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Off The Record (Apr 9, 2014)

AS PRINT NEWSPAPERS pass into the frenetic oblivion of the internet — the Newark Star-Ledger is the latest large-circulation paper to radically downsize — the AVA is also poised to make fundamental changes, changes made necessary in our case by the collapse of the U.S. Post Office as a reliable delivery system, the loss of the many bookstores and news stands that we have always depended on for much of our sales and, of course, the abbreviation of the national attention span, especially in persons under the age of 60. Fewer people read 12 pages of 9-point type. Fewer people read much period, especially in print form, which is to say we're being rapidly dinosaured by electronic media.

THE FIRST WEEK IN MAY, out of state subscribers will be charged a hundred bucks a year. We can't help it. Postal rates continue to climb even as the Post Office fails to deliver our newspaper in a timely manner. We now pay more to get the paper to readers out of state than a $50 subscription price covers.

THE PAPER EDITION of the AVA will, as of May, be eight pages of Mendo-focused stuff. Online subscribers will still get the full 12 pages of content, plus additional news posted daily in the form of “Mendocino County Today.” We're nowhere near death-rattle, but we've got to lower costs, especially the major expense of print and postage.

OF COURSE our eight-page paper will bring you more news and interesting information in one edition than all of the area newspapers and other media together manage in a month, and we will continue to be the excellent deal at $50 a year inside the confines of the Golden State and a buck per issue at the market and those valiant news stands and book stores still hanging on against the electronic onslaught.

A MAN was found dead last week in a Fort Bragg homeless camp “where he'd been staying with a group passing through the area,” according to the Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner's Office. The dead man, identified only as a 37-year-old white male believed to be from West Virginia, was found about a hundred yards from the Skunk line tracks. He was one of six people spending the night in sleeping bags under a tarp. Sheriff's spokesman Van Patten said the group woke around 9:30am to find their companion not breathing and walked into town to report his death. Foul play is not suspected, Van Patten said.

THE ALBION-BASED Love In It “Cooperative” is open and has resumed loving it. The Drug Task Force, took nine people into custody at homes in Albion and Comptche, also confiscating an assault rifle ordinarily not associated with amor and $65,000 in cash almost always associated with amor. No charges have been filed, but the gun and the cash are now the property of local law enforcement. The police action apparently began with the interception of a package of cash shipped from Colorado to Love In It, and a package of dope was intercepted going from Love In It to Colorado. Profiting from dope sales is illegal in California and also in Mendocino County, and we will pause here for hollow laughter.


a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

— William Carlos Williams

THE FOLLOWING BIT of crucial information originated with Bob 'Oyster Bob' Sites, a Yorkville man who keeps us abreast of the latest in food and drink. This info, of course, may not be news to most of you, but it surprised us. Ready? Pabst Blue Ribbon beer has never advertised and it's produced by union labor. And we're drinking it, exclusively, from now on. PBR was also family-owned for many years until, probably, the heirs sold out to the big boys and took off for Monaco. But still, no advertising and union-brewed? Name another beer with those bona fides.

MICHAEL SLAUGHTER POUNCES: “PBR not advertised? Nonsense! Recall the jingle (with two chords, a I and a V)…

What’ll you have? PBR. What’ll you have? PBR. What’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

AND, SLAUGHTER ADDS, “There was Fehr's. It’s always Fehr weather when good fellows get together. And Champagne Velvet on early TV: … Champagne Velvet, the champagne of bottled beer. But, you know, I never heard of Griesedieck making a commercial…” And, “Land of Sky Blue Waters beer–that was Hamm’s. The summer of 1961 I spent as a camp counselor at a boys’ camp outside Ely, Minn. Another counselor and I would buy Hamm’s in town and, back at camp, stash the beer in the lake. Then as the sun got low in the sky and the Purkinje Effect would start to take hold, we would paddle a canoe to our now-chilled stash and enjoy the sunset, hove to in the Boundary Waters.”

