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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Aug 22, 2016

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As Lower Lake residents returned to devastated neighborhoods, Lake County Fire Protection District and American Red Cross distributed supplies for clean up (including shovels, rakes, work gloves, water, buckets of supplies, and directions on how to safely handle household recovery, the American Red Cross provided relief assistance at the Clearlake (Highlands) Senior Center* and at Lower Lake’s Fire District Station 65.

PG&E did a massive job of cleaning up the streets and restoring lost power lines, in a short few days after the main fire was quelled. Habitat for Humanity re-opened their doors two days after the loss of their long-time home, and Salvation Army food trucks were on site in many locations, including in front of Lower Lake’s Brick Hall, where local residents set up a cool, calm respite center (next door to Station 65).

Dazed residents, friends and families — some of whom had lost their homes in the Valley Fire — began the hard work of slogging through the necessities of insurance claims or finding affordable temporary homes, where Valley Fire survivors remaining un-homed almost a year later are still searching for return.

Middletown Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians once again opened the doors of the Twin Pine Casino Event Center, which is the last remaining shelter (the Kelseyville High School shelter is now completely closed). The ever hospitable Moose Lodge was back to almost normal as I drove by Saturday afternoon — having assisted dozens of dislocated evacuees from the City’s “Avenues” earlier in the week, as well as Lower Lake’s refugees, with their usual aplomb. The County of Lake’s dismissal of the Lodge as a “safe” place (for alleged health violations during the Valley Fire) should be re-examined — as should its capacities to provide local mental health counseling (a pre-existing condition here, doubly exacerbated by new catastrophes).

For those whose lives were barely touched by the 2015 wildfires — after the “long-term recovery” process began in earnest this spring — now have a prime example of how important our public health and safety service providers are, how vulnerable our small communities can be, and how magnificently Lake County residents rise to the occasion, time and time again.

Infinite gratitude to all those dedicated relief workers who immediately arrived and coordinated with local assistance teams, animal care and rescue volunteers, the families of local law enforcement officers and medical responders on extended duty throughout the week. Steady as she goes.

*Sonoma County’s temple of Tsu Chi returned and shared the work load at the Highlands center, a stallwart and mindfully generous provider always at the ready in our time of need.

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CLAYTON FIRE NOW 95% contained at almost 4,000 acres.


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After last year, Lake County’s bout with wildfire seems endless. The latest blaze, the Clayton fire, scarred Lower Lake, which was spared from the destruction last year.

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ANGER & ADDICTION (among other reasons such as profit) often drive arsonists, but convictions rare.

by Kevin Fagan and Peter Fimrite

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by Katy Tahja

So I got invited to a public shaming…and being a retired librarian and thinking the family to be shamed disgraceful…I decided to do something I’d never done before. Attend.

Being a ballot proponent for Measure V in Mendocino County last June, which said standing dead forests are a danger to everyone and passed with 62% of voters agreeing, I went along on the August 18 event in San Francisco after organizers promised me I wouldn’t get arrested…I had to go to work the next day.

Tons of information has been printed in the AVA about San Francisco’s Fisher family. They are basically made out of money, multi-millionaires, and owners of Mendocino Redwood Company along with the Gap, Banana Republic, and a wide variety of other concerns. They are socialites in the big city, support worthy charities and museums, and may personally be nice folks, but their business practices are dreadful IMHO.

Mendocino Redwood Company will fight like crazy with high-powered lawyers NOT to obey the rules in Measure V. The company feels if their intentionally created dead forests catch fire and burn over the property lines and destroy your house it is not their fault and why should they be financially responsible? In the time of huge wildfires burning all over the state their forestry practices require creating more dead trees with herbicide so they can earn more money.

I had mental visions of colonial days in the USA…perhaps something like the “Scarlet Letter”…or a conservative religious community turning on one of it’s own members for an indiscretion, as a public shaming. With the Fisher family we wanted to bring public attention to the fact that their business practices were questionable at best. We wanted people on the street to know what this family was up to. So we took it to the street.

I have nothing but admiration for Beth Bosk and the decades of work this woman has put into protecting the redwood forest. She may be thought of as an aging silver-haired hippy who does not know when to give up but that woman sure can organize folks and she did again for this event. Of course, this is Mendocino, and while the best laid plans look great on paper with 30 independent spirits involved plans can get convoluted.

Four vans brought folks from every corner of the county, and their artwork, and their drums. You can’t have chanting on the sidewalk without a back beat. Mendocino’s Raging Grannies vocal group brought a guitar and harmonized over anti-logging songs. Some truly beautiful banners painted by local artists were held aloft and Sharon Doubiago read her poetry relevant to the event. We ranged in age from 10 to 80 I’d guess and we all want a world where the earning the almighty dollar does not have to mean environmental degradation.

After spending way to much time trying to find One Maritime Plaza (which does NOT show up on GPS phone programs), but turns out is next to One Embarcadero Center, we demonstrated holding our signs at an angle since Fisher’s business offices were 14 floors above us. We made speeches, sang songs, waved signs, and attracted attention. We were also told by security we’d be arrested if we tried to step into the building. What was fun was that people exiting the building came to tell us that the many Fisher company employees were at the windows watching us, even if we couldn’t see them.

Trying to do anything in a big city…especially driving…takes WAY more time than planned, so we had to skip our plans to go stand outside the Fisher family homes for awhile waving signs just to irritate them and their neighbors because time did not permit. So we went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where Fisher’s are on the Board of Directors and have donated several floors of modern art. What this museum has in it’s collection was discussed in detail in the AVA a week or two back…leave it to say the reviewer was not impressed.

It was absolutely delightful street theater as museum visitors walked out of the doors of the museum to be faced with a protest before them. We were polite. We passed out flyers with information. We did not impede foot traffic and three security guards who made sure we were not on MOMA property but on public sidewalks watched us. We got honks of support from meter maids and tour bus drivers and bicycle messengers. We were allowed to use rest rooms and investigate the gift shop and dine in the café if we left our protest signs outside.

