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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

Shower Increase | 19 New Cases | Sore Arm | Clare Mill | Magical Buttercup | Tunnel Workers | Future Farmers | Yorkville BBQ | Masks Required | True Evil | Eggs & Hats | Sisyphus Hill | Sun Grazing | Cannabis Survey | Home Economics | Forest Reserve | County Nepotism | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | California Stimulus | Little Something | Unity Dodge | Big Blade | Faustian Bargain | Extreme Chess | Powerful Ghoul | Al Blozis | Atomic Shortcuts

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SHOWERS will increase from the north later today, with lowering snow levels tonight. Scattered showers will linger Saturday morning. High pressure will return with dry weather for most of the weekend and early next week. (NWS)

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19 NEW COVID CASES and another death reported in Mendocino County Thursday.

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CHUCK DUNBAR WRITES: Update on Coast vaccine delivery:

Got my first shot, as an above 70 guy today at C.V. Starr Center, run very nicely by the Adventists. A long, long line – lots of folks there to get this done – but wait was just 20 minutes or so, with volunteer staff collecting and providing info while we were in line. Maybe 10 or so staff giving the actual shots, then we waited for 15 minutes to insure no immediate, serious response. The Adventist web site was very user-friendly, and got an appt in less than a week. Really a relief to get this started and really a fine job by the Adventists. Have a slightly sore arm and an appt for the second shot on 3/18. May we all get this done as quickly as possible, and be safe and help get us all back to normal and good.

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Clare Mill Stop

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by Cat Spydell

Buttercup was crying the other morning out in the corral. Well, actually, she was bleating. Because Buttercup is a really old rather broken down black and white horned pygmy goat.

My “critter mom” “spidey senses” went off and I got up a couple hours earlier than usual to check on her. She was inside the connecting old puppy pen next to the corral. It’s really just a portion of the corral separated by an attached portable kennel fence, a necessity when we had 10 big white floofy pups next to the horse and two goats last year. I carefully ninja’d my way in to reach her. She couldn’t get up. Here we go, I thought. With old animals, any anomaly is a red flag. I helped her stand. And was surprised when once standing and with a little encouraging push, she hip-hopped her arthritic way back to the main corral. She just needed a jump start, something I am sure we can all relate too.

I kept my eye on Buttercup, because after breakfast between the rains, she went over and plopped down and stayed in the center of the corral hill all day. Completely unusual behavior for her. She usually commandeers the stall dog house. When your goat is years older than her expected life span, anything out of the ordinary is cause for concern.

It was later at the evening feeding time when I saw Fern the big Nubian goat aggressively jump on Buttercup’s back. Then it all came together. Fern was attacking Buttercup! That’s why Butter was staying in new spots of the corral, to hide. I realized that it was because even though the goats had plenty of food, we had run out of Fern’s special hay the day before. Fern has a condition that makes her believe she is always starving. I have become overly adept at goat psychology over the years.

Fern came to our rescue called Pixie Dust Ranch one night in 2011. She was a young goat being raised as Christmas dinner in South-Central LA. She escaped from the laundry room where she was being kept, fell down some stairs, and was injured. She couldn’t open her jaw anymore to eat, started losing weight, and was kicked out into the streets of the city. By the time we got her, I worried she was dying. I kept her alive with some Gatorade and soft foods and put her in our make-shift animal hospice while we waited for local “goat people” to respond (why do rescue animals always arrive on Friday nights?). We did what we could for Fern, giving her applesauce and blended up lettuce. On Sunday, she was desperately drinking her Gatorade and it sparked her hunger, and she just OPENED her jaw wide, reset it, and proceeded to devour every dead leaf in a 6 foot circle around her. And she’s been kind of “off” and crazy about food and hasn’t stopped eating ever since. So I realized, now Fern (though she is eating goat pellets, hay pellets, greens, etc.) was Hungry again for her usual hay and was taking it out on Buttercup.

A quick trip to the Anderson Valley Farm Supply the next morning solved that hay crisis, and now everything is fine again. Buttercup wasn’t dying after all. She realized Fern wouldn’t cross the mud to attack her, and that is why she was hiding in some weird places. Whew.

You see, Buttercup is not your average pygmy goat. In 2016 a fun friend of mine from the LA music scene asked if she could “borrow a goat.” Without even flinching, I told my friend Cassie Dee I had access to a few lifesize cardboard “standee” goats I was pretty sure I could get ahold of, as two of my friends were storing leftover props from my ice show producer days. In a weird twist of fate, neither friend harboring a standee goat was around that week.

So I asked Cassie, what exactly are your plans for the goat? Buttercup had done a lot of public appearances: Preschool show-and-tell, the local Pet Shop “Pet a Goat” fundraiser, our street’s annual Labor Day Parade, a holiday horse show dressed up as Santa’s Little Helper. She was even part of a stunt for a hopeful teen asking his potential date, “Will You Goat To Prom With Me?” For a goat, Buttercup gets around. So I figured, okay, if for some reason they really do need a goat, Buttercup’s your girl, always up for an adventure.

Cassie said that she and her husband Dave are from Chicago and they wanted to break the Cubs Curse. I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded intriguing. I did some research and discovered a cranky old man named William Sianis cursed the Cubs baseball team on behalf of his billy goat, Murphy, a beast he liked to bring to Cubs games until management complained and kicked the goat out of the stadium. He apparently said upon leaving in a huff with the rejected Murphy, “Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more.” This statement was followed up with a telegram by Sianis to the Cubs owner that supposedly read: “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again. You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.” Hence the curse. Hence the need for a goat. For over 70 years, rabid Cubs fans have brought goats to games in an attempt to break the Cubs curse, but all have failed.

