Warm Dry | Another Death | Bidenvision | Murderer Footprints | Yellow Tier | Redwood Path | Howe Case | Chemisal Falls | Non-Vi Jamboree | Dimmick Postcard | EMT Report | Future Skull | Barn Sale | Execution Ahead | Poop Dryer | CJ Hello | Talbot Film | Discontented | Ed Notes | Terror Slogan | Video Burglar | Worse Hell | Felon Squared | Slammer Chicks | Knife Attack | Yesterday's Catch | Psychotropic Bus | With Stupid | Shock G
A RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE will lead to warm and dry weather through the rest of the week, with milder conditions along the coast. (NWS)
5 NEW COVID CASES and another death reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY: BIDEN’S VISION
by Daniel Strauss
Joe Biden argued that “America is on the move again” in his first address to Congress, where he unveiled a sweeping $1.8tn package for families and education and pitched his “blue-collar blueprint” to re-build America.
Flanked by two women – Vice-President Kamala Harris and House speaker Nancy Pelosi – for the first time in US history, the president gave his speech on the eve of his 100th day in office as the country continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s been “100 days since I took the oath of office – lifted my hand off our family Bible – and inherited a nation in crisis,” Biden said.
“The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the civil war,” he continued, referring to the January 6 assault on the Capitol, when rioters stormed the House chamber where he delivered his address on Wednesday night.
“Now – after just 100 days – I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength.”
Due to social distancing measures, only 200 people, mainly politicians, attended rather than the usual 1,600 guests. The supreme court’s chief justice, John Roberts, was the only member of the high court present.
The address centered on selling the administration’s ambitious economic plans, but wove them together with foreign policy and efforts to combat the climate crisis, as well as a wide range of domestic policies from healthcare to police reform, paid family leave to child benefits, gun control to border security.
The tone was optimistic as Biden urged Americans to continue to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and pledged that his administration would enact broad changes that would create jobs, expand the social safety net and modernize the country.
The $1.8tn American Families Plan Biden outlined on Wednesday is the second part of his administration’s ambitious set of domestic reforms spanning infrastructure, education, childcare and much more. The first part, dubbed the the American Jobs Plan, is focused on improving the nation’s infrastructure and boosting the economy.
“Think about it, there is simply no reason that the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing,” Biden said. “There’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in production of electric vehicles and batteries. The American Jobs Plan is going to create millions of good-paying jobs, jobs Americans can raise a family on.”
“The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America,” Biden continued. “And it recognizes something I’ve always said, in this chamber and the other. [There are] good guys and women on Wall Street, but Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions build the middle class.”
The 78-year-old president hit themes he has focused on throughout his decades in public office. Biden, who has long styled himself as an ally of working class Americans, urged Congress to pass the Pro Act to strengthen protections for unions and said lawmakers should pass legislation to raise the minimum wage.
He also emphasized issues of racial justice, calling on Congress to pass a policing reform bill before the anniversary of George Floyd’s death next month.
“We have all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black America. Now is our opportunity to make real progress,” he said, adding that he believed the “vast majority of men and women in uniform wear their badge and serve their communities honorably”.
Biden’s plans are effectively the final installment of the major policy proposals the administration can hope to comfortably pass through Congress before lawmakers turn more attention to the 2022 midterm elections and their re-election prospects, which will further stall Congress.
Biden and his team have made a point of saying they want to work with Republicans to craft legislation, but he cautioned that outreach would only last to a point.
“From my perspective, doing nothing is not an option,” Biden said.
Some lines in Biden’s speech won standing applause from both Republicans and Democrats. The Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas could be seen clapping when Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated.
But when he laid out why and how he wanted to pay for his proposals – by closing tax loopholes for the rich and raising other taxes for Americans – the Republican senator Mitt Romney of Utah stayed in his seat silently.
“Unfortunately, the President has a lot of things he’d like to do, but he’s spending like crazy,” Romney said in a statement after the speech.
Biden went on to knock the tax cut Republicans passed when Donald Trump was in office.
“Instead of using the tax savings to raise wages and invest in research and development, it poured billions of dollars into the pockets of CEOs,” he said. “My fellow Americans, trickle down economics has never worked and it’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”
Biden also announced ways he wanted to improve the Affordable Care Act - commonly called Obamacare – through working with Congress.
“The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans – protecting people with pre-existing conditions, protecting women’s health. And the pandemic has demonstrated how badly it is needed,” Biden said. “Let’s lower deductibles for working families on the Affordable Care Act, and let’s lower prescription drug costs.”
On foreign policy, Biden said he had made clear to Vladimir Putin that the United States would respond to any acts of aggression. On Beijing, he warned Americans were “in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century”.
At another point Biden touched on domestic threats, saying: “The most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from white supremacist terrorism.”
Biden, an enthusiastic gladhander, lingered after the speech to talk with multiple lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats alike – before he left Capitol Hill. Earlier in the evening he had done a fist bump with Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House Republican leadership.
In its response to Biden’s address, the progressive wing of the Democratic party praised Biden for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis but urged the president to be bolder in tackling the climate crisis and economic inequality, and to do more to address structural racism.
The Republican senator Tim Scott, who delivered his party’s official response, said Biden “seems like a good man” but that his speech amounted to a “liberal wishlist” paid for with “job-killing tax hikes”.
