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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Aug 20, 2016

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CLAYTON FIRE: Control Lines improved, fire suppression increased, containment up to 75%. But damage estimates rise dramatically to 189 homes, 8 commercial structures and 102 other structures destroyed. Estimated damage is expected to increase further as surveys continue.


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101 HORTENSE, Ukiah has become a kind of Animal House for Mendocino College football players. The unruly occupants of that address continue to rile the ordinarily somnolent West Side neighborhood. A neighbor writes: "The UPD Chief has already discussed the issue with the President of the college about the numerous complaints from the neighborhood of loud parties, foul language, music, etc. The UPD has responded many times at all hours. The owner of one rental has attempted to talk to [landlord] Dr. Gitlin, but he refuses to return calls. I have also talked with coach, Frank Espy, about the noise, trash, language, etc.. The neighborhood is not getting any response. Reyes response is total hyperbole. We will keep trying."

Coach Espy
Coach Espy

THE UTILITIES at 101 are in the football coach’s name. The neighbors to the immediate north (seven unit apartment building at North Hortense and West Perkins) have a two and one-half page listing of the times they’ve called police about problems at 101. Coach Espy may pay the utilities, but who's paying the rent, said to be a whopping $9,000 a month?

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Coach Espy Interview (2014)

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AVA Notes:

Fort Bragg: Neither incumbent (Scott Deitz, Doug Hammerstrom) is running for re-election.

Point Arena: Looks like all five PA seats (3 long term, 2 short term) are up for election. All three incumbents (two of which are appointed) are among the candidates.

Ukiah: Nobody is running against incumbents Douglas Crane, Stephen Scalmanini

Willits: Incumbents Burton and Strong are running for re-election, but not Holly Madrigal. Among the candidates is former Willits Police Chief Jerry Gonzalez.

Coast Hospital District: Long-serving director/incumbent Sean Hogan is not running for re-election and Dr. Rohr, a critic of the District’s budgeting process and long-term revenue projections, has resigned the board as three people are running to serve out his (two-year) term.

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2 Full Term Seats

Incumbents: Scott Deitz, Doug Hammerstron


Bernie Norvell 840 Myrtle St. Fort Bragg 95437 Small Business Owner 272-3875 E/Sp -

Scott Menzies 333 E Fir St. (POB 1243) Ft Bragg 95437 Downtown Business Owner 530 410-3333 E/Sp -

Will Lee 129 N Harrison St., Fort Bragg 95437 Healthcare Manager 367-8060 E/Sp -

Curtis Bruchler 620 Maple St., Fort Bragg 95437 Automotive Service Manager 964-3040 Eng -

Rex Gressett 436 N. Corry St., Fort Bragg 95437 Writer 964-5268 Eng -

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Measure Z - City Of Ukiah - Advisory Measure

Advisory Measure Only: Should street repair and maintenance and related public infrastructure improvements be the exclusive use of the revenues

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Measure AA - City Of Fort Bragg - Tot Increase

Shall Ordinance No. 924-2016 amending portions of Chapter 3.12 of the Fort Bragg Municipal Code to increase the City of Fort Bragg's existing Transient Occupancy Tax (a bed tax paid when overnight visitors rent a room) from ten percent (10%) to twelve percent (12%) to fund public services and maintain public areas, effective April 1, 2017, which proposed rate increase and amendment is anticipated to raise an additional $400,000 per year in revenue and which will continue until repealed by the City Council or the city voters, be adopted?

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Measure AB - City Of Fort Bragg - Advisory Measure

If Measure "AA" is approved by voters, shall the People of the City of Fort Bragg advise the City Council to use the additional funds in the following manner: (i) One-half of the revenues to substantially increase promotions, events, and marketing for Fort Bragg; (ii) One-quarter of the revenues to enhance Coastal Trail maintenance and security; (iii) One-eighth of the revenues to support establishment of the Noyo Center for Marine Sciences as a premiere visitor attraction; and (iv) One-eighth of the revenues to undertake special projects that support tourism and benefit the community including, but not limited to, repair and enhancement of local athletic fields?

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Measure AC - City Of Point Arena – TOT/Bed Tax Increase

Shall Ordinance No. 227 amending portions of Chapter 3.30.030 of the Point Arena Municipal Code to increase the City of Point Arena's existing Transient Occupany Tax (a bed tax paid when overnight visitors rent a room) from ten percent (10%) to twelve percent (12%) to fund public services and maintain public areas, effective April 1, 2017, which proposed rate increase and amendment is anticipated to raise an additional $17,000 per year in revenue and which will continue until repealed by the City Council or the city voters, be adopted?

