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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016

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They say everything seems to come in threes, and while that's not usually the case for earthquakes, it's exactly what happened shortly after midnight Pacific time today as two 5.7 earthquakes and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake rumbled through the Sierra Nevada, waking people up as far away as Sacramento, Reno, Tahoe, Las Vegas, and even several reports from San Francisco.

"My wife woke me up after the first one. It was about 100 miles away and she felt it," Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno said about his early wake up. "And then I was downstairs working."

"If this earthquake had been in the Reno area, it would have probably been like the Napa event, with possibly a billion dollars in damage," Kent said. "When it starts getting that big, if it's underneath a city or a town, it's a bad situation."

"I think we dodged the bullet on this one so far."

So far, there are no reports of major damage, although Bodie State Historic Park in far eastern California will remain closed through the week to inspect the ghost town for damage before tourists were allowed to wander the streets.

"We haven't had an earthquake that's affected it like this," said Sierra District Chief Ranger Matt Green about his last decade or so at the park. "It was definitely one of the stronger ones we've felt, and there was some damage from it."

"We're still in the middle of the assessment," Green said, but he reports many buildings had minor damage, with items falling of shelves, but the bigger concern is the brickwork on facades and brick walls, especially on the upper stories. Roof damage was also found, and broken glass will be replaced with "period" panes, to keep the buildings in "a state of arrested decay."

It's likely the park will still face some shaking in the coming days.

Seismologists say unlike other seismologically active areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada is prone to these massive swarms of earthquakes, and Kent knows the shaking is far from over.

Recent quake swarms have been confined to magnitude 4s and 5s, but back in the 1950s, quake swarms with big shakers in the 6.5 and even a 7.1 magnitude shook Nevada. Kent says today's swarm fits in the middle.

"If you have a big earthquake like a 5 and above, we have a 25 to 40 percent chance of having another larger earthquake in a short period of time. That's not what you'll see throughout the world," Kent said. "This is its own system here."

"These faults seem to synchronize. Once one goes, they all go, and then [following that] there's a wider period of inactivity."

Basically, it's quiet, then busy, then quiet, and Nevada can be lulled into a sense of seismic security.

"You need to be able to withstand not only one earthquake and its aftershocks, but potentially multiple earthquakes and their aftershocks."

If you live in earthquake country, Kent reminds everyone to have a family meeting place other than your home, food and water for 3-5 days, and any medications on hand.

(The San Francisco Chronicle)

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POTTER VALLEY RESIDENT POLLY FRANKLIN and her family appeared before the Regional Water Quality Control Board in Santa Rosa on Thursday, December 15th to appeal the exorbitant fines imposed on them in the aftermath of a water bladder accident on their Potter Valley property.

THE STORAGE BLADDER burst back in 2013, spilling about 50,000 gallons of clean spring water and some incidental riparian debris down an embankment and into a tributary of the Eel River.

MRS. FRANKLIN'S son reported the incident and the famous cliché that “no good deed goes unpunished” took over the family's lives.

THE NORTH COAST Water Quality Control Board’s “enforcement team” discovered an abandoned pot grow unrelated to the spill and, exaggerating the effects of the clean water spill, fined the Franklins $381,000. That's three hundred eighty-one thousand dollars.

THE FRANKLINS were forced to the additional expense of a defense attorney but fully expected that the Water Board would rubberstamp staff's “recommendation” to essentially bankrupt them and ruin their lives.

WHICH IS NOT EXACTLY as matters turned out: “I was actually impressed by the members of the North Coast Water Quality Control Board,” said Ms. Franklin on Wednesday. “They had serious questions for their enforcement team. I don't think they were particularly on our side, but they asked questions like, ‘Out of something like 31,000 marijuana growers out there in this region, why did you choose to prosecute this one?’ And of course the answer is because we reported the problem. One board member asked how many fish were killed when they made this big fuss about turbidity in the Creek. And the answer, of course, was none.”

(THE WINE INDUSTRY in the Russian River watershed alone kills thousands of endangered fish every year to the yawning unconcern of the Regional Water Board.)

MRS. FRANKLIN said the Board didn’t get much into the question of the apparent accidental breakage or leak in the water bladder. “But it was not overfilled. That was completely ruled out. The water board enforcement team misrepresented things and outright made things up. And we refuted them all. They claimed the tank was overfilled because of some strange calculation about how much water would have been collected in the drainage area behind the tank. That’s absurd. I think the board members understood that the enforcement team was exaggerating and misrepresenting.”

AFTER A HEARING that went on much longer than anyone expected, the Board went into chambers and came out with a ruling that the Franklins would be fined almost $38,000, 10% of the original number, but still quite a lot. “Of course we don't have that,” said Ms. Franklin. “We've spent over $15,000 on lawyers since we started this. And several more thousands for forester Estelle Clifton do a report on the watercourse and what really happened there showing there was no long term damage at all. So it's just a huge amount of money and we have no way to pay it. We have the alternative to take them to court but that would just cost more money to appeal the decision and we would have to spend thousands more on lawyers and probably lose again.

“BUT STILL, I was impressed with the board members themselves. They took their jobs very seriously. And they are seriously questioning the way their enforcement team works. That team is out of control. Punishing a person or reporting a problem? That sets a very bad precedent. One board member actually brought that up. And another Board member asked if the enforcement team really intended to take everything this family has for this accident? ‘Don't we have a provision for accidents?,’ he asked. And the answer was no there is no provision for handling accidents such as a get out of jail free card or a decreased fine.

"OVERALL THOUGH I think the water board members are actually decent, sensible people. It's the enforcement team that's the problem. We were just low hanging fruit who just happened to wander into their grasp. Every year they let thousands of pot growers go who do real damage to the watershed — and they punished us? I guess they think it might be dangerous for them to actually go out and try to catch the bad people.”