ON THE SUBJECT of food and drink, a few weeks ago I was at the Whole Foods market at Haight and Stanyan in San Francisco where I helped restrain a street guy who went off on a clerk at the checkout stand. I should probably explain my presence: Whole Foods is not too far from my wholly subsidized Frisco apartment, and it's the only nearby source of bulk granola and unradiated almonds. Not to sound too much like a food crank, but a nun from an order of Catholic nuns who sell organic foods, including almonds, at the Alemaney Farmer's Market, told me that the bulk almonds you get at places like Costco are nuked before they're packaged. Hers weren't, and aren't, and I load up on them whenever I get out to Alemany. (As a free association aside here, it always annoys me to see adult males dressed as nuns during The City's frantic dress-up days like Halloween and the annual Gay Parade. Nuns do huge good in the world, and always have, as do many other religiously affiliated people. I've never seen the joke in making fun of nuns, and I doubt we'll see gay guys bouncing around as gay priests any time soon.)

SO, IT'S ONLY 9AM and I'm one cashier over from the tall, elegantly clad young black woman who's the next door clerk. Whole Foods, to promote it's trendo-groove-o image, and Frisco being the very cynosure of trendo-groove-o, permits its workers to wear their own clothes, their civvies. No smocks for Whole Foods! Anyway, a scruffy little guy strides up to the elegantly clad clerk's register and plunks down, with an authoritative plunk, his two purchases — a carton of deli food and a fancy bottle of water. The young woman rings him up, he grabs his stuff and takes a couple of steps towards the door. “You've got to pay,” the young woman says. “No, I don't,” Little Scruff says, adding a martyred, “Why are you doing this to me, bitch?” At which I joined a chorus of, “Whoa! Over the line, dude!” By which time the elegant clerk was barraging Little Scruff with her own indignant counter-insults. Instantly, a little guy in a security cop uniform comes hustling over and takes Scruff by the elbow. Security Man is even smaller than Scruff and Scruff shakes him off and takes another step towards freedom and Little Scruff and Littler Security Guy are in a floor-grapple. A posse of clerks, one of them a hefty woman who gives Scruff a nice chop to the gut, helps Security Guy subdue Little Scruff, who has gone silent except for a final insult aimed at me, Mr. Civic Involvement. I'd joined the scrum by holding one of Scruff's feet. “You think this is funny, Gramps?” Well, it has some of the key elements… And soon Scruff was group-walked out the door, and I paid for my granola and nuke-free almonds and biked it righteously outtathere.

PERTINENT ON-LINE COMMENT: “All replay is stupid in all sports, but especially in baseball. Who cares if they get every call right? It's a g-a-m-e! Don't destroy the rhythm of a beautiful game. Play on.”


KZYX Board election results: District 4: *Meg Courtney - 616 District 3: *Jane Futcher - 458 Patricia Kovner - 271 At-Large: *Paul Lambert - 310 Doug McKenty - 286 Tom Melcher - 145 King Collins – 23


Total number of ballots cast: 783. (Out of 2300 members for a voting percentage of only about one third.)

JOHN SAKOWICZ analyzes the results: “The 283 members who voted for Doug McKenty, out of the 783 total members who voted, should be a good start in trying to get a handle on the number of people disaffected with the status quo at KZYX. Doing the math, that's 36.5 percent of our members -- 36.5 percent who voted for change. Adding King Collins's 25 votes to Doug McKenty's 283 votes, that's 301 votes, or 38.4 percent. This estimate of disaffected members does not count members who voted for Tom Metcher. Melcher was the deciding factor, whoever he is. He split the vote and helped elect KZYX's company man, Paul Lambert. Telling this 38 percent of the membership “it's our way or the highway” just won't happen.”

TO WHICH PAUL LAMBERT REPLIES: “There is another way to frame this, of course: That over 61% of the votes went to non-dissident candidates; that as a percentage of all members, not just voters, dissidents represent about 10%; I speculate that the vast majority of financial supporters want to keep the station operating as is, not because they don't have a choice, KMEC & KMUD, KWINE, Internet radio etc., but because they like the balance of NPR & local programming. However, I do not support firing any or all of the current staff or management even if it brands me as a company man, a characterization I resent, because it implies I am in lock step with management, which is not accurate. Having said that, as your elected representative, I would like to hear your specific requests, a la King's petition. I will do my best to represent all the members.”

KZYX went silent for three days last week: Station manager Coate explained that wild weather, winter's last gasp, had knocked out the transmitter.

