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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

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HIGHWAY 1 closed at the Garcia River from mile marker 17.3 to 18.6 due to flooding. (California Highway Patrol, 5 am, Feb 21)

HIGHWAY 128 closed from Route 1 to Navarro Ridge Rd due to flooding (a detour is available). Expected to end at 4:01pm Feb 22, 2017. (Caltrans, 7:21 am, Feb 21)

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HIGHWAY 128 WAS STILL OPEN AS OF LATE MONDAY, February 20, 2017 at 21:20: “In the Northern California area. No traffic restrictions are reported for this area.”

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE was still predicting that the Navarro would rise above flood stage with minor flooding and likely road closure. Check Caltrans road conditions before using Highway 128 on Tuesday. The Navarro “is expected to rise above flood stage around midnight [Monday] and crest near 24.0 ft early Tuesday morning. The river is forecast to fall below flood stage later Tuesday  morning then further recede to near 11.0 ft by Thursday. At 23.0 feet flooding of Highway 128 approximately 5  miles from Highway 1 is certain and the Road will be closed. Motorists should use alternate routes.”

SUNDAY NIGHT’S RAIN BEGAN in downtown Boonville with a massive lightning and thunderstrike that somehow didn’t take the power with it.

AS THE RAINS continue to fall, CalTrans and County road crews also continue to do yeoman's work keeping the roads passable. Biggest slide yet occurred Friday morning on 253 about two miles up from Boonville when mud slid across the entire roadway. CalTrans had it clear in about an hour.



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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “That thunder and lightening last night, I swear it was aimed straight at me. Broke right over my head! Never happened this close in Boonville before.”

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A HIT & RUN in Gualala last night (6:30pm, Feb 20) as reported in CHP-speak:

Party #2 (Pedestrian) was crossing SR-1 north of Center St. from the Upper Crust Pizzeria to the Breakers Inn.  Party #1 (unknown) was traveling S/B SR-1 north of Center Street approaching Party #2.  For an unknown reason, Party #1 failed to see Party #2 crossing SR-1 and struck Party #2.  Party #1 then continued S/B SR-1 without stopping at the scene of the collision.  It is unknown if drugs or alcohol contributed to Party #1's actions.  It is also unknown if Party #1 was seat belted at the time of the collision.  The hit and run vehicle was described as a dark colored sedan.

Party #2 was identified as Donna Mignon Williams, age 71, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Apparently, Ms. Williams' injuries were not severe enough to require a hospital visit.

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A MEMORIAL SERVICE for the late Don Bissattini (March 4, 1942-December 20, 2016) will be held on Saturday, March 4, at the Boonville Fairgrounds Dining Hall from 2-6pm. Potluck/BBQ.

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IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN—the Anderson Valley Grange’s 26th annual Variety Show is, as always, the first weekend in March.  This Friday the third, and Saturday March forth, I mean fourth, to the Anderson Valley Grange for another two evenings of the most unique and irreverent acts found anywhere this side of the Navarro River.   I wonder if our local variety might be one of the things that make life here in the valley so very special.  Haven’t you all wondered what it is that makes this place so cool?  Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for children under 12.  This year, a limited number of tickets will be sold for either Friday or Sat., to ensure that ticket holders get inside.  They are available at the door, and also during the week before the show at Lemons’ Market in Philo and the Anderson Valley Market in Boonville.  Proceeds from ticket sales go to the AV Grange.  Show starts at 7, doors open at 6:30.  Friday night, AV Teen center will be providing tacos, and Saturday night, the Fair Booster Club will be serving Jay’s famous rib dinners, both available in the parking lot before the show.

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY Panther basketball team defeated Point Arena in overtime in Boonville a week ago Tuesday night, but dropped the rematch with the Fog Eaters in Point Arena the very next night, 49-47, ringing down the curtain on a season where they weren’t blown out by anyone, and if it weren’t for, a  missed two here, a free throw there, they’d be beat in playoffs.

JUST IN. Boonville boy's basketball squeezed into the small school playoffs. They take on Covelo in the Boonville gym Wednesday night, 7pm. The Boonville girls play Drew High School in San Francisco Wednesday night.

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STEVE SPARKS has resigned after 15 seasons as high school soccer coach, a long tenure which has seen the Panthers continue as the dominant small school futbol power on the Northcoast. The coach said Monday he wasn’t packing it in out of pique with school management, but that the endless travel and associated long hours simply caused a definite waning of enthusiasm. Sparks said he’ll be available to help out, but won’t be available to drive the team to distant venues like Middletown and San Francisco. Remarkably for a high school coach of any sport, Sparks said he was proud to be on good terms with “all my players, past and present.”

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THE MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN. Those three words can clear a room faster than Seal Team Six. It's bad enough that the "Plan" has been debated for decades by tag teams of Mendo residents committed to "preserving the character" of the town, although it was irretrievably lost certainly by 1965 when it was "discovered" by well-heeled artistes. The Coastal Commission won't sign off on the thing, which basically says no franchise operations. A CC person, Tamara Gedik, is apparently the obstacle to the long-awaited approval. She was recently denounced as a "rogue" employee by Supervisor Gjerde for her endless obfuscations of the approval process, as if anybody at this point gives a hoot if the Town Plan is ever finally approved. Mendo is what it is — an over-crowded gimcrack bazaar strictly for undiscerning tourists.

