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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016

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BACK IN 2000 THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS Were Published Regarding The County’s Psychiatric ‘Health’ Facility (Phf) Unit, Summarizing The Reasons The Unit Was Closed.

THE AVA WROTE: The County’s psychiatric unit in Ukiah known as the PUFF Unit has been closed since December 5th. The Mental Health Department's new director, Kristy Kelly, said staff at the lock-up holding facility was "stressed out" and needed time off to gather their own senses. Workers had been putting in a lot of OT because the unit is chronically understaffed. Since early December, following suicides of persons who had been in and out of the PHF, the North Bush holding cells and the dubious services extended to the persons confined to them have been closed. Local cases requiring sequestration have been farmed out to facilities up and down the Northcoast or housed at the County Jail.

GIVEN ALL THE UNHAPPY GIVENS of the situation, especially the fundamental one that Mendocino County's helping professions are dominated by persons who are unsympathetic, unkind, un-humane, and stone dumb, the PHF Unit should stay closed. The Mental Health Department might also want to consider permanently offing itself before its lethally incompetent staff kills again. The vulnerably insane are much better off at the County Jail under the supervision of the eminently sane and practical Sheriff Craver, who can be counted on to guarantee the suffering be kept to at least a minimum standard of decent safety for all concerned.

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JIM SHIELDS of the Mendocino County Observer offered the most thorough and thoughtful opinions:

Open The PHF

Back in November of 1999, Mendocino County Mental Health Director Kristy Kelly appeared before the Board of Supervisors and informed them of a “crisis” at the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF).

The visibly distraught Kelly, who at that time had been in the Director’s job for six months, told the Supes that an emergency situation necessitated her seeking BOS approval to close the PHF unit immediately. The PHF, located at the county’s Low Gap Road complex, provides acute psychiatric care and other inpatient services to the seriously mentally ill, including those charged with crimes, or being treated against their will (so-called “5150” cases from the state Health & Safety Code section of the same number).

At that 1999 meeting, Kelly told the BOS that “as of 3pm today, we will not be able to maintain the minimum number of licensed staff on the unit required by our (state) license.” Kelly recommended that the Supes “affirm PHF operations should be suspended until staffing and other problems are resolved.”

Kelly said that state-mandated staffing levels had fallen below legal standards in the last two weeks when “violent incidents” forced four staff members off the job with work-related injuries. Additionally, 11 PHF employees filed grievances “regarding working conditions due to concerns for their personal safety.” No details were provided about the violent incidents or the unsafe working conditions, but the Board approved the temporary closure.

A year later, Kelly was once again before the Board seeking temporary closure of the PHF. At a November 2000 Supes session, the Mental Health Director cited ongoing staff burnout and job stress and asked for time to allow PHF employees to “reboot.” It should also be noted that the closure request came on the heels of a patient committing suicide in the PHF unit. I’ll have more to say on that incident shortly. In any event, the Supes once again approved Kelly’s appeal to close the unit. The PHF shut its doors on December 5 of last year and has yet to reopen.

Earlier this year at a February BOS meeting, a former long-time member of the Mental Health Board advised the Supes that the main problem at the PHF was the staff. According to Verleen Eidsmoe, who at one time worked in the PHF unit while obtaining a master’s degree in nursing, resigned from her job because of the “very hostile environment for patients” created by a nucleus of PHF employees with bad attitudes who physically and mentally abuse patients. She told the Board that until the problem employees are dealt with — as in terminating their employment — the PHF will always be a source of trouble.

Eidsmoe’s assessment was endorsed by numerous police officials who spoke of PHF staff’s overt antagonism toward jail inmates who need psychiatric care. As one cop succinctly put it, “They (PHF employees) freak out every time we bring somebody over from the jail — they think everybody in an orange jumpsuit is a vicious, dangerous criminal. A lot of them are non-violent, mentally-ill guys who have been [Department of] Mental Health patients for years, but they don’t want anything to do with them if they’re wearing orange jumpsuits.”

Kelly has made no secret of the fact she wants the PHF closed on a permanent basis. The question is: Why?

To date, there have been no good reasons offered to justify such an action. Closing the PHF would merely exacerbate an already grave, even deadly situation. Let’s take a look at two cases which illustrate the root of the problem.

Last year on November 2, 42-year-old Jens Rasch attempted suicide in Ukiah by slashing his wrists. Following medical treatment at Ukiah Valley Medical Center, Rasch was taken by Ukiah police officers to the PHF unit. After admission, Rasch was placed in one of the unit’s rooms. Sometime later he hung himself with shoelaces, which were presumably his own. Barely alive, Rasch was first transported to UVMC for treatment, and then to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he died on November 7.