People stopped, asked questions, and the alternative press and public radio interviewed us. The crowds had no idea the museum benefactors were out destroying the forest. I heard a lot of “Oh my’s…” when they learned about what happens when a forest is managed for shareholders, not Mother Nature. Folks left a little more informed then when they arrived. It was as much as we could hope for. We couldn’t change the world overnight but we could draw attention to the problem.

A hard day’s protesting deserves a reward and we found it at an Indian restaurant called Lotus in San Rafael. We were literally swooning at the mixture of flavors as seven of us swapped dishes back and forth. Highly recommended. It was after 11p.m. when we got back to Ukiah and I still had to drive an hour home to Comptche. Sunburned and exhausted I considered the day well spent.

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by Justine Frederiksen

(Ukiah Daily Journal Editor's note: This is the third installment of a series exploring the need for a secure psychiatric facility in Mendocino County.)

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When you count those tucked into hallways and former closets, there are 11 beds in the emergency room at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. “We treat more people per square foot than any other emergency room in Northern California,” said physician Marvin Trotter of the facility, which recently treated a record-setting 117 people in one day. 
That day, and every other day Trotter walks in the door, at least one of the beds in the ER will likely have a mental health patient, known as a 5150, which means the person is being held for 72 hours.

A recent Tuesday was no exception. In Room 1 there was a man who was brought in two days earlier by Ukiah Police officers because he was threatening to kill himself. 
The 59-year-old veteran said he was staying at the Sunrise Inn until he ran out of money. With no friends or family in Ukiah, he said he had nowhere else to go and felt hopeless. 
“He's afraid if he gets let out he's going to jump off a bridge,” said Trotter, describing the man as a relatively “easy” 5150 since he only wanted to harm himself.

Not like the man who tried to hit a nurse with an IV stand. Or the man who ripped out his IVs and ran naked and bloody out of the hospital, streaking across the parking lot and into traffic before he was Tased by a police officer.
 After those incidents, UVMC hired more security guards to prevent its staff from being hit, bit and otherwise assaulted by combative patients.
 “Now we have two guards on duty at all times, one just for the emergency room,” said Will Hendry, who has worked as a guard at the hospital for four years. “It was a security guard that prevented the nurse from getting hit with the IV stand.”

'Ashamed At What We Have To Offer'

But even a calm 5150 takes up a bed. A bed that could be used for the woman who just had a stroke. The teenager having trouble breathing after being stung by a bee. The man seriously injured in the head-on collision that killed his wife.

When the county had a psychiatric facility, Sally Minsinger, who has worked at UVMC for 30 years, said patients like the man sitting in Room 1 would have been taken there to receive specialized treatment and crucial human interaction, freeing up his ER bed for more emergent patients.

Instead, as the patient neared his third day in an eight-by-eight room alone, he said his mental health case worker offered him little more than another three-day hold.
 “But I don't think I can sit in this room for three more days,” he said.

“I am ashamed at what we have to offer these patients,” said physician Ace Barash, who has worked in the emergency rooms at both UVMC and Howard Hospital in Willits.

With no secure psychiatric facility in Mendocino County, mental health patients in crisis often end up at the jail or the hospital. But both facilities are ill-equipped to treat them, even if they weren't already overloaded with the people they are designed to serve.

“It is inhumane to have (mental health patients) just sitting in the ER, put in a small room with no windows and a guard standing at the door for days on end,” Barash said. “I wouldn't wish that on anyone, let alone someone in crisis.”

“If you weren't crazy before you came into the ER, you will be after,” said Trotter, explaining that being surrounded by a tornado of stress from dozens of people having the worst day of their lives for three days can erode even the healthiest of psyches.
 “And after 72 hours, there's often still no bed for them,” Trotter continued. “So after three days of being shut up in a room, they're released. We can't keep them.”

Once back on the streets, the patients stop taking their medication because it gets stolen, or they sell it because they'd rather get drunk instead. Soon enough, their behavior will land them back in the ER or in jail.
 “The jail, the streets and even the emergency room are not the place for the mentally ill,” Trotter said.

'Prevent It From Reaching That Point'

The ideal solution, both Trotter and Barash said, is to keep these patients from ever reaching the crisis stage in the first place.

“If you have hypertension and high blood pressure, do you just wait until you have a heart attack or a stroke and end up in the ER, or do you see your primary care doctor and get the medications you need to prevent them?” he said. “It's no different with mental health patients. We need to offer them preventative care and send some of the money upstream, rather than taking the 'waterfall' approach,” which is only addressing the problem when it is gushing out of control instead of at a more manageable flow.

“Somehow, we don't treat people with mental health issues like they have a medical problem,” Trotter said. “It's absurd.”

A more sane approach, the doctors agreed, would be to have the community focus its time and money on keeping such patients out of crisis mode, and both said they support what Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman is proposing with the Mental Health Facility Development Ordinance of 2016.
 The sales-tax initiative calls for the development of a Psychiatric Health Facility offering 24-hour acute inpatient psychiatric care with 16 beds, and crisis residential services for psychiatric episodes with 12 beds.

“We need a comprehensive plan that is not the jail, not the emergency room and not the streets to stop the revolving door,” said Trotter, explaining that when someone is in crisis, a secure psychiatric facility is the best place to take them.
 And while it will cost a significant amount of money to build such a facility, he believes a multi-faceted approach to long-term, specialized care will ultimately be “a lot cheaper than the $6 million we spent last year on 5150s.”

At a psychiatric facility, Trotter said, the staff could start patients on the medication they need and get them talking to a therapist the same day they're admitted. But in the ER, he said, such patients would likely get little more than a tranquilizing cocktail of Haldol, Ativan and Benadryl followed by hours of isolation.

Within 24 hours, he said, the patient getting specialized treatment will be much better off than one who spent those hours in a room alone, isolated yet surrounded by chaos.

“The whole idea is that you're checked in to a secure and supportive environment,” he said.

Barash agreed that having a locked facility is important, “because we need a secure place for patients that isn't the jail or the ER,” but equally important, he said, will be “an outpatient facility and a crisis residential facility” that can keep patients functioning long-term.

