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Mendocino County Today: November 23, 2013

AN AVA-DERIVED story appeared in Friday's Huffington Post, with the mighty Boonville weekly duly credited. The Huff's piece by writer David Lohr is called “Donald Cavanaugh and David Niely: Two Missing Men, Two Unsolved Mysteries.”

Cavanaugh, Niely, Denoyer at home, Denoyer booked
Cavanaugh, Niely, Denoyer at home, Denoyer booked

The two old guys were clearly disappeared by James ‘Jimmy’ Denoyer, formerly of Westport, presently of Lake County near Upper Lake. Like many Mendo-based “mysteries,” the only mystery in this one is Where Did Denoyer Hide the Bodies? Rather than re-hash the entire depressing saga, here is the link the interested reader can visit to read the grisly details.


JUST IN FROM Willits, Gateway to the Redwood Empire, and as reported by The Willits News: The LoBuck$ Market at the always struggling Evergreen Shopping Center will close at the end of the year. They're part of a small chain of stores that has declared bankruptcy. The food biz operates on very narrow profit margins and is highly competitive. The cleanup of the long-abandoned Remco industrial site in the center of town is now in its final cleanup.


SPORTS NOTE: Steve Young is wondering out loud about Kaepernick. “Is it just the offensive coordinator’s play calling?” All-Star Young said on KNBR's Sports Talk show. “We don’t have any threats on the perimeter? Is that the issue? Is that the real issue? Or is it now, fundamentally, Trent Dilfer was onto something last week saying about, ‘No, it’s Colin.’ And, really, Colin comes off of fakes and they’ve got some neat little things … and people are wide open on the first look. And now they’re not open. Now the second look is not something that he’s really great at. Is that, fundamentally, the issue? You wonder which one’s really causing the problem. Because (there) is a problem right now. In Washington, we better start seeing it or the alarm bells will go ring even louder. If it is fundamental to the quarterback spot? My gosh. Now, that’s a whole other can of worms that I don’t want to think about. Because if it’s just play-calling, and we need some receivers back, and, you know, we need, philosophically and tactically, we need to get more excited, and expansive and wider, and fuller, and riskier. If that’s all it is, then fine. But if it’s something fundamental to the position, to the guy, that’s a whole other can of worms that I don’t think anyone wants to talk about right now…”


WHY IS THIS HED funny? (From Friday's Ukiah Daily Journal): “Ukiah driver suspected of tossing drugs from car.” In fact, the cops saw her toss the dope — crank, natch — and arrested her.


ON NOVEMBER 21st in the early morning hours a Ukiah Police Officer was handling a disturbance call at a hotel, and noticed a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. The vehicle appeared to be running and was backed in, and there were two occupants in the vehicle. The officer noticed the vehicle again at about 12:15am near Washington and South Dora Street, and saw the vehicle fail to stop completely at the intersection, and that the vehicle as weaving. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle near the Observatory Avenue intersection, and the vehicle sped away northbound on South Dora Street, refusing to yield to the officer’s lights and siren. The officer pursued the vehicle as it reached speeds of over 60 miles per hour and failed to stop for stop signs. The vehicle turned right onto Grove Avenue then left and headed north on Oak Street to Low Gap Road. The vehicle pursuit continued east to State Street, and proceeded north with the vehicle reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour. As the pursuit reached the Orr Springs Road intersection the vehicle attempted to turn left onto Orr Springs Road and lost control, and spun around one and half times coming to rest in the roadway facing south and approaching pursuing patrol vehicles. Pursuing officers saw the driver was a woman, who regained control of the vehicle and proceeded west on Orr Springs Road at a high rate of speed. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies had joined the pursuit, which continued on Orr Springs Road for close to 30 minutes. Officers from the California Highway Patrol also became involved with the pursuit, which had traversed onto Low Gap Road and was headed east and back towards Ukiah. After over 50 total minutes the suspect vehicle became disabled and stopped on Low Gap Road, several miles from Ukiah.