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A READER ASKS: Any opinions on the new BOS Retirement Board appointments?

THE ONLY “new” members of the Retirement Board we are aware of is Patrick Sullivan, a fairly young man who is listed on the County employment rolls as a “revenue recovery specialist” who works for Treasurer-Tax Collector Schari Schapmire who is also on the retirement board, and a Sonoma County mortgage broker named Parker.

WE HAVE NO OPINION of the youthful Mr. Sullivan personally, but we do not like the arrangement that he 1. works in the Treasurer’s office, and 2. that he is on the same board as his boss which would tend to compromise his independence, especially considering his relative youth.

THE RETIREMENT BOARD overall is the usual mixed bag of officially approved Mendolanders. The only person on the Board who is genuinely independent is Ted Stephens, a serious fellow with real big-time finance credentials, but who is prone to the Dickersonian view of the pension system which believes that pensions of any kind are a wasteful government perk without focusing on the senior officials who are the true local abusers of the system.

MOST low-end pensioners really do deserve their modest pensions which they’ve paid into for chrissakes, whereas the pensions-are-a-wasteful-drain-on-government people like Dickerson demand that pensions be funded at rates that would bankrupt the County and lead to the end of pensions themselves. You can certainly argue that putting all the pension money in Wall Street is a bad idea, which we do, but nobody in or near the pension system at present would dare consider safer local investments. Typical Mendo, really. We’ll do what we’ve always done.

THE OTHER NEW RETIREMENT BOARD MEMBER is a Sonoma County mortgage broker named Leland ‘Lee’ Parker. Last week, the Supes voted to appoint Parker, a Sonoma County resident who apparently has lived in Hopland, to replace Ukiah gadfly John Sakowicz.

SAKO may not have helped his reappointment chances when he was quoted as saying his credentials included being “a special limited partner in a firm that works with a Sharia-compliant Bitcoin."

PARKER told the Supes that he is a representative of (mortgage broker for?) the Seventh Day Adventist Church. According to Mike A’Dair in the Willits Weekly,  Parker is properly skeptical of the stock market, calling it “a race track run by bookies.” However, when asked what he’d do about the Retirement Association’s ongoing deficit, the mortgage broker promptly suggested: mortgages.

THEOLOGICALLY, Sharia law-to-Adventism seems like your basic lateral move, and we don’t expect Parker to be any improvement over Sako, who still appears bareheaded in public, so far as we know. Warren Buffet himself couldn’t fix Mendo’s pension system, where more and more money goes out, less and less comes in.

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NEWS HEADLINE as Zen koan: "PA schools board approves interim principal team; former principal resigns again." That baby appeared on the front page of the Independent Coast Observer of 17 February. I read it three times before I plunged, already exhausted, into Lindsey Smith's story, a depressing account of how edu-matters are so screwed up over in the fog belt they are about to become terminal with the news that the County Office of Education will "provide interim principal services for Point Arena High School."

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On Feb. 15, 2017 at approximately 10:30 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received information that Leonard Whipple (aka - Ed Davis), 47, of Covelo was currently located at Lot 30 Ledger Lane in Covelo. Deputies were aware that Whipple had an active felony warrant for his arrest issued through the Mendocino County Superior Court for violating the terms of his Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS).


Deputies responded to the property on Ledger Lane and arrived at approximately 11:30 PM. The Deputies surrounded a trailer on the property and observed a male subject exiting the trailer shortly after they arrived. The Deputies were able to positively identify the male subject who exited the trailer as Whipple. The Deputies contacted Whipple outside of the trailer and he was taken into custody for his arrest warrant without incident.  When arresting Whipple, Deputies contacted Chayni Frazier, 37, of Covelo, who was inside the trailer with Whipple.


Frazier was detained at the scene while Deputies conducted their investigation. The Deputies learned from Round Valley Tribal Police officers that they contacted Frazier in Covelo during the afternoon on Feb 15, 2017. Round Valley Tribal Police officers informed Frazier that Whipple had an active felony warrant for his arrest and that Frazier could be subject to arrest for harboring or assisting Whipple in eluding capture from law enforcement. Based on the information learned from Round Valley Tribal Police officers, Deputies advised and placed Frazier under arrest for Harboring or Concealing a Wanted Fugitive. Frazier was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail. Whipple was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for his felony warrant where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his PRCS violations.

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RON GREEN sent us these two photos. Barry is third from the left in the Barry Melton Band, and that's Barry in his distinctive Cadillac, a familiar sight in downtown Ukiah when he worked as a public defender here. We're not sure why the photos were sent to us, and we sincerely hope Barry remains among the living.

From left to right, Lowell "Banana" Levinger, Roy Blumenfeld, Barry Melton and Peter Albin. (Melton was a founding member of Country Joe & The Fish and years ago was a colorful employee of the Mendocino County Public Defender’s office where he was occasionally seen driving around downtown Ukiah in a classic Cadillac convertible shouting “WOO-HOO!” to people on the sidewalks.)

