling, beside-the-point, unfocused, and downright cringing discussion, the Supervisors voted 3-2 to continue Mrs. Liz Barney's public info contract, Gjerde and Williams, capitulating to the cadre of hysterics and crackpots in their districts, dissenting. I can't remember the Supervisors ever fine-combing a contract, and never one this small. Her sin? The local Woke snitches had discovered her Parler account.
IT WAS A DEPRESSING HOUR. The contract for 15-17 thousand annual dollars for Liz Barney to function as an occasional public info officer for the Sheriff's Department managed to slur the otherwise perfect work record of Mrs. Barney until County Counsel Christian Curtis, whose wandering opinions could be a stand-in act for Professor Irwin Corey, finally put it bluntly: "We don't consider political speech a factor in awarding contracts."
THAT'S RIGHT, and Mrs. Barney's private political opinions are her own. If they impinged on her job performance that would be grounds to not consider her for public work. But there is no evidence she's been other than a model employee, scrupulously keeping her political opinions to herself.
THIS WAS ALWAYS a clearcut matter of free speech. Is a person entitled to her opinions unrelated to her work? Of course. Why is this even up for debate? Answer: Because a handful of “liberal” bigots made Mrs. Barney an issue after one of their many snoops broke into Mrs. Barney's Parler account to find opinions contrary to their opinions. The snoops were especially distressed, they claimed, by a Parler opinion that masking was ineffective in containing covid. Science says masking is effective, but millions of Americans believe otherwise, no more delusional than local libs who think the Democratic National Committee is the path forward.
NEVER COMPLAIN, never explain, so I won't ask Supervisor Williams if yesterday's NO vote he cast on the Barney contract was cast after three of his colleagues had correctly voted to approve it. Pretty cagy of the 5th District solon. His no vote keeps the nutballs concentrated in his and Gjerde's districts off his case, while the Supes, as a body, managed to do the right thing after an hour of inane back and forth, made even more inane by an impenetrable (and endless) opinion from County Counsel. Gjerde has always been good at keeping the screaming meemies content, at least with him. But then Fort Bragg and environs seem barely aware that they even have a Supervisor, which has worked to the advantage of years of, ahem, light representation for the 4th District at the county level.
I STILL MISS Frank Zotter at the County Counsel's Office. A great comic figure of Dickens quality, Zotter confidently offered up wrong opinions on whatever subject was referred to him. He even appeared in Boonville to mislead our CSD board a few times, us rubes deferring to the legal eminence from over the hill. Zotter prosecuted me once on behalf of Mendo County. He didn't seem to see several jurors chuckling to themselves as he repeatedly denounced me and my newspaper as “scurrilous,” the only pejorative he was able to come up with. Zotter was apoplectic, but the jury was out less than an hour and found for me. Zotter was incredulous, but got his pound of flesh when the Mendo jury was reversed by the Frisco-based appellate court. (You taxpayers should take a look some time at court headquarters in the Civic Center. King Farouk never enjoyed comparable comforts.) Zotter's now an education attorney with that Santa Rosa-based seraglio that provides all of Mendo's stumbling school districts with tax-paid legal protection whenever an uppity teacher or student or parent tries to privately sue one of them.
MARK SPRINKLE, once upon a time of Ukiah where he made his way as a truck driver, has been in state prison for a quarter century, which most people who know his story would say is out of all proportion to the offense he was convicted of — 90 seconds of the sexual touching of three naked girls, all under age, who'd disrobed in his car as part prank and, I think, part revenge scheme orchestrated by Sprinkle's ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend's voluptuous teenage daughter was the lead prankster. The Pope himself could not have resisted this “child's” attractions, but for years Sprinkle said he had.
SPRINKLE'S EX was a kind of tweeker gang girl among Ukiah's thriving tweeker community. When Sprinkle refused to marry her… Well, hell hath no fury etc. and etc. It was during a recorded call from the County Jail that Sprinkle admitted he'd touched mom's virginal child and her two friends, one of them a ten-year-old the two older girls were supposedly baby sitting. Mom triumphantly ran to the cops with her recording, and the cops, jubilant they'd nailed a man they regarded as an ongoing irritant, charged Sprinkle as a chomo. A jury of his non-peers duly convicted Sprinkle, who'd turned down an offer of 3-5.