The driver, 29 year old Bobbi Lee Maki, was taken into custody without incident. Maki was seen throughout the pursuit reaching into different areas of the vehicle’s passenger area, and repeatedly throwing suspected drugs out the window. Officers found approximately 1 pound of marijuana inside the vehicle, several grams of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine smoking pipe, and powdered methamphetamine all over the driver’s door panel and window sill where Maki had been discarding the drug through the window. Maki had been drinking and was driving with a suspended driver’s license, and had a warrant for her arrest for violating Post Community Release Supervision. Maki was booked into the County Jail for transportation of methamphetamine and marijuana, possessing drug paraphernalia, DUI, vehicular evasion, driving with a suspended driver’s license, violating probation, and the warrant. (Ukiah Police Department Press Release)



See you at the Boonville Winter Market this Saturday, 11:00-1pm, rain or shine in front of the Boonville Gerneral Store.

Yorkville Olive Ranch - olive oil Diane Paget - rabbit,

Back Yarn jams and jellies, warm crocheted hats, Bring Your Own Dishes kits, whirly-gigs, and more

Philo Hill Farm - kale, collards, lettuce, parsley, radishes, onions, carrots, broccoli - and maybe more depending on frost survival!

WildeAcre Farm - sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, chia seed muffins, dried asian pears, sunchokes

And More!


A FEW DAYS AGO we posted the following comment from the Marinela Miclea originally posted on the Mendocino Listserve: “Title: Is there a local mafia in Mendo/FB? — I guess I've been clueless so far, but it's beginning to dawn on me that the lack of discussion of local issues on the Mendo listserv, local newspapers, or local radio stations must be due to a pervasive fear of potential consequences — losing one's job? Or getting hassled by police or DA? I'm picking up little hints of trouble here or there, but nothing substantial is being discussed openly. Is it time to call in the FBI? The dearth of local issues being discussed is what concerns me. Hearing that a local reporter is too scared to name names when he experiences “automotive troubles.” Being warned privately against giving details when I experienced a trespassing issue. Hearing of a Mendo landlord refusing to renew the lease of a popular restaurant, thus forcing its closure, only to turn around and give that lease to a different restaurateur with no explanation. Asking whether there's a high turn-over rate at a local restaurant only to be accused of disparaging it. Being threatened privately that I don't know who I'm dealing with because that person claims to be the DA's best friend. Reminds me of the pervasive fear of being overheard saying anything that might sound negative in the communist country of my childhood — blech! Personally, I don't have huge issues right now. I've a job that pays the bills and allows me to spread some $$ around at local restaurants, stores, and charities. I like most of my neighbors and people I've met in the community. My kids go to local schools and participate in local events, and I'm glad to see them flourishing in this community. But every now and then I get a niggling suspicion that not all's well around here. I've never been a fan of mafia movies/books — just don't see the fascination of watching/reading gangsters getting all warm and fuzzy with their families/opera only to turn around and kill whenever the urge strikes. I'm also not a pothead (never used it, just don't see the point) though I'm OK with you/others doing it (just not at my place). Re. “backcountry paupers” — not all around here are poor, as I'm sure you're aware. How do places like MacCallum House Inn stay in business? Its income doesn't derive solely from tourists even though its prices are so high (I ate there a while back — $100+ tab just for an adult and 2 kids). — Marinela (no Dragon Lady — maybe just the canary in the mine?)

THIS LADY puts her finger right on it, the fear prevalent in the county, maybe everywhere. But the irony here in “liberal” Mendocino County is that the fear occurs in a Mitty-ish political context, by which I mean the large number of people who seem to imagine themselves as, as lots of them say forthrightly, “highly” nay perfectly “evolved human beings.” The reality is The Fear reinforced by a whole lotta back stabbing, blackballing, gossip and so on, no different, liberal pretense aside, from a small town in Kansas. Marinela The No Dragon Lady's “niggling feeling” that everything isn't all that it's self-advertised to be is more than a niggling feeling; it's the truth, but if you don't pretend Mendo is as advertised you can get yourself on the receiving end of bad mojo real fast.




