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Off the Record (Mar 23, 2016)

Del Fiorentino
Del Fiorentino

LOTS OF US took a moment to remember that it was two years ago Saturday that Deputy Sheriff Ricky Del Fiorentino was shot and killed by a rampaging Oregon tweaker.

DEL FIORENTINO'S killer was himself soon shot and killed by Lt. John Naulty of the Fort Bragg Police Department, backed up by Fort Bragg's then-police chief, Scott Mayberry. These two men, without regard for their own safety, walked into an unknown and fluid situation to confront a man, or maybe more than one man for all they knew, who had just shot and killed Deputy Del Fiorentino.

A CONSENSUS good guy, Del Fiorentino, was lost to his family and friends and the people of the Mendocino Coast. Incredibly, the City of Fort Bragg also soon lost Naulty and Mayberry to the petty desire of the town's management to install yes-people at its power levers.

NAULTY was denied the chief's position he'd earned not only from years of unblemished police work but for his heroism in stopping a mad dog killer on the outskirts of town. Mayberry, the second native son humiliated by Fort Bragg's city government, was also driven from his job for no stated reason at all, probably because management knew if they even tried to explain themselves their petty vindictiveness would be revealed for all to see.

THE NAULTY-MAYBERRY AFFAIR is just one of many arrogant, costly, arbitrary moves by Fort Bragg that has estranged a large part of the town's population. Deputy Del Fiorentino, a man without a petty bone in his body, would not approve.

Scott Mayberry & John Naulty
Scott Mayberry & John Naulty

AS AN EARLY RISER, I snap on my radio to learn if the world made it through the night while I'd bagged my six or seven hours of shuteye. The only station available in the Anderson Valley is Public Radio Mendocino County or KZYX. I don't reference the station here to slight it, but I only hear it a few minutes at a time, and almost always early in the morning, although yesterday a blip on afternoon NPR informed me that the Huffington Post is a leftwing newspaper! O well. In a world of misinformation what's one more?

Hartmann, Hockenberry
Hartmann, Hockenberry

IT TOOK ME MONTHS before I could distinguish between early morning yappers John Hockenberry and Thom Hartman, their smug, glib-lib opinions being interchangeable, and unleavened by even so much as a hint of irony let alone wit. They're both boring and irritating as hell because they're so, so, so....predictable, blandly predictable. And they have zero to say outside the suffocating parameters of mainstream lab-lib. Their pretense is the call-in format, but neither one of them is interested in what their callers have to say, often cutting callers off one sentence in so they can string out their own platitudes.

BUT THIS MORNING, this Hartman character managed to grab all of my interest when, dropping the name of some media big shot he was going to dinner with to solidify his own shaky cred as a media big shot himself, or at least that's how it sounded to me, Hartman said he Mr. Big had passed through about "thirty or so" street people, most of them black, among them a young couple, both of them black. (I think the scene was Washington, DC.) Hartman said he suddenly heard a familiar noise from the American sidewalk sound track — the launching of the loogie or lunger, i.e., the expulsion of an accumulated gob of chest effluvia as it's hocked up and propelled outward. In this case it was the young black man who'd loogied in the general direction of Hartman.

IT WAS ONLY when Hartman and Mr. Big got to the restaurant, and Hartman had hung up his jacket that he realized the guy had spit on him. Before he got to that startling fact, or after, Hartman informed us that the jacket had cost him $180 at a certain named store but would have cost him $400 at another named store, solidifying my suspicion that he's the kind of feeb this stuff is important to. (These guys talk in an insanely excited, stream of consciousness rush leaving listeners to pick out meaning from all the burble-gush.)

"WELL," Hartman concluded, "he's been spit on all his life so....." So it's fine with me that he spit on me because he's a victim of historical injustice and I'm a member of the race that did it.

HARTMAN'S BRAND of doormat liberalism is pretty much standard in lib circles any more and it's entirely false. And disgusting. Anybody of whatever ethnicity who spits on a total stranger should be confronted and, I would say, if the lunger vic can manage it, knocked straight on his racist ass. Which is what most of us would do regardless of race, religion or creed.

AT A MINIMUM, Hartman, when he realized the punk had spit on him, should have gone back and engaged the young black gentleman in liberal dialogue, maybe invited him on to his program where the young man could explain why he feels free to lob lungers on white passersby. Maybe he and Hartman could re-enact the episode for his listeners.


