I'VE GOT IT! I know how to make the America's Cup an interesting event, an event for real boats and real sailors, not these water borne Lego constructs the billionaires get all excited about. Open the race to all kinds of sailboats, and run the race from Alcatraz out to the Farallones and back, and do it every day for five days. Everyone would be interested. The thing just won by Larry Ellison drew a crowd at race headquarters on the Embarcadero the police estimated at a mere 2,500. It's not an interesting event, and it's certainly not an aesthetically pleasing event in the tradition of white sails on a beautiful blue bay. What we got were black-sailed, corporate-logoed erector sets “racing” a very short distance on days and at times it wasn't too windy for these things. Say what you will about the ruling class of yesteryear, they understood spectacle.
STUFF YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW: A marijuana legalization initiative will appear on the mid-term 2014 California ballot. The California Cannabis, Hemp and Health has collected the necessary 500,000+ signatures to qualify. The bill would specifically allow both the growing and possession of marijuana, direct the legislature to establish a regulatory, taxation and licensing structure for the retail sale of cannabis, legalize industrial hemp production and prohibit state officials from enforcing federal law (which explicitly states that pot is illegal) over state law. California voters rejected a marijuana legalization bill in 2010 by a margin of nearly 700,000 votes; the backers of the current initiative hope that successful efforts mounted in Colorado and Washington have pushed public opinion far enough in their direction to overcome any opposition.
BAD NEWS FOR ANTHROMORPHS, and bad news for Elk. New studies say Dolphins aren't any smarter than chickens, that their whistling isn't language. There's a dolphin-worshipping group in Elk, of course, but there are also a few people dumber than chickens.
ROBERT PREECE, whose 24-year-old son Jonathan Denver was stabbed to death on Wednesday night after a Giant-Dodger game, appeared at AT&T Park Sunday afternoon to deliver an emotional appeal for witnesses to his son's death to come forward. Jonathan Denver had made his home in Fort Bragg where he was learning the plumbing trade. Denver's grieving father, a security supervisor for the Dodgers, was present Wednesday night when his son was stabbed. Preece told the assembled media Sunday, “I believe that someone may have videotaped the incident and can help us discover the truth. Today, I'm making a plea to the public asking that anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward,” Preece said.
MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, 21, of Lodi, had been arrested for stabbing Denver, but he was released Friday night after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon's office announced that police had not brought enough evidence to file charges against him. Montgomery said he stabbed Denver in self-defense after Denver swung a chair at his head.
WHO SAYS there is no advantage to Jim Eddie being chairman of the Golden Gate Bridge District's board of directors.
The whole crew is coming to Ukiah on October 4, next Friday on the toll payer’s dime.
To prove, I guess, that you can get here without swimming the channel between Frisco and Marin.
LAST WEEK PETER RICHARDSON settled his pot case by successfully claiming that he simply needed lots and lots of the weed the cops found at his home to beat back his prostate cancer. At that time, the well-known inland contractor whose Rainbow Construction Company built several Ukiah-area public structures before closing down after a contract dispute with Ukiah Unified, agreed to do 90 days on home detention, his probation on a prior pot conviction was reinstated, and the felony charges were dropped.
BUT APPARENTLY, home detention was too difficult for Mr. Richardson who was arrested yesterday (Sunday) for driving under the influence of alcohol and for violating his probation. He was booked into the County Jail on $30,000 bail.
by Eric Bergeson
Crossed into Canada and back last week, which required that I go through the checkpoints at the border, a process that undoes me every time. When I encounter people who have absolute power over the rest of my day, I seize up.
Border agents don’t have to let you through, and some of them want to make sure you know they have that authority.
As the agent acts all tough and tries to throw me off to see if I am actually a drug runner, or a terrorist, or an undocumented something or other, I start to wonder if I am actually a drug runner or a terrorist or something or other.
What if a stem of wild marijuana wrapped itself around my driveshaft? What if I forgot a pint of whiskey in the trunk even though I don’t drink whiskey?
What if there is a dried up apple under the passenger seat and I just lied when I said I had no fruit?