AT THE SUPE'S meeting of March 25th, Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge David Nelson told the Board of Supervisors that he knew the construction of a new judges-only courthouse would create lots of problems — “disruptive,” as the judge euphemized the chaos sure to ensue.

'DISRUPTIVE' hardly begins to describe the desire of 9 judges to enhance their own comfort and convenience at the expense of everyone else's convenience. It means all the ancillary court services now housed under one roof in the old courthouse will either stay where they are while the judges ensconce themselves two blocks away or, as Judge Nelson suggests, but Mendocino County can find the money to buy a neighboring parcel on which to build a new office building at County expense!

EVEN BY THE MONARCHICAL STANDARDS of our superior court Nelson's blithe suggestion that the taxpayers not only erect a new courthouse for their majesties, but should also now fund land and buildings for the relocation of the DA and other offices, is positively Henry the VIII. (Maybe the judges themselves should invest in the surrounding properties; they're certainly a lot more solvent than the county is.)

THE SUPERVISORS were silent, whether dumbstruck by the preposterousness of Nelson's suggestion or out of deference to his honor, but dumb they were and seemingly deaf, too.

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG with the existing courthouse that diversion of several million dollars from the projected cost a new judges-only courthouse wouldn't solve, but Judge Nelson and his eight pampered colleagues have their acquisitive little hearts set on lavish new quarters for themselves two long blocks to the east, a brand new courthouse all by itself that would require all related services like district attorneys and public defenders to come to them. And wreck what's left of central Ukiah.

AFTER JUDGE NELSON departed, County CEO Carmel Angelo suggested that the county “explore” the idea of having the county consider Nelson's notion that the taxpayers should buy property next door to the new courthouse on which to relocate related court services.

SUPERVISOR PINCHES, as always cutting to the core of the issue, pointed out that maybe the judges and their state sponsors should do something about the housing problem they will have created as they say, “We'll just lift the judges out and everyone else can make do.” And everyone else includes what's left of central Ukiah, many of whose businesses depend heavily on the business generated by the existing courthouse.

SUPERVISORS Dan Gjerde and Carre Brown expressed mild concern about where the money would come from to buy property adjacent to the new courthouse. As they pointed out, given the County’s existing debt load (millions more in obligations to retirees than the County can possibly pay) and the fact that the state didn’t seem to be including the County in the discussion of where the County staff would be located after the new courthouse was built, well, gee and golly.

SUPERVISOR HAMBURG then made a motion to authorize staff to explore property acquisition. (Supervisor McCowen was not in the room when the courthouse discussion took place.) And everybody said go ahead: Find out how much the judges are going to cost us and, essentially, “Let them do whatever they want.”

IT SHOULD BE NOTED that Judge Nelson has always been close to Hamburg. Nelson served as Hamburg's chief of staff during Hamburg's term as congressman. One would think that Hamburg would exclude himself from this discussion; his pal Nelson is the chief proponent of a massive county investment if a new courthouse becomes a reality. And a new courthouse is indeed inexorably moving ahead outside all local authority, and now we this new Nelson initiative to buy land to relocate the DA and other services to accommodate a judges-only courthouse that Mendocino County does not need.

SALMON SEASON started Saturday. The fish are supposed to be out there in large numbers, the trick always is finding them. According to the Chron's outdoors guy, Tom Stienstra, “The Sacramento River Index forecasts an ocean abundance of 634,650 adult salmon. An additional 300,000 salmon are forecast on California's north coast from the Klamath River Index. The season runs through early November, and this season is uninterrupted season since the short-term collapse of 2008 and 2009.”

AS IF THE WEALTHY don't already own our political system, the Supreme Court has ensured that they'll own it forever, or until us everyday Americans wake up and take it back. Wednesday's 5-4 decision by the Supreme's to impose no limits on how much money the rich can give their already wholly owned reps, moves US all the way into a permanent oligarchy.

Fremont-Comedy_TerrorRECOMMENDED READING: Comedy of Terror by John Fremont. The author is a long-time resident of Fort Bragg, not that this is a 'homer' review because I really, really liked the book. It's a satire, a literary form always hard to bring off, and it's a satire rooted in our area of Northern California based on characters of the type we instantly recognize. I was chuckling throughout at passages like this one:

“Maybe she'll know,” Wally said, pointing to a sign beside a red-and-blue-striped tent where a Psychic to the Stars channeled dead celebrities every evening at six, except when the moon was in Libra. Inside the tent, a plump, ethereal woman of late middle age stood onstage, her left arm raised as if to shield her eyes from the sun, her right hand swept behind as if fanning a fart.