MONTANA PODVA is back in town. Maybe he never left, but last we heard of the garrulous attorney and chronic candidate he was somewhere to the east, some wild territory like Colusa or Glenn and he was running for a state office. But here in Mendo the old boy is back in Potter Valley where he's taken out papers to run against incumbent 1st District Supervisor, Carre Brown. Who is unbeatable. Who is entrenched. Whose major political purpose in life is to make sure Potter Valley's noble sons of the soil get free Eel River diversion water forever. Mrs. Brown hasn't been a bad supervisor. She's blind to criticism of the rampaging wine industry, and an automatic vote for their interests, but then so are all her colleagues. But on other issues she's knowledgeable and fair. We were especially happy that she joined supervisors Gjerde and Woodhouse to pull the plug on the Ortner Management Group, private owners of half Mendocino County's formerly public mental health services. We think Mrs. Brown should be re-elected.

PODVA calls himself a "Constitutional" lawyer, meaning, at least to us, he has serious crank tendencies, one of these guys omni-prepared to city his dubious interpretations of the sacred document, originally drafted, some of us may recall, by 18th century aristocrats to exclude from political participation everyone who wasn't like them, meaning that all but about one percent of the American population was excluded from the political playground. (Kinda like now, come to think of it. We get to vote for one of their reps but they still own it.) We nevertheless look forward to hearing from Podva directly about why he thinks he would be a better supervisor than Mrs. Brown.

THE LATE DA NORM VROMAN, was a Constitutional lawyer. He managed to conclude from his close textual analysis of the document that he didn't have to pay income taxes, an opinion that bought him nine months in the federal pen.

THE UGLY TRUTH: The Legislature’s budget analyst and the Governor's Department of Finance jointly told voters in their official summaries of Proposition 47 that “Net state criminal justice savings … could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually.” The savings were to be spent on drug treatment, juvenile delinquency prevention and other programs to reduce incarceration. But when the Department of Finance recently made public its savings estimate for the budget this year, the "net state criminal justice savings" from Prop 47 is only $29.3 million. What does this mean in the big scheme of things? Assuming only for the sake of argument that all 58 counties will receive an equal allotment (which we all know will never be the case), the current estimated Prop 47 savings to be allocated per county is only $500,000, hardly enough to pay for all the programs that the voters were promised. Bottom line: state prison inmates down 22 percent, state prison costs up nearly 20 percent. Such a deal.


OBAMA'S Supreme Court nominee, based on his maudlin and weepy expression of gratitude on national television today, would also seem to be in serious need of getting a grip on himself. But, then, maybe it's time for all of America to just sit down and have a good group cry. Look, I know we're not the same brave and hardy people who walked out here behind covered wagons, but when did we become such whiners? Such shameless cry babies? Every time I turn on the tube someone is going to pieces. Yes, life isn't all birthday cakes and bouquets, but most Americans still have it pretty good, too good given the size of us these days, so can we just please lighten up a little?

SUPES BOARD CHAIR Dan Gjerde, should have cracked down on the animal people last week because they went on too long, but Supes meetings often deteriorate into weirdly off-kilter free-association sessions. It's past time to strictly limit discussion to the alleged agenda item supposedly under discussion. The Shelter item was not public input time, but rather a specific agenda item regarding Shelter rules.

MANY OF THE SPEAKERS wanted to privatize the Shelter — turn its management over to a private Sonoma County animal group dominated by the wealthy Mountanos family, which seems from here another big give away of a crucial government responsibility.

SUPERVISOR HAMBURG, fully alert for a change, pointed out that problems at the Shelter, should be sorted out by Shelter management, not the Supervisors.

AS IF THE SHELTER discussion was insufficiently surreal, as Shelter speakers rambled on to no particular end, the room began filling up with the next batch of concerned citizens — the medical marijuana brigade — a colorful mix of older groovy guys in Berks and flowing tunics, beard braids, garlands of woo-woo beads. (The women, too.) These holdouts from The Summer of Love were leavened by No Bullshit millennial grower types out to make a nice buck from the looming legal corporatization of the holy weed. Mendocino County! There's no show like it!

A LEGGETT HOME on Drive Through Tree Road burned to the ground Tuesday morning. A dead woman was found inside, according to Cal Fire. Fire personnel described the destroyed structure as one in which "suspicious activities" had occurred. The identity of the dead woman still has not been released.

