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Mendocino County Today: September 18, 2013

FRED GARDNER WRITES: Remembering Saul Landau — Saul could tell a joke and make you laugh. Saul could tell a joke and make you laugh. This is the last one I heard him tell:

There's three Texans in a private jet — two big men in Stetsons and a little Jewish guy. One of the Stetsons says, “Y'all see that spread down there with the river running through it? That's my ranch — 40 square miles. We mainly raise American Angus but now I've got some fancy French Charolaises; we'll see how they work out. We've got about 10,000 acres in wheat. We call it the Lazy Q.” A little further on the second one says, “Look down there — as far as you can see, that's my place. Takes up pretty much the whole county. We specialize in Jerseys and Morgan horses. We've got 30,000 acres in cotton and we call it the Big J.” After a while the Stetsons turn to the Jewish guy and one asks, “How bout you pardner — got any land?” The little Jewish guy says, “Off to the right, sixty acres.” Suppressing a smirk, a Stetson asks, “And what do you call it?” The little Jewish guy says “Downtown Dallas.”

Landau, with Fidel Castro
Landau, with Fidel Castro

Saul's father had a pharmacy in the Bronx. He told me his father had sold Cannabis tinctures prior to 1937, and considered the prohibition “much ado about nothing.” My brother-in-law, a worldly merchant marine who didn’t smoke the herb, once used the exact same phrase. And that’s it, the whole “issue” — much ado about nothing! Growing up in New York in the 1940s and '50s, Saul did not have to overcome any prejudices with regard to marijuana. He was so hip he could take it or leave it. The movie Saul made in 2006 about Syria (“Between Iraq and a Hard place”) could not be more timely. I hope he got word, as he was leaving us, that the power of the people had staved off an air attack by the US, at least for a while. The pundits are saying that the American people are now “war weary.” They're trying to define and contain the deep wave of disaffection sweeping over the country. But we're more than war weary. People are finally looking critically at the rich/poor system. As Saul might put it, “US imperialism has lost its working-class buy-in.” It took four generations from the end of world war two. I couldn't tell Saul (except in my head) a historical tidbit I came across last week in an essay by David Musto, MD. A century ago, an advocate of adding Cannabis to the list of drugs about to be banned under the Harrison Narcotic Act was Dr. William Jay Schieffelin of New York. He was, according to Musto, “prominent in the nation's social and political life as well as in his profession as the president of a wholesale drug house… Schieffelin believed cannabis was ‘used only to a slight extent in this country,’ but he heard that there was a demand for it in the ‘Syrian colony in New York’ where he thought it was smoked like prepared opium. He concluded, ‘The evil is minute but it ought to be included in the bill’.” The Institute of Policy Studies website ran a beautiful picture of Saul, Harry and Shari Belafonte, and Fidel. just posted the review of “Savages” that Saul wrote for O'Shaughnessy's. We’d decided to hold it for the next issue because he didn't think a review should give away the ending while the movie was still in the theaters, and I didn't think Oliver Stone's cop-out could be described without reference to the ending(s).


NINER NOTES. The Alamo. Pearl Harbor. Guadalcanal. Kandahar. Tacoma. Fallujah. Seattle. Yemen. Bainbridge Island. Iran. Seattle. Pakistan. Seattle. Notice a pattern? America is under attack from within! President Obama has only pretended to be a pawn of the military-industrial complex when his primary concerns are freedom and justice. He extended the Patriot Act, suspended Habeas Corpus, and gave Wall Street carte blanche not so that Halliburton and McDonnell-Douglas can continue their exceptional looting and oppression of the environment, humanity and hope, but because the NSA/CIA/FBI have finally detected a genuine threat to our liberty and (pardon the redundancy) television viewing habits: the Seattle Seahawks.

How is a pro football team a clear and present danger to Manifest Destiny? Let’s look at the facts. Twice in two years SF wunderkind QB Colin Kaepernick has led very good Niner squads into the hostile rain-soaked thunderdome, and twice we’ve been handed our helmets (though “handed” is too mild of a word). Those big, fast, mean bastards in their neon-fringed tuxedos and DARPA-funded sonic weapons array shoved our helmets back down our throats. They ripped the helmets from our heads and clubbed us back down into the pot-farm wilds of the Yolla Bolly. They took our lunch money, stole our homework, and made us sniff their girdles. When the nano-thermite dust finally cleared, the battlefield was a smoking ruin of blood, sweat and nugget-sized tears. And while it’s true that the fickle nature of 49er fans is legendary, we are not panicking. But we are concerned. There was nothing superficial or capricious about the twin maulings, and like any good crime scene detective, questions must be asked.

