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Off The Record (Jan 15, 2014)

THE MENDO County Supervisors, on Tuesday (7th January), voted unanimously to declare a local emergency “and imminent threat of disaster” from drought, and appointed two of its members, Carre Brown and Dan Hamburg, to an ad-hoc committee to come up with a plan to keep local communities from going dry. Ms. Brown said the local emergency plan would make it easier to get help from the California Office of Emergency Services, and “hopefully we can also cause some of the state regulations and laws to be relaxed a bit,” as well as accessing portable units the state can send out to transport water places where it's available to thirsty areas.

THE COUNTY has established a hurry-up “drought hotline” at 463-4589. The idea is that County residents will provide status reports on their individual water situations so the County can get a clear idea of what practical aid it can request from the state. The input deadline is Wednesday, January 15th, which means a very brief window for you to pass along your information.

REDWOOD VALLEY pumps directly from Lake Mendocino. Bill Koehler of Redwood Valley Water said the declaration “may also ease access to funding from the Office of Emergency Services or other state money,” but added that “80% of California is in drought mode at the moment, so whatever funds are out there are going to be stretched very thin.”

UKIAH-AREA SUPERVISOR, John McCowen, said Lake Mendocino is “below 30,000 acre-feet,” and asked Koehler, “at what point can your pumps still function?” Koehler replied, “In theory we can pump down to 690 feet above mean sea level, which is approximately 12 vertical feet,” Koehler said, adding that the district is looking into water sharing “with other districts that might not be able not able to get those last dribs and drabs out of the lake.” Koehler said the district is also considering a scenario where “this might be the year we find out what really is under the city of Ukiah, and that water needs to be pumped uphill.”

WILLITS CITY MANAGER, Adrienne Moore, said the City of Willits estimated it had 100 days of water supply. “But obviously that's not very long if we don't get any significant rainfall,” she said. Holly Madrigal of the Willits City Council said the city had asked its citizens to conserve, but that the city's best option is likely to dig wells.

DENISE ROSE of the Brooktrails Community Services District said the subdivision has about 60 days of water left, and had implemented “voluntary restrictions.”

DAN GJERDE, 4th District, said Fort Bragg, where problematical water supply is perennially under discussion,

THIRD DISTRICT Supervisor John Pinches rightly admonished his colleagues for inaction in years prior, referring to the last time the county's drought conditions were as bad as they are now in 2009. “I've been working on trying to get people excited in this county about another water supply for my whole political career,” Pinches said. “Folks, we got to come up with more water supply. It's plain and simple. Any third-grader in Mendocino County could figure it out. We should've been doing these water restrictions months ago, not … in the middle of January; I mean, this is crazy.” Part of the problem, Pinches said, is that the involved officials lost interest in years past when the rain came.

PINCHES said he didn't want to serve on the ad-hoc committee because he has only a year left on the board, and the long-term water supply problem would take longer than that to solve. “It's going to take some real step-up commitment from my colleagues here to take this … because it's going to be something that's going to be ongoing more than this calendar year.”

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH from a recent NYT piece isn't likely to comfort anyone, but here it is: “Beginning about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th Century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur.”

OAKY JOE AND THE GRAPE APE GIRLS! Redwood Valley’s most colorful resident has produced Mendocino County’s most striking 2014 calendar, a must have item featuring Joe and a posse of rural beauties posed among humungous pot plants. Every guy who comes into the office says, “Hey! Where can I get one of those?” Women are less enthusiastic, but we’re here to testify that this calendar is an absolute one-of-a-kinder. (Available at Taylor’s Tavern in Redwood Valley.)

JUDGE DAVID NELSON called the other day for a clarification of our End of the Year Awards, one of which went to Nelson and his eight colleagues for their dogged pursuit of a new County Courthouse. We'd said the new edifice is proceeding outside local processes, which is only one of the many reasons we're opposed to it.

THE JUDGE pointed out that because the state now administers the courts, new courthouses, unlike old county courthouses, are designed only as courtrooms plus a little space for court personnel serving those courtrooms. They aren't like the old County Courthouses with most, if not all, County functions under one roof, or at least in one complex of buildings. The proposed new building, to repeat, will consist of nine courtrooms and space for the nine judges and the employees directly serving the nine judges occupying those courtrooms. The DA and his 80 or so employees will remain in the old Courthouse, meaning they'll be humping themselves and their files up and down Perkins between the new courthouse and the old Courthouse on a daily basis.

