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Off The Record (Apr 23, 2014)

THE BUDDY ELLER CENTER will soon close. Funding has mostly evaporated. This means a lot more homeless people on the streets of Ukiah. A reader clarifies: “Your informant may have heard that Jackie Williams, Ford Street Executive Director would announce today that she was recommending closing the BEC and jumped to the conclusion they were closing today. See the attachment for the full story which makes it clear the recommended closing date is July 31st. Closure will displace about 55 people, many of whom will go back to mommy and daddy, or to Lake County, or to their friend or sister's couch. The hard core homeless and the people you see in the WalMart parking lot are the least likely to go to a shelter. Still, the BEC was and hopefully will continue to be, a great resource to give people a chance to have a time out, sort things out and get in touch with services. It will be a big loss if it really does close.”

WATER WARS, Mendo Division. The village of Mendocino is in a tiz. Unidentified persons have called a public meeting at the Rec Center for Thursday (April 24th) at 7:15 because “Mendocino City Community Services District wants all property owners to apply for a groundwater permit and put a meter on their well.”

THE FLIER CONTINUES: “Do you want to be required to check a meter and report your water use each month to MCCSD? Do you want to give MCCSD permission to enter your property without notice? Do you want to have your water use restricted? Do you want to pay for the meter, the inspections and the enforcement of these requirements and restrictions?”

AND CONCLUDES with a doubly indignant howl, “Help the MCCSD Board of Directors make the right decision and rescind the mandatory groundwater permit before you are fined $100 a day for non-compliance!”

WELL, GEE, you've got a bunch of people and tourist businesses clustered on top of a finite aquifer, don't you have to have an orderly distribution of the available water, water likely to become quite scarce indeed late this summer?

SAN FRANCISCO, according to its own figures, is putting out $458,000 per day to house and help homeless people, which works out to $34 a day per homeless person, whether they are on the streets, in a shelter or in “supportive” housing. That's more than children's programs, public works and parks and recreation. Nearly half the homeless money, $81.5 million, goes for rent subsidies and programs to assist the 6,355 people living in that “permanent supportive housing.” Despite all, roughly 7,000 people remain unhoused because there's always a fresh supply of homeless no matter how much housing might be made available. As rich as Frisco is, and given the City's historical reluctance to compel the rich to pay their fair share of the social load, there will continue to be lots of people — drunks, drug addicts, the mentally ill, and the pit bull people — living on the streets. It's a national political failure not to seriously address homelessness, but given the political givens, which apply also here in Mendocino County, all of the above will be on the streets for years to come.

LOCALLY, the Mendocino County Superior Court continues to process habitual drunks and roaming public nuisances to a few days in the County Jail, after which the roaming public nuisances are again free to roam. How about a County farm? Humboldt County has one, and they have a lot more roaming nuisances than we do. Why not here?

IT DOESN'T SEEM to be widely known in Fort Bragg that the College of the Redwoods nearly lost accreditation, and has only just now stepped down from the gallows. The college's Fort Bragg campus draws most of its students from the Mendocino Coast; it's always struggled to maintain a viable student population, as has the school's Garberville campus, which is also on the chopping block for permanent closure.

COR is one of the state's three badly managed community colleges to nearly betray its students, in that loss of accreditation would mean that four-year schools wouldn't be able to accept credits from a disenfranchised two-year school. City College of San Francisco, of which I am particularly fond because I absorbed an affordable year of instruction there, is one of the three imperiled campuses, and the best known and the largest. Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo is the third community college to narrowly avoid academic disaster.

IT REMAINS UNCLEAR if COR, based in Eureka and in its 50th year, will abandon its Fort Bragg facilities. Most locals would like to see the school affiliate with Ukiah-based Mendocino College. Of course accreditation hassles always mean a hard slog through a morass of edu-babble and fuzzy thinking, the net effect of which is an inevitable confusion. One of the many mysteries of American public life is the placement of the crucial educational function with incompetents. (cf the Mendocino County Office of Education, particularly the superintendent himself.)