FROM THE Ukiah Daily Journal report on the status of the sale of the Ukiah rail depot property to the State for the new totally unnecessary Ukiah-based County Courthouse: “The property being considered as the site of a proposed new Mendocino County courthouse is now in escrow, according to its current owner the North Coast Railroad Authority. ‘I can safely say it is on the path to reality,’ said NCRA executive director Mitch Stogner of the project...”

AS OPPOSED to Stogner's railroad which remains purely fictional but does employ loyal Democrats of the well-connected type like Stogner.

THE COLLAPSE OF THE BRIDGE FRAMEWORK for the Willits Bypass occurred because the contractor was inattentive, CalTrans announced last week. Three workers were badly injured when a 150-section of concrete forms collapsed. Caltrans contractor, Flatiron West of Benicia, was responsible for construction and inspection. Caltrans designed the bridge. The forms collapsed as concrete was being poured into them. CalTrans claims Flatiron deviated from plans approved by Big Orange, although Big Orange, obviously, failed to oversee Flatiron. Anyway, this is all preliminary to the court case soon underway as both sides attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility.

MENDOCINO COUNTY Superintendent of Schools, Warren Galletti, has entered a rehab program following his arrest last month for driving under the influence. He entered rehab after entering a not guilty plea. His preliminary hearing is in April. Atilla Panczel of Ukiah is representing Galletti.

ROBIN IVEY WARREN, age 62, got a hung jury on her DUI case by taking her misdemeanor case to a jury who agreed last week that her blood alcohol, measured at just above 0.08, was too close to call, that breathalyzers can, like all machinery, be inaccurate. The DA quickly announced that “This matter will undergo the standard review by senior prosecutors next week. The parties will be back in court on March 25th and it is expected that a trial with a new jury will be rescheduled at that time. The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence at this week's trial was Deputy District Attorney Houston Porter. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice Crime Laboratory in Eureka.”

AMERICA’S MOST EXPENSIVE GARDEN PROJECT is kicking off in Fort Bragg. The City of Fort Bragg has applied for and received a Community Development Block Grant worth $186,047 for the Hospitality Center's "Giving Garden." The money is good for three years. The CDBG book of regulations says all its projects are supposed to be monitored for compliance by the grantee. But Fort Bragg people trying to find out who's responsible get a circular reference. The guy in Sacramento says talk to Fort Bragg, FB says talk to the guy in Sacramento.

THIS IS FEDERAL MONEY, and how exactly this much money came to be funneled through Fort Bragg for yet another nebulous Hospitality Center-related scheme is not known. What is known? $186,047 buys a lot of lettuce.

"The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. CDBG is an important tool for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. The CDBG program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the Nation."

FORT BRAGG is clearly responsible for America's most expensive garden project: "As a CDBG grantee, The City is required to submit a variety of reports on an interim and annual basis, including annual Grantee Performance Reports (GPRs) The GPRs are required by the state Housing and Community Development (HCD) in order to generate information required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development."

"CITY DIALOGUE MEETING set for Friday, March 25th." That's the City of Fort Bragg, and one has to wonder why a meeting allegedly convened to hear from the public is scheduled for 9am when the public is at work. Lemee guess. Because the City would prefer not to hear?

RED TAIL FLIGHT? The Indian tycoon who owns the Mendocino Brewing Company says he didn’t leave India in a big secret hurry to avoid his creditors, who he's in hock to to the tune of $1.3 billion. Mallya says he didn’t leave India for any other reason than travel. Vijay Mallya took over his father’s beer conglomerate in 1983 and co-owns a Formula One racecar team. He's often called India’s Richard Branson. His Kingfisher Airlines went bankrupt, running up most of that debt before it crashed, so to speak.

THREE PROPOSALS for this year’s commercial salmon season assume a smaller Chinook salmon run in two areas. Two fishery managers have put together a shortened season with several gaps, mostly in the Fort Bragg region, where the fishery may be partially closed in June and completely in July. Congressman Jared Huffman of San Rafael and other Bay-Delta representatives say those gaps would mean about a 20 percent overall cutback for fisherman and as much as 45 percent along an area from Point Arena to Horse Mountain, north of Shelter Cove in Humboldt County.

ALTHOUGH ADDICTION is forever on the rise here there and everywhere, government keeps doling out money on the false assumption that American Society is not itself crazy-making. The Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Ukiah, of course has received federal awards for local substance abuse programs to the tune of $325,000 of $12.6 million distributed to clinics throughout the state.

