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Mendocino County Today: December 25, 2013


THE SHERIFF'S LOG for arrests made

on 19 December 2013,

lists Ed Christensen, 41, of Point Arena

who is accused of two felony charges of elder abuse.

Some 15 years ago, Christensen was arrested

for shooting at people participating

in a Friends of the Garcia River float.


BIG FEDERAL DRUG RAID on a Boonville property last Thursday, with a big hunk of cash confiscated and a very large consignment of bud, packaged and ready to go, also seized. No arrests that we know of. Since the feds increasingly operate like some kind of rogue East European police force, we don't know any of the details of this particular operation, but should have more soon.



You must become a member of KZYX/Z by 5pm on Tuesday, December 31st in order to be able to VOTE in the 2014 election, which might be a crucial one in democratizing our station, at long last.

There is a “Simple Living” membership for $25, if you so desire to pledge at this level. So, please do consider pledging to our community radio station for $25 before 5pm on Tuesday, December 31st (New Year's Eve) by calling the station at 895-2324, and you may also pledge online at

Folks, please don't sleep on this. We need all hands on deck for the 2014 election, so we can finally have a real Grass Roots, Community Radio Station, with justice, transparency and The Voice of We The People in programming!

Happy Holidays to all and I thank you.

DJ Sister Yasmin, 884-4703

* * *

SISTER YASMIN'S PLEA ignores Mendo demographics and the organization of the station itself. The only way to reform the institution would be to organize 300-400 new members who would vote in a new board of directors. The present station membership, most of it anyway, is heavy on financially secure people for whom the soft liberalism of NPR programming is a kind of audio soma — it reassures them that all's right with the world, and what isn't right can be repaired by registered Democrats like them. There's the bland reassurances of government programming plus all those cool interviews with movie stars and musicians. An NPR person doesn't want leftwingers shrieking at them. I'm sure radios all over Mendocino County snap off when Democracy Now's atonal bonk-bang music alerts the NPR people that Amy Goodman's Bummer Report is upon them.

OUR BEEF WITH KZYX is the utter absence of local news or discussions of purely local matters, and even when there was at least the pretense of local, the self-certified “progressives” who presented it were so poorly informed, so inarticulate, so cringing before local bureaucrats, it managed to be uninformative and boring.

KZYX'S membership includes a large bloc of station programmers, many of them in place since the station first went on the air. These people want no change. They support management no matter how incompetent, no matter how sleazy management is because their sole interest is music, and them playing it on the radio. Combine the programmers bloc with the NPR bloc and there's Public Radio Mendocino County.

UNLIKE KMUD a few miles north of us, KZYX was organized by a private individual, a Republican named Sean Donovan. Donovan stuffed the ruling apparatus with dope and music-focused hippies from Anderson Valley, people unlikely to do or say anything distressing to the dominant stoner-NPR axis that was and is KZYX. The original stoner dudes and dude-ettes are music people. Take away their tunes and their bud and they might interest their sloth-like selves in matters beyond their turntables and their bongs. Which is unlikely. Ever.

BY CONTRAST, KMUD arose out of a series of community meetings in Southern Humboldt. Enthusiasm for KMUD has always been strong because it has always been directly accountable to its listeners and members. It is not an NPR station, not that the choice has to be between NPR and lively coverage of local matters; sophisticated management does both. (cf KQED and KALW, San Francisco. KPFA, like KZYX has become mostly a sinkhole of audio stupidity.)

ANOTHER DIFFERENCE between Mendocino and Humboldt counties is that Humboldt's population is much more attentive to and passionate about local affairs. There's a varied and lively media in Humboldt which is reinforced by lots of blogs focused solely on local matters. Mendo? No blogs, corporate-bland media, the AVA. No one cares that KZYX doesn't do local. If KMUD didn't do local it would die. There's your difference.