“Sssh,” a patron cautioned. “She's channeling.” A phone rang, and the psychic to the stars took an instrument from her gown, covered the mouthpiece, and told the handful of patrons in the audience that Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy was on the line. “Who has a question for Jackie?” “What's the square root of forty-five?” Joe shouted. He was ignored in favor of a silver-haired woman who inquired, “Tell me, Jackie, who was your true love? Was it Jack or Ari?”

PUBLISHED by Cypress House, Comedy of Terror should be available at local bookstores, and is obtainable also, I'm sure, through Amazon.

5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR, DAN HAMBURG, reinforced by friends and family, has been showing wealthy Chinese nationals around Mendocino County with a view to persuading them to invest in return for permanent residence in the United States. Hamburg has lived in China where he presided over an inn for visiting Americans.

CALLED THE EB-5 Investor Visa program, green cards for cash was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the economy through job creation and capital investment. Investors who qualify for an EB-5 Immigrant Visa can obtain a US Permanent Residency (Green Card) and the same for their qualifying family members through investment in an American business if the investment can be shown to create a few jobs.

THIS IS THE PITCH the Chinese are getting from China Dan: “Mendocino County offers vast investment opportunities in an area of California famous as a tourist destination based on its long established hospitality and arts industry, historical sites, breath taking views and natural beauty, and award-winning, world renowned wineries, restaurants, and inns.” So far, no takers.

COMMENT: “I am a PG&E employee and I know that much of the gross and criminal negligence of our top management is not made public. There are 20,000 PG&E employees who work every day to do the best job for our ratepayers and our communities while the very few at the very top work to farm out all our services to other corporations and become an employee-free corporation selling electricity and gas and reaping huge profits. Many of the facts of the San Bruno tragedy are yet unknown to the public and will, I believe, come out during a trial. I believe Peter Darbee and other top executives made conscious decisions to save money that cost people their lives and their homes. Thus they are guilty of criminal negligence and should be standing trial for that crime. Instead Darbee got tens of millions to leave the company.”

72 YEARS AGO April 5, 1942 — from The Fort Bragg Advocate: “War or no war, Fort Bragg will have a good baseball team. This year, Telio Pavioni will act as player-manager and his first game will be played this coming Sunday when the Loggers tangle with the Talmage Sluggers from the valley. Foggy Ottoson will bring his sluggers over and, as usual, he believes he can beat Fort Bragg. This year's Loggers include Rudy Alfaro, Charlie Balassi and Telio in the outfield, Don Schaffer will take care of short and Baldy Del Re will start at third, Billy Pavioni will be the second baseman while Vic Romeri will cover first. Catchers include Joe Pasero and Nini Bartalini, Bud Olson, John Anderson and Ado Severi make the pitching staff at the present time. The subs include Paul Bartalini, Buddy Johnson and Willie Alfaro.”

ROBIN SUNBEAM will be challenging incumbent, Susan Ranochak, for the office of Assessor/ County Clerk/Recorder. She is a Registered Nurse with a School Nurse Credential. In 1993, Ms. Sunbeam earned a MSN from UC San Francisco in Community Health Nursing, with a minor in administration. She was on the team that brought us Measure F in November 2012, which garnered nearly 75% of the popular vote. Ms. Sunbeam would certainly take the County Clerk's office in a new direction. Her press release promises, “As the recent historic bank settlements have demonstrated, the big banks have robbed us all! And there is something we can do on the county level to protect the public from predatory banksters. As Recorder, I will conduct a foreclosure audit to see the true extent of the fraud problem to date in Mendocino County. I will carefully scrutinize all new foreclosure documents for evidence of fraud and demand a clear chain of title before recording them. The bank foreclosure-fraud debacle has left countless destroyed homeowners in its wake, and there are still many more Mendocino County homeowners, your friends and mine, struggling to save their homes....” The candidate says she will “advocate for easier access to polling places, and timely property tax assessments. “I’m not waiting for ‘them’ to come and fix things. I'm going to do it! In a Democracy, we should all be saying, ‘I'm going to do it.’ If not us, then who? And if not now, when?”

