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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, March 11, 2021

Chilly Sunny | 4 New Cases | Fishing Buddy | Alluring | William Shandel | Navarro Breach | Missing Janie | Teaching Credential | Goose Pen | Lenny Laks | Boonville Rental | Gray Update | 128 Delays | $99 Down | Weer Responds | Cowboy Coffee | Settlement Money | Mendo Fallers | Precious Oaks | You Lose | Ed Notes | Peppery Luis | Felonius Steve | Yesterday's Catch | Prisoner Fights | Garden Rebellion | Phone Pests | Police Killings | Collapsing Empire | Warmongering | Egalitarian Movement | State Auditor | Empty Seats

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MOSTLY SUNNY SKIES are expected through Saturday, with chilly morning lows through the end of the week. Rain looks to return to the area on Sunday. (NWS)

RAINFALL this past week: Yorkville 2.7", Boonville 2.4"

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4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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by Doug Johnson

I moved to the Anderson Valley in the fall of 1971 and this fall it will be 50 years I have lived here. I don't know where the time is gone.

In the summer of 1974 I had the great pleasure and good fortune to meet Chris Isbell. I was 24 at the time and he was 15. His family had just moved into the old Cafe house on the back road in Navarro. When I met Chris he was busy casting with his spinning reel into a 2 pound coffee can which was probably 40 feet away. He was very good at it and could get close if not in to the can every time. He had a way of slapping his line when he wanted it to stop. It was something he practiced over and over again and as I found out later when we started to fish together, the fish would hide a lot of times under the bushes on the side of the river bank and there may have been just a small opening of a foot or so in a bunch of bushes. You had to be able to cast into that small opening if you wanted to catch them.

Chris Isbell

I had been a fisherman my whole life and caught my first steelhead when I was 13. But I had no idea how much I had to learn. Chris and I started fishing together that fall and winter. I am happy to say that Chris caught 115 steelhead that year. Sad to say I got only three. I was using a big bamboo deep-sea fishing rod with 60 pound test line which I would have put a one-ounce weight on just to cast it. Then it would just sink to the bottom because it was too much weight. To catch a steelhead the bait had to move with the flow of the water.

We were a good fishing team though because I had a truck and Chris had all the bait (roe) I could go through. At one point I was so sure he was catching all these fish because the bait he was using was bigger, so my bait got way too big.

The second year I did much better. Chris gave me his old rod and reel, the one he had been using before he bought a new set up. Chris always had the best fishing equipment. Over the years he had a number of hand-made fishing rods. One was 13 feet and another was 11 feet. It was impressive to watch him catch a giant steelhead with his 13-foot rod. The rod tip would bend all the way around so that the tip was back next to his hand holding the rod. The fish would jerk trying to get off the hook, but because the pole was so flexible it put no stress on the line so the fish couldn't break it unless it got caught in the bushes.

Chris and I fished together for years and I have compared those times to friends to what the American Indian did with the buffalo. We lived every day during those fall and winter months to fish for those incredible fish. Chris had quit school before then. 

Chris taught me that the first person to the fishing hole usually caught the fish. So we always walked in before daylight with flashlights and got there first. My girlfriend Kristy and I would have dinner with the first fish I caught and then we would have fish and eggs the next morning and still have more for lunch on the river. It was truly like living off the land.

From the first year Chris and I started fishing together he always gave me his first steelhead of the year. I told him he should take it home since he had a large family and I knew they would like it. He replied that he would just catch another one.

One of the places we accessed the river was at Robin Bloyd’s property off Bloyd Road. One day we were coming out when we met Tom English who was living down there then. We’d caught three big steelhead and a trout. Tom asked who caught each fish one by one and Chris would say he did for all the big fish and said that I caught the trout. That was one of Chris's favorite stories to tell.

We also fished for other things year-round. Chris always had some special trick to show me. During crab season, which opened on December 1st, we didn't have a boat but we would fish on Big River with fishing poles and two throw rings. There were a lot of crabs. They would grab our pole lines and come all the way to the surface and then let go. Chris took a bunch of line off his reel and balled it up around the bait and hook and cast it in. When the crabs started to attack the bait he’d let them play with it long enough for them to get tangled in the fishing line and then could bring them in.

Abalone season started on April 1 back then. There were so many abs that the limit was five per day. Since I'm a large guy with long arms, I could reach way under rocks on a low tide. I did very well getting some nice abalone. I never did get abalone the size that Chris would find however. He did get in the water. But mainly he would find in big rock exposed by a low tide with the base of it covered in sand. Then he would dig and dig until he exposed the bottom of the rock that had been sealed off. Under it he would discover these giant abalone that looked like big fat hats.

We also fished all summer off the rocks and caught all sorts of rockfish. One time I remember the late Bull Hopper told us about catching a sea trout and cutting off its tail and fishing with just that tail as a lure. It was amazing! Chris caught a sea trout and cut off its tail and attached it do is hook and cast it out and brought it back like a lure and caught three lingcod that day, one after the other. All on just that tail.