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“…Social justice was an important theme for the members of the public who participated. Subjects they would like public artwork to address included diversity, sanctuary, ritual, botany, local enterprise, including marijuana growing and bookkeeping, and wildlife, among many others. Locations they thought might be possible sites for public artwork included the conference center, parks, the city-owned pool, and City Hall. …”

POT BOOKKEEPING ART! What a wonderful idea for public murals! They could make a collage out of shake leaves in the form of a sort-of  abacus and have little doobies sticking out for the kids to sample which are replaced periodically by the artists. That way they'd be sure of getting lots of people to look at their mural time and again! ALSO, I say the Conference Center should be their absolute TOP priority. It's already ugly so they can't do any harm… (— Mark Scaramella)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 20, 2017

Arriolo-Abojorques, Campos-Rodriguez, Dennison

RAUL ARRIOLO-ABOJORQUES, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

RUBEN CAMPOS-RODRIGUEZ, Bakersfield/Willits. DUI, domestic battery.

CLORISSA DENNISON, San Jose/Ukiah. Shoplifting, false ID, probation revocation.

Ferrell, Gutierrez, Lugo

LEE FERRELL, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

JORDAN GUTIERREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JENISE LUGO, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.

Matthias, Olvera-Campos, Parker

WANA MATTHIAS, Calpella. Possession of meth, probation revocation.

MICHAEL OLVERA-CAMPOS, Ukiah. False imprisonment, interference with police communications, probation revocation.

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

Piceno, Rabano, Sheckells

MARCIANO PICENO, Ukiah. Probation violation.

SEBASTIAN RABANO, Ukiah. Meth possession, probation revocation.

PATRICK SHECKELLS JR., Ukiah. DUI-drugs, under influence, suspended license.

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CALIFORNIA FLOODING RISKS (NY Times piece from 2011):

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by Shepherd Bliss

The Japanese American Citizens League held a “Day of Remembrance” at Sebastopol’s Enmanji Buddhist Temple on Feb. 18 in Northern California. Around 200 people marked the 75th anniversary of the incarceration of over 120,000 innocent West Coast Americans of Japanese ancestry in internment camps during World War II.

“They were accused of a crime, sentenced without trial and locked up,” wrote organizer Jodi Hottel in the local daily newspaper. We “hope this reminder of the fragility of our civil liberties will prevent anything like this from happening again.” The event was titled “Protecting Human Rights: Solidarity in Diversity.”

“We are firm in our resolve that this will never happen again,” declared Marie Sugiyama, now 81. She was interned and opened the panel of six speakers of diverse ethnicities. She described the guard towers, barbed wire, and searchlights of her childhood.

“A great injustice was done to Americans,” Sugiyama added. Over 30,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military, helping defeat German fascism and the Imperial Japanese Government.

That Japanese Government had spies in the US, who failed to recruit any Americans of Japanese ancestry. No Japanese American was ever tried for being a spy. The internment was based on racist fears and lies, which the new president continues to propagate, especially against immigrants and Muslims.

“We need to be guided by those ‘better angels’ President Lincoln spoke about,” said journalist and historian Gaye LeBaron, the panel moderator.

“We have an important task—to protect civil rights,” declared African American attorney and civil rights pioneer Charles Bonner. He detailed three ways to do so: direct action, legal action, and legislative action. “We need to sue people who hurt people. This is the beginning of a movement.”

“Our community is experiencing real fear,” said panelist Denia Candela, a dreamer and community activist who emigrated from Mexico. She described the uncertainly created by Trump deporting people, often separating parents from their children, and his positive references to the internment camps. “We need to have each other’s backs,” she contended.

“Mother Earth feels what we are going through. She’s shaking and saying ‘Wake Up!’” said 66-year-old Native American public health administrator Cecilia Dawson. “It feels as if we are fighting again for what we were fighting for in the sixties.”

The final speaker, Mubarack Muthalif of the Islamic Center of North Marin, began with the Islamic blessing and greeting: “May peace be upon you.”

“I tremble about what this administration might do,” he continued, voice choking with emotion. “The Muslim registry is like the Nazis making Jews wear the star of David. We moved from being citizens to being suspects. Our mosques are attacked.”

“How many of you are willing to break a law to protect a Muslim, immigrant, or other threatened person?” asked David Hoffman of the Interfaith Council of Sonoma County from the audience.

Attorney Bonner responded, “Any unjust law needs to be broken. We have to organize. When we do so, Trump will fall.”

“We Jews and Muslims must work together. There are more of us than them,” added another member of the lively audience, to much applause.

“We have to resist with love and compassion. Like hornets, if they attack one of us, we need to swarm,” attorney Bonner declared.

“We are all Americans—no matter what color or faith we are. An attack on one person is an attack on all of us,” added another person.

Participants were informed of future meetings in the California towns of Sebastopol, Petaluma, Cotati, and Santa Rosa, where City Councils and faith groups are discussing issues such as sanctuary cities, the Standing Rock water protectors, and how to work together to build a mass movement of resistance and defiance.

