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Off the Record (May 18, 2016)

ELK RESIDENT Peter Lit directs us to the strange text on page 26 of California’s June 7, 2016 Voter Information Guide concerning Proposition 50: “If a Member knowingly accepts any compensation for appearing, agreeing to appear, or taking any other action on behalf of another person before any local government board or agency, the Member may not, for a period of one year following the acceptance of the compensation, vote upon or make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his or her official position to influence an action or decision before the Legislature, other than an action or decision involving a bill described in subdivision (c) of Section 12 which he or she knows, or has reason to know, would have a direct and significant financial impact on that person and would not impact the public generally or a significant segment of the public in a similar manner.”

AS MR. LIT observes, whether Prop 50 passes or not, the “punishment” for taking a bribe is the same as before: the “legislator” can’t be involved in the legislation that he was bribed for a whole year! After a year, Senator, go ahead and do whatever you were bribed to do.

HOT OFF THE GRILL: When I was line cook at a resort in Wyoming, we had a yooouge wedding on one side — 50+ New York steaks grilled to order, and in the ballroom, the Cattleman’s Association for their annual Prime Rib Dinner … only ’bout 35 tables, two and four-tops, and they all wanted to eat at once. Three prime ribs went into the ovens, and the new chef, just out of school from Honolulu, ordered me and the crew to serve ’em all medium rare. Me & some of the boys wagged our heads in dissent, and one fellow went up to the new chef and said something like, “Dude, people who raise and slaughter beef for a living don’t always like their mashed potatoes swimming in blood.” He (we) were told to shut the fuck up and follow orders. We got the cattlemen’s prime rib out first, then went to work on the steaks for the wedding party, and were doing pretty good, until about 80% of the prime ribs came back asking for medium-well and well-done. The grills and griddles were all full of New York Steaks, however, and as we bobbed and weaved, as they say when you’re in the weeds, we did just like you very well know, by setting the pots of au jus to boil and shoving the 16 oz. prime ribs into the boiling broth with a pair of tongs — so, no, no crispy crust — which most cattlemen’s wives prefer, and the flavorful fats — not the macho Knock-’em-on-the-head-&-etc. — so we had to boil all that grade A choice meat until it resembled mush — and most of it came back w/ only a bite or two taken. Also, the influx of the prime ribs underdone, and the necessary jettisoning of the potatoes and blood-soaked veggies and bread took such a toll on the line cooks, that many of the New York steaks were delayed, some to the point of being inedible. Never seen a worse fiasco in a commercial kitchen. If you want prime rib, or New York steak this side of Wyoming, listen up: Go to The Buckhorn, downtown Boonville. (— Bruce McEwen)

PARTY LINERS. From a story by Adam Randall in Thursday's Ukiah Daily Journal: "Both judicial candidates Tuesday essentially supported the new county courthouse in Ukiah, but said since it’s a state courthouse and primarily funded by the state, it was really the decision of the Judicial Council to move forward with the new infrastructure. Faulder said he thinks the current courthouse “isn’t a good one,” and dangerous in a lot of ways, including the fact that inmates, even the dangerous ones, are walked down the same public sidewalks and into the same hallways of the courthouse that are shared by the public. He also said that’s dangerous for youths coming from juvenile hall who need to have their identity protected. Pekin cited the need for seismic retrofitting for the current courthouse, something that could take years and cost a lot of money in order to make it safe, as a fair reason for a new state-owned courthouse for the community."

BOTH JUDICIAL CANDIDATES are simply mouthing the local judicial party line. Without again enumerating all the reasons a new County Courthouse is the worst idea for both the County and Ukiah to come along since Willits was similarly gulled into building a new County Courthouse, which was soon abandoned, and now sits a-moulderin', an eternal eyesore in the middle of town, a new County Courthouse in Ukiah is the worst idea since the Willits Courthouse.