We also fished for day fish and night fish. It's funny they call them smelt in the Bay Area and grunion south of there. They may be the same species they call Hooligan in Alaska. I'm not sure. I have many memories of fishing for them. One was at Howard Creek north of Fort Bragg. Chris and I were on our way up to Usal to do some surf fishing, which takes in both day fish and night fish. The night fish are smaller and usually run at night. We stopped at Howard Creek and there were ten or so guys netting fish and picking up fish with each dip. As the waves came in you could stick your net into the sand and anything in the way got caught. I suggested we get down there immediately! Chris said wait, so we waited 10 minutes or so until he pointed to where all these fish had been scared and moved it this little patch of beach where no one else was.

We ran down there and made two dips each and had more fish than we could deal with. When the fish are really running like they were then, I had fish up to my pant legs and so many fish in my net I couldn't pick it up. I had to drag the net up the beach. It was like a wall of fish two feet high in your net.

Another day we were fishing at night on Alder Creek. Standing out in the water netting fish in the dark with just the moon to see by has a spooky feeling to it. You can just see the waves breaking and coming in at you and all this white froth from the water. Anyway, what was really scary was once when a whale came in really close with its tail out of the water at least 8 feet. It had come in to feed on the surf fish.

Back in 1976 or 1977 we had a major drought here. The steelhead couldn't get up the river and got caught in the tidewater holes. One of the main holes was called Trussell Hole and it had hundreds of fish in it. Chris and I were fishing one day with about 25 other people and an old-timer caught his first steelhead ever. He and his son left and were walking up the bank when his son ran back down and yelled, "Is there a doctor here? My father is having a heart attack!"

There was indeed a doctor there who went up to see this old-timer who was having a heart attack after catching his first steelhead and tried to save him. Chris and I ended up walking past them and Chris told me that that was the way he wanted to go.

Now here it is almost 45 years later and it's our turn with Chris having a major stroke this past week. I'm praying for his recovery.

ED NOTE: Doug reported Wednesday afternoon that Chris is no longer at death’s door. He’s able to talk and move parts of his body that had been frozen by the massive stroke he suffered last week.

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William (Bill) Howard Shandel, age 82, of Comptche passed away on November 21, 2020 at his home on Surprise Valley Ranch in Comptche after a short illness. 

He was born in San Francisco in 1938 to Norman H. Shandel and Wilma (Oppenlander) Shandel. He graduated Mendocino High School in 1955. William attended college at San Francisco State and worked for the Beaches and Parks Department in Mendocino. He was a general contractor for Surprise Valley Ranch, Inc., a member of the Lions Club, Comptche Grange, Comptche Volunteer Fire Department, and fought fires for CalFire as a dozer operator. An avid outdoorsman, William was a licensed hunting and fishing guide. He was very proud of Oppenlander Vineyard and loved tending the vines.

Bill leaves behind life long friends from the many places he visited. He was predeceased by his first wife Judy, his sister Ruthie and his second wife Wanda. He is survived by his daughters Patricia (Rick), Belinda (Tim), Christine, Peggy (Rico), his brother Norman, and niece, nephews, grand children and great grandchildren.

To our dear friend Meg, we love you and will forever be grateful for your helping hands and big heart. You are our angel!

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Comptche Community Organization or Wounded Warriors.

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Kathy wrote: “Caltrans just reported Hwy 128 closed from State Rt 1 to Flynn Creek (the normal) due to flooding. No time estimate for reopening.”

Nicholas Wilson: As of 6:20 PM, Hwy 128 is open for traffic and highly unlikely to flood again since the sandbar breached. I went down to check on the Navarro River and sandbar just before sunset and found the river gushing out into the ocean through a channel through the sandbar that was getting wider and deeper as I watched. It looked like a major waterfall and rapids. After getting some drone video of that I went to check 128 just east of the Hwy 1 bridge at the 0.18 mile marker (the usual place). The river had already dropped several feet, the highway was open, and Caltrans crews were picking up their orange traffic cones and flooded signs. When I previously checked the sandbar on Mar. 2, there was a narrow channel through the sandbar at the extreme north end. I suspect that the surf closed up that channel and caused the river water in the estuary to back up. But by this afternoon there was enough river flow due to the rains the past few days so that the river breached the sandbar again. Ain't nature wonderful. 

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Janie Harding Morris rode from Arkansas to the Anderson Valley with Mr. Fochea who constructed the Fochea sawmill at the end of the first flat plane on Mountain View Road. It was the first mill built by Arkansas-ers in the Valley.

Janie Morse

I don't know if she was married to Johnny Harding when she arrived in the valley or soon after. But he was a fine young man who died of cancer while still a young man. He drove a logging truck.

Janie married another wonderful man later named Howard Morse but he was usually called Mouse. He too was a wonderful man.

Janie and Mouse owned and ran the Philo Cafe and got great reviews from everyone who went to their cafe. I happily had a hamburger and Coke with fries so many times there I can still taste them.

Janie was the kindest, most generous person I have ever known.

When Mr. Fochea arrived in the Valley in about 1944 it was the beginning of the Arky arrival to the Anderson Valley.

Ki, Kay, Kim and Connie and later Kirk Morse. So sorry to see Janie and those good times go.

Ken Hurst


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NORM CLOW: My mother's renewed teaching credential, Nov. 1942. 

She was starting her third year at Anderson Valley Union High School. As I recall she was paid the grand sum of about $1,850 for 9 months when she started there in 1940. After a couple of modest raises, she jumped to Healdsburg in 1944 for the extra $125 a year they offered. According to her 1945 tax return she earned $2,879 there (plus $135 at Rosenberg & Bush department store during Christmas). A banner year. After one more year at Healdsburg she had to retire due to the retinal disease that robbed 95% of her sight. And that for someone who had a research paper she assembled in junior college placed in the Smithsonian Institute as well as numerous college and public libraries in the Bay Area, including her alma mater, UC Berkeley.

