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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Nov. 7, 2016

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Rodger Elbert Tolman was born in San Francisco on December 29th 1940 to Elbert R. Tolman and Beth G. Tolman-Koskela. He died in Willits from a heart attack on Wednesday, November 2nd.

rodgertolmanRodger’s life in logging mirrored the modern evolution of the industry, which honored him with its prestigious Christiansen Award in 2014. This award is given to a member of the timber industry in recognition of their contributions to the industry, the community, and the history of Mendocino County. Throughout the many years of driving his own truck, Rodger gained the respect of all the loggers in the north end of the state. He was always driving, if not in his logging truck, he was in his pickup with his favorite passenger, Deb, his Jack Russell terrier.

Rodger seldom, if ever, missed a day on the job, and was still self-employed as a log truck driver when he died. He routinely travelled as many as five hundred miles in one shift, from very early in the morning into the evening hours. In all his years on the road, he never had a single accident.

A resident of Boonville from age of four, Rodger started driving a truck for the late Kay Hiatt while still a student at Anderson Valley High School. Shortly after graduating from high school, Rodger went to work for J.D. Farrer, driving for Farrer until 1962 when he went to work for Charles "Perky" Perkins, of Apollo Trucking, Boonville.

In 1975, Rodger bought his own truck and from then on was self-employed until his death.

A personable man who looked much younger than his years, Rodger was universally well-regarded not only in the Anderson Valley but far beyond by woods workers up and down the Northcoast.

Along with the late Paul Hughbanks, Rodger was instrumental in the formation of Anderson Valley’s Jr. Panther Basketball program, whose graduates made Anderson Valley a small school powerhouse for the decade 1975-85.

Rodger always enjoyed a close circle of friends, many of them from his earliest years in Boonville and from his more than 60 years in the timber industry. He was a huge fan of football, basketball, baseball, and NASCAR, and especially loved watching his athletically talented son and grandsons play sports in high school and college.

Devoted to his family, Rodger leaves a daughter, Rhonda Tolman Wright (Lance); and a son, Jerry Tolman (Janie) from his marriage to Kathy; grandchildren Kyle Wright (Ashley); Randall Wright; and Brittany Tolman. Great grandchildren include Lacey, Savvi, and Trae.

Rodger was predeceased by his brother, Craig Tolman, but is survived by his sister, Sharolyn Tolman Bierman (Don, deceased.) He is also mourned by Carlos Estrada, whom Rodger regarded as a second son.

Services will begin 11am on Saturday, November 12, at the Eversole Chapel on Low Gap Road, Ukiah, with a gathering of family and friends to follow at the Testa Winery in Redwood Valley.

As Rodger was a supporter of the Anderson Valley Historical Society, the family requests that in lieu of flowers or other memorial contributions, donations in his name be directed to the Society, PO Box 676, Boonville, Ca 95415

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A TRIP TO THE MOUTH of the Navarro River Saturday found the sand bar fully in place.

(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)
(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)

At high tide waves would at times breach the sand bar but not destroy it.

(Photo by David Severn)
(Photo by David Severn)

When this happened up to three seals would appear to sit on the sand bar and wait for fish to go by.

(Photo by David Severn)
(Photo by David Severn)

When they did the seal or seals would dive into the water in chase.

(Photo by David Severn)
(Photo by David Severn)

I imagine they were successful at least some of the time, hopefully not all of the time.

(David Severn)

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MENDOCINO COUNTY’S CHIEF PLANNER Andy Gustavson has announced that he is resigning at the end of November to take a top planning position for the City of Santa Rosa. In our limited experience with him, Gustavson was unfailingly helpful and certainly knowledgeable. He was particularly helpful and responsive to the Valley’s Community Servces District’s requests for assistance in preparing the Water and Sewer grant applications. He seemed instantly aware that the Planning Department’s first review of the Blackbird Ranch was seriously deficient and quickly suggested that the issue be postponed until the application was properly reviewed. (The Blackbird Ranch application, however, is now scheduled for December, after his departure.)