For the second time in three games, the 49er play calling was suspect. First was the failure of Coach Jim Harbaugh’s staff to get the ball into the end zone with a first and goal at the Ravens’ five in last year’s Super Bowl. Inexcusable. Knowing full well it was impossible for Kaepernick to hear his own fantasies about that thunderbolt of a bimbette in the upper deck let alone change the play at the line, Sunday night offensive coordinator Greg Roman foolishly deployed his customary multiple shifts. The result was that Kaepernick was busy playing hand jive as the play clock dwindled to zero on nearly every down. In a typical football game the offense has a slight advantage because it knows when the ball was going to be snapped. Our perplexing schemes plus the suffocating sonic atmosphere that is Seattle’s killer advantage allowed the Seahawk defenders to get off the ball as fast as San Francisco. The predictable result was chaos, confusion, and even a safety.

To their credit, Seattle played with a reckless abandon usually reserved for Mormon honeymoons (i.e., church founder Brigham Young counseled his followers that sex, like cracking an egg, should be “quick and vicious”).

But the Niner staff made their already difficult position more tenuous by not throwing more exotic packages at their foes. Yes, Seattle’s defensive backs are the best in the league, but why not stack our receivers at the line? Why not make their corners fight through multiple bodies? Why not say that the US is opposed to all chemical weapons, not just those used by Arab dictators who somehow finagled billions of barrels of our oil underneath their sand?

The run game was equally stultified. Time after time SF sent Frank Gore straight between the tackles, only to have our star runner torn asunder by angry limbs and probing thumbs. It was like watching caveman Mike Singletary calling the plays again. Given that the 30-year-old Gore hits the hole like a banana slug fleeing molasses, why didn’t Kendall Hunter get more carries?

Our front seven was manhandled. We’re supposed to have the most dominant offensive line in the NFL, but we were bitch-slapped. The defense played decently, but the dire performance by the offense kept Willis and the Smith boys on the field far too long.

We miss Crabtree and Manningham at wide receiver. Desperately. Horribly. Like the flower misses the honey bee. Like the paddle misses the public school bottom. Like the Democratic Central Committee misses Shock and Awe. With reigning NFC offensive player of the week Anquan Boldin our single viable option, our wideouts couldn’t get open. The fact that Seattle grabs and holds on every play is annoying, but no excuse. The passing game was so dismal that I found myself fantasizing about a reborn Terrell Owens injecting a little “kiss my grits” attitude into the club.

And speaking of swagger and menace, this was a game where SF would have benefitted from the psycho theatrics of former safety and hitman Dashon Goldson (who as a Carolina Panther got suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit last week). Where was the big Ronnie Lott-like smash that told the enemy, okay, you can take your shots, but some of you bastards won’t be walking out of here.

Kaepernick was, once again, our biggest star of the game, but the coaches waited too long to take the shackles off. He’s a brilliant runner and seems to get better the more hits and runs he takes. But by the time the Niners figured out Kaep was our only hope, we’d lost stellar rookie safety Eric Reid to a concussion, nose tackle Ian Williams to a broken ankle (on a legal but dubious crackback block), and all-pro tight end Vernon Davis to a hamstring strain. Our humiliation was complete. A million sad fans wept into their chablis. December 8 Seattle comes to town. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve already begun researching LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices used to repel Somalian pirates and visiting mothers-in-law) and kindred personal defense sonic weapons. Details to come. ¥¥. — ZA.


BOYFIGHT! Novato Mayor Pro-Tem Announces Challenge to Arcata’s Chris Lehman Vis a Vis the State Senate

California’s Second Senate District is the kind of place where we don’t need ties to demonstrate our gravitas. A simple blazer with collared dress shirt and a white toothy smile show one to be a serious young man with the can-do to lead us toward a finer future.

