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Off the Record (Sep 14, 2016)

ADD TO THE LONG LIST of things I didn't know — Vince DiMaggio is buried in the Fort Bragg Cemetery. The famous ballplayer, just before he became famous as one of the three DiMaggio Brothers to star in the major leagues, was recruited to Fort Bragg by the Union Lumber Company to play ball for the town team. Vince D. was one of several ringers recruited to play for Fort Bragg's excellent semi-pro nine whose weekend games from the 1920s through the early 1960s drew hundreds of fans. The Loggers played the very best teams from the Bay Area every summer weekend. Vince and his wife, a Fort Bragg girl named Madeline Cristani, later owned a place at Ten Mile where Madeline had grown up. DiMaggio’s ashes were originally interred at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, but removed in 1992 and brought to Rose Memorial Park in Fort Bragg.  (A tip of the hat to Judy Valadao for the information.)

CHARLES REYNOLDS, 32, the man who killed Kenneth Fisher, 29, with one punch in Laytonville on Sunday, August 28, will be in court today, Wednesday, (September 14th) for a preliminary hearing. (The AVA on-line will have a report post by Thursday morning.)


LAST WEDNESDAY, there was a prelim on the way to the prelim. Our ace court reporter Bruce McEwen explains that prelims on the way to prelims are called “a PX confirmation. It means there's been enough time since arraignment, to convey any offers, form either side. Usually, there have been intimations, and a continuance will be asked by one side or both, for further negotiations. When both sides confirm, on the first occasion (10 days) it generally means defense has a case worth fighting for — this is all breezy speculation on my part and the bs be paramount, but it's one of those historic cases, my nose for news tells me…"

Kenny Fisher
Kenny Fisher

FISHER'S MOTHER, Allison Doran of Santa Rosa, naturally thinks the charges against Reynolds aren't sufficient to the loss of her son for what may turn out to be an unprovoked attack.

IN FACT, given the absence of reliable eyewitness testimony, DA Eyster has charged Reynolds to the max allowed by law.

HOMICIDE —the unlawful death of a human being— is broken into four categories, sometimes characterized as the rungs of the "homicide ladder," moving down from the top of the ladder (most serious) to least serious.

THE MOST serious form of homicide is murder in the first degree, premeditated and deliberate with an intent to kill. There is no evidence of premeditation in this sad event.

STEPPING DOWN A RUNG, murder in the second degree lacks the premeditation and deliberation but requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the intent to kill. Which is also not here given the known facts that it was a one-punch fight in the parking lot outside Boomer’s Bar, Laytonville.

STEPPING DOWN to the third rung on the murder ladder, we arrive at voluntary manslaughter, which is almost identical to murder in the second degree except the killing is "mitigated" by defense proof of the existence of a sudden fight/quarrel or heat of passion.

WHILE THE INVESTIGATION into Fisher’s awful death is ongoing, there still is no credible and admissible evidence of an intent to kill. So far as we know there isn't any evidence of a sudden quarrel or “heat of passion,” although there are rumors of an “exchange of words” inside the bar. The defendant has claimed self-defense, but that claim is unsupported by the currently available evidence.

FINALLY, the bottom rung of the homicide ladder is involuntary manslaughter, or committing an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, that causes death. The unlawful act in this matter was the single punch that would seem to amount to a felony — force likely to produce great bodily injury.

THE FATAL PUNCH certainly occurred without due caution or circumspection on Reynolds’ part. Reynolds is for sure going to jail, and given the sad known facts, the DA has charged Reynolds as severely as the guy can be charged under the law— assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, and even that is a stretch.

OF COURSE, there’s also the possibility of a civil wrongful death suit after the criminal proceedings are over.

ALISON DORAN, Kenny Fisher’s mother, posted several comments about the case on her facebook page:

“HE'S OUT!!! The suspect who sucker punched my son & killed him is out on $50,000 bail. This is Someone who has done it before. He was put on probation for stomping a homeless guy in Ukiah in 2013, almost killed him. The DA is not doing his job for allowing someone who is this dangerous to the community out on bail. If anyone has ever been witness to his violence please call 234-2100 and tell them what you know.”

MS. DORAN ADDS: “We went to the pre-preliminary hearing. Many Laytonville people showed up for support and 400 signatures & letters were handed over to the DA's office. There was no plea bargain and the preliminary hearing was confirmed for September 14, 1:30pm when additional charges can be made. Thank you, all who came!”

IF YOU'RE WONDERING why CostCo has not yet arrived in Ukiah, look no further than Ukiah's wacky mayor, Steve Scalmanini who, unfortunately for Ukiah, is running for re-election unopposed after his initial, unopposed appointment to the City Council.