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I bought a TEAC 4-track tape deck from Lenny and built a little recording studio around it. He had it from a gig in L.A., that would've been in the late 1970s or very early 1980s, where a teevee production company rented a motel room for Lenny and some other musicians for a few weeks, bought them equipment and paid them to just sit in there and come up with advertising jingles and tunes and theme songs for shows. One of the leftover tapes came with the deck. It's gone now with so much that was lost in various moves, but among other things on it was the intro song for a potential cartoon called Doctor Danger, or Doctor Atomic -- Doctor Something. The vocal was percussive; it went, "When /dan/ger is /near/! There's /no/ need to /fear/!" Near and fear were comically barked. Every once in awhile I'd see Lenny in town and he'd say, "Ja ever come across that tape?" No, sorry, I think it's really gone. "Ah, well," he'd say, "If you ever see it..." And I'd say, "When /dan/ger is /near/! There's /no/ need to /fear/!" And he'd wince and put his hand on his forehead and nose.

In Zo Office Supply and Copies one time I was talking with Lenny about a then-new kind of keyboard music synthesizer I was excited about and hopelessly coveted, and Lenny said, "Electronic music is for people who don't know how to play music." That's only become more and more true. It's not a bad thing; people can assemble music-like objects now without being able to play anything in real time, there are a hundred apps for your /phone/ that do that now, but it's not at all like playing music nor listening to someone play. He was right about that.

I think Lenny might have been the bass player who used to call up my little Radio Free Earth radio station project in 1985 in the afternoon or the middle of the night and not say anything but play bass guitar for twenty minutes or a couple of hours. I don't know for sure who it was. Another candidate might be John Bush. It could've been anybody, but I like the idea of it being Lenny. I never asked him.

Over the years sometimes I'd see him in town and he'd mention something he heard on my radio show on KMFB, which always surprised and pleased me, that he was listening. He said to me, "Man, you are crazy!" which sounded nice, coming from him. Everything sounded nice coming from him. It was like he saved stuff up to make people around him happier. He was a big squishy happy musical teddy bear.

It sucks that he suffered so much for so long at the end. Bruce (Laks), I'm sorry. I hope things are okay for you now. If you need anything from me that you know I know how to do, tell me and I'll try. And if I ever find that tape about Doctor What's-his-name, I'll digitize it and let you know.

Marco McClean,

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(Repost with picture)

The February 24, 2021 AVA featured an article by Marilyn Davin on the derivations of various Mendocino County place names. The author was puzzled by the source of the name for Dana Gray Elementary School in Fort Bragg. The answer was on the internet, but it took some digging.

The Gray family was a prominent one in Fort Bragg in the late 19th and early 20th century. Mark Dana Gray (1844-1923) and Mark Dana Gray II (1879-1947) were close associates of Charles R. Johnson, the founder of Union Lumber Company and his son and successor, Otis R. Johnson. References in various trade publications of the time suggest Mark Dana Gray was a prominent member of Union Lumber Company's management. The Gray family had a home on Fir Street in Fort Bragg called "Gray View." Kelley House Museum has a photograph of the Gray family and others at a picnic on the Albion River in 1889 and another of the family at "Gray View" in 1919. A 1921 photograph titled "Particular Fluted Growth on a Redwood Stump at Camp 21, Union Lumber Company" shows a person next to the stump and identifies him as "Dana Gray, Assistant Logging Superintendent." 

Clearly this is Mark Dana Gray II and shows he (and probably his father also) was known by that name. Mystery solved!

This 1921 photograph was taken by Woodbridge (Woody) Metcalf (1888-1972), a longtime (and well-known) Forestry Professor at University of California at Berkeley. Coincidentally, I met Woody Metcalf while attending 4-H camp at Mendocino Woodlands as a kid in the early 1960s. It is a small world.


Marshall Newman

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Route 128 (22.6/50.9) — Sign work from West Limits Philo to Sonoma County Line began on Monday, March 8. One-way traffic control will be in effect weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays.

Route 128 (0/50.9) — Sign work from Route 1 to Sonoma County line began on Monday, March 8. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays.

Route 253 (0/16.6) — Sign work from Route 128 (Boonville) to Stipp Lane will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays.

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On Tuesday we posted the DA & Chief Probation Officer’s demand letter that over $600k in Community Corrections Partnership money be restored to that program’s budget.

ON TUESDAY WE NOTED: This dispute has become even weirder. To summarize: The DA and the Probation Chief are convinced that the Auditor mis-allocated over $661k plus $28k in interest. Both of them appeared at the Supervisors meeting to repeat their request that the money be re-allocated to them, where it is supposed to go. But the Supervisors apparently believed it was being worked out and said nothing. We had assumed that the Auditor wouldn’t re-allocate money on his own and had done it at the CEO’s behest. The DA said Tuesday that CEO Angelo asked Auditor Weer to re-allocate the funding as the DA and Probation demand, but Mr. Weer has so far refused without giving a reason for his refusal. The March 5 deadline in the DA’s letter has already passed without a written response from Mr. Weer. We have an email request in to Mr. Weer asking why he shifted the money the way he did and if he’s going to respond to the DA.