Before and after the Enmanji Temple meeting people conversed and collected signatures on petitions, thus helping build a community of resistance. The “It Won’t Happen Here” petition already has over 4000 churches, other groups, and individual signers.

“This has been an amazing afternoon,” concluded moderator LeBaron.

Such events occurred around the West Coast in Japanese American communities. “I was at the Remembrance Day dinner, an annual event put on by the Merced/Livingston Japanese American Citizens League,” Cynthia Kishi of Sebastopol wrote.

“Mas Matsumoto, the farmer who wrote the book Epitaph of a Peach and nine other books, spoke. He talked about how important it is to speak about the incarceration in light of Trump. He addressed the power of personal story,” Kishi added.

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss {} is a former U.S. Army officer, United Methodist minister, and a retired college teacher. He has contributed to 24 books.)

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by Manuel Vicent

Translated by Louis S. Bedrock (For Betsy Cawn)

Four women appear amid the rubble from the bombing in the painting Guernica: all with their mouths open, all screaming in terror. The four are the same woman—Dora Maar, who was Picasso’s mistress at the time. There’s an additional detail--the eyes of the bull standing in the left corner are also those of Dora Maar, which in reality were light blue in color. And perhaps one day, some Lacanian psychoanalyst will be able to explain the meaning of a bull with the eyes of a woman, which in turn are identical to the eyes of the warrior whose body can be found broken into pieces at the bottom of the painting.

Picasso met Dora Maar early in 1936. Their meeting has become a sublime tale of sadomasochism. One night the painter was in the café Deux Magots with the poet Paul Éluard and saw a young woman at the neighboring table entertaining herself by dropping the tip of a knife between the separated fingers of her gloved hand which were spread out over the marble surface of the table. Her aim was far from perfect--the glove was bloodstained.

The painter spoke to her in French and she answered in a guttural Spanish. Her voice was hoarse, tremulous, and had an Argentinian accent. After a provocative conversation, the painter asked her for the bloody garment as a souvenir and she gave Picasso not merely the glove, but also the hand, the rest of her body, without excluding her tormented soul.

But not all at once since Picasso, sensing the tumultuous love affair that approached, put distance between the young woman and himself by fleeing to the French Riviera. Once there, however, that summer, while in the house of some friends they had in common, he once again ran into this woman and by then there was no escape.

Beneath the morbid splendor of the Mougins sun, filtered through shades of wattle, each of their bodies galloped forward in search of the violent soul of the other.

Dora Maar was no neophyte in this battle with men. She came from the arms of George Bataille, king of erotic transgression, with whom she had experienced all the sorcery of the flesh. According to his theory, whorehouses should be the true churches of Paris.

Bataille, along with Breton, led the group of leftist surrealists, Contre-Attaque, that would meet in the ample loft of Rue des Grands-Agustins 7. He had become famous with his book History of an Eye—a blend of pornography, lyricism, with additives of violence, self-destruction, and blindness--the eye as an egg introduced into the vagina.

That was the world through which moved Dora Maar, exotic, beautiful, radical, and always crowned with extravagant hats.

Dora Maar was a painter, photographer, and poet; the daughter of a French mother and Croatian architect who lived in Paris and found work in Argentina for several years. With her, Picasso got through the Spanish Civil War and the Nazi occupation of Paris from 1936 to 1943, a time during which the painter lived amidst a tempestuous flood of women superimposed on his life.

His wife Olga had been supplanted by the sweet natured and patient Marie Thérèse Walter, who had born his daughter Maya, and the swell carried him, like the flotsam from a shipwreck, to Dora Maar. Dora Maar had to employ all her powers to hold onto the testicles of that Spanish bull of Guernica and not let go. According to some critics, the bull was a self-portrait of the painter.

At the beginning of the 1937, the government of the Spanish Republic commissioned Picasso to do a mural for the International Exposition of Paris that was going to open in May. The deal was formalized upon a napkin in a bistro on the Rue de Bôites by the poster designer Josep Renau, Director General of the Fine Arts, who left immediately after signing to play table football with Tristán Tzara.

The Spanish tragedy had reached its apogee. Picasso merely attempted to gather the materials, the canvas, and the paint, which were definitely of inferior quality as has been demonstrated by the deterioration of the painting. Dora Maar knew about the loft on the Rue des Grands-Agustins where various demonic surrealist ceremonies had been performed. She showed it to Picasso so he would rent it.

The locale was famous because there Balzac had situated his novel, The Unknown Masterpiece, which was about the obsession of an artist to represent the Absolute in a painting. Dora Maar thought the location offered enough space to work on a very large painting.

In that loft, Picasso began a battle on two fronts. During the first months, nothing occurred to him. He started to draw sketches of bullfighting amidst the convulsion of the disasters of a war while Dora Maar recorded his efforts and the changes he made with her camera. In some of the sketches, a horse neighs on the bottom, in others, a bull bellows on the other side of the sketch.

Dora Maar was at once witness and protagonist since her face with its ovular forehead and her large, tear-like eyes appear repeatedly in all the attempts by Picasso to represent different female figures. Picasso even permitted his lover to paint some lines in the work.

