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Off The Record

WILLITS BYPASS PROTESTER, Will Parrish, aka Red Tail Hawk, was arrested Monday morning after being cut out of the metal sleeve by which he'd fastened himself some 60 feet above ground on a piece of road building equipment. More than forty California Highway Patrol officers assembled at the north end of the Bypass site where Parrish was locked down. They were accompanied by two cherry pickers, and soon several officers were aloft and attempting to saw through Parrish's lock down device. As a CHP helicopter hovered over the odd scene, the main body of the CHP contingent kept roughly 20 Bypass protesters away from the extraction effort. A metal saw was unable to penetrate the lock down equipment so the CHP deployed a grinder that finally freed Parrish. Prior to sawing away at the metal encasing Parrish's arm, the extraction team covered him with a protective blanket to protect him from sparks. The extraction took more than an hour before The Hawk was taken into custody along with Amanda Senseman, aka Warbler, who said she was being arrested in solidarity with Parrish. Parrish was taken to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits for a medical evaluation then driven to the Mendocino County Jail and booked for trespassing. He'd been strapped to the equipment just north of Willits since June 20th. A tree sitter continues to occupy a grove slated for destruction.

AS THE CHP pulled The Hawk from his nest, Caltrans commenced pile driving along the route of the Bypass. Hawk had not been re-supplied in a week until CalTrans, tardily aware that a skeleton of a young man dangling from one of their pieces of equipment would present images probs for Big Orange, had relented in allowing Parrish to receive water and food once a day.

IT HAD OCCURRED to us here at the mothership that our star direct action enviro-reporter, might parlay his good looks to become a male version of Julia Butterfly. Of course he'd have had to stay locked down and to have enlarged his platform to accommodate visiting media and movie stars, but the kid does have Butterfly-quality charisma. And she parlayed a year in a redwood tree into quite a lucrative career for herself, peddling new age platitudes and $500 huggsie-wuggsies on into a new Lexus and a home in the Oakland hills.

NOT TO BE. As of Monday evening, Parrish was again locked down, but this time in the County Jail where he has been booked on trespass charges.

THE HAWK had been fastened to the equipment at the Willits bypass for a week to protest the Willits Bypass boondoggle before he was finally allowed to be re-supplied with water and food. An agile comrade had earlier scaled nearby equipment to get Parrish another few days of supplies, but Parrish was up there in bad heat with no water for several days.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ANN MOORMAN last week stood up to a brazen attempt by Supervisor Hamburg to rig a court appearance for his troubled son. I know, I know. Fathers and sons etc. But, as described by Bruce McEwen in this week's AVA, Hamburg's efforts to protect his son involved some extremely shady interference in the process by, of all people, County Counsel Tom Parker, who seems to be functioning lately as Hamburg's free lawyer. Worse, was a quick palsy-walsy sign-off by visiting judge Richard Kossow. Kossow was elected exactly once, back in the middle 1970s when lots of people in Anderson Valley thought it would be funny to elect a hippie judge to the one-day-a-week Anderson Valley Justice Court. The joke's been on all of us ever since.

THE OCCUPANTS of the part-time justice courts were then elevated to Superior Court status and Kossow has ridden a highly lucrative wave ever since as a visiting judge around the state. But he was a rum character as a hippie, and he's a rum character now as a judge, as he demonstrated last week by joining Hamburg, Parker and an old Hamburgian from Ukiah, the therapist Kevin Kelly, in an attempted end around the courts on behalf of Hamburg's son.

WHY THE SECRECY? Carmel Angelo, Mendocino County’s chief executive officer, will be answering written questions at Fort Bragg Town Hall on Friday, July 12, 2013 beginning at 10:30am from, it seems, invited persons only. Brandon Merritt is screening the questions for Her Majesty. He can be reached at 463-7236,

THESE THREE GUYS are arrested every couple of weeks. Often, they're not in jail long enough to dry out, long enough to maybe reconsider their options which, at this time, range from immediate death to slow death. The local justice system, presided over by people who make a lot of money, serve as sponsors for what amounts to torture of these three men and about 50 more like them in Mendocino County.