EITHER WAY, the Planning Department will be left with very little in the way of senior planning staff. For example, the controversial Blackbird Ranch project will now be left to junior planner Adele Phillips. When asked by the Planning Commission last week about the shortage of Senior Planners, Building and Planning Director Steve Dunnicliff tried to put a positive spin on the situation by pointing out that they still had a couple of experienced planners on staff, that the department is increasing their recruiting efforts, that the junior staffers were getting training and that they’d be contracting out some planning tasks to experienced outside planning outfits. But the inexperienced planners will still be leads on pending projects.

SINCE THE BLACKBIRD application will be controversial — it is unanimously opposed by the residents of the Anderson Valley — and the planning staff’s decisions will be subject to close scrutiny by both Blackbird and the opposing neighbors, we’re afraid that the County may find itself in a legal bind if the application isn’t handled by the book. And Gustavson’s departure is likely to make whatever the County’s decision on the Blackbird application is much harder to defend.

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by K.C. Meadows

Vote counting had not yet begun when I stopped by the Mendocino County Clerk’s Office Friday morning. There was still lots of work to do counting, opening and inspecting the thousands of ballots that are streaming into the office.

Assistant County Clerk Katrina Bartolomie spent some time with me explaining what was going on that day. I found her in the counting room where the voting machines are kept, sitting at a computer where she said she was going through the county voter registration rolls, updating registration numbers. Bartolomie said for this election registration was up to 51,000 in the county (up from about 49,000, I think she said) sorted into 250 separate voting precincts.

Although the deadline for registering to vote was Oct. 24, clerk’s office employees are still going through the ones that came in by mail within the deadline. Also, the clerk’s office sent out letters in June, July, August and September to voters who needed to update their voter registrations (perhaps they forgot to sign it) and those return registrations are coming in as well. As usual, people with plenty of warning to do something important, wait until the last minute.

Bartolomie also told me Friday that the clerk’s office has added a fourth team (of two) to the six “balloteers” as I call them — the folks hired seasonally to count and process election ballots. This new team consists of one seasonal “extra hire” and one clerk’s office employee. The extra team was needed to help process the 16,626 ballots that had arrived at the clerk’s office as of Friday. That’s a lot, Bartolomie said.

She has three teams still working on counting, opening and inspecting the ballots and now has one team starting to do the “remakes,” when a ballot is damaged or otherwise unfit to run through the voting machine and the elections office makes a new one for that voter, following as best they can the voter’s intention. I was able to see that team at their table in the balloteers’ area with one person calling off the vote and the other marking it down on a new clean ballot.

Watching from my Dutch door angle in the county administration building hallway was not a good perch Friday as the hallway was packed with table after table of vendors and others on hand in a mass effort to help county employees deal with health care choices as the Open Enrollment season began Wednesday. I didn’t stay there long.

Talking some more with Bartolomie back at the clerk’s office counter, I learned that the basic counting and opening of ballots is far from over. Bartolomie counted 21 boxes of processed (but not yet vote-recorded) ballots in the vault. She said they hold somewhere around 400 to 500 ballots each. That means somewhere between 8,400 and 10,500 ballots are ready to be sent through the voting machines. As of Friday that left probably at least 7,000 ballots still unopened with approximately 1,000 per day arriving. On Monday there will undoubtedly be a huge dump of mail ballots and then Tuesday thousands more will be dropped off at polling places around the county.

“There’s good participation,” Bartolomie said of the mail-in ballots. She said in June’s primary election they came in much more slowly and so the office waited until later to begin dealing with them.

She said the office has been “overwhelmed” with the task of dealing with what looks this time like a significant voter turnout. Now that several thousand ballots are ready to be counted, Bartolomie told me they hoped to start actually putting ballots through the voting machines Friday afternoon and continue the process through the weekend. She alerted me to my misunderstanding of the viewing area for watching the ballots go through machines.

In my last visit, County Clerk Sue Ranochak took me into the room and pointed to the small 12-inch by 12-inch window in the door as the viewing area. At least I thought that was where she pointed. It turns out, as Bartolomie showed me Friday, there’s a large window in the wall around the corner from the door which provides a good view of the room where Bartolomie, Ranochak and perhaps one other person will send ballots through the 11 voting machines on hand. Bartolomie said they plan to allow perhaps one or two observers into the room on Election Night. I am hoping to be one of them.