Since the stand-in cardboard goats weren’t available, I began arranging an unprecedented Pixie Dust Ranch trip to Downtown LA, to break a decades old curse caused by a goat in 1945. What could go wrong?

I arranged to get our travel rig, a “short bus” skoolie called Sunshine the Bus ready, and on October 18, 2016, we loaded up our crew, which included a long-haired werewolfy-looking driver, a tame traveling peacock named Rad, my big white dog named Drinian, and my feral cat, Athena, who goes everywhere with me. The Cubs were playing the Dodgers that night. That afternoon we brought the skoolie through LA traffic about 45 minutes away from the ranch to Elysian Park, up on top of a tall hill which overlooks downtown LA and Dodger Stadium. Though Sunshine the Bus had trouble climbing the hill, we made it! We unloaded critters, and dinner fixins, and enjoyed a potluck. Our friend Dale showed up in his DeLorean (referencing the movie Back to the Future, and specifically the scene in Back to the Future II when Marty discovers in the film that the Cubs won the World Series in October 2015). For us, we were all poised to make it happen, though one year later than the movie predicted.

We ate Chicago-style pizza and other delectable food and I guess because I am a non-denominational minister, I felt compelled to “do something” regarding the curse, which I was starting to take seriously. I walked around the park as my lovely friends gathered on the hillside overlooking Dodger stadium. The sun was setting, the stadium and city lights were coming on. I got the curse-breaking crew to join me in a circle. We put Buttercup, who was wearing a collar and leash and running around with her new human friends, in the middle. She liked the attention. I said something like, “If there is a curse, let’s end it now. Because we are all here together, and some of us like the Dodgers, some like the Cubs. But none of us like curses. Especially Buttercup.” And we all kinda cheered and howled and broke it up and went our own ways soon after. As we watched the heartbeat of the city of lights flash beneath us, the Pacific Ocean a black ribbon against an orange sky on the far horizon, we felt like we had done something important. Until the Cubs lost that night, 0-6. We had made a pretty big deal about the curse breaking party and invited a lot of our mutual friends, and about a dozen made the trek. So we felt a tad — (please don’t hate me) “sheepish” about making a big to-do, only to have the Cubs lose so wretchedly that night. We packed up and got the critters home. Daisy and Fern, the other goats, must have questioned Buttercup about her whereabouts, though I doubt those two would have believed Buttercup’s wackadoo story about a schoolbus, Dodgers’ stadium, and a curse anyway.

We were not feeling as (I won’t say sheepish again) down and out the next night when lo! THE CUBS WON! We jested, “see? We broke the curse!” And then the next night — they won again! And again! Every day the Cubs won, we became more and more surprised. Did our Elysian Park journey to break the curse work? After all these decades, and after all the people and numerous goats that had tried to break the curse before and failing, had we found the perfect DeLorean/pygmy goat combination to actually finally break the Cubs Curse?

YES. The Cubs won every other game they played after that, and of course, they went on to win the World Series. The curse was officially broken after 71 years. I’m just going to say it. Buttercup is a damn cute and spunky little goat so I’m not really THAT surprised. Apparently, she is a little bit magical too.

Now Buttercup is living out her last days in Philo. No one here knows she is somewhat “famous” for her participation in breaking the Cubs Curse. She’s just a little nanny goat who gets upset when the dogs run free around the corral, who loves treats and going for walks, and who is smart enough to hide from her bigger tormentor goat by staying on the other side of a mud puddle. To us, she is just a sweet addition to our wacky little family and we love her. Cheers to our lovely Buttercup, the Curse Slaying Goat. I’m glad she’s okay.

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Tunnel Workers, early 1900s

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BOONVILLE/AV FUTURE FARMERS OF AMERICA has 2 FFA members earning their California State FFA Degree this year. This is the highest award given in the California FFA.

Congratulations Kaitlin Espinoza and Alex Tovar!

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Our weekly BBQ for this upcoming Saturday, February 20 is going to be soy glazed grilled salmon served with a Thai-inspired takeout noodle salad.

We will be serving from 12:00ish to 4:00ish, on a first come, first served basis. The price will be $15 per plate.

This week we will be making chicken and veggie pot pies for our Take-and-Bakes.

Thank you all for your continuing support in keeping the Market open!

See you soon,


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Rod DeWitt: I'm curious about the home made sign over the road on the Sonoma County side going down to Cloverdale by the WPA water trough. Couldn't quite make it out.

ON LINE REPLY: That sign has been there for awhile. It used to say “wear your mask and social distance.” I hadn’t noticed that they changed it though. 

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Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report - January 2021

by Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Kreig

We have entered our 17th year of “living with the wild” in Anderson Valley and are more than ever convinced that it’s the perfect place to be. In the first years we spent many days hiking the property and identified areas that needed cleanup, some of which we remediated awhile back, eg: mattress springs in a watercourse and oxygen tanks in a field far from the house which have made great gongs. But the ones we put off because they were so daunting, were the dump sites which looked as though they had been used for generations; everything from glass bottles, car parts, mounds of rusted cans, tin foil, plastic everything, and jugs, much of it buried in mud, and huge rusted through oil drums used to burn the garbage now half buried in the creek bed, and all dumped off a steep slope into a seasonal creek in several places.