ON WEDNESDAY, County Auditor Lloyd Weer responded:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

A written response was not sent since the DA's request was already included in the CEO Recommendations for the mid-year adjustments going to the board for their approval on March 9th. This item was posted to the county website on Thursday, March 4th.

I was surprised that the board decided not to discuss this item and instead quickly passed the entire list of CEO Recommendations without seeking input from the Auditor, CEO or the County Counsel.

There are no funds that belong to the CCP. The funds that the DA is referring to are the "2011 Realignment Revenues" that are deposited into the county's sub-account titled "Local Community Corrections" (LCC). These funds belong to the county and are under the authority of the board of supervisors, not the CCP. The CCP does submit an annual “recommended” plan of expenditures each year but ultimately, it is the board who controls how these 2011 Realignment revenues are budgeted and spent in our county departments.

And finally, these funds were not “taken” as has been stated. The funds were claimed out of the LCC sub-account by the MCSO for AB 109 Correction Deputies, AB 109 SO Deputy Liaison, and the AB 109 SST support staff. Returning these funds to the LCC sub-account means that the county's general fund will have to absorb these eligible AB 109 costs instead of using the available 2011 Realignment revenues intended to cover them.

Thank you.

Lloyd B. Weer

Auditor Controller

County of Mendocino

(707) 234-6870 * FAX (707) 467-2503

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Mendocino County has received $22,651,737 from PG&E in settlement for damages from The Redwood Complex Fire October 2017 that destroyed a substantial portion of Redwood Valley and parts of Potter Valley. The Board of Supervisors just began the discussion of what to do with the money.

I am appalled how many are coming out of the wood works for their pet projects to be funded with this money. This money is a pittance compared to what we lost. 36,000 acres burned and over 500 structures, about a quarter of the homes in Redwood Valley were destroyed. 9 people lost their lives. Many are still in the process of rebuilding and some will never rebuild. 

A large portion of this money needs to go to support Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. Many struggle to do the necessary fuel load reduction to make our homes safe. Our fire departments need equipment upgrades. Some of our roads are not adequate for safe evacuations or for fire personnel to access when there is another fire. After what we have been through, we deserve to feel safe again.

Please write your supervisor and the board of supervisors to be heard.

I have written one letter and will continue to do so.

The county needs to engage the communities of Redwood Valley and Potter Valley for input on how to spend the settlement money from PG&E for their role in the October 2017 fire that devastated those communities. It's inappropriate to use this money to fund pet projects that don't directly benefit these communities that lost so much.

As a volunteer for Redwood Valley Calpella Fire Department, I am well aware of the fire danger in our community that still exists and the resources we have to protect the community. Many properties could use assistance in fuel load reduction projects. Our department does well with what we have but some of our engines are 20+ years old and will be in need of replacements in the near future. Potter Valley Fire Department is probably in a similar situation.

Please do not take any action on appropriating funds from the settlement and make the opportunity for input from those of us in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley whose suffering is the reason for the pay out.

Adam Gaska

Mendocino Organics / Mendocino Meats

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Mendo Fallers

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Am I being overly idealistic about the removal of oak trees for large cannabis cultivation? As a cannabis farmer I have not cut down trees. Even though I have a managed timber harvest plan and redwood, oak madrone, bay, and fir trees have shaded my plants, it has been my policy not to cut trees 15 years before Mendocino county decided to not allow the cutting of trees for cannabis farming. 

This leads me to question the idea of allowing the cutting of fragile oak trees while we protect the redwoods. I see redwood stumps that are 500 to 1000 years old that are still alive and sustaining their genetically identical suckers. These suckers have been harvested many times over the last 170 years. I have even seen redwood stumps sit in the shade for 100 years and when they get light they will burst into heavy sucker growth due to the huge root structure to above ground sucker ratio. I have seen large tracts of land slide a great distance and the groves of redwood still live after moving with the land. The redwoods can stand the test of time. 

The oaks on the other hand are very fragile. Once disturbed they do not return with the same vigor as redwoods. You cannot broadcast new soil over established oak tree roots, nor can you divert water onto oak tree roots without making them susceptible to sudden oak death. I am confused as to why the beloved redwood tree is more important than the oak tree even though coastal oak trees don’t live a 1000 years like other oaks and are fragile, they can still live 100 years and have been documented to be 250 years old. They supply acorns for deer, bear and others. Anything that lives this long, supplies food, sequester carbon in its hard wood, and has 4 strands of DNA unlike us that only have two, needs serious reflection before killing it. 

If the county decides these trees must be killed to make room for large scale cannabis cultivation I hope they take into consideration how fragile the species is. How they do not easily grow back on cleared land and trees next to disturbed areas are at a higher risk of dying.

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SNOW FLURRIES at the higher elevations and encouraging blasts of heavy rain on the Valley floor as a meager winter limps into April which, the poet told us, “is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” The weather has sped up, it seems, with April's memory and desire now occurring in early March, although for us bolder olders desire is long gone and all we have is memory, which can be more cruel than April ever was.