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Measure AD - City Of Point Arena - Advisory Measure

If Measure "AC" is approved by voters, shall the People of the City of Point Arena advise the City Council to use the additional funds generated by the additional 2% of the Transient Occupancy Tax in the following manner: (1) One-quarter of the revenues to substantially increase promotion and marketing for Point Arena; (2) one quarter of the revenues to support events such as the Independence Day Celebration and Harbor Festival; (3)one quarter of the revenues to fund maintenance and improvement to the Arena Pier and City Property at the Cove; and (4) one quarter of the revenue for Park and Parking Improvements in the downtown area that support tourism and benefit the community?

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Measure AC - City Of Point Arena - Marijuanna & Cannabis Business Tax Measure

"In order to help fund general municipal services, including but not limited to such matters as maintenance of public facilities such as parks and buildings, economic development and general improvements throughout the City, shall an ordinance to impose a tax at a rate of not more than seven (7) cents per each $1.00 of proceeds or fractional part thereof on non-medical cannabis or marijuana businesses and a tax at a rate of not more that three (3) cents per each $1.00 of proceeds or fractional part thereof on medical cannabis or marijuana businesses operating in the City of Point Arena be adopted?"

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Measure AF - County Wide - Regulate Medical Cannabis

"Shall an Initiative of the People of the County of Mendocino to Regulate Medical Cannabis Cultivation, Processing, Testing, Distribution, Transportation, Delivery and Dispensing be approved?

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Measure AG - County Wide - Mental Health Initiative

“Shall an initiative of the people of the County of Mendocino to add a temporary half-cent sales tax to fund facilities in Mendocino County to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and drug dependence be approved?"

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Measure AH - County Wide - Enacting Language For Measure AG

"Shall an ordinance be adopted containing specific enactment language that will allow for the collection of taxes pursuant to the initiative to add a temporary half-cent sales tax to fund facilities in Mendocino County to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and drug dependency, if said initiative is passed by the voters at the November 8, 2016 election, without which, no taxes will be collected pursuant to said initiative?"

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Measure AI - Unincorporated Areas - Mendocino County - Cannabis Business Tax

"Shall Chapter 6.32 be added to the Mendocino County Code, placing a business tax on cannabis cultivation and dispensaries (not to exceed 10% of gross receipts) and cannabis distribution, delivery, manufacturing, nurseries, testing laboratories and transportation businesses ($2,500.00 per year, to be adjusted in accordance with consumer price index increases) of medical and nonmedical cannabis where legalized by state law, potentially generating millions of dollars annually to help fund county services be approved?"

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Measure AJ - An Advisory Measure On Spending Cannabis Business Tax Revenues. Advisory Vote Only.

"If Mendocino County adopts business license taxes on cannabis businesses by the adoption of the measure adopting Chapter 6.32, Measure AI, should the County use a majority of that revenue for funding enforcement of marijuana regulations, enhanced mental health services, repair of county roads, and increase fire and emergency medical services?"

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Few roads lead to Lake County. The drive there from any of them is lovely.

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DAVID GURNEY WRITES (on the MCN Listserve): “There are a couple of minor corrections that need to made [in Gurney’s recent AVA article “The Trouble with Fort Bragg]: One, it was Scott Deitz, not Doug Hammerstrom, who made the behind the scenes decision to use the Old Coast Hotel for Ortner office space, although Hammerstrom fully supported the move. Second, in reality, city council members make way less than the $30,000 salary mentioned in the article, since most come no where near to cashing in on the $25k benefits. Everything else stands, and then some.

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BARRY VOGEL: What is the spectrum of people who have concealed weapons permits in Mendocino County?

Sheriff Tom Allman: Can I ask you a question? Who would you assume would be the biggest group of recipients of concealed weapons permits in Mendocino County? Describe them.

Vogel: Marijuana growers?

Allman: No. It's not your white male adult Republican Baptist. It's — we have extreme liberals with concealed firearms. We have of course libertarians. And everywhere in between. We have religious people. We have political people. In other words, what I'm saying is from every walk of life comes this group of citizens who do have commonality in saying, What can I do to protect myself?

Vogel: What changed in society about the use of guns?

Allman: Well be careful, Barry. You keep asking questions about Mendocino County. Let's not talk about Chicago. Or South Carolina. Or Florida. Let's talk about Mendocino County. What gun violence are we talking about?

Vogel: You know that, you are the sheriff.

Allman: Of course I know. But I'm asking you.

Vogel: Well, I'm asking you, what extent of gun violence — ?

Allman: Mendocino County averages seven homicides a year and certainly some of those are involved with marijuana. I don't think we are seeing an uptick in gun violence as you are talking about gun violence in our little county.

Vogel: Do you see one? I remember when I came here in '74 there was rarely more than one, if one, murder trial in the court's on an annual basis.

Allman: I think anybody would be hard-pressed to show that gun violence in Mendocino County is any higher than the rest of the country. I'm not a sociologist, I'm not going to tell you, This is why we are having gun violence here. But I will say that the ability of our citizens to go through the process, get a concealed weapons permit, pay money to the state, and protect themselves with a gun allows for, in my opinion, it allows for some of our citizens to have less stress because they have this personal protection ability with them that others may not have. But on the other hand since I've been Sheriff 10 years I am not aware of anybody with a concealed weapon who had to fire a shot to defend themselves.