While Guernica was assuming its definitive form, another kind of bombardment broke out around the canvas provoked by romantic catastrophe. One day, the sweet and patient Marie Thérèse entered the loft and became embroiled in a shouting match with Dora Maar. With insults that could be heard in the street, she accused Maar of stealing her man from her--the woman who had given Picasso a daughter.

Olga, the legal companion of Picasso, joined this violent scene of jealousy, and while the three women were screaming, Picasso happily continued painting Guernica, quite amused by the goings on. This explosive brawl became famous in the Quartier Latin.

On April 26, 1937, when the painting was almost finished, the Condor Legion perpetrated the atrocious bombing of Guernica. In homage to that small town of Bilbao, where symbols of the Basque people were kept, Picasso gave its name to his painting. From that moment, Guernica became a universal poster against barbarity.

Dora Maar won the battle. That same summer of 1937, one sees the very happy couple on the beaches of Antibes in the company of other wonderful beings, lounging naked in armchairs and hammocks: Nush and her husband Éluard, Man Ray and his girlfriend Ady--a ballerina from Martinique, Lee Miller and Rolland Penrose, Jacqueline Lamba and André Breton. They played at changing names and partners at siesta time, and the one who was the most avant-garde in sexual matters was Picasso.

Like her old lover, Georges Bataille, Picasso too cast a kind of magic spell over Dora Maar. He converted her into The Weeping Woman and thus she appears fraught with tears in almost all the paintings in which she served as a model for Picasso.

Until their highly traumatic separation, Dora Maar was The Lady of Sorrows, pierced by seven knives--all identical to the one she used on the day they met in the café Deux Magots: a symbol of the suffering of war and the pleasure of the flesh.

—After Picasso, only God. —exclaimed Dora Maar to Lacan, the psychoanalyst who helped her to endure her abandonment by the painter. The woman entered a mystical phase, withdrew from the world, locked herself up in a Parisian apartment, and outlived the painter by a quarter of a century. She died in 1997 at the age of 90.

In Guernica, her tear shaped eyes are seen again and again: on the bull, on the warrior, on the mother who screams in terror with her dead baby in her arms, on the woman who flees naked beneath the bombs, on the woman who is perhaps sitting on a toilet bowl with a piece of paper in her hand, and on the woman who holds a lamp outside a window and illuminates all the tragedies of history.

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A Tribute to Dan Reber, Artist Lost

by Steve Heilig

Most artists create in obscurity. In most cases that is justified. Even many who achieve any notoriety do not attain that until after they are gone. It’s sad but true — but then, there are some of true talent who never seek “success” but rather produce only “art for art’s sake.” This is the personalized story of one who vanished before his time.

There’s a genre of art known as “outsider”, which is described as “art created outside the boundaries of official culture.” The often-derogatory term has been applied to work done by self-taught people — who may not even call themselves artists — who don’t follow any aesthetic rules, seek to sell their work or appear in galleries, or otherwise do what “career” artists normally do. The Dada movement thus could be seen as at least in part originally an outsider movement, and perhaps street art/graffiti, avant-garde/”free” jazz, much poetry, and many other threads of expression. Occasionally, some such work becomes accepted and even commercially viable — consider the ultimate success of one-time subway/street artists Basquiat and Haring and the shrewd street provocateur Banksy — but most remain very obscure or at most, appreciated by a more cultish following — if at all. Without a knack for self-promotion and networking, the true “outsiders” usually remain in or fade into obscurity.

I am no artistic scholar — in fact the above is about all I can say in any critical sense, and even that required the help of an old mutual friend of the subject of this article. Abut in my youth I was for a short but memorable time lucky to be one of the few a good friends of someone who might be called true outsider artist — and not just any hack, but one of undeniable and remarkable talent and skill as a painter. He’s long gone and was never really known outside of a small circle of admirers, and this is my small attempt to pay tribute. “Nothing Place Away from Everything”

Dan Reber was born in the early 1950s in Southern Coastal California, and the small beach town of Corona del Mar was his primary home his entire life. He had at least one older brother who he was not close to when I knew him (a fisherman by trade who later mysteriously disappeared along with his boat off the military testing island San Clemente); his father seemed out of the picture and he lived with his mother on a small one-way street on a canyon that dropped gently to the ocean at a small beach known as Little Corona. When I met him we were both in high school; he was about three years ahead of me.

Dan’s “studio” was the basement of the house, but it was a basement with a separate entrance and windows looking out on the canyon and down to the beach. He seemed to almost always be there, painting away at a big drafting table while listening to music and smoking. There was a billiard table, plus some dead plants and random funky furniture. We met via mutual friends and I started visiting frequently as it was only a short walk from my house, and his place was freedom — we could come and go with no contact with adults. This meant that sundry legal or not activities could go on there; it was a cool exclusive bohemian enclave in what was otherwise a beautiful but mostly-conservative Orange County beach town.