“I think of the facility as a multi-tasking building that can change depending on funding and need,” said Trotter, pointing out that a plan to have 12 beds for alcohol and other drug abuse services in the proposed facility is also crucial.
 “We are awash in a combination of mental health and substance abuse problems,” he said, explaining that it is very common for psychiatric patients to prefer self-medicating with alcohol or street drugs, creating a “dual diagnosis” that makes them ineligible for many mental health services.

“Ninety percent of the people we treat here are suffering from a (triple) combination that includes a psychosis such as bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, alcohol or drug addiction and diabetes or hypertension,” said Claire Teske, who manages the medical staff at the Mendocino County Jail. “ERs aren't designed to treat these patients.”

“If you don't see building this facility as a solution, then tell me what is, because whatever we're doing now isn't working,” Trotter said. “It's already terrible and it's just going to get worse.”

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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I WANT TO WORK ON MENTAL HEALTH. I see a lack of a safety net for not just mental health patients as much as families of mental health patients. My analogy is you have a person who pays taxes their whole life, they raise their family they do everything by standards, what government wants them to do and then when there's a mental health crisis in their family, say their grandson is going to commit suicide, they find out that when they call 911 there is not a lot of mental health resources out there. The safety net that they've always thought was there — the fire engine, or the police car, or the street worker who's going to take care of the dead dog in the middle of the road — you call 911 and they don't literally put you on hold but I think that the analogy could be that they put you on hold. We have an appointment three months from now, which is not where we want it to be. We as a society need to say either we are not going to provide mental health or we are going to do it and this is how we will pay for it, but we can’t have it both ways.

— Sheriff Tom Allman, on what his priorities are for the future

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AFTER MORE than half an hour was spent at last Tuesday's Supervisors meeting nitpicking the allocation formula for distribution of about $400k of Prop 172 funds to the County’s 20-some fire districts, Ben Macmillan, a member of the Elk Fire Department Board who spent lots of time coming up with the formula and lobbying the County to distribute the money more fairly, added this pointed footnote to his explanation of the formula: “The point has arisen that the [fire] district agencies are not county functions and yet we have to justify the receipt of funds. The Arts Council was up here earlier and they’re not a county agency either, to my knowledge. I just find it unusual that we as emergency services districts have to justify receipt of funds when the Arts Council didn’t seem to have to. I don’t know that. But it just seems like an odd juxtaposition. So…”

GOOD POINT, MR. M. The Supes hand the Arts Council a cool $22k without demur, but nickel nose our firefighters for over half an hour.

AN EMBARRASSED silence followed Macmillan's observation as the Supervisors looked at each other for several seconds to see if anyone cared to respond. No one did, and Board Chair Dan Gjerde called the next speaker.

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GENTLEMAN GEORGE HOLLISTER of Comptche writes of Prop 64, the marijuana legalization bill on the November ballot: "There are positives: reduction of home invasions; less unneighborly paranoia; less lying; fewer locked gates; fewer pit bulls; lower murder rate; no 'trimmergrants', lower rents; more affordable real estate; more friendly rural communities; more young people seeking honorable ways to make a living; etc."

I'D SAY GEORGE may be overly optimistic here. There are already industrial-size grows in the hills of Anderson Valley, for instance; they, together with the already established industrial grape grows, both of them dependent on an already overdrawn watershed, and both heavily dependent on chemicals, I think we'll be trading one set of eco-atrocities for another. I also think the mom and pop pot people, because they live here, are a much more desirable form of the marijuana industry in every way than the Green Rushers, who rush in and do whatever to the water and the land, and rush out with their profits. Call me a romantic, but waiting about five minutes today (Sunday) to cross 128 on foot, I yearn for the days our economy was based on logging, fishing, sheep, and apples.

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MSP received word today @ 12:19 pm: "Dana is safe!"

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LIKE MILLIONS of other saps, I slapped a Bernie For President bumpersticker on my car, although I have it in writing where I said Bernie could be counted on to go over to Hillary by Convention time. Sure enough. Bern not only sold out to Hil, he did it enthusiastically. I knew he'd roll but I thought he'd at least sell out quietly.

I DON'T get Bernie. He's an old man. Why not go out with your principles intact rather than abandon them to a person and a system you'd just gone around the country denouncing as rigged?

THERE are still lots of people driving around with Bernie bumperstickers. The most annoying ones say, "Billionaires Can't Buy Bernie." They don't need to. The oligarchs already own both parties, and even if they didn't own Bernie he announced at the Convention that he was for sale. Cheap.

AS A PUBLIC SERVICE for all you Bernie people still flying his tattered flag on your rear bumpers, here's a photo of what you should do:

I WISH the Green Party didn't have that mass rep as a gang of nuts and wusses, the tag our enemies have put on people who think Green. But the Greens, historically in this country, have indeed been a collection of nuts and wusses. (cf the Green Party of Mendocino County, long ago co-opted to extinction by the organized Democrats of the Northcoast.)

THE GREEN platform is the stuff that would truly "make America great again." Europeans have already figured out that unregulated capitalism is going to crush millions of people and, finally, those millions will turn on the owners in ugly ways (cf human history). To prevent chaos, and I'd say we're on the brink, you soften so-called free enterprise by making the lives of the people most likely to fall victim to it, or have already succumbed, a little easier. You pay for programs making life easier through a fair system of taxation.

ROOSEVELT did it to save capitalism. A few socialist programs like public works and social security, and with FDR's moderate socialism plus World War Two lickety split there were chickens in all our pots.

WE'VE ALREADY got a permanent war going with the Mohammedans so all we need now is single payer, free college, public works projects at competitive wages, genuinely low cost housing, and so on. Roosevelt saved the whole show by a high rate of taxation on the people who benefit most from capitalism — the big fortunes and the big incomes. It's been done in this country before, and it's the only way to prevent the crash to come, let alone "make America great again."