According to the Sonoma County Coronor’s office, several weeks before his suicide, Rasch had been in a San Francisco mental health facility. Reportedly, Rasch was diagnosed as bi-polar. His parents, who live out-of-state, had recently come to California to stay with Rasch because he had “begun to behave strangely.”

Evidently, PHF staff were aware of some of Rasch’s history because he had been scheduled to be transferred for care in a San Francisco facility. Approximately, 30 minutes before his transfer Rasch was found hanging in the PHF unit.

The most disturbing, and as yet unanswered question, is why Rasch apparently was placed in a room, alone, unattended and left with his shoelaces. Although the Ukiah Police Department and the Department of Mental Health conducted an internal review of the case, I have been unsuccessful to date in obtaining copies of their report. A UPD officer informed me late this week that an official records request must be made for such documents, but he did not indicate whether the investigative report would then be produced. I’m in the process of filing the request.

I spoke to County Administrative Officer Jim Anderson about the Rasch case. Not only does Mental Health report to Anderson, but as CAO he was also “on call” after the incident occurred. When asked why the shoelaces were not taken from Rasch, Anderson responded, “It is my understanding that protocols were followed. There are protocols for the protection of the patient while attempting to also preserve the dignity of the patient. It’s my understanding that it was determined upon his evaluation, that further in-patient treatment was necessary. Mr. Rasch was awaiting transfer to a hospital facility (in San Francisco).”

A law enforcement official, who declined to be identified for the record, stated, “The first thing you do with somebody who is suicidal is to take everything away from them they can use to harm themselves.”

The long-time police officer, who was familiar with the Rasch case, also said, “Here’s a guy brought to the PHF straight from the hospital after receiving treatment for slashing his wrists. That’s about the strongest signal you can get that he’s suicidal. You take his belt away, you take his shoelaces away, along with anything else he has that can be used to further the attempt. The idea is to stop him, not help him, from committing suicide.”

Last month a second suicide involving Mental Health occurred in the Willits area. The circumstances surrounding this tragedy defy belief.

On May 10 at approximately 8:30pm, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a “man down” call at Summer Lake in Brooktrails. When the officers arrived on the scene, they found 21-year-old Joshua Field lying on wooden bridge. According to Sheriff Tony Craver, Field obviously was in need of help.

“He was a ‘5150’ suicidal individual,” Craver said. “He wanted to be left alone to go out into the woods and die. He was saying things like, ‘I’m tired of living, I want to die.’ He said these kinds of things repeatedly.”

Craver explained that police frequently encounter individuals who are not law breakers, but merely mentally ill. He outlined the three different elements of so-called “5150” commitments by police where individuals are picked up and held for mental health observation and treatment. First, are those who are so gravely disabled mentally they cannot care for themselves. The second criteria for the 5150 process are individuals who are a danger to themselves or others. Finally, anyone who exhibits signs of suicide qualifies for a 5150 charge.

“These people we pick up on a 5150 are not criminals,” Craver said. “They’re just mentally ill individuals who need professional help.”

Joshua Field was one of those 5150 arrestees who needed professional help. The patrol deputies brought Field to the Willits Sheriff’s substation and placed a call to a Mental Health crisis worker in Ukiah. What happened next is unbelievable.

The crisis worker talked to Field for a while, then spoke with the deputy who brought him in. He then dictates to the deputy a “behavior performance contract,” which he tells the deputy Field has agreed to sign. The deputy, fairly new on the job, assumed that such contracts are part of an agreed upon policy between the Sheriff’s Office and Mental Health. Essentially, the contract stated that Field promised he would not attempt suicide. In return for agreeing to the no-suicide pledge, Field was released from custody.

Craver said he found out about the “contract” several days later.

“When I found out, I went ballistic,” Craver said. “I let our people and Mental Health know that’s the last time we’ll ever do something like that again. Under no circumstances will we ever do that again.”

Craver made it clear he did not blame the deputy for the “contract” episode.

“He’s a great young guy,” Craver stated. “He’s a fine officer, but a little inexperienced. He didn’t know that we would never agree to that kind of policy. I can’t blame him since nobody in the Sheriff’s Office had ever heard of such a thing until it happened that one time.”

The county’s legal beagles should also be a bit nervous about Mental Health’s “non-suicide contract” policy. It doesn’t take a constitutional scholar to opine there may be some liability attached to that kind of contract, especially when the signatory ends up dead.