WITH THE FUTURE of the Fort Bragg campus of the College of the Redwoods still in doubt, we all certainly hope that the school's Fine Woodworking program can somehow be continued. It's a justly famous woodworking school, and has been for years, with first-rate instructors who draw students from all parts of the United States and the world.

PhilcoRadioAA READER WRITES: “Me being an old radio guy, I like to listen, too. I do my baseball listening at home on my nana's old 1946 Philco radio phono tower. I inherited this baby from her when she died in the early 70s, and I've cared for it. Recently had a serious tube radio guy go through the internals completely. Obviously it's terrific cosmetically. Now it is fully restored. It has a 13 tube radio, featuring two 6L6 power tubes. Those are big tubes, used these days in the best rock guitar amps (see Marshall) and this thing really heats up. The sound is terrific. It runs a big original 12-inch speaker. You place the radio so it has about a two inch gap from the wall. These big tube amps have a sound that cuts. You can hear the game over anything all over the house. My wife says, ‘It sounds like America!’ Built in Philadelphia, PA, USA. I want to add that K&K, the Giants announcers, are world class. Imagine life with Joe Buck. No thanks.”

THE RECENT AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Neil Young contains the author's opinions on the quality of contemporary sound. And just the other day I read a story that Young had raised more than enough capital to develop new sound technology that will restore the true sound of music that has been lost to the inferior devices delivering it to most people.

FASCINATING STORY by Jesse Katz of LA Magazine about the long, fraught journey taken by Cuban baseball player Yasiel Puig from rural Cuba to instant big-bucks in the Dodger's outfield. The well-researched story provides lots of interesting detail about the Cuban amateur baseball system, describes Puig’s alleged cooperation with Cuban officials in arresting those involved in a previous defection scheme so he can escape, threats against Puig’s family and friends in Cuba after he ascended to superstardom, the deadly Mexican drug cartel that got him out of Cuba, and the execution-style murder of their leader who was trying to milk Puig for more money.

LOTS OF STORIES and pro-con comment on the dumbing down of the SAT tests, which will make the essay optional when the tests kick in in 2016. Seems to me the ability to write clearly is a much more reliable guide as to who's likely to do well at the college level than the proposed substitute requirement to decode the Declaration of Independence or some other pivotal document drawn from American history.

1.5 MILLION young people take the SAT every year, of whom a whole bunch would be wise not to go to the trouble and expense. Looking back on my college experience, I don't remember learning much of anything inside the classroom, but it did give me a lot of time to read on my own, scattered as my reading was because it wasn't in any way systematic. If someone at City College had simply handed me a list of a thousand essential books and told me to go home and read them it would have been better than sitting through four years of random classes. As it was, I got a little of this, a little of that, and at the other end of the tunnel I was like this description of the young Brett Harte: “A somewhat pathetic figure, a gentleman of refined tastes with no means of support, and simply untrained for doing anything that needed doing.” That was me. And millions of liberal arts grads like me.

IF I HAD IT TO DO over again, I wouldn't, and two years of my “higher learning” was funded by baseball, which I could play well enough to earn me free room and board until I lost interest in sports entirely for the rest of my youth, re-drugging myself in the sports pages in middle age. The other two years of the three-and-a-half I spent stumbling towards a college degree, I paid my own way by taking late afternoon and night classes when I could at CCSF where, now that I suddenly remember that interlude, I did profit from a fascinating biology class taught by a cranky old guy who enlivened his lectures with hilarious stories of his battles with his neighbor and his neighbor's dog.

THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE courses were all required. They weren't difficult because I could already read and write and liked doing it, which put me ahead of many of my classmates who, as now, didn't read and hated to write, especially my fellow jocks who regarded me as a kind of pervert whenever they spotted me with a book. “Jesus, Anderson! What are you doing?”

I ADMIRED the people aiming at the tough diplomas in engineering and other math-based vocations. They were all a lot smarter than me but, and I understand this is still true, they didn't read particularly well and couldn't write much. I laughed when I read that the SAT's “would no longer include relatively obscure vocabulary words such as ‘punctilious’ and ‘lachrymose’ but would include words like ‘synthesis.’ (Better add ‘appropriate’ and ‘paradigm’ if you want to live in Mendocino County.)

