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Mendocino County Today: January 14, 2014

NO RAIN in the forecast for at least the next two weeks as CalFire, Monday, announced an “uncommon fire weather watch” from Monday night to Tuesday morning as the weather service warns of a potentially volatile mix of evening winds, low humidity and dry vegetation.

I ASKED MIKE KOEPF, long-time resident of deep Greenwood Road, how his water supply was holding up. “Funny you should ask. I went down to check my spring yesterday as I am one of the few who do not have a drilled well in my neighborhood. The flow was 351 gallons per day. Normally, this time the year, after significant rainfall, it would be about 1500 gallons a day. During the drought of 1976 it was down to 300 gallons a day in late summer, the driest part of the year. Decades ago, an old timer up on the ridge told me two interesting things devoid of any scientific, hydrological evidence. He said that the springs of the coastal range actually access water that was snowmelt in the Sierra mountains hundreds of years ago. It seeps down under the central valley on top of a granite mantel until it re-emerges in the coastal mountains through fracture zones. That means that my water is actually snowfall that fell while George Washington was yet alive. God, I hope he was right and not sampling some of that wacko-weed medicine my fellow homesteaders brought to this region. Here's another angle. When one looks at the stumps of old growth cut down up here one finds that there are clusters of very tight and compressed growth rings that consistently reveal 20 to 30 years of light rainfall. If meaningful, this does not bode well for vineyards, dope growers or residents with flush toilets. Certainly, however, the question I was attempting to give rise to (poorly) was this: is there a difference between ground table water that is directly related to the saturation of rain and springs, which may have their source elsewhere? One more thing: those old Boont timers may have been smarter than we think. They dry farmed apples, not grapes, which take about 1 gallon per day per plant.”


CISGENDER AND CISSEXUAL (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where an individual's self-perception of their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth. … a safe, non-oppressive digital environment. Racism, misogyny, cisheterosexism, ableism… (Wikipedia)

I STARTED TO READ an essay on CounterPunch the other day about how FaceBook had gone fascist when I tripped and fell flat on my face at two new isms, ableism and cisheterosexism.

IN THE BEGINNING of Isms, there were the big two — communism and fascism, which, as things evolved, turned out to be pretty much the same form of social organization run by mass killers riding around in long, black limos.

ACCORDING to the author of the CounterPunch piece, FaceBook has just banned Anarchist Memes, “a safe, non-oppressive digital environment” where people opposed to all forms of oppression (except their own, of course) could keep an eye out for new bads. Big Bill Haywood would not recognize this bullshit as anarchism, but then he wouldn't recognize a lot of the PC fascism that passes for left thought these days.

I SCROLLED PAST old standbys like racism before I ran head-on into the two isms I'd never heard of — ableism and cisheterosexism. “Are you now or have you ever been, a cisheterosexist?” Is there a cure for it? Can you pronounce it for me so I can ask my doctor? Ableist? Are you asking if I kick cripples down the stairs? No, I don't do that.

BUT CISHETEROSEXISM? I scurried off to Wikipedia for a definition. “Sociologists Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook define ‘cisgender’ as a label for individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity,’ complementing transgender.” Wait a minute here. What the hell's “cisgender”? Speaking only for myself, I arrived with a male gender assignment that has never seemed to me to require either complimenting or complementing. Does that mean I can't read CounterPunch anymore?


A READER WRITES: Once again the year end media lists of best, worst, and trends of the past twelve months included a measure of attention to new words and phrases whose usage inexorably climbed to the status of cultural savviness. For at least the past three years the majority of terms topping the final cut on every dictionary editor's list were cringe inducing pop-tech portmanteaus spawned by the psycho-physical operation of hand held electronic devices, the latest being "selfie" and "phubbing." But how much print and cyber space is given to the evolving (or devolving) manner in which people actually talk? Not as much. Is anyone else as frustrated as I am by the creeping proliferation of "uptalk" in people's speech? Uptalk is the name given by linguists (who also cannot resist the allure of a punchy portmanteau) to the habit of changing the pitch of a word in a declarative sentence - either within the sentence, or at the end, or both — that makes it sound like a question or a desire for approval when it is not. Normal talk: "She made it sound like a question." Uptalk: “She made it sound like a...question?” Double duty uptalk: “She made it…sound?… like a…question?” A linguistics professor who has studied the phenomenon found it to be most prevalent among young women, but listen closely and one can hear it grabbing hold in nearly every demographic, including experienced professional talkers (who ought to be wary of sounding like teens or early twenty-somethings.) Recently I listened to a radio interview with an instructor from Mills College whose rhetoric was lilting with so much singsongy uptalk it was difficult to discern whether she was answering questions or subtly auditioning for a musical. Is this a sign of what some have called the “infantilization” of society? Or perhaps a subconscious strategy to stave off the hard reality of middle age by mimicking the young? Call me a crank, but there comes a time to “put away childish things,” and with them… childish speech.