AS FOR THE PROCESS of getting a new courthouse built, state authority, the gentlemanly Nelson explained (probably through clenched teeth) supersedes local authority, meaning the state will buy the land on West Perkins and erect the structure outside Ukiah's and Mendocino County's authority. Nelson did point to a Ukiah-based “advisory committee” that was consulted as to the location of the new building and said that of course the Ukiah Planning Commission and the Ukiah City Council would be “involved.”

THE COURTHOUSE LAND on Perkins has not yet been purchased. It's owned by a Chico man while some of the desired acreage is the property of the railroad authority, a murky, train-free lash-up dominated by the Northcoast's grasping Democratic Party apparatus with lead involvement provided by former congressman, Doug Bosco. Translation: Taxpayers are certain to be mugged.

AS THINGS STAND, the proposed site is also being coveted by the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op for a new store while another vacant parcel is being eyed by developers as the potential site for the DA and other offices, including the judges, presently located, in the imperfect but perfectly serviceable old County Courthouse in the center of town.

IF ONE OR MORE of the West Perkins Street parcels is privately developed as offices for the DA and the other services presently located in the old Courthouse, it will mean that the County of Mendocino will be leasing office space from private individuals at, of course, “market” (i.e., exorbitant) rents. The County already leases ancillary space all over Ukiah and in other areas of the County from well-placed, well-connected landlords.

THERE IS NOTHING wrong with the present County Courthouse that several million rehab dollars couldn't make right. There's no need for the taxpayers to pay $300 million (rough estimate) for a one-function building.

JUDGES worry about the security probs presented by hauling the usual suspects from the County Jail to downtown Ukiah where they're led, shackled, in an orange coffle, a short public distance from Sheriff's vans into the Courthouse. We've often complained at the annual expense of driving defendants back and forth from the jail to the Courthouse and continue to wonder why a lot of routine stuff like arraignments and hearings can't be done at the jail itself.

BUT THE EXISTING Courthouse could be remodeled in a way that inmates don't appear on the street where, as happened 30 years ago, a deranged Mommy tried to hand Killer Boy a gun. (Killer Boy had murdered a couple camping in Manchester to steal their Winnebago. Mommy, natch, insisted KB been framed.) And the present Courthouse could be made fully handicapped-accessible, the difficulty the handicapped have reaching the top floor courtroom being an ongoing concern. (There’s an elevator, but…)

AS FOR THE JOBS argument, name a single large-scale project EVER in Mendocino County that didn't go to outside contractors. The closest we've come to local is Peter Richardson's Rainbow Construction. Richardson got to build the County complex on Low Gap and a school structure on South State, both in Ukiah, and he got seriously ripped off by the school people in the latter process. Nine new courtrooms for their majesties will create some fleeting work for a few locals, but most of the labor will come from outtahere. Case closed, yer honor.

NEW COURTHOUSE FACTS: Sonoma County has a new courthouse in the unstoppable pipeline that is estimated to cost $174 million. And Lake County has one in the works estimated at $55 million. The numbers are low estimates of the likely costs by completion, of course. But the proportions are interesting. In rough terms: SoCo's Population is about 500,000 Mendo's population is about 90,000 Lake County's population is about 64,000. So… Sonoma County's courthouse costs about $350 per person. Lake County's costs $860 per person. And Mendo's costs $1350 per person. There are probably some economies of scale in the SoCo number. But both of our neighboring counties are getting much less new courthouse per capita than Mendo is. More evidence that we've got too many judges for our relatively sparse population. And now we'll have too much courthouse for that population to go with our too many judges. And that doesn’t even count the facility and operating costs for the reams of judicial servants in the District Attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the alternative public defender’s office, the probation department, the Sheriff’s department (including bailiffs and transportation deputies), Court Collections, The Court Recorders, Court Clerks, Court Executive office, and all the private attorneys and their staffs who hover like flies around the courthouse and take public money. — ms

DAMON GARDNER resigned from his prosecutor job with the Mendocino County DA's office back on December 13th. He'd shot a man in a drunken midnight Sacramento street fight late last year. Miraculously, Gardner was neither arrested nor blood-alcoholed at the scene and has yet to be charged for his off duty gunplay. We speculate that Gardner flashed his DA identification and his sooper dooper Mendo concealed weapons permit at the Sacto cops who reacted to the kryptonite credentials by sending Gardner on his way. The capitol city cops say the matter remains under investigation.

