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Mendocino County Today: February 13, 2013

I NEVER THOUGHT I'd be saying that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is savvier and more on-task than the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, not that I'd ever held either in anything like high esteem. But the Mendo supervisors, in their present incarnation, are doing a smart, responsible job of managing the County in a very difficult time, not that we're talking Swiss Watch civic functioning here, but at least our supervisors address the real issues as they arise. San Francisco's supervisors, overseeing an annual budget of more than four billion dollars to make things work for 800,000 people spread over a mere 47 square miles, spend hours and hours discussing things that should get short shrift, and they're prone to Big Think-itis, issues they have no power to resolve. And Frisco, constantly celebrating itself as a progressive city, continues to approve massive giveaways to the rich, as they've done most recently in site prep for, of all things, an international yacht race that's so rich only three rich guys have entered. And if a San Francisco high-rise condo project has been rejected by SF, its rejection has eluded my hawk-eyed notice. While routinely approving bad buildings only the wealthy can afford to live in, SF's supervisors spend hours of public time talking about The Naked Guys, as if 50 exhibitionists shouldn't simply be ordered to cover up or be arrested. Oh, no. It becomes a free speech issue, and whether or not public nudity was free speech took months to resolve while Frisco's streets went unpaved and every corner of downtown was occupied by people who, in a civilized country, would be confined to mental hospitals. Just last week, a block from the downtown Hilton, on one corner a shoeless black man, about 60, appeared to be convulsing but, on closer examination, was merely drunk or drugged or both and was rocking out prone in full twitch mode to heavy metal. Across the street a shopping cart guy sprayed cleaning solvent in the doorway of a closed cafe, then carefully unloaded his bedroll and made camp. On a third corner a toothless guy held a scrawled but legible sign that said, “I tune fish.” I fished up a buck for him as he said, “I tune fish, get it? Tuna fish!” I was thinking about these spectacles last Saturday afternoon when a coyote trotted across a Presidio road not far from the Immigrant overlook, which isn't a mile from the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the third coyote I've seen this year in the Presidio, and I wondered if maybe he wasn't a harbinger of an apocalyptic reclamation project that might return California to the day Father Serra, on foot the whole way from Mexico, and his phalanx of conquistadors, stopped to re-hydrate at nearby Mountain Lake, which is now being dredged and returned to its natural state. That day I'd made a big circle, starting out at Land's End, on through the Presidio, down to Crissy Field, up and over the little hill to Aquatic Park, through Fisherman's Wharf, then south to North Beach, Union Square, west through the Tenderloin and on out to Clement for a late afternoon beer at the 540 Club, a kaleidoscope of a day in a city that may not know how but always manages to look like it does.


STEWART BOWEN sends along a Green Death memory written by the late Charles McCabe of the SF Chronicle. It seems the infamous malt has been upgraded by the San Francisco Brewers Guild into a "craft" version of the drink. Never was a Ranier Ale guy myself, but I had a friend way back who drank it all day long, kicking off his day with a couple of warm bottles from the case he kept under his bed. It became a kind of running joke. We'd go over to Bob's grungy-dark apartment on Fell Street near Masonic and there he'd be, a bottle of Green Death in his hand as he sat in an ancient easy chair he'd dragged in off the street. He'd either be talking to some other leisure-class hippies or reading. Bob was a great reader, a good talker, but these weren't avocations that pay much, especially if you had to do them sitting down with a case of Green Death handy. Bob's wife, who wasn't long for the relationship, went off to work every day until she wised up and went solo. Every morning she'd leave hubbykins with his beer and his easy chair and go off to work, and when she came home Bob would still be in his chair with a bottle in his hand. He only got up from the chair to go to the bathroom, which wasn't often. We'd joke about his capacity, which may have been simple inertia, it was hard to tell, but I never saw him any place other than in his chair drinking Green Death. One day we were sitting around talking and Bob, right in front of our eyes, began to break out in red, measle-like eruptions. Bing, bang, bong! Every inch of his pickled flesh was soon covered with red spots. "Bob! Whatever's happening here is serious. You've got to go to the emergency room." He was reluctant, probably hoping he could somehow be transported in his chair with enough Green Death to get him to Mission Emergency and back. We finally trundled him out the door and off we went arriving, as I recall, just after dark. Then and now, of course, Mission Emergency is like a combat field hospital in full triage mode. Gun shot wounds and stabbings that reduce their vics to the prone position take priority, and on down through all other visible injuries. Bob's medieval pox didn't appear life threatening so we sat and waited an hour or so until a doctor was available. When Bob emerged from his consultation with the harried healer he smiled and said, "Guess what? It's scurvy. I've got scurvy, the first case in the Bay Area since Sir Francis Drake. All I gotta do is eat and it'll go away."