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I THINK a ban on marijuana production on rangeland absolutely necessary, unless you happen to think what has happened to Southern Humboldt County is a good thing — large-scale guerrilla grows everywhere in the hills, year-round dump trucks of imported soil, chemical run-off, trash everywhere, packs of wild dogs (and people) running wild, a sucking up of what's left of the County's feeder streams, all out assaults on wildlife…

THE WAY it's headed, only the wealthy will be able to license their "pharmas," while large parcels are broken up and raffled off to whoever, and bye-bye any resemblance to what was rural Mendocino County as we knew it and presumably preferred it with its large untamed tracts. The plans for serial large-scale grows on Stuart Bewley's Adanac Ranch, and whatever industrial pot fantasies Swami WanchaCash has in mind for the North County must be resisted. Frankly, I find it hard to believe we're even having a discussion of opening up rangeland to marijuana production.

BOONVILLE'S BELOVED NEWSPAPER said a long time ago, and repeatedly ever since, that every step towards legalization is to the advantage of large-scale hustlers with the capital to grow marijuana in places it shouldn't be grown. The mom and pop growers of yesteryear are going to be driven out of the business. Say what you will about them, at least they were modest, not any greedier than the legit businessperson. The rangeland proposal will cause wild disproportion.

SPEAKING OF MODEST proportions, I've asked Supervisor McCowen for his opinion. Take it away, John:

"The proposed ban on new cultivation in the RL Zoning District (rangeland) is recommended as an environmental mitigation by the consultants who prepared the Initial Study and Environmental Checklist for the draft cannabis cultivation ordinance. The consultants concluded that allowing new permits in RL could incentivize subdivision of rangelands with no additional CEQA review. The recommended ban on new permits is intended to keep rangeland from being split up. The resource agencies and environmental groups, including the Willits Environmental Center, see this as a key mitigation that helps protect various habitat types, especially oak woodlands.

"Under the current draft ordinance, existing cultivation in RL can remain at the cottage level (2,500 square feet) if they comply with the required setbacks and conditions. They may increase to 5,000 square feet with a minimum parcel size of 5 acres or 10,000 square feet with a minimum parcel size of 10 acres. Most of the environmental impacts from existing cultivation sites have already occurred and will only be improved by inspections and conditions that are required as part of the permit process. The impacts of expanding existing sites is also minor compared to putting in new roads and other infrastructure for new cultivation sites.

"The current draft would have allowed new cultivation sites in RL beginning in 2020 but only with the additional requirement of a watershed assessment that shows there is sufficient water to support additional cannabis cultivation and supply all other existing uses in the watershed, including in-stream flow requirements. This is a very stringent requirement that goes far beyond a site specific water availability analysis which could be satisfied by simply showing individual water rights or sources sufficient to support the planned cultivation. Under this condition, a site with abundant water that is located in an impaired watershed could be denied a permit because the watershed as a whole was already being overdrawn. But watershed assessments will not prevent subdivision of rangeland. They may even encourage it if there is enough water to support additional cultivation.

"The mitigation proposed by the consultants would simply take rangeland (approximately 700,000 acres) off the table. The Planning Commission has yet to make formal recommendations, but based on the discussion so far it looks like a majority is willing to support the ban on new cultivation sites in rangeland despite arguments to the contrary. The current draft ordinance already bans any new cultivation sites in FL (forestland) or TPZ (Timber Production Zone). New cultivation permits would be allowed beginning in 2020 on land zoned RR (Rural Residential) or UL (Upland Residential) but only with a watershed assessment. New cultivation permits could be applied for on land zoned AG (Agricultural), also beginning in 2020, but without a watershed assessment.

"An unintended consequence of banning new permits in RL, FL and TPZ, plus the requirement for a watershed assessment in RR and UL, will be to put increased pressure on land zoned AG which could result in increased land prices. One argument is that this will make it more difficult for farmers just starting out who will have a harder time buying or leasing agricultural land. Others argue that income from cannabis can help make a small farm viable.

"Allowing new cultivation permits in rangeland might take some of the pressure off ag land, but would increase the environmental impacts and make the ordinance more vulnerable to a lawsuit. My take away from the Planning Commission hearings so far is that nearly all of the comments by the public and the Commissioners have validity and it is very challenging to balance all of the competing interests and impacts."

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199? - December 9, 2016


by Janie Sheppard

In my mind’s eye, I see Jerry running along the fence line, snapping at the tolerant Malamute neighbor. An incongruous pair, Jerry is a 12-pound short-legged Jack Russell with a coat somewhere between broken and smooth. A geometric dog, his coloring is white with a big light brown circle on his back. Perky, mostly light brown ears. A two-inch tail wags in delight. A fierce yap.

Bill announced in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want “one of those short-legged Jack Russells.” A pushover, he was seduced by big brown eyes on a bouncing body asking Bill to throw a ball. He nodded his head yes - like when I asked “so, we’re adopting him?”

He came to us from the Humane Society In 2006. How old is he, I asked? “Five years,” came the reply. Disbelief on the faces of the other staffers. No doubt he was older than that, but so what? Heidi, by then a 2.5 year old Jack Russell, needed a playmate.

It was a rocky beginning. Jerry bit Bill when he tried to take away a bone. Sparks flew. He didn’t trust people. Gradually we learned not to pick him up. He was much better if we left him on the ground and lowered our creaky bones to tend his needs. When he held up a paw, we learned that he had a burr. Bill became an expert at finding and pulling them out.

Then there was the matter of rattlesnakes. Another family Jack Russell had died when a rattlesnake bit the inside of her mouth. Rattlesnake aversion training could prevent another tragedy. Jerry, Heidi, and Bill went to rattlesnake school. The trainer ignored warnings about picking up Jerry, and relying on his many years of handling dogs, thought Jerry would be no different. Result: trainer with a bloody hand.