Responding to Thursday's Advocate article on the recent Planning Commission meeting about permitting a Dollar Tree Store at 825 S. Franklin, which previously housed Social Services:

Applicant Robert Affinito's defense of the Dollar Tree Store's poor employment record, as providing job training for our youth, translates to the fact that this huge Corporation does not provide a living wage or benefits for adults. Meanwhile, the estimated 10% loss of revenues for established local retailers who cannot compete with the DTS 's power to undersell could cause layoffs of adult employees. At the meeting, Commission Chair Derek Hoyle stated that applicant and products sold are not to be considered. This seems questionable. What if a porn shop wanted a permit? As DTS co-founder Macon Brook Jr told Fortune magazine, “We're selling stuff that you want but don't really need.” This chain earned its bad reputation for numerous recalls of faulty products, toxic items, and other dubious offerings. Aside from merchandise already available from existing retail,the DTS seems to promise a lot of future landfill. The City avows its goal to protect and preserve existing local small businesses; allowing a DTS does not comply with that promise.

DollarTreeAffinito's threat that a DTS will move into town “sooner or later” is no reason to grant a permit for this location, and the City could defend its stated goal to protect Fort Bragg's 'small town rural character' by establishing a moratorium on chain stores and fast food franchises of which we already have more than enough.

Affinito's contention that only a 'small portion' is opposed is negated by the fact that the majority of letters to the Planning Commission don't want a Dollar Tree Store in Fort Bragg, plus hundreds of signatures against this project.

Douglas Chouteau, Fort Bragg



The Shots Heard 'Round The World

On the morning of November 22, 1963, I was a 26-year-old reporter/photographer with “Texas Co-Op Power” magazine in Austin. I was excitedly gathering up my huge Speed Graphic camera and gear and making plans to photograph Pres. and Mrs. Kennedy at a Democratic Party fund raiser in Austin that evening. I had a White House press pass and a friend of then Vice-Pres. Lyndon Johnson was going to set-up a photo-op for me.

Needless-to-say the Kennedys never made it to Austin that night and what happened to the President changed the course of world history and definitely changed my life as is it did many others globally. All these years later, like many people, I am still traumatized by The Assassination. For one thing, the accused killer of JFK was close to my age, and like me was a military veteran, a husband, and a father of a little girl. My own daughter is now 53 and I have two great-grandchildren. Back in 1963, I also owned a weapon exactly like Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly used to kill the President.

It was a Manlicher-Carcano carbine (NOT a rifle) that I knew early on could NOT possibly have been used to kill Pres. Kennedy. It was manufactured in Italy and known to be the worst small arm used by any of the combatants in WW II. Italian soldiers called it the “humanitarian weapon” because it rarely hit the target and sometimes even blew up in the face of the shooter. Later revelations about this CARBINE give evidence to support my theory.

As if this isn't damaging enough to the Warren Commission, Oswald was known to be a poor shot while in the Marine Corps. Once he even got “Maggie's Drawers,” a red flag on the firing range indicating a complete miss of the target. And there is other evidence he was NOT a sharpshooter as was necessary to hit a moving target--with a CARBINE--and at long range.

Prerequisites for a district attorney to charge a person with a crime are motive, means, and opportunity. Lee Harvey Oswald had not one of these. Researchers have found only a statement of admiration for JFK by Oswald. His CARBINE was NOT the murder weapon. And within minutes of the shooting, Oswald was found by a Dallas policeman on the first floor of the Book Depository.

Thus a forever young, United States Marine Corps veteran has lain in his grave a half century falsely accused of regicide that to this day affects most people all over the world. And political and economic events since The Assassination prove the accuracy of former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's observation not long ago, “Anyone who could kill a President, could get away with anything.”