THE AVA is now for sale at the Hopland Ale House, no longer across the street at the Hopland Superette. The Superette, unfortunately, has been sold by the Kong family to a screeching harridan who shrieked into our message machine, "Don't send it here anymore!" Click. You'd have thought we'd shipped her a load of anthrax. The Kongs, a gracious mom and pop, sold the paper for years, and were a pleasure to do business with. Gratuitous nastiness from in-County business people gets around and can harm their enterprise. I often stopped at the Hopland Superette on my weekly trips south, but the only reason I'd stop now would be to eyeball the beast who exploded our nut screener.


AN ALBION COUPLE, not yet identified, has nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their Albion home. Albion Fire Chief Ted Williams had been requested to check on the two at their Highway One property where he found both unconscious, the woman in the house, the man outside. Both were treated at Coast Hospital and released Monday night. Albion firefighters are trying to determine the source of what can be a silent killer and almost was in this instance.


STOP GILL NETTING THE GARCIA, an urgent request to Fish and Game: We have discussed illegal fishing on the Garcia River before. I invited you both to an Advisory Committee meeting of The Conservation Fund held at OZ Farm last fall. By way of background, I have been involved in helping restore the fishery in this river since serving as Cal Trout's representative on a Coastal Conservancy Advisory Committee from 1990 to 1992 which developed the first comprehensive plan to restore the fishery of this river. I am currently on the Board of Friends of the Garcia River (FROG) and on the Advisory Committee for the Conservation Fund's Garcia Forest which is managed in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Yesterday I ran into four people walking up the river through my property (OZ Farm; 41601 Mountain View Rd; 707-882-3046) carrying large gill nets and spinning reels and heading for a deep fishing hole locally known as "Upper OZ Hole". I reported the incident to CA DFW (formerly DFG) today. I was informed by a DFW warden that the wardens have actually come upon gill nets set across the river this very winter season on rancheria (federal) lands along the Garcia. However, even though an entire fishing run could be destroyed, DFW does not have authority to remove nets or make arrests on these lands unless accompanied by a federal representative. It appears that the illegal netting may be confined primarily to rancheria lands during higher flows and then, during lower flows (such as now),the gill netters spread out up and down the river to the deep pools where the fish are trapped. I think that is what I observed yesterday. I am not suggesting the problem of illegal fishing is confined to any particular places or groups of people. I am aware that your agencies have done some educational outreach in the local area, but the kind of people who are willing to wipe out entire fish runs are not going to be deterred by a power point presentation. We desperately need the active help of your agencies to enforce appropriate laws (federal ESA) or twenty-five years of hard work on the part of local citizens and groups will be wiped out. To be blunt, that means arresting the illegal gill-netters! As you may know, one prominent local fishing guide has recently given up his drift boat business on the Garcia, saying he can no longer justify asking clients to pay for fishing on a river so badly damaged by illegal fishing and gill netting. This is becoming a tragedy and, though hate to say it, it's occurring on your watch. Only 3 or 4 years ago, we were encouraged to see 40 or more redds along the lower river; now we are lucky to see 3 or 4. Obviously, we can debate the complex reasons for this decline, but we cannot ignore the conspicuous role of illegal fishing and gill-netting. And that is something your agencies can influence! We need three specific actions from NOAA and NMFS: 1. Immediate "on the river" federal enforcement coordinated with local DFW wardens. 2. Clarification that the rancheria lands on the Garcia do not have any special fishing rights and are subject to the same laws and restrictions we all are. This may be politically sensitive but it's the case! 3. Your active support convicting Kyle Stornetta of illegal coho salmon and steelhead takes at his trial set for March 20. The prosecuting attorney is Assistant Mendocino DA Tim Stoen. Convicting Stornetta with some real jail time and a big fine will be the most immediate step we can all encourage to send a signal to the bad guys that we want to give this fishery a(nother) chance to recover. I would appreciate your feedback. If I can help in any way — including access to the river through our property — please let me know. This is a very important issue for the health of the river and, more broadly, for the economic health of our entire area! I would be more than happy to meet with you in person at any time. (— John Hooper)