THE CLOVERDALE REVEILLE has been sold. Publisher Val H. Hanchett has announced that the ownership of the newspaper is changing hands from one local family to another. Owned by the Hanchett family since 1988, the Reveille will now be owned by Sonoma West Publishers, owners of The Healdsburg Tribune, Windsor Times and Sonoma West Times and News. The new publisher and owner will be Rollie Atkinson and his wife Sarah Bradbury. Atkinson has worked at The Healdsburg Tribune since 1982, assuming ownership in 2000. Neena Hanchett will continue in her various roles for the Cloverdale Reveille under the new ownership, serving as Associate Publisher.

BRUCE McEWEN REPORTS from Willits: When I visited Will Parrish’s crane-sit protest in the wick drain “stitcher” at the north end of the planned bypass on Saturday morning at about 7:30, the cops would not allow me to get close enough to call out to Will. In fact there were four of them and they ordered me to leave the property or face arrest for trespassing. “You need to leave,” one of them said. "And you have to call Caltrans and they'll escort you out here. But you can't just come out here. And the Caltrans office is closed on weekends.” They let me take a photo, then told me to leave again. So I left."

OUR ACE CRIME REPORTER was on his way to his Ukiah home from the Kate Wolf concert at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville where the jive reconstituted hippies at the gate refused to recognize McEwen's press credentials.

THE BLACK OAK RANCH is dope money recycled to pseudo-respectability by Wavy Gravy, not the first crook to make the transition but, to my mind, easily the most irritating. This smarmy fraud has been annoying me for fifty years since he first became ubiquitous at "counterculture" events, always working to cool out legitimately angry political energy. Natch, Mr. Gravy found his way to Mendocino County where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day.

THE ARMADA OF THE .0001%. If Google represents the global menace of Silicon Valley, and Zuckerberg represents its amorality, then Oracle CEO Larry Ellison might best represent its crassness. The fifth richest man in the world, he spent hundreds of millions of dollars to win the America's Cup yacht race a few years back. The winner gets to choose the next venue for the race and the type of boat to be used. So for this summer’s races, Ellison chose San Francisco Bay and a giant catamaran that appears to be exceptionally unstable. Last month, an Olympic-medal-winning sailor drowned when a boat he was training on capsized in San Francisco Bay, pinning him under its sail. Part of Ellison’s strategy for winning again evidently involves making the boats so expensive that almost no one can compete. A race that once had seven to 15 competitors now has four, and one may drop out. Business Insider headlined a piece, “Larry Ellison Has Completely Screwed Up The America's Cup.” It went on to say, “Each team, with the exception of New Zealand's, is backed by an individual billionaire, and each has spent between $65 million and $100 million so far.” In typical Silicon Valley-fashion, Ellison also figured out how to stick San Francisco for a significant part of the tab and in the process even caused the eviction of a few dozen small businesses, though in the end the city did not give him a valuable stretch of waterfront he wanted. Here’s what San Francisco is now: a front row seat on the most powerful corporations on Earth and the people who run them. So we know what you may not yet: they are not your friends and their vision is not your vision, but your data is their data, and your communications are in their hands, and they seem to be rising to become an arm of or a part-owner of the government or a law unto themselves, and no one has yet figured out what we can do about it. (— Rebecca Solnit)

WE'RE REALLY SORRY to see Mulligan's Books close. We always stopped in to chat with Dave Smith at Mulligan's, an oasis of civilization in savage Ukiah. Fortunately, Dave himself is not leaving town. He “will be transferring the downtown Mini Post Office to inside Mendocino Book Company, and reopening it in late June…” We hope a conversation booth will be part of Dave's post office ops.

AS EXHIBIT 'A' of how far organized labor has fallen, look no further than the mastermind “organizers” for SEIU representing County workers. They've declared Tuesdays “Purple Day,” and have announced a bulletin board decorating contest for the membership. What's next, pom pom girls? If I were a County worker I'd be turning an apoplectic purple that my dues were going to this stuff.

WE HEAR, THOUGH, that the new SEIU guy doing the actual contract negotiating for County employees is smart and sensible. He may be able to dial down the bad feeling left by the SEIU reps who managed to lead County workers from a 10% pay cut to a 12% cut during the last round of negotiations.