BIDEN'S $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed today (Wednesday) the 220-211 vote with only a single Democrat vote against, all the Republicans voting no with one not voting. Biden plans to sign the legislation on Friday. The Republicans claimed they were not welcomed to the negotiating table and had no say in the massive package. Georgia's crackpot Q'Anon congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, gratuitously stalled the final vote hours earlier by forcing a roll call vote on a motion to adjourn so her colleagues could “pause” and consider the legislation further. “There is no need to enslave the American people… in more debt,” she said. The American people need money now, Marj, even if it's funny money. The national debt is so vast it will never be paid. 

WHERE is the $1.9 trillion bailout coming from? And won't it have to keep on coming given the millions of Americans financially underwater or already drowned? Don't ask, and nobody who knows will tell, but the money is faith-based as the consortium of big banks known as the Fed simply punches in the numbers for whatever amount is needed to keep US believing that the ship isn't sinking.

ON THE SUBJECT of money, how is it that the County maintains a staff of at least nine lawyers known collectively as County Counsel, but all these wrongful termination suits are sent off to distant private law firms to defend? The sudden firing of Harinder Grewal alone is costing the County $350,000 for outside attorneys. Really? Is there something extra-complicated about a simple he said, she said? He said / she said is not medical malpractice or even computer fraud. And Grewal is only one of several wrongful termination suits working their way to big losses for the good ship Mendo despite the fancy private law firms allegedly defending Mendo. And from what we know of them, these firings were totally unwarranted.

IT'S an intriguing fact of life in Mendocino County that we're never more than a few minutes from wilderness, some of it so remote from the life all around us that we're mercifully removed from the industrial hum, so remote from the hum that we're enveloped in absolute silence. The Anderson Valley has a nice supply of these sanctuaries, one of them the old June Ranch northwest off Ornbaun Road. Here's hoping the buyer has some respect for this rare and historically significant property.

INTERESTING NOTE from Jeff Burroughs on the worst aircraft disaster in Mendocino County, which occurred on January 21, 1943 when the Philippine Clipper, loaded with passengers from Hawaii, was diverted from the fog enshrouded Bay Area bases and told to land in Clear Lake, designated an auxiliary emergency landing zone. It was the proverbial dark and stormy night when the pilot came in too low over the foothills and crashed the plane about seven miles southwest of Ukiah at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. Which places the crash not far north from the “top of the hill” on the Boonville-Ukiah Road. The wreckage wasn't located for nearly two weeks, although Edna Wallach, an official Anderson Valley air warden and a long-time resident of Bell Valley, said she heard the plane pass over her house and crash.

JEFF BURROUGHS REMEMBERS that the elementary school used to take kids up there for field trips. But after some of the students found some personal belongings of the people killed, the government came back and bulldozed the site out of existence and labeled it a place of honor and respect for the lives lost there. 

NO ONE believed Mrs. Wallach that she'd heard the plane and the crash until the wreckage was found in a totally inaccessible area to vehicles but on a straight path from the Wallach home. 19 dead, charred bodies had to be wrapped in canvas and slung over horses to be packed out to the Ukiah Road, at the time gravelled and often closed for days at a time during the winter. After accident investigators were finished the site was dynamited to remove any traces of the accident and discourage visitors.

AMONG THE DEAD was Admiral Robert H. English, Submarine Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

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On Monday, March 8, 2021 at 10:22 P.M. a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with expired registration in the 1100 block of Airport Park Boulevard in Ukiah.

The driver of the vehicle, Luis Manuel Ayala Ortiz, 30, of Ukiah, was contacted and identified by his California identification card and prior law enforcement contacts.

Luis Ayala-Ortiz

The Deputy requested Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch check Ortiz for warrants and probation status. The Deputy was advised Ortiz was on Mendocino County Formal Probation with terms to included search/seizure and obey all laws.

Ortiz was searched and the Deputy located a S-1BRE canister of Pepper Spray. Ortiz is prohibited to possess pepper spray and was determined by the Deputy to be in violation of his probation terms.

Ortiz was arrested without incident and subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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On Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 11:59 P.M. a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle violation at Central Avenue and North State Street in Calpella.

The Deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle, Steven Todd Lawson, 30, of Willits.

Steven Lawson

The Deputy requested Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch check Lawson for warrants and probation/parole status. Dispatch advised the Deputy that Lawson had a Mendocino County Superior Court Felony Warrant for his arrest for Violation of Parole.

Lawson was arrested without incident and subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held without bail (No Bail).

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 10, 2021

Bias, Gomez, Hill, Lawson

SHAWN BIAS, Fort Bragg. Burglary, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

SALVADOR G. GOMEZ, Elk. DUI with priors, failure to appear, probation revocation.

BOBBY HILL, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ZACHARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Sale or provision of lock pick, parole violation.

Maple, Rau, Shaffer

RANDY MAPLE, Covelo. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, under influence, shooting at inhabited dwelling, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person.

BENJAMIN RAU, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.

ANDREW SHAFFER, Ukiah. Unspecified offense. Bailed out on $25,000 bond an hour and a half after booking.

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Dear Governor Newsom:

I am writing to let you know that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association and the Department of Corrections are circumventing the voter-initiated Prop 57. They are trying to force general population inmates who are eligible to receive credits on to non-designated programming facilities which is nothing more than a protective custody yard knowing that a great many of these general population inmates are going to beat someone up or get beat up as soon as they get onto the yard. It is the days of Corcoran and staged gladiator fights all over again. Even when they try to put someone on one of these yards for non-designated programming facility and he fights, he is brought back to a general population yard within 10-12 months later. They try to force these men on to these yards again while 15 or 20 officers line up to watch the fight.

