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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Ranochak, Sunbeam
Ranochak, Sunbeam

THE CANDIDATES, two of them anyway, a late night analysis. Nothing against Sue Ranochak, our incumbent County Clerk, but candidate Robin Sunbeam's question, Why is the County's money parked in the Bank of America? gets the AVA's vote simply for the asking. Given the times, it's always a good idea to at least try to get someone into office who questions the same old assumptions about how local government should work. At a minimum, local public money should be banked with a County-based credit union. Failing that, put the dough with Uncle Charlie Mannon's Savings Bank of Mendocino. No need to launch a rant about the BofA, but their top execs belong in prison, not functioning as a no-interest repository for honest money.

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3RD DISTRICT SUPE'S candidate Tom Woodhouse applies the sappy rhetoric a little too thickly for our taste — “Thank you, Laytonville. I just got back from Laytonville, and like my last few trips, I came back excited and optimistic after meeting such wonderful people.” Please. And why do local libs always have to say they're “excited” about the most mundane things. Excitement and local public life are what you call non-computing opposites. Seriously, have you ever heard a NorCal public office holder even say anything interesting, let alone exciting?

BUT WE DO LIKE Woodhouse's ideas about a restoration of vocational education, not that education is a particular concern of the Supervisors, but a supervisor can talk it up from his position, and the functioning of the public schools should be of major concern to all of us since we have to live with the young beasts produced by them. We've railed for years that most kids waste most of their school days absorbing pointless lessons with zero applicability in the real world, emerging from 12 years of “education,” or even 16 years of “education” unable to read well, unable to write at all and possessing only the faintest grasp of mathematics. Apprentice the little savages for half the school day to people who actually know what they're doing.


AS WOODHOUSE points out, every community in the county (and the country) is home to people with practical skills. These people make their way applying these skills. The young ones should be assigned to people who know how to do things. This used to be called apprenticeship. Call it a peanut butter sandwich, call it whatever you want, but it's the way young people learned. Case in point: Downstairs from our office here in Boomsville is a highly skilled seamstress who has more work backed up than she can handle. If a high school student spent two or three hours a day with her, that student would soon have the basics of a trade he or she could take out into the world and make a living doing. I could name a hundred people in Anderson Valley alone who could instruct a kid in the basics of a skill that that kid could use to feed and defend himself in the imploding world of work.

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CHATTING WITH A KID the other day, one of two I know, I almost leapt out of my chair to congratulate him when he mentioned he wanted to be farmer. “By the goddess, lad, you're on the right path!” With our fair land seriously on the skids, a little farm, and the how-to knowledge you'll need to go with it, will see you through the looming chaos just fine. And what better place than Mendo County to learn the fundamentals of agriculture — the legal ag, that is. For all I know maybe this kid intends, like too many Mendo kids, to grow marijuana and pay cash for a Toyota Tundra. I don't think so, though, because he's already a star student in Boonville High School's ag program. But there are a bunch of little legitimate farms around the County all of them potential learning sites for young people. Woodhouse has the right idea here.

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by Robert Mailer Anderson

With less than two minutes left in a tight ball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets, Warrior center Andrew Bogut snared a crucial defensive rebound with one hand like a full-grown man playing against boys. Bogut is a strong seven feet tall, and 260 pounds. But he wasn’t playing against boys. He was playing against other wildly talented, super-athletic men, including Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried who didn’t stop on the play (or any other play that night) and stripped the ball from Bogut and scored.

Bogut, Faried
Bogut, Faried

From our floor seats near the half court line, Creedence and I yelled, almost simultaneously and both incredulously, “Two hands!”

Bogut seemed to hear us and scowled. We both shook our heads at him. He had been getting beat all night by Faried and a goofy Russian named Mosgov, who Bogut made look like the second coming of Wilt Chamberlain.

“God damn!” I screamed. "You can’t do that in the last two minutes of a ballgame!”

“It’s fundamentals!” Creedence complained, directing his outrage at Bogut who was now taking out the basketball.

“Two hands!!!” Creedence yelled again, as Bogut looked over at us, lugubriously making his way down court.

“Quit doggin’ it!” Creedence continued, “You’ve been doggin’ it all game!”

Bogut faced us and muttered some expletive.

Creedence and I were surprised to get a further reaction. And neither of us like to be cursed at, on or off the court.

“Don’t curse at me! You know you’ve been doggin’ it!” Creedence continued with a voice that carried even more than my own bull-horn screech. “You aren’t boxing out! You don’t flash to the hole when your teammates are doubled.”