Epistemology, Bruce. You don't want to brag that you don't know what you're talking about, as when you admit that “I haven't listened to KZYX for years.” Sure, you can go on about it, and I'll listen as long as you buy the rounds, but who'll believe you? And if you rely on the Major's reports, what was it that he said---send turkeys to the Division, or send the Division to Turkey? You see the problem.

Yours, Gordy Black, Mendocino

ED REPLY: Can you speak up, Gordy? What's that about Episcopalians urinating on turkeys? You're not making a darn bit of sense, not that linear thought processes were ever your strong suit. By the way, an older lady recently went out of her way to tell me how grateful she was that you recently played the whole of Beethoven's 9th. “Needy as the poor guy is, I'll pass it along,” I said.



Arcata Democrat Endorses Sonoma County’s McGuire

by Hank Sims

In a letter to supporters this morning, Arcata’s Chris Lehman has withdrawn from the race to succeed Noreen Evans as the North Coast’s representative in the California State Senate.

Lehman is instead announcing his endorsement of Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire, who seems to have decisively pulled ahead in internal campaign polling.

In his letter, Lehman, who has served as right-hand man to state Democratic party boss Don Perata, cites the similarity of McGuire’s agenda to his own and the wastefulness of an intra-Dem primary spat as the main reasons for suspending his campaign.

McGuire, Lehman and Eric Lucan
McGuire, Lehman and Eric Lucan

“Supervisor McGuire and I have similar backgrounds and beliefs,” he writes. “Our biggest difference is geography – he’s from one community and I’m from another. That is not a sufficient reason for us to wage a costly campaign against each other when both of us believe that the job of a Senator is to represent ALL seven counties on the North Coast.”

The move looks to make a clear path for McGuire, who has been visiting the North Coast and has been endorsed by Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson.

* * *


Dear Friend:

When Senator Noreen Evans announced last summer that she would not run for reelection, I received a great deal encouragement from North Coast leaders to become a candidate to replace her.

As a native of Arcata with a 15-year career of working with the State Senate, I felt a strong sense of duty to continue my service by putting my name forward. I believe strongly in public service and my family was willing to make the necessary sacrifices of time and privacy to ensure our community’s voice is heard in Sacramento.

The people of Northern California deserve a Senator who combines experience with a strong commitment to the needs of all residents up and down the North Coast. The people of our state deserve leaders committed to progressive values like providing educational opportunities and access to healthcare for all, building a strong and sustainable economy, and protecting a woman’s right to choose.

Since I announced my candidacy, other candidates have emerged also seeking to represent the vast interests and diverse populations of this district. But one candidate, Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire, has the unique blend of experience, commitment, energy, and a proven track record required to ensure our community is well represented in the Senate.

Supervisor McGuire and I have similar backgrounds and beliefs. Our biggest difference is geography – he’s from one community and I’m from another. That is not a sufficient reason for us to wage a costly campaign against each other when both of us believe that the job of a Senator is to represent ALL seven counties on the North Coast.

So after careful thought, consideration, and prayer, I have decided the best way for me to serve right now is to refocus my energies on building the coalition we need to elect strong Democratic leaders to the Senate.

I am also looking forward to continuing my work to fight big tobacco and tobacco-related diseases, and working with Tom Steyer and Next Generation Climate Action in fighting for a healthier and cleaner environment.

I am grateful that Supervisor McGuire is supportive of all these important efforts.