The machines are already programmed by precinct; in other words, only ballots from certain precincts go into certain machines. If a ballot from Precinct 1 is found among the ballots for Precinct 16, the machine will know it and spit it out. The machine will also spit out any ballot upon which there is something it can’t read or if it recognizes two votes for one candidate.

The balloteers are supposed to catch these ahead of time but occasionally a bad one gets through and remakes are done during the machine counting process too.

The ballots are fed into the machines by the bundles the balloteers made as they opened and processed by precinct. The ballots are counted before they go into the machine, the machine counts them, and then they are counted again after going through the machine. If there is any discrepancy anywhere, the counting stops until the clerks can figure out what went wrong. If they have to go back and recount everything from that bundle, including the stored envelopes, they will.

Just as a note: There’s a handy drive-by ballot box right outside the front doors of the county administration office at 501 Low Gap Road. If you’re carrying around your mail-in ballot thinking you’ll get to the post office sometime soon, that box is a handy option for you.

(K.C. Meadows is managing editor of The Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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ANDERSON VALLEY SPORTS BOOSTERS is excited to present the 1st Annual Turkey Trot 5k Fun Run/Walk on November 24th! AV Boosters is a non-profit organization which helps supply equipment and funds to the sports programs. This year, we are also raising $21,000 in order to replace the scoreboards at the AVHS gym. This is a huge task and we need the entire communities support in order to accomplish our goal. All of the proceeds from the Turkey Trot will help in our efforts to raise money for the scoreboards. Along with raising money, we also want to promote a healthy lifestyle and bring the community together to share in our blessings on Thanksgiving. We will start/finish at the high school near the tennis courts. Registration is $30/adults, $20/children, registration fee includes a race day t-shirt. Registration will be from 7:30-8:30 am and the race will start at 9am. For more information please call Shauna at 684-9126 or email

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The USGS reported (5:00am) a 4.1 temblor with an epicenter eight miles WSW of Laytonville today (Sunday) — the area where a 3.8 magnitude quake happened last Thursday. 14 people from Fort Bragg reported “feeling it.” This later quake was near the surface, less than a half mile deep, and was located near Branscomb Road & Kenny Creek Road just west of the town of Branscomb, 8 miles WSW of Laytonville. So far, there are 46 responses (from 11 zip codes) of “feeling it.” There were 18 responses of “feeling it” from Fort Bragg, eight from Laytonville & Willits, four from Branscomb and two from Piercy. There were also solo reports from Garberville, Leggett, Napa (108 miles from the epicenter) and San Francisco (147 miles away). There have been small temblors in the area since the November 3rd quake. The latest being a 2.7 magnitude Saturday @ 8:16 pm.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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Watch and read about the October MCDH/MCHD Board Meeting, held November 3, on Mendocino TV on the link below! As we approach Election Day November 8th 3 seats on the hospital board of directors are up for election. Many critical issues and challenges are happening at Mendocino Coast District Hospital that will impact the growth and health of the coastal community for decades to come!

So, please educate yourselves now and keep involved in the future as Mendocino TV, your local independent media resource viewed on the internet at, keeps you informed on local issues.

Watch our MCDH Candidates Forum & The MCDH Board meeting on the links below! (Note: Tom Birdsell did not respond to our requests to attend the forum and Dr. Kevin Miller left shortly after it began. 4 other candidates attended for the entire forum and one was out of town and sent a written response.

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DENNIS BOAZ is the former Ukiah teacher's union negotiator who was charged with racism in 2009 by Mendo superintendent of schools Tichinin when Boaz described the district’s teacher's pay proposals as “niggardly.”

BOAZ, an attorney, has been involved in many high profile national cases, most notably the Gary Gilmore and Dr. Kevorkian matters. Boaz has just published a book that looks back on his long and interesting career that often placed him close to famous personalities.

AT THE TIME, it seemed to us that Boaz had used “niggardly” intentionally to see if he could get a rise out of the Ukiah area's dim school administrators, but in his memoir Boaz insists that the use of the term had no such intent. He insisted he'd merely deployed the word in an internal note on the assumption it described the inadequate offer from the Ukiah administration.

Boaz new autobiographical book is called “Seven Rights for Citizen Slackers.” Much of the book revolves around never-before released information, anecdotes, and writings regarding the famous murder trial of Gary Gilmore, who was depicted in Norman Mailer's 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the 1982 made-for-TV film starring Tommy-Lee Jones as Gilmore. As you're likely aware, the trial took place in Provo in 1976.