At this point one of the Warriors fouled someone on the Denver team, and as Bogut meandered to his spot on the block so the Nugget could shoot his free throws, he looked over at us again with a deep malevolence.

“Get off the court if you don’t want to play!” Creedence added, in a tone I hadn't heard since I was 15 playing one-on-one hoops with him in Redwood Valley. Games to a hundred in hundred degree heat. Creedence went on to play four years at Sonoma State, graduating as their all-time leading scorer and rebounder. I went on to cracked concrete courts and playgrounds where the rims had no nets, half hidden YMCA’s and gyms where you called your own fouls, at your own risk. It’s tough to tell whether Bogut would play basketball if there wasn’t a paycheck involved or he wasn’t seven feet tall. He doesn’t exude joy out on the hardwood — more of a constant grimace — or seem to like the game. Creedence and I are the type of fans who LOVE the game. Love love love it. All levels, from NBA to Nerf Hoop. And in our accelerating middle-age, feel lucky every time we get to run up and back, knowing our games are numbered. We also know we don’t have half the physical talents of someone like Andrew Bogut. But we are certain in our hearts, in the last two minutes of any ball game, from Rohnert Park to West 4th Street, we would use two hands to grab a rebound. And probably would have come up elbows swinging to clear it. This is basketball we are talking about!

Again, Bogut looks over at one of Creedence’s jeers and tells him to “Come on over here then.”

We are now sort of shocked that Bogut has not stopped interacting with us, or at this point, just Creedence, post turnover and now through the first free throw.

Is he really telling Creedence to step out onto the Oracle Arena floor during the game to continue the conversation, take his place in the game, or start a fight?

They keep jawing at each other through the next free throw, clear curses and disdain, as others in the crowd and around us look at Creedence who keeps up a steady stream of how Bogut has sucked all night and not given any effort. For his part, Bogut continues through the second free throw to keep mouthing unintelligible but clearly threatening words. And on his way up court turns towards both of us and gives us a serious evil eye. For a moment, I think I may have to get Creedence’s back if this giant attacks him (unlike the time a Sonoma State footballer tackled me after I blocked his shot — and talked a little shit — and Creedence merely giggled as we rolled into the gym’s corner and I had to punch the hulk in the nuts to get him off me… Tee hee, Creedence. Tee hee!).

But Bogut moves past, and the game resumes culminating in Curry’s spectacular driving shot that puts the Warriors ahead with five seconds left, and then Faried spinning like the Tasmanian Devil but with even more intensity and scoring the winning bucket with nothing on the clock.


Faried ended the game with 17 rebounds, and Mosgov had 29! Together they outrebounded the entire Warriors team.

Now Bogut is hurt and will miss the play-offs. To win the Warriors will have to play a version of their old Run TMC fast pace all offense, no defense ball (Fun TLC? Thompson, Lee, and Curry?). The Warriors will miss Bogut. He is definitely a better player than he showed against Denver. But he probably won’t miss actually playing the game. And he definitely won’t miss the criticism.

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ANOTHER MENDO COUNTY FIRST, this line from an obituary in Tuesday's Ukiah Daily Journal: “David enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, listening to music and smoking doobies.”

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by Jeanine Pfeiffer

A tiny blip of a bar of light

pulses across the electronic scoreboard, touching on empty spaces titled:

Home Visitor Bonus Period Bonus

Fouls Player Fouls Fouls


We are overly warm, close, our sad selves in folding chairs on the gymnasium floor

my left hip pressed against the holster of an Orland police officer

(“Where is Orland?” “Next to Chico.”)

a community so tight we do not speak of degrees of separation.


Earlier, we stood quietly in the rain on moistened asphalt outside our cars

watching 1000 brilliant red-yellow-red-blue-red-red flashing sets of


revolving lights


“It wasn’t O,” said my girlfriend A, in the central office when I called that Wednesday.

that Wednesday when everyone in this small beleaguered coastal town stopped what we were doing,

listened to the Sheriff whom we call by first name on our car radios

not yet three years out from the aftermath of an insider’s bullets this time an outsider,

the common denominator being how f**ing easy it is to buy powerful guns.


I am a widow, too

my brother died young, too

my father was killed when i was even younger, too

all of which matters,

and doesn’t.


End of Watch 1151 (eleven-hundred-fifty-one) hours.

My age.


Known for his laughter and hugging habit.

A Protector, unprotected.


“He would help you all,” says his tearful brother.

“Words on a piece of paper can’t say what I feel,” says his wife.

“He was the only cop I knew who could convince someone to come into the station so he could arrest them,”

said another burly, balding, weeping guy.