That’s why today, I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire for the State Senate in District 2.

Supervisor McGuire is committed to working with me and other dedicated community leaders in creating a 7-county North Coast Agenda to ensure fair representation of each county’s interests in Sacramento.

I can assure all of you that the interests of the North Coast along with the progressive values we all share will be best represented by electing Mike McGuire to the Senate.

In the coming days I will be reaching out to thank every friend, colleague and family member who gave so much time, energy and effort to help my campaign. My brief experience as a candidate, bolstered by your support and encouragement, has helped reinforce my life’s priorities, and I am more excited than ever about the journey ahead.

Thank you once again.




Mendocino County Coast Listed as a Top Place to

Visit in 2014 by the New York Times

Dear Supervisors, Department Heads and Associated Press, Please see the attached news release.

From: Mendocino County Executive Office

On Friday, January 10, 2014, The New York Times released its annual “Places to Visit” list, with Mendocino County’s North Coast taking the No. 3 spot out of 52 destinations. The Coastline is listed alongside destinations and experiences such as Cape Town South Africa’s recent renaissance, a revived Downtown Los Angeles culinary scene and the biologically diverse environs of Ecuador including the Galápagos Islands. Specifically, the article mentions the spectacular natural features of the coastline, which has drawn tourists for decades. This includes opportunities for whale watching, hiking, and enjoyment of the rugged coastline that Mendocino County proudly claims as its own. The article also mentions congressional efforts to provide protection for these lands, including an effort to designate the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as a California Coastal National Monument.

Mendocino County Board of Supervisor’s Chair John Pinches saw the article over the weekend, stating: “The New York Times has been one of the most widely-read media sources in the country for decades now, if not the entire world. This is a big deal. It’s good exposure to help us welcome visitors to come see what we have to offer.”

Scott Schneider, head of Mendocino County’s official tourism agency Visit Mendocino, imparted, “We're thrilled to see Mendocino County recognized as one of the best places to visit across the globe.”

Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg added that he was pleased yet unsurprised to see the mention, saying, “The recognition by The New York Times of the Mendocino Coast as the No. 3 most desirable 'Places to Visit’ in the world is gratifying but certainly not surprising to those of us who call this place home. As someone with the good fortune to represent this gorgeous place, I welcome everyone to come and see for themselves. I guarantee that no one will leave disappointed.”

The online version of The New York Times article can be found at: Released by: Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer, Mendocino County.



Point Arena: Ranked Top To Visit In The Nation!

Good Afternoon, The City of Point Arena is proud to announce, though the best kept secret on the Mendocino Coast for years, that indeed " Point Arena" is officially now on the MAP.. The following New York Times article itemizes 52 places worldwide to visit this year, and number three is Point Arena - and in turn, it places us the number one place to visit in the Nation ! Please follow this link:


Here's to a Wonderful New Year ! Go Point Arena!

Hunter M. Alexander, Point Arena City Administrator/City Clerk



By Norman Solomon

American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.

A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos -- who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.

The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.

The situation is unprecedented. But in an email exchange early this month, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron told me that the newspaper doesn’t need to routinely inform readers of the CIA-Amazon-Bezos ties when reporting on the CIA. He wrote that such in-story acknowledgment would be “far outside the norm of disclosures about potential conflicts of interest at media organizations.”

But there isn’t anything normal about the new situation. As I wrote to Baron, “few journalists could have anticipated ownership of the paper by a multibillionaire whose outside company would be so closely tied to the CIA.”

The Washington Post’s refusal to provide readers with minimal disclosure in coverage of the CIA is important on its own. But it’s also a marker for an ominous pattern -- combining denial with accommodation to raw financial and governmental power -- a synergy of media leverage, corporate digital muscle and secretive agencies implementing policies of mass surveillance, covert action and ongoing warfare.

Digital prowess at collecting global data and keeping secrets is crucial to the missions of Amazon and the CIA. The two institutions have only begun to explore how to work together more effectively.

For the CIA, the emerging newspaper role of Mr. Amazon is value added to any working relationship with him. The CIA’s zeal to increase its leverage over major American media outlets is longstanding.