SCALMANINI is also a prime example of the porousness of Mendocino County politics. The guy shows up from wherever he showed up from, immediately affiliates with the crackpot wing of local “activists”, and suddenly he’s Mayor of Ukiah!

UKIAH’S INSTANT MAYOR is also a fairly recent appointment to the Mendocino Council of Governments (made up of appointed city council members, a supervisor or two and sometimes other elected officials like the County Clerk or Treasurer). MCOG oversees the allocation of transportation planning funds, which Caltrans re-distributes to counties for  road maintenance. Until recently, MCOG gave all the “local” road money back to Caltrans as part of the “local matching funds” for the Willits bypass. This donation by MCOG to Caltrans is the major reason local roads are in serious disrepair.

ANYWAY, back to Scalmanini who broke into an otherwise inconsequential MCOG agenda on August 15 to ramble  on at great length about greenhouse gases as they relate, at least in Scalmanini's fervid brain, to Costco.

SCALMANINI: You [MCOG Director Phil Dow] said the magic term ‘greenhouse gases’ a few minutes ago. I would like to explain something. I am the lone holdout on the Ukiah City Council on a project called the Costco Project. And it has to do with transportation issues, actually, or greenhouse gases, so transportation issues…” And on and on.

SCALMANINI’S gaseous monologue contained frequent references to himself as "the lone holdout" on the Ukiah City Council re CostCo, as if he's doing something heroic while solidifying the obvious fact that he's really a lone nut on a city council of relatively sane people. (Sanity is always relative at the elected level in this county.)

SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE finally broke in to ask Scalmanini a specific question: "When is the date for that?" (The end of the lawsuit Scalmanini and Friends initiated that's holding up CostCo for Ukiah's Big Box Row on Highway 101 along with all the other big box stores.)

THE MAYOR DIDN’T KNOW. "It's in the coming months. It may be — I don't actually know. It reminds me…"

GJERDE, in some haste lest The Mayor resume his uninformed monologue, "So in a couple of months it will be approved?"

SCALMANINI: "I assume it will be approved in the coming months, somewhere, I believe, next year, probably three or four months. I can imagine something like that."

THANK YOU, MAYOR. And double thanks for holding up a store everyone wants.

AT ONE POINT in the windy proceedings, Scalmanini suggested that Costco solarize a distant store in a “dirty energy market” to compensate for all the vehicle miles Costco customers will drive.

PHIL DOW got in this zinger: “So someday there may be a Costco in Fresno in your name on it?”

SCALMANINI:  “Some people might want to put my name up there with some other appropriate signage or something.”

GOD’S TEETH! Talk about not getting it. The Mayor seems to believe his name might be memorialized on a CostCo somewhere. John Muir!  David Brower! Jack London State Park! Steve Scalmanini!

IF THERE'S A BETTER ARGUMENT for the elimination of MCOG than the above exchange, we certainly don't know what it would be.

HERE WE GO! The attack of the middle of the road extremists as neatly expressed on the MCN chat line: "Yes, and remember a vote for Jill Stein IS a vote for Trump. Let's face reality here folks, this country is a two party system. Not my choice, but the truth."

COMFORTABLE PEOPLE of the Mendolib sub-species, have said versions of this for fifty years, blithely ignoring their own rancid candidates that give up elections to people like Bush, haughtily advising us to abandon all principle for Hillary because, you see, it is what it is. And what it is is our candidate is slightly less evil than the other guy.

THIS KIND of circular reasoning is why we are where we are at. Clinton, objectively, might even be worse than the other guy — Trump is correct about Nato, correct about Crimea, correct about NAFTA, wrong about lots of other stuff. But Clinton is wrong about EVERYTHING, everything Libs claim to be opposed to.

LET'S GO DEEP HERE. Let's get real, as the young people say as they go unreal as the rest of us, why do you think the Koch Bros, owner of Fort Bragg's oceanfront, support Hillary? Because, like the savvy oligarchs they are, they know Hillary is a dependable voice for the oligarchy that now owns us all. Why does Kissinger support Hillary? Because she can be, as per her record, depended on to kill Arabs, and anyone else who gets in the way of the Imperium. The Money sees Trump as the wild card he is, and Money always goes for predictability over the wild card.

EVERYDAY PEOPLE are screwed either way. Stein has the ongoing handicap of the decaf latte people as her main body support, but she's correct on the issues. Vote Jill.

