CONNECTING THE DOTS. Jared Carter is a well-known Ukiah attorney and Republican activist who exercises considerable influence inside and outside Mendocino County. He has functioned as attorney for Charles Hurwitz of Pacific Lumber infamy, and I think it was Carter who came up with the legal idea of “takings,” the neighborly notion that any interference with private property amounted to confiscation meaning, I suppose, that if I were prevented by government from storing nuclear waste in my back bedroom my freedom would have been seriously messed with. Carter, of course, applies his berserk theory to the big boys like Hurwitz and other major malefactors. Two attorneys from Carter's office – Cindee Mayfield and John Behnke – have been appointed to the Mendocino County Superior Court. Carter himself is presently representing Barbara Reed of Mendocino who is suing the County to legalize Ms. Reed's illegally-rented rooms that Ms. Reed installed at Mendocino's Mac House before Ms. Reed sold the place to its present owners. Ms. Reed is carrying a huge note worth a mil or so on the Mac House; if the rooms aren't legalized, she's stuck with bad paper because the sale of the place to its present owners is off. Ms. Reed is a good friend of Supes candidate Wendy Roberts and, it would seem, Ms. Reed needs her friend on the Board of Supervisors real bad, a million dollar's worth. With Wendy on the Board, Reed might get the Mac House's extra-legal rooms fully approved, although even with Wendy on the Board the votes for Reed's private interests might not be there.
A JUST RELEASED Stanford University study commissioned by the Governor himself has confirmed old suspicions – California's public pension funds are somewhere around $500 billion short. Which is very bad news for lots of teachers and public workers right here in Mendocino County. For years now, government has been under-reporting its unfunded liabilities, deliberately of course, and now government is half a trillion short on the money millions of Californians have counted on to put the gold in their golden years.
TOM LYNCH is running for 2nd District State Senator against entrenched Demo Party hackette, Noreen Evans. Lynch deserves the vote of every correct-thinking person in the Emerald Triangle. He's the Guerneville guy who first drew attention to the Russian River being used as a leech field for the festering mass septic system known as Santa Rosa. One night some 22 years ago, as Santa Rosa illegally discharged wastewater into the dying Russian turning it a weirdly and chemically altered turquoise, Lynch drove a dump truck of manure to the front door of the Press Democrat, then as now full of it on environmental and all other public issues, and deposited a big load of literal bullshit to the newspaper's Mendocino Avenue bunker. Lynch for State Senate!
HASN'T HAPPENED here yet, but thieves are busy stealing the copper irrigation heads from Sonoma County vineyards. Prices of copper are way up, as are unscrupulous buyers for copper in whatever form it appears in.
RECOMMENDED READING: Notes From September 11 – Poems and Stories by Christopher Ketcham, published by Wordrunner Chapbooks, Petaluma. Strong poems, strong prose-poems, strong prose stories, much of it centered up that big day of shocking infamy.
SHOCKING and awful as it was, September 11th wasn't nearly as shocking and awful as the cynicism of Bush, Cheney and Fox News politicians who, along with the usual cooperation of the national libs like our very own Congressman Thompson, have parlayed September 11th into a much more catastrophic and endless war on the Arab world. Like most people, I assumed at the time of September 11th that the fanatics had simply gotten lucky, that while they might pull off an occasional terrorist act at a mall or subway station they were unlikely to ever get away again with anything approaching a take-down of a major skyscraper. What was needed to stop them was some heads-up police work and maybe a commando raid now and then on their camps of 99 virgins that seem to motivate them, not D-Day invasions and permanent occupations of their host countries, invasions and occupations now bankrupting our country from the outside as a handful of bankers loot it from the inside, and getting a lot of young people killed in the cause of what? Those liars Bush and Cheney? O'Bummer's steady expansion of those lies? I wonder what kind of mass psychological state we'd be in if, as happened to the British during World War Two, we got hit every day for four years? The Brits sucked it up and bore it. US? A nation of cringing flag wavers ready to fight to the last man, but like, dude, I'd take on the ragheads myself, but heh-heh like I got a dentist appointment and a bad back. Given the levels of cynically manufactured hysteria in America from September 2001 until now, if we were in a comparable condition of constant attack as the Brits were from 1940-45 us Yanks would all be huddled in big sobbing immobilized piles. We may get there yet.