Tom Cahill, Landsthul, Germany


AT THE RISK of entering this particular swamp, my old friend Mr. Cahill is incorrect in some particulars and, in my opinion, also incorrect in the conclusions he draws. I was in the Marines at the same time as Oswald, circa '57-58. We received the same training in the M-1 carbine. I'd never fired a gun before Marine Corps boot camp, and I managed to qualify with a score of 201, meaning basic rifleman. If you didn't shoot better than a 195 you were “set back” in training until you mastered the weapon to Marine standards. More than anything I wanted to get out of boot camp, in those days 15 weeks of beatings and varieties of mental and physical abuse. (The boot camp depicted in Full Metal Jacket would have been a relative walk in the park.) Oswald did better than me. He qualified at the next rung up which, as I recall, was Sharpshooter. Which means he came to be a pretty good shot, much better than many of us. From the prone position the target was 500 yards away. We didn't have scopes. You can hardly miss with a scope at even great distances.

Kennedy's limo was moving at less than 20 miles per hour. Oswald was shooting from less than what? About 200 feet and from above with a clear line of fire.

The view from Oswald's perch in the School Book Depository as JFK's motorcade went by
The view from Oswald's perch in the School Book Depository as JFK's motorcade went by

My blind grandmother could have done it without a scope. In rifle training at a place called Camp Mathews, now some kind of ghastly LA town not far from LaJolla, we all, even the best shooters, got our share of misses called “Maggie's Drawers” because when you missed the guy in the butts, the trenches beneath the targets, waved a flag, which I vaguely recall as red, to show you you'd missed the entire target. I got lots of them. We all did as we fired practice rounds and adjusted the windage and sighted our M-1s. If the Marines could make a pretty good shot out of me, I know they made an even better shot out of Oswald. I'll concede this, though: He was obviously a very strange dude, very strange. Given the era, late 1950s, even communists had no desire to go live in Russia, and for a kid Marine it was simply unthinkable, so far out that I'd suppose Oswald, a kind of intellectual in his way, must have been encouraged and sponsored by larger forces. I'll bet a lot of the still unreleased docs on the case will reveal that Lee Harvey was, as he said, some kind of patsy in a great big international chess game played by the intelligence agencies of several countries. He was not, however, involved in the collapse of Building 7.


ON NOV 22 1963, I was a news writer/reporter for an East Bay television station. That particular day I was at the Albany police station along with many other newsmen covering the story of the disappearance of a UC Berkeley coed. While I was interviewing the lead detective on the case outside the station another reporter stuck his head out the back door and yelled, “Hey, Kennedy's been shot.” I quickly ended the interview and hurried back to the TV station and began organizing our coverage of that event (the wire reports were coming rapidly). I tried to think of who was in San Francisco for good comments. I found out Henry Cabot Lodge, our ambassador to Viet Nam, was in town, and told my camera man to camp on his doorstep and not to leave without getting something from him. Lodge said the usual, “We've lost a great leader” things, then added, “If you turn your cameras off, I'll tell you some real things.” He made the cameramen turn their cameras around and did indeed relate things not for airing. One thing he said was, “No one knew more about Viet Nam than John Kennedy.” This convinced me that Kennedy would have pulled us out of Vietnam during his second term. That night on my way home, I went to North Beach to see the effect of the days event. The sight was unimaginable. Broadway was completely dark, and I mean dark. Not a neon sign was glowing, every gin joint and topless place was locked. No cars on the street, no people on the sidewalks, except one small group of hardcore fun seekers going from one locked door to another, only there was no fun to be found, not there, not on that day. Camelot was over.

— Mel Pinsler, Burlingame



Why I Make Terrible Decisions, Or, Poverty Thoughts

There's no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it's rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6am, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 12:30am, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I'm in bed by 3. This isn't every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I'm in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won't be able to stay up the other nights because I'll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can't afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn't leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn't in the mix.

When I got pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12/$2. Had I had a stove, I couldn't have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron whilst knocked up.