What if they decide that I just look suspicious and need to be taken out back and shot?
My guilt-ridden Upper Midwest upbringing — which we all share unless we turn out to be sociopaths who never feel guilty for anything, even things they’ve actually done — haunts me at the border crossing.
Sociopaths sail through border crossings and other encounters with power-drunk bureaucrats by projecting breezy confidence.
True Midwesterners doubt their own innocence as soon as they pull up to the booth.
Going into Canada, my guilty look got me pulled into the office for a background check.
“Have you had any trouble with the law?” the agent asked, after brusquely grabbing my passport as if I was guilty of murder.
“No,” I said, then paused to think.
“I don’t think so!” I added.
“Okay, if you have been in trouble with the law, it will be easier for all of us if you tell us right now,” the agent said, and looked at me as if he was sure something was going to come out.
“I got a warning for speeding six years ago,” I said, wanting to be forthright.
“I think you know what I mean!” the agent snapped.
While in college, we crossed the border to see Huey Lewis and the News in Winnipeg and when the agent asked if I had any drugs, I breathlessly confessed to having two cold medications along.
“I think you know what I mean!” the agent said again.
So, Mr. Border Agent, if you actually meant illegal drugs, why don’t you say illegal drugs? You said drugs, and over-the-counter drugs are still drugs.
If I am trying to get illegal drugs across the border, why would I suddenly decide to confess, “Yes! I have illegal drugs! They are in the air filter! I will show you!”
But they’re in charge, they do what they want.
Some countries actually train their customs agents and passport control people to represent their country with kindness and competence, while our customs officers seem to make it a point to bump you around a bit so you know who’s in charge.
Of course, they have an important job. Of course, they run across bad people.
“Whose car are you driving?” the agent asked this past week as I attempted to cross back into the USA.
“Mine,” I answered.
Finally, I had the good sense not to get into the technical issue that I haven’t paid it off yet, so actually the bank still has the title.
“Why were you in Canada?” the agent asked, offended that I would want to leave our great nation.
“A meeting,” I answered.
She clearly thought I was lying, so I began to wonder if I was lying. I pondered, what were my real motives in going to Canada?
Maybe it was an urge to escape the debt crisis. Maybe I secretly wanted to hear spoken French. Maybe I hoped to see a polar bear.
In any case, if the agent had hooked me up to a lie detector, I would have failed no matter what.
“Is this your name?”
“Well, actually, Mom was hoping for a girl, so she had picked out Chris, which works both ways, but…”
Beep, beep, beep!
Sorry sir, you will have to be shot. Step this way.
In reality, I answered in one-syllable grunts. It worked. I didn’t get shot. The criminal background check revealed nothing, to my surprise.
“Have a nice day,” the agent said without making eye contact, in a tone which felt like “Get out of here, you sorry waste of time.”
TODAY'S WISDOM: Every living thing is an elaboration on a single original plan. As humans we are mere increments — each of us a musty archive of adjustments, adaptations, modifications, and providential tinkerings stretching back 3.8 billion years. Remarkably, we are even quite closely related to fruit and vegetables. About half the chemical functions that take place in a banana are fundamentally the same as the chemical functions that take place in you. It cannot be said too often: all life is one. That is, and I suspect will forever prove to be, the most profound true statement there is.
— Bill Bryson
ODE TO CALTRANS
I met a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
”My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings.
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!”
No thing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
— Percy Shelley, ‘Ozymandias’ (1818)
Oh my god, could there possibly be anything more tear-your-hair-out annoying than the Republican antics currently playing out in Congress over Obamacare?! The 21 hour long meaningless exercise in narcissism performed by Texas tea party nut Ted Cruz set a new benchmark in congressional irrelevance. When the Rs claim that they're “listening to the people, who don't want Obamacare” they’re ignoring the fact that there have been two presidential elections, both of which were won decisively by the candidate proposing the Affordable Care Act; isn't that listening to people?
I think it must be that the only people that the Rs ever meet are the 1% who pay for their political careers! No wonder they have a different perception of what “the people” want!