WHY IS MENDOCINO so culturally retro, so bland, so uninteresting, so institutionally wacky? One reason is government employment, which is where the good jobs are. And Mendocino County is a small place. Get yourself a dissident rep and you're not going to get on with a school district or the County. People with secure employment, government people, tend, overwhelmingly, to be lib labs of the registered Democrat type, hence KZYX, hence the fear of candid talk about local matters.


WATCH THOSE SNEAKER WAVES! The eerie endless summer is drawing many people to the sea shore where, especially on Christmas Day, very large waves are predicted.

OR, as the National Weather Service puts it, “If you are planning on heading to the beach on Christmas day, avoid dangerous locations such as steep beaches, exposed rocky areas, and jetties. Sneaker waves appear suddenly and can be deadly if you are not paying attention.”

A TIMELY Coast Guard Press Release fleshes out the phenomenom:

Sneaker waves are large waves that seem to come out of nowhere. Sneaker waves can catch you off guard and quickly pull you into the ocean where survival is unlikely because of strong currents, turbulent surf, and very cold water. Don’t be fooled by an ocean that looks calm: There can be 30 minutes of small waves right before a sneaker wave strikes. Follow these guidelines to stay safe at the coast.

• Choose your beach well. Steep beaches are particularly dangerous because the force of the ocean waves can reach much farther up the beach and pull you into the surf. Steep beaches also have course sand that washes out from under your feet making it hard to resist being pulled into the water. Flatter beaches are much better choices.

• Avoid Rocks and Jetties. Rocks and jetties can give a false sense of security but sneaker waves can overtop them without warning.

• Stay Back. Stay much farther back from the water than you might think is necessary. Sneaker waves often reach well into the dry sand part of a beach. And remember that rising tides can cause sneaker waves to wash even farther up a beach, and can cut off access around headlands.

• Never turn your back on the ocean. The most dangerous thing you can do is to be near the surf with your attention diverted, but some beach activities require you to do exactly this. If you participate in such an activity, such as surf fishing, consider wearing a life vest to give yourself a fighting chance of surviving if you do get pulled in.

• Don’t go in after dogs. Dogs that are pulled into the surf almost always get out on their own while their human rescuers usually do not…so stay on dry land and wait for them to swim back to shore.

• Call 911. Don’t go into the water after a person who gets pulled into the surf. Remember that you will likely also get in trouble so that when rescuers do arrive they will have to divide their time between multiple victims. It’s much better to call 911 and be prepared to guide rescuers to the person in trouble.

• And lastly: Share this message. Share this water safety message with your family and especially children. Also share it with friends and co-workers. Even engage perfect strangers if you see them doing something dangerous.



A former Sacramento man who was successfully prosecuted for imprisoning and assaulting another man, and torturing a cat at a Fort Bragg residence has been sentenced by the Mendocino County Superior Court to state prison.


Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman sentenced Shawn Michael Lane, 24, to fifty-six months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for assaulting Jesse Wayne Gibson, age 25, with a cane, falsely imprisoning Gibson, and torturing a cat. A Mendocino County jury sitting in Ukiah returned these three guilty verdicts back on Oct. 3.

Gibson testified in June that Lane had invited him to stay at a house Lane shared with other men on Oak Street in Fort Bragg. Lane at one point scraped Gibson’s arm with a knife to initiate Gibson into a "brotherhood" from which Gibson was told he could not leave. Lane later hit Gibson in the head with a cane for not "following rules," causing extensive bleeding. Lane also told Gibson he could not leave the apartment without Lane’s permission. Another witness testified that after Lane was clawed by a cat, Lane beat the cat and then nearly decapitated the animal before burying it.

Judge Moorman said sending Lane to prison was a difficult decision because of obvious "serious mental health issues." She said she could not overlook, however, the vulnerability of the victim, the danger posed by the defendant to others in the community, and the fact that the defendant was on probation at the time he committed the felonies for which he stands convicted. The judge did issue a recommendation to state prison officials, however, that Lane be placed in a prison-run dual diagnosis treatment program, a program that provides treatment for mentally ill prison inmates.