I know how to cook. I had to take Home Ec to graduate high school. Most people on my level didn't. Broccoli is intimidating. You have to have a working stove, and pots, and spices, and you'll have to do the dishes no matter how tired you are or they'll attract bugs. It is a huge new skill for a lot of people. That's not great, but it's true. And if you fuck it up, you could make your family sick. We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.

The closest Planned Parenthood to me is three hours. That's a lot of money in gas. Lots of women can't afford that, and even if you live near one you probably don't want to be seen coming in and out in a lot of areas. We're aware that we are not “having kids,” we're “breeding.” We have kids for much the same reasons that I imagine rich people do. Urge to propagate and all. Nobody likes poor people procreating, but they judge abortion even harder.

Convenience food is just that. And we are not allowed many conveniences. Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it's hard to get a bank account. But without one, you spend a lot of time figuring out where to cash a check and get money orders to pay bills. Most motels now have a no-credit-card-no-room policy. I wandered around SF for five hours in the rain once with nearly a thousand dollars on me and could not rent a room even if I gave them a $500 cash deposit and surrendered my cell phone to the desk to hold as surety.

Nobody gives enough thought to depression. You have to understand that we know that we will never not feel tired. We will never feel hopeful. We will never get a vacation. Ever. We know that the very act of being poor guarantees that we will never not be poor. It doesn't give us much reason to improve ourselves. We don't apply for jobs because we know we can't afford to look nice enough to hold them. I would make a super legal secretary, but I've been turned down more than once because I “don't fit the image of the firm,” which is a nice way of saying “gtfo, pov.” I am good enough to cook the food, hidden away in the kitchen, but my boss won't make me a server because I don't “fit the corporate image.” I am not beautiful. I have missing teeth and skin that looks like it will when you live on b12 and coffee and nicotine and no sleep. Beauty is a thing you get when you can afford it, and that's how you get the job that you need in order to be beautiful. There isn't much point trying.

Cooking attracts roaches. Nobody realizes that. I've spent a lot of hours impaling roach bodies and leaving them out on toothpick pikes to discourage others from entering. It doesn't work, but is amusing.

“Free” only exists for rich people. It's great that there's a bowl of condoms at my school, but most poor people will never set foot on a college campus. We don't belong there. There's a clinic? Great! There's still a copay. We're not going. Besides, all they'll tell you at the clinic is that you need to see a specialist, which seriously? Might as well be located on Mars for how accessible it is. “Low-cost” and “sliding scale” sounds like “money you have to spend” to me, and they can't actually help you anyway.

I smoke. It's expensive. It's also the best option. You see, I am always, always exhausted. It's a stimulant. When I am too tired to walk one more step, I can smoke and go for another hour. When I am enraged and beaten down and incapable of accomplishing one more thing, I can smoke and I feel a little better, just for a minute. It is the only relaxation I am allowed. It is not a good decision, but it is the only one that I have access to. It is the only thing I have found that keeps me from collapsing or exploding.

I make a lot of poor financial decisions. None of them matter, in the long term. I will never not be poor, so what does it matter if I don't pay a thing and a half this week instead of just one thing? It's not like the sacrifice will result in improved circumstances; the thing holding me back isn't that I blow five bucks at Wendy's. It's that now that I have proven that I am a Poor Person that is all that I am or ever will be. It is not worth it to me to live a bleak life devoid of small pleasures so that one day I can make a single large purchase. I will never have large pleasures to hold on to. There's a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there's money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing.

Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It's why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It's more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that's all you get. You're probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don't plan long-term because if we do we'll just get our hearts broken. It's best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.

I am not asking for sympathy. I am just trying to explain, on a human level, how it is that people make what look from the outside like awful decisions. This is what our lives are like, and here are our defense mechanisms, and here is why we think differently. It's certainly self-defeating, but it's safer. That's all. I hope it helps make sense of it.

* * *

Update: The response to this piece is overwhelming. I have had a lot of people ask to use my work. Please do. Share it with the world if you found value in it. Please link back if you can. If you are teaching, I am happy to discuss this with or clarify for you, and you can freely use this piece in your classes. Please do let me know where you teach. You can reach me on Twitter, @killermartinis.