I'VE READ the transcript of that incriminating phone call and I'd say it was inconclusive. Did Sprinkle touch the girls? For years, even when it cost him parole, he said he hadn't. If a guy keeps himself in prison when all he has to do is issue the slobbery false remorse that will free him? Maybe he didn't do a minute and a half of nubile breast checks. But when Sprink finally said he did touch the girls the parole board said he was insincere. Catch-22.
A FEW YEARS AGO, I talked with DA Eyster about the Sprinkle case. Mendo is unique in that its top law enforcement people are accessible, including the top-top guy, the DA. Eyster quickly produced a thick file labeled “Sprinkle,” going on to say that the folder established that Sprinkle was a chomo. I argued he obviously wasn't a chomo in the lurk-around-the-children's-playground sense, that his conviction was for a one-off episode, not one more episode in a history of pervery. Eyster subsequently dispatched an assistant DA to Sprink's parole hearing to argue against his release, the assistant DA's trip to Chino conveniently coinciding with an expenses paid rendezvous with his wife at a fancy foothills b&b. Hey, it's Mendo, Jake. (Fair to point out that the DA has not opposed parole for Sprinkle at Sprinkle’s more recent parole hearings.)
BUT SPRINKLE has again been turned down for parole, just after also being slam-dunked by Mendo Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield, the latter slamming the petitioner with no indication she knew anything at all about his case, and cared less that she was dooming a now 60-year-old man to another five years of sleeping in a lower bunk on the gym floor at Chino State Prison.
ROBERT C. SMITH, of the Mendo Public Defender's Office, wrote what seems to me a brilliantly irrefutable appeal for Sprinkle, but all for naught with the unhearing Parole Board.
DON'T GET ME STARTED on the appellate courts, but in my experience with the Frisco branch, they should be doomed to an eternity reading their own garbled decisions, but Sprinkle's only one of thousands of victims of gross injustice , but for now he's Mendo's Number One vic.
WHICH REMINDS ME: You know how at election time there'll be fifty of these loafing appellate court bastards up for automatic re-election? Without a word who they are or what their records are? In California they're almost all "liberal" appointees out of the Democrat Party. Vote NO on all of them.
FROM THE AVA, 2011: Mendocino County DA David Eyster recently dispatched his ace prosecutor, Paul Sequiera, to Mule Creek State Prison for a parole hearing, Mark Sprinkle's parole hearing. Eyster seems to think that Sprinkle is too dangerous to be let out of prison after 16 years on a “child molest” conviction, the facts of which have been exhaustively discussed in this newspaper. Sequiera's presentation included a brand new accusation; that years ago, when Sprinkle was still in the Mendocino County Jail, he had tried to find someone to murder his prosecutor, Beth Norman. Ms. Norman, who is still with the DA's office, had offered Sprinkle 3-5 if he would plead guilty. He refused to plead and, as it always does, the local justice system maxed Sprinkle out big time. Sequiera, incidentally, pulling out all the stops, told the parole board that Norman herself would have attended the hearing but she was afraid for her life! Pure bullpucky that one. After all these years as a prosecutor she's suddenly afraid? I think it's more likely that she still hates the guy on such a visceral, unreasoning level she's managed to retroactively traumatize herself. Ms. Norman doesn't strike me as a person afraid of much of anything, and she's certainly prosecuted persons far more dangerous than Sprinkle, a non-violent offender. Sprinkle still insists he is innocent, and boy o boy has he paid for his insistence because he has again been denied parole, this time for five years before he can even apply for another hearing. Sprinkle's crime? Three girls suddenly took their clothes off in his car. Sprinkle soon commenced a busy 90 seconds of gyno-explorations. That was the essential allegation Ms. Norman took to a jury, and that was the allegation the girls themselves testified to in court. Two of the girls were, to put it mildly, sexually precocious. The third girl was a ten-year-old the other two were supposedly babysitting. The leader of the sudden disrobe was, in effect, Sprinkle's step-daughter. Sprinkle had been engaged to her mother, a heavy drug user with a long history of unsustained child molest accusations against the serial men in her turbulent life. There