Lucan, Lehman
Lucan, Lehman

Comes now Eric Lucan, mayor pro-tem of the city of Novato. He doesn’t arrive quite as highly recommended as local boy Chris Lehman — who you still gotta consider the front-runner — but he has something Lehman doesn’t have. And that thing is pinstripes.

Press release from Eric Lucan for State Senate:

Eric Lucan Announces State Senate Run: Councilmember Highlights Roots and Service in the District

Novato Mayor Pro Tem Eric Lucan announced today that he is running for the State Senate, pledging to build on his success as a local elected leader, commitment to community service and background in business to provide strong representation for the North Bay and the North Coast. Lucan is entering the race for Senate District 2, which stretches along the California coast from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. 

“I am launching my campaign today in the hopes of serving the people of this diverse and beautiful district. I look forward to a conversation about our shared values and about creative ideas to help our workers, schools, communities, small businesses, and the environment.” said Lucan. “On this campaign, I will seek to listen, learn and have a real dialogue with the voters I meet along the way.” 

Lucan, a Democrat, enters the race as one of the front runners in an open field. In 2010, he was the top vote earner in Novato, a major population center in the district. Lucan has also been a leader on regional transportation issues, serving on the board of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM). 

He announced early endorsements from Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold and Novato Councilmember Denise Athas.

“Eric Lucan has established himself as a regional leader through his hard work, collaborative approach and innovative ideas. He will be a strong representative for all the communities in this district. I am proud to endorse him for State Senate,” said Supervisor Arnold. 

“I have served side-by-side with Eric and can tell you that no one will work harder, or do a better job incorporating local input into policy decisions. His experience outside politics is also an asset, and makes him more effective. The State Senate could use more people like Eric,” said Novato Councilmember Athas. 

During his time on the Novato City Council, Lucan was instrumental in erasing a multimillion dollar budget deficit, passing a measure to phase out Styrofoam and protecting open space and parks. 

Born and raised in Novato, Lucan has an MBA from Georgia State University and has served in management positions in hospitality and digital marketing. 

Lucan has also demonstrated a deep commitment to community service and local youth, volunteering as a youth director to middle school and high school students and with the Novato Police Department, and serving as a board member for the Marin School of the Arts and the Novato Financing Authority. 

More information about Eric Lucan and his State Senate campaign can be found at or on Facebook at

(— Hank Sims. Courtesy,



PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT: Tim Stoen, closing in on retirement age, is the DA's prosecutor at Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg. He's closing in on retirement age, hence the looming appointment of Kevin Davenport as Stoen’s Number 2 man at Ten Mile. Davenport worked for the late Norm Vroman before moving to Portland.

A COURTLY FELLOW well into his golden years, Stoen famously once served as attorney for Jim Jones, simultaneously functioning as Mendocino County Counsel. Jones himself was foreman of the County's grand jury one year. Stoen's pre-school son was essentially kidnapped by Jones and taken to Guyana when the Temple departed San Francisco for the Guyanese jungle. The child was among the murdered in the infamous Jonestown massacre.

STOEN'S degree of involvement with the People's Temple has always been the subject of much speculation, most recently in the best selling “Season of the Witch” by David Talbot where Talbot writes about Stoen's work for both the People's Temple and the San Francisco DA, strongly suggesting that Stoen, from inside the SF DA's office, sabbed a voter fraud investigation after George Moscone was narrowly elected mayor over the much more conservative John Barbagelata. Peoples Temple, by then synonymous with the Democratic Party in SF and at the national level, had worked to turnout the vote for Moscone.

WE'VE ALWAYS REGARDED Stoen as a tragic figure. He'd left the Temple when it had become obvious that Jones was crazy. He lost his family to Jones when his wife, Grace, left him, and then both he and Grace lost their son to Jones in that terrible hour of mass murder. One has to admire the man's resilience, his courage, in not only returning to Mendocino County where Jones, with a big assist from local officials, grew too big for Mendo and had set out to conquer Frisco, which he soon did. We hope the man has achieved a measure of peace.