Scott said Biden wanted bipartisanship in name only. “Our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes,” he said.
MENDOCINO COUNTY MOVES INTO YELLOW TIER
Mendocino County Public Health was alerted by the State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that our county has officially entered the Minimal (yellow) Tier. Moving from the Moderate (orange) tier to the Minimal (yellow) tier and lowest risk category allows most indoor operations to resume in Mendocino County, effective April 28, 2020.
While the decrease in COVID-19 cases in Mendocino County is welcome news, the Health Officer cautions there is a continued need to control this pandemic. The emergence of more viral variants here in California and increased transmission in other states could set us backwards if we do not continue to wear our masks in public settings and private gatherings. While certain events and gatherings can now reopen or expand capacity, it is important to continue to gather outdoors or in well ventilated areas, whenever possible.
In alignment with the Minimal (Yellow) Tier, the following industries are now expanded in Mendocino County:
Places of worship and cultural ceremonies (such as wedding or funeral ceremonies) may continue to be open indoors with indoor services recommended to operate at 50% capacity;
Attendance to outdoor seated live events (e.g., racetracks) and entertainment with audiences (in-state visitors only) is permitted with advanced reservations required and limited to 67% capacity, in-seat concessions only among other specific restrictions, See https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-live-performances--en.pdf
Attendance to Indoor Seated Live Events and Performances guidance https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-live-performances-indoor--en.pdf allows audiences (in-state visitors only) at 25% capacity or 300 people in venues serving up to 1500 (or 50% if all guests show recent negative test or full vaccination), with weekly worker testing, digital advanced purchase tickets only, pre-designated eating area 6 feet social distancing (no eating/drinking allowed in seats), among other restrictions;
Private Gatherings guidance (for informal social gatherings) allows a maximum of 100 people outdoors with indoor gatherings strongly discouraged but allowed (up to 50 people or 50% capacity whichever is fewer) with modifications (no food/drink except when following certain standards)
Private Events guidance (for meetings/wedding receptions/conferences), allows a maximum of 200 people outdoors (increased capacity to 400 with proof of recent negative test within three days/ or full vaccination) and indoors (only if all guests up to a maximum of 200 have proof of recent negative test within three days or full vaccination), and requiring certain mitigation measures including purchased tickets/defined guest list, seating chart/assigned seating, no intermingling of multiple private events;
Restaurants can open indoors with 50% maximum capacity, increased to 75% if all guests show proof of recent negative test or full vaccination;
Bars (where no meals are provided) can open indoors with modifications, with 25% maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; capacity may increase to 37.5% if all guests show proof of recent negative test or full vaccination;
Wineries/Breweries/Distilleries (where no meals are provided) can open indoors and outdoors with modifications (maximum capacity 50% or 200 people whichever is fewer; increased to 75% capacity if all guests show proof of recent negative test or full vaccination)
Movie Theaters can open with 50% maximum capacity increased to 75% if all guests show proof of recent negative test or full vaccination;
Family Entertainment Centers (e.g., bowling alleys, bounce centers/ball pits/laser tag, and arcades) may open indoors with 50% maximum capacity (75% capacity of all guests have proof of recent negative test or full vaccination) and mandatory masking, and food/beverage restricted to designated areas separate from activity areas;
Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums may be open without capacity restrictions;
Gyms, Fitness centers, and Yoga and dance studios can open indoors with 50% maximum capacity, increased to 75% if all guests show proof of recent negative test or full vaccination (Indoor pools, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms may also reopen)
Fairs may open with a maximum of 35% capacity. With mandatory face coverings indoor and outdoor and must also follow the Amusement Parks and Theme Parks Guidance (https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-amusement-theme-parks--en.pdf), which includes employer to develop COVID-19 testing program for weekly optional testing, in addition to following the guidance applicable to the various operational aspects and service offerings available (e.g., Bars, Wineries, Retail, Family Entertainment Centers, interactive exhibits (Zoos and Museums), and Outdoor Seated Live Events and Performances, etc.;
Satellite wagering sites can open indoors with maximum 50% capacity;
Swap meets can open with modifications (reduced capacity food courts to follow restaurant guidance);
Higher education can open indoors with lectures/student gatherings limited to 50% capacity (labs and studio arts may open at regular capacity);
Youth and adult recreational sports may now also allow some moderate and high-contact sports (see list https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/#youthsports-guidance);
The recommendations also link to an addendum providing further industry and venue guidance increasing capacity limits in venues for those with either full vaccination or confirmed negative test results. New COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings-November-2020.aspx) guides how fully vaccinated people can spend time with others (but does not apply to workplaces which must follow Cal/OSHA standards, if applicable).
“Our high vaccination rates and attention to wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and limiting indoor activities have all contributed to Mendocino County moving to this yellow tier. The least restrictive tier! We as a community have come together to accomplish this goal. As we move towards the June 15th date established by the Governor’s Office, we do need to improve our testing (even after vaccinations) to guard against a surge of variants. But if we keep this up we can move back to living normally.”
BARBARA HOWE DROPS HER FEDERAL CASE AGAINST THE COUNTY
by Mark Scaramella
Apparently, former County Public Health Director Barbara Howe’s unlawful termination case was bundled with two other former county employees — Carol Morgan and Janie Sheppard — who filed suit in Federal District Court against Mendocino County for discrimation, retaliation and other mistreatment.