PUNCTILIOUS and lachrymose? Punctilious you see a lot and should know. Lachrymose not so often, but by that standard you could just develop the speaking and gizmo-prose of today's young people. “Like I said to the dude, Like, dude, wtf? And dude like said to me, Like dude…” Accompany that with a lot of body language intended to convey meaning and who needs lachrymose? Only the punctilious, that's who. Who are about to be phased out altogether. If you want to design high rises or become a surgeon, or some other really, really skilled person, you should know these words and a lot more. But if you want to be a history and English major, which my diploma qualifies not in the least for anything, forget college. Go out and enjoy your youth, reading when you can. Later, you can become a public defender of a superintendent of schools or whatever else pays a little but requires even less in the way of intellectual preparation. For you liberal arts people, college is a waste of time and your parent's money. Whatever you do, don't rack up a lot of debt getting a four-year degree in the liberal arts. That's really silly these days. Ruinous, too. Work for revolution and free education for everyone who wants one.

THE UKIAH CITY COUNCIL has decided against receivership for the Palace Hotel, leaving the long-abandoned structure, once the grand dame of downtown Ukiah's afterhours life, in the problematic hands of Eladia Laines, the Marin County woman who owns it. An indignant Ms. Laines says she's already invested a half-million dollars in restoration efforts and was not informed that the City had considered receivership. Her indignation is understandable, given the half-mil. The vote was 3-2 to allow Ms. Laines to at least try to rehab the building. Mary Anne Landis and Benj Thomas voted to devote public money to the receivership process. There's no hard evidence that Ms. Laines has the dough to bring it off, and even if she somehow comes up with it, if our judges get their self-interested way and build a new courthouse for themselves a half-mile east of what's left of central Ukiah, the Palace Hotel is unlikely to be much of a draw. Traditionally, much of its business has been dependent on a busy County courthouse just down the street.

Palace Hotel
Palace Hotel

IN THE DELUGE of drought stories, it's easy to miss the basic bad news, the real bad news. Which is that state and federal government is making policy as the drought deepens, having missed opportunities to make solid plans a year ago when it was clear there was going to be trouble. Only a couple of weeks ago Senator Feinstein used her massive influence to get more water diverted to corporate farm interests than is necessary to ensure the survival of fish. But the problem now isn't the proportions of water diverted to where, the problem is the lack of rain and government foresight.

YOU KNOW IT’S SPRING when gas prices begin to shoot up. As soon as the sun is regularly shining, and the fat guys are walking up and down State Street in their wife beaters, Americans hit the road to do summer things. And the oil monopolies raise gas prices. They're already going up fast in Cloverdale where I buy most of my fuel, and going up faster in San Francisco.

THE MEDIA, as always, dutifully reports the propaganda put out by the oil monopolies — there are problems at the refineries, there's political turmoil in Nigeria, there are mysterious pipeline glitches, and so on, concluding, “You people just don't understand how hard we work to keep you on the road.”

AT CLOVERDALE, prices have risen about 50¢ a gallon over the past three weeks to a little over $4.30 a gallon for regular unleaded. But I haven't seen any stories about supply problems or turmoil abroad. Maybe this year the oil companies have decided to straight-up gouge us. What's to stop them?

SixCAsSIX CALIFORNIAS? The horror, the horror! But Tim Draper, yet another Gatsby-like “venture capitalist” out of the Silicon Valley, has the dough to qualify the proposed scheme for either the November ballot or two years hence, probably the latter.

DRAPER'S SIX CALIFORNIAS would keep the present-day 58 counties but combine them into six new states. Everything north of Sonoma County would be called Jefferson after, it seems, the State of Jefferson, the semi-serious attempt by outback secessionists to form their own county back in the early 1940's. The idea was forgotten with Pearl Harbor but has been lately revived by rightwing romantics in Southern Oregon and the far NorCal counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou and Modoc.

DRAPER HIMSELF, like a lot of the Silicon boys, is a conservative libertarian. A confident fellow in his forties, Draper who made a lot of money when he was very young by betting on gizmo-related stuff and, probably, like many if not all of them, got a nice beginning hunk of capital from Mom and Pop. He also probably got into Ayn Rand before he had intellectual defense mechanisms in place, and now thinks Randian supermen like himself ought to be running the whole show.