Well, we sure waited for the perfect time to tackle the clean up! When we told the grand kids, now 12 and 14, what we wanted to do and asked whether they’d like to join us, they were excited. An adventure and mining for unknown treasures, what could be better. We’ve been out several times now and have unearthed enough garbage, all sorted by glass, plastic or metal, to fill six or seven barrels. We even dragged the 3 rusted oil barrels up the hill from the creek. The girls have found “treasures” to help decorate the bunkhouse they’re building — old colored glass jars...and a few items that have gone to the “old tools” collection accumulating in the cactus garden — a lopper and some huge pulleys. The best item is an old CA license plate dated 1956. Sixty years at least of dumped waste.

It turns out there was one more unexpected result of the adventure, an unsolicited but very welcome essay by twelve year old Zoey which is as follows:

Us or the planet?

by Zoey Crisman (granddaughter) 1/2021

Have you ever wondered why people pollute the planet? Well here’s your answer right here! Sometimes, people are just too careless and lazy to throw their trash in a trash can. Instead, they just toss it on the ground or in a stream and forget about it. I used to live around that sort of thing all the time. But when I finally opened my eyes to what was happening around me, I had the bright idea to write an article about it. And so here I am, sitting at my desk, writing away.

Ok, so you’ve read about what lazy people do. But now it’s time to talk about truly evil people. You may be wondering why I’m using the word “evil.” That’s because these people are harming the planet and know what they’re doing! These people know what they’re doing to the earth, and yet, they keep doing it. The funny thing is, most of the people who are doing this, already have a ton of money.

Then why do they still hurt nature, you ask? Some people are greedy and want more money! Which is pretty ironic, considering that money is just green paper. And do you know what paper comes from? Tree bark. People are destroying nature for tree bark. And what happens when there are no trees left? What then? When there’s no more money to be had, will people finally see what they are doing?

If so, then it's already too late to do anything. Without trees, this planet will lose its main source of oxygen. And when everyone’s crying about how stupid he/she was, nature isn’t going to help us. After all, we never helped nature.

Now that you’ve read my article, you can see what people are doing to our planet. And for people who still don’t believe me or who choose to not listen, if our planet dies because of pollution or deforestation, the only people we can blame are us. Some people are so greedy for money, that they’ll do anything to get it.

So before it’s too late, open your eyes to the real threat. Not just a threat to us, but also a threat to all the creatures living on this planet and even the planet itself. Be glad that Covid is at least something we can survive.

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Mendocino County BoS - Feb 23, 2021 – item: 

To save the regulated cannabis industry and protect public money in Mendocino County, please support me in an effort to direct staff to apply the Sensitive Species and Habitat Review as originally scoped by the 2017 approved and unchallenged Mitigated Negative Declaration to include only new, non-contiguous development. This will significantly improve the permitting logjam, reduce allocation of public funds and remove inappropriate hurdles from legacy cultivation transition. The M in MND is about mitigating impacts of new development. The item includes realignment of sunset relocation, not shifting the sunset date, but allowing projects to be relocated between now and the deadline. The agenda item also calls for support of SB59, a bill critical to allow local and state agencies to process the existing backlog.

Agenda Item: Discussion and Possible Action Including Cannabis Cultivation Phase 1 Update, Status of the Third Party California Environmental Quality Act Consultant Framework and Process, Clarification of Environmental Mitigation Measures in 10A.17, Correction of Sunset Relocation Date for Coastal Area, and SB59 Support

(Sponsor: Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee of Supervisors Haschak and Williams)

Recommended Action/Motion:

Direct staff to 1) Issue guidance and clarification regarding environmental mitigation measures identifying the information that must be included in application packets to determine whether Sensitive Species Habitat Review is Required; 2) Draft an ordinance amendment aligning the relocation deadline with Sunset deadline to encourage relocation out of residential neighborhoods; 3) Approve letter supporting SB59 (a bill to extend provisional license sunset); and authorize Chair to sign same.

Summary of Request: 

Planning and Building Services recently published, on February 3, 2021, the Cannabis CEQA Consultant Recommended Minimum Qualifications and Statement of Qualifications that will be required to be submitted to the Cannabis Program email in order to be listed on the website. These documents may be found at:


Section 10A.17.100(A) of the Mendocino County Code is ambiguous as to which permit applications involve “proposed development” requiring a Sensitive Species and Habitat Review and consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Mitigated Negative Declaration associated with 10A.17 Cannabis Cultivation ordinance, however, is clear that a mitigation effort of Sensitive Species and Habitat Review by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is scoped only to new, non-contiguous cultivation development. Based on the supporting environmental documents, it would appear prudent to direct staff to issue guidance clarifying which permit applications this requirement applies to and what information applicants must include to allow the County to make this determination. This clarification may lessen the extent of the SSHR bottleneck by potentially eliminating unnecessary review for many of the 1100 current applicants. 

The sunset deadline was previously adjusted by the board for areas within two (2) miles of the Coastal Zone Boundary, but the deadline to relocation was not. This has allowed continued cultivation in the affected sunset neighborhoods without possibility of transferring to appropriate cultivation locations. The request for alignment will allow expedited relocation which could otherwise be blocked. The misalignment is likely due to board confusion at time of approved motion, not actual intent of the board.