CANDIDATE FAULDER cites "danger" from the "dangerous ones" and the need to spare juvenile offenders "embarrassment" as they're walked into the present County Courthouse from transport vans. First off, a lot of adult court stuff and juvenile matters could be handled out at the Low Gap holding pens without driving prisoners back and forth to downtown. But their majesties prefer to have everything come to them rather than save everyone time and money, so these ridiculous daily prisoner commutes will continue with or without a new County Courthouse. The doomed will still have to be driven back and forth to the new Courthouse on Perkins, although they, the dangerous, about one percent of the Jail population if that, will be driven straight into the new Courthouse basement and whisked upstairs by elevator to be masticated by the judicial grinder. I feel safer already, and I hope the judges do, too. But danger, if that's a consideration which, in our opinion it's the remotest of possibilities, the real danger comes from driving inmates a couple of miles round trip back and forth to downtown Ukiah. The vans, conceivably, could be hijacked en route. But, as our helping professionals might remind us, the paranoid personality thinks possibilities, rational people act on probabilities. The likelihood of danger is practically nil. (Incidentally, ask the candidates if they'll keep a gun under their robes like some of their colleagues do.)

EARTHQUAKES. A really big one is likely to knock everything down, including a new Courthouse. The lesser quakes won't knock much of anything down. The present County Courthouse can be retrofitted for a lot less than the hundred million the new monstrosity will cost.

THE BUILDING of a new County Courthouse by the State Judicial Council came as the result of years of local judicial agitation from Judge David Nelson (especially) with the rest of our overlarge judicial posse simply saluting. And, as we never tire of pointing out, the Judicial Council, staffed of course by politically appointed judicial hacks, is funded out of fines and court fees paid by everyone, just like taxes. And if you don't pay your fines, you go to jail until you do pay ransom. Fines and fees are way too high, (as is judge pay), and they fall especially hard on working people, but this grim fact is unlikely to be mentioned by judge candidates who, by the way, you will never see or hear from again after the election unless you happen to be in court.

PS. (By Mark Scaramella): Of course we don’t know if UDJ Reporter Randall transcribed everything that the candidates might have said, but candidate Faulder told us last month that he would make sure, at least, that the issue of who pays for the secondary effects of the new courthouse — disposition of the old one, support office impact on the DA’s office and staff, the public defender, probation, jail staffing, etc. — was raised in any future discussion he had about the courthouse. But no mention was made in Thursday’s UDJ story on the courthouse. No one has discussed what the impact might be. There's a conscious effort to pretend that the thing will just be plopped down a few blocks away from downtown and everything else will just magically adjust with no disruption or additional cost. That’s completely wrong. One of the reasons the Deputy Sheriff’s Association is on record as opposing the new courthouse is that they know that the new courthouse will cost the County a large chunk of change out of the General Fund and the Sheriff’s budget (and their salaries) will inevitably take a hit. The judges obviously don’t care and the candidates don’t seem to care either, even when it’s explicitly pointed out.

BIG HONORS for Will Parrish, our talented enviro reporter. Will's story "Fish Out of Water/Coho v. Pinot/Running Dry Fast" was 2nd-place winner for Environmental Reporting in the California Newspaper Publishers Association's 2015 Better Newspapers Contest. The story ran in the Sept. 2, 2015 North Bay Bohemian, and the AVA published it in two installments called "Running Dry, Fast." More info on the awards here: Will’s story is noted on page 9 under "North Bay Bohemian."

FOR MONTHS NOW, Fort Bragg opponents of Measure U have straight-up lied that if Measure U passes existing groups like Art Explorers, Project Sanctuary and so on would have to close. In fact, as coast attorney Rod Jones explains, these existing downtown non-profits are exempt from the provisions of U. They are grandfathered in, protected because they are there. Measure U is to prevent the Hospitality House from moving in to the Old Coast Hotel. Period.

THE WINE INDUSTRY'S Northcoast representative and Demo super-delegate, Congressman Jared Huffman, has received so much flak from constituents feeling The Bern for his pre-election endorsement of Hillary, now says, "Initially when I endorsed Hillary Clinton I spoke a little more definitively about my superdelegate vote than I should have." The Huff said he will support the candidate who wins the most delegates. Of course the guy's Billery in his bones, in his bones!