Unfortunately, Mental Health’s non-suicide pact with Field didn’t work. On May 13, Field was found hanging in a carport in Brooktrails. One of the responding Sheriff’s officers administered CPR to Field, which revived him enough for transport to the Willits hospital, but his condition later worsened. Field was then flown to a Santa Rosa hospital where he died.

“My responsibility as a police officer is this,” Craver explained, “If I believe a person is suicidal, then I’m going to take him face-to-face with a crisis worker. If the crisis workers, in their best judgment, determine that this suicidal person should not be hospitalized or given any further treatment, then so be it. But something needs to be done where we can get people who need help the kind of treatment that’s needed and they’re entitled to. Everybody knows it’s not being done with the PHF being closed.”

It appears it’s time to find somebody who can open the PHF’s doors. Whoever it is will probably require a big broom.

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THEN-SUPERVISOR JOHN PINCHES made it clear that the PHF Unit was closed because the Mental Health department simply didn't like having to run it. “It was a hassle to them. So the more I look at this now, it becomes clear that the PHF was closed for the convenience of the Mental Health staff, not for any public policy reasons or considerations.

“The staff was obviously hostile and uncaring and real caring people probably either quit or wouldn't want to work there. Then they claimed they couldn't staff it. DUH.

“I think at some point you have to make a decision that is best for the majority of the people,” Pinches said. “With the exception of the Mental Health Department, just about everybody else who is directly affected by the PHF is saying it must be kept open because we need it operating here locally. I think the Board really needs to pay attention to what Sheriff Craver and the others are saying. Also, I just can’t imagine that people who need that kind of care are going to be better off by closing the PHF and sending them outside the county.”

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THE POINT IS that no matter who staffs it (county or private or some combination), if it isn't managed and run by people who really want to help, the new facility probably won't last any longer than the old one did.

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Yesterday Bill and I passed the Ukiah Trump headquarters on our way to dinner. Out front there were signs and even a huge stand-in cardboard Trump. Over everything was a sign reading “PROUD DEPLORABLES.” This morning, from a friend who had been observing the same Trump Headquarters since it opened, I learned that the coffee shop across the street was the perfect place from which to observe the comings and goings. My friend also mentioned that early that morning she had watched a truck, careful not to obscure the Trump signs, park by the headquarters. From that truck, she said, manure was being sold. Well, I thought, I had to see that for myself. Not finding the manure truck, I watched various groups happily getting their Trump signs, glad handing and chatting. After a bit, a pickup parked so as not to block the signs. The driver emerged, jumped onto the back of the pickup and at eye level, posted a sign sporting the message “BIGOTRY IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE.” The driver then strolled across the street to the coffee shop, taking a spot in front of the window, and got some coffee. After a bit, I told him that I liked his sign. After another couple of minutes, I told him about my friend’s sighting of the manure-laden truck with a “For Sale” sign. He laughed and said that his truck was the same truck, and it didn’t have real manure, only a sign. But he so liked the idea of selling real manure he thought he might ask a horse-owning friend for a truckload. While I was chatting up the sign-sporting truck owner I noticed that no one stopped at the headquarters. They couldn't be getting the message, could they? When it was time to leave I asked a young barista if anyone from the Trump campaign ever came in to get a cup of coffee. He said, “No, they haven’t.”

“Didn't Trump supporters drink coffee?” I asked.

“They drink blood,” was his response.

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HANDICAP PARKING SPOTS in a sea of zinnias, Boonville Fair, 2016


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Letter to the editor

Calling All Locavores (and their friends).

A Locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food. We actually have two coastal people, Sarah Bodnar and Gowan Batiste, who spent a year literally eating only locally grown food. What a concept! How local can you go? October is C’mon Home To Eat month in the Anderson Valley Foodshed... a Foodshed being analagous to a Watershed.

October is also harvest month, giving us an abundance of healthy, locally grown produce. This year the organization called the Anderson Valley Foodshed is beginning an exciting new program. Locals can pick up tickets at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market at the Boonville Hotel Parking Lot that will give them 10% off a dinner purchased at a local restaurant that is serving local food.

The restaurants will each choose one night in October dedicated to a locally grown dinner. Some of our restaurants provide way more than one night per month of local food, but this pilot program will spotlight one night per restaurant. Pick up your tickets at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. And while you’re at it get your shopping done for the week!