SB59 would extend the repeal date of these provisional license provisions to July 1, 2028. By extending provisional licensure, the applications for which are required to be signed under penalty of perjury, the bill would expand the scope of the crime of perjury, and would thereby impose a state-mandated local program. Read more at:

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Dear fellow Mendocino County Resident, 

The Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group (CCAG) is comprised of Covelo & Round Valley commercial cannabis cultivators seeking licenses in Mendocino County. We regularly attend Board of Supervisor meetings at the County level, follow the current state of affairs in relation to our Mendocino County cannabis cultivation ordinance, and advocate for the small farmer. 

The County is set to open up to larger commercial sites once the Phase 3 ordinance is passed. Phase 3 is currently on track to go to the Planning Commission in early March. We have concerns about some of the recommendations being made by the Board of Supervisors in relation to expanded canopy allowances for cannabis. 

Currently, the County Ordinance 10A.17 allows a maximum of 10,000 sq ft of plant canopy in designated zoning. Under the proposed Phase 3 ordinance, all permits would be discretionary through a land use permit process. Three identified zoning types would be permitted to expand cultivation up to 10% of their acreage allowance. 

The identified sites are in Ag Land, Upland Residential and Range Land zoning (e.g. a Range land parcel of 100 acres, if approved under the discretionary process, could obtain a permit to cultivate 10 acres of cannabis). Many members of the cannabis industry do not wish to see this type of expansion allowed in our County. 

However, there are many in the cannabis industry that argue expansion is the right path forward for economic development in order for the industry in our County to stay competitive in the marketplace statewide, as well as be prepared for when interstate commerce becomes a viable path. 

We believe there should be community engagement from all sides on this issue which has countywide impacts. CCAG has created this survey to ask the community at large if it is in favor of the proposed Board direction or a different allowance for expansion. 

This survey will close on March 1st. The results will be shared at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings. 

We appreciate your time and request your help in distributing this survey widely to Mendocino County residents. Together, we can make a powerful recommendation that is truly representative of the values we all hold as a community.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach us by email at: 


Monique Ramirez 

For the Covelo Cannabis Advocacy Group

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Dear Stewards and Friends--

We have some big and exciting news of things brewing in the groves:

This coming week, we are placing full-page ads in the Fort Bragg Advocate, the Mendocino Beacon, the Willits News, and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in support of the creation of a 20,000 acre Mendocino Coast Redwood Forest Reserve. I am attaching a sample of the ad, but there is crucial text missing from the sample because of the limitations of the size of the pdf in relation to a full page newspaper ad. The following will be included in the actual ad: testimony from our supporters, a letter to Mike Powers from 11 year old climate activist Ravel Gauthier, and, most importantly, a long list of all the people, businesses, and organizations in support. We hope you can see fit to placing your name on our ad, in the following format: Chad Swimmer, Educator, Caspar, CA

Inspired by the Stewards, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo has asked Cal Fire for Government to Government Negotiations to have a say in logging in JDSF. This is a fantastic development, showing the power of networking and the shared struggle we are in to keep our planet livable for our children and grandchildren, and as it could put two or more THPs on hold until we can develop legislation to move our Redwood Forest Reserve forward.

I am meeting this next week with State Senator Mike McGuire to discuss our proposal and the issues we are concerned about. If you are interested in emailing him to express your solidarity with our cause, this could help a lot.

We have a number of new pages on our ever-growing website: a Gratitude Page <> with thanks to all of our donors, a Forest Voices Page <> with your testimony from the 2,000 plus comments we have received on our petition, we will soon have a great and very readable article from local mountain biker and environmental scientist Erin Alvey, describing the ins and outs of carbon sequestration credits and markets, and, most importantly, we have unified all of our action items into a Take Action Page <>.

We also hope you can donate--if you haven't already. Even $10 helps.

If you are not concerned about a tax-deduction, do it on our website <>. If you would like tax credit, send a check to our fiscal sponsor, the Trees Foundation, 439 Melville Rd, Garberville, CA, 95542 with the note “Mendocino Trail Stewards” on the lower left.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to having your name on the ad.

Antoiette Padilla-Lopez: Together for the Planet, the Mendocino Trail Stewards

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This is one of the things wrong with local governments, and with healthcare in general…

The person who has hung around the longest and worked the most desks is promoted to a position that they have NO QUALIFICATIONS for!

Is “Mary Alice” a Nurse? Is she a Doctor? Has she worked in Healthcare before?

Did Mary Alice go to college? Has Mary Alice done anything at all besides being a receptionist, then a managing receptionist, then HR Director, and now Boss of all of Lower Middle Earth?

Mary Alice is a Professional County Employee, and maybe she graduated from High School. Mary Alice specializes in low paid government work, and is a great example of how Counties promote the most popular employees who know the most people, instead of having to pay a decent salary to a qualified and experienced person…

Unqualified, Incompetent, Corrupt and Nepotistic… California Government at it’s finest!

Enjoy the PERS retirement, Mary, you obviously earned it!

I don’t know Mary Alice, but from reading the press release it looks like you hit the nail on the head. I guess nowadays hiring qualified folks is elitist.