THE SHOOTING occurred when “words were exchanged” between Gardner and a couple of passing mopes on a sidewalk near the hotel where Gardner had been entertaining a fetching probationary Mendo prosecutor, Alexandra “The Persian Goddess” Khoury. One of the rude boys had apparently directed unseemly remarks at Ms. Khoury when the gallant Gardner leaped to defend his companion's honor. The mope slugged Gardner, and continued to pummel him until Gardner took the fight out of his assailant by putting a bullet in him.

GARDNER then ran off as the wounded mope staggered into the street. The now abandoned Ms. Khoury steered the guy back to the relative safety of the sidewalk and called Gardner by cellphone to come on back to wait for the police. And back he came, and the rest is cover-up.

THE WOUNDED MOPE was patched up in the emergency room. Turns out his father is a well-placed state attorney. If dad weren't a solid citizen, and the wounded man was the usual street thug, Gardner probably would have been awarded a Galahad trophy for his rush to defend Ms. Khoury's honor. But it would have to have been a half-size trophy given that Gardner then left the damsel in both stress and distress. As it stands, Gardner's looking at whatever downsized misdemeanor the Sacramento authorities can devise as he sets up shop in Ukiah as a criminal defense attorney.

MS. KHOURY has also suffered. She did not survive the probationary stage of her employment with the Mendocino County DA's Office. She was let go on January 1st.

WE UNDERSTAND that DA Eyster has since instituted a no-gun policy for his staff. Why off or on-duty County lawyers should be walking around with guns is a question Eyster answered by saying, “They shouldn't be.”

GARY LEE BULLOCK, of Redway, the man charged in the beating death of Father Eric Freed in Eureka two weeks ago, also tried to blow up St. Bernard's rectory (Father Freed’s church) by turning on the gas from a stove and leaving behind a lit cigar. The killer had wrapped Freed's corpse in bedclothes and poured wine on the death package in another failed attempt to disguise his crime, but the cigar apparently didn't stay lit long enough to ignite the accumulating gas, and the slain priest's body failed to burn. Bullock, 44, has pleaded not guilty. His long time neighbors say he has been mentally ill for some time.

AS OF TUESDAY, one “adult in northern Mendocino County has died on December 30, 2013 from chronic conditions which were complicated by the flu. Public Health has also received notification that 8 patients have been admitted to local hospitals with confirmed cases of H1N1 flu.”

IS THERE A DEAD SPOT developing off the Sonoma Coast? An interesting piece by Steve McLaughlin in a recent ICO, cites John Lagier, a UC Davis professor, saying that he's never seen oxygen levels as low as they presently from Gualala south to San Francisco. “Dissolved oxygen concentrations in the ocean are dependent on a number of physical and biological processes, including circulation, ventilation, air-sea exchange, production and respiration,” Lagier wrote in a 2011 paper called, “Climate Change Impacts: Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.” Meaning? Meaning bad news for slow-moving sea creatures such as crab and abalone.

THEY KEPT ME POOR with their bills, while I went from bad to worse. The trouble with me was twofold: first, I was a born weakling; and next, I was living unnaturally — too much work, and responsibility, and strain. So I quit everything, absolutely, and came to live in the Valley of the Moon. I persevered, and used my body in the way Nature intended it should be used — not bending over a desk and swilling whiskey....and, well, here I am, a better man for it. — Jack London describing a character in his novel, Burning Daylight.

“PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG BAN EXTENDED TO MOST STORES IN UKIAH, COUNTY by Mike Sweeney (Fort Bragg Advocate, 8th January 2014) The throw-away plastic shopping bag became illegal on Tuesday, Jan. 7, in almost all stores in Ukiah and the unincorporated County. It already happened Dec. 10 in Fort Bragg...” And so on.