A rough patch in life could do that to a dog. What sort of rough patch, we wondered? We filled in the few facts to tell the story: Jerry and Max (adopted the day before Jerry) lived with an old lady, who died. That much was true. Old lady’s son took over the two dogs, putting them in cages, which Jerry chewed, wearing down his teeth which were not very good anyway. Bad diet, we speculated. Home-cooked dog food couldn’t bring back the teeth but he soon had a thick, winter proof coat that thinned itself by shedding all over everything.

Old lady carried him around, perhaps in a wheelchair. I became the replacement old lady as we learned from Jerry’s tolerating my picking him up and carting him around.

He had never walked on grass. When we first walked him along the river I sensed that he was determined to imitate Heidi, gamely following her lead as we traipsed through the tall grass. If this is what we do, I’m game, he seemed to be signaling. Whatever; bring it on.

Retrieving balls remained his greatest pleasure. No matter what else life had dealt him, there was always a ball. Basketballs, slightly deflated were the best. For a while, two young boys on the corner would throw the basketball down their hill and he would push it back up, again and again. While Bill and I chatted with the parents, the boys and Jerry would play this game until Jerry was so tired that I would pick him up and carry him home. The boys grew up; Jerry grew old.

We nicknamed him “Jerry Vet Bill Radtkey” as the vet bills mounted. We could see that his teeth hurt him when he hid under Bill’s desk. His teeth needed pulling and gluing. After a couple years, his remaining teeth were the ones that were glued in.

Several years ago, he lost an eye, probably due to catching a splinter as the weed wacker sent some splinters flying. More vet bills as the vets tried to save the eye. It hurt. It had to come out. A friend called him “Pirate.” No matter.

Then we noticed that he had become deaf, likely the result of his ears catching too many burrs as he ran through the grass. He learned hand signals; we only had to remember to give them on his right side. When Heidi growled at him, so what? He was impervious to her complaints.

But then we realized his remaining eye was going blind. Cataracts. Jerry went to the Santa Rosa eye doctor, with whom he established a strong rapport, allowing both the nurse and the doctor to examine him, even on the examining table. The operation appeared successful, but an infection set in. If not for Bill’s expert administration of antibiotics and drops, Jerry would have become totally blind. For several months Jerry gamely wore a cone and for the rest of his life submitted to drops twice a day for which he was rewarded with special hotdogs. His eye sight restored, he became a trusting little dog.

He kept up. Determined to show he could do it--whatever it was--just like the bigger dogs. He would walk just as far, catch voles and gophers with ease, police the yard for intruders.

Head of household, cruise director, boss, choreographer. We did as he directed: get up, go out, come in, dole out treats, have breakfast, mete out pills, offer hotdog treats, walk in the neighborhood. Peanut butter the preferred lunch, accompanied by cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine, split to his liking.

No neighborhood dog was too big to challenge. A pit bull, no problem. Once, he dove off the back of our old Explorer to pick a fight with a Doberman. Only the quick instincts and expertise of dog trainer Sallie Palmer saved him when she reached down to retrieve him from a group of dogs assembling for a walk on the dam.

On Saturday morning walks along Robinson Creek, he couldn’t resist trying to take a bite out of a big black Lab. We worked out our walking behind, just out of reach of the lab’s hind legs.

Another Lab, Hank, and Jerry improvised a game when we walked by a stream on a cold day in Jackson State Park. Hank’s person threw a ball, Hank or Jerry would catch it, then toss it in the water for the other to retrieve. Shivering, Jerry finally had to be wrapped in a fleece vest--but only until his little body came up to temperature. Squirming out of my arms, he was back in the water.

As he declined we adjusted. Sometimes, he got Bill up in the middle of the night. Or, after going down our hill, he would realize he really wasn’t up for a walk. Standing at the gate, we would watch his little body silhouetted on the ridge as he trotted home. We propped the front door open so he could let himself in. But sometimes, he walked down to the river and back without complaining. Good days, bad days.

His siblings would steal his meals absent an eagle-eyed guard. Spoon feeding, or feeding morsels by hand, we would mostly get him to eat, then he would curl up by the fire, occasionally getting up to wander a bit before settling down again.

A series of strokes brought him down. Jerry, deaf, blind, disoriented, and whimpering, Bill conferred with Dr. Burns. I met them at the hospital. Bill, Dr. Burns and I held him, soothed him into sedation and then into oblivion. He could feel our sobbing. We lost the scrappy little dog who ran our lives for 10 years.

(r) Jerry with me as his last old lady. (l) Jerry waiting for Isaac to throw the ball.

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by John King

Full disclosure: I’ve never stayed at Sea Ranch. But like anyone interested in design and steeped in Northern California lore, I know how it influenced everything from the architecture of individual buildings to the landscape values of our coast.

The question now, 51 years since the first buildings went up, is whether the 10-mile stretch of Sonoma County shoreline still influences what might come next. Or if it should be viewed as a piece of history, though history of the most scenic sort.

This either-or is prompted by two very different tributes to the 5,200-acre settlement dotted with 1,800 houses, perhaps a third of them occupied year-round, and a handful of commercial and community buildings.

One tribute is in Washington, D.C., where the National Building Museum is hosting “The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin,” an exhibition organized by the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Halprin, a Bay Area treasure who died in 2009, was hired by developer Alfred Boeke in 1963 to craft the master plan for the former sheep ranch along Highway 1. The exhibition runs through April and highlights Sea Ranch as an example of Halprin’s role as a pioneer of large-scale environmental design.

The other is “The Sea Ranch Songs” by Kronos Quartet, commissioned by Sea Ranch residents as part of the Sea Ranch Association’s 50th anniversary celebrations and composed by Aleksandra Vrebalov.’