A HUSBAND AND WIFE were shopping in their local Wal-Mart. The husband picked up a case of Miller Lite and put it in their cart. “What do you think you're doing?” asked the wife. “They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans,” he replied. “Put them back; it's a waste of money,” demanded the wife. So he did and they carried on shopping. A few aisles further along, the woman picked up a $20 jar of face cream and put it in the basket. “What do you think you're doing?” asked the husband. “It's my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,” replied the wife. Her husband retorted: “So does 24 cans of Miller Lite and it's half the price.” Store Loudspeaker: “MAN DOWN, AISLE 7!”

ACCORDING to County Clerk Sue Ranochak she’s ready to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and has a letter from the state about how to proceed. But the state is waiting on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay it had placed on same-sex marriages in California while the Supreme Court considered the case. Now that the US Supreme Court has let stand the California Supreme Court's ruling declaring Prop. 8, the ballot measure making same-sex marriage illegal in the state unconstitutional, that stay will be lifted.

MICHAEL HICKEY WRITES: "Phyllis Lyon walked down the steps in the rotunda of SF City Hall, supported on one side by Mayor Lee and on the other by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had kicked off the gay marriage argument in California after making a secret deal with the SF gay community, by which the gay vote was split, allowing him to defeat the progressive candidate for mayor who had been favored to win. Newsom promised the gays that he would find a way to start gay marriage, and he kept his word. At the lectern, Mayor Lee blathered for a while, then Newsom added more blather, then the current head of a big time lezbean organization got in front of the mike. “Fuck you, Prop 8!” she shouted, then added, “I looked around the room to see if there were any kids here first, but I will put a dollar in the bad word jar anyway.” There was a lot of hurried whispering behind the scenes in the studios of the local TV stations carrying the event, and the audio link was cut. No seven second delay here, and you'll never see this on the news tonight! Righteous indignation, gloating, and HARD partyin' goin' on in the Castro. Our enlightened and benevolent Supremes dropped their love bomb right in the middle of Pride Week! I guess we can get married now."

WE’RE FOR JOAN RAINVILLE, whom we know as the friendly and helpful lady at the Mendocino Book Company. Yes, Joan has five DUIs since 1996, the latest one occurring on May 26th when she plowed through a Westside Ukiah fence into a backyard barbecue. But the DA is charging Joan with assault with a deadly weapon for the May episode, which doesn’t seem reasonable since Joan did not deliberately aim her car at either the fence or the people on the other side of it. Considered rationally, the May event is another DUI. Which is certainly worrisome by itself, but the law says that what Joan did is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Joan’s got a lot on her plate, and without getting into it and making excuses for her — there’s no excuse for driving drunk — it would be a travesty to send her off to prison for five years on an inflated misdemeanor. Impounding Joan’s car seems reasonable, prison doesn’t. She’ll be back in court on July 9th for a preliminary hearing represented by Justin Petersen.

AS A LONG-TIME RESIDENT of America's intoxicants capitol, Mendocino County, where cannabis, wine grapes, wine, beer, methamphetamine, heroin, and pure delusion have long reigned, local journalists who mount their high horses to fulminate against the predictable consequences of our two primary businesses, booze and dope, seem, well, deluded.

SO HERE'S CHRIS COURSEY of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat piling on poor old Joan Rainville with a pecksniffian column Friday called “Delivering a message on repeat drunken driving.” Coursey rehashes Joan's unhappy history of boozed locomotion then applauds the Mendo DA's attempt to charge Joan with a felony rather than the misdemeanor the law says her offense is.

THE PD derives a large portion of its ad revenue from the wine business. But going by the images we get from the Rose City Daily, we know that wine drinkers are never drunk or drunks. They're handsome people with big white teeth who take dainty sips of a golden nectar from finely wrought glasses they hold to the sun.

BACK TO JOAN. We all know by now she has a history of driving drunk, but the Mendo DA has attracted even the dim attentions of the Press Democrat by attempting an end around existing law. The DA has charged Joan with felony assault with a deadly weapon, i.e., pickled Joan and her car. The law says that Joan's latest offense is a misdemeanor, albeit a serious misdemeanor. It isn't a felony. So the DA wants to re-write the rule book just to nail Joan.

SENDING A MESSAGE? As if a drunk driver will think to himself, “Hmmm. I've just downed three bottles of Pinot but my house is ten miles from here. Better not drive, though, because the Mendo DA has just charged a lady with a felony for drunk driving. He was sending me a message. And then Chris Coursey of the Press Democrat sent me another message in a column today. I'll call Coursey for a lift home.”

