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Off the Record (Sep 7, 2016)

CHARLES WALLACE REYNOLDS hit Kenneth Fisher so hard that the one punch killed the Laytonville man. Reynolds was arrested and charged with murder last Sunday night with bail set at a million dollars.

BY WEDNESDAY, Reynolds was out on $50,000 bail on reduced felony charges of murder and assault.

BUT GIVEN the radical and sudden reduction in charges, the investigation of the death of Kenneth Fisher must have clearly demonstrated that either the deceased started it or it was the usual bar room "mutual combat." But if it was just the two guys out in the parking lot, and Reynolds hit Fisher for no reason, Reynolds will have some serious explaining to do. He’ll have some serious explaining to do regardless. You hit someone hard enough to kill him, even in self-defense, you’re probably going to jail.

WHAT WITNESSES there were, the ones vaguely cited in the police report, said there was no prior argument between the two men. The premeditation required for murder one wouldn’t seem to exist here. It will be interesting to learn exactly why Reynolds struck Fisher, but Reynolds seems to have been the only witness, and he’s alive and the Laytonville tow truck driver he hit is dead.

REYNOLDS is 5'11", 190 pounds. He certainly presents a fearsome visual with his head-to-toe tats and shaved heads, but there are a lot of puff balls walking around who present the same menacing look, as if it’s cool to present as a psycho. (cf any pro football crowd)


A UKIAH MAN knows Reynolds. Robert Briseño writes on Facebook:

"To the victim's mother (Allison Doran of Laytonville). My deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss. My family and I believe that this was totally preventable. The suspect Charles Reynolds has a history of violence. In 2013 he assaulted my uncle, Salvador C. Rojas in Ukiah. My uncle was homeless and sleeping near the train tracks off of Gobbi Street in Ukiah. When he was attacked, unprovoked, by Charles Reynolds. S. Rojas was beaten unconscious by C. Reynolds and had his head stomped on repeatedly. A witness had tried stopping Reynolds and she was pushed away. Reynolds fled the scene and my uncle Salvador was left hemorrhaging and bleeding till police and ambulance arrived. S. Rojas was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial for emergency surgery where doctors drilled a hole in his skull to release the pressure on his brain. After C. Reynolds had fled the scene, the Ukiah Police Department and ambulance had arrived. A trail of blood from the scene led police to C. Reynolds' home where he was arrested. Unfortunately, charges for attempted murder were never brought up against C. Reynolds. Instead the District Attorney minimized the crime to assault and battery and imposed a $50,000 bail on Reynolds which he paid and was simply released back into our community. All this while my uncle Salvador C Rojas remained in the hospital for 3 months recovering from his injuries. My uncle and our family were let down by the justice system of Ukiah and the Superior Court of Mendocino County. Yes, my uncle was homeless. We tried to have his story printed in the papers but the DA had refused to let the Journal post his story of this assault, claiming it would hurt their on-going investigation. This crime (charges and court minutes are public record) you can find in the Ukiah (Superior court of Mendocino) if you have an attorney have the criminal record of C. Reynolds pulled and look back to 2013 for this case. Charles Reynolds should have been locked up for attempted murder. He may have still been locked up if it wasn't for the DA of Mendocino County at that time. (Lintott was DA.) My uncle has recovered since but is not the same. Apparently the family of C. Reynolds are prominent members of the community. His father owns a storage facility in Ukiah and put up the bail. Insufficient evidence was later ruled even though there was a witness to this crime. I hope this will never happen again in the future to anyone else's family. I pray for justice for your son and your family."

ALSO ON FACEBOOK, we find Reynolds' sister, Erika Rene’e Tyler, writing on Reynolds’ behalf:

"This is my brother. He lives in Oklahoma (the Bible belt), he's a tattoo artist along with a motorcycle mechanic. Has 5 children he raises. Has a wife who he loves deeply. He has never committed a felony. He is loving and has morals. He's always been a great brother. He's ALSO covered in tattoos… Including a large one on the front of his neck, along with his knuckles.. He's also been angry enough to punch someone in the face. No one is exempt!! This could happen to anyone. God bless all the families involved and the people who are affected. Please don't judge and remember everyone involved probably has access to Facebook and the horrid things you say."


THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE described the fatal encounter between Reynolds and Fisher this way:

"On Sunday, August 28, around 8:42 pm, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was advised of an assault that occurred in the parking lot of Boomers Bar in Laytonville. Deputies were advised that an adult male, suspect Charles Reynolds (age 32 of Willits), had assaulted another male, victim Kenneth Fisher (age 29 of Laytonville) in the parking lot of the establishment and the victim was unresponsive due to his injuries.

"Information provided indicated the suspect was seen walking from the area towards another business in Laytonville. As Deputies responded they received reports that the victim's injuries were life-threatening and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was being administered at the scene. Laytonville Ambulance Service responded and transported the victim to Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits where he succumbed to his injuries.

'The California Highway Patrol responded to assist MCSO with the call and observed the suspect near the Wheels Café in Laytonville and detained him until Deputies arrived.

"The Mendocino County Sheriff's Detective Unit responded to assist with the investigation. Witnesses indicated there did not appear to be any type of altercation between the two men, prior to the assault. Witnesses indicated the suspect struck the victim one time with his fist. Charles Reynolds was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on an open charge of murder (187 PC). His is being held on a 'no bail' status.

"Anyone with information regarding his incident is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives Unit at (707)234-2100."

REYNOLDS’ preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, September 14th at 1:30 pm.

WRITING on the AVA website, ‘Lazarus’ comments: “District Attorney Eyster has a reputation for dealing severely with the bad guys. So what’s up with the Reynolds situation? No verbal confrontation prior, history of violence, allegedly sucker punched and killed a person…1 mil, reduced to 50k, out on bail? Who is this guy, a relative of the Governor?”

DA EYSTER promptly replied: “1st, the judges set the bail schedule in this county without input from the DA or others. We requested the max bail for the charges filed and the defendant ultimately posted a bond in that amount. Bail is intended to secure attendance in court; not as a veiled form of punishment. Based on the statements and evidence available to us at the time of charging, the charges filed were felony assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and a sentencing enhancement of actual infliction of GBI. We believe this a state prison case. 2nd, any prosecution is only as viable as the credible evidence available for us to present in court. Lots of people were in the bar or around it when this went down but very few have stepped forward to share what they may have seen or heard that night. Rumors ‘on the street’ are nothing more than just that. The Sheriff’s Office has given out (707) 234-2100 for witnesses to call to share what they saw and heard.”

FROM TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S essential Sunday column in the Ukiah Daily Journal:

West Side Ukiah: Hotbed of hate, intolerance, racism… There is a controversy simmering away about the less-than-fastidious housekeeping standards of a group of Mendocino College football players sharing a big two story house on Ukiah’s west side. I walk by it several times a week and the house and grounds look precisely like the kind of deteriorating dump college kids are famous for not keeping up: aluminum cans at the curb, rubbish piled head-high in the back, a mattress propped up in the front yard for weeks on end, and young guys making far too much noise and ruckus for the sleepy elders in the neighborhood. The guys seem friendly enough. Sometimes I’m strolling by when they’re out tossing a football back and forth on Hortense Street, and if I raise a hand like a downfield receiver, someone is always happy to fire a nice, tight, 70 mile-an-hour spiral right through my chest. But a football dormitory is not a good fit with the neighborhood. And the college president, Arturo Reyes, is playing blind, deaf and dumb. As soon as the story emerged he ducked behind a few glib paragraphs about how all college kids contribute to the community and about how proud he is of their efforts and blah blah gurgle gak. What a bozo. The owner of the house is Robert Gitlin, a doctor who lives a comfortable 20 miles away from the property that enriches him at a tune of $8,000 a month. He instantly labeled any and all criticism from neighbors as racist. Gitlin understands defending the trash and noise generated at his property is an argument he can’t win. But he thinks if he can switch the subject to Racism in America, it’s an argument he can’t lose. Making ugly accusations unanchored to either facts or evidence, he labels people he’s never met (a Superior Court judge, a veteran Press-Democrat reporter, Ukiah’s ex-mayor) as racist bigots. Classy guy, Gitlin. (Full disclosure: A few years ago I hurt my back and visited Dr. Gitlin. Once.) After the trash debate dies out there’s a bigger question. Why do we even have a football program? Mendocino College hires lots of kids from distant time zones to come play football here and I have a few questions for readers: Have you ever been to a Mendocino College football game? Do you know anyone who has? Can you name the football coach? Can you name a single player on the roster? Can you name anyone who has ever played football at Mendo College? Can you name the league or conference the team competes in? Have the Mendocino Eagles ever won a championship? How many games did they win last year? Do you care? Do you think spending a lot of money teaching a few dozen youngsters how to play football is the best use of education dollars?