Dan was a non-conformist from the start; he pretty much stopped attending classes during his senior year and dropped out of our high school on graduation day, just to make some point that he didn’t need a diploma. From then on he was just a painter and a walker. As cannabis was very much in vogue in our cohort, he enjoyed that too, and would even trade a painting for a “lid” of pot — which then went for about $15. He liked music too — as long as there was no singing — and I traded him some LPs featuring some of the more adventurous groups of the era — the Soft Machine, Frank Zappa, etc — for at least a couple of paintings. Thus there were surreal images and strange music and substances present in his smoky room and at least one friend I brought there found the place far too strange to hang out in for long.

It was an exclusive club by default rather than design, although Dan was a very private person and sometimes would just sit silently at his drafting table while low-key madness enfolded around him. In my last year of high school, his mother moved them to a smaller house not far away, and it was less easy to visit him there but I did so at least a few times, including late at night when he would sit in his upstairs room listening to strange radio broadcasts of storytelling or crackly shortwave transmissions from “Radio Moscow.” He had an “artist” business card printed at that point so he was still providing artwork to at least some people, or at least intended to.

As for his work, he exhibited high technical skill from an early age despite a total lack of formal training (a mutual acquaintance suggested that Dan learned his chops from a ‘50s era “how to draw” television series). His mother pressed him to design their annual holiday card — usually a line drawing of some Christmas-related scene that he likely dashed off in no time — and I think he had some commissions for pieces once in a while. Our mutual friend Rick Ferncase notes “His occasional figure and portrait renderings were surprisingly naíve — almost amateurish — with a blockish quality reminiscent of pre-Colombian art. His forte was magic realism: highly-realistic scenes from nature, or fantastic visions from his imagination” (some of it inspired by Carlos Castaneda stories popular with stoners back in the day). He seemed to hold intimate knowledge of the natural world; I recall walking on local beach with him when he suddenly reached his hand down into the wet sand and pulled out a squirming octopus — I had noticed nothing. “Volvox.”

After high school, Dan withdrew further, becoming increasingly prolific while adopting a more painterly technique. Rick recalls that “after high school he got into a looser oil painting style rather than the magic photorealism we knew him for around 1972. In the ‘70s and ‘80s he fixated on a particular rock formation in the Laguna Hills that he called ‘Surrealistic Sandstone,’ painting hundreds of versions with only slight variations. From time to time, after amassing more paintings than he could store, he would haul them out to the street on trash collection day and watch the Masonite panels be crushed in the jaws of the trash truck compacter. Another time, he sold his entire collection of work up to that time to a friend for a mere $500.”

In retrospect, this obsessive repetitive painting behavior possibly signaled the mental illness that would derail his life. From my knowledge in the arena, it would seem he became schizophrenic, the disease manifesting itself in his early to mid-twenties, as is most common in men with the disorder. His heavy use of tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs, including some psychedelics (Rick notes that after reading about the psychoactive properties of Jimson weed, Dan set to collecting, mashing, and distilling an evil-smelling black tar from the plant that even he couldn’t bring himself to sample), might have also been both self-medication and contributor to his becoming symptomatic. In any event, it was progressive and severe, and very sad, eventually reducing him to a barely audible, mumbling shadow of his former self.

At one point he left our town, putting whatever he could into his small car, an Opel Kadet, and moving to the then almost-ghost town of Jerome, Arizona. Built on the side of a mountain in the 1800s, Jerome’s mining economy had long collapsed but it was yet to become a tourist destination. When I took off to visit friends in New Mexico, I decided to go via Jerome and visit Dan. I only knew that he was there, somewhere, and when I drove down the winding single road, there was nobody around and no addresses on the abandoned buildings. A sign before the tiny “library” read “Open the first Saturday of each month.” At the one store, I asked the fellow working there if he knew Dan, and tried to describe him. “Hmm, I might know who you mean; go back up the road and he is in one of the buildings on the left, not sure which.” So I drove the short way back up and looked around until I saw his car. I parked and wandered around a building, calling his name, and out he came. His head was shaved and burnt very dark by the high desert sun. His eyes were both glazed and piercing. He was even skinnier than before. He seemed happy to see me.

He led me into his place, which consisted of a couple unfurnished rooms in a dilapidated building, overlooking a big valley. I don’t recall if he had electricity; perhaps he was squatting in an abandoned place. We talked and as it got late, it occurred to me that he seemed to have no food, and he confirmed that. So I drove back down to the shop and bought some groceries, returned, and we ate cereal. At some point I asked how his painting was going and he said he had many and motioned to a pile leaning against the wall; I went over to look and, leafing through them, saw that they were all of the same rocky cave scene. Later, seeing the famous Kubrick film “The Shining,” I was reminded of my discomfort with this discovery by the scene when Jack Nicholson’s character’s “novel” is revealed to be the line “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” typed over and over.

I traveled on the next day; that was my last real interaction with Dan. He moved back to our hometown; Rick recalls “His usual haunt was one of two Coco’s diners in CdM (both now gone), but the last time I saw him was in front of the post office, where someone came up as we were “talking” (more like trying to understand his barely audible ramblings) and put a $20 dollar bill in his hand.” I heard he surprised people by showing up for an informal outdoors ten-year “reunion” of his few friends and, when asked where he lived, sat down on the ground and simply replied “Right here.” He also reportedly had become institutionalized at some point or points. His mother died and he seemed to then be truly on his own. Mostly he was just seen walking around town, an accepted “street person” who was tolerated as a harmless native, known to some as “the wanderer.” I tried to talk with him one more time, when I encountered him on the sidewalk over the beach; I was not sure he recognized me when I reintroduced myself, and he just stared at me and said “Words upon words upon words…” It was very disturbing and I moved on, sadly knowing I would not attempt to speak with him again.