PULLING THE PLUG on us rurals. In about four years in California, the dial tone and ring of a landline telephone could be as rare as the call of the dodo. The corporations formerly called, quaintly, “the telephone company,” are getting out of the telephone business. This is happening across the country. Thirteen states in the past three years have said telcos can use alternative technology, like wireless and broadband Internet, to provide basic service. California could be next, as Assembly Bill 2395 moves through the Legislature. In addition to providing reliable high-quality voice communications, copper wire phone lines also connect retail credit card readers, home alarm systems, medical monitors, fax machines and other devices. Cell phones can’t accept collect calls or even call an operator. Emergency 911 calls on wired-in phones go direct to dispatchers in our own county, while cell phones are routed to operators in Vallejo who don’t know Fish Rock Road in Gualala from Fish Rock, a street on The Sea Ranch. Legislators and corporate executives who work in an urban sea of wi-fi and cell phone coverage may think the copper-wire landline is obsolete. However, those of us in thinly-settled rural areas who don’t have urban access to broadband or reliable cell coverage will be left out of the telephone loop when our phones are disconnected and that dial tone goes silent. —J. Stephen McLaughlin, editor of the Independent Observer, Gualala

AND HE HAS GREAT ENDORSERS (LIKE ME) by Steve Antler: "My voting recommendations (if you want more information, call (937-5925) or email me): Patrick Pekin for Judge — extremely important to have a fair minded, independent, dedicated, energetic, enthusiastic community servant elected. Fire fighter, student mentor, advocate for access to the courts with tons of experience and great endorsers. This race is very tight — every vote is important. If you want more info: Check out his website: PATRICKPEKINFORJUDGE.COM

Yes on V: common sense protection from wild fires.

Yes on W: Let’s see what a charter would look like. This is just to draw up the charter which could be beneficial. We have nothing to lose.

NO on U (in Fort Bragg): Besides all the discriminatory, negative and unfair results of this measure, zoning by initiative is just a bad, bad idea.

United States Senator: Kamala Harris.

Other races decide for yourself. No matter what, never Trump!

Thanks for your consideration. Vote as if your life depended on it. Best, Steve Antler, Mendocino

Please spread the word and make sure everyone you know votes."

YOU REALLY have to admire the hubris of this guy (a coast attorney): "Other races decide for yourself…" Coastlib's version of The Great Helmsman trusts us to decide the down ballot stuff for ourselves? Can we really be trusted to do that?

ANTLER'S probably wrong about how close the judge race is between his pal and Faulder. From here it looks like Faulder going away, if for no other reason because Faulder is so much better known than Pekin. Faulder is also much more experienced, knows the entire County better and, wait for it! he's got the endorsement of Sheriff Allman, the most popular elected official in the County.

WE'RE SURPRISED that Pekin ran for this particular Superior Court slot. If he took on Ten Mile Court's stumbling Clay Brennan he'd be a shoo-in.

ON FORT BRAGG'S Measure U, Antler says it's a bad idea to do zoning by initiative. He's right, but that's not what Measure U is. It simply says it's a worse idea to put a "homeless" organization in the middle of town where there already is one a few blocks away. Measure U also objects to the highly suspicious, hurry-up manner in which the Old Coast Hotel deal was brought off. And the opponents of U have steadily and deliberately lied about U, claiming it will destroy popular existing social service entities, which it won't. Clear-thinking people will of course vote Yes on U.

TRUMP. Here at Boonville's beloved community newspaper we feel The Bern, knowing full well, thanks to the Antler types (middle of the road extremists) dominant in the national Democratic Party, that the laughably corrupt Hillary will be handed the nomination. But Trump, for now, as the enemy of our enemy, is doing us all a huge political favor by blowing up the entire two-party fraud, and their media along with it. Hil vs. Trump? We'll vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and if the millions of us who find it impossible to vote for Hillary get blamed for electing Trump, it will again be the Democrat's — now worse than Republicans — own fault.

GRACE LIU MEMORIAL: Saturday, June 4, 10AM, at the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas. There will be a movie of her life. Catered by the restaurant on site. RSVP please: Steve Liu, 520-878-8116.

THE COUNTY GRAND JURY confirms that the District Attorney’s marijuana restitution program has brought in $7.5 million to date as of March 2016. The GJ was responding to complaints that the program amounts to extortion. But extortion vics generally don't get to negotiate the amounts they cough up. The DA's approach is to trade misdemeanors and fines for lengthy court battles that cost the taxpayers a lot of money, court battles that dope defendants, unless they have very good attorneys like E.D. Lerman, Omar Figueroa and Keith Faulder, get convicted of felonies and pay much bigger fines as they clog up the courts with their non-cases.