ED NOTE: Of the 45-man squad, two guys are from Lakeport, one from Ukiah, one from Willits, and one from Cloverdale. The rest of the team comes from far, far away.

THERE WILL BE FOUR marijuana measures on the November ballot — one state measure, three others arising out of Mendocino County. You won't go far wrong voting NO on all of them. One, Measure AF, is totally nuts and the other three assume a marijuana reality not likely to exist. Ever.

AS SOON AS POT is legal even a teensy bit, supply goes way up, prices come way down. The small-scale growers who make up the majority of local pot farmers are local people invested in their communities. Open the door and here come the "undesirables,” the high flying big boys of dope with their massive indoor grows, eco-destructive practices, not to mention guns and criminality generally.

WHICH IS ALREADY happening in northern Mendo, and has been happening the last few years in Humboldt County, which is suffering terrible consequences from its Green Rush and its quasi-legalization. We see mucho malo consequences, ranging from wholesale eco-damage and a rise in hard drug abuse among both the transient homeless and the more or less rooted population drawn to the Northcoast by semi-sanctioned drug production.

PROP 64 is a state initiative that would legalize hemp and recreational use of the miracle weed. It would impose a sales tax, a cultivation tax and even a tax on shake. Presently, medical marijuana is more or less legal, although at the federal levee marijuana remains zero tolerance in all forms. 64 would further decriminalize production and use.

MEASURE AI is the County's wacky initiative that would tax cannabis businesses on the assumption these businesses would volunteer to sign up and be taxed in enough numbers to make taxing them a bonanza for local tax revenues, which we think is unlikely. The Supervisors, veering off into pure fantasy, say they'd even peg their tax rates to the consumer price index!

MEASURE AJ is more fantasy from our supervisors, but merely advisory. It discusses how the pot tax bonanza would be spent. Roads? Mental Health? Hell, maybe even drug counseling and chemistry classes for honey oil producers.

MEASURE AF is the craziest measure, the one legalizing honey oil production and putting growers in charge of grows, all of it protected by state level Right To Farm which means pot growing cannot be declared a nuisance. AF is the work of the County’s stoner community.

BONNIE AND THE MAOIST are among the people organizing against AF. It's one of the more peculiar affiliations we've seen lately in Mendocino County. We've got Bonnie Carter (of Jared and Bonnie Carter, uber Republicans) and Mike Sweeney. The Carters are time capsule Republicans and hippie bashers from the day the first hairy beast appeared in Ukiah back in '66. Sweeney is a former cult communist and the sole suspect in the car bombing of his former wife, the late Judi Bari.

MRS. CARTER and Sweeney have teamed up with Ukiah businessman Ross Liberty, Willits attorney Chris Neary, and former County supervisor Hal Wagenet, to lead the charge against Measure AF. In a scattershot e-mail (below) Mrs. Carter writes of herself and her colleagues as "four solid citizens who have some real concerns about this initiative." Uh, that assertion, Mrs. Carter, might not bear scrutiny, but we'll give you the benefit of doubt on three of the four.

BONNIE AND MIKE have a point about Measure AF. Several points, in fact. Boiled down to its fanciful essentials, Measure AF would have a committee of growers oversee themselves while all complaints about their operations would be smothered by the County's Right To Farm ordinance.

INCLUDED IN AF? The manufacture of honey oil, which would mean even more idiots blowing themselves up.

WE RECOMMEND NO on all four initiatives.

A READER WRITES: "The sole purpose of County Measure AI is to enact a business tax that would apply only to marijuana. We all know that the marijuana industry is the cause of many fire and emergency response calls, puts a lot of wear and tear on rural roads, negatively impacts the social structure of our communities (including mental health — remember that Talon Barton slaughtered the family that took him in then promptly fired up another doobie) and puts a burden on law enforcement. Now we have a chance to have the industry help pay for the cost. You have a problem with that?"

NOPE, but I doubt there will be much of a tax base unless lots of growers and related businesses step up to be taxed, and I don't see that happening.