INTERESTING COMMENT on the dope economy of Humboldt County from Lost Coast Outpost: “I’d like to address a few of your thoughts, and I'll try to do it civilly.  First off, cannabis has NOT been legal since 1996. The possession and use of medical marijuana has been an allowable defense against charges since 1996. That is a big difference and one that people conveniently ignore — fact is, you may not make one cent in profit from the cultivation or sale of cannabis, and since your argument seems to be that weed drives the Humboldt economy (which it largely does) then I assume you have tacitly admitted that our economy benefits from black market profit. Which it does. What would be Humboldt be without weed? Hard to say, we'd still have a big economic driver in HSU, and a smaller one in tourism, along with many of the local startup businesses that aren't service related. Yes, there would likely be an even larger amount of poverty, though the local economic impact of MJ is vastly overstated. Sure, there are plenty of restaurants that might not otherwise exist — and they pay poor wages, as do most other service related jobs. Sure, all the grow shops generate money, as do many, many other things that benefit from the MJ economy — but few of those folks are doing well. Better than nothing, all give you that, but they ain't getting rich. What we don't know is how much the MJ culture has depressed other ventures in our area. It is entirely plausible that some high-tech businesses, now that fiber optics into the county are more reliable, would move here to help their employees enjoy a outdoor adventure friendly quality of life, and it's entirely plausible that they won't do it because of the outlaw reputation we have. I'm not stating a fact, I'm saying that you cannot state that if MJ weren't here the economy would be as bad as you seem to think — we simply don't know, there are too many moving parts in this. Maybe, just maybe, Humboldt is overpopulated for the actual carrying capacity of the region — maybe we SHOULD contract in population now that all the good timber, transportation, and fishing jobs are gone. Maybe that's the natural way of things… What I do know is that the crime rate is up, both property and violent, and that a lot of that crime is generated by the weed business. I also know that the use of meth and heroin is made more culturally acceptable when entire segments of our population is involved in an illegal enterprise. Weed should not be grown in our hills. Trees should. That's the set of resources that nature provided, and we are egotistical asses to think otherwise…”

ADIOS, MENDO: “You know, I was raised in North Mendo, went out in the world and came back to work a real world job in North Mendo. I have three boys now and they won’t be raised around people who think dope and guns are part of a good life. I have already left the area, figuring it would get worse, my mom also is leaving. Congrats peacelovers, dopelovers, gunlovers, we hope you love your new neighbors, the [bleep]; you have so much in common.” (On-line comment)

YOU SEE a lot of comments like this one on the HumCo blogs: "Eureka People! Stay in your house and lock your doors, windows, barricade your property, Eureka is a bigger mess than its ever been. Is this what its come to? Actually, all of Humboldt County is in trouble."

HAVEN'T been to Eureka in a while, but I have been to Garberville-Redway, and it's like a kind of over-populated homeless camp. Thanatoids everywhere, and an overall visual that definitely presents the downside of the dope industry.

AS MEGA-GROWS proliferate in the hills of the eco-battered Emerald Triangle, even here in the Anderson Valley where the love drug competes for land with the wine industry for every available inch, seems from here that what we have is the cultivation of land that once was, and still should be, timber and cattle and sheep. Both our thriving intoxicant industries are headed for major crashes. Legalization of dope will move it to the Central Valley for full-on industrial production, thus ruining the mom and pops still hanging on on the Northcoast. Three-buck Chuck being just as good as the wines going for thirty to forty bucks at Safeway, the smaller vineyards and wineries will be eaten by the Gallos and other of the big boys. The timber industry was real, the intoxicants are a passing fad.

BACK TO THE FUTURE. In the early 19th century, England stored a large criminal population on decrepit ships anchored in the Thames prior to shipping them to the Brit's new penal colony in Australia. (Robert Hughes' wonderful book called The Fatal Shore memorably describes the settling of Australia by colonies of criminals, most of whom were shipped from England on the flimsiest of pretexts. When the prisoners arrived, if they survived the slave ship conditions of the journey, they were half-starved, worked nearly to death, and flogged for the most trivial violations, and I mean flogged. The guys they called "iron men" would take 200 lashes and spit at the feet of their flogger.)

FRISCO is thinking about stashing its homeless population on a reconditioned Navy ship, specifically the surplus assault ship, USS Peleliu, a small aircraft carrier complete with sleeping quarters, kitchens, medical clinics, offices and recreation facilities, sufficient to house 2,200 Marines, 2,500 sailors and 262 officers, totaling almost 5,000 military personnel “working and living aboard the ship for months at sea.”

HECK, why stop with the homeless? How about ordinary renters? Lots of room in the Bay to tie up these old boats and lease rooms to working people.