By Bruce Anderson

MikeLangleyMike and Patti Langley, and their daughter Beth, were my neighbors for 30 years. My daughter was often Beth's baby sitter. And before Mike, Patty and Beth, Mike's parents, Denver and Zola, had built a home at the north end of what had been a Shoenahl apple orchard. My long history with the Langleys explains what undoubtedly seems to some of you as the dismaying choice of me as Mike's eulogist, but I'm grateful and honored, because, like all of you, I was very fond of Mike. My family could not have asked, would not dare ask, for better neighbors; the Langleys were certainly better neighbors than my raucous crew deserved. Mike, of course, enjoyed the daily show our neighborhood then presented, with Billy Owens' family also our immediate neighbors, Billy being among the most entertaining guys in all of Mendocino County, and Lloyd Mason's family across the street and, for stability, Carolyn Eigenman to the north, anchoring us all to larger realities.

Mike was born in Westwood, near Chester in Plumas County, on August 18th, 1950. He died of a heart attack in Chico on Monday, September 2nd. Mike is survived by his sister Shirley, his wife Patty, daughter Beth, and two grandchildren. His brother Randy and sister Freda, in the awful contemporary obituary term, “pre-deceased” their young brother.

His parents were Denver Wayne Langley and Zola Marie Langley who'd left their homes in Stillwater, Oklahoma for California in the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Mike's parents, although they were both from Stillwater, had not known each other in the old country. They met and married in California. Mike's paternal grandfather was a well-known fiddler who occasionally played with the legendary Bob Wills. Mike, and his daughter, Beth, are enrolled members of the Cherokee tribe, having descended from enrolled members on the paternal side of his family. Odd, isn't it, to actually know real Cherokees, what with thousands of New Agers claiming membership, swelling the ranks to more Cherokees than were driven west on the Trail of Tears.

Mike lived his first 11 years in the Chester area until a lingering strike closed down the mill where Mike's dad, a union carpenter, worked. Denver moved the family to Sacramento where he'd found work and Zola went to work at Travis Air Force Base. Mike graduated from high school in Sacramento. From high school, Mike went on to art school but a falling out with a teacher, and with the Vietnam War coming on, and friends beginning to disappear into the draft, draft-eligible Mike, briefly joined the exodus to Canada.

Then it was back to the US and a couple of years on the road by thumb and midnight freight trains until, broke in Pennsylvania, Mike hitchhiked to his sister's home in Atlanta where he soon met Patty and, the day after her 20th birthday and on his 23rd birthday, they married. The young couple then moved to Folsom where Mike, always a highly skilled woodworker, started a furniture store, and in a couple of years, moved to Boonville and Anderson Valley Way to help his parents build their retirement home and where Mike and Patty would build their home, too. Just days after Beth was born at home on Anderson Valley Way, Mike, Patty and Beth returned briefly to Georgia. But once you've lived in Boonville, well...

Well, Mike, Patty and Beth were soon established on the Day Ranch, Philo, where Mike served as ranch manager and, to my amazed eyes, I was soon watching their new home boldly rise, permit-free, right behind my frequently red-tagged half-acre.

Mike was famously amiable, the best company any of us could ask for, and he was a wonderful storyteller. We all got to enjoy him the Saturdays that Mike and Patti hosted the original Trading Time program on KZYX. They brought the same rare wit and warm charm to the show that attracted us to them, that some of us were fortunate enough over the years to enjoy on a daily basis.

I only saw Mike angry once in all the years I knew him, and that was when, one day, he came storming up my driveway to tell me, “Some little bastard just now threw a rock through the window of my truck.” The neighborhood was teeming with feral little bastards at the time — one of them had that same day lobbed a string of firecrackers over the fence from the Owens' place at us. But the day the feral ones had attacked Mike, he'd clouded up, stormed, and then sat down for the usual laughing meet and confer he was known for.

Mike was also a project guy. He always had something interesting going on next door, and his lumber planer became a kind of area meeting place, as did his water tower wine shop. I have a vivid memory of Michel Salgues, then the boss at Roederer, Tony Summit, me and Mike, sampling a white wine Mike had made. That unlikely gathering of wine connoisseurs concluded with Michele, a man not given to diplomatic praise, pronouncing Mike's wine “excellent."