DESPITE THE BARRAGE of Don't Do It messages over the past decade, the CHP says drunk driving stats have gone up and up. Americans aren't getting the message; they're getting drunker, as more and more alcohol is also sold every year.

YES, DRUNK DRIVING is no joke. It's roadway roulette, and every year lots of people lose. But how about a no joke law, how about confiscation of the drunk's vehicle for, say, a year? Second offense, permanent impound of vehicle and license? Sending messages no one hears isn't getting it done.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT this week that Ukiah will again have to dip into dwindling city reserves to keep basic services limping along comes as no surprise. Ukiah perfected the art of siphoning off redevelopment money to pay for administrative salaries, to the tune of $1 million annually, by the time the state pulled the plug on redevelopment. The million dollars in admin salaries that are no longer covered by RDA explains the nearly million dollar projected deficit. But in the wake of losing the RDA cash cow, no one on the City Council, and certainly no one in city admin, has even suggested making any cuts to the city’s bloated administrative overhead. The topic has never even come up. In fact, the city council has been giving the city manager extra perks that were never discussed publicly. Since when does a city manager get an extra $8,000 for “executive pay”? Wasn't she hired to be an executive? And $16,500 for “merit” pay? Isn't that really just a back door way to increase her pay while pretending that her pay has been frozen at the original $150,000 she was originally hired for? But give the city manager credit – she’s converted the people who are supposed to be supervising her into her slaves, not that slavery is in the long term interests of Ukiah.

A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO, searching for a Ukiah room to rent for our ace crime reporter, Bruce McEwen, we posted an ad on Craig's List. In response, we received three versions of the following message from “Loren Manchini (sic):” "This message is about a meet up for later on. I’m from Las Vegas, 28 years of age and last time I had a boyfriend was in December, so honestly I haven’t got laid since then. So much is not known while you meet someone online, and this will be the first time that I will be doing this. I have tried many things before with my sexuality but this is what I am looking for today, is someone who is experienced and wouldn’t mind teaching a girl how to do it. I heard it is really fun actually. My picture is also attached. You can see more pics of me underneath within the link. I am also aware that ladies probably send you response in their links, but I know you remember the killing in Boston, and also the issue in New York. So it is advised that once ladies get interested in classifieds, we send the guy to our profile on dating sites. Sorry but some of you guys are psychos. Lol You don’t need any card or anything, and I have more flicks on there. I'm real about this, please be so also. P.S. When you enter code: 36472 in the second page, it goes direct to my profile. — Linda."

YOU THINK the Mendocino County Jail is rough? Try China. “At the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau Investigation Center, also known as the Song Mountain Investigation Center, the cell bosses devised an exotic menu of torments. A few samples: Sichuan-style smoked duck: The enforcer burns the inmate's pubic hair, pulls back his foreskin and blackens the head of the penis with fire.

THEN YOU HAVE, Noodles in clear broth: Strings of toilet papers are soaked in a bowl of urine, and the inmate is forced to eat the toilet paper and drink the urine. There's also the relatively wholesome Turtle Shell and Pork Skin Soup: The enforcer smacks the inmate's kneecaps until they are bruised and swollen, like turtle shells. Walking is impossible.” (Ian Buruma, A Chinese poet's memoir of incarceration.)


When I was a child

I played by myself in a

corner of the schoolyard

all alone.

I hated dolls and I

hated games, animals were

not friendly and birds

flew away.

If anyone was looking

for me I hid behind a

tree and cried out “I am

an orphan.”

And here I am, the

center of all beauty!

writing these poems!


— Frank O'Hara

WHILE JAMES TEMPLE writes a reasoned defense against the pillorying of techies, he seems to have forgotten that, starting with the dot-com boom of the 90s, any kind of real bohemian art scene has been priced out as well. The hippies would have bypassed San Francisco; the same with the beats before them. Too expensive. But my beef against most techies is just that they seem to be so friggin' boring. Maybe it's because they're too functional or too well adjusted. Where are the charming drunks and lotharios, the Don Sherwoods, the Don Drapers? I'm sure there are a few sloppy, booze-oozing techies, but for the most part, they seem like a sort of Stepford People; clean, trim, and barren. (— Armando Lagunas Jr.)