ACCORDING TO SPOKESPERSON Casey Rettig of the US Department of Justice, four men and one woman were arrested Thursday in Mendocino County on a DEA warrant out of Arkansas. For reasons not disclosed, all five were booked into Humboldt County jail. The arrested persons were not identified by hometown but would seem to be Emerald Trianglers. They are: Ryan Marie and Brian Hartman, Nicholas Durupt, Paul Larramendy and Keith Johnson.

APRIL, as described by that famous Anglophile expatriate:

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Ukiah hill

With a shower of rain; we stopped in at Anderson Valley Market

And went on in sunlight, into the Mosswood,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour…

THAT HIS PERFORMANCE would be recorded far beyond St. John's Wood was largely due to a critical remark made more than midway in Hamlet's run. Burton's Hamlet was something like a corrida, good one night, disappointing the next. But when he had his color and gave it the full Welsh timbre, he thrilled audiences long accustomed to the tremulous Gielgud reading. He had completed about 60 performances and the box office was beginning to slide when the house manager came to his dressing room one evening and said, “Be especially good tonight. The old man's out front.” “What old man?” “He comes once a year,” said the house manager. “He stays for one act and he leaves.” “For God's sake, what old man?” “Churchill.” As Burton spoke his first line — “A little more than kin, and less than kind” — he was startled to hear deep identical mutterings from the front row. Churchill continued to follow him line for line, a dramaturgical beagle, his face a thunderhead when something had been cut. “I tried to shake him off,” remembers Burton. “I went fast and I went slow, but he was right there.” Churchill was right there to the end, in fact, when Burton took 18 curtain calls and Churchill told a reporter “it was as exciting and virile a performance of Hamlet as I can remember.” Years later, when Winston Churchill — The Valiant Years was under preparation for television, its producers asked Sir Winston who he thought should do the voice of Churchill. “Get that boy for the Old Vic,” said the old man.

— Richard Burton as told to John McPhee

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: I think American’s inchoate understanding was that we had the will and ability to either cow or convert the Afghans. This was always pretty delusional but Americans are thick as a plank. The French warned us about Vietnam but we knew better. We watched what happened to the Soviets in Afghanistan but again, we are better than everyone else so whatever they or the British or the Persians experienced there didn’t count. I am not a big fan of Churchill but when he said America could always be counted on to do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted all other options, is pretty close to accurate. Unfortunately for us Americans, the cushion of distance, wealth, and resources that allowed the US to indulge such costly activities is wearing mighty thin. Iran will, in my opinion, use up the last of that cushion if Washington is dumb enough to take on a country that can effectively fight back.

WELL, I'LL BE DAMNED. If Geo W. Bush had gone to art school and moved to Mendocino 40 years ago, the world would have been spared much carnage, and Mendocino County would have enjoyed one more seagull painter. The headline screamed, “George W. Bush Reveals His Striking New Paintings Of World Leaders As Wife Laura Reveals She Encouraged Him To Unleash His 'Inner Rembrandt....” And so on to the talk shows. You could say the guy paints about like he talks, not too good, but his portraits of Putin, Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, the Dalai Lama are at least recognizable as those eminences. Last year, a hacker leaked some of his Bush's including one of him in the bathtub looking in a mirror. 'I was annoyed,' Bush said. 'It's an invasion of one's privacy... nor do I want my paintings to get out. 'The truth of the matter is my paintings are not ready to be released. I mean, I'm still learning, and I don't know if they ever will be or not,' our ex-prez said with modesty becoming his skill level.

ENDANGERED SPECIES gathers in Ukiah. The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon at the Henny Penny Restaurant, 697 S. Orchard Ave (corner of Gobbi), Ukiah 95482. For further information contact: Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592.

THE WILLITS BYPASS is roughly 25% accomplished, according to Mauricio Serrano of Caltrans, the project's manager. Serrano told the Willits City Council that the second “building season” is commencing with serious concrete pours in the form of pillars and bridges at the south end of the six miles of two lane freeway running east of central Willits.