If only a majority of Americans could see just how simple and effective medical care is in most other first world democracies; how little paperwork is created, how much more efficiently that time the medical professionals is used, once they are freed of the huge paperwork monkey they must carry on their backs in our system. We are forced, in effect, to pay twice as much as we should for health care, just so that we may enjoy the privilege of denying it to those deemed unworthy.
It's like the fact that I read about many years ago when BART was first built; that the portion of BART's budget devoted to taking and sales of tickets was less than the money generated by the sale of those tickets! The only excuse, therefore, for charging riders for using BART is to keep the rolling stock from turning into mobile homeless encampments. Perhaps Canada is not exactly like the USA, but their medical waiting rooms don't seem to have turned into homeless shelters.
If the Rs shut down the entire government and destroy our credit rating over their delusional misapprehension of the will of the people, costing us all a fortune in unjustified debt finance charges, will Republican voters have finally had enough?! One can only hope so.
Sincerely, John Arteaga, Ukiah
PS. WELCOME to the world of the rational! I was so delighted to read in your September 4 edition Off The Record, that at least someone there has taken the heretofore heretical stance of noting one of the absurdities of the anti-bypass obsessives; that in the endless war of attrition against this much needed project (now one quarter complete), the effort to trump up legal stumbling blocks to earthmoving efforts from a nearby Bald Hill source, may result in the clearcutting of a nicely wooded alternative soil source location, further from the site (thus requiring more fuel, road impact, traffic, etc.). Apparently the clear-cut may be done even if they don't end up using that soil, just so that that alternative source will be available if the courts, yielding to the relentless mau-mauing of the monomaniacal Luddites, block the use of the original, closer source! I wish that the diehard bypass opponents would give a few moments thought to what the actual effects of their cause is becoming; nothing but an expensive burden on their fellow citizens, and now the environment! Do any of them really believe that there is the slightest chance of them actually stopping the bypass from being completed?! Now that it is one quarter done? It seems to me that at this late date, anyone who truly believes that is simply delusional.
OPEN LETTER to General C. Robert Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM
To: General C. Robert Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM
Subject: Vice Adm. Tim Giardina
Date: 28 09 2013
Dear General Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM:
We met at your Christmas party at the Space Command at Peterson AFB in December 2010.
You may also remember that during these past few years I have copied you on press releases for some of my shows. I have done several shows here at KZYX, Mendocino County Community Radio, on the trillion-dollar cost of nuclear deterence, prompt global strike, missile defense, arms control, and the search for strategic stability in a constrained budget environment. My latest show (20 September) was about Israel's multibillion-dollar nuclear weapons industry.
With the latest scandal involving Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Deputy Commander of USSRATCOM, I have four questions:
1.) When will you, General Kehler, issue a press release regarding the suspension of Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Deputy Commander of USSRATCOM?
2.) If Vice Adm. Tim Giardina was suspended on September 3, why is it only now (28 September) that news of his suspension has become public information?
3.) When will the results of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's investigation into Vice Adm. Tim Giardina's misconduct be completed and released to the public?
4.) Does USSTRATCOM expect implications for its FY 2014 budget request as a result of the scandal involving Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, and other negative incidents, i.e., the unprecedented removal of 17 launch officers at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB due to a failed inspection on combat readiness?
Incidentally, a local young man, 2LT Max Walker, from Ukiah, CA, is currently assigned as a launch officer at Malmstron AFB. We a very proud of him here in Mendocino County.
Thank you. — John Sakowicz, Ukiah
Things feel a lot cheaper now. When
I was younger, so much younger than
today, the things you touched had
substance. Dull material substance.
My childhood was rich in paranois.
(Look closely at that. Not paranoia.)
What a dumb poet I am. What a scam.
That third stanza. Absurd. Should let
you figure that out. What a cheap
bastard giving you this when that
is what you need. Who knows. All
my energy comes begging me.
Here we go: The cheap core of America,
whores who own the Mickey-More
the most the best the only ones left
who can eat without fear who
weep crocodile tears, boast of thoughts
that shame dignity own us. They do.