MORE SIGNS of the Apocalypse: Estimated annual salaries 2013: Matt Lauer, $25 million. Bill O’Reilly, $20 million. Sean Hannity, $15 million. Brian Williams, $13 million. Diane Sawyer, $12 million. Anderson Cooper, $11 million. Charlie Rose, $8 million. Al Roker (Al Roker!), $7 million. Piers Morgan, $6 million. George Stephanopolous, $5 million. Chris Matthews, $5 million. Scott Pelley, $5 million. Wolf Blitzer, $3 million. $Erin Burnett, $2 million. Savannah Guthrie, $2 million.

GOV. JERRY BROWN on Thursday signed into law a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning Monday, calling it a “momentous occasion” for California's finances, which have been on a roller coaster for years. “We have a balanced budget, not proposed, but actually actualized — the first time in probably a decade or more where the state's finances are in very solid shape,” Brown said. The plan outlines spending for $96.2 billion in the general fund — the state's main checking account, which pays for schools, colleges, health and human services, and public safety — and $49 billion in special funds and bonds. Brown did not make significant changes to the plan the Legislature passed earlier in the month, though he did use his line-item veto authority to cut about $41 million from the spending plan. Most of that — some $30 million — was cut from a Department of Education fund for special education. Starting in 2014, however, students from families that make less than $150,000 will get tuition breaks that will grow over four years to a 40 percent reduction of the overall cost.

ON TUESDAY, June 18, Mendo Supervisor and Board chairman Dan Hamburg pulled Item 4a from the consent calendar. Item 4a is Hamburg’s demand for reimbursement for his legal expenses (“unlimited, over $10,000”) associated with the County’s denial of a burial permit for his late wife which Hamburg claims should have been issued even though state law explicitly prohibits burial in unlicensed cemeteries.

“THE REASON I pulled it is because it deals with me so I cannot vote on it,” said Hamburg. “I must abstain. So it would take other board members to approve that item. So I need a motion to approve Item 4a under consent. County Counsel Tom Parker: “I would recommend Mr. Chair that you leave the podium and let the vice chair, Mr. Pinches, run things.” Hamburg then passed the gavel to Mr. Pinches. “Leave the podium?” asked Hamburg. “Yes, if you could, please,” replied Parker. “Ok, do we have any discussion on Item 4a?” Pinches asked. (Silence.) “I move to reject the claim,” said Supervisor Dan Gjerde. “Second,” said Supervisor McCowen. “All in favor?” said Pinches. All four supervisors said “Aye.” “One abstain,” said Pinches. “One abstain,” added Hamburg as he retook his seat. “Supervisor Hamburg was absent,” added Pinches. “Absent,” repeated Hamburg as he reclaimed the gavel.

DAVE HILLMER OF POINT ARENA writes: "I'd like to get the word out regarding the City of Point Arena's attempt to reduce the amount of water available to parcels in Point Arena. In 2007, the City conducted a build-out study, and supported the Point Arena Water Works (PAWW) in its rights to adequate water to support future development. In May of this year, the City has apparently reversed its position, and sent a letter to the PUC requesting water rights to be reduced by half. This action, if it moves forward, will severely compromise the ability of parcels in Priority 3 & 4 (as designated in the 07 study) to be developed. I own a parcel in Priority 3, and we are currently pursuing entitlements for an Affordable Senior Housing project there, so I am deeply concerned. I have attached pertinent data, including the letter I presented to the Council during Public Comment on Tuesday. Please let me know if you have any questions, thanks, David."

CRAIG'S READY! Destroying Postmodernism before it Gets You! Morning salutations, I have two more weeks to go at the central Berkeley men's shelter, and then they say I'm on my own, because Alameda county social services does not have anything further to give to me. I am totally available right now! I have several hundred dollars which would get me transported anywhere in the USA lower 48, decades of experience of a radical nature, plus a fully cultivated spiritual life, and I'm willing!!! Instead of languishing in the cultural death of postmodernism, I'd like your cooperation in order to remain active frontline-wise. No need to hurry, because this is America and it's summer; so slow down, take your time, and then encourage me to travel where you are and participate. I don't have anything to do anymore in California. That's just the way it is, and I am really not interested in attempting anything so ridiculous as “retiring.” That won't work for me. I'm not the type. However, I am ready to help usher in a brand new civilization based on a spiritual foundation, Craig Louis Stehr/

Wherever and whenever

The mind is found

Attached to anything,

Make haste to detach

Yourself from it.