THANKS, MIKE. I'm sure you won't mind if I point out that your live-in love interest, Glenda Anderson, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's “Ukiah Bureau,” presented this same press release as a news story with her byline on it for the PD last Tuesday, and that Glenda, when she was with the Ukiah Daily Journal, often got your press releases published on the front page of the Ukiah daily. As news! Frankly, Mike, it all seems kinda mind-control-ish, kinda creepy. Does dear Glenda ever get to do stuff on her own, outside your control? Should her friends be thinking of doing an intervention for the poor girl, a de-programming, some kind of mental re-set or will she remain simply one more checkmate you've manipulated into place to help ensure that in Mendo no one in authority will ever come after you for blowing up your previous wife, Judi Bari?

LOOKED AT OBJECTIVELY, Sweeney has managed to pull off what amounts to a perfect crime, so far at least. And what better place to reinvent oneself than this odd jurisdiction where every day history starts all over again and you are whatever you say are.

HELL, the whole County is like an open air Witness Protection Program. Strangers show up all the time, and next thing you know there they are on your local school board or hosting a talk show on KZYX. Some of them even get elected to the Board of Supervisors!

ANYWAY, MIKE, your secret's safe with me. I have to say I admire what you've pulled off. How many guys could begin adult life as a college communist, segue on into a commie killer cult circa 1969 that itself segued into the infamous SLA, shed his first family for Madam Bari, blow up one of the hangars at the old naval airfield in Santa Rosa, abbreviate Bari's life with a car bomb, then manage to get himself put in charge of all of Mendocino County's trash at $90 grand a year? Dude! I have risen to my feet to salute you as The Most Interesting Man in Mendocino County!

THE BUILDING 7 brigades might want to come down off the Grassy Knoll long enough to look into the Bari-Sweeney matter, which they can conveniently do at our spiffy website: The entire case is up there, complete with links to Sweeney's ad hoc, see-through counterblasts. We especially challenge the MCN ListServe shut-ins and other local intellectuals to give us their hard-hitting perspectives.

FRESH FROM FORT BRAGG CITY HALL: “Last week, the City of Fort Bragg, with the help of the State Coastal Conservancy and property owners Carolyn, Russell, and Royce Johnson, acquired a spectacular four-acre coastal property known as “Soldier Point.” Soldier Point is the most westerly point of land between the Noyo River and Pudding Creek.... The property will be incorporated into Noyo Headlands Park and a spur of the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail will provide access to the point. The City plans to construct the Coastal Trail project this year and next, which will be open for public use in 2015.

THE JOHNSONS are heirs of C.R. Johnson, the founder of the Union Lumber Company, which once owned the Soldier Point property. In 1939, the Johnson family purchased the property from the Union Lumber Company to serve as a family memorial. The city, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Johnson family began conversations about public acquisition of the Soldier Point property in 2006 when the Fort Bragg community began planning for the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail project. The property was purchased by the city for $352,000 with the State Coastal Conservancy contributing $277,000 towards its acquisition. The property owners agreed to a “bargain sale” price.


