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Off the Record (Aug 10, 2016)

WE ALREADY LOVE the latest euphemism for the homeless. Wait for it… "service resistant."

AS THE SS TRUMP runs up on the rocks, is anybody surprised that lots of big shot Republicans are going over to Hillary? And/or plotting to somehow dump Trump? Both parties are more alike than they are different, the Republicans being more retro on social issues, but the first allegiance of both parties is to the oligarchy. But Trump is a true wild card. He even scares his fellow oligarchs who much prefer the dependably pliable Hillary.

IF TRUMP had simply blanded down his opinions like most Republicans do for public consumption, he'd easily beat the omni-awful Hil. But why promise to wall off Mexico "and make them pay for it"? And insulting the Muslim immigrant parents of a war hero is just nuts, although their willingness to brandish their dead son for political purposes isn’t the most solid evidence of their high mindedness. It's almost like Trump suffers a form of Tourettes, blurting out provocative responses to whatever pops up in his fraught mind.

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

For every mainstream media Krauthammer 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!


I'M GOING TO ASSUME that the Sheriff and/or the DA send someone to interview Mr. Baumeister when he comes through the County Jail, as he inevitably does a couple of times a year. Baumeister worked for James DeNoyer when DeNoyer's uncle, Donald Cavanaugh, and a second old guy, David Neily, both disappeared while employed by DeNoyer at his property near Westport. One old man disappears, you've got a mystery. Two old men disappear you've got a murder mystery.

COUPLA WEEKS ago I e-mailed Mayor Turner of Fort Bragg a basic Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife question. I asked him if Fort Bragg was editing City Council minutes to make the mayor less snappish than he is. The Mayor, who was tardy responding because he’d been on vacation, gracefully deflect ed this particular Gotcha inquiry by doubting that anyone had the time or the inclination to do it.

WELL, is Fort Bragg's public record being edited? At a recent City Council meeting the mayor told David Gurney to "sit down and shut up." The “shut up” disappeared from the  official minutes.

THE TAIL WAGS THE DOG everywhere in civic Mendocino County, from school boards who automatically sign off on whatever the administrator they're supposed to be supervising tells them he or she wants to the various local governments whose councils simply rubber stamp whatever their managers put in front of them. You'd have to go back at least a decade to find a NO vote from the County School Board. And ditto for most school boards most of the time except when staff rises up in opposition to an unpopular admin person, as has happened in the case of Fort Bragg Unified.

THE CITY OF FORT BRAGG is run by its city manager, Linda Ruffing. A lot of the terrible ideas that have estranged many Fort Bragg people have been hers, which she routs through three Mommy-inclined men on the City Council — Turner, Hammerstrom, Dietz. The upshot? The Old Coast Hotel converted to another branch of a burgeoning non-profit called Hospitality House, the hiring of a police chief from out of the area beholden to Ruffing for his hire, a hire made over a deserving local cop named Naulty who'd just literally put his life on the line for his home town, a bunch of silly, expensive projects that should have never been green-lighted, and her stuffing the big pay city jobs with either friends of hers or neo-dependents.

Driving Ms Ruffing

I'M SURE Mayor Turner and Ruffing are beating the bushes for an electable fuzzy-warm to ensure their alienating stranglehold on the City of Fort Bragg. Last election they came up with Mark Iacuaniello, a kind of talking cabbage patch doll of the type long prevalent in the County's public schools, and definitely a roller. (Old term for an extremely pliable person.)

MADRE DIOS! Fort Bragg has a poor electoral history. This is the town that repeatedly sent Patti Campbell and Kendall Smith to the County Board of Supervisors! Campbell never seemed fully aware of where she was, maintaining a sphinx-like silence but occasionally going off on crying jags at no visible provocation. Smith was visibly deranged but quite cagey in falsifying her conference and travel reimbursements, charging the taxpayers for travel untraveled. DA Eyster had to threaten Smith with prosecution before she coughed up the money. For a quarter of a century, Fort Bragg was not represented at the County level of local government.