The Department of Corrections and the Correctional Officers union are trying to force general population inmates to live with people who the public itself doesn't want living in their neighborhoods. Is this your policy, Governor? Or is the green wall working to keep the prisoners full, above the capacity of 137%? In fact here at CTF Central they’re right around 185-195% capacity. You have two grown men in cells built for one without proper ventilation.

Are you too involved in his ploy to help the Department and the Correctional Officers keep California's prisons full while telling the people of the state you are trying to downsize the prison population by closing prisons? Maybe the public should be made aware that your so-called closing of these prisons is not reducing the overall population -- it is only forcing more men into already overcrowded prisons.

Then you're asking the Department of Corrections and Correctional Officers to fight general population inmates with non-designated programming facility and protective custody inmates by trying to force us to live together on the same yards.

We general population inmates do not want to live with or around rapists or child molesters. How would you feel about living next to one? I'm sure you wouldn't put up with it. So why are we expected to?

You, Governor Newsom, are in charge of the Department of Corrections and if you are a part of these gladiator fights being sponsored by the wardens and the these Correctional officers then you need to step in and stop these events from taking place. The Department of Corrections is using this ploy to get around Proposition 36, Proposition 48, Proposition 57 and all the other voter approved initiatives meant to help alleviate prison overcrowding.

It is also being used as a means to deny life prisoners parole if they refuse to be forced to live with the very same monsters, child molesters and rapists that the people in the community refused to live with.

The Department of Corrections created this monster, the protective custody inmates, when they started allowing anyone to go there and now they are trying to reintegrate these two populations and it will not work. Yet you are allowing the Correctional Officers to continue pit-fighting us.

It's time for you, the Governor, to stand up to the the Correctional Officers Association and start doing what you told the voting public you were going to do, that is, reduce the prison population. Start spending more money on education instead of incarceration. Some of these Correctional officers are making over $200,000 a year with overtime. Why not give that money to teachers?


Charles V. Statler


* * *

* * *



In regards to the reader complaining about phone pests, he/she sure has my sympathy. I get robo-calls from Apple, Amazon, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, Consumer Law, Marriott, Royal Cruise ships and someone who wants my Medicare number off the "old outdated paper card" so they can send me a new number on a plastic card. Ooh-la-la! They even tell me my new number.

Some give the option to push a number to be removed from the list. But that's a lie. Some call eight or nine times in one afternoon. Some call as early as 6:22 in the morning.

Sometimes I blow two coaches whistles in their ears. Sometimes I try to waste as much of their time as I can. I ask how they know I'm worthy of lower interest rates? They say it's because I make payments on time. I ask if they know so much about me why don't they know I have no Amazon account or any credit cards?

If it's a live person calling I tell them if they are calling to confirm my address to send me a big check.

The no-call list is a joke. Is there really no hope?

Casey Pryor


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* * *


In the early blooming of the financial crisis in late 2007, Arianna Huffington said “In America we used to make things, now we just make things up.” 

One significant attribute of our collapsing empire is its dithering into abstraction, ungrounded in reality and ruled by blockheads who mistake words for concepts–all of them the product of a clerical oligarchy whose whole existence is derivative: without something to destroy they too collapse. Fitting, then, that our president by fiat shuffles listlessly through his sad days, muttering and grimacing in a simulation of the punchy second-rate car salesman he used to be.

Time and nature are the implacable authorities that check faulty abstraction and crush foolish fantasy.

* * *

* * *


400 Years of US Capitalism has Not Delivered Democracy—America Returns to its Roots: “Democracy” for Rich, White, Christian Men, the Economic and Political Dictatorship of the 1%.

The framers of the US Constitution knew that true democracy, the rule of the majority, was never meant to be. James Madison wrote, “The right of suffrage is a fundamental Article in Republican Constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right [to vote] exclusively to property [owners], and the rights of persons may be oppressed.... Extend it equally to all, and the rights of property [owners] ...may be overruled by a majority without property...”

This is precisely why the US Constitution of 1789 did not give “the people” the right to vote, and for over 200 years the US Government has never given workers the right to vote on their working conditions. Those with property--land, slaves, industry, and money, the 1%, have always decided the working conditions of the vast majority of the people-- an economic dictatorship to exploit the working people. The 1% has always resisted the attempts of the vast majority to have both political and economic democracy. The last 400 years of struggles, from the Civil War to Civil Rights, have clearly demonstrated how hard the people, black, brown, native and women, have had to fight to get their “right to vote.” 

The determination of the 1%, “property owners,” to prevent equality for all by denying and restricting the right to vote continues. In 2013 the Supreme Court invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 2021 the Supreme Court is again considering further restrictions on the right to vote. In Congress, the reactionaries and Christian Nationalist zealots are obstructing attempts to pass Federal Protection for voters. Republican controlled states are passing laws to further restrict voting rights to ensure that Republicans will always “win elections” and remain in power.

On January 6, 2021, a millionaire ex-president, a friend and ally of Wall Street, supported by 95% of the Republican Party, encouraged thousands of racists, neo-Nazis, KKK, and White Christian Nationalist fanatics to carry out a violent coup attempt designed to invalidate the votes of millions. He was not arrested but hailed as a hero and now leads the Republican Party.