Vogel: You talk about the commonality across the political, social and economic spectrum who wish to carry a concealed weapon permit...

Allman: The commonality is that there are people from very diverse spectrums who have applied for and received concealed weapons permits that to be quite honest was a surprise to me when I became Sheriff.

Vogel: Why was it a surprise?

Allman: I had no idea there were so many people who I would view as on the extreme liberal side that would like to be a quiet concealed weapons holder.

Vogel: Extreme liberal side? That's an interesting characterization. What do you mean?

Allman: It speaks for itself.

Vogel: I'm asking you because you used the term, and the extreme conservative side.

Allman: What about the extreme libertarian side?. You and I have been around this County long enough where we could make a list away from each other and when we got together chances are a majority of the names would be on both lists because I know who you're talking about and you know who I'm talking about and I'm not to mention names. That's not my intent. My intent is to — Listen, there are people who are listening to this radio show today who are very irritated that there is a law enforcement officer who is very supportive of allowing people to comply with the law and get a concealed weapons permit to protect themselves. To those people, I do not owe them an apology. All I own them is an explanation of why I do it. There's no apology necessary. Don't get mad at me. The system we have is working: the concealed weapons permit system in Mendocino County. You know the old adage, if it's not broke, don't fix it. I will say it's not broke and I'm not going to fix it until — We are going to continue this — the oversight that we have at the sheriff's office — Chiefs of police can issue concealed weapons permits. You know that? But in this county Chiefs of police have told their citizens that if you live inside the city limits and you go to the chief of police and ask to apply for a concealed weapons permit they would say, Mr. Vogel, thanks for coming in, you need to go talk to the Sheriff's office. And you go to Sheriff's office and get the paperwork and it's about a three-month process. That's how you could ultimately get a concealed firearm permit. But be careful, because if you misuse it we are going to call you. When anybody gets in trouble with their concealed firearm — and we have had a few people get arrested with their gun — I will call them. I will call and say you did this bad, you can hate me forever but I am taking away your ability to carry a concealed firearm.

(Courtesy, Barry Vogel's KZYX radio show, Radio Curious, Thursday, August 18, 2016)

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Arsonists & wildfires

Posted on MCN Listserve by Eleanor Cooney

Bad news:

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DAVID GURNEY rightly complains about the Fort Bragg City Council's odd (and sneaky) placement of the consent agenda at the end of meetings:

"There are three items on the consent calendar at the next city council meeting that shouldn't be there - something about a change in conflict of interest rules, an inspection of their outfall pipe from the sewage plant, and a new roof for the visitor center out by the sewage plant. Again, they have the Consent Calendar at the end of the meeting, which is something that is done nowhere else in California, if not the nation, so that nobody will notice."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 19, 2016

Abonce-Guzman, Adams, Alvarez
Abonce-Guzman, Adams, Alvarez


KELLI ADAMS, Boonville. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

JUAN ALVAREZ, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, resisting.

Crider, Gruey, I.Hoaglen
Crider, Gruey, I.Hoaglen

MIKAEL CRIDER, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.


IRAN HOAGLEN III, Ukiah. Carjacking, conspiracy, parole violation.

J.Hoagland, Lincoln, Lopez
J.Hoagland, Lincoln, Lopez

JOHN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Carjacking, conspiracy, parole violation probation revocation.

ERIC LINCOLN, Covelo. Drunk in public.

CLAUDIO LOPEZ, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance.

Prickett, Rozek, Vasquez
Prickett, Rozek, Vasquez

CONSTANCE PRICKETT, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

ZACHARIA ROZEK, Redwood Valley. Under influence, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

DONNA VASQUEZ, Brentwood/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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AMERICAN RIVER WATER RELEASES will be reduced to 2,000 cfs

by Dan Bacher

(Sacramento) As normally happens every year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will reduce releases from Nimbus Dam into the lower American River just before the fall-run Chinook salmon begin to move into the lower American River.

The flows will be ramped down 3,250 cfs on August 19, today, to 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on August 21. The reason? “Storage conservation,” said Randi Field, Reclamation spokesperson.

The reduction in releases comes after Reclamation has all summer released high flows up 5,000 cfs for export from the Delta by San Joaquin corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies.

To make things more complicated, the Bureau yesterday temporarily decreased flows in the lower American River below Nimbus Dam from 3,750 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cfs to prepare the Nimbus Fish Hatchery weir foundation for picket installation.

“The fish weir structure is installed annually to guide spawning Chinook salmon into the hatchery fish ladder,” according to a Reclamation news release.

Then Reclamation incrementally ramped up flows by approximately 1,000 cfs per hour back up to 3,250 cfs. – until the water agency begins to draw down the releases again today.