A bit harsh on Mary there. But having worked for Humboldt County for 28 years, and left for another position, this is the default practice used by HR to hire upper level employees. They know who will get the position but conduct a fake competitive recruitment and months later anoint the chosen person. Witnessed over and over even at the top level of the County. The result is not good for morale or successful operations. It is always an Inside Game and nothing can be done to change it, period. If you complain or question the process you are marked and black balled by HR and Management. The system is a failure.

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TED CRUZ returned to Texas today, less than 24 hours after fleeing the state in the middle of an energy crisis for a vacation with his family in Mexico, after being eviscerated for making the trip instead of staying to help. 

Cruz released a statement on Thursday afternoon, claiming that his family decided to make the trip after losing power in their home. He said his daughters had asked to take a trip with friends and that he escorted them to “be a good dad.” “This has been an infuriating week for Texans. Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too. With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” he said. 

LAR LIVERMORE WONDERS, “Is it just my imagination, or is there an unusually large number of truly terrible people running around America these days?”

THURSDAY marked the fifth day in a row that thousands of homes have been left without power in Texas with more than 492,000 still in the dark. The lack of power and extreme weather has kickstarted a growing crisis in the food supply chain. Power outages at grocery stores have spoiled fresh produce, shelves have been depleted as panicked shoppers stockpile goods and there are no sign of deliveries arriving along the icy roads to replenish stocks. In Houston, people lined up for four hours at a local Burger King to get a hot meal. Water supply is even more concerning with seven million Texans issued with boil water orders. Among those urged to boil water are thousands without the power to do so in Harris County, leaving them with a desperate choice between going without water or facing possible illness. In scenes reminiscent of a third world country, Houston residents filled up buckets of water from a spigot. In Galveston, Mayor Craig Brown said burst pipes had depleted the areas water supply as he described the devastation the storm is wreaking as “worse than a hurricane.” 


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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 18, 2021

Elliot, Hamilton, Linde

TIMOTHY ELLIOTT, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, forging/altering vehicle registration.

ANDREW HAMILTON, Willits. Disoderly conduct-alcohol.


Petersen, Steele, Wolk, Wright

KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.

EDWARD STEELE, Ukiah. Commuity Supervision violation. (Frequent Flyer)

MARK WOLK, Ukiah. Burglary.

ERIC WRIGHT, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, battery on custodial officer.

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NEWSOM, LAWMAKERS AGREE TO $600 STIMULUS CHECKS Plus Boost for Undocumented Workers

by Jackie Botts

As Congress hammers out President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, California has worked out its own plan to get more cash into the hands of struggling Californians, particularly undocumented families left out of federal assistance.

After weeks of public hearings and closed-door negotiations, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate leader Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today announced $600 one-time payments to households receiving the state’s earned income tax credit, along with an extra $600 for undocumented taxpayers earning less than $75,000 who were ineligible for previous federal stimulus payments and other assistance for low-income residents. 

The deal is a compromise version of Newsom’s Golden State Stimulus package and would help an estimated 5.7 million Californians. It now needs formal approval in the state Legislature as part of a $9.6 billion California economic stimulus package aimed at helping workers and small businesses. A vote could come as soon as Monday. 

“People are hungry and hurting,” Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, said in a statement. “I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Under Newsom’s original $2.4 billion proposal, California would have sent $600 payments to the families of approximately 4 million workers with annual incomes below $30,000, including some undocumented workers. But some advocates and lawmakers argued that the money would be better spent on filling gaps in federal relief, rather than trying to jumpstart the economy. Instead, they pushed for two alternatives that would send much larger cash payments payments to California’s nearly one in 10 workerswho are undocumented. 

Today’s $3.8 billion Golden State Stimulus deal took those concerns into account. California will now send $600 tax rebates out to 3.8 million workers who made less than $30,000 last year. On top of that, an estimated 575,000 undocumented workers who make up to $75,000 a year will get an extra $600, in some cases bringing their total aid to $1,200. 

Grants of $600 will also go out to 405,000 very low-income families with children enrolled in CalWorks, as well as 1.2 million elderly, blind and disabled recipients of Supplemental Security Income or the state’s Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

California’s coffers have grown since Newsom’s January proposal, likely increasing lawmakers’ appetite to send out more cash. The state now expects $10.3 billion more in revenue than was projected in January, driven by the pandemic gains of the state’s wealthiest residents.

Sending thousands in relief to undocumented immigrants would be a political nonstarter in most other parts of the country. But not in California, which has used its growing Democratic super majority of legislators — of which one in four are Latino — to break economic barriers for those without legal status, granting them driver’s licenses, sending them low-income tax refunds, and expanding health care for undocumented children and young adults.

“I think about my community and the 2 million people across the state who have been left out of any type of assistance,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles who was formally undocumented herself, in a hearing on the proposal.

Undocumented Californians, many who work in industries ravaged both by pandemic closures and the coronavirus itself, don’t qualify for federal stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. They are also largely ineligible for other safety net benefits, like food stamps. Newsom created a program to send $500 to undocumented immigrants last spring, but there was only enough money for about 150,000 people. 

Over the summer, Newsom also created Housing for the Harvest to provide hotel rooms for farmworkers who can’t safely quarantine at home. But as of late January, just 119 rooms had been reserved. Earlier today Newsom acknowledged that the program has been “underutilized.” The early action deal doubles down on the program, investing $24 million in financial assistance and services for farmworkers.

Newsom’s stimulus will act like a boost to the California’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which is already available to undocumented workers who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, thanks to a new law passed last year.