• Happy to see someone else thinking some of the same things I am! I have only one other angle to present, as being someone who left the country for two years and now returned back to my beloved Humboldt County. I am sad to see all of the homelessness, most of those who are suffering from serious mental problems and addictions. I see so many people looking cold, sick and just spiritually broken. What has happened to my beautiful Humboldt County? I mean I remember it before, you'd see the occasional drunks, heroin addicts in Eureka weren't uncommon, cars broken into and hearing of people stealing street signs or whatever other minor "criminal" offenses...but home invasion robberies? In Fortuna?! That's just insane. And what's up with the influx of gangbangers in Eureka slinging dope? They're everywhere! Since when do we have cholos hanging out on street corners in Eureka, seriously? And what about all the people getting hit by cars around Arcata...are we in such a hurry that we can't recognise a person on the road and slow down? And hold-ups in McKinleyville? What is going on?! It's like the whole vibration of the area has somehow been lowered and I too am trying to figure out why that is. Is it that the national economy has made it worse than it usually is? Is it the drug trade that's changed this once peaceful hideaway into such a dangerous place? Is anybody else cross-checking these dirt bags from the BOOKED report on Facebook? Yeah amazingly,even criminals have Facebook pages...and it's all exposed for the public to view! Check out some of their friend lists. You'll see gangbangers in Eureka associated with families in Hoopa, you'll see people accused for neglect have photos of confederate flags and other racist crap in the background. What about all the people claiming to be "pot farmers" showing photos of buds and money and guns....what has HAPPENED to this area? How can we even condone this sort of behavior happening in our county? Why are there a billion cops blanketed over this area, yet they're shaking people down for being drunk in public meanwhile there are gangbangers slinging dope a block away. It's ridiculous. Maybe its that I've been away from violence, rampant addiction, and a negative vibration....maybe that's why my home seems no place like home anymore.