GJERDE! The present Supe from Fort Bragg? I've always been a Gjerde guy. I think Fort Bragg owes him. He almost singlehandedly lifted Fort Bragg out of looming bankruptcy when he was first elected to the City Council in the wake of some of the most flagrant criminality in the history of Mendocino County. (Fort Bragg fires of '87, a city council whose members, three of them, were taking "loans" they didn't have to pay back from developer Dominic Affinito. Etc. In fact Affinito assaulted the reform-minded Gjerde in the lobby of Fort Bragg City Hall. Natch, Affinito, was not seriously pursued by what passed for authority in the County at the time.) Gjerde's very smart, always does his homework, always knows what he's talking about. If he were still on the Fort Bragg City Council I'm sure Fort Bragg wouldn't be in the sorry shape it's in today. I should note here that Gjerde is way too cool to get sucked into the current, no-win FB controversies. He surely would have headed them off before they got to full irreconcilability.

BUILDING AMNESTY PROGRAM. The Board of Supervisors has approved a Building Amnesty Program that will allow property owners to legalize unpermitted residential construction with a waiver of investigative/penalty fees. The Amnesty Program commenced on July 1, 2016 and will conclude on June 30, 2017.

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

THE story is a presser from the Mendocino Transit Authority, which is what the MTA offers its captive public in lieu of bus service to most areas of the County. MTA primarily serves Ukiah, hence those empty buses you see running around the County seat. Each passenger you do happen to see is heavily subsidized. Here is one agency the County really should privatize.

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.

MY OFFICE WINDOW looks out at the Redwood Drive-In. Us and them are maybe a block from Boonville's beating heart, which is the Boonville Hotel. We're like a ventricle down the street.

THE DRIVE-IN is a busy place, with people swooping in to buy fuel, food and even this newspaper from the opening gong at 6am until the versatile enterprise closes every night promptly at 9.

THERE IS DRAMA at the gas pumps. One hot afternoon a couple seemed to explode from their Taurus, she from the passenger seat, he from behind the wheel. I'd say they were mid-forty-ish, trim, well-dressed, conventional-looking in the way of schoolteachers or social workers. Low-level professionals. But, as my friend Mike Koepf says, crazies dress normal. She immediately took a wild, closed-fist swing at him that glanced off his shoulder. He moved in to deliver a chest bump to her. Neither party seemed to be saying anything. They pushed each other for a few more seconds until he broke off and went inside to the market. A man at the other pump tried hard not to watch the psychodrama a few feet from him, but his jaw finally dropped just as lover boy broke it off. She had already re-seated herself in the Taurus when LB came back out of the store, and, smiling to himself, quickly pumped probably five bucks worth. He was still smiling to himself as they drove off toward Mendocino.

ANOTHER DAY, a much friendlier, much younger couple had fondled each other the whole time their car was filling up, oblivious to the PG show they were putting on. As an old guy, I still have trouble processing what my intake apparatus is processing for me.

SUNDAYS, late afternoon, there are the poignant child custody hand-offs. The ones I've seen have Mom, the custodial parent, driving up with the kids to retrieve them from Dad, the weekend parent.

A BIG MAN arrives with his son. The apparent mom pulls in next to him. They don't speak. The big man strolls inside with his son, a boy of about 12. Mom sits in her car. The two males stroll back out with ice cream cones. The boy gets into his mother’s car without a word, and his father, also without a word, walks slowly back to his truck with his ice cream cone.

A DAD pulls up with two young children rigid in the back seat. This couple begins arguing the moment Dad approaches Mom, who is still behind the wheel of her van. He gestures to the two kids in the back seat of his car, a battered Mustang, and doesn't say anything to them as they climb into the back seat of Mom's vehicle. The children are smiling as Mom pulls out of the Drive-In, headed for their heart's home, if that isn't supposing too much about the family dynamic.

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