The rich and Wall Street corporate moneybags, have vast power to influence politicians and elections, continue to fund the Republican Party. The handwriting is on the wall, the Republican Party, is now an openly authoritarian, racist, neo-fascist party that intends to return us to the roots of 1789, a brutal dictatorship of the 1% -- rich, white, Christian men. “Democracy” in name only.

400 years of history has clearly demonstrated that extending the vote equally to all is not possible in the US capitalist economy. The people’s desire for political, economic, and social equality for all can be achieved by building a militant egalitarian movement to end the tyranny of the 1%.

(Dr. Nayvin Gordon lives in Oakland and writes about health and politics.

* * *


by Dan Walters

State Auditor Elaine Howle has been on a roll lately, repeatedly revealing how state agencies and their programs are falling short — often way short — of performing their declared missions.

The Employment Development Department, the state’s myriad deficient information technology projects and its scattershot and ineffective efforts to end homelessness, build affordable housing and improve the education of poor children have been among recent subjects of scathing reports from Howle’s office.

Howle only delves into issues that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee deems worthy of examination. That committee, like all other enclaves of political power in the Capitol, is controlled by Democrats and the investigations it orders are often directed at state agencies and programs managed by a Democratic governor. Thus, audit results are likely to embarrass that governor and in this era of political polarity, that is a remarkable fact.

However, it’s not a perfect accountability system. When the Department of Motor Vehicles was in total meltdown a few years ago, with long lines for service and nonresponsive communications, the audit committee’s controlling Democrats refused to have Howle investigate. It bowed to then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s promise to shape up the DMV on his own but when Gavin Newsom succeeded him as governor, the department was still a mess.

Last year, when equally immense service blockages became evident at the Employment Development Department as it tried to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the audit committee didn’t balk at having Howle investigate. She revealed a department in complete disarray, handing out billions of dollars in unemployment benefits to fraudsters while delaying payments to legitimate claimants.

Howle’s latest broadside, issued last week, is critical of a political sacred cow — the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) drive to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and thus make California a global leader in fighting climate change. Howle’s report punched holes in CARB’s much-ballyhooed claims of achieving great reductions.

“CARB has not done enough to measure the GHG emissions reductions its individual transportation programs achieve,” Howle wrote in a cover letter to Newsom and legislative leaders. “Specifically, CARB has not collected or evaluated sufficient data to allow it to determine whether or how its incentive programs, which pay consumers in exchange for purchasing low- and zero-emission vehicles, reduce GHG emissions beyond what CARB’s regulations already require.

“For example, CARB has done little to measure the extent to which its incentive programs lead to emissions reductions by causing individuals and businesses to acquire clean vehicles that they otherwise would not. As a result, CARB has overstated the GHG emissions reductions its incentive programs have achieved, although it is unclear by how much.”

Bottom line: “The state will fall short of meeting the 2030 goal” of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels “unless emissions reductions occur at a faster pace.”

As with her other reports, Howle’s dive into the very technical field of GHG emission control is embarrassing to the state’s political leaders, who would rather have the public believe their self-serving claims.

However, it also underscores the value of having someone without a political motive look into issues of governance. Thank goodness we have Howle’s office and the equally important Legislative Analyst’s Office, which monitors the state’s budgetary issues, to light up the darker recesses of California’s massive government.

(Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers.

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  1. Russell Pals March 11, 2021

    Regarding robo calls. A computer dials your number. Tell the computer that your phone is “No longer in service”. Find an old cell phone and plug into charger by your phone. Connect the cell phone to the internet and download the “No longer in service message” or connect to Youtube and find the message. When you see a robocall just answer and play that message. You call also record the message on your answering machine but it may confuse calls from people to want to talk to.

    • Jim Armstrong March 11, 2021

      I get 5 or more a day and have found no way to stop them.
      For a while I figured that answering just caused more. Not so simple.
      Recently the calls come form the old toll free exchanges 800, 866 etc.
      I think the Do Not Call service supplies the assholes.
      It is the fault of the phone companies, all 100 or more of them who are somehow profiting.
      I would like to hear more possible fixes.

  2. George Hollister March 11, 2021

    Dan Walters writing about CARB exposes a fundamental reality of environmental regulations, in general, here in California. Nothing is quantified, nothing is measured. Too much, everything is done on the basis of “professional judgement”. Professional judgement is whatever anyone wants it to be, and is driven by politics and personal beliefs, not science. The general public seldom has to confront this reality and they assume these agencies are doing God’s work. Sorry folks, it’s not what you assume. On top of this, these agencies act with impunity. So it doesn’t matter what some auditor says, they will continue to be as they are; agencies with a lot of power and no accountability.

    • Harvey Reading March 11, 2021

      I always get a good laugh reading your assessments from the lunatic fringe…

  3. Lee Edmundson March 11, 2021

    Lenny Laks RIP. A whale of a talent. Often wore a Monarchs baseball hat — Kansas City Monarchs of the old baseball Negro League. He seemed genuinely surprised when I commented on it one day years ago outside Mendosa’s. I am an old Birmingham Black Barons fan. He new a lot about the Negro League, knew a lot about baseball. Had an opinion about just about everything. He was one of those I think belonged to the ‘second wave’ of the Mendocino renaissance, the first wave being the folks Bill Zacha enticed up here in the 50s – 60s. The second wave were the musicians, writers, poets et alia who migrated here in the late 60s, 70s and early 80s. I used to (and still) say that in the renaissance period in Mendocino, there were more artists per capita than virtually anywhere else in the world.
    Lenny had, wrote, sang and lived with as deep a great soul as a White person can have, and was a icon of the period. He will be missed. He is missed already.