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WELL, I'll be damned. Look who just walked through the door. Good afternoon Dr. Stein. Please give us your opinion on the true state of the nation. "Thank you, Mr. Anderson. Can I call you Bruce?" If I can call you Jill, Dr. Stein. "Without further ado, Bruce, this is exactly where it's at..."

“Americans deserve real solutions for the economic, social and environmental crises we face. But the broken political system is only making things worse. My Power to the People Plan creates deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit. It offers direct answers to the economic, social, and ecological crises brought on by both corporate political parties. And it empowers the American people to fix our broken political system and make real the promise of democracy. This plan will end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of everyone in our society and our world. The power to create this new world is not in our hopes, it’s not in our dreams – it’s in our hands.”

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READERS KALFSBEEK AND WEDDLE promptly identified the purple wheat under cultivation on the Galletti Ranch south of Elk. It's quinoa, kinda like buckwheat. Sold in bulk at the Co-op, Ukiah and at CostCo for about $12 for a ten pound bag.

Take it away, Rick: "

re: ‘…purple wheat…’ in Elk… The pic shows what I think is quinoa — or a very close relative — which grows over a lot of central California that I know of. The purple cast that this plant and other grasses get seasonally is a perfect match for the bluish hints in deer’s coats, ground-birds’ plumage, and so on."

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Regarding Mr. Dickerson’s latest rant about the County’s pension system: There’s nothing new. Also no solution. Just rhetoric. The County is in absolutely no danger of bankruptcy. Every obligation is met on time and in full. Reserves have been increased from $0 to upwards of $15 million or more. The credit rating has steadily improved. Everyone but Dickerson recognizes that the County and the Board of Retirement have made great strides in stabilizing the situation. Yes, there is a huge pension debt. But the County does not have to pay the total amount today or in five years or in ten years. Portions (legacy debt) will be paid over 30 years while any new debt will be paid over 18 years. It is similar in that many people would go broke if they had to pay off their mortgage today, but they don’t; they are paying them off over 15 to 30 years. It is also not true, as one of his sycophants claims, that money is being diverted from the "Road Fund." Every year, by formula, the Board of Supervisors directs about $3 million in general fund money into the road fund, to be used along with other Transpo Department revenue. Last year the County directed an extra $2 million into the road fund and this year it’s about the same. The problem with the road fund is that it is dependent on the gas (consumption) tax, and a Prius does not use as much gas as a Hummer. So state and federal road dollars are shrinking and the politicos cannot agree on a new funding formula. Dickerson is a master at weaving together facts, misrepresentations and outright falsehoods. He needs to start beating a new drum and get a job before Heidi throws him out of the house.

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WE SHOULD ADD that the County has indeed done a few things, albeit minor and late, to reduce the rate of pension debt accumulation, mainly increasing the share of the pension payments that County employees make, and introducing a new tier of (lower) pension benefits for new employees. And the new tier for new hires may make a bigger difference than people think because upwards of a third of the County’s work force these days many of the new hires (because employment is up as the County slowly recovers from the 2008/09 recession) will be in the new lower tier. But the actuaries have not fully accounted for the new hires because they haven’t yet run the new numbers.

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Dear Editor,

On a recent hot Sunday afternoon here in Covelo my sister and I chose to fill up my two water jugs at the Covelo tribal cop shop. The water jugs are five gallons each. One is for drinking and cooking and the other is for washing dishes and bathing, etc.

Anyway, when I finished filling up my containers we were going down the road in downtown Covelo and who of all people was following us with his cop lights blazing? It was Vincent Cordova, the "tribal cop extraordinaire."

He pulled my sister and I over at the parking lot of the grade school. And, get this damn bullshit: Mr. Cordova charged us both with water theft!

Vincent Cordova's adrenaline rush must have been kicking in when he got out his citation book.

I mean —- give me a fucking break! How lame could this motherfucker be? It's me, a tribal member, getting drinking water and bathing water at a tribal cop building and getting charged with water theft!

I definitely have nothing against white people. But Vincent Cordova is an Okie Indian — you know, red on the outside and white on the inside.

If he is so concerned about water theft, Vincent should join Sheriff Tom Allman with his daily radio crusades about water thieves.

I mean, fuck! It's not like I was getting 500 gallons for weed plants or something. Just 10 gallons for my daily needs.

If this "Apple" can't understand this simple fact of life, I would like to know where he gets his water from if he was without?

I hope his well runs out — soon.


Eric Lincoln


PS. Water theft -- that is a fucking first for me.

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One. Has [Fort Bragg City Manager] Linda Ruffing ever benefited financially from any of the decisions being questioned (other than drawing her salary)? Same question for Dave Turner. Are there kickbacks? Side deals? Conflicts of interest? Any reason to believe they made these decisions other than for what they believed was in the best interests of Fort Bragg?

Two. Why was the Noyo Center located where it was? Was there a "secret" meeting among people who decided to put it next to sewer plant, instead of some more optimal area? If so, why did they do that? Again, is there any evidence they did that just for their own benefit?*

Three. What evidence is there to support the assertion that Mendocino College is burgeoning? Is there any reason to believe that Mr. Patton has some better use for his property (other than charity)?

Four. Is there any evidence the Kochs have anything directly to do with any of these decisions?

These are just questions. I don't live in Fort Bragg. Am not running for election. Just throwing in some cents. Personally, I remain optimistic about Fort Bragg and do not believe its problems lie with how it's run. But, I am glad people are paying attention.

IMO, the city needs jobs. A light manufacturing industry. A specialization. There are towns giving away real estate to entice doctors to move. Fort Bragg should be ahead of the curve on that. Maybe a wellness space, instead of a mall (someone with one tenant and a tax credit might be willing to negotiate for multiple tenants and a tax credit). Or an anti-aging institute. Offer credits to doctors who specialize. We are in an age of transition...anything is possible. At the end of the day, the government has a role to play, but it can't supplant people. And that is where the buck ultimately stops.