There is nothing at all about Dan online, as his life and demise predates the internet. Searches turn up another very different artist with considerably more business sense than our Dan. Via Facebook, however, I had a brief exchange with somebody who knew him when even younger than I had, and who had heard he had died years ago. But that’s it. “There’s a lot of mythology floating around about Dan,” says Rick. “Mostly that he was killed by a car as he was walking somewhere in CdM — in front of the Five Crowns (a famed longtime restaurant on the coast highway). Somebody else told me that that Dan broke into somebody’s house and was arrested but I suspect that is apocryphal as well. I haven’t seen him since 1999 and I miss him very much.”

So do I — really. And thus this little tribute.





"Black Sails"

* * *


Most of the wooded areas I played in as a child have been paved over. Before I realized how truly and deeply screwed we are I used to get wistful, seeing my childhood haunts erased one by one. Now I don’t care about anything other than giving my children the best possible chance at survival. That’s the one liberating thing about this whole godawful mess, it can give you, like a recently sober alcoholic, a sense of clarity of purpose. The Children. Or rather, MY children. In a world where anything goes and nothing matters, in an irreligious world, in a world without mores or dignity, in a world without tribe, in a world where kith and kin are scattered or gone, our predicament can give singular purpose like nothing else: My children must survive.

* * *

‘THE MONTH OF TRUMP’ (Best thing yet on Trump)

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* * *


by Dave Zirin

“Now we’re judging people by their religion—trying to keep Muslims out. We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews. That’s where we’re heading.”
Detroit Piston Head Coach Stan Van Gundy

“I agree with that description [that Trump is an ‘real asset’ to the United States] if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
Steph Curry, two-time MVP

Throughout the NBA, respected coaches and the most decorated players—from Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr to LeBron James and Steph Curry—are speaking out against the new president. This is happening throughout much of the sports world—even in NASCAR—but most notably in the NBA. Over the All-Star weekend in New Orleans, the question was raised: Why is this happening in the NBA—and why now?

I have asked coaches, players, and beat writers this very question. The consensus is that the NBA revolt against the Trump administration is the result of a perfect storm; the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, greater comfort with social media, and the multicultural and global nature of the game have all inspired this majority-black sports league to stand up to the white nationalism of Muslim bans and border walls.

Many journalists and players also believe that the particular outspokenness of  LeBron James and Gregg Popovich has provided political cover for anyone wants to follow suit. Others point out that being anti-Trump, is good for business. Nike is commodifying dissent with a beautifully filmed—if crassly opportunistic—commercial starring LeBron himself. (Hopefully this ad will age better than the company’s 1980s Rebel with a Cause campaign, starring John McEnroe.)

All of these theories have merit, but they don’t explain everything. The NBA was largely silent during the Bush years, except for the continual antiwar voice of 10-year veteran Etan Thomas and a T-shirt worn by Steve Nash. Players like Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf were driven from the league in the 1990s in part for their political outspokenness. Yet now Hodges is interviewed about his “courage” on Dr. King’s birthday for Inside the NBA and Rauf is the subject of a beautiful Outside the Lines special on ESPN, celebrating his “revival.”

Something else is going on, and it’s an unintended consequence of Commissioner Adam Silver’s efforts to keep the anthem protests that sprang up in the NFL from spreading to the NBA.

Before the season began, the league sponsored public-service announcements about “togetherness” featuring star players known for being vocal about police brutality: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade, along with white player Kyle Korver. Silver and NBPA President Michelle Roberts also sent each team a memo affirming the rights of players to speak out off the court, and asking NBA players to contact the league or the union if they are looking for ways to make “positive change.” The approach could not have been more different from the hyper-paternalism of Silver’s predecessor, “Mr. Dress Code” David Stern. Silver’s message was that players could be as woke as they want to be…as long as it would be kept off the court, and as long as it tilted toward service, not resistance.

It has to be noted that this corporate strategy worked only because Adam Silver by all accounts sincerely cares about there being vocal, civic-minded athletes in a way that Stern instinctively opposed. The very reason the All-Star game was in New Orleans was, of course, because it was pulled from Charlotte, North Carolina, over the state’s discriminatory legislation against LGBTQ people. Players took the cue from Silver, holding hands during the anthem to symbolize “unity,” and then saw footage of those very gestures used in the NBA’s very own PSAs.

But then a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to kumbaya. Donald Trump was elected president, and rebellion has been normalized. Americans have been protesting since the inauguration, and a heterogeneous “resistance” against the grifter in the White House has taken hold. With his every tweet, Trump sends more people—even those who never thought about politics—into the streets.