(Ukiah Daily Journal, June 1982) ‘Coast Supervisor Candidates Square Off On TV’ — by Charles Rappleye, Ukiah Daily Journal staff writer Fifth District politics entered the modern age via coaxial cable last night when candidates for supervisor of Mendocino County's Fifth District squared off in the District's first televised debate. But if the medium is new, the issues are tried and true. Bud Kamb and John Milvo challenged incumbent Norman de Vall on the County's for economic state, while de Vall emphasized his record on progressive housing codes and environmental protection. “I don't want to pave Mendocino County from wall to wall, but we have a 20% unemployment rate, and we need to build our economic base,” Kamb said. Kamb said the Board of Supervisors has not done enough to attract new industry and jobs here. “The board seems to have a negative attitude. We've got to be aggressive. People from the outside with non-polluting industries have got to be made to feel welcome.” De Vall acknowledged the county faces “a recession, if not a depression,” but cited high interest rates as the cause. “The board is creating studies, developing a one-stop permit desk, and working to lighten the load of government on private industry,” he said. Milvo said those efforts were inadequate. “Tulsa has an unemployment rate of 4% and Oklahoma City has a rate of 3.8%. Why? The reason is the government there is doing something, instead of talking about it.” Both Kamb, the front running challenger, and Milvo were challenged on their record by questions from a press panel. Jim Sears of the Mendocino News Service hammered away at Kamb's development connections. A realtor, Kamb has been involved for years with prominent coast developers. “People see you as a special interest candidate. Could you respond to that?” Sears asked. “That's not correct,” Kamb said. “I'm not a special interest. I've never pushed for development — I pushed for property rights. They are very important. … I supported the Peterson Project, the Bank of America (both controversial developments in the town of Mendocino) and I have one project. But that was developed over five years and unlike many in the county I had all my permits when I built. … I have no conflicts. My real estate partnership has been dissolved.” Kamb concluded with an odd reference to de Vall: “If I'm a developer, de Vall is a land and business baron.” “I didn't know I was so well off,” the incumbent responded. Rob Fowler of the Mendocino Beacon put them all on the spot with a question about funds for travel and expenses. De Vall and supervisor Dan Hamburg were challenged by the County grand jury for expenses charged on a lobbying trip to Weaverville last year, and in another incident, de Vall was cited for double-billing by the county Auditor. “It's not loose handling — it's an open policy,” de Vall said. On the double billing, he said, “There was an accounting error, and it was corrected immediately.” As for travel expenses, he said, “Supervisors should not be prohibited from effective representation.” Milvo pursued the topic. “The people should expect prudent and frugal representation. They should not tolerate junkets to Sacramento, to Weaverville, or to Washington.” Candidates touched on a broad range of issues over 2.5 hours of debate but Bud Kamb provided most of the highlights. Kamb announced he would vigorously seek state and federal aid to “fight illegal marijuana,” support aerial spraying of herbicides in certain cases and oppose incorporation for the town of Mendocino. A number of questions on women's issues were revealing. Kamb opposed federal funding for abortions as did Milvo, while de Vall reiterated his support for Planned Parenthood funding. On creation of a commission on the status of women, Kamb supported it, de Vall said he would look for cost-effectiveness, and Milvo said, “I could not support a commission on the status of women until we have a commission on the status of men.”

CRIME OF THE WEEK, UKIAH: On January 4th at about 7:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to Safeway, at 653 South State Street, for a shoplifter. Responding officers found Safeway security struggling with 51 year old Thomas Lee Sanders, of Missouri. Officers learned Sanders had earlier entered the store and asked the security officer where “the girly stuff” was. Security determined Sanders was seeking hair dye for his beard, and directed him to the proper location within the store. After selecting hair dye, Sanders was seen placing the item into his jacket pocket then leave the store without paying. Security detained Sanders outside, and located the stolen item hidden in Sanders’ jacket. Sanders threw the hair dye into the bushes then tried to run away, and struggled with security until police arrived. Sanders was arrested for shoplifting. (Ukiah Police Department Press Release)

IT'S AN OLD predicament of identity politics. We are manifold and must be respected as individuals — and we are completely different from the rest of you, with our own culture and history, giving us a collective identity that allows us to belong to the larger world of nations, just as you do. It's our being completely different from the rest of you that makes us like the rest of you. (Adam Gopnik, ‘The People Who Pass’)

HAMBURG ON TROLLS. Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg posted the following remarks on the Coast Listserve on Saturday: “I don't read the troll with any regularity but have noted that he leads people to the same conventional sources of information that serve to keep most Americans in the dark. I think the troll has done a helluva job making this discussion list less useful to the community it was intended to serve. I think that was its purpose. Much like what the AVA does to dampen political debate by ridiculing anyone who disagrees with its ‘editorial opinion’.”

DAMPEN WHAT? For the umpteenth time, see-through libs like Hamburg are prone to this kind of whining. People either defend their opinions or they don't. Hamburg doesn't. He whines. And he and his surrogates keep on accusing us of being Paul Baum, a lone thoughtful voice who regularly criticizes the more egregiously stupid remarks on the MCN ListServe. As if we'd have to resort to pseudonyms to take on the nutballs! Humbug, Hamburg!