After creation of the CIA in 1947, it enjoyed direct collaboration with many U.S. news organizations. But the agency faced a major challenge in October 1977, when -- soon after leaving the Washington Post -- famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein provided an extensive expose in Rolling Stone.

Citing CIA documents, Bernstein wrote that during the previous 25 years “more than 400 American journalists ... have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” He added: “The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.”

Bernstein’s story tarnished the reputations of many journalists and media institutions, including the Washington Post and New York Times. While the CIA’s mission was widely assumed to involve “obfuscation and deception,” the mission of the nation’s finest newspapers was ostensibly the opposite.

During the last few decades, as far as we know, the extent of extreme media cohabitation with the CIA has declined sharply. At the same time, as the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq attests, many prominent U.S. journalists and media outlets have continued to regurgitate, for public consumption, what’s fed to them by the CIA and other official “national security” sources.

The recent purchase of the Washington Post by Jeff Bezos has poured some high-finance concrete for a new structural bridge between the media industry and the surveillance/warfare state. The development puts the CIA in closer institutionalized proximity to the Post, arguably the most important political media outlet in the United States.

At this point, about 30,000 people have signed a petition (launched by with a minimal request: “The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon -- and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.” On behalf of the petition’s signers, I’m scheduled to deliver it to the Washington Post headquarters on January 15. The petition is an opening salvo in a long-term battle.

By its own account, Amazon -- which has yielded Jeff Bezos personal wealth of around $25 billion so far -- is eager to widen its services to the CIA beyond the initial $600 million deal. “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA,” a statement from Amazon said two months ago. As Bezos continues to gain even more wealth from Amazon, how likely is that goal to affect his newspaper’s coverage of the CIA?

(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



by Eric Bergeson

A question of manners: What is the proper way to inform a friend that you have already heard the story they have started to tell for the 53rd time?

Equally vexing: What is the proper thing do when the look on the faces of others makes it clear you have embarked a story they have heard 53 times before?

Do you stop mid-sentence? Do limp onward, hoping that the story will bear retelling?

As senility advances, these questions become more important.

One friend’s wife has decided that he should number his stories one through 46. When the urge arises, he can just say, “Number 39!” She will dutifully laugh, go back to her newspaper and be saved the agony of hearing the whole tale once more.

Some politely say, “Yes, you mentioned that!” as a way of cutting things short.

Others patiently fold their napkin and listen with tolerance.

If people want to be nasty, they wait to inform they already have heard the story until they spot an inconsistency with a previous version.

“Last time you told that, you only saw 400 deer,” they’ll say, pulling the rug right out from under you.

At that point, I stop and let somebody else tell a story. When you get caught inflating the number of deer present, it’s pretty much over.

Many stories detail youthful indiscretions, things you can talk about now that the statute of limitations has expired.

The trouble is, if we mature at all as we get older — and that is not guaranteed — we create fewer new stories. We’re stuck retelling the same ones over and over for the good reason that our lives have gotten boring.

If you sit on important boards or run a local business, it is probably best not to climb the water tower at three o’clock Sunday morning. There are risks to creating new stories. So, you tell old ones.

To solve these dilemmas, I have decided to rely on the old proverb: “Do unto others as you wish they would do to you if they had it in them.”

When Uncle Wilbert starts the story about rolling Grandpa’s 1936 Dodge into a Hereford cow, I resolve to act interested, look him in the eye, nod and laugh as if it is the first time I have heard it in my life.

I will look for variations, but not to pin him down. Rather, I will study the variations to understand why the 1936 Dodge came up at this particular instant.

One elderly relative adapts every story to suit the present situation. If I stopped her from telling the story because I had heard it before, I would miss the latest twist.

She was thrown from a horse sometime between World War I and World War II. That is the basic story. However, the story can be varied to explain any present ailment.

If her back goes out, it was due to that horse. If she gets forgetful, it is because she hit her head on a rock on the way down. Sometimes she’s mad because her Dad left her alone with a skittish horse, other times she’s disgusted that he spooked the horse by dropping the hitch on the hay wagon nearby.

You just never know how the story will end.

Storytelling is not journalism. The truth is never the point. The point is entertainment, or maybe a lesson.

Truly good storytellers know that they have told the story before but take care to improve it each time.