• Have you ever noticed that the people whose mugshots most scare us on LoCO are almost always repeat offenders, people violating parole or probation? The problem here seems to have to do with a perpetual state of being, called "lowlife." Now granted, reading LoCO puts us in touch with the lowlife population in far greater proportion than if we just went about our daily lives and didn't touch it, or the Times-Standard--so there's one solution for your peace of mind-- just tune it out. But of course, it really is a problem that so many violent, rude, anti-social, stupid as well as ignorant, and often downright crazy people are dwelling in our midst, and that they are needy--they need all the things that are hard to find for anyone in a bad economy, but often seemingly totally out of reach for the misfits and unemployable; and they often need drugs, like crazy, that they're physiologically addicted to. If you've got, and they want, and they have no moral qualms-- you've got trouble. So how do you go about sweeping the lowlifes out of a town? You really can't, mainly because riling up some mob to take out all the people with neck tattoos or meth teeth would be sure to punish basically innocent, just poor or unfortunate people, along with the sociopaths. Unless you just focussed on getting those who have already been convicted of some violent or lowlife crime and actually removing them! I haven't counted, but it sure seems a very high percentage of the dangerous people arrested or wanted in Humboldt County have been convicted at least once before, and i don't mean they were guilty simply of possessing or growing marijuana. I mean the nasty stuff--meth, assault, attacking women, robbery, gun mania, crazy speed driving, etc. Since we always hear that there's no room in the county jail for them all, and no funding or placement in mental health institutions, couldn't we just at least say NIMBY, and send them out of the county (ride them out on a rail, as they used to say) on pain of some actual deterrent-level fate--say, actual state prison time--if they even showed their faces here again? As in, it would be against the law for them to even be here? Banned in Humboldt? (Or would neighboring counties sue us?) I don't know, just brainstorming. I don't mean to lay all of society's faults at the door of the most unfortunate (many probably just born and raised loveless and stupid)--making scapegoats for all the sickness of society, out of the easiest to vilify--but still! It's hard for many people to even stop and think of a better world when they feel constantly assaulted by fear and disgust brought on by the repeated appearances and misdeeds of people we should be able to trust can be controlled by the rule of law . It's not time for vigilante gangs, but it could be time to demand that law enforcement does what we expect them to do... keep our streets and homes safe--at least from people they already know are dangerous lowlife scum.

• It's soooo bad lately! Two stabbings this week so far..two Arcata business broken into and vandalized, hit and run fatality, meth busts, pot busts and more..all since sat? It's insane! I've been thinking about how to make a difference over this matter...I'd like to speak with some local officials to see what can be done. We can't just do nothing! I'd like to see people calling the cops and turning in their tweeker neighbors instead of focusing on pot grows....they are the real scum causing problems. I can't even imagine what kinds of people are living here now, having kids and sending them to school...what's it like at the schools?? Per capita this area has way too much crime and it needs to be addressed...any ideas? I don't even feel safe taking a walk alone in my area of Arcata. LAME!



By Jeff Costello

There is no better day to travel by car than Super Bowl Sunday. I had Hwy. 101 almost to myself from Santa Rosa to Crescent City. Eureka was deserted and the only restaurant I could find open was Big Louie's Pizzeria, where, yep, a crowd was gathered watching the game. While driving I idly wondered about the (few) other people on the road. Patriotism has been woven more deeply into pro sports in recent times. Watching the World Series, I noticed that the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning is no longer enough. Now they were stopping the game in the middle so someone could sing God Bless America.  No president fails to end a major speech by saying "...And may God Bless the United States of America..." Is that a rule, to say that? Does this mean God has not blessed the USA already? Doesn't American exceptionalism rest at least partly on the notion that God is On Our Side? Why then are we still fervently begging this favor of the almighty? And why are we doing it at professional sports events? More to the point, is ignoring the Super Bowl unpatriotic? What anarchy might lurk in the hearts of my fellow motorists on this day of national reverence and glory? A grocery store in Canyonville Oregon: 9 deer heads on the wall along with a collection of stuffed whole dead animals. Raccoon, lynx, mountain lion, a couple different kinds of large birds. Of four women working in the place, only one of them is not obese. Is there a conclusion or inference to be drawn here?  I'd never been to Colorado and never would have suspected I might go there for a date with a woman. Nevertheless I did this. Denver is an odd city, seemingly plopped down from nowhere in a flat, kind of bleak plain east of the mountains. Something about the place is not cohesive. One can see the mountain range to the west across the broad empty plain. Vegetation on the hills near the city looks sparse and malnourished, and I'm told that's because even here we are near the timberline. Coming from sea level, I had the impression that there wasn’t enough air in the air. This must be why it’s recommended for newcomers to drink lots of water — a source of oxygen. There is, as in all American cities, some appalling architecture, where one would expect to find it, in the area around the convention center. A few of these monuments to architects' egos even manage to visually get in each other's way and I found a bit of satisfaction in this. If Denver has any cultural identity I did not sense it. There is an area where homeless people gather, and why they aren't on the highway south with their thumbs out is mystery to me.  On the approach to the airport, there is a sculpture of a horse, life-size or maybe bigger, in what would otherwise look like a vacant lot. The horse is weird and quite the local controversy. A movement is afoot to have it removed. It’s popularly called the Demon Horse and it does look pretty nasty. It’s blue, reared up on its hind legs. The mane is formed in horn-like segments and the horse has glowing red eyes. Strangest of all is that the sculpture fell on the artist and killed him. Our date took us to a hotel in Golden, a fake town with the usual tourist-oriented businesses except for the Coors brewery, which looks like an oil refinery. It was too cold to explore the town much, but if there are any good restaurants, it would be news to me. Everyone in Golden looks like John Denver. But on this day, all the John Denvers were dressed in Bronco orange because the playoff game to see who went to the Super Bowl was on. It's hard to escape this stuff sometimes.


