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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Aug 7, 2016

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The Board of Supervisors spent over four hours last Tuesday discussing medical marijuana regulation and taxation. Again. The discussion assumed both were coming right up.

Many members of the public spoke — this subject is the one of two that draws such intense interest, the other being the County's Animal Shelter or animal-related issues.

Pot growers and dispensary operators thought the proposed taxation would be unfair to their small businesses by being too high, thus depriving their patients of their medicine. These people are the most selfless capitalists we have in America, laboring long and hard in the service of the millions of twenty-year-olds with bad backs.

When Board Chair Dan Gjerde opened the subject for public comment he pointed out that the Board had already decided that they were going to put the taxation and a related tax collection ordinance on the November ballot, adding that there wasn't much point to comments from the public given that the voters would decide matters. "So go ahead, waste our time," Gjerde said, a boldly sarcastic remark that some of the pot people took obligatory umbrage at, but, as a person long experienced with single issue mobs, Gjerde knew that the assembled stoners would have to consume the day.

Selected highlights:


Mike Sweeney. Of all people. The former Maoist and  the County's most thoroughly re-invented person who now functions as Mendo's lead garbage bureaucrat, is a strict constructionist when it comes to the County's primary export crop:

"In dealing with this issue you work in the shadow of the Heritage Initiative that marijuana growers have qualified for the November ballot. I will call that for what it is, The Marijuana Takeover Act. It creates an existential threat to our community. It would legalize commercial marijuana in every residential neighborhood. Marijuana plantations of up to one acre could reach within 30 feet of a neighbor's property and within 100 feet of a neighbor's house. It would abolish the right of a neighbor to complain about the odor of marijuana since marijuana grows would be covered by the right to farm ordinance which effectively blocks nuisance complaints. It would allow marijuana cultivation and sales 400 feet closer to our schools and parks. It would eliminate the enforcement of rules of any kind including residency requirements, by replacing the Sheriff with a simple procedure that would be so weak and slow as to be nonexistent. It would allow an unlimited number of dispensaries in commercial zoning. Incredibly, it would make explosive butane processing of marijuana a principal permitted use in all industrial zones, even though this dangerous practice has caused innumerable fires. It would be yet another loud siren call that if you want to make a fast buck growing lots and lots of marijuana, come to Mendocino County. And it would supersede any marijuana ordinance that you might enact and it prohibits you from making even the slightest alteration in the Marijuana Takeover Act for one year and nine months. And then only if you adhere to the purposes and intent of the initiative. Any additional time or money spent on an ordinance by you, your staff or your CEQA consultants would be a total waste if the Marijuana Takeover Act wins at the ballot only 98 days from today. I believe it can be defeated only if that part of the community that doesn't like this present impact of marijuana feels that an electoral fight would be worth the effort. These folks may feel as I do that you would go ahead anyway and adopt your own ordinance that is too permissive for marijuana growing. You could reassure these folks by suspending your consideration of an ordinance until we know the result of the November election. Then, if the Marijuana Takeover Act wins, you will have saved a lot of wasted time and money. But if it loses, you would then be on stronger ground to make essential choices about how much commercial cannabis you could allow and where, how much it should be isolated from neighbors, and what permit conditions you should require. No one can accuse this board of failing to work hard on marijuana ordinances which we need. You and your staff have proved that you are prepared to move ahead. Please consider however the suspending consideration so that the voters can approach this issue knowing that the board will take a fresh look following the election.”

Sweeney is right, of course. Any guy who can blow up his ex-wife in the middle of a major American city at high noon and get away with it is not a guy you can accuse of stupidity. But for all the clarity Sweeney brought to the issue the ballot measure will proceed. Sweeney's predictions will be realized. And then some.

Ukiah Attorney Larry Rosen entered the following comments into the Supervisor's pointless pot discussion:

”I want to suggest to you that I am glad to be here talking to you about medical cannabis. But my neighbors are afraid to. I ran into one of my neighbors on the way out here and I said, Please come join us, there's going to be an open discussion at the Board of Supervisors meeting. And she said, Oh no, I can't do that; I'm still in the closet. Well, I'm sorry folks, but I haven't been in the closet for years and I'm not about to start now being in the closet about cannabis. Which raises a question for the building department. I went into the building department this morning to get a permit for an agricultural building which is set on my land, on an existing vineyard. And they gave it to me. Wonderful! The only problem was in the application I put in, they said, what's it for? And I said well, it's for my grapes and for my cannabis. And they said, Oh no, you have to erase that. You have to use a different form. You can't put cannabis or the building department won't accept the form. I said, what do you want me to lie for? I'm not in the closet. I'm growing pot! Why do you want me to lie about what I'm planning on doing? Oh, and by the way, I should tell you that I discovered and so did the building department that there is an agricultural fee exemption that if you put up a building that is strictly for agricultural purposes — you are not going to include a bathroom and other kinds of things that would make it a place to live — I saved $600 by reminding the building department to read the ordinance that's already in the Mendocino County ordinance. So maybe it's the case that the fees and taxes and penalties and other things that you are going to do are going to be compensated for by the money we will save on the agricultural buildings we are going to build to grow medical marijuana. The other thing I want to do is I want to give you a gift because this is medicine. Okay?”

[Rosen brandishes a bottle of wine.]

Supervisor Carre Brown: “We can't, we can't. We can't accept gifts, sir.”