THIS GUY put $20 million into the failed school voucher initiative of 2000 but, having endless cash, here he is with the Six Californias idea. Stand by for a gratuitous insult: Quote back to me a single interesting and/or witty remark you've ever heard from one of these people? We used to have much more interestingly forthright capitalists. Was it J.P. Morgan or Jay Gould who said he could, if it came to it, hire half the working class to kill the other half? The great bandits of yesteryear didn't pretend to be Nice People which, of course, is preferable to the Draper types who think the privatization of the schools and busting up the state into techno-fiefdoms run by people like themselves is a good idea. They already run things. Why tinker with the machine that feeds them?

A NEW STATE of Northern California would, however, be a lot of fun. Imagine the howls from the Mendo Muffins that they might be outvoted by a bunch of crackpot cowboys! I'd vote for Jefferson simply for the opportunity to remove the cold, dead hand of Mendo-Clintonism from my throat. Unfortunately, however, the coastal areas all the way to the Oregon border are heavy on the kind of passive authoritarians of the Democrat type, and the lib-labs would still have the population edge over the 'necks in the Jefferson configuration. Chesbro rules!

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S Obama-Clintonites have about a 60-40 majority among people who actually vote. Call me romantic, but that's subject to abrupt change and, as things generally deteriorate, and people who try hard are more and more squeezed... If everyone voted who was eligible to vote, and voted in a magical context of full information, things would swing abruptly to the left. Hmmm. Preliminarily, however, I'm for the state of Jefferson, if not Draper.

STATEMENT OF THE DAY “The honest truth is no one has ever seen anything like this. Not even during the Great Depression in the Thirties has monetary policy been this loose. And if you look at the details of what these central banks are doing, it’s all very experimental. They are making it up as they go along. I am very worried about any kind of policies that have that nature… Today, the Fed still acts as if it was in crisis management. But we’re six years past that. They are essentially doing more than what they did right in the beginning. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. Plus, the Fed has moved to a completely different motivation. From the attempt to get the markets going again, they suddenly and explicitly started to inflate asset prices again. The aim is to make people feel richer, make them spend more, and have it all trickle down to get the economy going again. Frankly, I don’t think it works, and I think this is extremely dangerous… The fundamental problem we are still facing is excessive debt. Not excessive public debt, mind you, but excessive debt in the private and public sectors. To resolve that, you need restructurings and write-offs. That’s government policy, not central bank policy. Central banks can’t rescue insolvent institutions. All around the western world, and I include Japan, governments have resolutely failed to see that they bear the responsibility to deal with the underlying problems. With the ultraloose monetary policy, governments have no incentive to act. But if we don’t deal with this now, we will be in worse shape than before…” (William White is the former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, which is considered the central bank of central banks.)

SO FAR as I'm aware, Joung Min Yi, is the first Mendo pot grower to be seriously fined for tearing up the land and imperiling the water. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has fined Joung $56,404 for, in an excellent account by Linda Williams of The Willits News, “discharging sediment from his property into Outlet Creek and the Eel River.” Joung's is “7 air miles north of Willits at 29980 and 30100 North Highway 101.”

ISN'T IT past time for our board of supervisors to at least discuss an advisory measure similar to that adopted by the Humboldt County supes? They voted unanimously to ask pot supply businesses not to sell rat poison and other chemicals heavily used in marijuana production. Spare Time Supply in Willits, for instance, employer of Third District Supe's candidate Holly Madrigal, has a rat on its business logo! These poisons stay in the environment for a long time, as a HumCo professor's wildlife studies established. His research was rewarded by, we assume, an irate grower who tossed poisoned meat into the professor's yard where his dog ate and died. The Love Drug brigades can and do play rough. Let's hope in the nicey-nice candidate's nights ahead, 3rd District voters ask the candidates about the damage guerilla growers do to what's left of the natural world.