ON MARCH 25, the Board of Supervisors also considered a proposal to certify the permit to move 900,000 cubic yards of fill dirt from a Mendocino Forest Products site to the north end of the Willits bypass to fill in the large wetland area enough to bring the northern bypass off-ramp up out of the flood plain.

THE ISSUE was mostly anticlimactic because, as several board members noted, the Bypass itself is a done deal and the huge amount of dirt required was going to come from some place even with a scaled-back, less environmentally damaging interchange design.

BUT THAT DIDN’T STOP bypass opponents from asking the Board to try to force Caltrans into some kind of bypass downsizing by not certifying the mitigated negative declaration. Among the many Willits residents urging the Board not to certify were two of the area’s most dedicated Bypass opponents, AVA reporter Will Parrish and fellow protester Lucy Neely.

PARRISH: “One of the main questions under this agenda item is whether it is better to have 900,000 cubic yards of soil excavated from Oil Well Hill or whether it's better to excavate dirt from the Apache Mill site. I see that as just the latest false choice that Caltrans and its corporate contractors have handed down to us, because regardless of which option this board chooses to endorse, Caltrans is still filling up the largest wetlands of any project in Northern California in the last 50 years. Caltrans would have us pondering if is it better to strip the soil away from a site where they are going to clearcut seven acres at the abandoned mill site, or is it preferable to strip 900,000 cubic yards of soil away from Oil Well Hill which also involves a clear-cut of large stands of trees. Either way we have 90,000 acres of wetlands being destroyed. When I refer to false choices that Caltrans has handed down, I would like to note that in 2006 when Caltrans filed its environmental impact report it systematically excluded the alternative of going down the Railroad-Baechtel Avenue route/right-of-way which a large coalition of people in Willits supported and worked hard to put before decision-makers. Now Caltrans would have us systematically exclude from consideration the reduction of the northern interchange being reduced back to a design that they themselves created in 2006. So on it goes and goes — more false choices that Caltrans puts before our regional officials. So I stand with the people here who are calling for an environmental impact report on the project which obviously ought to be required. But I also say No to every single aspect of this project that has been put before this board. I say No to allowing the project to go forward without an EIR. I say No to allowing this project to go forward without careful consideration of scaling down the northern interchange. I say No to filling in the largest area of wetlands of any project in Northern California in the last 50 years and making Mendocino County into a symbol of watershed destruction in doing so. I also say no and I urge all of you to say no to political cowardice and expediency in allowing this to move forward. Thank you for listening.”

NEELY: “I really do admire all the hard work you put into your job and trying to take care of your people. I am one of those people. So I will speak today from the perspective of a relatively intelligent hard-working and principled twenty-something because I feel like that is under-represented in our demographic here. I really appreciated what someone said just a few minutes ago about future generations. Your generation — Dan Gjerde is a little younger — but nobody knew what…

Supervisor John Pinches (jokingly): Are you saying we are not in our 20s?

Neely: Are you? You were once, I know that! (Laughs.) Nobody knew what these technologies would do. It's hard to see into the future. But now we have a better idea of it. The older generations have brought us to this point where we are. But it's my generation that is going to have to deal with it. We all have to deal with it — but I'm going to be alive longer. (Laughs.) I think by the end of your lives things are going to start looking pretty different and pretty rough for all of us. And that's an informed opinion I have made. I have really been looking into it a lot. Our industrial corporate driven paradigm that this bypass is a product of exhibits the behavior of an addict. It is really an unwell being. I'm sure all of you have known addicts. Another informed decision of mine is, Yes, maybe it is too late to stop whatever is going to happen to this planet. There are a lot of positive feedback loops already in play and the Bypass is an example of that. And the Bypass is happening. And that's fine, I guess. But I do see that this is a false choice between Oil Well Hill or this abandoned mill site. It doesn't need to happen. The interchange can be scaled back. Maybe it is like, 'Oh whatever, the Bypass is happening and we don't need to scale back the interchange.' But back to the metaphor of an addict. In fact, you don't need a metaphor, this is the literal behavior of our industrial corporate paradigm. But when you think about the life of an addict, you realize that it's never too late. Every moment is an opportunity. If you know a serious alcoholic who is told by the doctor: You have two months left to live. Your liver is shot. Should that person say, Oh, I have two months left to live so I'll just keep drinking and die drunk and angry? Or should he say, Well, I have two months left, now is the moment to start taking care of the life around me. So I urge you to take this opportunity to stop this lunatic addict behavior that we are all part of. I am too. I have to step back from it myself and see something different that we can do. Thanks.”