THE WACKY 5th DISTRICT SUPERVISOR makes the most preposterous public statement in Mendocino County history then complains when we ridicule him and it! A graduate of the Adi Da cult, the guy's never been what you might call a fully rational being, but judge for yourself the intellectual functioning of a person who can write this:

“I'M ON RECORD RE 9/11. ‘The New Pearl Harbor’ by Massimo Mazzucco, merely provides further confirmation that 9/11 was a shameless and unspeakably evil hoax perpetrated on the American people and the world. Perhaps most interesting in the Mazzucco documentary is the technical information that explains why the two hijacked planes couldn't have been flown into the WTC buildings at the speed they were traveling. Turns out that when a plane is flying near the ground it must drastically reduce speed or it starts to come apart because of increased air resistance. The planes that hit those buildings were replacements. Quotes from aeronautical engineers at Boeing seal the deal here. Part of the horror of this scam is that they offloaded passengers and forced them to ‘call home’ on their cell phones and read prepared statements. That's how we got the fiction behind ‘Let's roll.’ (Latest ‘Loose Change’ [an earlier conspiracy film] reports that Cleveland Airport was evacuated that morning due to ‘terrorist threats’ and that the news media reported that Flight 93 landed there and offloaded passengers to a cleared building.) At the end of one of the recorded cellphone calls (which, you recall, could not have been made from the hijacked plane's reported altitude), a flight attendant whispers ‘it's a frame.’ The cabal didn't notice this. The financial report is devastating. Turns out part of the motive was 220 billion in bogus Russian bonds. Web savvy people have written several articles about YouTube suddenly zeroing out viewing statistics on controversial 911 videos. And the one on ‘911 & Operation Northwoods’ has just plain old disappeared. Dan.”

QUACK! QUACK! The Duckhorn Wine Company is suing the Duck Dynasty clan, Sonoma County's Trinchero Winery and WalMart because, it seems, Duckhorn thinks another wine with “duck” on the label might gull up-market boozers into thinking Duck Dynasty's cheap stuff is Duckhorn's. And Duckhorn's is not cheap at $50 a bottle and up. The Duck Dynasty wine, made by Trinchero, is sold at WalMart where few customers are in the market for $50 bottles of pinot.

DUCKHORN'S SILLY SUIT reminds us of Kendall-Jackson's attempt to stop Gallo from proceeding with a label because the art vaguely resembled one of the late Big Wind's labels. Jackson lost, and Duckhorn will lose because in both cases the people sued have the resources to fight back.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, Eureka, has issued another high surf warning. Don't turn your backs on the ocean this weekend. Killer waves will be common.

AT EVERY STREAM, the road skirted dizzy cliff-edges, dived down into lush growths of forest and ferns and climbed out along the cliff-edges again. The way was lined with flowers — wild lilac, wild roses, poppies, and lupines. Such lupines! — giant clumps of them, of every lupine shade and color. And it was along the Mendocino roads that Charmian caused many delays by insisting on getting out to pick the wild blackberries, strawberries, and thimbleberries which grew so profusely. — Jack London, 1911

WE IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT of the Willits Bypass when reading the recent news that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s staff created a bottleneck on the George Washington Bridge for several days on the false pretense that they were conducting a traffic study so that they could retaliate against a political opponent in the New York-New Jersey region. (Christie himself continues to deny being involved in the growing scandal, but his critics insist that he had to have known about it.) As the opposition to the Willits Bypass has pointed out several times, Caltrans pulled a Christie-style artificial bottleneck in downtown Willits — for years, not just a few days — by their non-sensical striping of the key Highway 101-Highway 20 intersection which made the traffic problems worse and could well have been done to make the Bypass seem like a better idea than it is.

THAT EVENING I stopped at a small motel called the Desert View — the real name this time. My room was a bit small but clean, new, modern, all those things, with a gleaming white bathroom. The bed was flat and firm. Over the headboard there were two good reading lamps mounted on pivots. I had air conditioning, cable television, a refrigerator, and a microwave oven. It was a quiet place with few guests, none of sly or rat-like appearance. I could park directly in front of my door. The nightly rate was twenty-five dollars flat, no surcharges. Allowing for inflation, this was little more than I had paid for the old cabin. The Desert View was, in short, something very close to that ideal in my head of the cheap and shipshape roadside dormitory, what I kept looking for all those years. Now, after finding it, I was confused. This place was too good to be true. I sat on the firm edge of the firm bed, very still, wary, taking stock. Something felt wrong. Everything, more or less, but something bizarre in particular that I couldn't put my finger on. Then it came to me — the very carpet was clean. Motel carpet! What was going on here? I didn't get it. Who were these Desert View people? Where was the catch? I cleared out of there at dawn and I still don't know. (Charles Portis)

ANOTHER GREAT WIN for the Niners today. Carolina was game but in the clutch the Niners got 'er done. On to Seattle, land of the face-painted stoners who pay upwards of $300 a seat to stand for three hours and scream.