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Gurney responded:

Excellent questions. I sure don't have all the answers, but here goes with the best I can do:

One. Small town cronyism has indirect results. Favors given for one particular project or issue can be return payment for a favor given six months ago, on some seemingly unrelated project or issue, and vice versa. It's pretty tough to unravel, unless you want to become a full time spectator of of small town politics, and I don't. The fact that City Council members make about two-and-a-half percent of the cash salary that City Manager Ruffing makes (in other words, Ruffing makes 39 times the salary of a councilman) would seem to make them feel like they deserve some sort of kickback. That is, unless it's agreed that being a city council member is volunteer community service work, and it isn't. That's why this set-up has got to change. The fact that the Koch Brothers are now in the game takes it all to a whole new level. We'll see what happens when Ruffing and crew wheel out their back room deals for the planning of "Kochtown" - on the 350 acres of mill site waiting for "redevelopment."

Two. In October, 2010, the City of Fort Bragg got a $500,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy - where Sheila Semans worked at the time - so she presumably helped negotiate the sale. The City claims in documents that the sewer plant site was arrived at though a "strategic planning process." - in other words, secret meetings. Exactly how Georgia Pacific and the Koch Brothers managed to unload 11.5 acres next to the sewer plant for half a mil to Semans and the Noyo Center, in what they must have known was worthless buffer zone property, remains a mystery. But they I bet they were laughing all the way to the bank.

Three. Mendocino College is definitely burgeoning, and is the best thing around for young people in this community. (see: If Mr. Patton had for more concern for the community of Fort Bragg (that he abandoned years ago) than he does for his own greed, he'd regard both the College and that property with a lot more respect.

Four. It'll be hard to pin drown the Kochs in any of this, since they obviously have the money and the experience to guard their secrets well.

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PS. Peri Nielsen Added: "The City Manager publishes ‘city notes’ every two weeks where people can get updates on the mill site and the remediation process, as well as many other city activities. There is a fairly detailed one just about the mill site published on January 1, 2015.

According to this note, the former Fort Bragg Redevelopment Agency (not the Coastal Conservancy) purchased the 11-acre parcel for the Noyo Center for Marine Science back in 2011. I am unaware of any connection between the FBRA and Sheila Semans."

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To Which Gurney Replied: This is a good example of Linda Ruffing's prevarications on her "City Notes" column as her mouthpiece, The Fort Bragg Advocate News. (I was recently reading her gushing column about Fort Bragg's wonderful city streets, right after the City Council meeting where she took a report on how the contractor has screwed up on the many hundred thousand dollar repaving job on Franklin Street a few years ago — a job that is already failing).

Anyway, regarding your claim that "the former Fort Bragg Redevelopment Agency (not the Coastal Conservancy) purchased the 11-acre parcel for the Noyo Center for Marine Science back in 2011." The fact is, despite what Ruffing wrote, it was the Coastal Conservancy who provided the funds, in the form of a $500k grant, regardless of who actually made the purchase.

Although Sheila Semans connection to the purchase and siting of the Noyo Center may be shielded by the ambiguity of the "FBRA," the fact of the matter is that she, the wearer of many hats, was working for the Coastal Conservancy at the same time these deals were being made. See her bio at

PS - you also write: "it is much more difficult to do the hard work of cleaning up their mess and running a view-rich but pocket-poor city like Fort Bragg."

This is not borne out many recent extravagant expenditures by the City of Fort Bragg. Though the residents may indeed be poor, those running the show, both above and below the table, certainly are not poor.

I also want to make it clear that I commend all the people who have put so much time and effort into trying to clean up the mill site, and the good people who work at, and dream of, a great future for the Noyo Center.

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by Kathy Shearn

Murals in Ukiah — Michael Barton Miller, talented artist and gifted college professor whose murals grace the walls of the Mendocino County Courthouse and The Fine Arts Building at the County Fairgrounds in Ukiah, died close to two years ago at his home in San Luis Obispo. On Saturday, Michael's wife and daughter came to the area to fulfill his request that his ashes be brought to Mid Mountain in Potter Valley, where he lived in the early 1970's, and where he began his spiritual quest.


Michael was an accomplished and proficient artist and and a well-loved and admired professor at Cal Poly. While he lived in Mendocino County, he coordinated several Art in Public Places projects, the County Courthouse murals being the most visible and admired.

Always ready with a story or a joke, Michael had a great sense of humor, endless energy, and many colleagues. This weekend, several of Michael's Ukiah friends and his long-time mural partner, Ed Cassel, met Michael's wife, daughter and step-son, and were graciously allowed to view the courthouse murals. For those of you who knew Michael, you will be gladdened to know that he now rests in Shamaz Valley with his old buddy, Glenn J.

Miller While an art professor at Cal Poly
Miller While an art professor at Cal Poly

For those of you who did not make Michael's acquaintance or are unfamiliar with his murals, stop by the courthouse in Ukiah and take a look at the beautiful and inspiring artwork that adorns its walls. The image includes the murals of Blind Justice and Mendocino County's bounty, and the murals at the courthouse entrance, yours truly at work on the Fine Arts Building, and Michael, back in the day.

* * *

DAVID EYSTER standing in front of Michael Miller’s courthouse mural:


* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, August 21, 2016

Ball, Burkey, Keys
Ball, Burkey, Keys

STEPHANIE BALL, Ukiah. Under influence, personal use of deadly weapon.

DOUGLAS BURKEY*, Point Arena. Grand theft.


Lawson, Martinez-Bravo, Matthias, Nesbitt
Lawson, Martinez-Bravo, Matthias, Nesbitt

JOHN LAWSON SR., Manchester. Domestic assault.


WANA MATTHIAS, Ukiah. Petty theft.

JESSIE NESBITT, San Francisco/Ukiah. Parole revocation.

Patient, Romero, Sanderson
Patient, Romero, Sanderson

MICHELLE PATIENT, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

ALFREDO ROMERO, Hopland. Domestic battery, DUI, probation revocation.

NICOLE SANDERSON, Laytonville. Shoplifting, conspiracy, probation revocation.

Simmons, Smith, Watson
Simmons, Smith, Watson

JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. Shoplifting, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy.

SHERYL SMITH**, Point Arena. Grand theft.