Confusing? That’s the way water is “managed” in the Big Ag and Big Money state of California.

Folsom Lake is currently holding 373,864 acre feet of water, 38 percent of capacity and 58 percent of average.

Daily information on expected flows in the American River can be found on the California Data Exchange Center website at or on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at

Folsom Dam, Folsom Reservoir and Nimbus Dam are located about 25 miles east of Sacramento, Calif., and are features of the Central Valley Project.

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

Give CNN just a little credit. On Wednesday night, the cable network hosted a Town Hall featuring Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. In those 90 Prime Time minutes, Stein and Baraka presented a clearer picture of the realities and consequences of US foreign policy and militarism than we heard from Bernie Sanders in a year’s worth of speeches.

Americans who tuned in heard some things that are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media: a sober critique of the US’s malign relationship to the government of Israel, forthright calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the end of killer drone strikes, the closure of all 800-plus overseas military bases and an end to interventionist wars. The entire Town Hall session was the political equivalent of George Carlin’s the seven things you can’t say on TV.

The Green Team deftly navigated the treacherous shoals of Cuomo’s questions. For most of the night, Cuomo played the role of a Clinton troll, trying to trip up Stein and Baraka with quotes ripped out of context and stale slanders planted by Democratic Party operatives. Despite all evidence to the contrary, it seems that Ralph Nader will forever be blamed for costing Al Gore the 2000 election. So he zeroed in on Stein, asking her how she could sleep at night if, like Nader, she ended up tipping the election to Trump. Stein didn’t blink, saying: “I would have trouble sleeping at night if Trump was elected. I would also have trouble sleeping if Hillary Clinton was elected.”

Stein also easily swatted down the smear now being furiously spread by the Clintonoids that she is opposed to childhood vaccinations and that she is “anti-science.” It’s a ludicrous charge against a physician and one that has no basis in fact, as Stein forcefully demonstrated. Still, I hope this assault doesn’t discourage Stein and Baraka from at some point offering a critical analysis of the economic and political uses of science in the service of war and profit.

One of the chief purveyors of this bilge of misinformation is a previously obscure fellow named Robert Naiman, who runs a nearly invisible group called Just Foreign Policy. Naiman was caught red-handed (so to speak) when his junk mail made its way to the inbox of John Stauber, author of Toxic Sludge is Good for You and a leading expert on the politics of propaganda and disinformation. Stauber knows a smear when he sees one.

Here’s the text of the email Naiman circulated among his coterie of conflicted progressives at GameChangersSalon:

From: Robert Naiman‪<>

If you have a lot of Facebook friends, you may have recently noticed a high level of activity on your Facebook feed by Jill Stein acolytes.

If so, you may find the following links useful to throw them off their game. No warranty, express or implied. You don’t have to prove that Jill Stein is an anti-science conspiracy theorist. You just have to say, “There are unanswered questions about whether Jill Stein is an anti-science conspiracy theorist.”

There’s Nothing Green About Jill Stein’s Vaccine Stance

Jill Stein on vaccines: People have ‘real questions’

Jill Stein Promotes Homeopathy, Panders On Vaccines

Jill Stein Worries Wi-Fi Is Dangerous For Kids


Robert Naiman

Policy Director

Just Foreign Policy

You’d think Jill Stein was a card-carrying member of the Flat Earth Society. In fact, Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, graduated from Harvard Medical School, practiced internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital for 25 years and taught medicine at Harvard Medical School. In other words, Stein is an unlikely suspect for ratting out a modern-day Galileo. The same cannot be said for the current Democratic administration whose vicious crackdown on whistleblowers, many of them scientists, has been part of a concerted and unrelenting campaign to snuff out internal dissent.

It so happens that Naiman, an alleged peace activist, is also the board president for the liberal website Truthout. Veteran readers of CounterPunch will recall Truthout from John Pilger’s acrid account of his head-on collision with their editors, who peevishly tried to cleanse his essay, “A World War Has Begun: Break the Silence,” of passages which might prove uncomfortable for the Democratic Party establishment.

In a nasty email exchange with longtime Green organizer Kevin Zeese, who is now co-director of Popular Resistance, a group which grew out of the Occupy movement, Naiman sunk even further into the slime and threatened to expose Jill Stein as “a Trotskyite cancer.”

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 2:56 PM, Robert Naiman <> wrote:

Oh, is today my day to be harassed by Green Party thugs?

I’ll make you a deal: call off your dogs and I won’t further expose Jill Stein as a Trokskyite cancer.

Robert Naiman

Policy Director

Just Foreign Policy

(202) 448-2898 x1

Slandering Stein and the Greens for being “Trotskyites” (or “Trokskyites,” in Naiman’s quaint verbiage) is as intellectually vapid as it is vile. Everyone knows that most of Leon’s former disciples in the US have long since morphed into neocons and thus can be spotted in Georgetown cafes polishing their resumés for slots on Hillary’s foreign policy team.