Mary Pat Palmer, Philo

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On September 16, 2016 around 7:03 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 1800 Block of Cameron Road in Elk regarding a missing 61 year old adult male resident of Comptche. On their arrival Deputies were advised the male owned a large parcel of property and had left, earlier in the afternoon, to check the property but did not return as planned. Deputies searched the area during the night but were unable to locate the individual. Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers responded the following morning of 9-17-16. This response included two SAR K9 teams. Around 9:22 AM one of the K9 teams located the individual in a deep ravine on the property. He was disoriented and needed medical assistance. Cal Fire, Elk Fire, and Mendocino Coast District Hospital Ambulance responded and assisted Mendocino County SAR with the extrication. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all agencies that responded to assist in this search and rescue incident.

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Though not a subscriber I am nevertheless a regular reader of the AVA and I comment as follows from that perspective.

The front page pieces often touch on issues that I am grateful to you for illuminating. Two articles from recent issues come to mind: industrially lobbied zoning decisions in Sonoma County to convert water conserving forest land to water guzzling vineyards; and forest management practices much closer to home on Timberland owned by Mendocino Redwood Company. These were informative and worth the reading.

But for all their relevance, the lead articles are commonly poorly organized, prolix and predictable in orientation. They meander like sluggish streams with no discernible current. And they are long, very, very long.

So I find considerable irony in learning that you wish to restrict Steve Sparks' weekly report on the high school soccer team to 500 words. Is there a double standard in play here? Seems like it from out here in reader world.

What I like best in the AVA is news that pertains directly to the doings of the local population: for example, the high school football players, reporting about whom is not subject to any word limitation of which I am aware; the lady volleyball players; and the young gentleman who play soccer. I usually turn first to Valley People and then to Turkey Vulture. I appreciate what I learn there about local doings.

All this to say that I request respectfully that there be no word limitation imposed on soccer reporting. Please let Coach Sparks express himself as fully as you allow your byline article authors to do.

I know from Steve's earlier interview columns that he does not waste words. The AVA will not suffer if you allow him full freedom of speech during the four months or so during which soccer is played. There are many people hereabout for whom futbol is fully as important as football.

Sincerely yours,

Bill Sterling, Philo

ED REPLY: Unchain the Brit? We're discussing how many more words to grant him pending close examination of his green card. As the discussion stands here in the editorial offices of Boonville's beloved weekly, we're stuck in the wilds ranging from 50 to a hundred, but expect a reasonable compromise soon, assuming his credentials are in order.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 17, 2016

Alarcon, Alfaro, Barnett, Blanco
Alarcon, Alfaro, Barnett, Blanco

MARCO ALARCON, Philo. Controlled substance, suspended license.

FRANCISCO ALFARO, Los Angeles. Pot sales, controlled substance, suspended license, probation revocation.

JAMES BARNETT, White City, Oregon/Manchester. Domestic assault.


D.Gonzalez, N.Gonzalez, Hayes
D.Gonzalez, N.Gonzalez, Hayes

DAVID GONZALEZ, Failure to appear.

NAOMI GONZALEZ, Willits. Drunk in public.

STEVEN HAYES, Covelo. Protective order violation.

Maynard, Pena, Taffi
Maynard, Pena, Taffi

ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

GINO PENA, Redwood Valley. Battery of peace officer, resisting, drunk in public.

BRIAN TAFFI, Lakeport/Willits. Grand theft, felony vandalism.

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WE WILL HAVE TWO death penalty propositions on the November ballot. One repeals the death penalty, the other speeds it up. The argument for repeal is the old one: it doesn't deter much of anyone, it's unfair because only poor people get it, and life without is cheaper. The reasons for speeding it up are also familiar, and include these bastards have it coming, it's the law, lawyers drag out appeals to ridiculous lengths.

WE AGREE that these bastards have it coming, but we don't like dispatching them by midnight needles in hospital settings. We also don't like the state being authorized to kill people because in certain circumstances the state would kill us. But we think executions should be public — football stadiums would be perfect venues — with admission charged, television rights sold, and all proceeds to the families of the victims. We would also require that the families would have to do the killing or at least authorize it, and the method should be by firing squad, which is quick, humane and even romantic if the condemned gets a last word and a cigarette. This way, The People, in whose name the execution is carried out get to witness what is being done in their name.

IN THE MEAN TIME, and we live in a very mean time indeed, we recommend a Yes vote On Prop 62, a No vote on 66.