From the Federal Court case summary:
“Ms. Howe alleges she was retaliated against for her speech and actions when days later, on May 24, 2019, she was forced under duress to sign a one-page resignation letter by defendant Tammy Moss Chandler. After signing the letter, Ms. Howe also alleges defendants sought spurious temporary restraining orders designed to destroy her reputation, further retaliation for the above activity. Ms. Howe claims she was entitled to a name clearing hearing. Finally, Ms. Howe alleges she was discriminated against based on her sexual orientation (heterosexual), gender, age, and engaging in protected activity, citing comments defendant Tammy Moss Chandler made to Ms. Howe about how older employers are incapable of making good decisions, multitasking, and struggling with technology.”
* * *
“Plaintiff Carol Morgan has worked for HHSA from December 2017 - present as a Senior Nurse Care Manager.
Ms. Morgan's claim primarily involves the conduct of Sharon Convery, who allegedly attempted to have Ms. Morgan falsify an HR questionnaire after the interview of County employee, Ms. Hashimoto, on January 30, 2020.
Ms. Morgan filed a formal union grievance over these allegations.
Ms. Morgan also alleges she has spoken up against the backlog of case histories and the failure of the County managing agents to execute strategic plans, which has prevented foster children from receiving medical services.
Ms. Morgan claims she was retaliated against for her actions and speech by being denied a promotion. In late 2019 the County sought to appoint someone for a promotional position applying the civil service rules and ordinances; defendants allegedly enforced ‘illegal policies and procedures’ to ‘promote a preferred candidate over one selected from the written policies’.”
* * *
“Allegations re Plaintiff Jani (aka Janie) Sheppard. Plaintiff Jani Sheppard has been employed by Mendocino County HHSA from May 2018 - present and is currently a Senior Program Manager.
Ms. Sheppard alleges she was subject to retaliation because defendant Tammy Moss Chandler erroneously thought Ms. Sheppard was the person who provided evidence in the TRO hearings against the County and in favor of Ms. Howe.
As a result, the complaint alleges Ms. Sheppard was subject to a sham discrimination investigation concocted by defendant Katherine Fengler and two other employees, Meredith Reinhard (who reports directly to Ms. Sheppard) and Carol Mordhorst, who allegedly made comments to the effect that Ms. Sheppard ‘had to go’.”
The discrimination investigation allegedly concerned Ms. Sheppard's activities in directing HHSA funds to underserved communities, which she was allegedly authorized and directed to do by State law.
The complaint alleges Carol Mordhorst is “a contractor” who temporarily replaced Ms. Howe and who defendant Sharon Convery reported to. Ms. Mordhorst is a primary example of someone whom the complaint mentions but does so without providing helpful context or information. When did Ms. Mordhorst work for the County? Who reported to her? Who did she report to?
Ms. Sheppard also alleges that Ms. Mordhorst told her that Ms. Reinhard and other ‘direct reports’ called Ms. Sheppard an “angry black woman.” [Ms. Sheppard is white. —ms]
Ms. Sheppard's intrusion of speech claim surrounds a Tobacco Initiative she was supervising. She alleges defendant Tammy Moss Chandler prohibited HHSA staff from speaking with supervisors about the initiative.
At a September 2019 Tobacco Coalition Meeting, Ms. Sheppard stated publicly that she was not permitted to speak with supervisors and Ms. Chandler was not able to engage in formal strategic planning and voiced her own frustration about the lack of leadership since Ms. Howe's compelled termination.
Ms. Sheppard alleges she was retaliated against by being removed from meetings because of her association with Ms. Howe, with the discrimination investigation, and that she was demoted twice on March 26, 2020.
Defendant William Schurtz justified the demotion stating Ms. Sheppard had not completed her probationary periods.”
* * *
In her ruling late last year Federal District Judge Susan Illston wrote: “To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face’.”
After a bunch of legal standards and citations, Judge Illston concluded that the plaintiffs (Howe, Sheppard and Morgan) had not made their legal case adequately or properly, snappishly writing:
“Plaintiffs should look carefully at what they can plausibly allege and carefully consider which defendants they wish to sue in which capacity (official/personal) and whether their case would be strengthened by eliminating duplicative claims/defendants. Further, if another motion to dismiss should be filed, it is not helpful for plaintiff to quote, without context and single spaced, new allegations added to the complaint. Plaintiffs should be able to explain to the Court why and how newly added allegations resolve the shortcomings outlined in this order.”
And at this point, last November, the plaintiffs, seeing the handwriting on the docket, gave up:
“On November 11, 2020, plaintiffs Barbara Howe, L. Jani Sheppard, and Carol Morgan filed an Ex Parte Motion for Extension of Time to File Third Amended Complaint. However, on November 13, 2020, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all claims against all the defendants in the present case. The Court hereby FINDS AS MOOT plaintiffs' Ex Parte Motion for Extension of Time to File Third Amended Complaint. The Clerk shall close the file.”
* * *
Notes: Like other Mendo personnel cases we have followed over the years, the issue again came down to legal burdens (e.g., “provable malice”) that are hard for an ordinary person to meet, epecially in hindsight. At no time did anyone say that any of the women’s complaints were false, just that they didn’t meet the high legal standard. We couldn’t help but note that one of Barbara Howe’s complaints was that she was discriminated against because she’s not gay, another only-in-Mendo charge, but could well be true given the people involved. It’s also a window into the odd hothouse workplace culture at 501 Low Gap Road.