It’s a cheap conceit: The rich are
different because they’re rich. Can
you keep up with me? They’re cheap.
Dear me. I should have let you sleep.
— Lawrence Bullock
LENNY LEUM'S DOPE DOSSIERS
by Bruce Anderson
Mike Biaggi runs Manchester Storage. Some people don't pay to store their stuff, so Biaggi, after proper notice, auctioned off the contents of several abandoned storage units. On September 5th a certain Point Arenan bought the contents of Leonard John Leum's locker. Inside was a kind of snitch's mother lode, and a big surprise that has Point Arena buzzing.
Lenny, as Leum was known in Point Arena, kept boxes and boxes of “investigative documents” he'd compiled and had apparently mailed off to: the DEA, Robert Nishiyama of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, Rep. Mike Thompson, and Senator Jim Webb, all displaying the names and sometimes accurate addresses of pot growers living and working in and around the fog belt. The techno-maladroit Leum, however, couldn't quite master his GPS coordinates, invariably placing them as two locations in the Stillwater Cove area near Jenner. But names and neighborhoods were close enough for the cops.
Here's one to the DEA's Nishiyama dated June 2nd 2008. “Sir, I read with interest the story in the Chronicle of 05/31, and would like to assist you in assessing your targets, and possibly to deliver one very big fish. … There are many such operations scattered throughout the area, but this would be the largest. I would investigate an indi¬vidual last name (______, color of car, License #, etc.), who owns and/or lives in the direct vicinity of (famous business). … to counter evasion by this group in particular, and otherwise in general, I would search county permits (K) for barns or outbuildings of 10,000 sf or more. Tractor barns would correlate with evidence of ag. If they're not associated with a mill, airfield, winery or an industrial park, your chances in Mendo are 50-50 or better. And now I'll l tell you how to identify them.” Lenny used the Seal Internet Cafe in Fort Bragg and Respect Tech in Ukiah to print pictures of grows, doing what he called “tweaking” the computer printers for best display, and they were off to the dope cops.
Point Arena locals, many of whom were arrested for pot grows on the heels of Lenny's cozy tips to the forces of law order, were handed their individual “dope dossiers” late last week, courtesy of the new owner of the Leum Archive. Lenny Leum appeared and reappeared in Point Arena in 1995-1997. He'd sit in the local coffee shops and write volumes, spinning out unreadable political tomes, heavy on conspiracy theories, in a big looping hand, getting it all down in spiral notebooks. You'd also see him in the library transcribing his life's work onto the computer, pausing to dispatch fervid e-mails to his mysterious contacts. A large, seething fellow, people tended to step cautiously around him. Spotting Leum furiously writing at his favorite spot on the deck of the downtown coffee shop in Point Arena each morning, occasionally someone would dare ask him what he was writing about. “Conspiracy theorems on MK Ultra government acid experiments,” he'd say, looking suspiciously at his interrogator. Too early in the day for acid, and always the wrong time of day for conspiracy chat, locals learned to leave Lenny alone.
While many loons can plausibly claim that their mothers dropped them on their heads, figuratively or literally, and we don't want to know what their dads did, Lenny swore Mom had nothing to do with his formative years. He said he'd been dropped out of an Army Air Corp plane. His chute didn't open, he hit the ground, bounced, got up, and walked away. As he was free-falling through the sky, Lenny said he thought to himself, “This is really gonna hurt.” At all true? Who knows. We've got at least one Navy Seal in every bar in the country, so why not a bouncing paratrooper? Lenny did indeed have these super-elastic hyper mobile muscles and tendons you find in professional athletes; the guy's anatomy twisted like a pretzel, a real Gumby sorta dude. The more judgmental described him as “Neanderthal-like,” perhaps because of his extreme mullet that ran clear down his back. Lenny had his own look going, for sure. No one's seen Lenny in a while, and it's a sure bet if he returns to Point Arena he is unlikely to be well received.