"This case revolved around honest witnesses and a thoughtful jury," said prosecutor Tim Stoen. "To that end, I would like to thank the men and women of the Fort Bragg Police Department for taking this case seriously from the start. It is not easy to investigate cases where eyewitnesses are mentally-challenged but the Fort Bragg police demonstrated their public safety commitment and tenacity in seeing to it that this defendant was brought to justice.” (District Attorney press release.)



by Maurice Tindall (1970)

Christmas Eve is with us and Christmas Day will follow. Most of us will observe the holidays in one way or another.

I can remember the first Christmas tree I ever saw. It was about 1900 in Murray's Hall in Mendocino. Upstairs in a wooden building and a full audience. Truly a Provi­dence was with the people but a fire marshal would have a fit nowadays. Fortunately, trouble seldom developed and disasters were few. But they were big when they did happen.

That was a big night. A good sized tree and a program which I don't remember. There was a stack of presents. Many people brought their presents from home for Santa Claus to deliver, or at least some of them. Coal oil lights and candles were on the tree and nobody seemed to worry about it. The next year the tree was in the Presbyterian Church and that was a spectacle. It may have had electric lights by then because Albert Brown may have put in his electric plant in the early 1900s. That is a story of its own.

There were several denominations in Mendocino and all the people celebrated the holidays in their own way. It probably began many thousands of years ago and has survived wars and all kinds of disasters and untold persecutions. In some rituals people were even fed to wild animals for the entertainment of others whose civiliza­tions were even then on the way out.

People in the interior of the county had it pretty easy to get home for the holidays because mostly they were not far from the Bay Area and there was a railroad to Ukiah and there were stage lines for farther on. A hundred miles in those days was quite a journey. On the coast however it was different. The towns were small and isolated and the roads between them were poor and there was very little actual commercial transportation.

MendoStageIt was 50 miles from Mendocino or Big River to Ukiah. It was a long hard 12 hours and the fair was $5 which could be something like $100 today. It took great skill and doubtless a good bit of nerves for those drivers to get over those narrow mountain dirt roads at a fast trot while avoiding the many stumps and trees. Wherever the horses went the stage had to follow and much of the road was very winding and you couldn't see beyond the next curve.

Even so, accidents were very rare. The stages ran in rain or shine. Windfalls accounted for much of the trouble when there was any. Sometimes there were forest fires in the hot season. Sometimes delay would be caused by a good-sized tree which had to be chopped away. Those drivers surmounted all their troubles — fire, floods and even outlaws. Of course on holidays they would be loaded down with passengers and baggage and mail and supplies.

Those drivers made a name for themselves over many years in county history: Abe Boos. Hans Stout. John Philbrick and many others. Horses were changed about every 15 miles, but not the driver. He went clear through. At every change there would be horses ready and waiting. There were shortstops along the way and halfway houses where people like Grandma Hansen would have a quick lunch and coffee to give a few minutes rest to the passengers and the driver. There was no passable road all the way up the coast just from Gualala to Point Arena.

Those coming from the city up the coast usually came by boat and typically landed in Fort Bragg or Point Arena. That was a little faster probably than by land but not always easier during holidays. Those little steam schooners such as the Point Arena, the Seafoam, The Noyo and others that ran up and down the coast rolled very badly in open water and could only carry a few tons of freight and sometimes could only run in the summer.

NoyoSchoonerOne time I came up on the Noyo with Captain Odlund. It was an easy trip and we pulled into about all the harbors on the way. The captain and first mate were very good. They let me ride on the bridge where there was heat from the smokestack and a good view of everything. I was in a stateroom with a couple of women and some children. I was bedded on a settee, but in rough weather I would have needed to sleep on the floor. The women and children were quite ill most of the night but I slept pretty well and didn't mind much. I enjoyed the meals aboard the ship and the ship felt solid. Little River had a wharf and a sheltered cove and boat could land there when weather was too rough to land at Mendocino.

Sometimes passengers and freight would be unloaded there and taken on to Mendocino by team. Northcoast ports were noted for being tough at times and it is true that many ships were lost at sea, about all of them in time that were on the coast in those early days. Ships at that time had a short life.