MARINE SANCTUARY MEETING: As per the newspaper article in the February 8,2013 issue of the Independent Coast Observer there will be a community meeting regarding the marine sanctuary expansion at the Point Arena High School TONIGHT at 6pm. (See the Feb. 8 ICO for more details)

Three scoping meetings are planned for the public to learn more about the proposal and submit comments. Public meetings will be held on the following dates, locations, and times:

Bodega Bay Grange Hall, Bodega Bay, Jan. 24, 6pm.

Point Arena High School, Point Arena, Feb. 12, 6pm.

Gualala Community Center, Gualala, Feb. 13, 6:00 p.m. Please use the following link to the website for NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary address for further information and copies of tonight’s presentations, expansion maps, press releases and more: (Hunter Alexander, Point Arena Town Clerk) ========================================================

Wango Tango on the Hill

Ted Nugent’s State of Disunion

By Lee Ballinger

Ted Nugent is slated to make a live appearance tonight at the State of the Union speech, arriving as a guest of his Congressman, Steve Stockman, who recently announced he was pursuing impeachment of the President. Presuming Ted shows, and presuming the Secret Service lets him in despite Ted’s avowal that he’ll be 20 pounds lighter from leaving his guns at home, how many other people in the room do you figure:

1) Are currently on federal probation (stemming from a 2012 plea agreement for illegal hunting)?

2) Have been vetted by the Secret Service after making open threats against the life of the President who is giving the speech?

3) Have been accused–without refutation–by Courtney Love of having sex with her when she was 12 years old? (Nugent, by the way, would have been 28.)

4) Openly proclaim not only that the Southern traitors should have won the Civil War but that the only “real Americans” are “working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers”?

This is to say nothing of Nugent’s other bigoted sexist, racist and homicidal pronouncements which will, it apparently goes almost without saying, be shared by a significant number of attendees. (In 2007, Nugent was the final act at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s black tie inaugural ball. Nugent ignored the dress code, appearing in a cutoff Confederate flag T-shirt while shouting out racial insults at the Spanish-speaking help. Gov. Perry, previously known rock-wise for frequently hosting actor Russell Crowe’s stunningly mediocre band 30 Odd Feet of Grunts, defended Nugent afterward.)

Nugent’s appearance is even more odd given that he proclaimed during the election that if Obama was re-elected he’d be “either dead or in jail.” Or maybe it’s his ghost who’ll fill the seat?

(Lee Ballinger is co-editor of Rock & Rap Confidential, one of CounterPunch’s favorite newsletters, now available for free by emailing:

One Comment

  1. February 13, 2013

    Why is Ted Nugent significant, why is he news? He is still referred to as a musician or “rock star.” Can anyone name or hum a song of his? It may not be commonly known that when he was still touring, Nugent’s audience consisted of young boys, and that Ted regularly came on stage wearing only a loincloth. Nugent was never “about” music, any more than Courtney Love was about music or Will Smith was about hip-hop or Robin Williams was about stand-up comedy. The idea was to be in the public spotlight and any stepping-stone would do. Nugent finally got the fame he really wanted with all this crackpot right-wing stuff.

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