CRITICS call Eyster's innovative, win-win strategy “pay for play,” claiming it gives preferential treatment to those having the money to pay the fees, which discriminates against those who can’t pay. Boo hoo. You make a lot of tax free money every year because weed is illegal and then you have the nerve to whine when you get busted that you have to plead out because you don't have the money to resist? You only get busted in the first place because you're so big that the pot raiders can't ignore you. When it's legal you really will be broke. Very few growers are 'poor people' as the term is deployed in America.

FROM THE GJ REPORT: "Since its inception, more than 500 defendants have participated in the program." The grand jury said the Mendocino County Superior Court has allowed the marijuana restitution program to proceed, and there has been no contrary ruling on it by state appeals courts.

THE DA’S OFFICE does not get the money. It goes to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at about $100,000 a month. At County budget time the Sheriff’s budget is decreased by some or all of the amount of the restitution funds collected for the following fiscal year

A LOGGER COMMENTS ON MEASURE V: Whoever was in charge at MRC five years ago when they mindlessly created panoramic views of dead tan oaks, should have known better. The tan oak control could have been done in phases, and no one would have noticed. BTW, I believe Mike Jani was in Humboldt when this happened. The de facto issue is the use of herbicides. So is it going to be OK to knock the tree down and treat the stump with an herbicide? Or is it OK to kill the tree standing, and then knock it down later? Albion-Little River Fire Chief Ted Williams has said this is a good idea. We have been through this before. Remember, "hack and squirt" was what the anti-herbicide people wanted instead of aerial spraying with a helicopter. I believe a person at LP refined the technique to make it economical, as a result of pubic resistance to the use of helicopters. I have used the method of falling tan oaks and treating the stumps. It is called “slashing.” There are some advantages to this, but it creates an immediate high fire risk situation. When I have used this method, I have figured if the slashed area caught fire it would go up with a big roar, and no one was going to stop it, or be stupid enough to try. Slashing also creates large areas where access is almost impossible, until the trees rot. This is a problem for forest owners and for potential firefighters as well. Planting these areas is exceedingly difficult, at best. If there is a fire in a slashed area, conventional means for fire suppression are out the window for probably five to eight years. But of course fire risk is not the real issue with Measure V. Neither is fire fighter safety. Falling trees is more costly and involves more risk as well. Increased safety risk is one of the higher cost components of falling tan oaks instead of leaving them standing. I am pretty sure the comp rate for falling tan oaks is considerably higher than for hack and squirt…

TO HEAR THE ADVOCATES talk about Measure V, you’d think it required MRC and other landowners who have standing dead timber due to hack-and-squirt to do something about it. Unfortunately, the actual text of the measure [see below] doesn’t say anything like that. It simply declares the standing trees a nuisance and that MRC and other landowners have specific liability for any damages if a fire in those trees damages certain neighboring properties. Which would be nearly impossible to prove if it came to it. Yes, the standing dead timber is an artificially introduced additional hazard. But if the Measure V advocates were serious, and they are, why didn't they require that something be done about it? One advocate told us that if MRC does nothing after the standing dead timber is declared a public nuisance it might jeopardize their forestry certification and that might cause them to do something to restore their certification because certification might allow them to sell their certified lumber at a slightly higher price. But there are so many “mights” in that argument that if it somehow came to pass, the standing dead trees will already have been consumed by mites, no mights about it.

MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY is tone deaf. They should know that unless they do some commonsense outreach they'll have endless trouble in Mendocino and Humboldt counties where anti-corporate feeling is so prevalent any measure, however flawed, that makes life more difficult for corporations and, by extension, sweat shop billionaires like the Fishers, who own MRC, is likely to pass. If I were running MRC I'd hire LOCAL gyppos to fell non-commercial tree species, thus providing local people work at a good wage and, in the process, create lots of good will, which MRC does not enjoy at this time. "Oh, that's too expensive to hand fall trees." I wonder. What's MRC's annual chemical bill? What's its green certification worth to them in redwood sales at mega-outlets like Home Depot?