Rosen: [Places the bottle of wine at the recorder's desk] as he says, “This was made from grapes grown on my property. Certified organic. Made by some people down in Nelson's south of Ukiah. We paid $8000 to have two years worth of grapes done. That's medicine! You can have it. I give that bottle to the Board of Supervisors, and enjoy it please. Except I have to caution you, I can't sell it to you. State law will not let me sell it to you because I didn't put the right kinds of labels on that. Sorry. But I can give it to you. I'm not sure you can drink it because even though it's been a form of medicine for over 3000 years, I'm not sure that you're going to be able to drink it. So let me ask, If you don't want to drink it, put it in the same cage where the Sheriff is putting the cannabis that he takes off people's property.”

[Scattered applause.]

County Counsel Katherine Elliott: “Chair Gjerde, we are going to need that bottle of wine returned to Mr. Rosen.” [Laughs.]

Sherry Glaser stood up from the audience, picked up the wine bottle from the Recorder's desk, triumphantly raised the bottle, and walked out with it to applause from the audience.

Rosen & Wine interlude
Rosen & Wine interlude

Rosen returned to the podium later in the meeting:

”I want to thank you. I got a hint that my own personal problem with the urgency ordinance may be resolved. I thank County Counsel for having changed the ordinance so that it isn't unconstitutional with respect to —

Supervisor John McCowen: “Please comment to the item we are on now.”

Rosen: “With respect to the item we are on now which is taxation. Personally I am in favor of taxation. I am not opposed to you taxing. What I am opposed to is two measures on the ballot, one the [state level] Heritage Initiative and then your proposal which both talk about taxes. And none of you have ever responded to my written request, my official written request: What's the difference between the two? Why are you proposing your ordinance instead of the Heritage Initiative? And how am I going to make up my mind on how to vote on either of those? Let me put it in a slightly different context because I'm an attorney and I deal with these kinds of things, not in the government context, but in the private context, all the time. About a year ago I had a client who was trying to license their software to a very big company, Verizon. They said, We want to license it. So great! We sent them a three-page agreement. They wrote back and said, Here's a 63 page agreement that we would rather you use. I said, No! We can't do it! There's no way I could be sure that my client would be able to enforce a 63-page agreement. Couldn't do it! There was a comment just a little while ago about how we have a state ordinance, or a state law, and then we have this growing ordnance, and then we have the Heritage Initiative. And I can assure you, I am an attorney, I read these things. So I don't know what the hell you're talking about in there. I don't know what the difference is. So yes, you want taxes, I want taxes. I don't want potholes in my roads. I want things taken care of. I want the staff to have more money. I want problems to be taken care of in the community I love. But I don't want some 60 page ordinance or some 30 page ordnance that I won't even know how to follow or be able to advise either myself or my clients or my friends what the hell to do about it. It's just noise. I proposed earlier a three line ordinance. I don't mean it should be three lines, it's going to have to be 50 lines, it's going to have to be five pages. But it doesn't have to be 60 pages and it doesn't have to be 30 pages and it doesn't have to duplicate state law.”

In the end the board approved placing the pot tax and cultivation measures on the November ballot. The County's taxation measure would implement the taxation scheme as originally proposed by County Counsel Elliott, along with an ordinance that would allow the State Board of Equalization to collect the tax and distribute the proceeds to the County, and an advisory measure that would tell the Board that most of the tax revenues should go for illegal cultivation enforcement, local fire departments and supplementary mental health services.

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ABOVE THE FOLD in today's Ukiah Daily Journal: “Bus stop to be added at Ukiah Post Office"

THE story is a presser from the Mendocino Transit Authority in lieu of bus service to most areas of the County. MTA primarily serves Ukiah, hence those empty buses you see all over Ukiah. Each passenger you do happen to see is heavily subsidized.

MAYBE the MTA could hire the fun bus I saw headed over the hill to Boonville the other day, the one whose destination board read, Incog Meato.

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This time of the year is fire season. We all have watched and we all know that wildfire suppression aircraft fly low and fast. Please do not fly drones over or near wildfires without prior permission from fire managers. Unauthorized drone flights can cause serious injury or death to firefighters on the ground and can cause midair collisions with aircraft supporting the wildfire suppression missions. Please remember - if you fly (your drone), they can’t provide air support, which puts people, animals, and property in greater danger.


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Open Letter to Carmel Angelo, Mendocino County CEO,

Dear Ms. Angelo,

County taxpayers have gotten burned again. Fresh off your multi-million dollar disaster with Ortner Management Group, you’ve racked up yet another loss. A six figure contract with Dall & Associates. For an updated Mendocino Town Plan that’ll never fly. That’s obvious in a January 25, 2016 letter from the California Coastal Commission. The nineteen-page critique shows what a complete waste of money it was. In particular it reported:

Missing service analyses;

Missing land use designations;

Unapproved resolutions;

Missing exhibits;

Undocumented changes;

Unapproved policy language;

Missing traffic surveys;

Inadequate parking surveys;

Missing vacation home rental impact analyses;

Missing commercial density analyses;

Missing occupancy data, and;

Inaccurate legal interpretations.

Had you taken the time to Google “Dall & Associates”, you’d have seen it coming. The so-called company is actually a married couple. Doing business out of a tiny office in Sacramento. Accounts differ on what the Dalls actually do. According to one listing, they’re in the public relations business. In another, they’re lawyers and lobbyists. But a quick search at the California State Bar Association shows no license to practice law. And since they haven’t got a website — it’s hard to imagine them in the public relations business. Nonetheless, they manage to pull down over $300 grand a year between the two of them. Which isn’t bad considering who they are.

You can see that in a nasty fourteen-page fax to the Coastal Commission from hubby Norbert on September 16, 1996. Where he boasts of his myriad accomplishments except one — actually doing anything. His partner ‘Stevie’ lays her education out in a Linkedin resume. As a graduate from Roseville High School.