Many people have told me to write a book. I would, but I'm kind of poor and busy working. So I've set up a GoFundMe. If enough people are willing to chip in, I'll be able to focus on writing for a few months and quit with the double shifts. And I will write a thing I can be proud of. Find it here. And I've also set up a blog, which I hope you will find here.

Thank you for reading. I am glad people find value in it.




By Shepherd Bliss

(Santa Rosa, Calif.) A new, powerful coalition of Latino, social justice, green, progressive Democrats, student, civil liberties, peace, and other groups has emerged in Sonoma County, California. The killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22 unites them.

Over forty members of diverse groups met--many who had never been in a room together--on November 19 to strategize about how to keep the strong momentum going in response to the slaying of Lopez. Many of those who spoke identified themselves as mothers or fathers, who felt the pain of the parents whose son was taken from them.

Lopez was killed while walking near his home with a toy rifle. This slaying has gotten regular front-page coverage locally and has been widely reported around the United States and internationally. Some compare it to the killings of African-Americans Trayvon Martin in Florida and Oscar Grant by a police officer in Oakland. That police officer is now in jail, one of the few cops ever charged for killing someone. Both those slayings ignited communities to demand justice.

The large, peaceful actions by Latinos and their allies could make changes in how Latino neighborhoods are treated by law enforcement. Latinos make up 25% of the populations of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County; they are the fastest growing group. Their continued mobilization on behalf of Andy indicates the rise of a mass movement.

“The Lopez family wants justice for the killing of Andy Lopez, which would be the prosecution of the law officer,” said the family’s attorney Arnoldo Casillas. Those gathered decided to found a Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez. It would focus on the demand for prosecution, and raise other concerns during the sixty days following the meeting. That date was chosen because District Attorney Jill Ravitch must complete her investigation 90 days after the slaying of Lopez.

Among those at the meeting were representatives of the following and other groups: American Civil Liberties Union, North Bay Organizing Project, Latino Democratic Club, Peace and Justice Center, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Green Party, Police Accountability, Clinic, and Helpline (PACH), Peace and Freedom Party, students from the Santa Rosa Junior College, and close friends of the Lopez family.

“The vacant lot (where Andy was killed) as a park would mean a lot to the family,” attorney Casillas said. The neighborhood has already constructed a large memorial for Lopez there, where it holds regular prayer vigils. Other demands include the creation of a transparent Civilian Review Board to investigate police accountability and cameras for all police officers to wear to document their interactions with residents.

“The lawsuit is a federal civil rights lawsuit. Andy’s civil rights were violated, as were those of his parents. We will later file a wrongful death suit,” Casillas explained. “We are going to look at the policies and practices of the Sheriff’s Office. Many witnesses are afraid to speak to the police. The investigation is a whitewash. I believe their decision has already been made. The conflict of interest is clear.”

Casillas previously won a $24 million settlement in a lawsuit, which went to trial, for a family whose boy was paralyzed by a Los Angeles police officer with only one shot.

Casillas reported on the physical evidence of an independent autopsy. “The first bullet hit his heart and he fell to the ground immediately.” Gelhaus fired seven more shots, six of which hit the dead boy. “The other officer (present) was an 11-year-veteran of another police force. He did not shoot. One shot and the other did not see a threat and did not shoot,” noted Casillas.

The thousands demanding justice for 13-year-old Any Lopez, slain by combat military veteran Gelhaus, had a busy November; more actions are planned for December and beyond. Numerous large marches, rallies, and prayer vigils have been held, as were Teach-Ins at both Santa Rosa Junior College (JC) and Sonoma State University (SSU).

DA Ravitch admitted at a November 14 meeting with Latino leaders that she considers the sheriff a “personal friend.” According to the National Prosecution Standards, this could be grounds for the DA to recuse herself and appoint a special prosecutor. Ravitch is supported by the sheriff in her reelection campaign, as well as by the Santa Rose Police Officers’ Association—a cozy relationship likely to lead to the mutual returning of favors.