During legislative hearings, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended sending $1,800 payments just to the low-income ITIN filers, cutting the plan’s price tag to under $1 billion. Then distribute the remaining funds to the approximately half of undocumented workers who don’t have ITINS or other very low-income Californians.

Fiscal and policy analyst Chas Alamo said Newsom’s $2.4 billion proposal was too small to stimulate California’s $3.1 trillion economy. By contrast, he noted Californians received about $4 billion in unemployment benefits each week during 2020.

The LAO alternative had gained support from a group of 17 Assembly Democrats. 

“We must continue to work together to address the void created by years of inaction by the federal government that has left our undocumented worker population in the cold, without any viable economic support to survive this pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the budget committee.

Meanwhile, a coalition of pro-immigrant and anti-poverty advocacy groups had called for lawmakers to build immigrant relief on top of Newsom’s original proposal: For most workers, they wanted to keep the $600 tax credits. For households making less than $50,000 last year that file taxes with ITINS, they asked California to send $1,200 per parent and child.

The compromise with Newsom was less. Advocates applauded lawmakers for sending extra help to undocumented immigrants, but said it didn’t go far enough. 

“With a multi-billion dollar surplus we should be creating a real California for All,” said Sasha Feldstein, economic justice policy manager at the California Immigrant Policy Center. “And that means filling in all of the gaps left by exclusionary federal relief efforts, not just pieces.”

(This article is part of the California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequality and economic survival in California. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.)

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“SPEAKS WELL of a man to need a little something in this world. I wouldn't trust a man who could git through it cold sober.” 

― Harry Crew

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“The calls for “unity” are a dodge. Unity requires broad consensual reality, not cynically-constructed pseudo-realities designed to cancel any notion of the common good, a common culture, or the public interest.”

It would seem that “broad consensual reality” is a bridge too far in a hyper-partisan political and cultural environment. The common good, a common culture, or the public interest … not sure they exist either, in any really practicable way.

There are very rich people, some that live comfortably enough, then working families that just get by, and a whole lot of poor who have not and never will have productive or prosperous lives.

It’s a question of class conflict, and competing interests, with a lot of race-base tribalism in the mix … not a lot of commonality it seems to me.

And while I think calling appeals to “unity” a dodge is going a bit far – they are meaningless in the context of America today, and the problems it faces. At least Donald Trump didn’t ever even pretend to call for unity.

The Biden Administration needs to get on with a sensible agenda to address critical issues while they have the numbers … I agree that it’s a waste of effort to call for “unity” – just get on with it.

And if they are opening the border with Mexico, and it has resulted in the entry of thousands in an unregulated and un-monitored way … then that is nuts. Not the way to solve a humanitarian crisis.

* * *

Mill Blade

* * *


A pioneer, not in a good way.

by Matt Taibbi

Rush Limbaugh, who died of lung cancer Wednesday, was once a top-40 DJ who broadcast under the name “Jeff Christie” at KQV in Pittsburgh.

Listen to “Jeff’s” rollicking intro for “Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder, for example. The man who would become infamous as a peddler of race politics really sells Stevie’s music! You can detect a trace of “America’s Anchorman” in his intro for “Garden Party” — by “former all-American boy turned hippie” Ricky Nelson — but most of his energy is pure radio. 

When he went national in 1988 with a WABC talk show, it was built around a new character. “Jeff Christie” had long since made way for Rush, the “Doctor of Democracy,” man of “zero mistakes” who would tell drivetime audiences the real truths. Limbaugh’s virtuosity with the medium was key to the act. The tireless polysyllabic self-congratulation, which tumbled out of his mouth in breathtaking flourishes of gibberish braggadocio — he was “the most dangerous man in America,” with the “largest hypothalamus in North America,” who was “serving humanity just by opening my mouth,” with “half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair” — was for the benefit of a vast audience that was used to being told it was too stupid to understand its own interests.

Rush told them a different story. They were plenty smart. After all, they had chosen to listen to the smartest person in history. When he praised himself, he was actually praising his audience. They ate it up. He was a pioneer of the audience-optimization model of media — identify an audience, observe its obsessions, then vomit your demographic’s self-image back across the airwaves in big chunks, in between ad blocs. Jacking off your target market’s hangups was an innovation back then, and he had the skill to turn his broadcast studio into a second Oval Office. 

Rush grew audience in an almost agricultural fashion, watering the landscape with diatribes about the libs and feminazis that truckers and cabbies with their radios on spread “across the fruited plain.” Unlike the Republican politicians he aided, the core of Rush’s act was the voters themselves: he made caller stories central to his show, carefully tending to the audience relationship, offering a kind of group therapy just by listening, in addition to serving up plenty of targets to blame in response. 

This made him, at his height, more powerful than any Republican politician. The Newt Gingriches and George Bushes of the world were hired lackeys whose job was to convince the ordinary person that war, deregulation, and supply-side economics were good for regular folk, not just donors like Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and Lockheed-Martin. Those pols weren’t winning elections carrying Bill Buckley and George Will into battle. They had no connection to actual people. Rush did. The Republicans needed him, and he delivered, selling his audience out to a partisan con that among other things convinced a generation of Middle American listeners that their enemies were poor minorities and immigrants whose hunger for tax dollars was being stoked by “race hustlers“ on the Democratic side.