“It felt very, very natural to think about how we might celebrate the community,” said violinist David Harrington, one of the founders of the avant-garde string quartet. “It has always seemed like a very successful marriage of development and the environment, with a beautiful respect for the land and the place.”

Some songs stand on their own as musical pieces, such as “Creatures” with its propulsive rhythms supposedly based on everything at Sea Ranch that doesn’t come with mortgage payments or property taxes. Most, though, are laced with sounds and oral fragments that can’t be separated from their source.

“Numbers” laces prickly strings behind resident Mike Lane’s brisk reading of such statistical minutiae as the longitude and latitude of various local landmarks. In “Ideas: Condominium One,” Kronos’ spare lines emerge as architect Donlyn Lyndon talks about the origins of the first Sea Ranch building to attract national attention.

Lyndon and his wife Alice Wingwall live at the Sea Ranch for much of the year.

“There was some resistance: ‘Who are they? What kind of music is that?’,” admitted Lyndon, who has designed “eight or nine houses” since Condominium One and its 10 interconnected units put the firm of Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, Whitaker on the map in 1965. “The argument that carried the day was that the 50th anniversary couldn’t be all about looking back to the beginning, but also toward the future. And who better to do that musically than Kronos?”

Verbalov’s song cycle was performed three times last year at the Knipp-Stengel barn, an 1880 structure restored as a community gathering place. The quartet released a studio recording of the work this September, with an accompanying DVD that includes imagery and animation by Andrew Lyndon.

Donlyn Lyndon remains dedicated to the initial notion of Halprin to “live lightly on the land” — or “with the land,” as Lyndon would prefer.

“There remain a number of us passionately committed to what the place is about,” said Lyndon. He chairs the Sea Ranch Commons Landscape Committee, which tends to the rugged weave of natural and crafted terrains. “There’s an extraordinary range of experiences here. It’s not just a place to sit and look at the ocean.”

That’s obvious even to those of us whose encounters are casual: driving through at a relaxed pace, glimpsing the wood houses with their sloped roofs and weathered walls amid clusters of trees and the wind-muffling hedgerows that Halprin played up in his plans. Or navigating the trails along the coast that feel both choreographed and timeless.

What you don’t encounter is the long-ago sense of surprise.

Sea Ranch attracted attention in the 1960s as a place of innovation, environmental planning with a distinct California bent. Houses continue to be added, a dozen or more each year. At this point, though, it’s less a trend-setter than the embodiment of a particular sensibility in our past.

“From my standpoint, Sea Ranch is a point in time,” suggested architect George Homsey, who is stepping down from the property owners association’s design review committee after 15 years. In the 1960s, as part of the firm now known as EHDD, he took part in the creation of Joseph Esherick’s renowned Hedgerow Houses. “Larry (Halprin) and Al Boeke and a whole bunch of people were really caught up in that beautiful landscape.”

The place still casts a spell — but as a landscape being maintained, not reimagined.

And that’s OK.

At its core, the triumph of Sea Ranch is that setting and structures were conceived as something integral, interlocked, with a balance to be preserved even as building sites filled in. The environment was something to be enhanced, not simply fenced off or filled in.

For many people today, this might translate to nothing more than a spot for a thunderously romantic or relaxing getaway. Yet the fact that Sea Ranch survives, with its message carried forward on gallery walls and in musical forms as well as the actual place, leaves open the chance that it can spark the inspiration for other triumphs yet to come.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 28, 2016

Espinoza, Garman, Hunter


COREY GARMAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

KYLE HUNTER, Willits. County parole violation.

Jennings, Martinson, Suzenski, White

TRAVIS JENNINGS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BRIAN MARTINSON, Willits. Reckless driving.

JASON SUZENSKI, Willits. Entry into dwelling without consent, criminal threats.

TIFFANY WHITE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, false info to cop, probation revocation.

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My Dad had a lot of tattoos. His Dad signed for him to join the US Navy where he became a teenage Tin Can sailor who found a tattoo shop in every port. I never really understood why he had tattoos, but I didn’t come along until he was in his 30s. All I ever knew was that he hated his tattoos from the day he qualified for Officer’s Candidate School and had some tats removed from his hands before he became a commissioned officer. He never talked much about his tattoos or rather how regrettable they were. In the late 80s there was a fad of fake tattoo stands and I found a really cute flying heart fake tattoo less than an inch in diameter I had placed on the back of my right shoulder. Our family had a big party for my Dad and everything was going great until he saw my fake tattoo. He cussed like a sailor and left the party.

One reason I stayed in Fort Bragg is my family connected here in many ways I never expected. One connection happened at Triangle Tattoo and Museum, which I highly recommend as it is very educational and entertaining with pictures and artifacts of tattooed peoples, their groups (Tribes), military, entertainment, occult, fads. It’s amazing to see; And that’s what we did — Dad, Mom and me made our way slowly up the steep stairs where hundreds of pictures are like wall paper above the wainscoting. Once at the top my Dad was pointing out something on a picture when Madam Chinchilla entered and stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes widened as she peered into my Dad’s forearm where she had caught a glimpse of a tattoo saying, “Where did you get that?”

The intensity between Dad and Madam Chinchilla was immediate, something neither my Mom nor I had seen before, as we had seen plenty of women flirt with our officer and gentleman (who hid his tattoos), but this was something quite new, and as far as my Mom was concerned not improved. She turned to me and said loudly, “He’s always ashamed of his tattoos and now he’s showing them off.” Madam Chinchilla and my Dad were in deep conversation. She ran to get a camera and paper while he took his shirt off suddenly proud of his ink. My Mom threatened to get a butterfly tattoo on her foot. He didn’t care. He had met someone who really understood him and even better wanted to understand him or rather that kid who collected protection tattoos all over Asia.