THE CYBER DELUGE is blessing and curse, as is instant communication. If I don't restrain myself, I could pass entire days arguing with e-mail provocations. Occasionally an on-line beef is worth getting into, like the one several paras below about Sheriff Allman's proposal to fund and establish a County mental health facility apart from the County Jail where mental patients can only get sicker. Allman's idea is a place where the mentally ill could be housed and perhaps even helped. Initially, the effort would be funded by a slight, five-year bump in the sales tax.

I THINK it's a good idea as outlined by the Sheriff. The County's police forces spend much of their on-duty time dealing with the mentally ill, however they got that way whether through drugs, alcohol or genetic turbulence. (The present crop of homeless mentally ill are crazier than ever because on the street they "self-medicate." And there are many more of them, not to mention the criminally insane, like the homicidal maniac who walked in out of the midnight to attack the woman north of Fort Bragg with a knife.) And the cops deal with this growing cohort of thanatoids over and over again because there is presently no viable alternative to police and jail. (Our monarchical local judges are of zero help here. They run the same people through the courts over and over again.)

COUNTY COPS now do all the mental health heavy lifting and housing which, actually, isn't all a bad thing. Cops tend to be much more sophisticated and much kinder in dealing with the mentally ill than the "liberals" who staff the helping bureaucracies. The libs go to college, emerging after four years of heavy drinking, random boffery and recreational drug use with vague diplomas in Advanced Billery and, clutching their ersatz degrees, their confused heads stuffed with nonsense, latch onto life jobs in public agencies.

(I HASTEN to add that my collitch degree, which I've found of no practical use whatsoever, let alone as an income enhancer, is in English and history. I learned nothing that I couldn't have absorbed faster with a good reading list. "Here ya go, Bozo. These books will give you some idea WTF and you can take it from there." As it was, I spent hours sitting in classrooms listening to a tiresome collection of tenured hacks who managed to make these subjects boring. I had one college teacher I enjoyed listening to and, of course, he got fired for criticizing the jive administration of the place. For high schools to hold out college as the end all, be all does young people a huge disservice. Kids! Listen to me! Don't do it! If you're going to be a doctor or an engineer of course you gotta go. But liberal arts? A total waste of time and wayyyyyy too much money. If college was free, like it ought to be and The Bern wants it to be, then go to college. As it stands, all you'll be doing is racking up a lot of debt.)

WHERE WERE WE? O yes. Sheriff Allman's mental health plan. Some of you are at least dimly aware that right here in Ecotopia, Mendo branch, we spend roughly $20 million a year for an existing mental health apparatus that doesn't do much of anything apart from shipping out the more extreme cases to privately owned and operated facilities in places like Yuba City. The Sheriff's plan would keep a hunk of that money at home. (By the way, all that Mr. Ortner's hack-staff of mercenary mental health pros do for crisis cases in Yuba City is lock them indoors for a week while they zombo-ize their patients on new combos of liver-destroying drugs.)

BEFORE AMERICA LOST ITS WAY, there was a broad consensus that persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were the social responsibility of all us. It was regarded as cruelly unthinkable to simply allow drunks and crazy people to live on the streets. Somehow, we've drifted far from reality ourselves, going from a modest and effective state hospital system to the ad hoc conglomeration of free lunch programs (such as Hospitality House in Fort Bragg and Plowshares in Ukiah) and a huge and expensive tax-fed public bureaucracy of "helping professionals," all of it feeding off the ever-larger numbers of free range drunks, drug addicts and crazy people without doing anything for any of them.

THESE HELPING PROS and the well-paid mercenaries running places like Hospitality House and Plowshares, now comprise an obstacle to commonsense strategies for actually doing something about the "homeless," a catch-all term that includes only a tiny minority of people who are on the streets because of economic bad luck while drunks and drug addicts are on the streets because, with a hot and a cot when they feel like it, they can stay on the streets, drunk and loaded and destroying public spaces. The insane are on the streets because there is no place for them except the County Jail. Which can only hold so many.

OK, SO HERE COMES the critic of the Sheriff's plan:

"The 'plan' is very simple — raise money to build a building which will be used for mental health services. Period. It does not say what services. Oh, and we will use 10% of the money to build a mental health training center, as if there is not already an abundance of conference rooms where this training can take place. But beyond that, the initiative does not say what kind of facility will be built or what kind of services will be provided. The Sheriff has made it clear he wants a 16 bed locked facility for 5150s. But many seem to think this building will take the place of all out of County placement. Supporters are also projecting that it will accommodate a crisis residential program, drug and alcohol treatment, 23 hour pre-crisis voluntary drop in and everything else that people believe we ought to be doing. It is a mental health facility of dreams but buildings do not provide treatment or pay for it. Is it too much to ask that the proponents describe what will happen in this building and how we will pay for it?"