ALTHOUGH BARBARA HOWE never got her day in Federal Court, she did get a bit of a hearing in Judge Jeanine Nadel’s Superior Court back in 2019 when she argued against the restraining order that Tammy Moss Chandler had filed for:
"Barbara Howe Speaks" (by Marilyn Davin on June 19, 2019)
"Barbara Howe’s Day In Court" (by Bruce McEwen on June 26, 2019)
WE MIGHT ADD HERE, that part of the management problem with Official Mendo is that there is no real professional management. If standard monthly departmental reporting was conducted like most organizations, there would be a record of management performance and a documented history of success or failure that could be used in personnel matters. Instead, Mendo bases its top personnel decisions too much on loyalty, sheepishness, retaliation, petty disputes, and other vague intangibles that leave managers on pins and needles constantly watching their back.
BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH
Save the Forest-- Non-violent Direct Action Training this Fri April 30 10-4:30
If you are thinking about joining the Forest defenders of Jackson State Forest - Please attend this important training.
Nonviolence Training, Friday, April 30, 2021
Fortunate Farms, 15401 CA- Highway 1
10:00 a.m. — 4:30 p.m., Please bring your own lunch
Want to take Action for the Trees in Jackson State Forest? Join the Nonviolence Training to Learn about:
Direct Action; nonviolence guidelines
Non-hierarchical decision making Consensus Process
Affinity Group formation
Role plays—what to expect if you’re arrested
Jail support—no one left alone!
Fri. Evening Dinner — Camping Available
Camp Fire — Stories & Music — Bring Instruments
Directions to Fortunate Farm: Going north from Ft. Bragg on Highway 1, turn east onto Orchard road after the 2nd Caspar exit. Driving south on Hwy 1, it’s just after Jug Handle State Park.
Contact: Naomi Wagner 707 459-0548 landline talk and mess.
707 502-6181 cell text and VM
Anna Marie Stenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UNUSUAL POSTCARD FROM EBAY (via Marshall Newman)
ANDERSON VALLEY AMBULANCE/EMS MANAGER Clay Eubanks Reports:
Department wide we currently have 20 EMT’s, seven of whom have been trained to provide vaccinations. Of the 20 EMT’s 15 take regular shifts, four jump on occasionally, and one operates as fire only. We are down to one non-EMT driver. This gives us a total of 17 active crew members taking regular shifts. Of those active two are from Comptche and two are from Albion.
Of the 15 EMTs taking regular shifts 13 are comfortable taking lead on patient care during the shifts.I’m hoping with time that will shift.
We have one new recruit who is currently taking the EMT class and will begin as a driver on Thursday the 29. He hopes to start picking up week-end shifts, bringing our active roster to 18.
In addition two of our “COVID reserves” have expressed an interest in returning to take regular shifts. One is a non-EMT driver and the other is an EMT.
We also have two High School seniors who have shown an interest in taking shifts as well. Both will be 18 by the end of the school year and one is currently enrolled in the EMT class.
Since we have 28 shifts per week, this means that most of those committing to take shifts do more than one shift per week. Many are taking two while others are taking between three and five shifts per week.
* * *
JPA (Joint Powers Agreement)
A JPA is being proposed by Ukiah City for EMS services in the County. This is another variation on the EOA (Exclusive Operating Area) of the past with some significant differences. The JPA will be a voluntary program for those agencies that are interested in participating versus being mandated by the County.
The JPA would manage all transport billing and coordinate to receive additional IGT funding as a Public Transport agency.
The timing of this is unclear, however Coastal Valleys EMS has requested some of the PG&E settlement funds to engage a consultant to study the proposal.
THE BOONVILLE ELIZABETH SETON CATHOLIC CHURCH BARN SALE sells used items: lamps, furniture, household items, linens, clothing, records, DVDs, CDs, toys, building materials,books and much more.
Open this weekend, Saturday May 1, 10 am to 3 pm and on Sunday, May 2 from NOON to 3 pm. Located at 12761 Anderson Valley Way in Boonville. Please wear masks and social distance! Proceeds benefit St. Elizabeth Seton.
FORT BRAGG ASKS: WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
Nearly one year ago, the City of Fort Bragg completed a major upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant facility to improve reliability and quality of effluent (treated water released into the ocean). The new treatment system has proved to be far more efficient in the removal of solids from the waste stream than expected. This translates into a much greater need for onsite storage of the bio-solids at the treatment facility. This is the source of the odor that many have experienced near the treatment plant facility located on the Coastal Trail.
The City began the search for equipment to reduce bio-solid volume in September of last year. In March, City staff identified a bio-solid dryer unit that would fit within the treatment facility footprint at a reasonable price and that came with a performance guarantee. The request for this unit’s purchase will come before the City Council for consideration at its May 10, 2021 meeting. It will take 21 weeks for delivery of the dryer after placing the order. In the meantime, the City started treating the bio-solids to reduce volume and combat odor. The first treatment was introduced two weeks ago and a second is anticipated to arrive today. Additionally, staff will limit transfer of bio-solids to the late evening to minimize the odor production impact on Coastal Trail users.