Boaz, 77, played himself in the movie. His client, Gilmore, successfully fought to be executed without appeal by firing squad. It was the first execution in the United States in more than ten years.

Seven Rights for Citizen Slackers has two themes: One surrounds Boaz’s discovery and development of a seven rights schematic (a body of comprehensive rights he believes can be a matrix for societal transformation) and his efforts to write a book about it. Interwoven in this theory is Boaz’s long journey from the trauma of marital breakup and his search for self-awareness and pleasure in Berkeley's new age subculture of the early seventies, to his life as husband and father in Guam, Saipan and California and the controversies that followed his life.

Back to "niggardly." The Ukiah Superintendent at the time, Dr. Lois Nash, was black, and perhaps best remembered for her weekly commute to Ukiah from her home in Los Angeles, calling into question Nash's commitment to Ukiah's young scholars.

The haphazardly tutored "educators" in Ukiah Unified’s administration, and at the County office of education's Talmage bunker, quickly accused Boaz of racism. Predictably, the rest of the County's school administrators signed off on County superintendent's Tichinin's indignant denunciation of Boaz as a racist, thus kicking off an hilarious interlude confirming suspicions that Mendocino County's children were spending their K-12 classroom years overseen by illiterates.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 6, 2016

Buel, Hopson, Jewell
Buel, Hopson, Jewell

JONATHAN BUEL, Longview, Washington/Leggett. DUI.

BROCKIE HOPSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

AMANDA JEWELL, Willits. Metal knuckles, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Madrid, Marteeny, Matthews
Madrid, Marteeny, Matthews

DENNA MADRID, Calpella. Protective order violation.

ELLE MARTEENY, Navarro. Under influence, probation revocation.

ROBERT MATTHEWS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Drunk in public, trespassing.

Naranjo-Rodriguez, Patton, Phillips
Naranjo-Rodriguez, Patton, Phillips

JUAN NARANJO-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

MICHAEL PATTON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JUSTIN PHILLIPS, Willits. Evasion causing injury or death.

Strauss, Texeira, Williams, Zamora-Acosta
Strauss, Texeira, Williams, Zamora-Acosta

JOHN STRAUSS, Fort Bragg. Perjury.

LAWRENCE TEXEIRA, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.


LUIS ZAMORA-ACOSTA, Ukiah. Court order violation, failure to appear.

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So, what would be legal if Proposition 64 passes?

Adults 21 and older can walk around in public with up to 28.5 grams of cannabis.

How much is that?

About a sandwich baggy full. You can also gift an ounce to another adult 21 and older.

What else?

Adults 21 and older can walk around with up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

What’s that?

It’s also known as “hash.”

All right, what else?

Adults 21 and older can grow up to six cannabis plants per property.

Any restrictions?

You have to be the property owner, or get permission, and keep it locked up and away from public view. Cities could ban personal outdoor cultivation. They can’t ban growing a little indoors. If you grow more than an ounce, it’s legal if you keep it on the property.

What else?

Pipes and other accessories are legal. None of it is contraband anymore. Also, Proposition 215’s limited medical defenses are untouched. Medical patients with a doctor’s note and state ID card can avoid paying marijuana sales taxes as well as certain legal limits on possession or cultivation, tax officials state. Growing and processing industrial hemp is also now 100 percent legal in the state, beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Cannabis lounges could be legal, if a locality allows them, and only for adults 21 and older where no alcohol or tobacco is sold.

What would not be legal?

You can’t smoke or eat edibles in public, or where smoking tobacco is prohibited.

No pot smoke or pot within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers and other places where children gather.

No open pot containers while driving or boating.

No pot at schools or day care centers.

No making butane hash without a permit.

No ingesting and driving or boating, etc.

No passengers ingestingin a moving vehicle or boat.

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Anyone over 21 and with valid ID may purchase up to one ounce of harvested buds, 16 ounces of marijuana infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of marijuana concentrate per day.

How the legalization of recreational marijuana would unfold

You can still be fired for showing up to work high or failing a drug test.

What would be the penalties?

These start with tickets and fines of $100 for the smaller stuff, and go up from there.