By 2014, Mr. Dall’s accomplishments seem to have expanded. In a courtroom transcript, Mr. Dall claims authorship of more than seventy articles on coastal legislation and programs. None of which can be found on Google. That testimony was given on behalf of billionaire developer Vinod Khosla. Who got sued for blocking access to Martins Beach. Mr. Dall got $75 grand or so for helping out. But Khosla still lost. Which speaks volumes for Mr. Dall’s abilities. And now Mr. Khosla is being sued by the Coastal Commission.

But there’s a stroke of genius in the Dalls' work. You can find it on the County’s website for the Mendocino Town Plan Update. You’ll see all kinds of documents there. Including one titled, “Mendocino Town Plan - Revised”. Go ahead and open it up. Or try to. You can’t. Because the file is corrupt. That’s okay. Just download it. Then measure the size. It’s a 45 megabyte file. With nothing inside. Yeah.

The County Supervisors got a different file. At the last minute. This one is okay. So download and measure that. It’s only 5.8 megabytes. And eighty-five pages long. That’s what got sent to the Coastal Commission. Along with all the mistakes. All of them hidden from the public. Allowing the plan to get passed 6-0. Along with your certification.

The biggest omission in that plan are housing inventories. For vacation home rentals and single unit rentals. There were twenty-three of each in the last Town Plan. That was declared the absolute maximum. But in a report from 2012, another eleven got listed. This author has found at least six more in the Historic District alone. In obvious places like airbnb Mendocino.

A key supporter of the hidden plan can be seen in a PowerPoint presentation. At the upper photo on frame five. That’s architect Debra Lennox on the left. Who’d get all kinds of work if the Coastal Commission hadn’t put the kibosh on it. Ms. Lennox is currently on the board of directors at the Mendocino Art Center. Using it as a battering ram. To get $130-a-night units reclassified as “affordable housing” instead of visitor serving facilities. Right. Sitting across from her is Lee Edmundson. The local firebrand who wrote countless letters opposing the hidden plan. All of which seem to have disappeared from the public record. On Ms. Lennox’s left is Supervisor Dan Hamburg. The Fifth District Judas who assured Mendocino residents this’d never happen. And then voted for it. Fucker.

Another supporter of the hidden plan can be seen in a photo collage. At page two, in the upper left-hand photo. The person in the red sweater is Wendy Roberts. She owns a single unit rental called the Bever-Roberts Tower. Ms. Roberts even has a business license for it. It’s located at 45121 Little Lake Street. A location not approved by the 1992 Town Plan. Or the 2012 update.

Attorney Rod Jones was particularly critical of the Dalls’ work. He wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors calling it a “complete rewrite” of the original town plan. That vanished from the public record as well. Never mind the missing records. Just count the ones on the County website. I see over 200. One of them is the shitty plan the Dalls got paid $100,000 for. That now has to be redone. I can’t imagine what the rest of them cost.

So it’s back to the drawing board for County taxpayers, Ms. Angelo. To come up with another updated Mendocino Town Plan. And more public money to pay for it. All for something that’s twenty years behind schedule.

Have a nice annual performance review.

Scott M. Peterson


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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 6, 2016

Barajas, Beeson, Daniels, Doyle
Barajas, Beeson, Daniels, Doyle

PAULINE BARAJAS, Gualala. Domestic assault.

CHANCE BEESON, Potter Valley. DUI, suspended license, failure to appear, probation revocation.


JOHN DOYLE, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation.

Eder, Herrera, Lopez, Miller
Eder, Herrera, Lopez, Miller

BO EDER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

JESUS HERRERA, Ukiah. Battery of peace officer, resisting, parole violation.

CARLOS LOPEZ, Ukiah. Battery.


Osborne, Stanton, Velazquez
Osborne, Stanton, Velazquez

WILLIAM OSBORNE, Eureka/Fort Bragg. DUI.

KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Resisting.

ARRANO-ISABEL VELAZQUEZ, Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, resisting.

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

I resist conspiracy “thinking” with every still-myelinated fibre of my brain. Every morning our inbox here at CounterPunch is flooded with “important alerts” about crisis actors, CIA mucous experiments, the staging of the Newtown massacre, the staging of the Orlando massacre, the staging of the Nice truck massacre, and the Pokemon Go coordinates for the vat holding JKF’s still functioning brain.

There are real conspiracies, of course, like the CIA’s plots to kill Fidel Castro or the successful scheme to have Nelson Mandela arrested on terrorism charges. But most conspiracy theorists function to obscure and invalidate real conspiracies. Cockburn and I used to joke that the 9/11 conspiracists were, in fact, themselves a conspiracy seeded by the CIA to distract the Left from challenging the real objectives of the War on Terror. But that worked out much too well to have been a real CIA plot.

Now, however, I feel myself slipping into the grip of a fever dream featuring Donald Trump as some kind of Manchurian Candidate designed to destroy the GOP and secure the election of the otherwise unelectable Mrs. Clinton.


Remember Jimmy Breslin’s fabulous comic novel on the mobster Joey Gallo, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight? That’s the Trump campaign in action. Only what if they weren’t meant to shoot straight?

Case in point. Yesterday, Trump was handed an October Surprise in August: the paying of a ransom to Iran for the release of American hostages (not technically true, but close enough for politics). An opportunity that he blew five minutes after it was given to him on a platter by the WSJ by focusing on the bogus B-Roll footage, which he doubled down on after his own campaign told him it didn’t exist.

Can anyone be this incompetent every day of the week and not be run over by an Uber driver at a crosswalk on Park Avenue? So the blunders have to be strategic, don’t they? (For the preternaturally credulous among you, I’m joking. I think.)

Let me say, I’m all for paying ransom for hostages. It’s the way the Middle East has worked for 2,000 years. The Israelis do it every couple of months and they can do no wrong, right?