LARRY LIVERMORE nicely sums up the feeling of non-pot smokers:

“I started smoking pot when I was about Bieber’s [Justin] age. In fact for more than 20 years of my life I would have sworn that marijuana made me smarter, wiser, more moral, and probably even more handsome. In reality, as most people who knew me during that time will happily tell you, it made me an obnoxious dingbat. That seems to be the effect it has on most of its users. The problem is — a big problem — is that the more stoned you get, the more likely you are to believe the complete opposite. It’s only logical: why would people spend tons of money and (at least in some jurisdictions) even risk arrest to take a drug that made them look and act dumber than they already were? Unless, of course, one of the chief effects of the drug were to stand reality on its head and translate bleary-eyed dumbfoundedness into a half-assed approximation of cosmic insight and understanding? Marijuana users hate it when you point out that the “high” they experience is a form of temporary derangement if not clinical insanity. What they’re even less likely to appreciate — or be aware of — is that the derangement isn’t necessarily temporary. That’s not to say it’s permanent — serious long-term research needs to be done — but the mind-altering effects of marijuana last long after you stop toking down on the joints or bong hits. Days? Weeks? Months? How about years? I’m not necessarily the ideal guinea pig, but that’s how long it took in my case: somewhere between three or four years before the inverted perceptions of my dope years felt fully restored to their former levels of functionality. “But wait!” I can hear legions of dopers protest. “Just because you had a problem with marijuana doesn’t mean everybody else does. I mean, look at all the great art and philosophy that came out of the baby boom generation when they started smoking weed en masse in the 1960s!” To which I can only respond: Yeah, just look at it. One of the most pernicious impacts of marijuana is the illusion that the universe revolves around the user, and that said user is uniquely qualified to understand and explain this to lesser mortals not under its influence. It’s not hard to see why this could be particularly problematic in the case of a 19 year old, who by dint of age and hormones alone, is already convinced he knows everything.”

AND WHEN THE FOG lifted… the doctor was a girl. Dr. Bill Rohr, long-time Fort Bragg doctor and Coast Hospital trustee, has decided he's a woman named Katy. He's resigned his/her seat and is leaving the area, going back to Maine, still married to his wife of many years.

Dr Rohr Before & After
Dr Rohr Before & After

BROOKS MENCHER worked as a reporter for the Fort Bragg Advocate and the late North Coast News years during the fraught years, 1987-1992. Mr. M is now with the San Francisco Chronicle. In his off hours this excellent writer has produced a couple of Who Dunnits created around a forensics wizard the author calls Ruth M. In "Wailing Wood" the forensics ace works to unravel whys and wherefores of the body of a child found on a pending timber harvest site. As a veteran of North Coast timber politics, the author has the politics and the particulars of the timber business down cold. The story moves right along with fascinating twists and bumps as it goes, which is what a well told mystery story is supposed to do.

RECOMMENDED VISITING: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, General Mariano Vallejo's Petaluma ranch in the year's before the Bear Flag Revolt and before the even greater tumult with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, not quite a hundred miles to the east from Vallejo’s rancho as a straight-flying bird might fly.

VALLEJO was a patrician Spaniard born in Monterey when Spain owned California. He ran thousands of cattle and sheep and employed hundred of Indians and random individuals of other ethnicities — four of his personal servants were Hawaiians — to oversee nearly a hundred thousand acres of land grant covering much of what is now the eastern area of Petaluma running east to Sonoma and south to the Petaluma River where it meets the Bay.

TODAY, the neighborhood surrounding the grand old rancho is the usual dispiriting, unplanned skein of strip malls, factory-like schools, spartan, parched golf course, and miscellaneous other eyesores, but from the Adobe itself you can still get a sense of its magnificence.

THE BEGINNING of the end for Vallejo came with the Bear Flag Revolt, one of whose revolutionaries, Henry Beeson, would settle in the Anderson Valley where the CalFire station now sits. Beeson became regionally famous for the quality of his saddles whose buyers purchased Beeson's handiwork at his Boonville ranch, making their way to the Anderson Valley from all over the state on horseback. (We're talking circa 1870.) After the Bear Flag revolt, which occurred at Vallejo's home in nearby Sonoma, during which the revolutionaries locked their genial and generous host in his quarters while they drank up his wine cellar, the "pioneers," tough white boys, many of them on the lam from the settled areas of the country, began to appear in significant numbers everywhere in Northern California, and then in a flood tide with the discovery of gold. They rustled Vallejo's cattle, squatted on his land and, soon, California was permanently annexed from Mexico, although there is contemporary talk, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing until today, of an eventual Mexican "reconquesta." (That prospect seems to at least partly inspire Trump's wall fantasy.)