Children under 18 caught with less than an ounce could get an infraction and be required to go to free, mandatory drug education and counseling, and pay up to a $100 fine.

Children caught with more than an ounce could also get an infraction with education and counseling.

Adults under 21 caught with more than 1 ounce can get up to a $500 fine, and six months in jail.

Adults possessing marijuana at a school can get up to a $250 fine for a first offense.

Adults under 21 caught growing six plants or less can get an infraction, up to a $100 fine, and potentially up to six months jail. Penalties increase for growing more than six plants, especially if environmental damage occurs.

Adults illegally dealing pot face fines, potentially up to six months jail, and new civil fines and a 50 percent back-tax penalties.

Unlawful transportation can equal fines and/or jail.

What is expungement?

Court records for pot are not to be kept for more than two years.

For prisoners: Any person who would not have been guilty of an offense or who would have been guilty of a lesser offense under Prop. 64 can petition for a recall or dismissal of sentence. The court shall grant the petition, unless it determines there is a public safety risk for doing so.

For the formerly convicted: Any person who completed a sentence for a related pot crime may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction to have the conviction dismissed and sealed because the prior conviction is now legally invalid or redesignated as a misdemeanor or infraction.

— David Downs

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Why is Donald Trump so orange? This has been one of the mysteries of the 2016 presidential campaign. The internet is full of speculation, but the consensus is that Trump is an aficionado of bad spray tans or the tanning booth. (The white goggle lines are a dead giveaway.) He hasn't always been this shade. Fifteen years ago, Trump's pallor was almost normal. But something changed about 10 years ago and the internet hasn't fully explained why. There might be a strong clue: Trump's longtime friendship with the former CEO of a tanning company.

(Mother Jones magazine)

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IT’S GOING TO BE CLOSE, but HRC Inc. — as in the Hillary Rodham Clinton machine — is going to squeak past the 270 electoral college votes needed to win Tuesday and become our next president. Clinton will win because her fellow Democrats are better organized and more disciplined at getting out the vote than Donald Trump and his supporters. It’s not going to be a pretty win. Whatever hope Clinton had of rolling into the final week on a wave of positive press vanished with FBI Director James Comey’s cryptic notification that his agents were looking into her email mess again. That ensured she would be playing defense until election day. But unlike Trump, Clinton and her supporters know that you don’t win the game by running all over the field, making five laterals to try to fool the other team. It’s about basic blocking and tackling: setting up phone banks and having a network of state and county party organizations that will call, text and knock on the door of every potential voter, until people are so sick of the attention that they fill out a ballot. And now, with the growing popularity of mail ballots and early voting, it’s about doing all that well before election day. The Democrats have gotten good at this in the past few presidential elections, and by all indications they’re doing well this year, too. Clinton isn’t the only Democrat who could benefit from the operation. The fear of a Trump win has bumped up turnout in a number of states, which could bode well for the party in US Senate contests in states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois — maybe enough of them to return the upper chamber to Democratic control. As for Trump, he’ll come out of the election with a full head of steam toward what he probably wanted all along: a refreshed reality TV career, this one in right-wing politics. — Willie Brown

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THE POT VOTE - CBS News 60 Minutes Video & Transcript OCT 30, 2016

Colorado Problems - Children Under the Influence & Organized Crime Increasing

Is California and are other states ready to handle the problems created by legalizing marijuana? "...When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, most counties chose not to allow the production or sale of it. Pueblo did, and there have been both profits and problems ever since...newborn babies testing positive for pot...brain impacts...

Steven Simerville: You need to be able to protect babies. And you’re gonna need to protect teenagers. And by “teenagers,” who are developing brains, you have to take in mind that marijuana potentially permanently affects brain growth until people are 25 or 30...Criminal organizations are coming to Colorado to grow marijuana illegally for out of state diversion. Sheriff Taylor says they had 1-2 busts a year before recreational marijuana was legalized. In the last six months, they’ve had 36..." And then there is water usage, air pollution, water pollution, and other environmental damages.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS: "A friend of mine used to go on about his blue balls, plural. My blue ball, the one you see here, is singular."