Question: Did Trump University offer degrees from the Jayson Blair/Judith Miller School of Journalism?

Obama’s Drug War in Indian Country

Federal prosecutors have charged a 19-year-old boy from the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon with federal charges for possession of less than a gram of marijuana, even though the state of Oregon has LEGALIZED marijuana possession and use. Devontre Thomas could face a year in prison and a $1,000 fine, as well as the loss of student loans, federal housing and any other kind of government aid FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

“It Was 50 Years Ago Today…”

That the Beatles’ Revolver came out for play … and changed the world (or mine and I suspect many of yours too, even if you weren’t born until the 70s or 80s). There are two ways to look at this milestone: a. It makes some of us feel old. b. the music still sounds as fresh and young as ever. Rubber Soul and Revolver were the sounds of the English Revolution. the exquisite perfection of Sgt. Pepper’s was Mannerism. Not that I’ve got anything against Mannerism (cf., Tintoretto or Winton Marsalis). Check out this video on The Making of Revolver.

The CIA: “We’re With Her”

In Friday’s edition of the New York Times, Michael J. Morrell, a 33 year veteran of the CIA who served as deputy director of the Agency, came out as the latest member of the military-intelligence elite to endorse Hillary Clinton. Morrell lauded Hillary’s “commitment to our nation’s security; her belief that America is an exceptional nation that must lead in the world for the country to remain secure and prosperous; her understanding that diplomacy can be effective only if the country is perceived as willing and able to use force if necessary; and, most important, her capacity to make the most difficult decision of all — whether to put young American women and men in harm’s way.” Morrell added that “During the early debates about how we should respond to the Syrian civil war, she was a strong proponent of a more aggressive approach, one that might have prevented the Islamic State from gaining a foothold in Syria.” Look out, Assad!

Watch for this endorsement by a former leader of an agency of spies and government assassins to be hailed as a triumph on MS-DNC.

Who will be next? Richard Perle? Elliott Abrams? Michael Ledeen?

Memo to NYT headline writers: shouldn’t your headline for Morrell’s op-ed read: “I ran the CIA. Now I run Hillary Clinton?”

Shoot Us From Our Good Side, Please

The ACLU has extracted from the FBI footage from an agency spy plane filming protesters during the Baltimore uprising over the police murder of Freddie Gray. Another example of your government at work…against you. The least they could do is film us from the Right Profile.

Every Hour in America

“He’s saying I crossed over a solid line and I did not. I got out of the car to ask him what the offense was. He raised his voice at me and threatened to arrest me. So I’m really confused. And I would like another officer to come out here. My heart is racing. I’m really afraid.”

Those are the terrified words spoken by Earledreka White last March to a 9/11 dispatcher in Houston. Ms. White is a 28-year-old black social worker, who rightfully feared for her life after the death of Sandra Bland. As newly released video documents, White had every reason to be fearful. After making her call to 9/11, the police officer threw her against her car, cuffed her and arrested her for resisting arrest over a minor traffic infraction. White spent two nights in jail. This kind of police violence and intimidation happens every hour in America.

Don’t Worry Melania

Melania, we’ve heard that you may have some troubling issues with your immigration status. Don’t fret. There’s a sanctuary city here in Oregon which will welcome you with open arms and hide you from the Deportation Police.

The Meaning of Sacrifice

With all the debate about whether or not Donald Trump ever made any real sacrifices in his life, here comes Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, who has announced his own major sacrifice in his run for the ‘highest’ office: “I promise not to smoke any dope between now and the election.” Not sure whether that makes me more or less likely to vote for him.

Hazards of Empire

There comes news this week, sponsored by Big Pharma and the pesticide industry, that at least 41 US military personnel have tested positive for the Zika virus, a disease which is a perfect symbol of our times. With 800 military bases overseas, many in the tropics, what do you expect? Time to cut back? Nah…

Belated Kudos to The Boss

Those of you familiar my musical tastes (or lack thereof) know that I have a unnatural resistance to the music of Bruce Springsteen. However, I want to commend Mr. Springsteen for not appearing on stage at HillaryFest in Philly to perform “Adam Raised a Kaine.

Two Books, Worth the Wait

From our friends at Monthly Review Press come two hotly anticipated books by CounterPunch contributors: The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?, John Marciano’s searing indictment of cherished America myth of the “nobel cause” driving interventionist wars and Studs Terkel: Politics, Culture, But Mostly Conversation, Alan Weider’s fascinating portrait of the Chicago icon of the working-class left drawn from hundreds of interviews with people who knew and worked with Terkel over his long and turbulent life. Both highly recommended.

A Warning to White Amerika, from James Baldwin

James Baldwin: “I remember what an old negro woman told me once down South. She said, ‘Jimmy, what the white man will someday learn is that there’s no remission for his sins.’ That I never forgot, because you see it’s perfectly possible the whites will not be forgiven, not for a single cut or whipping or lynch mob or rape of a black woman.” (From Norman Mailer’s still relevant, if not prescient, essay, “In the Red Light: a History of the Republican Convention of 1964″ collected in Cannibals and Christians.)

(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at:

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by Ed Oberweiser

The true powers are never seen

behind shaded windows in limousines

and remote estates and gathering places

where light won’t define significant faces.

Governments fail and our dreams die

and Ghandis fall while Hitlers rise.

Their lieutenants and governors we know so well

and daily consign them all to hell.

Never constructing two and two,

consciousness sinks back into the slough.

Divide and conquer works so well,

keeping us confused and under their spell.

Women against men and black against white,

we're all diverted from the real fight from

those who use us and throw us in the ditch.

We must free ourselves from the blood-sucking rich.

They sell weapons to both sides in all the wars,

and lie to the people about what they're dying for.