The streaming video stutters, the volume peaking and dipping and cutting out

with each re-buffer the poignancy is both repeated and truncated.


In the women’s restroom mirror

a blonde out-of-towner police officer straightens her hair and her collar.

I impulsively want to tell her about how and who we are out here –

but then i realize i don’t need to

As we silently file into the gymnasium

where a tiny blip of a bar of light

pulses across the electronic scoreboard, touching on empty spaces titled


Home Visitor Bonus Period Bonus

Fouls Player Fouls Fouls.

(Jeanine Pfeiffer’s KZYX&Z show, Native Sound, airs Tuesdays 10pm-midnight)

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IF YOU OR I WERE TO GET HIT BY A CAR TOMORROW, nothing could be better than modern medical technology. But if you're in your eighties, and suffering from dementia, diabetes and colon cancer, then no. You're very UNfortunate to have access to those technologies, which can only prolong your life beyond the point at which it holds any pleasure or meaning.

— Katy Butler, 2014; from ‘The Long Goodbye’

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ON APRIL 12, 2014 at about 7pm, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were called to an apartment complex located at the 100 block of Laws Ave., Ukiah California, regarding a domestic violence incident with the one of the involved parties reported to have been assaulted with a screwdriver. Deputies contacted both parties at the location. The female victim reported that her husband, Paul Honneyman, 36, of Ukiah, had physically assaulted her with a “box cutter” knife during a domestic argument. The deputies observed a laceration on the victim's left forearm allegedly caused by Honneyman's assault. The victim declined medical attention. Deputies arrested Honneyman for assault with a deadly weapon and felony domestic battery. Honneyman was taken and incarcerated at the Mendocino County jail on charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Felony Domestic Battery where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

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PieinSkyTHE ‘PIE IN THE SKY’ FUNDRAISER is being held at Lauren's, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. The event's live and silent auctions will feature pie- or pi-themed artworks donated by local artists and delicious real pies from local bakers. Proceeds will benefit AVArts' “Arts in the Schools” grants for supplemental arts education classes and activities, as well as scholarship programs for Valley students in grades 3-12 who are interested in attending visual and performing arts workshops, classes, and other activities. Scholarships are also provided to graduating seniors who will be attending college courses in the arts or art education. Tickets for the event are available at Lauren's, All That Good Stuff, Rookie-To and at the door. For more information, call 895-2204 or visit AVArts' website at

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Every evening smoke blows in from the sea,

sea smoke, ghost vapor

of lost frigates, sunken destroyers.

It hangs over the eucalyptus grove,

cancels the hills,

curls around garbage sacks outside the lesbian bar.


And every evening the black bus arrives,

the black Information bus from down the Peninsula,

unloading the workers at the foot of the block.

They wander off, this way and that, into the fog.

Young, impassive, islanded within their tunes:

Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire ....


From this distance they seem almost suspended,

extirpated, floating creatures of exile,

as they walk past the Victorian facades

and hollyhocks in their fenced-in plots,

red purple apricot

solitary as widows or disgraced metaphysicians.


Perhaps they're exhausted, overwhelmed by it all:

spidering the endless key words, web pages,

appetite feeding on itself:

frantic genealogists, like swarms of killer bees.

The countless, urgent inquiries:

the poor Cathars and the Siege of Carcassone


what can these long-ago misfortunes tell us of ourselves, of life —

Epinephrine-induced response,

Ryne Duren + wild pitches + 1958 ...

Knowledge a trembling Himalayas of rubble:

Huitzilopochti, Chubby Checker ...

But for now they are done, till the bus comes again tomorrow.


There is nothing further to be known.

The fog, like that animate nothingness

of Lao-Tzu's sacred Tao,

has taken over the world, and with night settling in,

all that had been, has ever been, is gone,

gone but for the sound of the wind.

— August Kleinzahler

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Tunnels for Fracking

by Dan Bacher

A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil spent $123.6 million to lobby elected officials in California over the past 15 years, an increase of over 400 percent since the 1999-2000 legislative session, when the industry spent $4.8 million.

The report, “Big Oil Floods the Capitol: How California’s Oil Companies Funnel Funds Into the Legislature,” highlights the growing influence of the Oil and Gas Lobby in Sacramento, including the increasing power of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). The analysis examines the broad and expanding scope of the oil and gas industry’s spending in Sacramento as the industry gears up to expand fracking (hydraulic fracturing) operations in California facilitated by the passage of Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4 last September.

The report also examines historical campaign contributions by the largest firms in the oil and gas industry. Over the last fifteen years, Big Oil has spent $143.3 million on political candidates and campaigns – nearly $10 million per year and more than any other corporate lobby.