is every indication that Mom, bitter because Sprinkle had wisely refused to marry her, put her daughter up to entrapping Sprinkle. That daughter, Natasha, at the time of the alleged molest, had just turned 14. With the body of a 20-year-old pole dancer, and regularly seen late at night at the truck stop north of Ukiah, Natasha was not sexually inexperienced. The afternoon of the alleged molest, Natasha had shouted, “Let's race!” and soon all three girls were nude in Sprinkle's car west of Ukiah on the old Masonite Road. The girls subsequently testified that they had indeed voluntarily disrobed, and that Sprinkle had not asked them to take their clothes off or in any way coerced them into doing it. What ensued, of course, is the core of the dispute that got Sprinkle a total of 45-years-to-life. The girls said Sprinkle “touched their privates.” One of them referred to her reproductive organs as “my pubes.” That was it. No “full body penetration,” in the charming phrase of law enforcement, no violence, no threats of violence. Sprinkle has always insisted he didn't even do the 90 seconds which has won him life in prison, and this guy is a child molester in the grand tradition of the crime? The guy stalking the schoolyard? The internet porn perv? Humbert-Humbert? Two of Sprinkle's jurors signed affidavits that if they'd known Sprinkle was going to get 45 years for this extremely dubious crime, they would not have found him guilty. Sprinkle had been in more than his share of trouble before the alleged molest. He was one of these guys who'd drive by the cops and flip them off, and he was a fixture in the Ukiah area's tweeker, lowlife community. Local cops were jubilant at his disproportionate sentence for the alleged molest. Whatever his after-hours life, Sprinkle had always been employed and, except for his drug adventures and low-intensity crimes — he set a dumpster on fire and was convicted of arson — he'd always been a contributing citizen as a long-haul truck driver. In February of 2012, Mark Sprinkle is no longer a young man. His drug days are, presumably, behind him. He has not gotten in trouble in prison where his record has been almost perfect. He's now 52 years old and in poor health, often hospitalized for severe asthma attacks. There is no opposition to Sprinkle's release from his alleged victims who, incidentally, cannot be found, at least by me and I've looked, and looked hard. Why our DA would go out of his way to keep this man in prison is absolutely mystifying. Sprinkle's continued incarceration is certainly not in the public interest to pay to keep in prison at a time when truly dangerous people are being released every day, many of them right here in Mendocino County. In fact, under the new state sentencing guidelines, persons locally convicted of bad stuff up to and including felony assaults, will do their time in the leisurely confines of the Mendocino County Jail.
MENDO'S VAXX program is a mess almost as messy as the County's dope policy. I did a little poll here in Boonville, asking exactly eight people where they got their covid information. No one answered, “Mendocino County.” Five said they got their updates on where things stood from the Bay Area's television news, the other three said all they knew was that the vaccination was not available here yet.
I'M WAITING for Johnson & Johnson's (Buy American!) one-shot vaccination, which I heard from the Bay Area television news will be generally available some time late summer. The one-time I sought, as directed, vaxx info from the County, I was unsuccessful as, I understand from on-line commentary, many Mendo people are. I suppose, at my age (81), I might even get priority access if I kept calling County offices until someone answered the phone, maybe even a taxi cab dispatched from Ukiah with Dr. Coren in the back seat brandishing a syringe. “What's in that syringe, doctor?” Nothing to fear, Mr. Anderson. You won't feel a thing ever again.
NOTICED THIS on-line comment about my fave site of all County sites: “Don't repair the Haul Road they said…now not only is the Haul Road gone but so are the days of freshwater fish in the little lake… Did I mention the bathrooms had to be removed also? Why keep piling the sand up? It's fucked up anyway… just let it do whatever it's going to do. It's a shame this beautiful spot has turned into this mess.” The beautiful spot referred to here is the Mackerricher oceanside spot. I haven't been out there lately, but all of us who love the Haul Road (Fort Bragg) know that the battle to hold off the ocean's pounding seems way beyond State Park's ability.