The City will provide regular updates as the project progresses.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
CHRIS CJ JONES SENDS GREETINGS FROM PORTLAND TO ALL HIS OLD FRIENDS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
IRV SUTLEY WRITES:
My comment to Steve Talbot regarding his film on Vietnam war veterans, there is a link in the column so you can see the film. Take the time to take a look. Lots of us statesiders in uniform, in the reserves, the never called up political unreliable's, the ones discharged for the “convenience of the government,” troopers who supported the pro-Cuban revolution but not the Gulf of Tonkin, had a harder time realizing the devastation the war visited upon the combatants’ families when things went south. The AVA's editor knows a thing or two about being “in country.”
You can see the film here: https://www.movementandthemadman.com/dc3
VIOLET CARPELLO-RENICK is in
Howard Memorial Sutter Hospital, Santa Rosa after a fall at her home in Ukiah. She fractured a vertebra in her back and will be going into surgery sometime later this week. She is expected to stay in Santa Rosa for a few days after surgery then she will return to Ukiah for further treatment. Get-well messages are most welcome at 300 Pinoleville Road, Ukiah 95482. (Ed note: Ms. Carpello-Renick was born and raised in the Anderson Valley to the last Pomo-speaking family in this area. A delightful lady of the irrepressibly merry (and rare) type, everyone who knows her fully expects Violet to be up and laughing in a week.)
THAT was a particularly gruesome double murder west of Willits last week, about ten miles out Sherwood Road. A Mexican father and son were the victims in an apparent dispute originating in a marijuana grow. The way we hear it, the two men were dumped and set on fire, their immolation strewn contemptuously with beer bottles and dead chickens. The man charged with the murders is Christopher Gamble pictured here in his booking photo.
Gamble looks like a man suddenly aware his life has also ended, and when you tote up all the lives lost to the love drug up and down the Northcoast…
ON-LINE COMMENT re murder site: “I knew that area in the 80s - First Gate “groovy” 2nd Gate and Troll Ridge “nice people, they may ask why you’re on their road” 3rd Gate and Beyond “Look Out! This is where Crazy starts. Do Not go there w/o an invite!” I ran out to Timber Ridge on a couple CAMP busts as a solo member of CLMP (Civil Liberties Monitoring Project) as I looked to document any CAMP violations and excesses, protecting my unknown neighbors from those pigs.”
BUT MENDO stumbles on with another jumbled scheme to expand dope grows where they heretofore have not been permitted, not that the Green Rush has ever been deterred by what is or isn't permitted by an authority with almost no ability to enforce the rules. And Mendo never seems to learn from effective marijuana regulating strategies adopted by adjacent Humboldt County, also an area suffering an influx of growers who have arrived to batter the natural world in the hopes of quick cash-ins.
HUMCO uses real-time sky spy technology to spot outlaw grows, then simply looks up the parcel's owner and slaps a lien on the property. Mendo could do that, but our authorities seem to prefer discussing for nine-and-a-half hours even more unenforceable statutes on top of the unenforceable mess we have now.
MUST ADMIT that Biden, whomever's doing his programming, has been almost Bernie-quality in the Go Big scope of his thinking. Tonight, when the poor old guy's shoved out there in front of the teleprompter, he will propose universal free preschool for kids aged 3 to 4, as well as two free years of community college regardless of income. Good. Just what's needed. Community colleges used to be free, and the old Head Start programs were a clear benefit to millions of children, two of mine included. Overall, Biden’s American Families Plan is said to make up $1.8 trillion in investments and tax credits over the next decade. “The American Families Plan is an investment in our children and our families—helping families cover the basic expenses that so many struggle with now, lowering health insurance premiums, and continuing the American Rescue Plan’s historic reductions in child poverty.” Atta boy, Joe! The plan also includes a tax overhaul focused on the “highest income Americans,” which the White House claims will raise about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
AND THE OLD BOY seems at least partially aware of his robot status when he blurted out Tuesday that if he took any more questions than he had pre-made answers for he would be in “trouble.” Trouble? With whom?
LIVE, IN PROGRESS
On Saturday, April 24, 2021 at around 11:30 PM, a homeowner contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch Center and reported a burglary in-progress in the 32000 block of Pearl Drive in Fort Bragg.
The homeowner was out of the area and was viewing a live video feed of the suspect(s) attempting to force entry into his residence.
Deputies responded and checked the residence, finding damage to a garage door, consistent with an attempted burglary.
Deputies and a Sheriff's Sergeant with his K9 partner “Sam” began checking the area around the residence. An area of likely escape onto an adjacent property was located and a K9 deployment warning announcement was made.
Nicholas Pollard, 39, of Fort Bragg, immediately responded and announced he would surrender. Deputies entered the thick brush and contacted Pollard. Pollard was detained and was found to be intoxicated.
Pollard was arrested for Public Intoxication. Deputies searched Pollard and located a small amount of suspected heroin.
Deputies were able to view the surveillance video at the scene and positively identify Pollard as one of the suspects responsible for the reported attempted residential burglary. Pollard was additionally charged with Attempted First Degree Burglary and Looting During a Declared Emergency.
Pollard was transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
On Sunday, April 25, 2021 at around 8:56 PM, Mendocino County Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a suspicious vehicle in the 30000 block of Sherwood Road in Fort Bragg.
Deputies were advised the vehicle appeared to have damage and an open door and it just arrived in the reporting person's driveway.