JOHN WATSON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

(*Former Mayor/Councilman of Point Arena, former special education teacher’s aide at Point Arena High School, co-founder of Franny’s Bakery in Point Arena in the 1990s. Burkey’s wife Barbara is a current candidate for the Point Arena City Council.)

(**Current candidate for the Point Arena City Council.)

* * *


In less than three months, Californians will vote on legalizing production, distribution and possession of recreational cannabis. Tax revenues are central to that debate, but the really important question is not so much what taxes would be best today but how those taxes should evolve over time.

What many people don’t realize is that even if voters reject Proposition 64, state and local officials will still need to deal with cannabis taxes because California’s medical cannabis market is undergoing enormous reforms. The new regulatory regime is expected to start licensing for-profit firms to supply medical cannabis in 2018.

There are ongoing debates about whether and how to tax medical cannabis. While some argue that medicine shouldn’t be taxed, others counter that much of the medical market product is not actually being consumed for medical purposes.

Both inside and outside of California, decisions about cannabis taxes are being made that will affect the size of the black market, government revenue and consumption.

Can I let you in on a little secret? No one knows the best way to tax either medical or recreational cannabis. Every option has trade-offs.

What should the tax be based on? What should the rate be?

Consider a price-based tax such as 25 percent at the retail level. While it would be easy to implement, the effective tax per joint would decrease as the price declines — something expected to happen as competition, innovation and scale-economies push down costs.

Taxing by weight, say $2 per gram, would also be easy to implement, but it means low-and high-potency products face the same tax. This creates incentives for producers to sell more potent cannabis to minimize the tax per hour of intoxication. Some public health researchers worry that more potent cannabis is associated with more health problems, an issue that is the subject of serious debate.

One innovative option, suggested years ago by Rob MacCoun, a Stanford Law School professor, is to tax cannabis based on its power to intoxicate, such as levying a tax of $12 per gram of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the cannabinoid most responsible for getting users high). To the extent being intoxicated increases the probability of harm, using taxes to control THC consumption could be a critical policy lever.

Of course, the THC tax would totally depend on the accuracy of cannabinoid testing.

Over time, insights will be gained about cannabis taxes as more jurisdictions liberalize their laws. Also, researchers will learn more about the various chemicals in the cannabis plant.

But policymakers at the state, county and city levels are making decisions about cannabis taxes right now. What should they do?

Given the uncertainty, it would be wise to avoid getting locked into a particular type of tax base or rate. What makes the most sense today may be far from ideal in five years. For example, if the primary goal now is to drive out the black market, it may make sense to consider phasing in taxes by initially keeping them low (possibly giving up some revenue) and increasing them over time.

Flexibility in taxation is important, but it can be a double-edged sword in an environment with profit-maximizing firms. If the cannabis industry ends up operating like the alcohol industry, or for that matter almost every other industry, lawmakers can expect to be strongly lobbied to keep tax rates low.

The proposition Californians will consider in November requires the state Legislative Analyst’s Office to recommend tax rate changes to the Legislature two years after implementation. Whether the Legislature will take action is another story.

One option to consider is creating an independent board or commission — with absolutely no industry ties — that would be in charge of setting and updating cannabis taxes. Another option would be phasing in a tax that would automatically change after a specified date. Hypothetically, for the first year it could be 10 percent of price at retail, the second year 20 percent, the third year 30 percent. After that, the tax could be based on THC content or by weight for cannabis products where THC remains difficult to measure.

Some may oppose setting cannabis taxes through an independent body because we don’t do that for alcohol. But there is no law or principle dictating that jurisdictions allowing a new industry that sells an intoxicating substance be limited to what was done in the past. Furthermore, creating a better approach for cannabis — whether it is for taxation or other policies — could set a precedent that eventually could be carried over to alcohol.

Setting the cannabis tax should not be considered a one-time event. Smart jurisdictions will revise their decisions over time to incorporate new information about taxes, testing and the cannabis plant itself. Smarter jurisdictions will update taxes based on these data while not being influenced by those seeking to maximize profits.

(Beau Kilmer is co-director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center and co-author of the recently revised book “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know,” Oxford University Press, 2016. The San Francisco Chronicle)

* * *

I WASN'T ESPECIALLY SPIRITUAL AS A KID, but I wanted to be a good Catholic boy and go to heaven when I died. I made the sign of the cross every time I passed a church. I bowed my head whenever I heard the name of Jesus mentioned, just like the sisters told us to do. I've never known very many authentically spiritual people. I think my brother Charles struggled to achieve high spiritual states, and my brother Maxon still does, but both of them were crazy! Where do you draw the line between craziness and spirituality? I don't know. Especially as they are often embodied in the same person. I was in the fourth grade when the concept of "the milk bottles of sin" was introduced from the Baltimore Catechism.


The graphics in the catechism made a deep impression. When I was 15 both Charles and I became very fervent, devout Catholics. And then Charles went on to become what he called "a failed mystic" in the last years before he killed himself, but it's hard to be a mystic when you are drugged all the time with mood elevators and tranquilizers. You can't make spiritual progress in a drugged state. You've got to be sober.

— R. Crumb

* * *

THE TRUMP STATUE: An artistic and political failure


The sculpture is all wrong. It's an artistic failure and failed political satire. That's not Donald Trump's face, and the hair has a rock-like solidity, unlike the wispy, monumental comb-over that matches his vanity.

Besides, the letter in today's SF Chronicle makes an obvious point:

Is there a double standard to San Francisco's sense of humor?

The naked statue of Trump at Castro and Market streets was all in good humor, and most San Franciscans enjoyed it. But one wonders how much they'd enjoy it if the statue was of a naked and overweight Hillary Clinton? Would their tolerant and good-natured amusement continue or be turned into more absurd claims of the non-existent "war on women"?

Paul Forrest


The Republican "war on women" as per their determination to shut down Planned Parenthood surely exists, but the point on a possible Hillary statue has to be taken. Some right-wingers are no doubt working on it right now.

The sculptor himself seems like a dim bulb.