“Robert Naiman epitomizes the attitude of the paid, professional Democrat progressives attacking the Green Party and Jill Stein,” John Stauber told me. “These shills see no hypocrisy in embracing a candidate supported by Wall Street, the Koch brothers and the neoconservatives who with Hillary lied America into attacking Iraq. So there it is, Hillary is his champion while a woman running on the most progressive platform in America is just a damned Communist. Rather than back down when he himself was exposed, he doubled down with a smear befitting the worst of American politics. Naiman is not an aberration however; indeed, he embodies the funded progressive elite who since 2000 have become a front group for the Democrats liberal oligarchs such as George Soros and his Democracy Alliance.”

The hypocrisy of the Clintonoids is almost as audacious as their dissemination of lies about Jill Stein. Of course, their champion, the “pro-science” Hillary Clinton, ignores scientific facts and assessments whenever such considerations prove to be an even minor inconvenience to the headlong pursuit of her corporate agenda (cf, fracking).

“People may wonder why suddenly everyone was saying Jill Stein is anti-vax — now we know it was a coordinated campaign,” Zeese told me. “Obviously, it also happens in the media because all of a sudden multiple news outlets were reporting the same thing. Had Stein said something that all these media outlets saw and ‘reported’ on — no, she had not said anything anti-vax, but they were coordinated. It was a planned slander attack.”

Despite Clinton’s apparent lead in the polls, there’s a palpable sense of desperation in the air, as if her support is so soft that Hillary could sink another 10 points in the wake of one more email dump from Wikileaks or Guccifer 2.0. This explains why her surrogates are reaching so deeply into their bag of dirty tricks. The red-baiting of Stein and Baraka is a perfect expression of the Clinton machine’s political and moral bankruptcy.

Birth of a Hit Job

You just knew some kind of campaign to sabotage Nate Parker’s sizzling film about Nat Turner’s slave revolt, “Birth of a Nation,” was going to erupt sooner or later.

One might have anticipated that the attack on Parker’s hotly anticipated film might have originated from Breitbart, the Drudge Report or the Weekly Standard. Oh, no. The hit piece was launched from the homepage of the New York Times, which dredged up a 17-year-old allegation of rape against Parker, who was then a student at Penn State University. Parker was charged with rape, went to trial and was acquitted by a jury. The accuser in the case committed suicide more than a decade later. The insinuations at work in the Times story are that Parker somehow escaped conviction on a technicality (a rarity for a black man accused of raping a white woman), that the accuser killed herself because she couldn’t deal with the trauma of the rape and that you should boycott “Birth of a Nation” because it’s a film made by a remorseless rapist.

I don’t know the facts of the Nate Parker rape case and you won’t learn them from this long NYT story, which treads in whispers, rumors and manufactured outrage. We don’t learn why Parker was acquitted or much at all about course of the trial. We don’t learn why his roommate’s conviction was overturned on appeal. We don’t know why the accuser committed suicide 10 years later. We don’t know why the accuser’s family believes that a rival studio leaked the original story to Variety. We don’t learn anything at all except that there is now a furious effort to discredit the film and disparage its director.

Perhaps Parker deserves the scorn. I don’t know and neither will you from reading this mendacious piece. Even if one accepts the worst interpretation of the facts of the case (the jury didn’t), how does that invalidate the film? Does the New York Times really want us to believe that black women weren’t regularly raped in the southern slave states? That the torments and torture endured by slaves such as Nat Turner didn’t take place? That Turner’s fierce rebellion against the criminals who abused him and his comrades didn’t ignite after suffering a long history of unspeakable wrongs? This story an object lesson in character assassination NYT’s style.

Think Positive

I’ve been thinking about what it would take to finally abolish the anti-democratic Electoral College. Probably an election where Trump wins the popular vote by 400,000 votes and loses in the Electoral College by more than 30 votes. The Right wouldn’t tolerate that result, the way Gore and the Democrats did in 2000, when the Ozone Man won the popular vote nationally, probably won Florida and yet meekly swallowed the unconstitutional ruling of the Supreme Court handing the election to Bush. There’s a potentially positive result from a HRC victory to load into your Lesser Evil Voting calculator.

If the Feet Fit

The current net worth of George W. Bush, the man Ann Richards lampooned as being “born with a silver foot in his mouth,” is: $23 million. Net worth of the perpetually poor-mouthing Clintons: $111 million. Those must be platinum feet Hillary and Bill are munching on…

False Flag Email Alert!

Speaking of Democratic millionaires, Nancy Pelosi (Net Worth: $58 million) is launching a pre-emptive strike against the next leak of DNC emails. Pelosi is telling anyone who will listen that the next batch of emails exposing political trickery and corruption by party elites will likely be fakes, a false flag October Surprise generated by Russian intelligence to cripple the Democratic Party and help secure the election for Trump. The patsy in Pelosi’s conspiracy theory will no doubt be Julian Assange, for uploading these malicious cyber missives from his hidden vantage on Assange, of course, is Number Two on the Democrats’ Wanted: Dead or Alive List, lagging behind Vladimir Putin and but still slightly ahead of Bashir Assad.