THE SNOWFLAKES and snowflake-ism are dangerously out of control. New York Times staffers are fighting in private and in public after veteran reporter Donald McNeil Jr. was ousted on the say-so of teen snowflakes for using the N-word during a company-sponsored school trip to Peru in 2019. The Times had allowed McNeil Jr. to keep his job after complaints regarding the racist slur surfaced — but he was forced out after 150 Times employees out of a global staff of 4,500 signed a letter slamming the decision. Since then, writers and staff have been engaged in a battle in a private Facebook group and on Twitter with McNeil's supporters saying management were “bullied by a vocal minority” and he should have been given the “benefit of the doubt.” Former Times labor correspondent Steven Greenhouse hit out at those “far more willing to sympathize with these privileged 15- and 16-year-olds than with a long-time colleague,” while others said his career shouldn't have ended over “one word.”
IN WHAT RATIONAL WORLD would anybody be damned on this basis? According to McNeil, he used the N-word after a student on a Times-sponsored educational cruise to Peru had asked him “whether I thought a classmate of hers should have been suspended for a video she had made as a 12-year-old in which she used” the N-word. McNeil then repeated the N-word as he tried to determine the context of the original use by the classmate.
THAT'S IT. The guy's fired after 30 years on the job.
THUS SPAKE the Covid Oracle, aka Dr. Fauci, who said Thursday that "By the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, ‘open season,’ namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.” The prob, excluding anti-vaxxers, has always been confusion at the federal level under Trump and, of course, supply. By April, Fauci says, supply and the logistics of supply will have been worked out.
I'VE READ 'The Catholic Worker' for at least fifty years. It's managed to follow me from address to address all that time. I used to know some Workers, and have always admired their selflessness in putting themselves where their Catholicism is in feeding and housing the destitute, some of the food being raised on the Peter Maurin Farm at Marlboro, New York. Of all my radlib affiliations, the Workers, and don't laugh, have been the steadiest, dare I say the most wholesome. An odd choice of words, I know, but it's the word that pops up when I think of their commitment, their reliability put up against… Well, the flesh seems especially weak on the left. The Catholic Worker costs one cent and appears seven times a year. It was begun by the founders of the Catholic Worker Movement, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, pacifists and politically left radicals whose lives make interesting reading for those of you still able to focus on long-distance prose. Send them as many cents as you can afford and get yourself a sub: Catholic Worker, 36 East First Street, New York, NY 10003.
THEY ALL DO IT, from city councils to school boards, to supervisors. The Willits City Council has hired a “search firm” to find a new police chief. Willits has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for the past decade, and might have fallen clear into civic dissolution were it not for its citizens passing a sales tax increase last November, but they have the money to hire outsiders to do their hiring for them? Call me naive, but aren't theoretically reliable people elected to public bodies to assume responsibility for their towns, school boards and so on, and shouldn't basic key position hiring decisions be theirs, not delegated to “search firms” responsible to no one?
MAYBE WILLITS is gun shy (sic) after its most recent police chief, a black woman, departed, claiming racism, sexism and general cracker-ism from the white boys she was hired to supervise. For their Woke deficiencies, the former chief wants half-a-mil. We haven't heard from the white boys yet, although according to the newly-formed, all-female electronic lynch mobs, the Willits Police Department wears Klan robes under their uniforms.
THIS IS HOW INSANE the Cancel Culture has become: Seth Brenzel, a gay white father of a bi-racial child, has been denied a spot on the San Francisco Board of Education's volunteer parent committee. Brenzel was cool every which way until it got to his, his, his whiteness.
ACCORDING to the highly respected British medical journal, Lancet, many of the Americans killed by COVID-19 might have lived if better political decisions had been made before and during the pandemic. The Lancet study, titled Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era, rips Trump, saying he “brought misfortune to the USA and the planet.” It describes Trump’s response to COVID as “inept and insufficient,” though it says the roots of the nation’s public-health problems go much deeper. Mary Bassett, a Lancet commission member and director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, told The Guardian: “The U.S. has fared so badly with this pandemic, but the bungling can’t be attributed only to Mr. Trump, it also has to do with these societal failures.” The Lancet study estimates that, had America’s virus death toll matched up with the rates in other high-income G-7 countries, some 40 percent of deaths could have been avoided. Almost 470,000 Americans have died so far.