Occasionally I would listen to Rush (he took some bizarre shots at me over the years, by the way, once even calling me a part of the “media-Democrat-industrial-complex,” which gave some of my friends a huge laugh), and it always struck me that this was a person without much natural interest in politics. It was totally unsurprising that he tried to move into NFL commentary, since he clearly liked football. But what Rush clearly loved above all was being a performer, and he’d hit on a Faustian bargain that gave him a gigantic audience and the adulation of millions. All he had to do in return was have no morals at all and embrace a sociopathic programming concept.

If the old KQV station-house in Pittsburgh was situated on “the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk,“ as the DJs supposedly put it, Rush’s audience operated at the intersection of mass frustration and corporate interest. He was happy to flatter the worst urges rising out of the former — he really did try out a regular bit called the “AIDS Update,” where he mocked people who died of HIV over music tracks like “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” — in order to deliver up their political energy into the maw of the latter. In other words, his job was priming the lowest common denominator in order to demonize half the country, while selling out the other half. And he was happy to do it, so long as he got to keep the star seat.

The problem is, any act based on riling an audience against bugbears and ghosts requires an escalating storyline. Anger media is like dope, there’s a law of diminishing returns. The next generation of Rushes got this. Limbaugh had to be troubled by the arrival of people like Glenn Beck (who was far more creative in his conspiratorial insanity than Rush) and mortified by the rise of Infowars and Alex Jones, a parody version of Rush’s own act that substituted pure testosterone-addled screaming and chest-pounding for Rush’s King’s-English boasts (Jones made Rush sound like Noël Coward).

There was nothing to do but try to up the ante of his usual act, which was probably on his mind when he did the Sandra Fluke “slut” bit.

Once, Limbaugh was trying to riff on an L.A. Times column by David Ehrenstein, but it came across like a gross Hail Mary ploy to get his old mojo back. As Ehrenstein put it, “Clearly the Republican party… is 'split' over what to do in the wake of having lost so much political capital.”

Limbaugh would continue to have a highly-rated show, but his position as the Republican Party’s vote-whisperer was destined to disappear with the arrival of Donald Trump, who unlike Bush and Cheney and Gingrich and Dole could speak directly to people. 

Even though Rush paved the way for Trump by fusing politics and entertainment, he was an unneeded middleman by 2016. Trump cut him out and turned his presidential campaign into the souped-up, with-teeth version of Rush’s act. He was the new political media star, many times over. After getting elected, Trump gave Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in what felt like a left-handed compliment, like Bo Jackson doing charity events with Brian Bosworth.

In that moment we saw that Trump was president and Rush once again was just a DJ, who spun hate instead of hits, resentment instead of records. For all our sakes, he should have stayed Jeff Christie.


* * *

Russian Chess Players

* * *


Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday. Fox News called him a pioneer; HuffPost (correctly) proclaimed him a “bigoted king.” I’ll go with powerful ghoul. Rush said racist, sexist, and odiously right-wing shit every day for hours and hours on end, for years.

* * *

Al Blozis was an offensive tackle with the Giants for three seasons before heading into the Army. He was killed in France in 1945. The Giants have retired his No. 32. Blozis, who starred at Georgetown, is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.

* * *


Texas Governor Scapegoats Wind; Extreme weather exposes atomic shortcuts

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott jumped on Fox News to blame President Biden along with wind and solar power for the state’s electric grid collapse during this latest round of climate-crisis extreme winter weather. Bloomberg reports, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid manager, more wind was online than forecasted and was the least affected. All energy generators on the grid were hard hit, including nuclear power, but the blizzard exposed energy politics and energy lobbyists, not renewable technology, as the chief culprit. South Texas nuclear power plant was one contributor to the grid collapse when it failed to winterize its steam turbines to save money, and frozen feedwater pumps caused a reactor SCRAM.


  1. Eric Sunswheat February 19, 2021

    RE: sensible agenda to address critical issues.

    -> February 15, 2021
    All hemp and cannabis products have to undergo testing for THC levels, but the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule that would give growers a little more leniency…

    Hemp crops will have to be destroyed if the thc levels exceed 0.3% because at that point it becomes marijuana.
    Additionally, testing does not have to be done at the tip of the plant, where THC is the most potent.

    “They’ve put it back on to the state to design what they call performance-based sampling protocols where you may sample from the whole plant including the lower parts of the plant where it might be less potent or a mixture of the top and the bottom,” Masson stated…

    “I’m really excited about this microgreens because we produce so much leafy green products here in Yuma,” Masson said. “So, once we get a set of guidelines in place for growing microgreens, then we can start producing them commercially, then we can include them in salad kits.”

    -> January 29, 2021
    Known as ‘America’s salad bowl,’ Yuma County, Arizona grows much of the iceberg lettuce and other leafy greens consumed in the United States. During the winter months, the area grows as much as 90 percent of America’s leafy greens.

    Yet, over the past decade, indoor vertical farms popping up in cities throughout the country have begun to decentralize the produce market. But can they scale enough to provide consumers with local vegetables and even fruits year-round while still being able to compete with the price of conventionally grown produce?..

    “We believe that vertical farming will play an instrumental role in the future of local, pesticide-free, sustainable food production year-round in nearly any location in the world,” said Hiroki Koga, Co-Founder &CEO of Oishii, which figured out how to vertically farm strawberries, growing the Omakase Berry…

    “The industry is in its infancy, and over time yields will increase and production costs will decrease. There truly is a roadmap to reaching cost parity with greenhouse and conventional production systems.”