THE HUGE RIVALRY that's developed between the two teams, and what NorCal football fan has ever had warm feeling for Pete Carroll, won't be helped by the announcement that the Seahawks won't sell tickets to Californians, although last week fans of both teams vowed to donate money to children's hospitals in Seattle and San Francisco.

ONLY CREDIT CARDS with billing addresses in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, certain Canadian provinces, and Hawaii can buy tickets to next Sunday's NFC Championship game between the 49ers and Seahawks.

OF COURSE SEAHAWK FANS get preference, but the restricted sales policy is aimed at cutting down on scalping.

THERE IS A CULT OF IGNORANCE in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. — Isaac Asimov

MY SUNDAY RITUAL is to watch the 49er game at my parents’ apartment in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. Because my mother has waited on our entire family hand and foot for decades, I occasionally feel a twinge of guilt and try (when not oversleeping) to bring over sandwiches or a sack of apricots. Luckily for me, the Clement Street food corridor never sleeps in. So if you’re stumbling around the area only minutes before kick-off, you could do worse than these places. First, and my Anquan Boldin of cheap good food, is Café Bunn Mi on Clement between 5th and 6th. Excellent sandwiches for around five bucks. I’m partial to the lemongrass steak and the grilled pork (minus the paté). For the cost, if you’re real hungry, you can get two for ten bucks, though if I’m with Robert we’ll split three sandwiches. The second option is a place we call Rude Girls, a dim sum place with a pink façade on Clement between 7th and 8th. After 30 years, I still don’t know the name of Rude Girls, except that it’s Rude Girls. Great shrimp dumplings, pork buns, and assorted other strange little things that tempt and delight. For you cartographers, Rude Girls is next door to its sister establishment, Clement BBQ. Directly on the other side of Rude Girls is another Chinese deli-like place where a three-item combination place with rice or noodles is only $5.75. It’s a lot of food at a modest price. Actually, it’s more sweet and sour pork than you need. But you won’t believe me, so go ahead and try. If it’s a big game, I suggest sticking to the spicy chicken wings. Cooked with slivers of jalapeno, they are just the thing to celebrate Navorro Bowman stir-frying Russell Wilson in a hot wok of pain and horror. For dessert, there’s a fruit stand on the corner of 8th and Clement that has the best oranges in the city. Big Jims are an especially sought after brand. And for 69¢ a pound, tearing off the thick peels and attacking the citrus center is heavenly. So Jesus, if you’re hungry, please check out Clement Street before the game this Sunday. And please also bring a 49er victory and maybe also cause an earthquake to destroy the Seahawk stadium (with no one in it). —  ZA

TINFOIL HAT ALERT, ALBION! Verizon is asking the County's Planning Commission for permission to erect "a 105-foot monopole supporting 12 panel antennas, including two GPS antennas" one mile south of Albion on property owned by Wolfgang and Brunhilde Funke. The antenna would be disguised as a pine tree, a very lonesome pine tree in an otherwise empty pasture visible from Highway One. The installation would also include a "30 kilowatt diesel generator, a 132-gallon propane tank and a 192-square-foot equipment shelter." The matter will be heard by the Planning Commission at 9am, Thursday, January 16th in the Supe's chambers, 501 Low Gap, Ukiah.

DOUG MCKENTY is looking for a Willits person willing to put him or herself on the dissident slate for the KZYX board of directors. To be a candidate, you're got to be a station member.

THE WORST FANS, on-line comment of the day: "As a Packers fan, I've been to games in Oakland, Dallas, Denver, Minnesota and even Chicago and was never treated as badly as the last two games I went to at Candlestick. Other teams may have vocal or even obnoxious fans, but the 'stick is overrun by bangers, little guys looking for trouble and fat drunk women mouthing off and trying to get their boyfriends to fight people for them."

One Comment

  1. joell19 March 5, 2014

    you should write for the national inquirer

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