SRPD’s current police chief is scheduled to resign and be replaced on December 20, according to Taylor Anderson-Stevenson of the Women’s Justice Center. A totally secret selection process for a new chief appears to be happening; not even elected SR City Council members are involved in a closed-doors, out-of-sight process. Yet transparency is essential to democracy, so that citizens, rather than an elite, make decisions, especially when it comes to life-or-death issues.

At the overflow SSU gathering of around 150, Chicano and Latino Studies professor Ron Lopez commented, “Kids do not have appropriate places to play in southwest Santa Rosa.” Parks and libraries do not exist in this area, which has been neglected. “These are forgotten people, seen as ‘the enemy.’ He fired too fast, too many times.” Dr. Lopez added. “May the community be awakened. You have a social responsibility to take action to prevent these things from happening,” he said to the SSU students, faculty, and staff.

“The Andy Lopez tragedy is intimately implicated with the militarization of the police,” SSU sociology professor Noel Byrne noted later. “The culture of this militarized force promotes a perceptual framework akin to that of an occupying force. Most of the general public is seen as like the populations of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan during wartime,” added Byrne.

The JC Teach-In drew around 800 people inside a packed room and outside listening on a loudspeaker, according to a JC staff member. “This shooting had the same significance as Rosa Parks saying she would not give up her seat on the bus,” declared Alicia Sanchez, an attorney and president of KBBF bi-lingual radio. “I am proud of the youth. You have taken this killing up as Cesar Chavez taught us—non-violently.”

“I am disturbed by the ongoing need to further include protection for cops. We need protection from cops, not for cops,” JC trustee Robert Edmond said later. “No cop has been killed here since Deputy Frank Trejo in 1995. On the other hand, during that same period, at least 70 people have been killed in cases in which the Law Enforcement Involved Fatal Incident Protocol has been invoked.”

Prayer vigils are ongoing at the vacant lot near where Lopez was killed. A December 3 protest at a fundraiser for DA Ravitch’s re-election is scheduled for the Santa Rosa Veterans building. Information about pending events is available at Those events are planned to climax in a January 20 rally on Martin Luther King Day, which would be at the end of the sixty days.

“Andy Lopez is not going to be forgotten,” attorney Casillas noted near the end of the new coalition’s founding meeting. “There is something that resonates deeply in the hearts of people about the killing of Andy.”

(Shepherd Bliss ( teaches college part-time and farms.)



21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare

by Ralph Nader

Dear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.

In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare.

Repeal Obamacare and replace it with the much more efficient single-payer, everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital.

Love, Canada

Number 21: 
In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth — everybody in, nobody out.

In the United States, under Obamacare, 31 million Americans will still be uninsured by 2023 and millions more will remain underinsured.

Number 20: 
In Canada, the health system is designed to put people, not profits, first.

In the United States, Obamacare will do little to curb insurance industry profits and will actually enhance insurance industry profits.

Number 19: 
In Canada, coverage is not tied to a job or dependent on your income — rich and poor are in the same system, the best guaranty of quality.

In the United States, under Obamacare, much still depends on your job or income. Lose your job or lose your income, and you might lose your existing health insurance or have to settle for lesser coverage.

Number 18: 
In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for tens of millions of Americans, health care coverage stays with you for as long as you can afford your share.

Number 17: 
In Canada, you can freely choose your doctors and hospitals and keep them. There are no lists of “in-network” vendors and no extra hidden charges for going “out of network.”

In the United States, under Obamacare, the in-network list of places where you can get treated is shrinking — thus restricting freedom of choice — and if you want to go out of network, you pay for it.

Number 16: 
In Canada, the health care system is funded by income, sales and corporate taxes that, combined, are much lower than what Americans pay in premiums.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for thousands of Americans, it’s pay or die — if you can’t pay, you die. That’s why many thousands will still die every year under Obamacare from lack of health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time.

Number 15: 
In Canada, there are no complex hospital or doctor bills. In fact, usually you don’t even see a bill.