THE KENNY ROGERS case is another odd one. Rogers, not long ago chairman of Mendocino County's otherwise uneventful Republican Party, has been convicted of a murder for hire whose origins were in, of all places, Westport, a cluster of 300 or so eccentrics perched on the Pacific bluffs 15 miles north of Fort Bragg. Rogers' conviction, notwithstanding the inconvenient facts of no murder and zero evidence that the person eventually packed off to prison for doing the shooting had been hired by anybody.
THE MAN who did the shooting was a tough guy named Richard Peacock who, apparently, drove all the way from Sacramento to shoot up the Westport front door of a man named Allan Simon. Simon and Rogers had been at odds over Westport civic matters, Peacock had been employed by Rogers in Sacramento and at a pot op near Branscomb. There are sensible people who think it was Peacock's brother, Michael, since a murder victim himself, who shot up Simon's door. The Peacock Bros, it seems, are interchangeable when it comes to ultra-vi. Both, since early youth, led lives not in full compliance with the Ten Commandments.
IF A PEACOCK had been hired to kill Simon one would think he'd do what he was allegedly paid to do, especially since the Peacock who was convicted of doing it, Richard Peacock, silently went off to prison for the rest of his life, lips sealed. If he'd been hired to do it surely he would have gotten himself a better sentence by agreeing to testify against the person who was supposed to have hired him to do it. But he didn't, and a very large question is begged.
SIMON HAPPENED, he said, to have been standing behind the door when the bullets hit it, but a hitman bent on murder would almost certainly have rung the bell then plugged Simon when he answered. One would think, wouldn't one?
WHEN ALL OF THIS limped into Ten Mile Court, Kenny Rogers was first offered a misdemeanor plea deal that would have put him in the Mendocino County Jail for a few months. But Rogers refused to take the offer because, he said, he was innocent of hiring Peacock to shoot Simon or do anything else to Simon. Judge Brown subsequently appointed the usual incompetent, under-employed Ukiah attorney to represent Rogers and Rogers, having refused to plead out to lesser charges, was convicted of arranging for Richard Peacock to kill Simon. And Rogers got 25 years in the state pen.
THE KENNY ROGERS case is peculiar, to say the least. Rogers is not only the former chairman of Mendocino County's Republican Party and all-round community guy who served with Westport's community's volunteer fire department and Westport's historically troubled water board, he maintained a car business in Sacramento and a pot garden near Branscomb. Rogers is also a property owner and family man. (Lots of Mendo Republicans are in the pot biz, by the way, so Rogers is not unique there.) Like Glenn Sunkett, the accused and now convicted home invader, Rogers was not competently defended.
THE OLD CLICHE about lawyers never asking in open court a question they don't know the answer to? Rogers appointed attorney, a man named Markham, managed to ask Rogers' adversary, Simon, a real show stopper. Rogers, subject to a Westport recall election, was allegedly going door-to-door to lobby his neighbors not to recall him. Simon claims that when Rogers appeared at his front door, the same door that would be shot up a few months later, Rogers told him that if he were recalled Westport would be ruled by “a nigger and a woman who had sucked every cock in town.” As the women on Rogers' jury reached for their smelling salts and the men blanched and looked at the ceiling, Markham raised no objection to this shocking statement from Simon, which all by itself probably put Rogers, who is now 52, in prison for the rest of his life.
I CAN'T BELIEVE ROGERS, or any other sane person, would say something like this to a man hostile to him. I mean really, going door to door in a tiny town of 47 registered voters issuing racist insults racism accusations of an elderly woman engaging in serial fellatio? We've had some lowdown recall elections in this county but I can't remember any pegged to this particular strategy. Either Rogers is nuts or Simon is creatively demented beyond rural expectations. I don't think Rogers is nuts, but Simon, who was standing behind his front door when Peacock's bullets penetrated it, surely had every reason to want Rogers and Peacock locked up.