Deputies arrived a short time later and contacted Shalom Lewis, 24, of Fort Bragg at the vehicle, who was known to them to be on active CDC Parole for burglary.
Deputies conducted a search of Lewis, per his parole terms and located numerous hypodermic syringes and a small amount of a crystalline substance that was believed to be methamphetamine. Deputies contacted CDC Parole and a parole hold was authorized for the new violation.
Lewis was on pre-trial release for a pending felony matter in the Mendocino County Superior Court. Based on this, Lewis was additionally charged with Commiting a Felony while on pre-trial Release for Pending Felony.
Lewis was transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $75,000 bail.
HE PULLED A KNIFE AND THEN…
On Monday, April 26, 2021 at around 5:55 AM, Mendocino County Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to a disturbance in the 17000 block of Redwood Springs Drive in Fort Bragg.
Deputies were advised that an adult male had attempted to attack another adult male with a knife inside the residence.
Deputies arrived and contacted Miguel Carrillo-Palomar, 27, of Fort Bragg, and a 21 year-old male.
Deputies learned Carrillo-Palomar had attacked the 21 year-old male with a large kitchen knife and the 21 year-old male was able to use an object to successfully defend himself against the knife attack for an extended period of time.
The 21 year-old male then used a different object to strike Carrillo-Palomar enough times to cause him to stop the attack. Deputies inspected the items and observed damages consistent with statement(s) gathered at the scene. Deputies also recovered the knife used in the attack.
Based on the evidence located at the scene and statements obtained, Deputies arrested Carrilo-Palomar for Assault with a Deadly Weapon - Knife.
Due to the seriousness of the offense, Deputies contacted a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge and requested a bail enhancement. The Superior Court Judge ordered that Carrillo-Palomar be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
Carrillo-Palomar was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 28, 2021
CHRISTIAN ANAYA, Nice/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, domestic abuse, false imprisonment, damaging communications equipment, criminal threats.
JORGE BANDRES-DEVIDARTE, Monterey Park/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
MARTIN BRIGGS, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
MIGUEL CARRILLO-PALOMAR, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
BHAKTI DILLENBECK, Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SHAYLA GUERRERO, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
MICHAEL OLVERA-CAMPOS, Hopland. Probation revocation.
ANN TAYLOR, Ukiah. Contempt of court.
TRAVELS IN MEXICO: The Psychotropic Bus
by Paul Theroux
Instead of flying back to Mexico City to pick up my car and resume my road trip, I decided to ride the bus there by a roundabout route, via the coastal cities of Culiacan, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, places I was curious to see. And in taking the bus I thought I might also experience a different sort of border crossing -- in the company of hard up Mexicans who could not afford to fly.
The inexpensive cross-border bus from Phoenix (“Tufesa Internacional — la experiencia mas confortable de viajar”) turned out to be mood altering, psychotropic in a general way, and in a narrow sense, too. The trip reminded me that most headlong hallucinatory brain bending drug episodes (at least in my life) begin with the mildest, most prosaic tinkering and hoo-ha. First you find a couch or a hammock (“This'll do”), get comfortable on it, swallow the poison, and for thumb-twiddling minutes or longer, wait for the nerves to jangle and the eyeballs to boil.
At first there is only mild discomfort, a pukesome catch in the throat, and then, in an eruption of phosphenes, blinding light in the lantern of your head, as the body surrenders to a narrowing liquefaction, and finally a transformation, as one is borne along a river of lava, or it might be marmalade, with a chorus of warping chirrups, perhaps of demented sparrows or speeding schools of translucent reef fish -- only the synapses know. At the start is the decapitation, and you melt, you vanish, and in a welcome dawn you are reborn as plasma, until reincarnated as damp flesh, blinking and wondering, what just happened?
The bus was like that, but it took a while. Travel can mimic such an episode which is why they are both called trips. From a hot Phoenician noon, the bus moved through the Arizona desert to the glare of Tucson and the string of sand at Tubac, where some saguaro cactus were giving me the finger, others were like spiky candelabra, and the more symmetrical were monumental menorahs. After 20 miles, the bus slowed over rumble strips at the edge of the USA, for its insertion through a gateway in the tall rusted fence, crossing from small, sedate Nogales, Arizona, to sprawling and rackety Nogales in Sonora, where I had been several times.
So far, a simple bus ride in the afternoon heat and no formalities at the border except five squat, helmeted soldiers in black, shouldering past us on the broken pavement and entering the bus carrying assault rifles, prying open sections of upholstery and poking flashlights into crevices. Mexican authority figures are meaner, darker, better fed, and more muscle than the average Mexican, heavily armed and unsmiling.
“Looking for drugs?” I asked my new friend Bonifacio.
“No. The drugs go the other way. They are looking for guns and money.”
A dozen of us on the bus and I was the conspicuous gringo, all the others fully documented but poor and anxious returnees, burdened with the Mexican dilemma, extended family on both sides of the border, compounded in the Bonifacio’s case: “Wife there, with some kids. She don't like Arizona. Other kids here, grandkids too.” And his lungs were bad from the fumes of his work, spray painting cars in Phoenix. Old Sonora Cruz and her daughter were visiting relatives. Miguel had not been to his hometown of Guadalajara in years (it was 27 hours away on this bus): he, like the others, were intending to come back, yet quietly watchful -- as Mexicans always seemed to me, a reflex that was both social and cultural -- in the presence of a detachment of police as you would be in the presence of shouting drunks or a clutch of madmen. And even the middle-aged man with the boy gangster face who was to get off at Los Mochis, was subdued.