I'M SURE THE SHERIFF will correct me if I'm misrepresenting his plan, but everything listed here is not like organizing the construction of King Tut's pyramid. All this stuff would fit nicely at the now abandoned Howard Hospital in Willits. Cops could take the Catch of the Day straight there for the (existing, funded) helping professionals to sort out and maybe even help. As is, we have an in-County "system" led by people who can't even tell the Supervisors how many people are employed in the local system and what these people do! You mean to say we can't revamp this expensive absurdity along the lines the Sheriff has proposed and bring it off for less than twenty annual million?

BASICALLY, lightly populated Mendocino County, with our relatively small (but growing, always growing) population of drop-fall drunks, free-range drug addicts and untreated mentally ill, has, by default adopted San Francisco's approach to the so-called homeless. Frisco spends a quarter of a billion dollars a year on the homeless, which they radically under-estimate at 6,600 as more and more homeless appear every month on the streets of the city. Divide $250 million by 6,600 and you get $37,878 much of which goes to the people paid to allegedly get the homeless indoors.

HOW MANY HOMELESS in Mendocino County? Pick a number. The County has done a couple of counts they admit are deeply flawed, as they naturally would be because the homeless resist enumeration. But officially, after literally beating the bushes and peering under bridges in 2013, there were 1,344 homeless individuals in the County. In 2015 there were 1,032 because, well, the people doing the counting want us to believe that their savvy interventions are working miracles so state and federal government will continue to kick down grant dough.

BOTTOM LINE? State and federal government is going to have to revive versions of the old state hospital programs. The problem is obviously beyond the capacities of local government. Odds of that happening? A million to zero.

WHICH IS WHY Sheriff Allman is way, way ahead of the curve here. He wants a local solution in lieu of anything being done, or likely to be done higher up the government ladder of bribe takers, straight-up crooks, time servers, and incompetents. If we don't do it ourselves it's not going to get done, and to get it done locally we've got to go outside present strategies.

BTW, it can't be noted often enough that Supervisor McCowen spends almost all his spare time cleaning up after and helping out the homeless capable of being helped in practical ways of housing and work. He knows directly who's out there and why they're out there. Hopefully, three supervisors, if they can be convinced that the Allman Plan can be more effective and less expensive than the present failed approaches to homelessness in the County, will make some version of the Allman plan a reality.

THE OTHER PARTY to the mental health discussion came right back with:

"I completely agree that the walking mentally wounded and chronic drunks should not be allowed to commit slo mo public suicide. But the proposed initiative does not say anything about dealing with those people. And saying the building is only for mental health services automatically excludes drunks. I am not sure of the current number of out-of-county placements, both in locked and unlocked facilities, but I don't think the non-existent plan includes long term confinement of drunks and crazy people.

"HOWARD HOSPITAL? First the Sheriff said it would not work for his building due to seismic issues. Now he says it will. I've heard that Margie Handley will sell Howard for $2 million, maybe less. Allman has said the seismic for his 16 bed locked facility could be handled for $1 million. Say it cost $2 million more to do all the other upgrades to make it the building of our collective dreams. Now you are at $5 million. So why are we approving a tax to raise $22 million? Again, no plan, no cost projections, nothing at all to indicate that the facility (whatever it is intended to be) can operate sustainably into the future.

"I FAVOR using Howard as a mental health facility and more. Very reliable sources say Ortner was ready to buy it six to eight months ago but that all came to a halt when we pulled the plug on the adult mental health services contract. But for the money that is needed ($3-$5 million — not $22 million) I would think Redwood and one of the local hospitals could develop Howard with a combination of services that are needed locally. The hospitals could also have a number of dedicated psych beds and the County would guarantee payment. That would allow services to be scaled to the local need. Acute psych in a hospital setting with crisis residential and drug and alcohol treatment at old Howard."