CANDIDATE NIGHTS, and local elections generally, are pretty much like class elections in the Third Grade. “I'm voting for Suzy because she's nice.” At candidate's nights — no more than one or two — questions are carefully screened to spare the candidates uncomfortable inquiry. You pass your questions to the person in charge, inevitably a middle-of-the-road extremist affiliated with the Democratic Party, who simply discards any question he or she regards as “inappropriate.” The questions that get asked are of this type, “We know you're a Nice Person, but exactly how nice are you? And do you like kids and cats?” The answer comes back, “Shucks. I just want to serve, and I like cats, dogs and kids, not necessarily in that order.” There's never any mention of the lucrative pay and fringes that come with the Supe's job because our candidates are above, way above, such base considerations. As the election nears, the candidates take out newspaper ads with, just like in the Third Grade, long lists of the names of their supporters. The idea is that you line up with the people you see on the list. The issues are seldom addressed because adult give and take is “divisive” and maybe even, gasp! “negative.” The candidates are militantly for “bringing us together.” If there's a difference between 3rd District candidates Madrigal and Woodhouse, and the 3rd District race is between the two of them, it is non-detectable.

WE'RE GUILTY of the name-ism we complain about. If we see that Wes Chesbro, or any other career officeholder of the Chesbro type (and they all are) is supporting a local candidate, we do what we can to defeat that candidate. Why? Because we think the Democratic Party, in all its manifestations, is a major Enemy of the People. The Republicans used to be worse but lately they're simply co-equals; in any case, Republicans are politically irrelevant on the Northcoast. If we don't see Chesbro himself grinning his cat's meow grin with this candidate or the other, we look for one of his in-county surrogates — Jim Mastin; Joe Wildman; Val Muchowski; Rachel Binah; Supervisor Hamburg; the Superior Court; any person occupying a good paying public job in Ukiah… Ladies and Gentlemen introducing Mendocino County's Flab Glab Lib Lab Axis. It runs Mendocino County. If you are an everyday working person, or even a One Percenter with a civilized aesthetic, The Axis is your mortal enemy.

LISA IBANEZ nicely sums up the state of things in a recent letter to the Chron: “The reason the San Francisco Giants built the Gotham Club with its VIP vibes and bowling alley is that there is a sizable block of well-heeled young people who think it's hip to go to the games but don't really care about watching baseball. I understand the anger felt by the not-so-well-shoed San Franciscans over the shuttle buses taking high-paid Silicon Valley employees to work. They are a symbol of what is happening not only in San Francisco but the whole country. We are being priced out of our community and discarded by our country, whose Supreme Court proclaims government office can be bought and corporations are people. When I was growing up most families could afford to attend a Giants game. Now it's a rare treat or a hard, cold bleacher seat for way too much money.”

THAT TERRIBLE ACCIDENT Thursday morning at Burke Hill took the lives of a 26-year-old Arizona man and his 3-year-old daughter. It also led to the arrest of a Santa Rosa deliveryman assumed to have been responsible for the accident.

JONATHAN JAMES ARROYO was driving the family's 1998 four-door Cadillac south on the highway when a northbound 2010 Chevrolet Express cargo van crossed the grass median directly into their path after the driver of the van lost control, according to the CHP.

MRS. ARROYO and the couple's 1-year-old daughter, who were passengers in the Cadillac, survived the crash and were taken by ambulance to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with minor injuries. The terrible irony here is that the Arroyos had driven here from their Arizona home so Mrs. Arroyo could apply for a job at the hospital where her husband and little girl were declared dead.


THE DRIVER, Emmanuel Ariel Mandujano Barajas, 22, of Santa Rosa, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. “There was a statement of distraction, that he may have been playing with the radio,” said CHP spokesman officer Kylar Adams. The possible involvement of drugs or alcohol in the accident was also still under investigation Friday, Adams said.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, a documentary about two pre-War German couples who depart civilization for an uninhabited Galapagos island, the one couple arriving first and greatly resenting the arrival of the second couple and their young son. They immediately begin feuding when a third trio arrives, a “baroness” with two live-in lover boys. The baroness says of herself, “The man isn't born who can resist me.” Compared to the two frumps with the other two Weimar back-to-the-landers, the Baroness is indeed pretty hot stuff. Someone, or someones, inevitably disappears the Baroness (in every way the most attractive resident of the island) and one of her lover boys. I couldn't follow the murder count but I think one of the frumps gets it, too. The narrative gets pretty confused, and there are way too many close-up minutes of giant turtles and iguanas, but the whole of the film is fascinating, especially the original footage shot of all these players by the American oil millionaire Allan Hancock, after whom Hancock College in Santa Maria is named, who periodically shows up in his scientific expedition boat to visit the self-imposed outcasts.



Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops

Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain.

— Langston Hughes

MARIJUANA DAY. This year, April 20th coincides with Easter. On the Northcoast, undoubtedly, the two are celebrated as one. We wrote this assessment of last year's 4/20 festivities in Golden Gate Park on the assumption that this year's celebration of the love drug was bigger and crazier than last year's:

BIKED OVER TO HIPPIE HILL Sunday afternoon to watch the 4-20 festivities. From what I've only recently learned, April 20 at 4:20pm America's stoners all light up at once in mass celebration of the love drug. I expected something like a few hundred ancient flower children shaking their cadaverous booties with maybe lame-o Wavy Gravy gumming some peace and love platitudes, but what I found was, well, put it this way — the hippies of '67 look positively wholesome put alongside this crew. If it had been advertised as Thug Fest 2013 we would have had truth in advertising. Lots of gangstas and no hippies of the traditional tie-dyed doofi type, only acres of tough guys and women very unlike the ones who married dear old dad. The entire area between Hippie Hill and the Children's Playground was wall-to-wall criminal intent. A cloud of pot and grill smoke hung over the park. No cops anywhere. Every other person seemed to have an apparatus that boomed out the mayhem recommendations of rap. “You lost, Pops?” a kid asked me, and it belatedly occurred to me that in my khakis and button down blue shirt I was definitely odd man out. The scene was, for sure, more than mildly disconcerting, and when I saw a large white guy, maybe 40, shirtless, obviously a veteran of many hours on a prison weight pile, his skin festooned with jail tats and a big White Pride announcement, when I saw this guy wade into the multi-ethnic gang-banging mopes with a maniacal grin on his face, I knew bad things were about to happen in Golden Gate Park, our sylvan retreat, our urban respite of forest and meadow, our natural solace amidst the din and clamor of city life, and I made my way to my bike and pedaled home. Two days later, the Chron's comment line was mostly a lot of huffing and puffing about “hippies” having left The City with a huge clean-up bill for a trashed park, and it’s just like the hypocrites to talk about how much they love Mother Earth then leave tons of trash in the trampled park. But this thing was not a hippie event, and Marx himself never could have foreseen how many and how fearsome the lumpen have become.” According to Steve Heilig, the 2014 event in the park was a notch worse.


Q: What's the difference between a crackhead and a tweaker?

A: The crackhead will steal your stuff and run off — the tweaker will steal your stuff and then help you look for it.

READER JIM UPDEGRAFF WRITES: “In regard to local banking, a good question by the candidate; however, the answer undoubtedly 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 periodically get competitive bids for its banking business? (… Two days later…) In reflecting on my comments of April 16th regarding the naive question about the Bank of America by Robin Sunbean, I wonder if the public bank for Mendocino County promoters are still around. I assume they are sincere, but their comments about the Federal Reserve Bank system and their proposed bank remind me of Don Quixote tilting at the windmills. They are totally oblivious of the State of California Financial Code regarding the procedures for starting a bank. They like to refer to the Bank of North Dakota but it is quite clear its activities in no way have any relevance to what they have proposed for their bank. Further, I wonder why they would want a bank in a county with a small population and limited resources. Do they think the Board of Supervisors are a bunch of dodos that would buy in on their scheme?”