WITH THE EXCEPTION of Supervisor Hamburg, the Board was unmoved by the impassioned opposition, pointing out that they had no control over the interchange design and it was going to be filled in from somewhere anyway no matter what the interchange size was, and therefore it would be better to fill it in from the abandoned mill site even if the interchange was scaled back. So the board voted 4-1 with Supervisor Hamburg dissenting to approve the mitigated negative declaration.

REDWOOD COAST MEDICAL SERVICES' Gualala clinic is open Mondays through Fridays, closed weekends. On weekends an ambulance and helicopter medi-vac haul serious cases to either Fort Bragg or Santa Rosa. Measure J, on a special election ballot for April, would extend clinic hours to include weekends. If it passes, and it needs two-thirds approval, residents of the area would be nicked an additional $112 a year. Some voters at the extreme ends of the district, which runs north to Manchester-Elk and south into Sonoma County, say they don't want to pay because they use either Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg or, to the south, hospitals in Santa Rosa. The election will be close. These days, it would be hard to get two-thirds approval for a guarantee of eternal life.

DOPE FUTURES? A HumCo grower says, “Good outdoor was going in Mendo all winter for $1200 a pound. Next year's prices — I'm guessing $900. Supply should be super-flood levels. Trimmers— $150 a pound. Bring your own food.”

LAWRENCE RINGO has died. A pivotal guy in the development of marijuana with the crucial medical cannabinoid known to reduce pain and inflammations without the soporific “high” the plant produces, Ringo was a long-time resident of Southern Humboldt County. His Southern Humboldt Seed Collective enjoyed a wide reputation for encouraging responsible cultivation practices. Ringo died of cancer on Thursday, April 3rd.

FRED GARDNER writes: Lawrence Ringo died Friday. He was a tough guy, in love with life, fulfilled by what his own life had come to be about — plants and music, friends and family. Cancer. Cigarettes. I met him in the winter of 2008/09 through Samantha Miller of Pure Analytics, who’d heard I was on the lookout for CBD-rich plants. I interviewed him that day for O'Shaughnessy's and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Unlike most growers and plant breeders, Ringo was bold and forthright in describing his work. I just put the AVA piece and my interview notes online at

Ringo (and Samantha) gave Project CBD a great boost in those bygone days when I was still defining cannabidiol for readers of the AVA. Fred Gardner, Alameda PS. Everybody's into it now, but for many years the AVA was the paper of record.


Awake at night—

the sound of the water jar

cracking in the cold.

— Basho

MEANWHILE, EAST OF 101, a reader writes: When you are a true denialist, it’s even easier to ignore signs everywhere you look. How about that boarded up strip mall that was once thriving? I see more people riding bikes, pushing shopping carts (save my fucked up city, it’s a $100 ticket to get caught doing that, they steal from the middle class and the poor in any and every way they can to make up for what is proving to be chronic budget shortfalls). Ditto that the county, state, and federal levels. People dumpster diving. Houses that are foreclosed upon and stay up for sale for years, some idiots think housing values will recover when in fact they will likely go into the negatives. Have you busted the front and back rims on one of those potholes yet? Old, rotting infrastructure everywhere. When things do break down, people have no discretionary income to get these things fixed. The only cars that are parked at paint and bump auto shops, the furniture stores, and even places like Best Buy and Blockbuster (once icons on the American landscape) are the employees who made a shitty wage to begin with and are clinging to their jobs for dear life. That is the reality I see. I am in the once untouchable healthcare field, I have been out of work 3 months now. I know why so many middle-aged men took their own lives when the former USSR collapsed. We are totally unprepared for the reality here. I saw it coming since 2008 and I see it happening all around me now gaining momentum.