The Courage of Chou

This week Howard Lisnoff wrote an excellent and widely read piece on Hillary and her intellectual Svengali, Henry Kissinger. But at this moment I’m more interested in the photo that either Nathaniel St. Clair or Joshua Frank selected to illustrate Howard’s story. The photo depicts Nixon toasting Chou En-Lai, probably the greatest diplomat of our time, during the president’s visit to Peking. Even Nixon and Kissinger’s enemies tend to effusively praise the shameless duo’s “courage” for opening the long-shuttered door to China. But that 1972 trip didn’t take courage. It was the fruition a business deal. All the real fortitude during those negotiations was displayed by Chou. After all, he was dealing with a nation whose intelligence elites had tried to assassinate him only a few years earlier, when agents of the CIA placed a bomb on the plane he was meant to take to the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955. (See ND Jayaprakash’s definitive account: Why Did the CIA Try to Kill Chou En-Lai?) And who was vice-president and chief Cold Warrior at the time of the bombing? Yep, the man Chou is toasting – Richard M. Nixon.

Jerry’s Flint

According to this scandalous report in Mother Jones by Tom Philpott, more than 200,000 people are drinking toxic water in California’s central valley. Yet we hear almost nothing about it. Could this be because, unlike in Michigan, California has a Democratic governor, who is soft on Big Ag, and most of the poisoned are migrant workers?

Late for the Sky

Speaking of the environmental politics of Jerry Brown, the towering smoke plumes from the rampaging Blue Cut fire near San Bernardino have merged with the normal stew of particulate matter and ozone to render the air in the Los Angeles Basin about as dangerous as Delhi’s on an average day. Brown, the man the Democratic Party selected to deliver a tepid message on climate change at their convention, is wholly owned by big oil and the fracking industry. It’s no surprise, therefore, to find that California contains 8 of the 10 worst zones for air quality in the United States. The toxic air in California accounts for more than 21,000 premature deaths a year, 40 percent of the total for the entire nation. The health care costs associated with treating victims of California’s dirty air top $200 million every year. Don’t worry, though, help is on the way. I’ve heard from someone who is in a position to know that one of Trump’s first acts as president, if elected, will be to issue an Executive Order declaring smog to be a vegetable.

Trading Places

Obama heads the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is ostensibly in opposition to the TPP. Yet, Obama is now traveling across what was once considered the “battleground” region, hustling votes for Hillary while simultaneously pimping for the TPP. Work out that political syllogism. When Bernie announced his support for HRC based on the victories he’s secured in the Democratic Party platform, and from Hillary herself, I said that those commitments had been “written in disappearing ink.” But even I didn’t think those mighty pledges would begin to fade from public view until after the election. Obama’s blatant huckstering for the TPP is a sure sign that the neo-Democrats feel confident of total victory and can stick their real agenda in the face of the Left during the campaign with impunity. Look for ‘Pass the TPP’ signs at Hillary rallies in October.

The Politics of Weed

While Obama’s DEA wants desperately to continue the war on pot to justify its own existence and maximize its budget (See Jesse Ventura’s piece in Friday’s CounterPunch), the nation as a whole seems to be waking up. A new poll from Gallup shows that 58 percent of Americans believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal.” In California, upwards of 60 percent of registered voters say that they will vote to approve a November ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use under California law and allow government to tax its retail sales.

Arise from your slumbers Barry-O, or risk being swept away by the rising bongwaters of history.

Looking Through You

The latest NBC Poll shows that only 11% view HRC as ‘honest and trustworthy.’ The news isn’t any better from Democrats, where only 12% view her as ‘honest and trustworthy’ – and they still plan to vote for her, knowing full well that she’ll screw them over. Only possible conclusion: Democrats like being screwed over.

Shit on the Sacred Slopes

In order to manufacture something for skiers to ski on in climate change ravaged northern Arizona, the City of Flagstaff has been “making snow” by using water from human sewage and then spraying it on the San Francisco Peaks, one of the holiest sites of the Hopi (and 13 other tribes). The Hopi have fiercely fought this odious desecration for years. The courts remain deaf to their pleas. The legal battle has ended. Rest assured, the Hopi will find other ways to fight.

The Hunted and the Hunter

A couple of years after Hemingway blew his brains out with a two-barreled shotgun he used to shoot pigeons, a young Hunter S. Thompson showed up at the late writer’s cabin in the shadow of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains on assignment for the National Observer. His mission: explain why Hemingway killed himself. Thompson’s story proved to be a rather perfunctory exercise in speculative psychology. (You can read it in his collection The Great Shark Hunt.)