NOT SO INCIDENTALLY, MRC's reputation with local loggers couldn't be worse. Whatever probs MRC has they've earned for themselves via a nearly L-P quality arrogance. As for not being able to afford to hand fall trees, please. Hillary, for handy instance, says "we" can't afford single payer health insurance. Billery could almost pay for single payer out of the money they've stashed in their phony foundation. The One Percenters are forever claiming "we" can't afford this or that while they hide money overseas and pay no proportionate taxes here in the motherland. The Fisher family at MRC could pay to hand fall non-commercial tree species simply by selling a couple of their Warhols.

THESE RESPONSES SUNDAY to the usual Press Democrat pufferoo on wine, the one about how the industry is "taking off" in Lake County:

(1) I will never understand why you people glorify wine like it's some great thing for humanity, yet you vilify cannabis like it's the worst thing that ever happened to the planet. When I drive down 29 and see all of those alcohol plants growing it makes me think of all of the lives destroyed and the harm caused by alcohol. Andy Beckstoffer is personally responsible for untold thousands upon thousands of deaths and destroyed lives because of the poison he produces. Yet, you morons say, "HIDE THE POT PLANTS!" Yes, you want the revenue, you know for a fact that cannabis brings far more money into this county than alcohol ever will, yet you want to hide it behind fences and force us into the shadows. We, the cannabis growers, help people. We make life better for people. We do the exact opposite of what alcohol does. You people are so sick and twisted that you are beyond help.

(2) Your product stinks and is disgusting to be anywhere near. Wine drinkers don't pollute everyone near them with their choice and is every bit as medicinal as marijuana. Medicinal use is very limited and a scam. And your growing methods destroy the watersheds. It turns young minds into stoner brains. The cartels are everywhere and violence with it is endemic. Want more? I expect I can keep going…


REMEMBER COUNTY COUNSEL TOM PARKER? He was hired by Mendo in 2010 over the smart, personable Terri Gross who should have gotten the job. The Supes of the time thought Parker was an expert at property tax policy. Parker turned out to be an expert at nothing. When he memorably advised the Supervisors that 2 of 5 constituted a quorum, that was a little too incompetent even for Mendocino County. (At the time, Supervisor McCowen was trying, in vain as it turned out, to convince his colleagues that the perpetual re-sale of unbuildable Brooktrails lots was a scam which, any other place, would be unarguable.)

PARKER was unloaded on Mendocino County by Colusa County, upon whom he'd been unloaded by El Dorado County. County Counsel personnel apparently are much like city managers, school administrators. Like the proverbial bad pennies they just keep showing up somewhere, unloaded on the unsuspecting by previous employers. After Mendo, Parker finally retired — at about a hundred grand a year plus bennies — out of the LA County Counsel's office where, presumably, he labored in a large office of equivalently handicapped lawyers who wouldn't (and didn't) notice.

DUMB LAWYERS are nothing new to Mendo. Parker was and is the tip of the iceberg around here. He was appointed in the first place by a board of supervisors consisting of two crooks caught by the Grand Jury cheating on their travel reimbursements and one dopehead who may also be clinically insane. There were only two fully operational supervisors at the time, McCowen and Carre Brown. The other three would not have been able to pass even the loosest mental health exam. Parker lingered for two years in almost total silence, promising to "get back to you" every time he was asked to express an opinion. Parker's successor was a guy arrested for driving around late at night with an unpermitted, loaded gun and a stash of marijuana. (I've done the same thing with an open container rather than dope, but I'm not paid to give Mendocino County legal advice.) We have nine judges for a population of 90,000 people. Our chief prosecutor on the Mendocino Coast served for years as People's Temple attorney. Fortunately here in Intoxicants County, we also suffer a collective amnesia where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day.

THE 41ST ANNUAL Anniversary Mendocino Poetry Spring Celebration takes place Sunday May 22 at the Hill House in Mendocino. There will be two open readings: sign up at noon for the reading at 1:00 PM; sign up at 5:00 for the reading at 6:00 PM. Readers should prepare four minutes per session, of their own work or of favorites by others. This is the 11th annual revival of Spring readings held in Mendocino 41 years ago. This event draws some 40 poets from the north counties and beyond. All poems will be considered for broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX&Z. Open book displays, fellowship, choice comestibles. Donation requested. Walt Whitman said, “Great poetry requires great audiences.” Celebrate the word! For information, contact Gordon Black at

One Comment

  1. Debra Keipp May 21, 2016

    Tom Parker and public defender linda, twins?

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