ADD ALYSON BAILEY to Mendo's long roster of the disappeared. The young Measure B Project Manager has, without explanation, been replaced by all-purpose Mendo bureaucrat Jenine Miller. Ms. Bailey did seem in over her head, but then so does the unfocused, inept Measure B advisory committee giving her orders, not to mention the Mendo managers involved. Bezos himself would be hard put to bring order to this mess. “Our goal is to move forward at a faster clip with increased transparency, while continuing to maintain a strong, collaborative relationship with our Measure B Commission,” Miller told the UDJ. (Huh? Continuing what?)
JANUARY 6TH was ugly for a fact, as mob actions almost always are. And Trump clearly encouraged his cretinous legion to invade the Capitol, but it wasn't an insurrection in any sense of the term. An insurrection is planned and armed, although some of the morons would have harmed the most famous libs, and even pathetic old Pence, if they had found them. But they didn't. The impeachment hearings are living evidence of how far we've fallen, a parade of hacks mouthing tired platitudes in a process whose outcome is predetermined.
CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN ON ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: “I've met RFK Jr. many times since we were both Senior Attorneys at NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council]. He's a talented advocate and I think very highly of his work on environmental issues and human rights. But on vaccines and autism, frankly he's lost his marbles and I applaud Instagram for taking away his platform to spread dangerous bunk. I say this as the father of an autistic son. Every autism parent wishes for a simple causal explanation, but at this point we just don't have it. RFK Jr. does a huge disservice to the autism community and really to all of us by peddling junk theories that try to blame vaccines. Especially right now, when public confidence in vaccines is so critical to saving lives and ending this deadly pandemic.”
WE'RE HEARING that another woman has come forward to say that Sgt. Murray of the Ukiah PD behaved toward her in a hands-on lewd and lascivious manner. Murray will be arraigned on March 5 on charges that just seem to keep on coming.
NOW that they won't have Trump to impeach, will the Democrats finally start to do a few things that might begin to rescue the millions of Americans buried in the rubble of a still collapsing economy? Doubt it. Take the “systemic racism” the Democrats constantly brandish with BLM banners and kente shawls while they do nothing to adjust the system to take some of the sting out of it for the many millions that the system doesn't work for. The pathetic and infinitely hypocritical Democrat leadership won't even allow single payer up for a vote.
Q-ANON. Speculating with a friend on the Q-Anon phenomenon, which is merely additional evidence that we're deep in The End Times, she said she was surprised that so many millions buy into it. But from the get sages ranging from PT Barnum to HL Mencken have stated versions of Barnum's “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Mencken, circa 1925, with President Coolidge probably in mind, predicted that it wouldn't be long before we elected a straight-up “moron” as president. We've since elected several, all Republicans of course, them being the party of the learning disabled, but the Democrats don't seem exactly teeming with whiz kids either. The system is not only systemically prejudicial to all citizens with incomes under $70,000 the system is degraded to where only deeply flawed people occupy its elected slots at the higher levels. (cf Eric Swalwell)
"…THE DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE of the suspected Capitol rioters is different from that of past right-wing extremists. The average age of the arrestees we studied is 40. Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs.
"Unlike the stereotypical extremist, many of the alleged participants in the Capitol riot have a lot to lose. They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants.
"Strikingly, court documents indicate that only 9 percent are unemployed. Of the earlier far-right-extremist suspects we studied, 61 percent were under 35, 25 percent were unemployed, and almost none worked in white-collar occupations.
"Fourth, most of the insurrectionists do not come from deep-red strongholds. People familiar with America’s political geography might imagine the Capitol rioters as having marinated in places where they are unlikely to encounter anyone from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
"Yet of those arrested for their role in the Capitol riot, more than half came from counties that Biden won; one-sixth came from counties that Trump won with less than 60 percent of the vote."