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ANOTHER REASON TO VOTE NO on pot legalization:

"Regarding Prop 64. There is currently language in this proposition that allows for cross-licensing, and after a five-year cap expires, allows for the unlimited size of commercial grows. This scenario lets the big agriculture boys virtually take over the market from the top down. California wants this because of the tax money, but the day of the mom and pop or smaller independent grower will be over."

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by Mary Callahan

A Sonoma County judge has halted logging operations tied to a disputed timber harvest plan in the Gualala River watershed until a court challenge against the project can be resolved.

Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday, affirming an earlier tentative ruling in which he said environmentalists challenging the plan had a strong enough case to justify a court-ordered freeze on the work.

Continued felling of trees in the project area, near the coast along the Sonoma-Mendocino county border, would alter the environment in a manner that could not be rectified were plaintiffs to prevail in the lawsuit and approval of logging plan withdrawn, Chouteau said.

“Once you cut these trees down and actually damage these areas, that’s it,” said Chris Poehlmann, president of Friends of the Gualala River, a group pressing the lawsuit along with Forestville-based Forest Unlimited.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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How many great plays must you write in order to be remembered?

by Terry Teachout

Edward Albee, who died on Friday at the age of 88, wrote one of the half-dozen greatest American plays of the 20th century—and one of the half-dozen worst American plays of the past decade. In truth, far more of his 30-odd plays were bad than good. Most of the fulsome tributes to the author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” that have been posted, printed and tweeted since his death overlook this latter fact. Few of them, however, failed to mention that he couldn’t get a decent review between 1975 and 1994, when the off-Broadway production of “Three Tall Women” restored him to critical favor. If you didn’t know better, you might well suppose that the critics, not Mr. Albee himself, were mainly to blame for his long eclipse.


It’s easy to see why Mr. Albee metamorphosed from the bad boy of American theater into its grand old man. Not only did he live a long and productive life, but he was endlessly quotable and never hesitated to speak his mind, usually to hair-raising effect. But now that he is gone, it is his work, not his famously sharp tongue, for which he will be remembered—or not. “I have been overpraised and underpraised,” he said in a 1982 interview with the Washington Post. “I assume by the time I finish writing—and I plan to go on writing until I’m 90 or gaga—it will all equal itself out.” But it hasn’t, not yet, and we are nowhere near sorting out his legacy. Was Mr. Albee a great playwright, or did he merely happen to write one great play?

The greatness of “Virginia Woolf” certainly wasn’t evident to everyone at the time of its premiere. Robert Coleman of the New York Daily Mirror went so far as to call it “a sick play for sick people.” A fair number of other critics were equally disgusted by its snarling sexual frankness, as well as by Mr. Albee’s determination to stick a knife in the chest of what he took to be the complacent optimism of mid-century America. Like “The Rite of Spring” before it, “Virginia Woolf” was more a succès de scandale than an instantaneously clear-cut artistic triumph, and the scandal was heightened still further when Mike Nichols turned the most shocking play of 1962 into the most shocking film of 1966. That’s what made Mr. Albee famous enough to be invited by Johnny Carson to appear on “The Tonight Show” (he shared the couch with Duke Ellington). It wasn’t that everyone thought he was a master playwright: It was that he’d written a talked-about hit, one that ran for 664 performances on Broadway and whose film version starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Three Broadway revivals and hundreds of regional stagings later, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is now universally regarded as a modern classic. But to this day, it remains the only one of Mr. Albee’s plays to have made a lasting impression on the general public, enough so that it was even spoofed on “The Simpsons.” And while “Three Tall Women,” “The Zoo Story” (1958) and “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” (2002) are also justly admired by critics and theatergoers and continue to be performed throughout America and the world, it would be an understatement to say that no such consensus exists as to the merits of the rest of his output.

For my part, I find most of Mr. Albee’s work to be disappointing, some of it spectacularly so. He liked to rattle on and on about such Great Big Topics as the existential dilemma and the problem of identity, yet he tended not to have anything memorable to say about them. When I reviewed the appalling “Me, Myself & I,” his last play, in 2006, I called it “a tediously jokey piece of Surrealism Lite that wears out its welcome almost as soon as the curtain goes up.” On the other hand, the critics aren’t always right. “The Lady From Dubuque” opened in 1980 to a chorus of sneers and closed after 12 performances. Thirty-two years later, Signature Theatre revived it off Broadway, and it proved to be an impressively tough-minded black comedy that had failed to get its due the first time around.