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by Manuel Vicent

(Translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

For someone enamored of success and not inclined to resign himself to his fate, it was a curse to live in a less than aristocratic neighborhood, study in elite colleges through a scholarship, and not be rich but have wealthy classmates and friends. This was the case of Francis Scott Fitzgerald, an attractive and very talented young man, doomed to ply his charm among clans whose slick offspring played polo, danced in the Country Club with rich heiresses who were a bit vain and "had a voice full of money". He would see these women get into the cream and tobacco colored convertibles of their boyfriends, their bonnets tied with ribbons of tulle around their luminous chins, in the shade of chestnut trees on the elegant Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota and perhaps in his subconscious, he resolved to hurl his life against that mirror.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born September 24, 1896 in the obscure, provincial city of Saint Paul in the state of Minnesota. His father had arrived in Saint Paul from New England as the representative of a soap company after having gone bankrupt in the wicker furniture business. His mother, whose maiden name was McQuilliam, was also the child of Irish emigrant potato-eaters, but her family had achieved a certain economic niche in the food industry and a discrete social status. The distance that separated the writer from the privileged class would need to be bridged through his charm and the sacrifice of his liver to the Pagan gods.

Four emblematic gadgets highlighted the supreme modernity of the beginning of the twentieth century: the car, the telephone, the movie theater, and the airplane. All four were destined to annihilate time and space and create an ever-receding mirage in the horizon. There, the most beautiful and the most cursed beings were ready to burn their own wings beneath the intoxicating spell of jazz. Scott Fitzgerald was among them. At that time he was a good-looking young man with a porcelain neck who was intelligent and entertaining. He wanted to write. That destiny seemed to imbue his ambition with very sweet liqueur and perhaps one night he looked up toward a star studded sky and wondered what part of it would belong exclusively to him in the future.

Enamored of his own youth, he left behind the Midwest, populated with provincials consumed by the Puritan ethic, and was admitted to Princeton University where he developed the art of being admired by his fellow students, who would end up as characters in his first novel. His name began to painstakingly earn praise in the literary supplements of the newspapers and magazines of New York.

With the first three dollars that he was paid for one of his stories, he bought a pair of thrice pleated white flannel trousers. Not long afterwards, history offered him the opportunity to realize in his own life the dream of one of his most famous characters.

He was called to military service during the First World War. While training at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he did what Jay Gatsby would do with the rich heiress, Daisy Buchanan. Decked out in his lieutenant’s uniform, he attended a dance at the Country Club in nearby Montgomery, where he met the beautiful southern belle Zelda Sayre. He danced with her and on the dance floor the couple were admired for their ethereal beauty; they seemed a symbol of an evanescent existence.

They fell in love. She too was a writer. She was as ambitious and as crazy as he was, but richer and more sophisticated. She would not surrender herself while Francis Scott Fitzgerald was merely a delightful nobody, a writer of short stories and advertisements. But one day, success came to him through his first novel, This Side of Paradise, and the whirlwind of fame also brought into his arms the coveted prize of this southern beauty.

They were married in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York and from that moment on, the dance floor of the Country Club of Montgomery took on a nebulous dimension in the minds of both in which they continued dancing wherever they found themselves, drunk or sober. The couple began a tormented aesthetic adventure filled with luxury, suitcases, and voyages after tasting success.

In order to believe they were divine every hour of the day, every day of the year, they were obliged to forever ride toward the finish line in agony. One of them had to be sacrificed on the altar of the other. Literary jealousy combined with the jealousy of a destructive passion. They were willing to drink up the world in the form of the olive in a thousand martinis and where character and talent did not carry them, alcohol would.

At that time, Paris was an imaginary realm of privileged creatures from New York and the French Riviera was a solar projection of Paris: Blue and white awnings, white hats, and women's bathing suits with the stripes of wasps, a place to sail aboard themselves with nights that never ended. Zelda was its model. She was beautiful, vain, unstable, and imaginative and she excited the fantasies of her husband and never stopped tormenting him. At the beginning of their run, they were one of those sparkling couples who, when they arrived at a party, caused admiring musicians to stop the orchestra.

They always arrived at the right place at the right moment: at the bar of the Ritz by themselves with dry martinis, in Montparnasse with Gertrude Stein or Hemingway, Ezra Pound or James Joyce; on the French Riviera on white armchairs with Murphy the millionaire in the shadow of Picasso.