ALONE in late afternoon on the vast verandah of the ancient ranch house with only the pleasant young state park ranger in her ticket office ($3) on the ground floor, one can imagine looking out at what was a busy courtyard where beef and gluten-rich tortilla meals were prepared for hundreds of vaqueros, Indian farmers and servants. Vallejo himself, with a single telescope, was said to have surveyed much of his vast and vastly productive estate in all directions from his balcony. And to think in less than two hundred years later fat kids are lining up for giant Slurpees 500 yards from the General’s front door. (Note: The very best and simplest guide to the Vallejo, Sutter and Gold Rush period is Blaise Cendars novelistic masterpiece, "Gold." From it the reader gets the full sense of what this astonishing state was like before the Casa Grande Golf Course.)

INTERESTING CRIME OUTTA FRISCO: “A woman reported her Apple laptop was stolen out of her car in late July. She later received an email from “AppleCare” about new parts which had been ordered for her stolen laptop (not by her). The parts were sent to an address in San Francisco that she did not recognize. Officers went to the suspect’s address and met with a subject, who told the Officers he worked for a company that sent him laptops for repair. The suspect gave the officers the victim’s computer to return to her. The Richmond Station Investigations Team conducted further investigation and discovered the same suspect had several Apple laptops listed for sale on Craigslist. A plain clothes officer met with the suspect and ultimately placed him under arrest for possession of stolen property. Officers executed a search warrant at the suspect’s apartment and located 65 Apple Macbook computers. Seven of the computers were confirmed to be stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.”

ODD STATEMENT from interim Fort Bragg school superintendent Walker: “While I can convince a person with a bachelor’s degree to enroll in an intern credential program to teach fifth grade or to teach a core class, finding a person to teach a student how to play the flute, the clarinet, the tuba, the saxophone and other various instruments requires a specific skill set that is not necessarily easy to find."

IN MENDOCINO COUNTY? There are skilled musicians everywhere, especially on the Mendocino Coast.

WHY THE SECRECY? Apparently, Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner was involved in some kind of campground confrontation east of Fort Bragg. Apparently, the episode is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department. Apparently, the investigation is ongoing, and the whatever it was that apparently happened seems to have involved a cabin break-in, apparently by Turner as he apparently sought a telephone to call for help. Why Turner or the cops simply don't tell us what happened is an apparent mystery.

VALERIE KIM’S interesting radio essay last Thursday morning on KZYX consisted of a jail tour and interviews with Lt. Bednar and the Jail’s inmate services coordinator, Vicky Phillips Stout. Valerie ran a few minutes over into a jazz show called “The Gleason Perspective.”

ONE WOULD THINK that an interesting local public affairs presentation would be a good thing at the cost of a few minutes of generic jazz. (How many jazz hours are there on KZYX anyway?) But the jazz show’s host, Mr. Gleason (son of the Chron's late music reviewer Ralph J. Gleason) apparently felt rather put upon and just had to announce in a mildly miffed voice, “I’m Toby Gleason coming to you live — but late! — in the beautiful basement studios of KZYX radio with the Gleason Perspective. Normally, hah-hah, I’d be with you about, ohhh, ten minutes earlier. At any rate, we have a nice morning of jazz to play for you.”

BUT THEN KZYX is simply an all-round mess, a slob operation from its rigged beginnings and impossible to reform. When the Philo station finally does its last glub-glub-glub, the minority of sensible people still involved with the fiasco should disband it and reassemble Public Radio Mendocino in Ukiah, where it should have been located in the first place. This time, rather than organization by a single individual who can poison the station in its crib, set up a KMUD-like structure with the membership in control. The next shoe to drop? Bankruptcy.