THE FUTURE of newspapers is here. A new online, Mendo-based, pot-centric newspaper is rolling out into cyber-space, Kate Maxwell and Adrian Baumann formerly of The Willits News are on board, with initial funding from marijuana bigwig Tim Blake.

SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG is not high on our list of most admired elected officials, but we stood up and saluted our supervisor last week when he came out strong for the Green Party's Jill Stein for President. Speaking on Politics, A Love Story, a KZYX talk show hosted by Bob Bushansky, Hamburg said he was definitely supporting Stein, that Clinton was worse than Trump and so on. But we'd fully expected Hamburg to do a basic lib-lab shuffle back to Hillary when Bernie did his promised fold. But by gumbo he didn't. Dan! Everyone in the office has just stood, faced towards Ukiah, and snapped off a collective salute.

AMONG HAMBURG’S CALLERS was a lady from Willits: “Everybody seems to be going on and on about Obama. Does anybody remember what he was up against? The entire right wing locked up in lockstep as a party against him. They refused to let anything through. They fought them tooth and nail. And he received almost no support from all these people who whine and complain every election about him. If you want to get Jill Stein elected, work your ass off for the next eight years while the president is in power and then build an operation, a ground game, and work it. Everybody shows up at election time and whines and complains about the people who get elected who worked very hard.”

Hamburg: “People who get elected are also the people who get checks from Goldman Sachs. The people who get elected are also the people who get six and seven-figure checks from Goldman Sachs.”

Caller: That's silly! You are being silly. You are being absolutely silly about this. It takes money. Listen, I hate Goldman Sachs even more than you do. I fought those people for the last six years, believe me. I've taken a stance.

Hamburg: How do you feel about all the money Obama and Clinton have taken from them?

Caller: [Laughs.] You have to make a living, pal. What do you do to make a living?

Hamburg: There's making a living and there's aggrandizing. I'm talking about people who fall over on their knees for the corporate masters.

Caller: Oh, Pulleeeeze. You're being silly. [Laughs.] Absolutely silly.

Hamburg: I think Obama tried. I totally acknowledge what you're saying. I think some of it is true. I think they tried to pull the stuff on Obama that they tried to pull on Clinton, basically to stop him at every turn.

Caller: He was pushing for a carbon tax, remember that? Remember single-payer?

Hamburg: Obama wouldn't even let it get a hearing.

Caller: They turned down claims because of that and they've hit him over the head about it ever since. They use everything they can muster against Hillary because they want to keep her down. She got up there and fought and nobody stood behind her.

Hamburg: That's not true.

Caller: Bullshit.

Hamburg: I was in Congress when that was happening.

Caller: I don't believe you.

Hamburg: There was a whole phalanx of representatives and senators who wanted Hillary and Obama to come up with a real health care reform program and she refused.

Bushansky: Okay we're going to move on. Thank you for your call.

THE PALESTINIAN PERSPECTIVE. On Saturday afternoon, September 24, from 2 to 4pm, the San Francisco-based Freedom Archives, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Little Lake Grange, 291 School Street, Willits, will host an informal discussion with four members of a 19 person delegation of anti-prison, labor, and scholar-activists who visited the occupied Palestinian West Bank this past March. It was the first U.S. delegation to Palestine to focus specifically on political imprisonment and designed to strengthen the solidarity between Palestinian and US prisoners.

According to a statement issued by the delegation, during the ten day trip, “we were empowered and humbled by stories of the many ways Palestinians maintain their culture and dignity” while maintaining resistance to Israel’s ongoing military occupation and that will be the main subject of the planned discussion. Free. Donations accepted. For information, please call 707-467-0518 (Jeff Blankfort)

101 HORTENSE, the Westside Ukiah address housing a good portion of the Mendocino College football team, has calmed considerably. Neighbors were upset at late night noise, poor housekeeping and the usual array of young guy behavior. The nabes complained, the landlord denounced the nabes as racists, the president of the college distanced himself from the controversy, and a good time was had by all. What's the situation at 101 today? According to the always hyper-vigilant Tommy Wayne Kramer: "Walked past the house today and obvious signs of habitation—cars in front and back, etc. Neighbor told me they hadn’t left after all and were keeping a low, quiet profile. All we ask of the high-spirited youngsters is that they act just like their neighbors: old, retired fuddy-duddies who mow their lawns three times a week, check the flowers daily for aphids, buy Metamucil by the crate, listen to NPR, watch Seinfeld reruns and go to bed at 8:30."

One Comment

  1. Debra Keipp September 14, 2016

    The Di Maggio’s still own a home in Irish Beach.

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