While Zelda wondered what to do with her life, Scott Fitzgerald still lived to write. He was successful. He was making a lot of money. He squandered it. He burned up his life. They soon began to consume each other. They wandered around in such an alcoholic stupor that their friends began to avoid them and the ensuing paranoia induced them to destroy themselves with even more ferocity.

The two of them were their own fictional characters, but because they were so frivolous, no one but Scott Fitzgerald managed to describe with so much intensity, charm, and mastery the soap bubble that was established in the air of Paris and New York during the period between the two world wars inside of which one heard jazz everywhere, vain creatures danced, and there were huge parties from one's wildest dreams; and beyond all of this, the void.

One day the dance, which had begun on the floor of that Country Club in a city of Alabama, came to an end. Scott Fitzgerald wound up having a little blood in the alcohol that coursed through his veins. Zelda began showing unmistakable signs of schizophrenia. Before they completely destroyed one another, they separated.

The writer retreated to a cubicle in Hollywood where he wrote scripts that would never be filmed and decorated the floor of his hovel with dozens of empty Coca Cola bottles. On the 21st of December 1940, he died of a heart attack.

Zelda survived for a few more years. She was admitted to The Highland Psychiatric Hospital of Ashville. On March 10th, 1948 the establishment went up in flames and Zelda Sayre was burned to death.

Together once again in death, their epitaph reads:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

It is the last sentence of The Great Gatsby.

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If owning a gun makes you safe, then owning more than one would make you even safer, right? It's simple math. According to Gallup polls: "Slightly less than a third (31%) of gun owners have just one gun. This is the highest percentage of single-gun ownership since 1993. Among gun owners, the average number of guns owned is 4.4 per household. Among all Americans (including those who don't own guns), the average number of guns owned is 1.7." With all this rampant safety going on, one can't help but wonder why we still have so much crime.

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by Dan Bacher

Western States Petroleum Association Finishes Second In 7th Quarter CA Lobbyist Expenses

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) usually captures the top spot in the quarterly lobbying expenses listed on the California Secretary of State’s website, but Tom Steyer’s Next Generation Climate Action, a campaign committee, actually beat the oil industry trade association in spending in the seventh quarter of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session.

WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials in the seventh quarter, while Steyer’s group spent an unprecedented $7.3 million, almost 3 times the oil industry group’s expenses.

In spite of WSPA finishing second in lobbying expenditures last quarter, the California Oil Lobby remains the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $32.4 million so far. "That’s the equivalent of dropping $50,750 EVERY DAY since January 1, 2015," reported Stop Fooling California,

"$32,400,000 is enough money to get Netflix and chill for 270,000 years, buy 648 refurbished DeLoreans, Give away 81 thousand iPad airs, get 92,571 goats, see Beyonce’s Formation World Tour 11,571 times, buy 16,200 Portuguese Water Dogs and go tandem skydiving 155,024 times," the group noted.

WSPA alone has spent a total of $16,619,272 in the first seven quarters of the 2015-2016 session, the most of any lobbying organization. (

"So far this legislative session, the biggest spender is the oil industry's lobbyist, the Western States Petroleum Association," Stop Fooling California said. "And that should come as no surprise. They’ve regularly bought this honor, having single-handedly spent more than $60 million lobbying in California since the passage of AB 32."

The Western States Petroleum Association is a non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the five western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, according to the WSPA website:

Deep Regulatory Capture Exposed

In a shocking example of deep regulatory capture that state officials and many environmental NGOs don’t want to discuss, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the WSPA President, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012 as the oil industry was fracking coastal waters. She also served on the task forces to create "marine protected areas" on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012. (

While she was overseeing the creation of "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, oil spills, pollution, military testing and other human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering, her husband, James Boyd, served as vice-chair of the California Energy Commission from February 2007 to January 2012 after serving as a commission member from February 2002 to January 2007. (

“The passage of SB 32 is not a reason to celebrate,” said a disappointed Reheis-Boyd after the vote in September. “It is unfortunate it went this direction. The rushed vote was deliberately schemed in order to cover-up today’s terrible cap-and-trade auction results.”

“The lack of accountability and transparency in this sort of maneuver is embodied in SB 32. There is no accountability in providing blank check authority to a state bureaucracy. Furthermore, SB 32 puts accessible and reliable energy at risk. Today is, in fact, a setback for California’s global leadership on climate change,” she stated.