The report also exposes how the oil and gas lobby has spent nearly $15 million to influence Sacramento lawmakers halfway through the 2014-15 legislative session. The record is $25.5 million, set in 2011-12.

As one of the few journalists willing to expose the power of the oil industry in California in recent years, I am very pleased that Common Cause and ACCE have put together this invaluable report that confirms what I’ve been saying all along – that the oil industry has overwhelmed and corrupted the political process, including hijacking what passes for “marine protection” and “environmental protection” in California.

The report was unveiled as the arrests of three State Senators on criminal charges in recent months have put the spotlight on corruption and influence peddling at the State Capitol.

On March 29, the State Senate voted to suspend Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon and Rod Wright, who are being prosecuted in separate criminal cases, after Yee refused to resign. Yee was arrested on federal charges of accepting bribes and coordinating an international gun-running operation,revealed in an affidavit that read like a bizarre crime novel.

One of the three Senators, Rod Wright, received more oil industry money, $83,100, than any other legislator during the 15-year period, according to the report.

“On the heels of 3 California Senators facing separate accusations of influence peddling and unethical behavior, it has never been more important to shine a light on the money that industries like Big Oil spend to advance their agenda,” said Vivian Richardson, community leader and Board Chair of ACCE, in a news release announcing the publication of the report. “We’ve had enough of this ‘pay to play’ system in which money talks – it’s time for our elected officials to listen to the people of this state, and make Big Oil pay their fair share.”

“This report highlights a growing problem in Sacramento – the millions of dollars of campaign contributions and lobby spending by special interests in Sacramento, and the possible influence that goes along with it,” summed up Sarah Swanbeck, coauthor of the report and policy advocate for California Common Cause. “It is time for lawmakers to consider how these types of legal spending by special interests drown out the voice of average Californians and what legislative action can be taken to correct this imbalance.”

Chevron tops campaign contributions with $71.2 million

The report explains how key members of Big Oil. including Chevron, Exxon, Aera Energy and Occidental Petroleum, are some of the largest corporations in California. “And these big corporations spend big time,” Richardson and Swanbeck note.

The top five oil and gas industry campaign contributors from 1999 to 2013 were Chevron, $71.2 million; Aera Energy, $33.8 million; Occidental, $14.5 million; ConocoPhillips, $6.4 million; and Tesoro $3.4 million. Big Oil spent a whopping $143.3 million on political candidates and campaigns, nearly $10 million per year, over the past 15 years.

“Companies like Chevron and Aera have gone to great lengths to influence candidates and initiative campaigns in California elections,” the report states.

Environmental justice and indigenous groups accuse the San Ramon based-Chevron of environmental racism, ranging from the adverse health impacts of the pollution caused by the operation of its refinery in Richmond, California to its dumping of toxic waste in indigenous communities in the the Amazon River Basin in Ecuador.

The report also documents how individual legislators have received tens of thousands from Big Oil over their careers. Over the last 15 years, the top five currently serving legislative recipients are: (1) Senator Rod Wright ($83,100), (2) Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III ($80,600), (3) Senator Jean Fuller ($76,850), (4) Assemblymember Henry Perea ($73,050), and (5) Senator Bob Huff ($69,400).

This report profiles the top recipients, as well as those legislators who are facing a vote on the Oil and Gas Extraction Tax (Senate Bill 1017) this April.

But direct contributions are not the only way Big Oil dominates politics in Sacramento – the industry also spends millions on lobbying those same politicians every year.

Price tag for lobbying totalled $123.6 million 

“In addition to its political contributions,” the report continues, “Big Oil exerts considerable influence lobbying in Sacramento. Big Oil employs high profile, high powered lobbyists to ensure their interests are represented.”

In the past 15 years, the price tag for these lobbyists has totaled $123.6 million. In 2013-2014 alone, the top lobbyist employer, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), headed by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create fake “marine protected areas” in Southern California, spent $4.7 million.

To make things worse, the oil lobby presence in Sacramento is growing, as evidenced by the industry’s successful campaign last year to defeat all fracking bills except one, Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4, an oil industry-friendly bill that gives the green light to increased fracking in California. The legislation was opposed by the vast majority of conservation and environmental justice groups in California – but supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund and California League of Conservation Voters until the last minute, when they withdrew their support after amendments were added.

“So far during the 2013-2014 session, the Oil and Gas lobby has spent nearly $15 million in Sacramento,” the report revealed. “Only halfway through the session, and with expenditure rates typically increasing late in the legislative season when more bills are up for a final vote, California is on track to surpass the roughly $25.5 million spent on lobbying in the 2011-2012 legislative session.”