Madam Chinchilla recorded and photographed Dad. Through their connection museums from all over the world called to ask if he was willing to be a living museum artifact. Triangle Tattoo and Museum are internationally renown for protection tattoos. His photograph now hangs among the many tattooed peoples upon the walls of Triangle Tattoo and Museum, a special place you might enjoy and where you can see my Dad.

— B.B. Grace

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Jeff Costello

Replies to "The Beard Craze…"

Jesse B: This is the worst article ever, is this man simply jealous? Can he not grow a beard of his own, or does he just need something to bitch about? Comparing grown men who choose to let their body do what it does best to the worst criminals in the world is awful.

Bob Milnover: Excellent article. Says it all in a few paragraphs. I’ve had a long beard for a few months..I looked like one of my hillbilly or Amish neighbors. Took it off, women said it was a great improvement. The beard soon pretends to be the face and is good for covering up an ugly face, so can actually make a few men appear better, even though most men with a full one look like a clone and a jihadist. The doorknocker beards are also one of the worst. I see one and think, there goes an insecure person who wants to appear more “tough” and “manly.” Like the military and cop types with their monkey haircuts. LOL. Check out the Reddit discussion on beards. Especially Cowboy Law’s comments and psychology. He nails it.

* * *

If I were making a resume or some such regarding my journalism creds I would put those two comments on it.

Interesting, these two responses. The fact remains that since the muslim thing has had so much play post 9/11, and we are constantly reminded of “terrorists” whose religion requires men to have beards, it is odd, is it not, that so many younger American men are now sporting beards, and long ones at that. It is my personal opinion that a twenty-something guy with a beard halfway down his chest working the register at the big box store seems like he has something to prove - and looks absurd.

For anyone born after 1968 or so, I'll rehash an occasional ongoing theme in hopes of some clarification. In the 50's and early 60's, there was an unwritten but rigidly followed rule in the U.S. that men were "required" to have short haircuts. As a kid I went to the barber and was given a "regular boy" haircut. Most grown men had the same: clipped short and above all no hair below the top of the ear. Elvis Presley caused a sensation with his "greaser" hairstyle and sideburns. But still nothing over the ears.

On February 9, 1964, everything changed. The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show. They caused a sensation with not only their songs, but with their lookalike haircuts. They "needed haircuts" according to American standards. And the haircuts were weird, based historically on the "pudding basin" style, from the practice of English parents putting a bowl on a boy's head and cutting off all the hair below the rim. And there was hair hanging over the tops of their ears. For me and many others, this was a huge revelation. Was it possible that we could skip the barber shop? I did. From there came the hippie/60's thing. The first freedom of the 60's was the hair and the rest of course is history and argument. By the late 60's it was like a contest to see who could have the longest hair, and then the weirdest. A band called the Wild Things played clubs around the northeast, four or five guys with green hair piled eight or nine inches high on top and past their shoulders in back. So it went. The 50's regular haircut was gone except in the military and business world, or anywhere men were afraid of being "different." That's all out the window now, and has been for a while. You know anything goes when the guy with the long ponytail is more likely to be a Trump voting gun-totin' cowboy with a monster pickup truck than any kind of hippie. We've got a dying dog here, and until professional euthanasia is affordable, I go to the local pot store and get "honey oil" to keep him mostly sedated. No hippies there. The employee who got me the stuff yesterday was a millennial with a short, well-trimmed beard, and perhaps due to his personal use of "product," had a slap-happy over-positive demeanor and talked way too much. Yak, yak, yak. Pot is still new to him, as it was to me in 1966 when smoking it made me laughing-silly, pick apart all the instrument tracks in a Beatles record, and crave junk food.

But the pot store clientele was, sartorially speaking, a cross-section of working-class and seemingly retired men. Women work there but no female customers that I could see. The dominant hairstyle, common in Denver, was shaved bald with a beard. Some older men were still sporting the 50's "regular" haircut. Nothing to learn here except a sampling of people who no doubt are the consumers of marijuana in states where it's still illegal.

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by Conn Hallinan

Each year Dispatches From the Edge gives awards to individuals, companies and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2016.

The Golden Lemon Award had a number of strong contenders in 2016, including:

+ General Atomics for its MQ-9 Reaper armed drone, which has a faulty starter-generator that routinely shorts out the aircraft. So far, no one can figure out why. Some 20 were either destroyed or sustained major damage last year. The Reapers costs $64 million apiece.

+ Panavia Aircraft Company’s $25 billion Tornado fighter-bomber that can’t fly at night because the cockpit lights blind the pilot. A runner up here is the German arms company Heckler & Koch, whose G-36 assault rifle can’t shoot straight when the weather is hot.

+ The British company BAE’s $1.26 billion Type 45 destroyer that breaks down “whenever we try to do too much with them,” a Royal Navy officer told the Financial Times. Engaging in combat, he said, would be “catastrophic.”

But the hands down winner is Lockheed Martin, builder of the F-35 Lightning stealth fighter. At a cost of $1.5 trillion it is the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history. Aside from numeroussoftware problems, pilots who try to bail out risk decapitation. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation recently released an assessment of the F-35’s performance that states, “In an opposed combat scenario,” the “aircraft would need to avoid threat engagement and would require augmentation by other friendly forces.” Translation: “If the bad guys show up, run for your life and pray your buddies arrive to bail you out of trouble.”

Lockheed Martin also gets an Honorable Mention for its $4.4 billion littoral combat ship, the USS Zumwalt, which had to be towed out of the Panama Canal. The ship also leaks, as do other sister littoral combat ships, including the USS Freedom.

Note: U.S. students are currently $1.3 trillion in debt.