“He’s so full of it,” we say about such people, but think about it: you never, ever stop a good storyteller from telling a story you’ve heard before. The fun of it is hearing how far things have stretched since the last telling.

Kids know this.

“Tell the one about the dog eating the Thanksgiving turkey!” they say, eager to hear Grandma go through the whole story again. Grandma adds new spice to each telling, and the kids laugh harder each time.

Until they grow up. Then it is all facts, facts, facts. “That’s just a story, Jeremy, don’t believe everything Grandpa says.”

Middle-aged killjoys.

Once again, the very old and the very young get it while the rest of us don’t.

So, a couple of rules:

When you hear a story for the tenth time, humor the teller and listen hard. They’ll probably respond to your attention with a new and improved version.

And when you tell a story for the twentieth time, make darn sure it sounds better than the nineteenth, even if it means increasing the number of deer.



“David Rovics is the musical version of Democracy Now!” says Amy Goodman. He will sing and strum his funny and biting political songs Friday, February 21st, at 7PM, at the Mendocino Community Center in Mendocino village. Cindy Sheehan called David "the peace poet and troubador for our time." For an evening of rousing topical, political and humorous song, come enjoy David Rovics February 21st. A donation will be requested at the door, 'tho no one will be turned away. More info from Peter Sears, 964-6288.



NOLA...The Truth Revealed—

Warmest spiritual greetings, In the month and a half since I have been assisting my friend Jamie "Bork" Lougner in the Algiers west bank neighborhood of New Orleans, (because the police beat her mercilessly aftert tazing her four times, while she attempted to prevent the unnecessary demolition of the public housing), I have had the ultrarare opportuity to be hosted in the region by individuals whose families have been here for generations. This has given me a profoundly different view, travelling under the radar with Nellie driving Swamp Rat Jack's truck, taking me to places such as where the Ku Klux Klan meets, or informing me of the horror that thousands experienced who were incarcerated in the Saint's metrodome for days after Hurricane Katrina, before they were shipped out to Texas, also being asked not to return because it conflicted with the government's master plan to turn The Big Easy into a tourist friendly southern Las Vegas. Or directing me to the place where, against all probability, the stongest levies broke on two sides of the ship canal, flooding the economically poorer wards instead of the French Quarter and adjacent wealthy garden district where the water was in fact headed, after it breached the concrete containment along the Mississippi River; and how this improbable structural failure occurred just after the questionable Blackwater group was contracted to be there, in spite of the fact that there was no shortage of US military personnel. There Are A Lot Of Unanswered Questions In Regard To What Happened In New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina! And you thought that it was all about the environmental questions of how much global warming contributed to the intensity of the storm's wind speed? For more information, and what the national media did not tell you, feel free to make contact at or call Bork directly at (504)302-9951. Meanwhile, I have to explain to Jack why the alligators that he hunts are unlikely to become a part of my diet, no matter what creole sauce Nellie makes to simmer the meat in. Craig Louis Stehr January 11, 2014 Algiers, Louisiana, USA


  1. January 14, 2014

    So now there’s a name…? For the chronically annoying tendency to make a statement sound like a question…? As if the speaker isn’t really sure of what he/she is saying? But can’t shut up and must make sounds to be sure of his/her existence? Uptalk…? Sheesh, I blame NPR for this, because if you haven’t noticed, nearly everyone there talks like that.

  2. January 14, 2014

    Sierra Nevada water in coastal springs is an interesting old tale.
    Another common one is that the bodies of folks who drown in the bottomless Blue Lakes (along Highway 20) end up in the ocean near Point Arena. I guess that is better than in the springs.
    Jim Armstrong

  3. Harvey Reading January 14, 2014

    “… assigned at birth …” By whom? A person’s sex is not assigned. It’s mostly a matter of chance.

  4. oldbroom January 14, 2014

    Even worse than “uptalk” is “vocal fry” …the scraping or creaking of syllables that is ubiquitous among young women. It is now crossing over to males, give a listen to the annoying presenter on the Ted Radio Hour.

    I wonder if this manner of talking ages the vocal cords and future senior citizens will all sound like 2 pack a day smokers.

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