Might some of Mr. Albee’s other flops have been similarly misjudged? We’ll doubtless have plenty of opportunities to see for ourselves as theater companies across the country start paying tribute to his illustrious career, just as we can surely count on seeing high-profile stagings of his occasional successes. “The Goat,” for instance, is due for a Broadway revival, and “Three Tall Women” has yet to get there.

As for “Virginia Woolf,” it will always be with us, as well it should be. “If you’re willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly,” Mr. Albee himself reminded us in a 1998 interview. So he was and so he did—not often, but often enough.

(The Wall Street Journal)

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EVERYTHING HRC TOUCHES she kind of screws up with hubris. I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t [pay] any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill.

— Colin Powell

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by Matt Schudel

W.P. Kinsella, a Canadian writer who published more than 20 books, but who is remembered for just one, “Shoeless Joe,” a magical exploration of baseball and fantasy in an Iowa cornfield that inspired the 1989 film “Field of Dreams,” died Sept. 16 in Hope, B.C. He was 81.

His literary agent, Carolyn Swayze, said in a statement that Mr. Kinsella’s death was doctor-assisted, which became legal in Canada in June. Other details were not disclosed.

W.P. Kinsella
W.P. Kinsella

Mr. Kinsella had a varied career, including as a taxi driver, government clerk and restaurant manager, before becoming a writer.

He was 46 when he published his first novel, “Shoeless Joe,” in 1982. Despite being hard to classify — a fantasy tale about farming, dogged faith but mostly about baseball — the book became a phenomenon and led to the popular movie treatment, starring Kevin Costner.

The tale follows the resolute dreams of an Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella, who looks out at a cornfield and, on the novel’s opening page, hears a voice tell him, “If you build it, he will come.”

Much to the surprise of his family and neighbors, Kinsella plows up part of his corn crop to create a baseball field, complete with lights, backstop and grandstand. In time, a mystical reincarnation of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a storied hitter banned from baseball’s distant past — the “he” Kinsella had hoped for — emerges through the cornstalks.

Other members of 1919 Chicago White Sox — infamously known as the “Black Sox” for the role in a betting scandal that caused them to be banned from baseball — show up at Kinsella’s farm, playing catch in their ancient uniforms.

The story includes a kidnapping of reclusive author (and baseball fan) J.D. Salinger, and a touching exploration of the one-inning career of a player named Moonlight Graham.

The players are not visible to everyone, though: only to theose who believe in the magical powers of baseball and its ability to forge bonds across time, particularly between fathers and sons. Baseball becomes a form of faith, as strong as any religion.

“A ballpark at night is more like a church than a church,” Mr. Kinsella writes in “Shoeless Joe.”

After the release of the movie “Field of Dreams” — which also starred Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones — the Iowa farm that formed the setting of the film became a major tourist attraction, as fans from around the world flocked to the baseball field in the middle of nowhere.

Mr. Kinsella went on to publish several other novels using baseball as a theme, including “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy” and “Box Socials” and other collections of stories and nonfiction.

“Baseball is open-ended,” he once said. “There is no time limit. The foul lines diverge, theoretically forever. There’s no limit. A game could possibly go on for days. That makes for myth, for larger-than-life characters.”

(The Washington Post)

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The current 60-day period and one public hearing may not be adequate for input on a 3,600-page document, Sonoma County acknowledged.

Interested parties appear likely to get the extra time many have requested to review and comment on some 3,600 pages of study for a plan to permanently reduce summertime flows in the Russian River and Dry Creek to benefit imperiled fish species. Sonoma County officials announced Friday they would discuss an extension at the Oct. 4 Board of Supervisors meeting and may schedule additional public...

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I STAND FOR MOTHERHOOD, America, and a hot lunch for orphans. "Take off your hat, sir, Betsy Ross' flag is passing. Do you see it on the bridge at Waterloo 'neath the great triumphal arch? If you see an eagle trampling through the grapes of wrath, stand up and march, march, march!"

— Jerry Herman

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LIVE REMOTE FROM JUANITA'S APARTMENT this time so, as usual when that's the case, at the beginning I'm talking in a normal, Norman-Rockwell-lunch-counter-appropriate tone of voice and gradually, over the course of almost seven hours, I lean closer, ever closer to the microphone's foam rubber clown nose and speak quieter and more carefully, though equally loudly via machine because of the volume knob, until near the end I'm whispering insistently directly into the center of your head, improving every facet of your being with vital information /they/ don't want you to know, rather /insinuating/ past their and your stodgy defenses to lubricate the very heart of humanity's vital levers and wires and spiritual plumbing. No side effects. No hangover. You're welcome.