Letter to Rep. Mike Thompson dated May 21st 2008: “Sir, I would appreciate it if you could ensure that no publication embargo exists by clearing this with the censors, if they exist. Also, though I went 12 nights without getting hit, the action has moved to the property where I am working, possibly the Point Arena militia mentioned in my previous letters to you (blue Volvo); the dope-growing retired spooks. It would take a House investigator about two days to find them. They are actually dumb enough to call themselves (name)...”
Point Arenans had come to know that Lenny had little control over his rages, that if you angered him to the point where he went all the way off, well, it could be life threatening. He often talked about assaults on him by unknown assailants he never caught or even saw. The bastards would sneak up and tase him when he least expected it.
These constant attacks by unseen assailants naturally lent the guy the demeanor of the perpetually aggrieved. But he was always threatening the folks he could see, and breaking things, and flipping out in spectacular ways.
Years ago, when Lenny could afford to eat out and had a bit of money coming in from helping tend on fishing boats, Arena Cove Restaurant offered a “Lenny Burger.” It was huge. Lenny sized.
There are only a dozen or so regular fisherman who keep their boats down at Arena Cove. Lenny sometimes got hired by them.
Lenny once had a good day fishing off the Loran Sta¬tion outside Arena Cove. Next day he went back with a crew and found another local fisherman there. He became so livid that this guy had “jumped his spot” that Lenny had to be restrained from jumping overboard and swimming over to beat up the alleged pirate. A day later, Lenny found the fisherman on land, walked up to him and head-butted the man so hard it knocked the man out. The victim said he noticed for a few weeks after the incident that things were “fucked with” on his boat. “Nothing really broken or stolen, but just readjusted to malfunction in this way or that. If I didn't check everything before going out, I would have been in trouble. Disturbing. Lets you know that the guy is still thinking about fucking you up in some way, even two weeks after the ‘jumping of his spot,” incident, which was also baloney.”
There was no jumping of anyone's spot. The therapeutically oriented said that Lenny was “extremely territorial and adversarial,” which is a kind way of saying he's nuts. From the looks of the documents shared with us, he's a clinical-quality paranoid schizophrenic, but a paranoid schizo with a life's purpose, a schiz on a mi¬sion to cleanse the earth of marijuana.
Many of the documents refer to Lenny's removal from various properties, many of the evictions the work of much larger forces, of course. Point Arenans know several landowners who tried to do work trades in return for a place to stay with Lenny, but these arrangements ended badly, mostly in raging threats from Mr. Leum, always the wronged party.
On June 9th of 2008, Lenny wrote to Nishiyama, by then the DEA's man on the Mendo Major Crimes Task Force: “And whatever you do, don't call the FBI or DEA in on this — they're nothing but a black hole, trust me. And DO NOT relinquish custody — you'll never see them again and they WILL walk. Though the date of the photo proves continuing criminal enterprise invoking RICO, the probability they would ever rot in Federal prison is zero. They have assaulted myself and my son; and we live under continuing threat of injury and death. They drove me from the property I was care taking into homelessness and now I know why. My sources have confirmed what I have long suspected, that one of two kingpins owns and/or occupies a property that shares adjacent frontage on (aka) Lane with the property from which I was forced to flee...” Always with the drama, that Lenny.
The following was Lenny's general assessment of dope ops in Point Arena: “There are other installations scattered through the area, but this is the largest. Six and a half years ago when I was first set upon and ultimately driven off a property I was care taking, I turned in to the Mendo County DA another operation off Iversen I determined to be a rats' nest of antagonists, approximately three and a half years ago.” It wasn't long before the fishermen refused to hire him. Lenny's temper would blow, or he'd keep cranking on equipment with too much force, or not enough finesse, and something would usually wind up breaking. He often broke things. People still talk about the drumming circle forced by rain into the glass house on Red Tag Road; Lenny broke five drums that night, just whacking the hell out of them to see how hard he could hit them. He thought he'd done a good thing. “Had no idea drums have a sweet spot and could be re-used if ya left them intact.” When Lenny saw how bummed everyone was with their broken equipment, he got angry, like it was the drum's fault, or the drum's owner's fault.
Everyone knew when his adrenaline was running that Lenny was a goner. No turnin' back in his thinking. You could agree that he was entirely correct, and he'd still argue and get angry with even the most sympathetic person.