While in Ketchum, the good Doctor became fixated by a large pair of elk antlers that Hemingway had nailed above the front door of his cabin and in true Gonzo-style Thompson swiped the animal relicts and trundled them back to his garage in Woody Creek, Colorado, where they hung for decades among his dartboards and explosive devices. Then last week, Thompson’s wife, Anita, returned them to the Hemingway cabin, which is now owned by the Nature Conservancy. Anita Thompson said that she brought the antlers back to Idaho because Hunter had felt guilty about keeping them.

I don’t believe Hunter regretted this escapade for a minute. He boasted about the heist to friends for many years. If Anita wanted to restore the karmic balance, she should have returned them to the mountain meadow from which Hemingway stole them at rifle point. As my friend Michael Donnelly quipped: “I wouldn’t give the Nature Conspiracy a pile of elk dung!”

Bernie’s Last Tape

My pal Carl G. Estabrook, looking very trim, devotes the first few minutes of his must watch show on politics, culture and the media out of Champaign-Urbana, News From Neptune (the antecedent is Chomsky not Hendrix or William Morris) to a reading of my little drama, “Bernie’s Last Tape.” Carl has actually performed Beckett, to great acclaim, I’ve just slandered Lonesome Sam’s reputation through parody. (Someone should stop me before I write the sequel: Bernie’s Last Krapp.)

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week:

1/ Devastatin’ Rhythm by David Vest

2/ Protest by Bunny Wailer

3/ Brand New Blues by Cyril Neville (Check out his blistering post-Katrina version of Marley’s Slave Driver.)

4/ The Deepest Lake by Dengue Fever

5/ Silver City by Sarah Borges

The World Through a One-Way Mirror

“We are beckoned to see the world through a one-way mirror, as if we are threatened and innocent and the rest of humanity is threatening, or wretched, or expendable. Our memory is struggling to rescue the truth that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution, but that peace is only possible with justice and with information that gives us the power to act justly.”

— John Pilger

(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:

* * *


Most of us remember the lines from the movie Field of Dreams:

Is this Heaven?

No, it’s Iowa.

I’ve been picking green beans in our backyard garden, and the perfect weather, the soil that’s beyond fertile (it’s positively fecund), the bounty of the harvest have combined to made it a heaven right here in good old Iowa.

I’m picking a variety of bean called Roma II, an Italian-type flat bean. These are my wife’ favorite, so they’re the priority for picking and freezing.

The main crop is called Provider, and it lives up to its name. It’s a larger, more vigorous plant than Roma, and the crop is prodigious, simply amazing.

As I’ve noted before the garden is chemical-free, compost-fed, and rainfall watered. The beans are mostly without blemish, despite no bug killing chemicals. There are some holes in the leaves from insect damage, but the yield is not noticeably reduced.

Early in the season the bean leaves are pale green, but as the weeks go by the newly formed leaves are a beautiful dark green, almost blue.

The bean seeds are from an excellent co-op in Maine called Fedco. They test for germination, and the test results are printed on each packet.

As I pick, I also pull weeds. The ample rain we have had makes the weed roots loose in the ground; the poor plants give up their feeble hold on Mother earth without much struggle.

My large garden is a square about 20 ft. on a side, so the crops are packed together. As I pick beans, I reach over and pick a ripe, red tomato. Delicious right off the vine! (I have a second, smaller garden, 10 x 16 ft. for collards and carrots. (Earlier in the season it grows lettuce.)

So, food production in Iowa for survivors of a collapse of civilization should not be a problem. The challenge will be defending our bounty from roving bands of hungry hedge fund managers.

* * *


"And I caught up with Roger Salazar, a political consultant who worked to defeat legalization the last time it appeared on the California ballot in 2010. It lost 53.5% to 46.5%. 'I’m not saying this one is perfect,' he said, 'but my instinct tells me it’s likely gonna pass. ... Counties and cities could regulate marijuana any way they wanted, but they could not prevent people from growing it at home or transporting it across their boundaries. ... Places that rely on the cannabis economy — Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties — could take a big hit. This is why the bill gives small farmers a five-year head start. Licenses for large cultivators would be granted only after five years of legalization, and doing so would be at the discretion of regulators.'"

* * *


Please know that I just received an email from Garberville's perennial district 2 congressional candidate Andy Caffrey. He informs me that environmental activist Stephanie Gawboy of Redway was murdered on her massage table! Whereas I once took some photos/filmed footage of she and others at a Monsanto protest in Eureka, I looked for relevant crime information on north coast news outlets (including KMUD), and cannot find anything at all. Anybody know about this, or is Andy Caffrey orbiting Jupiter's moon Io?

Craig Louis Stehr


* * *


* * *


To the Editor:

Regarding Justine Frederiksen's August 19 article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about former KZYX General Manager, Lorraine Dechter, leaving not just the station, but also leaving Mendocino County, and leaving pronto — it would seem as if Ms. Dechter can't get far enough away fast enough.