  2. Lazarus February 19, 2021

    RE: Got my first shot

    I got the second Moderna shot a few days ago. For me, it was much different than the first dose. About 12 hours after getting the stuff, things went downhill rapidly. I had flu symptoms for the next 24 hours. The most relevant issue, for me, was the inability to sleep the first night after the shot.
    An acquaintance got the second Pfizer dose and did not have the reaction I did with Moderna.
    Be Swell,

  3. Betsy Cawn February 19, 2021

    On behalf of all my friends who donate to animal rescue and recovery groups around the world for elephants, and for the sake of the animals themselves, the Republican Party should abandon the symbol it does not embody in the 21st Century. “Seeing the elephant” (of war) is apparently beyond their psychopathic capacity, and the intent to harm the “law makers” in our duly elected Congress should warrant the full approbation of their hideous behavior. NOT elephantine, by any means.

  4. Marshall Newman February 19, 2021

    Considering the BS spread by Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz in the last week, Texas should consider Methane as a new energy source.

  5. chuck dunbar February 19, 2021

    “In that moment we saw that Trump was president and Rush once again was just a DJ, who spun hate instead of hits, resentment instead of records. For all our sakes, he should have stayed Jeff Christie.”
    Excellent piece by Matt Taibbi–clearly sets out the progression of hate radio, with Trump taking over the gig as president, all the rest pre-empted and left in the far distance.

  6. Marmon February 19, 2021


    So, my brother took my 89 year old mother to her vaccination appointment Wednesday at 9:30 am. When they got there a line of about a 100 people were already lined up ahead of them. As it turned out turned out, everybody had a 9:30 appointment so it was first come first served, but somehow they neglected to tell everyone that. The temperature at time was still in the 30’s, and the vaccination clinic was slow to get started. My mother stood in line for about an hour until she gave up and had my brother take her home. There were wheelchairs there but a lot of younger and more healthier assholes decided they needed to use them for just a chair because they got there early and were tired of standing.

    If this is the best Dr. Gary Pace can do for Lake County seniors, he can’t leave soon enough. I guess they’re going over to drive-in sites next week which will be better for seniors than having to stand out in the wind, rain and cold for several hours at a time.

    Now getting another appointment for her is most likely going to be another challenge because of all the competition.


    • George Hollister February 19, 2021

      I (Cindy) used the state website, and all went well at the Fairgrounds in Ukiah. In and out in 20 minutes, or less. Well done by those professionals there, and those responsible for organizing the event. Some are trying to sneak in from Lake County. Sorry, but that doesn’t work. It is good to see something involving government function like it is supposed to.

      • Marmon February 19, 2021

        Public Health – Lake County

        COVID-19 Update: Moderna Vaccine Shipping Delays Continue, due to Severe Weather

        Vaccine Distribution Update

        “As of yesterday afternoon the State reported most orders of Moderna vaccine placed “since mid to late last week [had] not yet shipped.” This is due to severe weather disrupting work at a key distribution hub. A “back log of orders,” has resulted, “that will need to get out once weather conditions improve.” Most shipments are expected to arrive next week.

        We will have used up the last of our vaccine supply by Friday afternoon, after completing the second doses administered this week.
        Until we receive a shipment, all further clinics will be cancelled. Once the vaccine arrives, we will set up the next clinics ASAP, and post links for appointment scheduling at

        If you, or someone connected to you, is eligible to be vaccinated, visit this webpage often, to see if appointments are available.”


  7. Marmon February 19, 2021

    Liberal logic 101 …

    Ted Cruz going to Cancun for a day is evil – but every single Democrat in Congress spending a month on a sham impeachment, then going on vacation for a week with no COVID relief is perfectly fine.


    • Marshall Newman February 19, 2021

      The impeachment was no sham. It was necessary. If instigating insurrection against the Constitution and the Congress is not an impeachable offense, then nothing is an impeachable offense.

  8. Craig Stehr February 19, 2021

    ~Good Evening Postmodern America~
    It is 9:02 PM in Redwood Valley, California on a cool February 19th ’21 evening. Only the German shepherd for company, plus the Vietnamese pig, one duck, and two roosters outside. The Peruvian Psychedelic Chicha music is on the Google gizmo, and the house is appropriately scented with Satya Sai Baba brand Nag Champa incense. Hot water is ready for a cup of Tulsi tea.
    Dispassionately watching the body breathing and the mind having an occasional thought crawl through, just watched the nightly ABC news on the new ACER computer. Yes, this is the dark phase of the end of Kali yuga. It is one hellish news story after another. And that is just the social reportage. The weather extremes, due to the fact of global climate destabilization, is worse. As is usual, the government has no clue whatsoever (beyond the application of basic logic) what to do about anything at all. And everybody needs more money as soon as possible. News update at ten.
    I am ready to engage in Spiritually directed global eco-revolution! There is no other intelligent response to the implosion of the present earthly civilization than to demand permaculture be the way of life. This will provide a stable material base for everyone to realize their own true nature. This will end the global horror show once and for all.>>>Permaculture and Self Realization.<<<
    As I close out this message, and head for the kitchen at The Magic Ranch to fill my tea cup, please forward out this message far and wide. No joke, what would you do in this world if you knew that you could not fail? 😂

    Craig Louis Stehr
    No phone

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