One day someone on the coffee shop deck interrupted him finally and said, “Lenny, we've been agreeing with you for the last twenty minutes. Take a break and breathe, and relax a bit. We're not arguing with you. You won. You're right. Do you hear me? We agree with you and you are acting agro toward me, so quit it.”
Fishermen remember the day another terrible tempered vagabond whomped Lenny at the Pier when the psychos went at each other in the parking lot. He hurt Lenny hard. It was a switch for a change, but good to see Lenny humbled for a while after that. It calmed him down, then he started in talking about the taserings again. The Force, some kind of force, was tasering him night and day.
To the DEA on June 22nd 2008: “This exposes me to being tasered, but I refuse to live in fear — I have my integrity and my credibility and that's all this life is worth.”
Lenny had a truck back in 2008. He roamed a tri-county area, always returning to Point Arena. If you were at the Motel 6 in Ukiah on January 23rd of '08, you may have been one of six California drivers whose random license plate numbers he turned into the DEA. He also stalked the SF Marina and SF Surf Motel, writing down the license plate numbers of eight California drivers and one each from Nevada and Florida. Descriptions of their cars are included in Lenny's snitch notes with their CA license numbers.
Other motels where Super Secret Surveillance Man has lingered on behalf of the righteous include the Santa Rosa North Motel 6, Pepperwood Motel in Willits and Super 8 in Fort Bragg. “06/16/08: On my way into town, I was contacted by a deputy from MMCTF who advised me my case was being transferred to DEA. ...There was no dive gear in his (truck) bed; and he was pacing back and forth on the river bar from a spot where he could watch me approach. I have been hit dozens of times over the last six years — It was a set-up complete with spotter; and it's POLITICAL. And you people can fuck around until I die and it isn't going to help. I've been tasered four times in the last four months, twice in one week; and the previous incident occurred at Super-8, Ft. Bragg, involving two white males…” “I have my coffee and read the papers on the Mendocino Headlands in the morning…” A mystery agent tailed him all the way back out on to Highway One.
Paul Dimmick, Navarro State Beach, Manchester State Beach, Arena Cove, Stillwater Cove, are all Lenny's hang-outs for writing down names and taking numbers. “Gualala is clean — don't waste your time,” Lenny advised law enforcement. “They just use the bank — and how much of it ends up offshore converting to Euros? That's where I'd start.” Lenny's four addresses over the years include: Santa Paula, Gualala, Point Arena, and Santa Barbara. A son is listed in the documents as living in Santa Cruz. Again, the documents I've seen are from 2008, with many of those mentioned having been busted by the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force since that date.
To Senator Jim Webb on 06/29/08 from Lenny Leum: “I called Heidi, Mike Thompson's secretary, and left the following message at (707) 962-0933: You called me and asked whether I thought any of my family members needed protection. I told you my son did. You asked for his number and then used it to impugn my sanity. I consider this not only a smear but an assault on my kid. Now the … LA drug connections are showing up and they are very unhappy with me — and if anything does happen to my kid, I am holding you and Mike Thompson personally responsible. This all started with the Agency coming after me, and I kept you informed every step of the way and I will make you pay.” The Internet shows our hero “arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest.” Lenny was listed at that time as Leonard John Leum, 58, of Eureka. He's about 61 now. “It's a paper trail and all the Bush administration can do is destroy themselves. The protection that had been so much in evidence the night before seemed completely absent, as if I'm the object of some kind of jurisdictional tug-of-war, unless the show of protection of the prior evening was a ruse to lull me into a sense of complacency.”
Everyone wanted the guy in '08.
A source who hired Lenny to move some furniture for him said Lenny is what they call “big for nothing’,” so big, you'd think they'd be good for picking up stuff and moving it, kinda like a mini-forklift, but this big for nothin' lacked strength and could only handle a lamp or two.” The guy broke a lot of people, though. Lenny Leum lifted a whole lot of Point Arena people on into the criminal justice system, a crazy man naming names, a crazy man who got the cops dancing.