(Rob Anderson, Courtesy, District5Diary)

* * *


* * *

KATHERINE SMITH has been writing and drawing pictures since childhood. She has written five fantasy novels, and now has written and illustrated a children’s book. There will be a meet & greet for her new book, Otter Twin Magic, on Saturday September 3rd, 1pm at Gallery Bookshop.

Otter Twin Magic is story about two young otters who discover a magical rock and stick behind a waterfall in the woods in Northern California. They learn to use them only for the most important purposes. What those "important purposes" are they must discover for themselves.

Using her twin nephews as character inspiration, her love of drawing, an undergraduate degree in zoology, and a graduate certificate in scientific illustration, Smith uses her education to blend scientific accuracy with the adorable. Gallery Bookshop is located at the corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino. For more information, call (707) 937-2665 or visit

* * *


by Dan Bacher

The Klamath River salmon fishery, an integral part of the culture, religion and livelihoods of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Karuk Tribes of Northern California, is going through some tough times this year.

Because of the record-low run of fall-run Chinook salmon projected by federal fishery managers earlier this year, the Yurok Tribe, the largest Indian Tribe in California, held its Klamath Salmon Festival this August without serving traditionally-cooked salmon to the public as it has done for 54 years.

Then on August 19, the Tribe announced that Yurok Fisheries crews conducting routine fish disease monitoring have found that salmon in the Klamath River on the Yurok Reservation are infected with a potentially deadly disease.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly known as ich (pronounced “ick”), is capable of causing large fish kill events, according to the Tribe. Ich was the primary pathogen that caused the 2002 fish kill in the Klamath River and killed more than 35,000 adult Chinook salmon and steelhead after the disease spread in low, warm conditions spurred by Bush administration water policies that favored irrigators over fish and downstream water users.

Michael Belchik, Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program. said the diseases was found at relatively low severity in the Klamath River last year, but is back this year at “concerning levels.”

“It appears that a small number of adult salmon migrated upriver in extremely warm water temperatures and then became stuck in a relatively small thermal refuge where they are getting infected with the pathogen,” stated Belchik. “What this means for the health of the fall Chinook run that is yet to migrate upstream is unclear.”

Belchick said diseases such as ich are exacerbated by low flows and water temperatures that currently exist in the lower Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

In a statement, the Tribe said it “will be working closely with Federal, State, and Tribal partners to determine what management actions are necessary to prevent further spread of ich and protect the main portion of the fall Chinook salmon run which has not entered the river as of yet.”

“We take this threat to our fish very seriously, and we’re looking at every option to protect our fish. We don’t want to go through another catastrophe like the fish kill in 2002, and we will do anything we can to avoid that outcome this year,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe.

An alarmingly low number of fall run Chinook salmon are expected to return to the Klamath this year, due to adverse river water conditions during the past few drought years, combined with poor ocean conditions.

The total combined subsistence salmon allocation for the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes this fall is just 7400 fish. The allocations of Klamath fall-run Chinook salmon for the ocean recreational and commercial fisheries, as well as the in-river recreational fishery, are also very small this season.

In March, Dr. Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) forecasted an abundance of only 142,200 Klamath River fall Chinooks in the ocean this year, based on the returns of two-year-old salmon, called “jacks” and “jills.”

O’Farrell said the 2016 abundance forecast for Klamath River fall Chinook is 93,393 for age 3, 45,105 for age 4 and 3,671 for age 3. The abundance forecast for the salmon that are expected to return to the river to spawn is just 41,211 fish this season — and the fishery managers must target an escapement of at least 30,909 fish.

The depressed salmon run is arriving this fall as the Klamath River Tribes and fishing groups are engaged in litigation against the federal government and federal water contractors over their failure to protect the river’s salmon. On July 29, the Hoopa Valley Tribe filed a lawsuit against the federal government for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) over management actions that have imperiled Coho salmon on the Klamath. (

“This ESA suit is not the warning of a miner’s canary; it is the tsunami siren alerting North Coast communities of impending environmental catastrophe and cultural devastation for the Hoopa Valley Tribe,” said Chairman Ryan Jackson.

The Tribe filed the litigation against the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Marine Fisheries Service in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, to protect the Coho salmon, listed as an endangered species under the ESA.

The Hoopa lawsuit is expected to be followed by several other lawsuits. On July 20, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), Institute for Fisheries Resources, and Klamath Riverkeeper, represented by Earthjustice, put Reclamation and NMFS on 60-day notice that they could be sued under the federal Endangered Species Act if they fail to reopen and improve water management in the Klamath River.

The 60-day notice by Earthjustice followed similar notices sent by the Yurok and Karuk Tribes in June. Citing a disease infection rate of 90% of sampled juvenile salmon in 2015, the Karuk Tribe presented Reclamation and NMFS with a 60 day notice of intent to sue over violations of the ESA.

“We cannot allow mismanagement by federal agencies to destroy what little remains of our fisheries,” said Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery

In announcing their 60 day notice to sue, Yurok Chairman O’Rourke said, “We cannot stand by and do nothing while our salmon hover over the brink of extinction. We will not continue to watch water managers jeopardize the fate of our fish and our river.”

Meanwhile, Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists continue to push for the removal of four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath to reopen the upper watershed for spawning migrations by salmon and steelhead. On April 6, representatives of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce, the States of Oregon and California, the Yurok Tribe, the Karuk Tribe and PacifiCorp signed an agreement clearing the path for dam removal on the river.

* * *

JERRY PHILBRICK of Comptche passes along the following from the July 27 edition of Western Outdoor News:

Dear Landowner:

ODFW Staff will be conducting surveys for foothill yellow-legged frogs and other amphibians over the next few months. As part of this research we would like to survey the creek on your property. I am writing this letter to request your permission to access your property.

Recent research indicates that foothill yellow-legged frogs have declined significantly in recent years and are no longer found at half their historic sites.

Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and will help contribute to the conservation of this important species.

Please fill out the attached postage-paid postcard and let us know if you are willing to let us cross your property or not. If you have any concerns about this project please give us a call. We would love to talk with you about our research.