When you tarry for

Any length of time

It will turn again into

Your old home town.

—Daito Kokushi (1282-1334)

TEN ACRES of dissipation or a political celebration? Dissipation seemed preponderant at San Francisco's civic center Saturday but, as a child of the 1950s, I'm still adjusting to new realities. I do remember, though, that the first gay parades in the early 1970s occurred in an overall political context emphasizing all kinds of liberation, from economic to sexual. Anymore, especially this year, Gay Pride Day seems heavily corporate, heavily Democratic Party, heavily mainstream with Bradley Manning, a gay hero if there ever was one, purged as the parade's grand marshal. He, Assange and now Snowden, are well outside the great Frisco Consensus as defined by Willie Brown, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein. Like a great, gray poison fog the grasping talons of the Democrats enfold us all in their lethal embrace. The Republicans aren't even good for a laugh anymore. They're just dumb and mean. I'd footed it up Market from Union Square with Castro Street as the goal. I wanted to see what the celebration was like only hours after the Defense of Marriage Act had fallen. I didn't know that the Civic Center had become a weekend celebration set aside, admission $5, to a mob scene of people, many with theirs buns hanging out. Earlier in the day, I'd seen lots of citizens in odd costumes all over downtown, none with their reproductive organs in view, but there always are odd people downtown. Up Market at the official celebration area stretched out in front of City Hall, the revelers weren't particularly gay, it was more that the whole sexual panoply seemed present — from the inevitable naked guys to nubile young women, and everything in between. I thought back to my deformative years when gays weren't part of the national consciousness. I remember feeling sorry for a classmate who'd been arrested with an adult barber for “unnatural acts,” or whatever the phrase was then. It got into the newspapers, and only later could I fully imagine what it must have been like for that kid to have everyone pointing him out like some kind of secret freak. Gays weren't gays yet, either, and the other prevalent pejorative, fag, was also unknown. In 1957 a fag was a cigarette. Homo, queer and fruit were the terms applied to male same sexers; I don't recall a derogatory term for lesbians, probably because they were even more invisible than male gays. I had a baseball coach who constantly grumbled that the frustrations presented by both the team and the game were “driving me fruit.” Or, “For Christ's sake, you guys are enough to drive a guy fruit.” But I don't remember anybody associating the road to fruit with homosexuality, although to those who constantly invoked it, the shrinks soon informed us, homosexuality was an omnipresent fear. In Marine Corps boot camp our DI routinely denounced Californians as “a bunch of damn queers sent to sabotage my Marine Corps.” We all laughed at that one, but not in front of him; he scared the shit out of all of us and often talked about how he'd like to choke us all to death, especially the Californians. One day he outdid himself, denouncing all of us as “syphilitic misfucks,” which meant we were now handicapped queers. I remember wondering, If this nut is on my side, how bad can the Russians be? All this stuff seems ancient now, and very crazy. People nostalgic for the 50s weren't there, but the 50s were twice as bad for same sexers. I suppose like most heteros, it wasn't until those first gay marches in San Francisco that I realized how awful it had been for gay men and women. Now, freshly enslaved by the Democrats, it will be awhile before all of us together can take on The Beast.

ON-LINE STATEMENT OF THE DAY: "A story about gay puppets receives a prominent position on SFGate's website. This was to be expected now that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over, Gitmo has been closed, the unemployed have become employed and Obama has locked up those responsible for the financial crisis."

THE LATEST book on the dope biz, Humboldt County branch, is a ho-hummer called Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier. It's written by a young woman, a very young woman judging from her prose, called Emily Brady.

“HUMBOLDT COUNTY was a beautiful place, there was no mistaking it, but it had become like a Hollywood set for Bob. It was like a facade, and behind the facade was a different story, one of trash, and meth, and familial dysfunction. Of course it wasn't just Humboldt. Cops deal with the margins and extremes of society everywhere; the bowels, as Bob put it. His pessimism about the place was an occupational hazard, and he knew it…”

MS. BRADY describes the lives of four archetypal, drug-affected HumCo persons: a cop, a young woman raised in the pot counterculture; a career dope guy; and a pioneer back-to-the-lander the author calls 'Mare' but is clearly based on Mem Hill, a well-known eco-activist who lives in the Whitethorn area.