  4. Richard Tower March 11, 2021

    The myth that the Pan Am Philippine Clipper was on its way to an alternate landing spot on Clear Lake when it crashed near Ukiah on Jan. 21, 1943 persists, but it’s not true. The Clear Lake alternate landing location was established by Pan Am in June 1943 according to the Lake County Bee.

    The CAB accident investigation report explains the Philippine Clipper arrived over San Francisco Bay from Honolulu during bad weather in the early morning hours. Captain Elzey was told conditions prevented him landing in the bay and that he should consider proceeding to the alternate landing location in San Diego or holding near San Francisco until 9:00 AM when weather conditions were expected to improve. Since he still had 10 hours of fuel, he decided to hold west of the Golden Gate and if conditions were still bad at 9:00, he had sufficient fuel to continue to San Diego. Later, probably thinking he was still over ocean, he descended to a lower altitude. But extremely heavy winds had blown his aircraft northeast over Mendocino County. Elzey did not have a proper fix on his position, and this error led to the crash in the opinion of the CAB.

    The Clear Lake facility was established after the accident to give flying boat captains a closer alternative landing location than San Diego. In addition, a radio beacon was installed on the Farallon Islands to give pilots a better fix on their position.

  5. Marshall Newman March 11, 2021

    Another detail regarding Woodbridge (Woody) Metcalf, mentioned in the Dana Gray update: he was a competitive sailor. He and William Glenn Waterhouse competed as a team in the Star class at the 1932 Olympics, where they placed 5th.

  6. Ryan LaPorte March 11, 2021

    “If the county decides these trees must be killed to make room for large scale cannabis cultivation”… back here on planet Earth where vineyard owners and timber companies have already cleared the redwoods for decades, we would like to stop the further demonization of cannabis farmers. Maybe it’s time to start asking those old industries to repair the existing damage with all that money they have raked in for decades, instead of asking cannabis farmers to pay for the sins of their father industries.

    -An Earthling

    • George Hollister March 11, 2021

      I don’t know who is deciding what, but the county does not know the status of oaks. Has the oak canopy increased in the last ten years, or diminished? If there has been a change, why? Are there some oaks in trouble?

      What I do know is the landowners who have oaks love their oaks, and know more about their oaks than anyone in the planning department, or people promoting oak regulations. The landowners I know with oaks, also hate regulations more than they love their oaks, for good reason.

      The caveat regarding cannabis is that the black market is what is driving the local cannabis economy, and what we see being done with the land to grow cannabis. The black market is not agriculture.

      • Harvey Reading March 11, 2021

        Were you elected to represent all those caring people you reference, or are you just pretending to be a nice old, benevolent, “expert”, one who claims, falsely, to know more than real scientists? People should be relieved that a pseudo-scientist like you has little power or influence over anything.

  7. Ryan LaPorte March 11, 2021

    “ON THE SUBJECT of money, how is it that the County maintains a staff of at least nine lawyers known collectively as County Counsel, but all these wrongful termination suits are sent off to distant private law firms to defend?” How is it that this county isn’t under FBI investigation for all of the misappropriation of funds over the last 5 years? We don’t even have a state accredited Public Health agency because of our housing and healthcare crisis. We have year long hiring freezes in self funded departments like Environmental Health, while paying private consultants $100s of thousands of dollars to do the planning departments jobs for them? What’s going on in little ol’ Mendo? I’d like more transparency and accountability from those in “control”.

  8. Marmon March 11, 2021

    “That was the most bizarre speech from any US President I’ve ever seen. Does Biden know about all the open states? He says everyone must get the vaccine & we might get to have a BBQ with our families on July 4th. Should we tell him most of us have been doing that the past year?”

    -Marjorie Taylor Greene


    • chuck dunbar March 12, 2021

      It’s always great to hear from this sage–she’s known for her wisdom and grace. Thanks, James, for digging it up out of the muck.

      President Biden in fact gave a speech that the nation needed, one the last president could never have done. First, he acknowledged as a human being our nation’s losses and our grief, and then he gave us real hope for the future, based largely on the growing progress of the vaccination campaign and the new financial help for the poor and middle class. It does look like we are turning the corner at last, and many of us are feeling hopeful again. (And, yes, the Trump administration does deserve some real credit for its efforts to get the covid vaccines ready.)

  9. Marmon March 12, 2021

    Trump saved millions and millions of lives around the world with his “operation warp speed”. That along with many other achievements, history will be good to him. Not so with poor ole joe. What a disaster. Does anyone believe that Trump wouldn’t have ordered more vaccine doses had he stayed in office. The “Jobiden” administration is a terrible joke.


    • Harvey Reading March 12, 2021

      LOL. That’s truly funny. I agree though, about Biden. He, and his democrapic cronies in congress, not to mention his putrid, corporation-serving appointees, are proving even worse. Those who had high hopes for him need their heads examined. Our decline toward eventual extinction as a country, and a species, accelerates.

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