It's not for freedom or human rights,

that against each other we always fight.

It all comes down to the rich, wanting more, more

That's who all the wars are for.

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Clint Eastwood on Trump:

“He’s onto something,” he said, “because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation.” Eastwood added that “everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.”

What "things" exactly is he referring to? The casual sexism is typical of a soft-core bigot like Eastwood. If you're called a "pussy," you're a weakling, presumably like all females! This from a guy who, at last count, has five daughters!

It's unlikely Eastwood himself is a racist. Hard to believe that anyone who loves jazz as much as he does can be a racist.

But I suspect that lot of Trump's followers are annoyed that they can no longer call black people "niggers," gays "queers," Jews "kikes," and Mexicans "beaners" — at least in public.

My parents were decent people who never used the N-word or other bigoted terms. When I was a young man, I was shocked at the things other white men said to me. The apparent assumption at the time was that other white men agreed with their bigotry, like "Someone ought to put a bullet in that Martin Luther King."

(Rob Anderson, Courtesy, District5Diary)

* * *


To the Editor:

An opportunity for clean energy

Last week Sonoma Clean Power, an alternative electrical energy provider, voted to offer Mendocino County and the incorporated cities of Fort Bragg, Point Arena, and Willits participation in their program. If these cities and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors pass resolutions and ordinances to accept Sonoma Clean Power’s invitation, we will have an alternative to PG&E as a source of electrical energy.

Estimates are that within the next five years, 50 percent of California counties will be served by alternative energy agencies — local agencies formed to provide electricity to homes and businesses, at better rates, and with more renewable energy options than PG&E.

It’s a movement! Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), not PG&E, has provided approximately 90 percent of residential and commercial customers in Sonoma County with electric power for the past two years. In Marin County, about 85 percent of residential and commercial customers get electric power from Marin Clean Energy, not PG&E. San Francisco Clean Power just started serving customers, and in Lancaster, Lancaster Choice Energy has been serving customers for the past year. Not only are these agencies beating PG&E’s rates for electricity, they are mandated to provide plans offering increased use of renewable power with the intention of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In April of this year, the San Jose Mercury News announced, “Seven new municipalities are poised to join the Marin Clean Energy joint powers authority.” These include Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga and Yountville.

The rise of these alternative energy suppliers is the result of California’s passage of Assembly Bill 117 in 2002 to allow the creation of Community Choice Aggregators. Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a wonky name for a relatively simple concept of group purchasing: to allow local agencies to pool or aggregate their electrical load in order to purchase or develop electricity on behalf of their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts. CCA is an energy supply model that works in partnership with the region’s existing utility, PG&E, which continues to deliver power, maintain the grid, provide consolidated billing and other customer services.

Be aware that PG&E is mostly in the energy “delivery” business, not the power generation business. They purchase power from other companies. New alternative energy companies, like SCP, negotiate their own contracts with power generating companies and resell it to you at a lower rate than PG&E. And California law mandates that PG&E deliver that energy to you and bill you at SCP’s rates.

Sonoma Clean Power is not the only option being considered by Mendocino. The Board of Supervisors is looking at possibly forming its own Joint Power Authority (JPA), its own SCP-like agency. A JPA runs the local “energy” agency on behalf of multiple jurisdictions. There are several reasons to consider this approach including the ability of the JPA to leverage financing for new programs and projects as well as the establishment of a legal firewall between the budget and assets of the CCA agency and the general funds of its member cities and towns.

Another option is for the County to form its own JPA but to outsource the operation of our local “energy” agency to a management group or even to Sonoma Clean Power. The drawback of this and the previous option is that it would cost the County about $1.5 million to start its own JPA. In addition the County would have to hire a full time staff and incur ongoing expenses. The County would also be subject to the same risks in negotiating energy contracts, a task that typically requires a professional who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area.

Sonoma Clean Power’s invitation to Mendocino is to assume all of this risk and responsibility at relatively little or no cost to the County.

A final option is for the County to do nothing at all. If you want the option for more renewable energy choices and the benefits of lower electrical rates, you need to contact your County Supervisor and let him/her know that you want Community Choice Aggregation in Mendocino and that you support the County’s adoption of Sonoma Clean Power’s offer. Please go to and click on Contact to send an email to the Board of Supervisors.

Joel Chaban, Gualala

* * *


Many Republicans seem to be surprised and distressed to see their party taken over by Donald Trump. They can blame themselves for the base they built.

The GOP has solicited, indulged, and pandered to people who want to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim; that Planned Parenthood makes money selling baby parts; that the universe is 6,000 years old; that 'happy holidays' insults their faith; that the world's scientific community is conspiring in a climate change hoax; that a same-sex marriage threatens heterosexual marriages; that Fox News is the only unbiased, trustworthy news source; that Obama has taken our freedom and will soon try to take our guns. We can thank this coalition of angry, fact-averse voters for Donald Trump.

They have been told so often that government doesn't work that they see no danger in electing a man who is unfit to govern, just because he gives voice to their anger. These are the kind of voters who can ignore Trump's entire business history and believe that he will now be the champion of the middle class. And how do you explain Trump's parallels with fascism to people who have been drawing Hitler mustaches on Obama's picture?

— Michael McCord, Burlingame

* * *



Your brother Marc has asked me to write to you. I've been writing to Marc for most of 20 years since he first arrived at my land with an older man who had been my caretaker. Marc at age 19 was a skinny young man who had abused himself with too much alcohol, some drugs and a junk food diet. But he liked it here and begged to stay. I agreed on the condition that he abstain from all drugs including pharmaceuticals, that he eat with me following a strict vegetarian diet. He could enjoy a glass of wine occasionally at dinner, but no other drinking. Moderate marijuana use was acceptable as I consider it a beneficial herb used with restraint. It has helped many people here cure their alcoholism.