Big Oil allowed to take living marine resources in “marine protected area”

The collusion between the oil industry, state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates as a Big Oil lobbyist oversaw the creation of “marine protected areas” in Southern California was inadvertently revealed in a March 10, 2012 article in the Santa Barbara Independent.

The official language for the marine protected area in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara County, the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, reads, “Take of all living marine resources is prohibited, except for take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area … ”

“The caveat, allowing marine resources to be taken near artificial structures, exists to allow oil production representatives the ability to maintain equipment, including pipelines, located in this area,” the article by Cat Heushul stated.

I realize that the oil industry needs to maintain its equipment near “artificial structures.” However, I find it ironic and disturbing that anglers are prevented from fishing in this so-called “Yosemite of the Sea” and “underwater park” off Isla Vista while the oil industry is allowed to “take” living marine resources.

In 2014, I called Zeke Grader, the long time executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations who passed away in September 2015, about a bill sponsored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson to protect a marine protected area, the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve, from oil drilling, due to loopholes in both the California Coastal Sanctuary Act and the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. Grader, who supported the bill, pointed out how the very need for the bill "highlights what a failure the MLPA Initiative was.”

“If these are true marine protected areas, they why are we allowing drilling and other insults to the ocean in them?” asked Grader. “The whole MLPA Initiative was a phony process that provided an opportunity for Big Green and government bureaucrats to write press releases claiming these were ‘protected areas’ when in reality the fishermen and Tribes got screwed. We should have bans on oil drilling in all of the marine protected areas.”

In spite of California’s “green” image, the state is the third largest oil producer in the nation, right behind North Dakota (second) and Texas (first) – and where the regulatory apparatus has been captured by Big Oil, Big Ag and other corporate interests. For my in-depth investigation on the five ways WSPA and Big Oil have captured California politics, go to:

Tom Steyer is single biggest donor in 2016 election

Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager and founder of Next Generation Climate Action, the group topping lobbying expenses in the seventh quarter of the legislative session, describes himself as “a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.” (

Steyer is the single biggest donor in the 2016 election in the nation to date. "By the time he’s done, Steyer will have spent more than $75 million on this year’s elections – much of it on ads, starring him, to mobilize millennials for progressive causes,” reported CBS news. (

Steyer said his Next Generation Climate Action has registered almost 750,000 new California voters this year. He is also backing or opposing a number of California propositions this election.

Speaking of propositions, you can watch Consumer Watchdog’s new animated short, “Who’s Behind the Props?,” that explains the 17 ballot measures and each prop’s top financial backers in two and a half minutes.



  1. Rick Weddle November 7, 2016

    re: Fitzgerald…

    Great piece. Thanks. Never having read Fitzgerald or wanted to, I’d ‘felt’ this stuff through other reading. The reference to ‘burning their own wings’ is too damned relevant, isn’t it? And Steinbeck’s saying the socialist revolution in America was ‘bought off’ because many of even the poorest of North Americans entertain the fantasy that they are merely temporarily embarrassed billionaires.

    I’d add that their trying to ACT like Mostly-Rich folks might have dire consequences, much beyond scorching their own personal appendages. Try, for 150 years or so, picking among swine you know to be lying, swindling, cannibal-dogs, as if you ‘believe’ one of them, then throw money at them to handle difficult problems while you turn your back like you did your patriotic part in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave… PRESTO!: Modern America!

    • LouisBedrock November 7, 2016

      Thank you Rick.
      Somedays everything seems like a rerun of “The Gilded Age”.
      THE GREAT GATSBY is worth a few hours of your time.
      The book is wonderful.
      And yes, that last sentence is wonderful:

      “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

  2. Rick Weddle November 7, 2016

    I’m on it, then. It seems whenever I’ve heard of Fitzgerald and Zelda it’s usually been when the whiff of something burning was not something for which I had much tolerance remaining. You know, if you’ve already used up all your second chances and a lot of others’, visiting Fitzgerald’s intercontinental binge would be too much like looking at one’s reflection. I’ve been a Dry White Wino long enough now I could likely wade through Gatsby. And thanks, again.

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