Before the show I almost always play a little something to make sure everything's getting all the way from wherever I am to the transmitter, and this time it was a brilliant though slightly crunchy-sounding twenty-minute essay on intellectual freedom (by ThereminTrees, titled /Punishing Doubt/). Twenty minutes well spent. Also, the Boston Blackie episode at the very end of the night is a gem.

Also at you'll find literally thousands of links to not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile things to see and do and learn about, such as:

Current weather information: wind speed and direction, temperature, pressure, clouds, rain amounts, snow cover, everything, for everywhere on Earth, all visualized in color and motion. An animated graph that lets you choose the parts of the information you want to see.;-125.3;4&l=temperature

The world's weather beauty competition. Dang, look at the mammatus clouds on /that/ one.

The Marvel Symphonic Universe. (14 min.) (Explains what's right and what's wrong with movie music.)

And a world-class Rickroll. Singer Gunhild Carling solos on trumpet, then soprano recorder, then trombone, then /bagpipes/, then trumpet again!

The recording of last night's (2016-09-16) 107.7fm KNYO (and 105.1 KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and listen to via

Marco McClean

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To the Editor:

The big battle at the ballot in November is between two local cannabis measures -- the Mendocino Heritage Initiative (AF) sponsored by the cannabis community, and the Cannabis Tax Initiative (AI), presented by the Mendocino Board of Supervisors. They are competing initiatives with clear conflicts. Whichever gets the most votes will prevail in its entirety, leaving the rival with nothing. “In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety and the conflicting provisions of the other initiative or ordinance shall be null and void.” Cannabis Tax Initiative, Section 7.

The Heritage Initiative Committee turned in over 4,000 voter signatures to gain ballot status, believing the voters would approve reasonable regulations. They reached out to supervisors, Ag & other stakeholders, hoping for either a mutually agreed upon regulatory ordinance to be passed by the BOS or BOS support to the Heritage Initiative as sensible regulation to replace prohibition, leaving them the ability to make changes after passage (unlike Prop 215).

But instead of cooperating with local growers, the BOS threw a nasty curve for a strike. They placed their own rival Cannabis Tax Initiative on the same ballot for the express purpose of defeating Heritage. Adversarial in nature, they have made clear they do not view the cannabis community as friends to be welcomed back into society after being prohibited & criminalized since 1937. They prefer that cannabis growers be criminalized in entirely new tax-related ways.

There are major differences. The BOS initiative has a tax ceiling of 10 percent with an allowance of 2.5 percent every year to raise revenue for the General Fund, compared to Heritage, with a ceiling of 2.5 percent for medical, 5 percent for recreational.

Only Heritage includes:

1) an Appellations Project honoring and protecting cannabis achievements and strains based on geographical location.

2) an ongoing Cannabis Advisory Commission to help guide the regulatory process, with an economic impact report due after one year in operation.

3) A shift to cannabis as an agricultural crop with cultivation regulated through Dept of Food and Ag.

But the biggest difference is in the BOS’ attempt to recriminalize cannabis farmers with a new criminal misdemeanor for tax violations. The BOS Cannabis Tax Initiative, Section 6.32.270 spells it out in no uncertain terms:

Violation Deemed Misdemeanor

Any person violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a Misdemeanor and shall be punishable therefore. The BOS has created a new cannabis crime for tax infractions for which they are trying to get voter approval. As we are exiting prohibition in the state, we are facing recrim in the county with tax ‘violations deemed misdemeanors’, if the Cannabis Tax Initiative passes. “Shall be deemed guilty” is worse than in criminal court where your guilt must be proven, not deemed. Here guilt & punishment are ‘deemed’, not proven, without so much as a trial or presumption of innocence. While the rest of the world is exiting prohibition, shedding criminal misdemeanors, Mendo County is attempting to adopt new misdemeanors for ‘any’ violation of the Tax Chapter.

This is a mean-spirited prohibitionist move to hold the cannabis community back from equal opportunity and equal protection as regulations unfold & previously outlawed growers come forward in good faith. They are understandably reluctant & want to make sure they aren’t being given blankets with smallpox, pretending its for protection.

Anyone can be late or mistaken while dealing with complicated tax provisions. The BOS wants to pass their Cannabis Tax Initiative as a trick bag to catch & criminally punish newly legal growers for minor tax violations with voters as conduits for increasing prohibition. We can’t let them do that.

Vote Yes on AF (AgFarms), Mendocino Heritage Initiative.

Vote No on AI, Cannabis Tax Initiative.