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 Doc – “Wealthy towns with good schools, by contrast, have people who cannot afford to go against the grain for social reasons.” And are they not the communities that have the most influence? We walk around outside un-masked freely in my area too, but go into a store? Not so much. I forgot my mask once walking into the grocery store and made it all the way back to the milk section before people started staring at me. I realized why and hurried back to my car to grab it. That’s the social reasons you’re talking about. And you’re right.
And even the impoverished and backwoods folks have their own versions of that need for social acceptance. The game is too far along for a great awakening where, say, suddenly it’s announced that enough people are vaccinated and people can choose to live freely again. I wish everyone had the resources to move to another state if it fit them better…but upwards of 40% of the workforce is now either forced onto the dole or now under-employed, when they used to be able to think past next month’s bills.
 Was not the Super Bowl nearly an insufferable deluge of shameless, pandering dreck?
It was like watching the Oscars these days. Everyone trying to one-up the next guy to be the most tolerant.
I just wanted a damn beer or pizza commercial.
Instead we got run-on awareness training and 14 promos for CBS’ new hit show starring Queen Latifer on skis.
I’m not averse to the awareness concept for important issues, but can we possibly be more friggin aware than we already are? It’s the only topic allowed to be discussed. We’re aware. It’s enough already.
Also noticed the not-so-subtle lack of diversity in the back-up performers behind the half-time “star”…far as I can tell, a 100% lack. How’s that for a mindfuck?
 Sigh. The effort to transfer funds from “hard” police response, i.e., responding to crimes that have been or are being committed, to “soft” societal protections, i.e., social services, mental health interventions, social benefits such as adequate food and housing, i.e., preventing crimes from happening when people are desperate, means that a problem such as someone experiencing a mental health crisis will not be treated like a violent criminal but like someone experiencing a mental health crisis. If you look at cities where this more sophisticated approach has been adopted, you will see a significant reduction in crime. Let cops do cop work and social workers do social work, and society benefits. It’s a better use of taxpayer dollars. If you want to educate yourself, check out the reports on Denver’s approach. It has made the city substantially safer for residents, reduced crime, and significantly reduced crimes of opportunity– muggings, break-and-enter crimes, street petty crimes. Or don’t, and stick to your assumptions. Now, let the shrieking begin
 Hah! I’m not like you suckers. I have an electric heat pump, so I don’t depend on gas or oil, which destroys the environment. While you guys are paying through the nose for oil, I won’t care because I use electricity. And I have a hybrid RAV4, so I don’t care if gasoline goes to $10 per gallon. Me and my green cohorts will be fine, while you “normies” freeze during the upcoming winters.
 As a retiree who doesn’t much give a damn about what others think, it’s easy for me to defy these people. I don’t stand to be ruined professionally and I’m old enough to be regarded as harmless, rather than risk being fined or imprisoned.
Nonetheless, I offer this observation: the Wokesters have been permitted to put us on the defensive. At the first suggestion that we may have transgressed some redefined new boundary we cower in abject apology, in hopes of defusing their wrath.
Instead, we must defend our rational turf. When accused of taking a position of which they disapprove we must get in their face and stand by our convictions with no apology.
Individually these people are not formidable; they derive their courage from their pack. Before balance can be restored to society we must reassert ourselves with them one-on-one.
 I am old enough to remember when the term “political correctness” first entered the public dialog and can recall having lunch at work one day where we were entertaining ourselves by calling each other out for perceived offenses. At the time it all seemed like innocent fun, and of course we would humor the politically correct by playing along using the newly correct terminologies. It is no longer innocent fun. Humor itself seems to have been banned. We now have cancel culture on steroids only too eager to destroy people and organizations for the most minor of offenses. This will not end well.
 Notwithstanding all the hoopla inside the Beltway – and all the discussion over whether the Democrats should have called more witnesses or not – the one huge takeaway, the one that will resonate for years with most thinking Americans – is Mitch McConnell standing there stating absolutely that Donald Trump is morally and practically responsible for the sedition, AFTER having voted to acquit him. Cynicism and disgust at Washington DC has always been high, but this takes it to new astronomic levels. And the Democrats will play that clip over and over – in any context where Trump or any Republican tries to claim it was a Dem stitch-up. The Dems win hands-down – even with the acquittal.