The stroke Mike suffered affected the entire community. Suddenly, Mike was not the Mike we'd all known and loved. To all of us who'd known him before that terrible affliction struck him down, Mike died then, but we know he found comfort in new friends he made in Chico, and we were happy for him for finding new solace. Mike was a wonderful man who gave us all great joy. We will all always miss him. ¥¥



To: David Severn, Philo

From: The White House

Subject: Response to Your Message

Dear David:

Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about the conflict in Syria and the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21, and I appreciate your perspective.

Over the past 2 years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war in Syria. Over 100,000 people have been killed, and millions more have been displaced.

In response to this crisis, we are the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. We are working with friends and allies to help the moderate Syrian opposition, and we are leading the international community to shape a political settlement. But we have resisted calls for United States military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force.

The situation profoundly changed in the early hours of August 21, when the Assad regime used chemical weapons in an attack that killed more than 1,000 Syrians — including hundreds of children.

What happened to those people is not only a violation of international law. It is also a danger to our security.

If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these deadly weapons erodes, other tyrants and authoritarian regimes will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gases and using them. Over time, our troops could face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. It could become easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and use them to attack civilians. If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten our allies in the region.

So after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. The purpose of this response would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons again, degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

In part because of the credible threat of United States military action, we now have the opportunity to achieve those objectives through diplomacy. The Russian government has committed to joining the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and our countries have agreed on a framework for moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so they may be destroyed as soon and as safely as possible. The Assad regime has now admitted for the first time that it possesses chemical weapons, and even began the process to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

While we have made important progress, much more work remains to be done. The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations, and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework that was agreed to.

Moreover, since this plan emerged only with a credible threat of military action, we will maintain our military posture in the region to keep the pressure on the Assad regime. If diplomacy fails, the United States and the international community must remain prepared to act.

We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children. But if there is any chance of achieving that goal without resorting to force, then I believe we have a responsibility to pursue that path.

Thank you, again, for writing. To get the most recent information about the situation in Syria, visit

Sincerely, Barack Obama



You might enjoy this from Col D.G. Swinford, USMC, Ret and a history buff. You would really have to dig deep to get this kind of ringside seat to history:

1. The first German serviceman killed in WWII was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937). The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland, 1940); highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.

2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 years old: Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. His benefits were later restored by act of Congress.

3. At the time of Pearl Harbor , the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”); the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named “Amerika.”All three were soon changed for PR purposes.

4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, an airman's chance of being killed was 71%.

5. Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese Ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

7. When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).

8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but they decided it wasn't worth the effort.

9. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.

10. Among the first “Germans” captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.

11. Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 United States and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands; 21 troops were killed in the assault on the island. It could have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.

12. The last marine killed in WWII was killed by a can of spam. He was on the ground as a POW in Japan when rescue flights dropping food and supplies came over, the package came apart in the air and a stray can of spam hit him and killed him.

(Miguel Lanigan)


MOVE TO AMEND: WE THE PEOPLE LISTEN CAMPAIGN. Move to Amend (MTA) has initiated a creative and exciting campaign called “We the People Listen”. This campaign brings information and educates our local neighborhood communities about Move To Amend and at the same time elicits from our neighbors what they see as pressing issues in our country to be passed on to MTA national by asking them a number of survey questions. Two kick off meetings providing more information and training about the campaign have been scheduled. In Willits on September 24th at the Willits Library, 390 East Commercial Street, from 6 to 8 pm and in Ukiah on October 22nd at the Mendocino Environmental Center (MEC), 106 W. Stanley Street in Ukiah also from 6 to 8 pm. More information about the “We the People Listen” campaign is available on the MTA web site, Questions call Judy Morgan at 245-5884.

One Comment

  1. Harvey Reading September 18, 2013

    “As Saul might put it, “US imperialism has lost its working-class buy-in.” It took four generations from the end of world war two.”

    Some of us — but far from all, particularly yuppie scum — have been pissed off about the whole mess since the late 60s. Sadly, we were too ineffectual to do anything real to change it (with jerks like Tom Hayden and Norman Solomon as mouthpieces). At the moment I have hope for real change … but those hopes could evaporate overnight given the police state, filled with far too many “patriotic” robots, this pathetic, arrogant country has become over the last nearly 50 years.

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