Ralf Laguna, Pebbles Trippet, Paula Deeter, Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board/MMMAB


  1. Eric Sunswheat September 18, 2016

    Ralf Laguna, Pebbles Trippet, Paula Deeter, Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board/MMMAB WROTE:

    They are competing initiatives with clear conflicts. Whichever gets the most votes will prevail in its entirety, leaving the rival with nothing. “In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety and the conflicting provisions of the other initiative or ordinance shall be null and void.” Cannabis Tax Initiative, Section 7.

    RESPONSE: I guess this is a clear statement above, and one learns something new almost everyday. The first part not in quotes, is actually perhaps hypothetical, a different interpretation than what is in quotes grounded in Section 7, but perhaps the overall comment was written that way for brevity. Seems like a reason to read both initiatives, unless simply voting a blanket yes or no across the board.

  2. Jim Updegraff September 18, 2016

    I prefer ‘state sanctioned killing’ to the word ‘execution’. Why is it the Bible Belt is also the Execution Belt if they walk in the steps of Jesus? Why is it secular Western Europe countries do not have the death penalty while in the U. S. Bible thumpers are for the death penalty?

  3. LouisBedrock September 18, 2016

    Hello Jim:

    Although Luke advises Christians, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise,” the Jesus character imagined by the novelists who composed the Gospel story is often rather bloodthirsty:

    Matthew 10: 34-35 (KJV)

    34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    35.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    Matthew 13:41-42 (KJV)

    41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
    42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Luke 19:27 (KJV)

    27. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    John 15:6 (KJV)

    6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    Of course, the Jewish Bogeyman, YAHWEH, is even more bloodthirsty. He’d make an excellent President of The United States.

    Religion has been mankind’s greatest justification for murder and violence.
    Look at the three most prominent theocracies: Israel, Pakistan, and the U.S..

    The period in which The Catholic Church ran things is justifiably known as “The Dark Ages”.

    The Quakers, the only group to successfully implement socialism, seem to have established communities that are peaceful and harmonious. But they are the exception to a depressing trend.

    • Bruce McEwen September 18, 2016

      Thomas Paine: “Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man.”

  4. David Lilker September 18, 2016

    Quick repy to Marvin Blake:

    Marvin, governments are always corrupt to some extent. We are not ruled by Plato’s Philosopher-kings. That being said, people are ultimately responsible for their actions. Rape is never excusable. Neither is murder, for that matter. Do you disagree? The prevalence of rape and murder in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties as related to marijuana cultivation is not “trivial”, nor are journalists efforts to bring it to public attention.

    • Bruce McEwen September 18, 2016

      You would have to be stoned to follow the contortions of logic Marvin Blake uses to excuse the inexcusable. It would also help, in making some of the more vaulting leaps of credulity in assigning blame elsewhere, if you were making a tidy profit from the business under discussion. Besides being a mild pain killer, medical marijuana seems to have a wonderful faculty for completely sanitizing a guilty conscience. But the money helps, too. Doesn’t it, Marvin?

  5. james marmon September 18, 2016

    My friend Danny Mason also signed a no harm contract with PHF staff on Low Gap, went home where he shot himself in the head a few hours later.

    As a mental health specialist I used to conduct WIC 5150 evaluations and I always felt uncomfortable with contracts, but I only had one client commit suicide out of probably hundreds who signed a no harm contract. The poor guy took a drill to his head, that was here in Lake County. He had been released back into the Community after spending over 15 years in Napa State Hospital. In the 80’s he drove his pickup truck through a crowd of people at the park in Lakeport, striking several of them.

    What I’m getting to is that there is no proof that hospitalization will prevent suicides if a person is convinced they have had enough and made the decision, they will take their medications, smile, lie right to your face, and then complete the task the first opportunity they get.

    James Marmon MSW

    p.s. it is common practice to have all clients who are evaluated sign the no harm contract, everyday business.

    • George Hollister September 18, 2016

      Charles Mann says as many as 100 million.

      • LouisBedrock September 18, 2016

        David Stannard, author of AMERICAN HOLOCAUST, agrees.

  6. heilig September 18, 2016

    Marvin Blake: Growing pot is by definition a “crime for profit” industry (at least until next year). “Following the money” as you advise leads back to that plant, and what the love of it and cash have done to communities, and none of the “dark lords” and “madness” would exist without it. The resultant suffering you dismiss as “silly” is real, and your twisted perspective only reflects on your own state as a “slow learner.” So yes, to you, better luck – or brains and heart – next time.

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