A TRUMP headquarters has opened at 461-B N. State Street, Ukiah, where local Trumpets can pose with a life-size cut out of their champion, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Left to right: Wayne McBride of Ukiah, “The Donald”, Mike Carter of Laytonville, and Greg Colby of Ukiah.
Left to right: Wayne McBride of Ukiah, “The Donald”, Mike Carter of Laytonville, and Greg Colby of Ukiah.

BOONVILLE’S BELOVED WEEKLY is by default Stein for President headquarters in lieu of any other we know of. We can’t offer a cool-o cutout of the candidate, but we’ve got carrot sticks. As it happens, we share Trump’s view of a rigged system but draw different conclusions as to what should be done about it. Voting against Killery is a good first step, voting for Jill is a logical second step.

101 HORTENSE no longer sings the wholesome songs of carefree youth. The Mendocino College football team has moved out, much to the relief to their Westside Ukiah neighbors who complained that the twenty or so scholar-athletes made a lot of noise at all hours and their housekeeping seemed non-existent. The fact that the young men were black was quickly seized upon by Hortense's mercenary and demagogic landlord, a Redwood Valley doctor named Gitlin, who said neighborhood complaints were inspired by pure racism. Not true, but inevitable given the times and the history of our fair land. The real issue is unlikely to be addressed: Why is a remote junior college in Mendocino County importing black kids from Florida to play football?

CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN, fresh off getting the Confederate flag banned every place except Alabama trailer parks, has announced that he's gotten another three mil out of the feds for a Marin-based boondoggle called the SMART train. It's backers have always passed the project off as a commuter line, but it runs, when and if it runs, from 4th Street in San Rafael to the area of the airport north of Santa Rosa. In other words, from a point where few commuters travel to and from to a point where no one commutes to or from. Along the way, it back doors the populated areas of Marin and Sonoma counties, meaning few people will find it either convenient or affordable; ticket prices are projected at $12-14 for a round trip ticket, meaning zero incentive for commuters to abandon their vehicles. Eventually, SMART will run to the far side — the very far side — of the ferry terminal at Larkspur Landing, meaning its riders will still have a very long hump from the train to the boats. Huffman, natch, says SMART "is a critical service to commuters, to students going to school (sic), and to tourists that are visiting and spending money in our local economy." Commuters will reject it as too expensive and inconvenient, there are no schools along the line, tourists might ride it once.

THE LONG AWAITED suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge is on hold while the Bridge District finds the money to pay for it. The barrier will be a nearly invisible metal mesh net strung beneath the Bridge, prompting additional concerns that thrill seekers will jump for the pure heck of it. But it will definitely save lives.

THE BRIDGE remains a magnet for suicides. During the first half of 2016, 21 persons jumped while another 112 seriously considering a last leap were talked out of it by alert bridge personnel. 88 of those deterred were 34 and younger, another 29 were ages 35 to 59 while 7 were over age 60.

CHALK ONE UP for Dave Gurney. The persistent Fort Bragg man had complained loud and long that the consent calendar should be up front of the people's business, not last when everyone except the city council has gone home.

LABOR hasn't been this weak and as at the mercy of the owning classes since the 1920s. Other than public employee unions, most wage workers are unprotected and powerless to determine pay and work conditions, although there are signs that labor is beginning to stir. The Occupy Movement at least awakened millions of people to the true state of the economy and their place in it. But as any student of history can tell you, if it weren't for organized labor millions of people would be a lot worse off than they are.

EVERY LABOR DAY I think of an old classmate, who probably held the age group record for bad jobs. Robert 'Sonny' Lauren was 12 and a sixth grader when he pulled a full night shift setting pins in a San Rafael bowling alley. That would have been about 1950, a few years before mechanization when the pins were still arrayed by hand. As I recall, Sonny was responsible for three or four lanes, meaning he worked half-hidden, bent over, a dim form hopping and back and forth to scoop up the pins and put them perfectly in place in the few seconds before he had to do it all over again. He set pins non-stop. Occasional sadists got their kicks hurling a ball down the hardwood at him as Sonny scrambled to the get the pins in place. Kinder people skated coins at him as tips and laughed as he scooped them up as fast as he could between balls. He'd often fall asleep in class, of course, because he'd be up late at night working the alleys. Weekends I'd see him pulling weeds, delivering newspapers, always doing something for whatever people chose to give him. I have no idea what happened to Sonny, but according to our national mythology he became a millionaire and lived happily ever after.