In Nogales, Sonora, street food was being served -- you could smell the hot fat and its smart of chiles in Arizona through the vertical interstices in the 30 foot iron fence: a woman with a bundle of tamales, a man with a tray of drinks, an ice cream seller, children hawking candy. Only 50 yards from the United States and the economy was suddenly improvisational, intensified by the heightened awareness of people hungry and poor. Newspaper vendors too, the headlines all mentioning Trump.
“I'll get you one!”
The well-dressed -- tie, jacket, golf cap -- street vendor hurried into moving traffic with my money, emerging minutes later, a Styrofoam cup in one hand, deftly sorting my change with the other, keeping a handful and reminding me that propina is the word for tip.
The bus sped south to Hermosillo, out of the old heart of Nogales, through the precincts of the industrial area (more than 800 factories, making computers, clothing, appliances, electronics, and plastic and rubber goods to be trucked through the fence), and finally low, grassy and wooded hills. If you ignore the ordinary miseries, the tenements and tumbled huts of the almost 40,000 workers, the landscape was indistinguishable from that in Arizona even to the emblematic sight of a crow pecking at the red hash in the crushed plating of a roadkill armadillo.
But that frontier is misleading for giving the impression of poor people jammed against the fence, their shonky houses in the rabbit warrens of dense colonias. They are the unfortunates, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, making plastic buckets and automobile wiring for the gringo market, hustling tamales for bus passengers, and as in many other Mexican border towns, offering discount dentistry.
You'd never know, contemplating the chaos and squalor and the hope that is palpable by the fence, what natural beauty lies beyond it, that 20 minutes south of the fence is open country: the grandeur of the Sonoran hinterland, the villages of Bambuto and Santa Ana, the mesquite trees dotting the hills, the green-tufted ravines and iron dark mountains in the distance, the ridge of the Sierra to the east, the dry river beds in the twilight, their shadows mimicking water flow.
RATHER BE HUMPTY
by Alex Abramovich
Shock G was the Donald Fagen of hip hop: a piano player, most comfortable behind his instrument, thrust into the role of a front man. His birth name was Gregory Edward Jacobs, and most of his audience knew and remembered him as Humpty Hump – a sign of how uneasy he was in his skin, with even his onstage persona hidden behind other personas. But every one of them exuded warmth and good humor. In Oakland, where Shock G made his name, he’ll be remembered not just for his genius but for being a gentle and generous force on the scene.
Oakland is not a big city; one of its nicknames is ‘the Town’. But for a long while, starting in the late 1980s, it had one of the strongest rap scenes in the country. Too Short, E-40, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Saafir, Souls of Mischief, the Coup and Tupac Shakur were all Oakland rappers. Until Shakur came along, MC Hammer was far and away the most popular. (Elsewhere, Hammer may have been seen as a joke; in Oakland he’s a hero.) Shock G, who mentored Saafir and Shakur, among others, liked to play the role of a clown. But really he was the scene’s jack-of-all-trades.
Raised up and down the East Coast, like Shakur, he’d been there when hip hop emerged from New York’s outer boroughs. In Tampa, where his father lived, he dropped out of high school, got in and out of trouble with the law, and formed a large crew of MCs and DJs called the Master Blasters. They were popular enough to land Jacobs his own radio show on Tampa’s big R&B station.
This was the same route that Sly Stone (another former radio DJ) had travelled, but it took Jacobs a much longer time to arrive. Fired, apparently for programming a fifteen-minute Funkadelic song into a five-minute time slot, he bummed around the country, sneaking into practice rooms at colleges and music stores to play the piano, before ending up back in Tampa – where, like Sly Stone, he studied music theory at a community college and worked as a journeyman record producer. He worked as a piano man, too – later on, ‘The Piano Man’ became another persona – and played in funk bands in Tampa and, eventually, Los Angeles. In 1986, he moved to the Bay Area and found work in a music store in Oakland or San Leandro (accounts vary). One day, a drummer named Jimi Dright walked into the store.
‘Jimi had a MIDI setup and a lot of credit,’ Shock G told Brian Coleman, who interviewed him for his book Check the Technique, ‘so I sold him my dream set-up. But he didn’t know how to work any of it, so our deal was that if I made a couple of house calls to set the stuff up, he’d let me finish my demo on his equipment.’
Shock G had already sketched out the two songs that appear on Digital Underground’s first single. ‘Back in 1988 we used to wear berets and shit,’ he told Coleman.
That was the style for ‘Your Life’s a Cartoon’. Then when Public Enemy came out we were like: ‘Damn, they did that to the fullest, way better than even we were thinking about.’ So then we decided to include humor in what we were doing, and that’s why we did ‘Underwater Rimes’. We decided we’d be this hippie-oriented band. Then De La Soul came out. Everything we tried, someone else did it, and usually better than us. So we were like, ‘Fuck it, we’re gonna be on some Parliament-Funkadelic shit, and do all kinds of different songs and wear different hats all the time.’
