THE DENOYER WATCH. James 'Jimmy' Denoyer is going to be re-tried on felony animal abuse charges. The case has attracted much public interest not only in Mendocino County but nationally because Denoyer's whole herd of starving horses, 36 of them, was impounded by Mendocino County, the largest confiscation of large animals in local history.
THE POLICE also consider Denoyer "a person of interest" in the disappearances of David Neily and Donald Cavanaugh, two senior citizens who haven't been seen since they made Jimmy very, very angry. And now another man who Denoyer was said "to be tired of" is among the missing. Or at least the people and places he's ordinarily in the proximity of haven't seen Ronald "Ronnie" Baumeister in several months. Baumeister, like Neily and Cavanaugh, occasionally worked with Denoyer at Denoyer's 20 acre ranch near Westport. Baumeister has also been seen at Denoyer's 200-plus acre ranch off Scott's Valley Road between Highway 20 and Lakeport. But Ronnie hasn't been seen anywhere lately and he, too, had made Jimmy very, very angry.
DENOYER'S DEFENSE during his first trial consisted entirely of slanders aimed at the persons Denoyer either hired or traded living space on his Westport place for work with the horses. These persons were all described as "marginal," which is wildly unfair, certainly as applied to Ryan Neily, whom I've met and whose commitment to finding out what happened to his father is not only admirable but quite affecting. We should all be so fortunate in our children. J.C. Cavanaugh's children, and J.C.'s brother, all residents of Illinois, are just as intent on finding J.C. who is, or was, Denoyer's uncle.
LESS "MARGINAL" persons testified for Denoyer. At least one of them, like Denoyer, is a pot farmer whose marijuana business is disguised by a horse enterprise. Dope is the sub-theme here, of course, because the most implausible people, like the dope and horse entrepreneur who was hauled out by the defense as a character witness, and Denoyer himself, have no visible means of support, but they have all the cash they need to buy expensive horses and, in Denoyer's case, two Freightliner trucks to transport the expensive horses in plus expensive pieces of property and, now, Mr. Turer, a very expensive criminal defense attorney based in Santa Rosa.
DENOYER testified that the condition of most of the horses of the 36 impounded by Mendocino County Animal Control had deteriorated to the point of death because he was in Moraga for a month caring for his ailing mother. It is Denoyer's current girl friend, Rebecca, who lives full-time in Moraga with Denoyer's mother. The condition of the horses was so dire that they couldn't possibly have become so thin and so close to death in a mere month while the loyal son was tending to mom. If that's where he was. But where's David Neily, JC Cavanaugh and Ronnie Baumeister?
THE VILLAGE of Mendocino is all het up about a small, primitive arch erected on a corner of the famous Art Center in the center of town. Some people say it needs a permit, as do all structures in the officially historic little town, some people say it doesn't because its art on the grounds of an art center. I swerved off Highway One last week to have a look at the thing. If I didn't know better I'd have guessed that the arch had been designed and built by children, and not particularly talented children at that. But Bette Duke of Little River nicely summed up the controversy: "Discussing the question as to whether the 'Mendocino Portal' is a sign, sculpture, or structure requiring a permit is a waste of time. Call it whatever you want — I call it awful, an eyesore, an embarrassment to the community. The only permit that should be rendered is one for demolition." Having detoured through Mendocino the other day to have a look for myself I can only second Ms. Duke.
PAY PHONES are disappearing everywhere in the country as much of the population goes to cell phones. But pay phones are essential for the millions of people who can't afford cell phones, who depend in emergency situations entirely on pay phones. And millions of immigrants communicate with their distant families entirely by pay phones. They are, or should be, part of every community's communications system. Pay phones are also essential during natural disasters because, as Regina Costa of San Francisco's Utility Reform Network explains, "traditional wired phone networks have a robust, independent electrical backup" with all kinds of ways to re-route calls if the network fails. Cell technology, thanks to deregulation and the greed of the communications corporations, save themselves the expense of these crucial backups and also save themselves the expense of maintaining public pay phones. Which is why they're disappearing.