Similarly, the number of oil and gas industry lobbyists in Sacramento has gone from 22 lobbyist employer organizations registered with the FPPC in 1999-2000 to 32 registered sector for the current legislative session (2013-2014), according to the report.

Yet for the oil industry this money is mere chump change, the cost of doing business. Big Oil’s estimated profits in 2014 to date are $24,978,007,900, based on information from the Center for American Progress.

The 2013 profit totals for the big five oil companies combined – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell – were $93 billion, or $177,000 per minute.

As Big Oil spending rises, fracking increases 

The rise of the oil industry spending documented in the report corresponds directly with the increase in fracking in Monterey Shale deposits in Kern County, coastal areas and Southern California ocean waters – and the creation of so-called “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

Oil companies have fracked offshore wells at least 203 times over the past 20 years in the ocean near California’s coast, from Seal Beach to the Santa Barbara Channel, according to a Freedom of Information Act Request and media investigation by the Associated Press last year. ( Much of the fracking took place while WSPA President Reheis-Boyd was chairing the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force and serving on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast Task Forces.

The Common Cause/ACCE Institute report’s data and charts also make it perfectly clear that the oil industry spending on campaigns and lobbying correlates directly with the rise to power and influence by Reheis-Boyd and her service as a “marine guardian”on federal and state marine protected area panels, as revealed by the chart on page 12 of the document.

Mainstream media outlets have failed to cover one of biggest environmental scandals in California history, Reheis-Boyd’s chairing of the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged “marine protected areas” in Southern California from 2009 to 2012, as well as her “service” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast task forces from 2004 to 2012. MLPA Initiative advocates falsely portrayed the process as “open and transparent” and based on “science” when it was anything but.

The report also counteracts the attempts of state officials and corporate “environmental” NGOs to portray a false image of a “Green California” where no one single interest dominates. David Helvarg, in a recent article on the National Geographic website praising the so-called “marine protected areas” created under the privately-funded MLPA Initiative, claims:

“With its ports, the U.S. Navy, fishermen, surfers and the coastal tourism industry, marine science centers and more no single special interest can dominate ocean policy. And it is where you have single interests dictating policy in places like Louisiana with oil and gas or Florida with real-estate developers that you see coastal seas in decline,” said Helvarg.

This statement avoids addressing the fact that the oil industry is the largest corporate lobby in California, one that dominates environmental politics like no other industry does – and that California is much closer to Louisiana and Florida in its domination by corporate interests than some California politicians and corporate “environmentalists” would like to think.

You can read the full report here.

Brown’s tunnels will provide water for fracking

As the oil industry plans the expansion of fracking under Senate Bill 4, Governor Jerry Brown is fast tracking the widely-contested Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.The proposed tunnels would divert Sacramento River water for use by corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water privateers and oil companies expanding fracking and steam injection operations. The construction of the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch revealed on March 4 that much of the area that the oil industry could frack for oil and natural gas in California is located in and near toxic, drainage-impaired landfarmed by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The same Governor promoting the peripheral tunnels and the expansion of hydraulic fracturing recently declared a drought emergency in California. A broad coalition of environmentalists, fishermen and Tribal leaders is demanding immediate halt to water-intensive fracking.

According to Oil Change International, “This drought is already devastating farmers livelihoods, causing an increased risk of wildfires, and threatening our water supplies. So why is the Governor still allowing fracking to take place? Fracking wells can consume between 2 and 10 MILLION gallons of water in their lifetime.”

In spite of false claims by the mainstream media and state officials that California is a “green state” and an “environmental leader,” the Golden State has become an “oilogarchy.”

If you want to take action and help fight the flood of dirty energy money in California, go to:

(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at:

One Comment

  1. Jim Updegraff April 16, 2014

    In regard to local banking, a good question by the candidate; however, the answer undoubedly is more complex than a simplistic answer. The County I am sure needs much more in services than a place to park its money. Credit unions are not banks and do not provide the full range of services a bank provides. As for the local bank they may or may not be able to meet the banking needs of the county.

    However, the big joker is the legal requirement that public deposits except for the FDIC portion of $250,000 must be fully secured by eligible securities. Then the question becomes does the credit union and local bank even have sufficient free securities to pledge. To keep my comments short I will not discuss interest spreads, profitability of the transaction and liquidity requirements.

    The proper question is does the county periocicaaly get competative bids for its banking business?

    Jim Updegraff

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