I knew my program would work but I never imagined how successful it would be. Marc had been so weak from self abuse that he couldn't walk the last uphill mile to my land without resting at least five times. His legs hurt. A year later he would walk here 5 1/2 miles from the bus stop with a 40 pound bag of dog food for his little dog Bingo on his head -- nonstop.

He had grown strong and healthy. There were a couple of instances where Marc had become hostile but we worked it out. Much later I discovered that a man named Detlef had secretly given him some drugs. Then everything would be okay until a year after he had been there some fake friends gave him some drug concoction. They all decided they wanted to look at a VCR but had no player. So they went to the community center, by then closed, to get a VCR player. Marc broke the window to climb in. However, a neighbor heard glass break and called the police. Marc, hiding under a parked van, was arrested. I went to court for him, met with his conscientious and sympathetic public defender to request a sentence of community service and restitution for the broken window pane. Twice I went to court for him, twice the district attorney claimed not to have completed his paperwork so the hearing was delayed. When I asked for the next court date, I was told in two or three days. Instead the hearing was held the next morning with no witnesses present on Marc’s behalf. The judge, with typical legal cruelty, ignored his lawyer’s plea for clemency, sentencing him to 2.5 years in prison. His attorney, Jan Cole Wilson, told me that she cried all night at the judge's cruelty. The prison sentence, especially harsh for a first offense, ruined the health program Marc had followed with such excellent results.

"Why was the judge so hard-nosed?" I have asked myself many times. It was many years until I found an answer to that question. I think because it is routine for judges to think that when a young person has been sent to juvenile hall that young person is incorrigible and needs to be punished severely. Thus the pipeline from juvenile hall to prison is carelessly established. Marc was definitely a victim of that simplistic, bureaucratic thinking. Thanks to prison enablers like Marc’s judge, the United States has the highest rate of imprisonment of any country in the world.

I don't think Marc needs to be in prison, nor do I think he is even a criminal. He has spent only 3-plus years of freedom since the age of 12. Imprisonment has left its imprint on his thinking and his response to stressful and oppressive situations. The prison with its point systems and ghastly parole violation systems has created a self perpetuating system, guaranteeing jobs for prison guards to wardens, lawyers, courts and judges -- an utterly unjust and corrupt system. The wealthy, no matter how dishonest their dealings, are never or hardly ever held accountable -- just like this outrage of police killing of black people. Not one police officer has been held accountable, guilty, no matter how unjustified killings. What a mess.

This is a story I've long been meaning to write. It just poured out in this letter to you whom I've never met. I would like to find a civil rights lawyer to help Marc to free Marc from that inhospitable violent dungeon system.

Recommended reading: Burning Down the House

Dorothea Dorman

Redwood Valley

* * *



I truly am remorseful for my actions at the Macallum House on Father's Day. My wish for the owner is that he understand that I seek only their forgiveness.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Eros Nelson, wife, mom, grandmother

PS. After 19 years in recovery for the past three or four years my behaviors, drinking, driving, disrespecting (being totally selfish) I've gotten out of hand. Karmically, a couple of months in the can we just love the cosmos ordered. I know that being released on probation in August is the right thing for all parties involved. I can step out on the right track, doing 12 step recovery, being active and helpful in our church (Grace community, Pastor Greg Escher), being a sober and demure wife. Assisting the community in general and form a happier environment for our children and grandchildren. And finally making amends to those I have harmed.

* * *


To Whom it may concern:

Thank you for renewing my free subscription.

You may remember a story about a woman being stabbed in New York and screaming for half an hour and no one came to help her.

About that time I came out from visiting a lady in the hospital in San Francisco and heard a blood chilling scream and caught eye with a man looking as I was to see where the scream was coming from. He started downhill on his side. I started down on my side and about a half block down the hill was a guy with a buck knife pressed against a woman's neck and three guys telling him he wasn't going anywhere and to put down the knife. By this time I was behind him and just then he made a step to get between the two cars. Which he gave me the chance to loop one arm around his neck and grab the hand holding the knife. I banged the knife against my knee and knock the knife out of his hand.

The woman ran off. I nodded at the fellow that had picked up the knife and still had the guy backed up against the parked cars. I left and felt pretty good all in all about the "Frisco" boys — one scream and at least five men were there to help. I don't know if the guy got arrested or not or if they gave him back his knife because the last thing I heard was, "No you won't get your knife back, that was a felony you were doing."

What changed? Has the world just gone crazy? Drive-by shootings, home invasions, I hate to say it, but maybe a guy is better off in the pen, at least it's something to think about. Smile — see, even a bad guy could find himself in a spot to help out and be a good guy. “Watch out he's got a knife" only sealed the fellow’s fate and I take my hat off to the guy who squawked off the guy with a knife.

I can't remember the name of the hospital “computer slowing down” but on the hill across from 17th and Market where I believe I saw the Zodiac — another story for another time.

William Keller


* * *


Dear Editor,

Been a long time coming but I finally wrote about this ongoing bullshit. My name is Eric Lincoln. I am a registered tribal member of the Covelo Round Valley Indian Reservation. I had been here when the tribal cop show first started out here in Covelo. Back then it started out with a guy by the name of Linden Duke. A local hillbilly with his cowboy boots and his trademark black cowboy hat. His stint as a tribal cop didn't last very long. On of his busy days I'm sure he must have rescued at least a few cats from the perils of the dangerous treetops.

After Linden did his duty in Covelo (I don't know if he quit or was fired), he decided to give Laytonville a shot at his skills as a tribal cop. That job over there didn't seem to last much longer. Maybe there weren't enough cats stuck in tops of trees over there.