CONTRADICTIONS. Or not connecting the dots. A delegation of local liberals approached the supervisors last week with a petition to impeach Cheney. Three of the supervisors predictably said the big picture stuff does not apply to us here in Lilliput. Supervisor Colfax (and former Supervisor Dan Hamburg) argued that the Bush Gang's crimes, foreign and domestic, are having a negative impact everywhere, including Mendocino County. Blank check spending on imperial (and endless) wars like the ones Bush has ignited in the Middle East mean less money for the health and welfare of Americans, hence the big picture's local relevance. Bush and Co. have also revised the Constitution to waive habeas corpus whenever some Young Republican Administration lawyer feels like it, and there is now official sanction for torture and, of course, the government can also now wiretap anybody they feel like listening in on. This is all stuff our government has been doing for a long time, but past governments at least felt it necessary to deny it.
ALL THESE WAIVERS of basic individual freedoms are supposed to make US more secure. But who feels insecure? Do you know a single person who goes to bed at night worrying about a terrorist attack? Do you know a single adult-type person who doesn't understand that we live in a world teeming with maniacs and one of those maniacs, or teams of maniacs will, like they did on 9/11, occasionally get lucky and murder some of us in shocking and shockingly unpredictable ways? Does the occasional maniac justify gutting the Constitution?
SUPERVISOR COLFAX rightly stomped out of the Supes' chambers when his three conservative colleagues tabled the Cheney impeachment matter rather than vote on it. Where and what the alleged liberal from Fort Bragg, Kendall Smith, was doing while the Big Picture was being focused remains unclear. But Colfax is right. Why not vote on it? Insignificant as these gestures are this late in our very own Wiemar, every elected official in the land ought to be on the record as to where he was on those days democracy died, and all those officials who helped kill it ought to be known beyond the readership of the Ukiah Daily Journal. Tabling the resolution is particularly spineless because it's really a back door "No" vote.
MORE RELEVANT than an anti-Bush Gang advisory, is the abdication of local libs at election time. The Mendo Greens, basically an extension of the Democratic Party octopus — don't do anything at all other than bore each other at their endless, and endlessly inane meetings. The Greens are as invisible as it's possible for a political party to get, even more invisible than my party, P&F, which at least can claim to have knocked the Thompson-like Doug Bosco out of office and out of the seat the Northcoast and national Democrats had assumed was a safe seat for them forever. The professional officeholders of the Democratic Party have been looking over their Pilate shoulders ever since. They know their support on the Northcoast is soft, but they also know that the Northcoast's libs who keep them in office are softer yet.
AS MENDOLIB fumes about Cheney, they still blame Nader for Bush and can be counted on to get enthusiastically behind Hillary — Bush Lite. Mendolib complains endlessly about how reactionary and graspingly self-interested their local officials are but can also be counted on not to back candidates likely to be any better which, in the case of the Greens anyway, is just as well because the local Greens tend not to be fully socialized. Deranged as some of them are, the local Democrat-annointed officeholders can at least pull themselves together long enough to pass through the food lines at wine and cheese events without causing worried whispers, "My god, who's that?"
MENDOLIB can be depended on to support whomever the local and national Democrats foist off on us at election time, hence the Northcoast foisters like Mike Thompson, Patti Berg, Chesbro, Wiggins, Kendall "No comments or I'll clear this chamber" Smith, bring us Democrats at the local level who, politically, are barely distinguishable from most Republicans, including Cheney. How many of the people who spoke passionately to the supervisors the other day about the unchecked evil of the Bush regime are already talking up the national Democratic Party's candidates, the same Democratic Party that refuses to take the mandated, no risk steps that would at least compel Cheney and the rest of the Bush Mob to defend themselves?
AGENDA ITEM UNO at the just concluded San Francisco convention of the American Psychological Association was a long debate on whether or not helping professionals should be present during torture sessions. The assumption seemed to be that psychologists, by training, know the difference between torture and merely tough interrogations. The Bush Mob claims it always has a doctor and a shrink standing by to make sure the boys and girls at the controls of the electrodes now hooked up to the global scrotum don't get carried away. But the psych practioners assembled in Frisco last week voted overwhelmingly to reject a resolution that would have banned its members from being in the room standing by while government-paid psychopaths worked over prisoners. The psychologists instead supported a statement that said they were opposed to "torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of terror suspects." But hand us the pliers and the power drills, thank you, and please close the door while we proceed. Frankly, I'm not surprised. From long observation of Mendocino County's therapists, I'd say most of them wouldn't hesitate to waterboard their own mothers, whether or not they got paid to do it.