PlinyTheElderI WAS GIFTED (sic) with a bottle of beer called Pliny the Elder. (Groan, and steeee-rike one through three! Pliny my arse.) I know there were two Plinys, elder and younger, and they were philosophers, but I refused to investigate further. We all know that the wine industry moved past pretentious many years ago, but beer seems to be trying to catch up.

THIS STUFF goes for four or five bucks a bottle and, my gifter told me, "You can only buy three bottles at a time at the local liquor store, first come, first served."

SO, HOW IS IT? To my jaded palate, it tastes like every other "craft" beer I've tried. They all seem unlike beer, like a new kind of drink. Given the choice between an ice cold Bud and this stuff, I'd go for the Bud, although lately I've enjoyed Stella and Red Stripe, especially the latter because this snooty kid — nose rings, tats, mohawk — at a city market loftily informed me when I asked her, “Where’s the Red Stripe?” said, "We don't carry Red Stripe because they're homophobic." Huh? What? Who’s homophobic? "Jamaicans,” she said. “It's made in Jamaica. They're homophobes." I’ve been heavy on Red Stripe ever since. If it’s good enough for the fastest man in the world, it sure as hell is good enough for me.

FROM BOONVILLE, it looks like four of the five candidates for the Fort Bragg City Council are, at a minimum, skeptical of the town's current management. Scott Menzies would seem to be the only candidate blindly supportive of the big issue — conversion of the Old Coast Hotel to an adjunct of an ever-larger homeless operation, which already operates near the town center. Critics of the conversion claim the whole deal was a hurry-up job engineered by the town's un-elected city manager and Mayor Turner. Curtis Bruchler, Will Lee, Bernie Norvell, Rex Gressett and Scott Menzies are vying for two Council seats vacated by Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom.

DR. WILLIAM COURTNEY, now a resident of Elk, has filed a $1 million claim against Mendocino County saying that he was wrongly arrested for not appearing in court last January as a witness in a marijuana case that was being defended by Ukiah attorney (and judge-elect) Keith Faulder.

ACCORDING to the claim filed by attorney E.D. Lerman of Santa Rosa and Ukiah, "On January 27, 2016, the people (the District Attorney) filed a misdemeanor complaint against William Courtney alleging contempt of court in that said defendant then and there willfully disobeyed a lawful subpoena that had been properly and timely served on him, said subpoena commanding the defendant to appear in person in court on December 7, 2015 at 9am as a witness in Mendocino County Superior Court Case Number 14-78508, a felony criminal matter.

“THE CIRCUMSTANCES giving rise to this claim are as follows: On January 27, 2016, Kevin Bailey [the District Attorney's Chief Investigator] filed a false affidavit in support of the misdemeanor complaint against William Courtney and in support of William Courtney's arrest. The affidavit was false because it omitted the fact that the defense counsel, Keith Faulder, for the defendant in People v. Wood … stated in the record of that case while addressing the subpoena commanding William Courtney to appear in person in court on December 7, 2015 at 9 AM that: "What I've done in this case, as I do in all my cases, is I issued a subpoena for the first day of trial but then tell them that they will be on phone standby until either two or three days afterwards because the first day or two is jury selection and the prosecution's case. So he was told when I issued in the subpoena that I would have expected him to testify on either the 9th or 10th of December."

“HAD KEVIN BAILEY declared that Keith Faulder relieved William Courtney from the December 7, 2015 hearing date stated on the face of the subpoena there would be no cause for William Courtney's arrest. It is believed that Kevin Bailey filed a false affidavit under the supervision of District Attorney David Eyster acting in the capacity of a peace officer. "William Courtney's claim … is for at least $1 million according to proof … an amount that would place it within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court. The claim is in an amount to be proved later." Ms. Lerman adds: "Please take note that the amount of this claim will increase in the case that William Courtney is arrested or seized pursuant to any arrest warrant issued in Mendocino County Superior Court Case Number 16-84547-002 and upon his seizure he will also be filing against all parties under [federal law] within the Federal District Court."

LAST TUESDAY, the Supervisors routinely denied Courtney’s claim via the consent calendar.

PEOPLE SUBPOENED to appear in court have been known to be arrested for not showing up, but it doesn’t happen very often In Mendocino County, if ever. Someone has it out for Courtney.

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