Players and coaches are part of this world, too. Many are just as shocked and enraged as the rest of us who believe this presidency is off the rails. They have chosen to use their platform and take advantage of the oxygen that Silver offered in return for not going “full Kaepernick” during the anthem. They are standing up and not stopping, even if it has gone beyond what Adam Silver could ever control. These are what are called “unintended consequences.”

Adam Silver wanted a “woke league.” Well, he got it and, in the short term, no one is going back to sleep.

* * *

INTERESTING exchange on MCN:

(1) To quote Lady Violet Crawley....

"Religion is like having a penis.... It's a perfectly fine thing to have one and take pride in, but if you take it out and wave it in my face, we have a problem."

(2)  Sounds like the family tree ends at Lady Crawley.

* * *


Acadia Power (PG&E alternative): responses to announcement. I asked for info from locals who use or know about Acadia Power, an ecological alternative to PG&E. Blow are 5 responses, and below that is my original announcement and description of Acadia Power. Please respond to me if you, too, have useful info to share. Thanks. Tom Wodetzki,Albion,

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From: Erif <> I've been with Arcadia Power for about a year. If you really want to support wind power, I'd suggest you go with the Premium Plan. I am pleased with the plan in general, the only drawback being the automatic payment part, which disturbs the Luddite in me. But all in all, I think it's a good plan, and a good idea!

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From: Nancy Fereira <>

Yes Acadia Power is a good corp.. I just signed up for total wind power..will see next month how much I have far $5,$5 and $20 this last month..I just signed up about a week before I got the bill..Just to be fair..later this year Fort Bragg will be offering Sonoma clean energy..I figure I should save about 30 to 40 more dollars on my bill with just need to create an account with PG&E and give Arcadia the account number and passwords..PG&E is their partner..good luck.

Nancy Fereira,

* * *

Tom replies to Nancy:

Thanks for your reply, Nancy. Acadia didn’t advertise that they will save subscribers money, just that it wouldn’t cost more for their wind power (unless you signed up for their Premium Plan). But you say it actually saved you money? How? Isn’t it the same per kilowatt hour price as from PG&E? Also, will you switch to Sonoma Clean Power once it’s available, or not? Why? Thanks in advance for your help with this.


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Peter Reimuller wrote: Are you aware of Sonoma Clean Power, which is similar and which will be available to us this year? It's a big deal. Most folks don't know about it. Call me if you want more info, too much to type. Peter Reimuller, 882 2001,

* * *

Toni Rizzo wrote: I would also be interested in hearing about others’ experiences with Acadia Power. Thanks! Toni Rizzo,

* * *

Steve Greenwood wrote: Thanks for posting this. If you could do a follow-up post with the responses you’ve received I’d appreciate it. Steve Greenwood,  Original announcement from Tom Wodetzki <>

* * *

How does this work? (Free and Premium plans) We give anyone the opportunity to choose clean Wind Energy for their home, apartment, or business. We do this right through your utility bill, with no installation, equipment, or contracts.

You have the option to sign up for our Free Plan to have 50% of your electricity sourced from wind farms at no extra cost or our Premium Plan to have 100% of your electricity sourced from wind farms at a small premium of $0.015/kWh (with a $5 monthly minimum). There are no contracts and you can cancel anytime.

The process begins by linking your local utility account to our clean energy platform. Once we’re linked up, we monitor your kWh use to make sure your designated amount of energy is sourced from wind farms.

Everything is tracked from the point of production at the wind farms themselves via Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). You can learn more about RECs by watching this short video by the EPA


You will receive one ebill from Arcadia Power that includes all charges on your electric bill (including gas, transmission, water) that will be automatically paid each month through either a checking account or credit card.

* * *

How does this work? (Evergreen)

We give anyone the opportunity to choose 100% clean, Wind Energy at their home, apartment, or business - with no installation, equipment, or contracts. The process begins by determining your average kWh usage. Once that’s been calculated, Arcadia Power ensures all of your kWh are covered by 100% clean energy from wind farms across the country.

You will receive two bills, one from your local electric utility and the second from Arcadia Power for the Arcadia Power Wind Energy charges. Everything is tracked from the point of production at the wind farms themselves, via Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates. You can learn more about RECs by watching this short video by the Environmental Protection Agency.

How much does this cost?

Our Free Plan is free. Our Premium and Evergreen Plans cost $0.015 per kWh in every state with a few exceptions: the rate is $0.01 per kWh in Washington state and Oregon and $0.012 per kWh in Virginia. There is a minimum monthly charge of $5.00 on the Premium Plan.

More info at



  1. Jim Updegraff February 21, 2017

    Delta flooding: In addition to the water coming down into the delta there is also the issue of climate change with a warming of the ocean water which results in a rise of the ocean. The intrusion of salt water into the delta is real and could result in Jerry’s tunnels sucking up sea water.

  2. Betsy Cawn February 22, 2017

    Man bites dog — a lifetime of destroying natural wetlands and groundwater recharge systems in the forested elevations, foothills, and basins — major flooding events always seem to catch us by surprise!

    See this 2010 slideshow from Cal EPA’s Water Quality Monitoring Council (, “Riparian Proper Functioning Condition Assessment . . . ” by Sherman Swanson:

    33rd slide: “The Flood Memory Half-Life: The Power to Forget”

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