The Dr. Frankenstein Award to the U.S. Air Force for zapping the brains of drone operators with electricity in order to improve their focus. The electrical stimulation was started after scientists discovered that feeding the pilots Provigil and Ritalin was a bad idea, because both drugs are highly addictive and Provigil can permanently damage sleep patterns. Nika Knight of Common Dreams reports that “European researchers who studied the brain-zapping technique years ago warned that the technology is, in fact, extremely invasive, as its effects tend to ‘spread from the target brain area to neighboring areas.’”

The Golden Jackal Award goes to United Kingdom oil companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell for their lobbying campaign following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Executives of the companies met with UK Trade Minister Baroness Elizabeth Symons five months before the U.S. attack to complain that the Americans were cutting them out of the post-war loot.

According to Parliament’s 2016 Chilcot Report on the Iraq War, Symons then met with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to tell him it was a “matter of urgency,” and that “British interests are being left to one side.” Straw dutifully told Blair to raise the issue “very forcefully” with President George W. Bush, because U.S. companies are “ruthless” and “will not help UK companies unless you play hardball with Bush.”

Runner up in this category is the Washington Post, which won a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service journalism for publishing Edward Snowden’s revelations about illegal U.S. wiretapping and then called for the whistleblower to be charged with espionage. Glenn Greenwald — who met with Snowden and wrote stories about the scandal for The Guardian — said “The Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in US media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own source…. That is warped beyond anything that can be described.”

The Thin Skin Award is a five-way tie among the governments of Spain, India, Israel, Turkey and Thailand:

+ Spain - Under Spain’s 2015 public security law—nicknamed the “gag rule” — police are trying to fine a woman for carrying a bag on which was written “All Cats Are Beautiful.” The police say that the writing and color of the bag is “traditionally associated with insults to the police” and that the four capital letters really mean “All Cops Are Bastards.”

+ India: The rightwing government of Narendra Modi is proposing a law that would make it illegal to publish any map indicating that Kashmir is disputed territory divided between India and Pakistan. Currently such maps are censored by either preventing the publication’s distribution or covering the maps with black stickers. The new law would fine violators $15 million and jail them for up to seven years.

+ Israel: The Ministry of Education has removed a novel—“Borderlife” by Dorit Rabinyan about a romance between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian man—from the list of required reading for Hebrew high schools literature classes. Education official Dalia Fenig says, “Marrying a non-Jew is not what the education system is educating about.”

+ Turkey: In the aftermath of July’s failed coup, novelist and journalist Ahmet Alten, and his brother Mehmet, a professor of economics, were arrested for “colluding with the military” even though both men are known to be sharp critics of the Turkish armed forces. The prosecutor had no evidence against the men, but charged them with giving “subliminal” and “subconscious” messages backing the coup during a TV talk show. The authorities also closed down the Smurfs, Maya the Bee, and SpongeBob SquarePants, because the cartoon characters were speaking Kurdish on Zarok TV, a station that does programming in the Kurdish language. According to Al-Monitor, “Many social media users went into lampoon mode, asking, “Who is the separatist: SpongeBob or Papa Smurf?”

+ Thailand: Patnaree Chankij, a 40-year old maid, is to be tried by a military court for breaking the country’s lèse-majesté’ law that makes it a crime to insult the royal family or their pets. She replied “ja” (“yeah”) to a private post sent to her on Facebook. She did not agree with the post, comment on it, or make it public. One man is currently serving a 30-year sentence for posting material critical of the Thai royal family. Following the military coup two years ago, the authorities have filed 57 such cases, 44 of them for online commentary. One person was arrested for insulting the king’s dog.

The Cultural Sensitivity Award goes to Denmark, France, and Latvia.

The center-right Danish government, which relies on the racist Danish People’s Party to stay in government, passed a law that confiscates valuables, including jewels and cash, from refugees. Immigrants can only keep up to $1,455. The Danish town of Randers also required pork to be used in all public day care centers and kindergartens in what the Socialist People’s Party (SPP) charges is aimed at Muslims. “What do children need? Do they need pork? Actually not,” said Charlotte Molbaek, a Randers Town Council member from the SPP. “Children need grownups.”

Several French towns run by rightwing mayors have removed alternatives — like fish or chicken — from school menus when pork is served. On those days Muslim and Jewish children eat vegetables.

The rightwing government of Latvia is banning the wearing of full veils, in spite of that fact that, at last count, there were three such women in the whole country. Former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga told the New York Times, “Anybody could be under a veil or under a burqa. You could carry a rocket launcher under your veil.”

A runner up in this category is former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who, during a speech in Kiev, said that Ukrainians should stop complaining about the economic crisis that has gripped the country since the 2014 coup that overthrew President Viktor Yanukovych. “Anyone who believes that life is bad in Ukraine should go to Liberia, where the standard of living is much lower, and then you will be thankful.”

The Head In The Sand Award to British Prime Minister Theresa May for closing down the government’s program to study climate change. A co-winner is the conservative government of Australia that laid off 275 scientists from its climate change program. Some were rehired after an international petition campaign, however, the leading international researcher on sea levels, John Church was let go permanently.

In the meantime, the U.S. Air Force is spending $1 billion to build a radar installation in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Atoll is halfway between Australia and Hawaii and is only a few feet above sea level. It is estimated that sea levels will rise at least six feet by 2100, but the increase is moving far faster than scientists predicted. “The future does not look very good for those islands,” says Curt Storlazzi, and oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Service.

The Little Bo Peep Award to the U.S. Defense Department for being unable to account for $6.5 trillion in spending. Yes, that is a “T.” According to Mandy Smithberger, director of Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight, “Accounting at the Department of Defense is a disaster, but nobody is screaming about it because you have a lot of people in Congress who believe in more military spending.”