AS US RESIDENTS of the Emerald Triangle know, the pot business has never been the harmless enterprise of the original hippies who brought it here. It's value and illegality has, of course, attracted lots of thugs, and now we're into a third generation of Northcoast people who have also become growers, dealers and, out of self-defense necessity, thugs. The fairly recent addition of Mexico-based gangs to the dope business has torqued upwards the incidence of violence, and here we are more than forty years after the love drug first became prevalent on the Northcoast.

THERE'S NOTHING in Ms. Brady's book we don't know, and nothing that Jonah Raskin's Marijuanaland and Ray Raphael's Cash Crop don't do more comprehensively and a lot better. However, the portrait Ms. Brady draws of the young woman raised in the tumultuous circumstances romanticized by hippies as a “counter culture” certainly rings true as the author reveals the huge downside of the marijuana business as it plays out in the deceptive idyll of Humboldt County's natural beauty.

WITH THIS WEEK shaping up as the hottest of the year, CalFire announced “A controlled burn at Lake Mendocino is now planned for Monday, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced. According to the USACE, it originally planned to conduct a live-fire training exercise with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection by burning the face of Coyote Valley Dam on June 24, but decided to postpone the event because of rain that day. The exercise is now scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. July 1, and “access to walking across the dam will not be permitted beginning at 4pm. Monday until the burning is completed.” Here it is Tuesday morning and no controlled burns have been reported as veering out of control.

CAL FIRE also announced it will be surveying users of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest, and the group hired to do the survey will provide a overview of the “survey design and methodology” at a meeting next week that members of the public are encouraged to attend. According to CalFire, the recreation user survey will be “conducted on random dates and locations within JDSF throughout the summer and early fall,” and the results of the survey will “help guide the development of a recreation plan.” The JDSF Recreation Task Force meeting will be held at the Camp One Day Use area on Wednesday, July 3, at 2 p.m. For more information, call the Cal Fire Fort Bragg office at 707-964-5674.”

IT’S TIRESOME to hear Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo repeatedly woof-woof about the environmental crimes of Sonoma County winemaker Paul Hobbs who pops up periodically with yet another blatant violation of SoCo’s weak ag and river protection rules. (Weak as Sonoma County's eco-protections are, they're more than Mendocino County has: None). Carrillo “vowed” Friday that Hobbs’ latest violation — illegally cutting down acres of streamside vegetation — “would not be ignored.” “I will tell you that the full force of the law is going to be applied in this matter,” Carrillo huffed.

EVERY TIME HOBBS is caught breaking a rule, Supervisor Carrillo rolls out a tough sounding quote for his stenographers at the Press Democrat. A couple of years ago after another one of Hobbs' flagrant violations, Carrillo thundered, “One need not wait for a legal determination before expressing outrage at the insensitivity and environmental depravity of this conduct.” And after another violation by the serial violator, “I don’t understand how someone can show such blatant disregard not only to the process but also to our resources and to their fellow grape growers.” (You'll wait a long time before you hear a grape grower or a wine person complain about one of his scofflaw colleagues.) In recent years, Hobbs has been caught clearcutting stands of trees and orchards after assuring neighbors and the authorities, such as they are, that he'd leave them alone. But no enforcement action has ever been taken against him. His critics say he’s happy to pay the small fines imposed and move on to commit more crimes against nature. The SoCo District Attorney’s office has done nothing more than say, “We’re looking into it.”

THE LOCAL ANGLE: Hobbs buys Mendo pinot grapes and makes them into a tasty of wine called “Crossbarn,” which, you hawkeyed word smiths will note, is just one letter from “Crossburn.”

LAST FRIDAY, the Ukiah Police Department was compelled to sort out the following: A man said his child was locked in a dungeon behind the family couch, but soon called back to say the child was asleep in his own bed. A woman screaming from under a bridge was non-existent. A man was asleep under a tree at the WalMart parking lot. An aged cat hadn't moved from a vacant field until police took it to Animal Control. A raving tweeker was taken into custody. A resident of North Franklin said there was a raccoon or a possum in her bed. It was her cat. Items reported as bombs in a parked car was fishing tackle. A woman selling books door-to-door was advised to dial down her sales pitch. A water balloon accidentally struck a passing vehicle.

ALL DAY EVERY DAY, this is what the cops do everywhere in Mendocino County, everywhere in this unraveled country.

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