THE SHERIFF'S PLAN is of course tentative because plans are by their nature tentative. Seismic upgrading is often an ongoing scam shoved down our collective throats by politicians funded by construction donors. Assuming Howard Hospital is not made out of Pick Up Sticks and Gorilla Glue, it isn't going to fall down any time soon. An '06 quake is going to knock every thing down, a lesser quake will knock some things down, other things will remain functional. Minor reinforcements, where needed, could be done. You don't have to make it seem as if it's impossible.

I THINK it would be enormously helpful to the cops and the communities of this county to have the gamut of "homeless" services under one roof. There's plenty of room in Howard for a drunk unit, plenty of room for tweakers to get straight, plenty of rooms for the mentally ill, including locked rooms for the extreme cases to be sequestered while our hard hitting helping pros restore them to their senses. The old state hospital at Talmage had room for all manner of walking wounded. We should aim at having our own Mendo version of Talmage on the assumption that it's up to us to take care of ourselves because help will not be forthcoming from other levels of government.

PS. Coast Hospital is struggling because, like every other public institution in the County, the higher echelons — doctors and administrators — make way too much money. Coast Hospital, often under-populated, could be partly converted to a unit for, say, drunks, thus helping the Hospital perhaps regain its fiscal equilibrium.

ISN'T IT CLEAR to most of us by now that these grotesquely inflated salaries that public servants have managed to gull the public into paying are bankrupting government at the local level? Mendocino County is soooooo broke just paying retirement and health benefits to past employees that it will, at some point, be forced to declare bankruptcy ala Vallejo.

THE HOMELESS, MORE PRECISELY: The County does a "point in time" count once every two years, using HUD guidelines for who is homeless. It includes everyone who is sleeping on a relative's couch, families doubled up in apartments, everyone staying in a shelter, everyone in "transitional housing" (even though they may have up to two years in transition in contrast to many sharing apartments which are on a month to month basis) and probably a few other categories. And of course it includes everyone sleeping out or sleeping in their vehicles, even though there are those who are choosing to live in the open or in an old motor home or camper. All count equally as homeless. And some are much better at staying below the public radar than others.

THE MOST PROBLEMATICAL HOMELESS are those occupying public space or trespassing on private property. Not counting people in vehicles or someone's couch or backyard, knowledgeable Ukiah people estimate that there are about 100 visibly unsheltered people, mostly men, in the Ukiah Valley. "If we took just 25 of the chronics off the street we would look like paradise," is how a Ukiah resident put it. "We are certainly not overrun with homeless like Eureka and other areas. But if you are a free spirited traveler with no sense of responsibility who wants everything handed to you, then my message is to please keep traveling."

CONTRARY to rumors, Ross Liberty, the Ukiah-based entrepreneur and developer of the old Masonite property north of Ukiah, has not laid off almost all his workers and on his way to bankruptcy. He recently laid off 8 people because the snowmobile market he makes some parts for was way off this year, but he has secured a new non-snowmobile contract and will probably soon re-hire the laid-off 8.

THE LATEST REPORT from California Drought Monitor says Mendocino County is now drought-free but remains in the “abnormally dry” category, an upgrade from the “moderate drought” category. Sonoma, Napa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties were also shifted into the “abnormally dry” category this week, which seems to mean while reservoirs have re-filled we remain kindling awaiting the flame. Humboldt County remains “abnormally dry” and Del Norte County remains the only California county considered “normal.”

ATTRIBUTION DEPT. John Campbell of KZYX recently accused John Sakowicz of advocating a forceful takeover of the station Campbell cited this blustery paragraph:

"What Would Judi Bari Do? Show up, bull rush Campbell and whatever other dope-soaked marshmallow is in the way, take over the mike, explain live what you're doing, maybe even get arrested. Make a major issue out of it." From Mendocino County Today, October 6, 2015.

Sako didn't write it.

I KNOW WHO WROTE IT, I did, Bruce Anderson. And I know I wrote it because (1) I'm him and I'm writing this and (2) I write all of Mendocino County Today unless otherwise indicated. I also write Valley People unless otherwise indicated. BTW, I have vivid memories of the Judi Bari-led station takeover because I was there, and I'm glad I was there because it was one of the funniest (unintended type) local events I've ever seen. Gordy Black was KZYX's designated marshmallow that day. Gordy had valiantly positioned himself at the door in a vain attempt to hold back the mob, shoving the elderly Norvells off the stairs but soon overcome by the onrushing crowd. Inside he and Bari engaged each other in an unedifyingly prolonged dialogue consisting entirely of Gordy chanting "Fascist-fascist-fascist" at Bari while she chanted back "Fuck you-fuck you-fuck you." Station manager Nicole Sawaya had wisely stepped aside, turning over the mike to a series of aggrieved (and often mentally uneven) persons who broadcast live their complaints about recent developments at KZYX, primarily that Beth Bosk had been removed from her talk show. Bari, ostensibly upset over the Bosk firing, soon had her own talk show in place of Bosk, but of course in Mendo cannibalism is never unexpected.