According to UK watchdog group Action on Armed Violence, the Pentagon also can’t account for 1.4 million guns shipped to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The CIA won some laurels in this category as well. According to an investigation by Al Jazeera and the New York Times, Jordanian intelligence operatives stole millions of dollars in U.S. weapons bound for Syria. Some of the guns were used to kill Americans at a police training school in Amman.

The Annie Oakley Award to the American firearms manufacturers and the National Rife Association (NRA) for their campaign to arm kids. The guns for tots are lighter than regular firearms and have less recoil. They are also made in “kid-friendly” colors, like pink.

Iowa recently passed legislation making it legal for any minor to own a pistol. According to state Representative Kirsten Running–Marquardt, the law “allows for one-year olds, two-year olds, three-year olds, four-year olds to operate handguns,” adding, “We do not need a militia of toddlers.”

The Violence Policy Center reports, “As household gun ownership has steadily declined and the primary gun market of white males continues to age, the firearms industry has set its sights on America’s children. Much like the tobacco industry’s search for replacement smokers, the gun industry is seeking replacement shooters.”

If your two-year old is packing and really wants that Star Wars droid, Dispatches recommends you buy it.

(Conn Hallinan can be read at Courtesy,

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by Dan Bacher

While many mainstream media outlets have fawningly depicted Governor Jerry Brown as “the Resistance” to incoming President Donald Trump, an appointment of a Big Oil-friendly regulator to the California Public Utilities Commission today appears to further taint the Governor’s already controversial environmental legacy.

Governor Jerry Brown today appointed two Brown administration staffers, Clifford Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves, to the scandal-ridden California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). They will replace Catherine Sandoval and Michael Florio, whose six-year terms expire on January 1, 2017.

The Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog condemned Brown’s appointment of Rechtschaffen as “stacking the CPUC with a confidant who did wet work in firing tough oil well regulators” in California. The consumer group also criticized the appointments for giving “Brown power for the next two years over the PUC, even though he will leave office in two.”

The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. CPUC Commissioners serve six-year terms, require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,095 by statute.

In a statement, the Governor praised the qualifications of Rechtschaffen and Guzman Aceves for the CPUC positions.

"Cliff’s experience as a lawyer, teacher and specialist in environmental and energy matters equips him to do an outstanding job on the Commission,” said Governor Brown. “Martha has the experience, know-how and insight to well serve the people of California at the Public Utilities Commission. Both have sound judgment and a commitment to protecting ratepayers and ensuring safe, reliable and climate-friendly energy in California."

Consumer Watchdog opposes Brown’s appointment of Rechtschaeffen to the Public Utilities Commission, criticizing Rechtschaeffen's role “in carrying out the demands of the oil industry in the firing of two tough wellhead regulators at the Department of Conservation and Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) in 2011.”

The group said legal declarations show Rechtschaeffen fired Conservation Acting Director Derek Chernow and DOGGR head Elena Miller when the two refused to weaken oil drilling standards that protect drinking and irrigation supplies at the request of Occidental Petroleum. The oil company subsequently contributed $500,000 to Brown’s Proposition 30 campaign.

Liane Randolph, a former Chevron lawyer and another Brown CPUC appointee, was also involved in the firing when she served as Brown’s appointee to the Natural Resources Agency, according to Consumer Watchdog.

You can read more about Rechtschaffen's involvement on pages 4 & 5 of Derek Chernow's legal declaration: or on page 16 of Consumer Watchdog's report "Brown's Dirty Hands":

“Governor Brown has just turned the keys of the Public Utilities Commission over to another oil industry loyalist who did the industry’s wet work in firing tough oil well regulators in 2011, resulting in the loosening of well standards and a half million in contributions from Occidental Petroleum to the Governor’s causes,” said Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog.

“Cliff Rechtschaeffen has proven himself to be a lapdog for the oil industry,” noted Court. “Ironically, he joins Liane Randolph, a former Chevron lawyer and another Brown appointee, on the Public Utilities Commission after both participated in one of the ugliest episodes of oil industry influence during the Brown Administration, the gutting of oil well safety for oil industry cash. This appointment should cast a huge shadow over Governor Brown’s environmental legacy given Rechtschaeffen’s role in one of the biggest ethical scandals during the Brown era.”

Clifford Rechtschaffen, 59, of Oakland, has served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Governor since 2011, where he has worked on climate, energy and environmental issues, according to the Governor’s Office. In 2011, he also served as acting director of the California Department of Conservation.

Rechtschaffen served as special assistant attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office from 2007 to 2010. From 1993 to 2007, he taught environmental law, directed the environmental law program and co-founded the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law. In 2005 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on environmental law and policy.

He was a deputy attorney general in the Environment Section of the California Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office from 1986 to 1993, Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow at the Marin County Legal Aid Foundation from 1985 to 1986 and a law clerk for the Honorable Thelton Henderson at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 1984 to 1985. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. Rechtschaffen is a Democrat.

Martha Guzman Aceves, 39, of Sacramento, has been a deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2011, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was sustainable communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2016. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues including a new employee-stock ownership program.

She was legislative coordinator for United Farm Workers from 1999 to 2005, working on labor and environmental issues. In 2010 she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. Guzman Aceves earned a Master of Science degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis. Guzman Aceves is a Democrat.

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SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen to the California Public Utilities Commission, replacing Michael Florio and Catherine Sandoval whose six-year terms expire on January 1, 2017.

"Martha has the experience, know-how and insight to well serve the people of California at the Public Utilities Commission,” said Governor Brown. “Cliff’s experience as a lawyer, teacher and specialist in environmental and energy matters equips him to do an outstanding job on the Commission. Both have sound judgment and a commitment to protecting ratepayers and ensuring safe, reliable and climate-friendly energy in California."