About 1900 or soon after that the wire schute was built at Mendocino which allowed passengers to be ferried ashore in a small boat and landed on a skiff on a landing close to some rocks. Then they went up the stairway to the top of the bluff. Freight was the same, except it was hoisted from the skiff by a winch up on top. It was no place for the weak hearted, although I never heard of an accident. The wire chute was built a year or so later and it was not for the nervous either as a little passenger box ran on a cable over 100 feet above the water. But the men were always very careful and I never heard of an accident happening to a passenger.

Even with all these obstacles, people still found ways to celebrate Christmas with their families in those early days.


Lott-MontanaMONDAY NIGHT'S Candlestick finale featured a truly memorable football game as the Niners dramatically squeezed past Atlanta and into playoffs and perhaps another shot at the Super Bowl. The ceremonial parts of the evening were ho-hum in the way mass sentimentality is, but moving for all us sports fans nevertheless. But the biggest story on the night was mentioned only in whispers, and then in vague references to “disputes.” The story? Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott were not present. The two guys synonymous with the rebirth of the Bill Walsh 49ers chose not to attend Candlestick's last night, the place of their heroics. Will we know why? Given the givens of Bay Area media, we doubt it. All we know so far is that both Montana and Lott have beefs with Niner management over money making things at the new stadium in Santa Clara, the brand new venue with no parking, another big story.



A headline on the front page of the Dec. 22 Chronicle declared, “It was our dump.” Dumps are places where human refuse ends up. Pure garbage. Where we send the things we don't want to think about, the material we deem useless and offensive.

For half a century Candlestick Park has been a place of longing. Where people looked forward going to. “I got tickets. Candlestick. Giants-Dodgers.” It might have well been heaven.

Never did more pure joy emanate from a place than it did the moment and minutes after Dwight Clark made “The Catch.” And Clark himself calls it a dump. I'm shaking my head here writing this and I wonder if anybody has any heart anymore. Candlestick Park, whether cold and windy, was a destination of pure joy. And joy was what this park was really all about.

It is not, and never was a dump. The fans who went there and the players who played there are not garbage. Real fans join me in staring down the dynamiters. Let's save the beauty and joy of Candlestick Park.

Charles Birimisa, Watsonville


MOST PEOPLE ARE INSECURE, and with good reason. Not me. This is probably because I've had to think about who I am and who I'm not, which is something your average person generally doesn't have to do. Your average person has a pair of parents, or at least a mother, or at least knows roughly where they fit into all that family business in a way that I, for better or worse, don't.

— Iain Banks



Is MoveOn to the Right of the NYT Editorial Board?

by Norman Solomon

The New York Times is hardly a progressive newspaper — but when it comes to the surveillance state and ongoing militarism of the Obama White House, the establishment’s “paper of record” puts to shame.

And so, the same day that the Times editorialized to excoriate President Obama for his latest betrayal of civil liberties, MoveOn sent out a huge email blast sucking up to Obama.

The Times was blunt in its Saturday editorial: “By the time President Obama gave his news conference on Friday, there was really only one course to take on surveillance policy from an ethical, moral, constitutional and even political point of view. And that was to embrace the recommendations of his handpicked panel on government spying — and bills pending in Congress — to end the obvious excesses. He could have started by suspending the constitutionally questionable (and evidently pointless) collection of data on every phone call and email that Americans make.”

But, the newspaper added: “He did not do any of that.”

As the Times editorial went on to say, “any actions that Mr. Obama may announce next month would certainly not be adequate. Congress has to rewrite the relevant passage in the Patriot Act that George W. Bush and then Mr. Obama claimed — in secret — as the justification for the data vacuuming.”

Let’s reiterate that the Times is far from a progressive outlet. It serves as a highly important megaphone for key sectors of corporate/political elites. Voicing the newspaper’s official stance, its editorials are often deferential to spin and half-truths from favored political figures. And much of the paper’s news coverage feeds off the kind of newspeak that spews out of the Executive Branch and Congress.