REGARDING recent developments at Mendocino County Public Radio, circa 2016, I don't hesitate in saying that newly appointed station manager Ms. Dechter is the best thing that's happened there since Sawaya. Dechter is smart, capable and, mirabile dictu! she's pleasant. People want to look at the books, Ms. Dechter invites them to look at the books and offers cookies and coffee into the bargain. I predict she will turn the place around, although it won't be easy un-cooking the books and re-growing the membership rolls after the disastrous reign of Coate-Campbell-Aigner.

BACK IN 2004 we received a generic accusation of a misquote from AV High math teacher Kathy Borst. Ms. Borst said we hadn’t quoted her graduation speech accurately, and what we did quote was out of context. So, what should we do? Take her word for it? Of course not. All we said was that she announced she was going to give a long, boring speech and she lived up to her opening remarks. What was there to misquote? Ms. Borst fails to provide specifics.

WE TAKE MISQUOTES very, very seriously because we’ve been misquoted literally hundreds of times over the years, often deliberately, by our media colleagues. And these idiots use tape recorders! How can you screw up a quote if you’ve got the goddamed thing on tape? But… But the complaints about misquotes we get are usually nothing more complicated than the quoted person not liking or even remembering what he or she in fact said.

BUT MS. BORST, in her lively, quotable communiqué, has provided us with an opportunity to review the AVA’s Misquote Complaint Policy. First promulgated in the early 90s when the late Ms. Diane Paget, a CSD board member at the time, said she had been misquoted in our report of a CSD meeting, went on at length to say she had been misquoted, implying that it was common and intentional, but did not provide us with the alleged misquote or prior misquotes. Like most media critics she simply stated it as fact, and as if she were infallible, and as if to so much as suggest otherwise, well, we never have claimed infallibility on our end.

WE WORK hard to get accurate quotes into our reporting. If there are significant misquotes we correct them, but we’ve never received a request to correct a specific misquote. What we have received is a hundred or so demand letters from woof-woof lawyers threatening to sue us unless we print a retraction of some opinion their clients have found objectionable. Jared Carter, the famed attorney now doing the work of the righteous for Charles Hurwitz out of Scotia, once demanded that we retract an editorial cartoon depicting Supervisor Butcher and her husband as drunks and their two Amazon daughters as out-of-control rich girls who seemed to think they could whatever they felt like doing in the Ukiah context. One daughter had kicked a Ukiah Police officer in the pills, another had appeared at a board meeting to denounce her mom’s fellow supervisor, Norman de Vall as “a fucking asshole.” Madam Butcher, a hypocrite of the first order, had also threatened to sue the Ukiah PD for mistreating Amazon Girl, her daughter, to which the Ukiah PD threatened to sue Butcher for malicious prosecution because the kid had gone off at Taco Bell in front of many witnesses and assaulted the cop, not vicey versa. The Butcher girls liked to go around saying, “You better watch out; my mommy is a supervisor.” (Lots of the, ah, dimmer Mendo kids grow up thinking Ukiah or Willits or Mendocino or Boonville or Fort Bragg is the whole wide world.)

IF YOU THINK you’ve been misquoted and go to all the trouble to write in about it, the least you could do is cite the misquote and/or its context in order that we might all judge if you’ve joined the local legions victimized by the meanie faces at the AVA. The format for such complaints is as follows:

A. “You reported that I said x, but I never said any such thing.”

B. “You reported that I said x, but I actually said y.”

C. “You reported that I said x, and I said something like x, but for the record what I meant to say was y.”

D. “You reported that I said x, and I said x, but I also said y which you left out.”

E. "You reported that I said x, and I said x, but on hindsight I should have said y.”

Failure to adhere to this complaint format will render your accusation false; moreover, your name will be written down in the AVA’s Big Book of Snivelers. Thank you. — ms

One Comment

  1. John Sakowicz March 24, 2016

    Stuart Campbell, not John Campbell, is the correct name of the hysteric at KZYX.

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