Martha Guzman Aceves, 39, of Sacramento, has been a deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2011, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was sustainable communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2016. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues including a new employee-stock ownership program. She was legislative coordinator for United Farm Workers from 1999 to 2005, working on labor and environmental issues. In 2010 she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. Guzman Aceves earned a Master of Science degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis. Guzman Aceves is a Democrat.

Clifford Rechtschaffen, 59, of Oakland, has served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Governor since 2011, where he has worked on climate, energy and environmental issues. In 2011, he also served as acting director of the California Department of Conservation. Rechtschaffen served as special assistant attorney general in the California Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office from 2007 to 2010. From 1993 to 2007, he taught environmental law, directed the environmental law program and co-founded the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law. In 2005 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on environmental law and policy. He was a deputy attorney general in the Environment Section of the California Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office from 1986 to 1993, Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow at the Marin County Legal Aid Foundation from 1985 to 1986 and a law clerk for the Honorable Thelton Henderson at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 1984 to 1985. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. Rechtschaffen is a Democrat.

Public Utilities Commissioners serve six-year terms, require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,095 by statute.

(Governor’s Office Presser)

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The Future of Postmodern America — I've been receiving a lot of emails lately here in San Francisco, mostly from participants in peace & justice campaigns, and of course from radical environmental groups, discussing strategy in lieu of the recent American presidential election result. Allow me to swiftly clarify where I am at: I am basically assuming that the future of postmodern America is going to be ridiculous. Secondly, I regard it as quantum stupid that president Barack Obama withdrew his supreme court nomination to please the Republicans. Now, regardless of who is eventually installed, it is a "stolen seat", and fuck the court's future decisions. Thirdly, the one and only sane view is to be conscious that you are a guest of the planet earth, and the only legitimate spiritual attitude is to act like a guest, and be appreciative of Mother Earth. Fourthly, let's stop funding the mainstream spiritual groups and their selfish, mnemonic bullshit! I'm tired of their never showing up for anything direct-action related. (This complaint stems from my 23 years of UNPAID successful service to the "poorest of the poor" with Catholic Worker, which was barely tolerated by the Catholic church. Why didn't Catholicism give me anything supportive for 23 years when I was doing the critical work, which was originally requested by Jesus Christ?). Fifthly, I will go my own spiritual way from now on. I trust myself! If you've got anything creatively insightful going on, feel free to contact me. If it's not exciting, don't bother me. I'd rather be in samadhi at Ocean Beach. Good luck to you.

Craig Louis Stehr


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U.S. Path on Legal Marijuana Forces Rethink in Mexico

More are questioning the effectiveness of the government’s protracted battle against drug cartels; small steps to allow medical marijuana. As legal marijuana use spreads rapidly across the U.S., Mexican legislators are taking small steps to decriminalize pot in a country where the war on drugs has killed more than 100,000 people over the past decade.

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Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is a big day for me and KZYX. On The Cannabis Hour at 9 a.m. I'll be talking with Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers' Association, about important events in the local, state and national world of cannabis in 2016 and events we anticipate in 2017.

Tomorrow also marks the beginning of a two-day national radio campaign called GiveBig to MyStation, celebrating the work of community radio around the country and right here in Mendocino County. On these two days, every donation we get will go right to KZYX to help us keep bringing you what we think is the very best music, news and information you’ll hear on your radio dial.

Everyone will be talking about who and which radio station they’re supporting. Think “American Idol” -- we're in the try-outs but we need your support to make it to the top.

Can you help me with these three things?

1) Mark tomorrow and Dec. 30 on your calendar, going tomorrow or Friday, or right now, to this giving link --

2) Follow us on Facebook at and help us build the buzz. We’re also on Twitter, but I’m not a tweeter, so I’ll skip that.

3) Spread the word! Tell your family and friends why you believe in our work at KZYX, and why they should give on December 29th and 30th.

If you appreciate The Cannabis Hour (a few of my guests are pictured here), and all of the unique shows brought to you on KZYX by 99-plus incredibly smart and dedicated volunteer programmers, please, be our champion. Help us get to the top by making a donation! We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on tomorrow and Friday.

Thank you taking the time to read this. And thank you for doing all of the work you do to create a more peaceful, sane, just and healthy world!

Sending you much love and warm wishes for a Healthy, Happy and Community-based New Year!

Jane Futcher, host, The Cannabis Hour

VP, Board of Directors, KZYX/Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

PS— Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about GiveBig or KZYX or The Cannabis Hour.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, "So what do I get for Christmas? A dog house, so-called, that even a little guy like me can barely get into, let alone entertain in!"


  1. George Hollister December 29, 2016


    “The water board enforcement team misrepresented things and outright made things up.”

    Prejudices aside, this is SOP for water board enforcement for everyone(grape people included), all the time. People attempting to live within the law, are their primary targets. They get away with it because few have direct experience with them. That said, Water Board appointees do listen, more so than other boards overseeing other regulatory agencies.

  2. Debra Keipp December 29, 2016

    Is the writer of TSR article, John King, also the John King of Coastal Trail fame and used to be Point Arena’s Dog Catcher waaaaaay back when?

  3. Nate Collins January 8, 2017

    Slow people. Beards were grown starting at the beginning of time. That being said, In the modern era which we find ourselves in beards are mostly Islamic. Hiphop rap music in the 80’s popularized the Islamic 3rd way that follows judaism and christianity in major religions. Facial hair came back into vogue through black islamic rap culture and was gradually adopted by the most hip whites and then took about a decade (or two) to filter through the rest of society. Also tied into western imperialism the soldiers/cops of western societies adopt the look of those they conquer ie. Arabs and Blacks. An African Islamic scholar told me 15 years ago that the westerners and Europeans who have attempted to conquer Islamic nations cannot help but imitate them. Strange but true!

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