So nowadays Linden Duke is working at Keith’s market here in Covelo. Something of a security guard or something.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not singling Linden himself out as his regards his duties as a tribal cop. Because as you will read further there are other wannabes who are just as lame and get paid for it too.

Okay, next was William Vanderheiden. I don't know if the last name is the correct spelling, but people know what I'm talking about. Will used to be a real cop (for the county). Again I don't know what the hell he did in Ukiah to get him in the position to end up being a tribal cop.

But Will must have been taking tips from Shannon Barney, who used to be resident cop here and who is now the county "coroner"! to cover up his mistakes.

William V. was following Shannon Barney's footsteps in terms of having sex with the wives of Covelo men while the guy’s at work.

One marriage eventually broke up over William’s extramarital escapades. At one point Will V. brandished his County pistol in the home of one of his paramours while her small children were in the same house!

William V. presumably had been sent to the nut house to undergo a psych evaluation. But lo and behold he's back on the streets of Ukiah doing his civil duty.

All I can say is that Tom Allman sure knows how to pick ‘em. I mean, what the hell does Tom Allman do? Send the psycho cops to Covelo? And if they make the grade he takes them back under his protective wing?

Last but certainly not least is the current so-called "tribal cop." First of all, correct me if I'm wrong, tribal members of any Indian community on the reservation are supposed to have the right to vote as to who they want to hold the position of a tribal cop! (I might be wrong about that.)

Because as it stands I can honestly say that I have not witnessed a single thing that these current tribal cops have done to benefit the Round Valley Indian community. So what are they getting paid for besides riding around in their black tribal cars trying to convey a sense of importance when in all actuality they are not doing shit.

The only thing these losers love about their jobs is pulling up people’s weed crops! I'm not the only Indian community member who feels the Covelo tribal cop idea was a waste of time and money. Let them go to work at Keith’s Market along with Linden Duke. They will be helping us a lot more by bagging our groceries than what they are doing now.


Eric Lincoln


PS. I am willing to swear in a court of law to the validity of the content of this letter.

PPS. Tom: let me know if you need help trimming this year.

* * *


by Valeria Luiselli (translated by Louis Bedrock)

This is not a metaphor, but it could be.

While visiting a small town, my family and I decided to visit an antique store--more out of curiosity than passion. The cowbell hanging from the door sounded twice as the three of us--my husband, my daughter, and I entered single file. Between an avalanche of used shoes and a tower of vinyl records, lying under a Louis XIV era ebony desk with three golden feet in the forms of cherubs, rested an enormous dog. She breathed so slowly, was so motionless, that she appeared to be just another antique.

Her gaze was fixed on some obscure spot; her front and rear legs were stretched out as far as possible. Both in body and in spirit, the dog convincingly emulated her savage cousins--those tigers, bears, and lions that had been converted into rugs.

But despite the noble effort of the dog to appear to be a part of this scenery of ruins, with greater exchange value than utility, when our daughter discovered the live animal among so many dead things, she went directly to the dog and kneeled alongside of her.

Behind the cash register, the owner of the store and of the dog encouraged her, but warned:

—Her name is Molly. She doesn't bark or bite. But she doesn't wag her tail either.

Indeed. Molly accepted the affection with absolute stoicism. I noticed that she had one of her front paws shaved and I approached the owner and asked her quietly what had happened. She told me the complete story in a whisper while my husband was examining old post cards and my daughter continued to attempt to share affection with the animal.

Until the previous week, and for more than ten years, there had been two dogs in the store. But one had gotten sick a few months ago. The owner had to give her some very strong painkillers during the last months of her life. One day, after her last dose of painkillers, the sick dog finally died and the owner took the cadaver to the veterinarian to have it cremated. She left in a hurry and forgot to put away the bottle full of the liquid painkiller.

The healthy dog, no one quite understands how, found the analgesic and swallowed all of it. When the owner returned from the veterinarian, she found the healthy dog happier than ever, jumping around the kitchen like a puppy discovering the world. A short time later, the dog began to vomit. The owner had to take this dog to the veterinarian too, where they saved her life.

The dog had survived despite its intentions. It survived in spite of itself, this intelligent beast that now was trying to look like a rug. I don't know if the owner was able to understand the story she told with the same sad clarity of the person who listened to her. Metaphors are only seen from a distance and from the outside. And this isn't a metaphor for anything.

* * *


Watson, Elfman
Watson, Elfman

Vaughn Watson (from yesterday's Catch of the Day) and Danny Elfman (American composer, perhaps best known for his theme song for "The Simpsons")

* * *

THE BEST STATEMENT of Trump's appeal to many millions of Americans comes from our very own Bruce McEwen:

For every MSM Krauthhammer dismissal, for every GOP stalwart who abandons him, for every element of the status quo who shudders at the possibility — including foreign heads of state — for every Sandernista who follows Bernie into Hillary’s camp — for everyone of these, a dozen or more of those great yooouge numbers of the longtime disaffected and apathetic masses decides, like I have, “Hey, this guy’s gonna change things — hell, he’s already wrecked one entrenched and immovable object, the Republican Party; now, if he wins, the other, the Democratic Party, will become irrelevant and — Presto! — the two-party system, that was really a one-party system — will be blown apart.”

So: Pour it on! Condemn Trump! All you smug asses who have benefited from this sick one-sided arrangement for so long, keep it up, keep howling with outrage (because we all know it’s really just fear). Hey, it’s all good!

* * *


(submitted by Louis Bedrock)

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country:

  1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
  9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
  10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
  12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of a speed of 35 mph.
  15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
  16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.
  20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

* * *


by Dan Bacher

On August 2, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released their revised biological assessment for the California WaterFix, Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta Tunnels project, claiming that the plan “minimizes potential effects on listed species.”