WHICH MAY or may not propel us to the Milano Hotel, Fort Bragg, to mull it all over a drink, the Milano where a talented young writer recently stopped in with a view to doing a little piece on that venerable and much esteemed watering hole. The kid happens to mention he has contributed to the AVA, which causes a guy at the bar to warn him off me, the editor of this fine publication! Me, husband, father, veteran, small businessman, Giants fan, voter. This anonymous guy at the Milano tells the kid, as the rest of the rummies do-wop to his sad song, that he should investigate me before he affiliates too closely with such an unsavory character and his newspaper. The Milano guy happens to be right, but for the wrong reasons. If the Milano guy knew me he'd have the evidence! But he doesn't know me, which is why I'm irritated. Of course this kind of random, anonymous bad-rapping comes with the media territory. For some reason we're not held in high general esteem, not that general esteem has ever been a goal of mine, although I much esteem Fort Bragg, mostly, and how can you not love a town whose fire department rapes a drunk woman on the fire department pool table and its leading business people burn down the Ten Mile Courthouse, the town library and the Piedmont Hotel all in one night? And get away with it? Hell, nobody's perfect, but in any national contest of small town weird, Fort Bragg is going to be in the top ten. (Boonville would run strong too, but we're not talking about Boonville.) But the way it really works in Mendocino County is this way: Write a critical word about someone in a lightly populated county like this one and there goes that cry baby and all his wittle fwends wah-wahing endlessly to anyone who'll listen about how The Beast of Boonville did him wrong. My late friend Sally Nordman at Windsong Books had a big honk head go completely off on her in her store one day simply because she sold the AVA. (The fog belt media critics specialize in going off on women. They're a little more careful around men.) So, rather than wah-wah about it endlessly myself, let me say this: The AVA is located at 14111 Highway 128, Boonville, second floor Farrer Building above Mosswood Market, round back and up the stairs. Take it up with me, Milano Hotel. And if I'm not here, punch The Major. That's what I pay him for.
THE LOCAL PAPERS only printed a police press release version of the event, but that kid who was found beaten bloody on the Willits railroad tracks last week apparently was assaulted for wearing the wrong colors. In other words, some gang mopes did it. And then some. The gang mopes also attempted to knife-carve a gang sign into the kid's back. There are lots of people who prefer to think that gangs don't have a foothold in bucolic Mendo, but they do.
JOHANNA SCHULTZ plays hip-hop on KZYX late at night when the children are asleep. (Or out of crank and can't find their Oxycontin to propel them into dreamland.) The late hours on your FM dial are the “adult hours,” not that you don't search far and wide for either children or adults anymore but that's the theory of our audio guardians anyway – when it gets late the kids are supposed to be asleep. Ms. Schultz's program is called “The Word.” Which well it might since the word is mostly mothafugga this, mothafugga that, and mothafug the Easter Bunny and every other muthafugging thing. But Ms. Schultz has been mothafuggin' on the air for years now without anybody complaining. And now she's not on the air. Apparently, someone in the station's perennially cringing hierarchy was up late enough to hear some of the lyrics, specifically the lyrics of a song called, “Freedom of Speech” by a guy calling himself Immortal Technique. I chased it down on the internet and found it not only hilarious, but I agreed entirely with the political sentiments expressed. K-FEEB was less amused. A member of the board of directors heard it and, being a Nice Person, if not a fully nice person, objected to the lyrics which basically denunciated Fox News and other political figures as mothafuggas. Dance music, in other words. A lot of young white mothafuggas get big vicarious thrills from mothafugga tunes, all of it simply more evidence that we're deep in The End Times. But lots of rural white mothafuggas apparently tuned in Ms. Schultz's show, and on it went without objection for seven or eight years, mothafuggin' merrily along, until Ms. Schultz was, in the usual peremptory manner of “free speech public radio,” summarily mothafugged off the air. Ms. Schultz rightly thinks Mendocino County Public Radio has censored her, that since she's been playing the kind of music for years that the nambos wouldn't pambo to even if they'd ever heard it, why now? We'll never know. KZYX has always maintained a Kremlin-quality secrecy which, every year or so, requires human sacrifice, typically female sacrifice. Christina Aanestad was served up to the Gods of Wine and Cheese last year, Ms. Schultz this year.