In the United States, under Obamacare, hospital and doctor bills will still be terribly complex, making it impossible to discover the many costly overcharges.

Number 14: 
In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.

In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 18 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.

Number 13: 
In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans.

Number 12: 
In Canada, simplicity leads to major savings in administrative costs and overhead.

In the United States, under Obamacare, complexity will lead to ratcheting up administrative costs and overhead.

Number 11: 
In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: “What’s wrong?”

In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: “What kind of insurance do you have?”

Number 10: 
In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

In the United States, under Obamacare, Congress made it specifically illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices for volume purchases, so they remain unaffordable.

Number 9: 
In Canada, the government health care funds are not profitably diverted to the top one percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care funds will continue to flow to the top. In 2012, CEOs at six of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. received a total of $83.3 million in pay, plus benefits.

Number 8: 
In Canada, there are no necessary co-pays or deductibles.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the deductibles and co-pays will continue to be unaffordable for many millions of Americans.

Number 7: 
In Canada, the health care system contributes to social solidarity and national pride.

In the United States, Obamacare is divisive, with rich and poor in different systems and tens of millions left out or with sorely limited benefits.

Number 6: 
In Canada, delays in health care are not due to the cost of insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, patients without health insurance or who are underinsured will continue to delay or forgo care and put their lives at risk.

Number 5: 
In Canada, nobody dies due to lack of health insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, many thousands will continue to die every year due to lack of health insurance.

Number 4: 
In Canada, an increasing majority supports their health care system, which costs half as much, per person, as in the United States. And in Canada, everyone is covered.

In the United States, a majority — many for different reasons — oppose Obamacare.

Number 3: 
In Canada, the tax payments to fund the health care system are progressive — the lowest 20 percent pays 6 percent of income into the system while the highest 20 percent pays 8 percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Number 2: 
In Canada, the administration of the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. And you swipe it when you go to a doctor or hospital. End of story.

In the United States, Obamacare’s 2,500 pages plus regulations (the Canadian Medicare Bill was 13 pages) is so complex that then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said before passage “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Number 1: 
In Canada, the majority of citizens love their health care system.

In the United States, the majority of citizens, physicians, and nurses prefer the Canadian type system — single-payer, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out.

For more information see Single Payer Action at

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)



‘Oh father, let us hence — for hark, A fearful murmur shakes the air. The clouds are coming swift and dark:– What horrid shapes they wear! A winged giant sails the sky; Oh father, father, let us fly!’

‘Hush, child; it is a grateful sound, That beating of the summer shower; Here, where the boughs hang close around, We’ll pass a pleasant hour, Till the fresh wind, that brings the rain, Has swept the broad heaven clear again.’

‘Nay, father, let us haste– for see, That horrid thing with horned brow, – His wings o’erhang this very tree, He scowls upon us now;
 His huge black arm is lifted high; Oh father, father, let us fly!’

‘Hush, child;’ but, as the father spoke, Downward the livid firebolt came, Close to his ear the thunder broke, And, blasted by the flame, The child lay dead; while dark and still, Swept the grim cloud along the hill.

— William Cullen Bryant


THE STRANGE, GENTLE PLEASURES I feel at the approach of spring are impossible of expression, and if that is a sentence inviting ridicule, so much the worse for me. I have positively never watched it coming with so much impatience and so much relief. And I think of it as a victory over darkness, nightmares, sweats, panic and madness and of the crocuses and daffodils as the promise of a life at least bearable, once enjoyed but in a past so remote that all trace, even remembrance of it, had been almost lost.

— Beckett


  1. Pete November 23, 2013

    Hey, lighten up, too many photos and stories of bad guys.Bruce or Mark, you guys got a good story…

  2. Harvey Reading November 23, 2013

    On “Being Poor in San Francisco”.

    That piece should be required reading for the wealthy and for the yuppie scum who serve them … just before the gallows trap door springs open, ending their putrid existence.

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