ERNIE SAW IT COMING – “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” (Hemingway)

THE POTTER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT, according to an account in the Ukiah Daily Journal by Justine Frederiksen, says “Lake Mendocino could have about 3,000 more acre-feet -- or nearly 163 million gallons -- if more of the water released from Lake Pillsbury is allowed to flow down the Eel and on through the Potter Valley Diversion into the headwaters of the Russian River and into Lake Mendocino. As is, that extra 3,000 acre-feet flows into the Eel and eventually out to sea.

THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission control how much of the water released from Pillsbury to the Eel River is allowed to pass through the Diversion tunnel into Potter Valley and on into Lake Mendocino.

MS. FREDERIKSEN QUOTES from a letter from the Irrigation District's Janet Pauli: “We find ourselves, once again, in a situation where there is an uncontrolled spill of water from Scott Dam (at Lake Pillsbury) and Pacific Gas & Electric (which owns the lake and operates Scott Dam) is not allowed to maximize the Potter Valley Diversion.... In a normal water year, the amount of water lost to storage in Lake Mendocino ... has been a problem which has resulted in chronic late season water storage shortages. Now, however, in a drought year ... the impact of the loss of this potential water supply is greatly magnified.”

ON MARCH 25 two young people from a segment of society who we don’t hear from much rose to speak to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors during public expression:

DIAMONTE MCCAIN: “I am a homeless youth in Mendocino County. There's not that many resources, nothing really for the youth to do who are homeless. There are a lot of youth out there that are homeless. There has been a lot of times where I have been harassed and I just wanted to see whether there would be able to be more resources for the homeless youth so we don't have to just sit on the streets so we can actually do something for ourselves instead of just sitting there. Pretty soon we are not youth anymore and we become adult homeless. I know there are a lot of programs for adults but there's nothing for the youth.”

ERICA RODRIGUEZ: I'm also another homeless youth in Mendocino County. I agree that there is not that much resources for us out there because we are trying to get off the streets but we can't without any help. It seems like most of the time we are being harassed. We are told to go somewhere else or some distance away. But I was just wondering if there was anything. If you guys don't want us to go to certain places and we are just standing there with all our stuff then you should help us out with something. You know something like a place where we could go. There's a lot of people out there that are hurting and everything, and I am one of them, and I don't think anyone should, especially a youth who is trying to get off the streets should be harassed or considered to be different all because they don't have money or a place to go. I just think there should be more resources for the homeless youth. That's all.

THE BOARD'S LIBERAL, Dan Hamburg, had nothing to say. So it fell to Supervisor McCowen to at least ask about what resources are available. “I don't want to put anyone on the spot, but if we do have someone in the audience who could speak to what resources might be available for homeless youth, I'd like to hear it. We would all acknowledge that we could always do more, but there are some resources available.”

STACEY CRYER, Director of Health and Human Services: “I've been listening to the testimony I just heard from the two homeless youth. I plan to introduce myself to the gentleman across the way who I understand is named Von and talk about some of the services that are available. I have been texting Camille Schrader [manager of Redwood Children’s services] already asking her if we can make a connection. Certainly there is the Arbor on the Main, a Redwood Children’s Services program, and some other resources that I will talk to this gentleman about.”

ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: “The national average price of marijuana is at $283 an ounce...the price index does exist for marijuana, it is listed in high times magazine. This is the lowest price ever listed since the index for marijuana began. However to us here that price seems pretty damn good. In Colorado, right now the price per ounce from a legal retailer is going to cost you $300 to $400 an ounce. The price on the street in Colorado is $200 to $300 an ounce depending on quality. This price scheme seems to align with the national index. We will see what happens in the future. I believe if we had more of a regulated market here prices wouldn't be as bad as they are and they would possibly rise.”

PREDICTION. This one will soon be very big among high school students and the younger college students — Smart Car tipping. Three were found recently in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, one of them on its nose, which would seem to be the point.

A FRISCO MAN COMMENTS: “Welcome to my world. My motorcycle gets knocked over a few times a year. People spit on my seat once a week. They slash my tires. All because I'm 'taking up a parking space' I guess people with larger cars have more of a right to the parking in SF.”

BUT SMART CAR TIPPING seems more in the funsy vein unless, of course, you're the owner of the upended vehicle. A muscle guy lifted my VW Bug out of a ditch years ago, and it was heavier than these things. Hmmm. Two high school kids? Three?

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