But on crucial matters of foreign policy, militarism and surveillance, the contrast between Times editorials and MoveOn is stunning. The “progressive” netroots organization has rarely managed to clear a low bar of independence from reprehensible Obama policies.

Instead, millions of people on MoveOn’s list are continually deluged with emails pretending that Republicans are the only major problem in Washington — while nearly always ignoring Obama administration policies that are antithetical to basic progressive values.

And so, on the same day the New York Times was ripping into Obama’s latest affront to civil liberties and privacy rights, MoveOn was sending out a mass email that began by quoting from Obama’s 2008 convention acceptance speech — as though his five-year record as president still makes him an apt source of inspiration: “The change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.”

After five years, MoveOn seems not to have noticed what the New York Times editorial board has often pointed out: that some of the change Obama has brought to Washington has not been in a progressive direction. As the Times put it in a follow-up editorial Sunday, at his latest news conference Obama “insisted that there was no evidence that the phone surveillance program was being abused — a truly disturbing assessment given all the revelations since June.”

As usual, the MoveOn email did not include a single word of criticism, much less challenge, of Obama. Instead, the email blamed Congress for all the political obstacles to needed “change.”

This is typical. Year after year of the Obama presidency, MoveOn has been routinely silent on such crucial matters as U.S. drone and cruise missile strikes across borders, war in Afghanistan, assaults on press freedom and whistleblowers, and methodical undermining of precious civil liberties.

The intertwined warfare state and surveillance state have little to fear from MoveOn. And that’s tragic.

(Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at


FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK, Ukiah, California. January 3rd from 5-8pm Many exhibits are held over from December and the snowstorm Enjoy one or all of the First Friday venues-- art, music and refreshments

• Art Center Ukiah — Celebrate the Crab Wine and Beer Festival at Art Center Ukiah Crab appetizers and and art “Memories and Messages of Good Cheer,” and “Wine, Wilderness and Waves” juried show 201 S. State Street Ukiah, 707 462-1400

• Corner Gallery — Gloria Simmonds and Cory Jaco, mixed media Catherine Lair, “Nature’s Guardians,” paintings, oil, acrylic, pastels 201 S. State Street, Ukiah, 707 462-1400

• Grace Hudson Museum And Sun House — "Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior" held over to January 12 431 South Main, Ukiah, 707 467-283

• Kit Elliott Gallery — Tim Moore, paintings 116 South State, Ukiah, 707 468-1600

• Ukiah Valley Artist Cooperative Gallery — Lynn Gulyash, Paintings Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. 518 E. Perkins, (next to Rod’s Shoes), in the Pear Tree Center, 463-0610 Open Thursday-Saturday 11am to 5 pm


  1. Bill Pilgrim December 25, 2013

    Re: Kzyx – I heard from a friend who heard it face to face from the KZYX programming director a few years ago that the reason Democracy Now was moved from 9am to 4pm was because said P.D. was getting complaints from listeners (most likely the big check writers) who couldn’t abide hearing the bummer, or REAL, news so early in the day. “I don’t want to hear illusion-busting stories with my latte!”

  2. Harvey Reading December 25, 2013

    Great quote from Iain Banks. I see Christofascists, and authoritarians in general, around me, younger than me, falling apart physically, from what I assume, based on their constant babble about it, is worry about whether they are toeing some god’s line in the sand. Me? I don’t worry about that hoakum, and, so far, do exactly what I want, since I still can.

    “The intertwined warfare state and surveillance state have little to fear from MoveOn. And that’s tragic.” Hey, Norman, I’m not a fan, but you’re a little too far in outer space, even for you, when you make it sound like Move On really stood for something other than the democrapic party at one time or another. Guess what? It didn’t. It started, or at least got popular, by peddling support for the war criminal, Clinton, during the time after his antics, with the little rich girl from Beverly Hills, were causing all manner of sanctimonious, hypocritical responses from those even farther right than him (censure and move on).

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