As a rule, rappers are not known for their modesty. (‘I don’t mean to be braggadocious,’ Nas told me once, in an interview, ‘but I might be the humblest person you will ever meet.’) In this case, the self-effacement was semi-warranted. The tracks were professional. So was the cover art, which Jacobs had drawn and credited to ‘Rackadelic’, another persona. But the whole thing didn’t click into focus until De La Soul’s record label, Tommy Boy, agreed to release Digital Underground’s second single, ‘Doowutchalike’, which sold enough copies to get the group an album deal with the label.
In reality, there was no group. Just Jacobs, doing the bulk of the work, with Dright and a Tampa friend, ‘Kenny-K’ Waters, chipping in.
But ‘Tommy Boy wanted to see a group,’ Shock G told Coleman, ‘so I had to get one going! I always wanted Digital Underground to be this big supergroup, but we didn’t have all the true characters yet. Basically, most of the time if I had a vision of a kind of guy we needed, I’d just be that guy.’
Jacobs recruited Money B, a younger, more streetwise MC, along with Money B’s DJ, Fuze, and a few other companions. But when the album was all but done, they ran into clearance problems with the samples for a couple of songs. ‘Freaks of the Industry’ and ‘The Humpty Dance’ were last-minute substitutes. (In an interview in 2012, Shock G explained that he based Humpty’s voice on a singing cartoon frog from the 1950s.) There was no way the sexually explicit ‘Freaks of the Industry’ would ever be played on the radio. But ‘The Humpty Dance’ was an immediate hit. Prince covered it in concert. The Fresh Prince covered it on his TV show. To this day, it’s a sure-fire way to fill a dancefloor.
A backstory for the character was quickly created: Edward Ellington Humphrey III, a smooth R&B singer, had burned his nose in a deep-fat fryer and turned to rap. (It’s an odd story, given how nasal Shock G had made Humpty’s voice, but he was doing a fair bit of mushrooms, ecstasy and coke at the time, as well as mescaline and, probably, a few other drugs. Anyway, it didn’t have to make sense.) ‘I remember a George Clinton interview from when he was younger where he said that characters live on longer than human beings do,’ Shock G said. ‘They don’t burn out as quickly. So that was an inspiration.’
A dance was choreographed: inspired by the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, it’s supposed to look like the floor’s shifting underfoot and you’re trying to keep your balance. It’s a dance for people who can’t dance, to a song about people who don’t quite fit in, but feel sexy and want to have fun anyway.
The live shows were unusually good. At first, Jacobs pretended that Shock G and Humpty were separate people, hiring body doubles to appear with him as one or the other in public. Sometimes even his old friends were fooled. Some personas, like MC Blowfish, fell away. Others, like Peanut Hakeem, were waiting in the wings. Saafir and Shakur joined Digital Underground as roadies and dancers. (Saafir went on to become a brilliant, idiosyncratic, underappreciated MC.) Tommy Boy pushed for a follow-up album, but with Jacobs doing so much of the work himself, it was hard to come up with one quickly. As a stop-gap, Digital Underground released a four-song EP that featured Shakur’s first appearance as a rapper.
Shock G went on to produce and appear on Shakur’s breakthrough single, ‘I Get Around’ – it peaked at number 11 in the charts, the same spot that ‘The Humpty Dance’ had reached – and kept on working with him. He made many more Digital Underground albums, collaborated with Prince and George Clinton, and performed with Parliament-Funkadelic. Because he was lighthearted and funny – ‘I like to rhyme/I like my beats funky/I’m spunky/I like my oatmeal lumpy’ – it was easy to overlook his contributions. From the get-go, he’d pulled hip hop in a few new directions, stretching songs every which way, incorporating piano breaks and live, improvised instrumentation. James Brown was the bedrock of the East Coast sound, but it was largely thanks to Jacobs that the West Coast turned to P-Funk, and in doing so found its footing. And not just the West Coast: Outkast and André 3000 also owe a lot to Shock G and Humpty Hump.
But, to a degree, it was Shakur who caused Shock G’s kind of music to lose traction in the marketplace. From now on, rappers had to be ‘real’ and ‘hard’, not open, inclusive and optimistic – this kind of cartoon, not the other. Shock G wasn’t bitter about it, just smart. ‘I don’t recognize my friend Tupac when I listen to “Makaveli”,’ he said. ‘I enjoy those records but I don’t really recognize my friend in there; it’s a character. It’s his Humpty.’
Tupac was murdered in 1996. In 2012, he appeared posthumously as a hologram at Coachella, performing with Snoop Dogg. ‘That’s dope,’ Shock G said. ‘I love it. I’m about to buy a few of them, soon as the price comes down, though. And they don’t gotta be dead. It’s going to be Digital Underground featuring Lauryn Hill, RZA, Tupac and Jimi Hendrix. Imma make it who I want. But the first hologram I’m gonna buy? I’m gonna buy me a Humpty, so I can be Shock G on the keys ... Or a hologram of Shock. I’d put him on the keys, and I could be Humpty. Sometimes, I’d rather be Humpty.’
Jacobs died last week, at the age of 57, alone in a Tampa hotel room. He was the same age Prince had been. Like Prince, he’d gone out of his way to help others, but not always himself. For periods of time he crashed with friends or stayed out on the road, moving between motels with no permanent home. But there is no road anymore for our working musicians. Jacobs and Shock G both deserved better endings.
(London Review of Books)