TWO FORMER MENDO PROSECUTORS, Jill Ravitch and Victoria Shanahan (nee Jenny) are engaged in a spirited campaign for Sonoma County District Attorney. According to a recent Press Democrat item about their latest campaign debate, Ms. Shanahan is running because she contends that Ravitch is not living up to campaign promises, particularly a promise to improve the way officer involved shootings are reviewed by the DA’s office. It’s been six months now since Sonoma County Deputy Gelhaus shot and killed Sonoma County teenager Andy Lopez because Gelhaus thought the kid’s air rifle was an assault weapon. Shanahan says it shouldn’t take six months to review the sad episode and that Sonoma County deserves prompt reviews of such things. Ravitch says she’s still waiting for the Santa Rosa Police Department’s “independent” review to be completed. But six months? Seems to us Ravitch hopes to stall the beast until after the election. If she takes a stand now, either way she loses big blocs of voters.


WE REMEMBER Victoria Jenny when she worked as a Mendocino County senior prosecutor under the late DA Norm Vroman. A native of Willits where her dad worked for Remco, Ms. Jenny married a cop named Shanahan, moved to Cloverdale, and went to work for Ravitch. Shanahan was among our Courthouse faves when she worked in Mendocino County. Ravitch only used Mendo to get her prosecutor’s ticket punched with a “chief prosecutor” title while biding her time to run for SoCo DA. And the Mendo taxpayers even gave her a County car and tax-paid fuel to commute in from her West SoCo home! We thought Ravitch, while certainly a skilled prosecutor — her hate was pure! — lacked what might be called “people skills,” and we agree from here that Shanahan’s complaint about poor community relations is probably justified.

Chesbro, Ravitch
Chesbro, Ravitch

ANOTHER RAVITCH NEGATIVE, for us anyway, is her proud declaration on her re-election website that she is supported by Democrat Assemblyman Wes Chesbro. Even if your opinion of Chesbro happens to be, for some crazy reason, positive, getting an endorsement for a supposedly non-partisan office like District Attorney from one of the herd bulls for NorCal's Democratic Party apparatus is a sneaky way to signal Sonoma County's Clintonians (conservative liberals) that prosecutor Jill, deep down, is on board.

ON APRIL 18, 2014 at about 11am Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of Canyon Road, near the old refuse disposal site, regarding a kidnapping. Upon arrival MCSO personnel contacted a 28 year-old adult female from Willits who stated that she was at a business located at 19 West Valley (within the City of Willits) when she was approached by her ex-boyfriend Dameon Ziegler, 27, also of Willits, who was armed with a shotgun. Ziegler pointed the shotgun at her and forced her to leave the business against her will and to provide him a ride to the Little Darby recreational area. When arriving at the recreational area Ziegler forced the female victim to walk down a trail, while holding her at gunpoint. When they approached a small rest spot Ziegler pushed the female victim to the ground and told her that he intended to sexually assault her. He then told her that he intended to kill her and himself. Zeigler then started to pull the pants off of the female, at which time she started to struggle. The female was able to break loose and run away form Ziegler. The female victim told Sheriff’s personnel that she then heard a single shot as she was running away. Sheriff’s personnel, along with personnel from the Willits Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, conducted a search of the Little Darby Recreational area for Ziegler. During the search, Sheriff’s Office Canine Ruddick was deployed and picked up Zeigler's scent. Ruddick tracked Zeigler up a hiking trail, leading law enforcement personnel to where Zeigler was hiding. Upon locating Ziegler, law enforcement personnel ordered him to surrender. Zeigler turned his shotgun onto himself and fired a single round. Ziegler was pronounced dead at the scene due to the self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Kidnapping and Sexual Assault are currently being investigated by the Willits Police Department. Willits Police Department should be contacted if further details regarding the crime and investigation are desired. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

ON LINE COMMENT: “More than a word or two should be said about the movie from the book, “The Grapes of Wrath” directed by John Ford in 1940. It is nearly 80 years old and holds up even more so today. Darryl F. Zanuck, to his great credit, green lighted this picture and the entire cast, especially Henry Fonda, gave Oscar worthy performances. The entire budget was in the $800k range, in Black and White, and the film practically jumps off the screen. Toward the end, when Fonda/Tom Joad bid farewell to his Ma/Jane Darwell you feel like he is speaking for all of disenfranchised America, all of displaced humanity. Steinbeck's book is a one of a kind, and the movie is a masterpiece, the likes of which is rarely seen. They just don't make them that way anymore!”

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