Can you blame Ms. Dechter? KZYX is a toxic work environment. I've been saying so for years. It's a rat hole for toxic personalities. A rat hole!

One would have thought that the forced resignations of former General Manager, John Coate, and former Program Director, Mary Aigner, late last year would have helped reverse the station's long downward slide. One would have thought.

Nope. Think again.

There are so many entrenched, toxic personalities at KZYX, i.e. Stuart "Stewie" Campbell, who tried (unsuccessfully) to steal Ms. Dechter's job from her back in December when I was still on the KZYX Board of Directors. I strongly believe the station must fail, if it is ever to re-emerge as a healthy place. I wouldn't be surprised if someday the FCC reassigns KZYX's two licenses to another station in the area. KMUD would be a good choice. They're great.

When KZYX lost Lorraine Dechter and Raoul van Hall this year — two highly regarded public radio professionals, with great resumes and tons of credibility, who quit in disgust — the people of Mendocino County lost all hope of a functional, financially solvent, public radio station that is committed to full disclosure and community participation— a public radio station we could truly call our own.

The alternative? KMEC Radio 105.1 FM in Ukiah.

Support KMEC Radio 105.1 FM by becoming a member or underwriter. We are all-volunteer. Our $20,000 budget is only 4% of KZYX's bloated $550,000 budget. Moreover, KZYX's budget resists full disclosure on high staff salaries to a few lucky insiders and Korean War-era broadcast equipment that never gets replaced, resulting in lots of dead air, fuzz outs, and irritating signals.

KMEC does public affairs shows every Monday at 1 pm with national guests speaking on today's most important issues. And KMEC has lots of other great programming, including kids doing hip-hop live on the air.

KMEC Radio at the Mendocino Environmental Center. Your public radio station. Your community radio station.

Thank you.

John Sakowicz

KZYX Board of Directors (2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014)


  1. BB Grace August 20, 2016

    “An illegal marijuana farm lit up a home-destroying northern California fire in 2015 that took out 96 buildings. Two suspects were on the run as officials announced the case Wednesday”

    “Upton indicated that CalFire may begin breaking out marijuana-related fires into a separate category. It was unclear whether the nine marijuana fires in two years was an increase in that type of fire.”

  2. Betsy Cawn August 20, 2016

    Red Cross INFORMATION HOTLINE: 866-272-2237

    Lake County Fire Protection District and Red Cross volunteers will be handing out cleaning, hygiene and comfort items in hardest-hit neighborhoods devastated by the Clayton fire TODAY. LCFPD will also have fixed distribution points throughout the community. Saturday (August 20) through Monday (August 22), 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

    Red Cross SERVICE CENTER at the Clearlake Highlands Senior Center, 3245 Bowers Avenue: Saturday 8/20 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Sunday 8/21 – Noon to 5 p.m. | Monday 8/22 – 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    Visit the Brick Hall in Lower Lake today for hometown help and friendship, open at 9:00 a.m.

    FEMA will NOT be coming, people — Habitat for Humanity opens Clayton Fire Resource Assistance services at 21137 Calistoga Road, Middletown (hosted by Catholic Charities and New Harvest Community Church): Saturday (8/20 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

    THANK YOU to the Lake County Fire Protection District and American Red Cross, friends, neighbors, and so many volunteers from supporting organizations, including KPFZ 88.1 FM – Lake County Community Radio (streaming live at Tune in Sunday at 2 p.m. for news and blues.

  3. George Hollister August 20, 2016

    From something I learned many moons ago when I was a volunteer firefighter:

    There are a limited and defined number of reasons people commit arson. It is done for profit, revenge, to cover up a crime, or to attempt to satisfy a personal pathological need.

  4. Jim Updegraff August 20, 2016

    Green Party: Always a lot of talk, talk but little real action to get on ballots of all the states. I periodically check to see in how many states the Green Party and the Libertarian Party are on the Ballot. The libertarians are working hard on this project and I would anticipate they may be on the ballots in 40 -45 states, Very little change with the Green Party and probably will be on the ballot in less that 50% of the states. I get the impression the Green Party supporters would rather sit around and talk a tough fight than do the grunt work to get on the ballots. For me, I don’t vote for slugs.

    • Mark Scaramella August 21, 2016

      If you want to assign blame for the Green Party’s alleged “little real action” to get on the ballots of all the states you must start with the Democratic Party. Actually, Ralph Nader put a lot of real action in to exactly that task and was fought at every turn by very well funded Democratic operatives, flacks and lawyers in each state. For particulars, See Nader’s book, “Crashing The Party.” (That’s not to say I’m particularly excited by the Green Party, but they are much better than Clinton-Trump Party. The Green Party’s supposed lack of action doesn’t even register on the Richter Scale when compared with the chasms the Dems have created, many of which you have complained about in this space time and again.)

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