Sincerely Steve Niemela Conservation Strategy Implementation Biologist

* * *

Response From Landowners Larry & Amanda Anderson:

Dear Mr. Niemela:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding accessing our property to survey for the yellow-legged frog. We may be able to help you out with this matter. We have divided our 2.26 acres into 75 equal survey units with a draw tag for each unit. Application fees are only $8 per unit after you purchase the “Frog Survey License” ($120 resident / $180 Non-Resident). You will also need to obtain a “Frog Habitat” parking permit ($10 per vehicle).

You will also need an “Invasive Species” stamp ($15 for the first vehicle and $5 for each additional vehicle). You will also want to register at the Check Station to have your vehicle inspected for non-native plant life prior to entering our property. There is also a Day Use fee, $5 per vehicle.

If you are successful in the Draw you will be notified two weeks in advance so you can make necessary plans and purchase your “Creek Habitat” stamp. ($18 Resident / $140 Non-Resident). Survey units open between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. but you cannot commence survey until 9 a.m. and must cease all survey activity by 1 p.m. Survey Gear can only include a net with a 2-inch diameter made of 100% organic cotton netting with no longer than an 18-inch handle, non-weighted and no deeper than 6 inches from net frame to bottom of net. Handles can only be made of BPA-free plastics or wooden handles. After 1 p.m. you can use a net with a 3-inch diameter if you purchase the “Frog Net Endorsement” ($75 Resident / $250 Non-Resident).

Any frogs captured that are released will need to be released with an approved release device back into the environment unharmed. As of June 1, we are offering draw tags for our “Premium Survey” units and application is again only $8 per application.

However, all fees can be waived if you can verify “Native Indian Tribal” rights and status. You will also need to provide evidence of successful completion of the “Frog Surveys and You” comprehensive course on frog identification, safe handling practices, and self-defense strategies for frog attacks. This course is offered online through an accredited program for a nominal fee of $750. Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. Otherwise, we decline your access to our property but appreciate your inquiry.


Larry and Amanda Anderson

Jacksonville, Oregon (outside of Medford)

* * *


John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider interview David Swanson today on KMEC Radio 105.1 FM at 1pm.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie". He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

KMEC Radio 105.1 FM broadcast live in Ukiah, CA. We also stream live from the web at Our shows are archived and available as podcasts. We may also post shows to our Youtube channel


  1. Eric Sunswheat August 22, 2016

    “A READER COMMENTS:… The problem with the road fund is that it is dependent on the gas (consumption) tax, and a Prius does not use as much gas as a Hummer.”

    Is the above a suggestion that a Prius has nearly the same wear impact on road surface, as a Hummer, with perhaps 3 times the gross weight, on a scorching 100 degree day, or with saturated ground water. Learning something every day.

    As far as County road condition status, possibly one could look into the PMI, the County’s Pavement Management Index.

    Are the county roads improving or losing ground, and is the PMI fair and accurate, or is it like it was in the beginning of its use, such as manipulating the road condition data to characterize Eastside Potter Valley Road far worse than it was.

    Potholes had historically been refilled with an oil gravel mix which promptly blew out in a month’s time, on Eastside Road which the PMI evaluation from out of county contractors didn’t know, and now also, there is much less heavy weight impact as the logging mill over the hill is no more, and not much traffic at the former pallet mill either along the road.

  2. Betsy Cawn August 22, 2016

    1. Structure fire in Lakeport (senior housing complex) caused loss of one life and other injuries; Lakeport FPD on the job, see Chief Rasmussen in video published by LakeCoNews this morning:

    (Note that this nightmare has been predicted for years owing to the facility navigation problems for elderly/disabled.)

    2. Grass fire in small habitation area east/south of Lucerne resulted in evac of vicinity ridgeline occupants:

    3. Fire season? People get ready, there’s a train a’comin’ — CalFire and Lake County FPDs, assisted by Lake County Sheriff’s deputies must not be getting a wink of sleep. Thanks again, ladies and gents.

    Without our local public service providers (including PG&E, AT&T, Mediacom, water districts, CalTrans, CHP, LCSO, and FPDs backing up CalFire and CalOES) we would be lost, already. [And local nitwits think the State of Jefferson is going to be an improvement?]

    For pete’s sake, pack up the critical documents, med prescriptions, and basic necessities for animal/child care, and make a simple plan for getting the hell out if you might need to. And if there is an evacuation notice — then just DO IT! (The last thing you need is to be stuck in an evacuation traffic jam on one of our highways.)

    Log your evac location on the Red Cross website “Safe and Well” and tune in to KPFZ, 88.1 FM, 707-263-3435 for live coverage; streaming live at

  3. Gary Smith August 22, 2016

    “In March, Dr. Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) forecasted an abundance of only 142,200 Klamath River fall Chinooks in the ocean this year, based on the returns of two-year-old salmon, called “jacks” and “jills.”

    History has been re-written since written history began, and re-writing biology has been done as facts become known, but you don’t get to do it because you wish it were so. As much as we might like there to be “jack” and “jill” salmon, sadly, there are no “jill” salmon. You can look it up.

  4. Bruce McEwen August 22, 2016

    I don’t listen to radio, nor yet a TV. But I’ve seen Mr. Sacokzyx’s writing on this page and shudder to contemplate a hour’s exposure to the program he has in mind with a Nobel Peace Prize contestant.

    Little do I wot what worthies who are in line, but when I consider that Hank Kissinger won it the year I retired from the U.S. Marines (having witnessed his peace making on a personal level), and then seeing the laurel descend onto Manacch’em Begin’s sullied brow, the chap that started the war we’re in now, and lately passed off to President “Drone” — well, I daresay I lost interest in who or what form of creature the Prize falls to.

    Add to this disillusionment an opinion that the host of the show could have won the gold in Rio for a competition in the exercise of sustained tedium; and, hey, maybe one could still actually give a darn …eh?

  5. Debra Keipp August 23, 2016

    Formerly Point Arena’s Mayor, Doug Burkey arrested for Grand Theft? What is the limit for grand theft these days?

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