The agencies submitted the detailed documents to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to begin the formal consultation process under Section 7 of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), a process that will determine whether the controversial tunnels plan would violate the ESA because of negative impacts on listed fish and wildlife species.

The documents were released at a time that the State Water Resources Control Board is holding hearings in Sacramento regarding the permit request by DWR and Reclamation to change the points of water diversions on the Sacramento River, as proposed under the California WaterFix. The hearings are expected to last for six months.

“The goal of WaterFix is to balance the needs of California residents with the needs of Delta fish and wildlife,” the California Department of Water Resources claimed in a statement. “This biological assessment articulates how WaterFix would be operated to meet the needs of endangered species.”

A biological assessment is required to obtain “incidental take” authorization of endangered and threatened species, including Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, under the landmark ESA.

DWR explained, “The document presents an assessment of effects on listed species and their designated critical habitats, due to any component of the project, including construction-related activities, or as a result of operations and maintenance. The biological assessment also proposes mitigation, monitoring, adaptive management, and other actions DWR and Reclamation may take to ensure that California WaterFix will avoid, minimize, or compensate for the potential impacts resulting from incidental take of listed species or Critical habitat loss.”

If NMFS and USFWS accept the consultation request, they will then make a determination related to the project’s potential jeopardy to species. They then may issue a biological opinion reflecting this determination, according to DWR.

DWR said the biological assessment presents a “species-by-species analysis” of the project’s potential effects and must make a ”likely to adversely affect” determination for each federally listed species even when the impacts are small – potential harm to one fish, for example – or “nearly negligible,” and notwithstanding the fact that the overall project effect to that particular species may be beneficial.

Click here for the complete biological assessment, appendices, and figures.

Opponents of the project are currently reviewing the environmental assessment. In reaction to the new document, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, said:

"While we are still working through the document, it is clear the increased presence of toxic algal blooms will be a threat to species, and, thus, public health. As it has been every step of the way, the devil is in the details. What the Brown Administration sells as solutions through public relations ends up being a no pass when it comes to real science. We will keep the public up to date on our findings.”

To date, virtually every scientific panel that has reviewed previous environmental documents for the Delta Tunnels plan, ranging from the Delta Independent Science Board to federal Environmental Protection Agency (ESA) scientists, has strongly criticized the badly flawed “science” the project is based upon.

The EPA diagnosis, released on August 30, 2014, revealed that operating the proposed conveyance facilities “would contribute to increased and persistent violations of water quality standards in the Delta, set under the Clean Water Act,” and that the tunnels “would not protect beneficial uses for aquatic life, thereby violating the Clean Water Act."

The previous incarnation of the Delta Tunnels plan, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), “was doomed from the beginning because it was conceived on the fatal premise that you can restore an estuary hemorrhaging from a lack of flow by depriving it of another 2.5 million acre-feet of flow,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), at the time. (

The agencies released the assessment as a number of fish species, including Delta and longfin smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley salmon and green sturgeon, are moving closer and closer to the abyss of extinction, due to water mismanagement by the state and federal agencies. While there are a number of factors in the decline, the number one cause behind the ecosystem collapse is massive water exports to corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies through the state and federal Delta pumping facilities.

The Delta smelt collapse is part of an overall ecosystem decline driven by water diversions by the federal and state water projects. The CDFW's 2015 Fall Midwater Trawl demonstrates that, since 1967, populations of striped bass, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, American shad, splittail and threadfin shad have declined by 99.7, 98.3, 99.9, 97.7, 98.5 and 93.7 percent, respectively, according to Bill Jennings.

* * *


"I remember my old schoolmaster, who was a prodigious great scholar, used often to say, 'Polly matete cry town is my daskalon.' The English of which, he told us, was that a child may sometimes teach his grandmother to suck eggs." — Henry Fielding

The recording of last night's (2016-08-05) 107.7fm KNYO (and 105.1 KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and listen to via

Also at you'll find a mushroom cloud of links to not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile things to see and do and learn about, such as:

The illusion of truth.

Where all that Olympic money goes. (Not to the athletes, who swim in sewage for our entertainment.)

A source of unlimited power.

"My advisors tell me that these sepiatone photographs of my parents attest to my human origin." This is an ad for Dissolve, a stock footage company from whose stock the composition was assembled.

And an inspiring article about astronautics and space, with big sharp photographs, and charts and videos, plus a first person account.

Marco McClean



  1. Jim Armstrong August 7, 2016

    Similes and metaphors: Some too true, some too funny.

  2. Jeff Costello August 7, 2016

    I think St. Clair has nailed it. When Trump says the system is rigged, he knows whereof he speaks.

  3. Bill Pilgrim August 7, 2016

    Thank you, Louis Bedrock!
    You’ve brightened my morning the way Polident brightens my dentures!

  4. BB Grace August 7, 2016

    re: “Let me say, I’m all for paying ransom for hostages. It’s the way the Middle East has worked for 2,000 years. The Israelis do it every couple of months and they can do no wrong, right?”

    Better to pay ransoms than try to rescue folks is the lesson Israel learned.

    Sure Israel can do wrong and admit it. Name a country that didn’t do wrong. Islam.

    I dare anyone to tell us how wrong Islam is.
    Contact St Clair if you need help paying ransoms for abuctions, he’s all for it.

    re: Clint Eastwood

    Maybe it’s the atrazine?

  5. Craig Stehr August 7, 2016

    My thanks to the AVA for publishing the interview with me in the August 3rd hard copy edition, which is sent to subscribers and available at radical bookstores. Fleeting fame, so much grander than anonymity. ;-)

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