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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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LINN STUART BOTTORF, born Aug. 29, 1942, in Pasadena, CA to Louise Wetterau Bottorf and Kenneth Bottorf, died on Jan. 26, 2017 at Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg. He first came to Mendocino from Boulder, CO, in 1985, and for many years was a popular and dynamic teacher of art at College of the Redwoods. In his long career, he held countless diverse jobs (even working for a while as a 7-11 clerk), but art and imparting his vast knowledge of it was his passion, starting in the 1970s when he taught at Rockford College in Rockford, IL. He was also a superb cook and an intrepid traveler. Many here will remember him as the guy with the pug, the ready wit and an enviable ability to turn strangers into friends. He's survived by his two sisters, Barbara Hajdukiewicz and Marjorie Buble, niece Heather Medina and cousins Jim and Steve Catlin.

(— Eleanor Cooney)

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by Ted Stevens

When a body is heading toward the bottom, and is in denial, at some point you need to get out of the way. For six years I tried my hardest at intervention.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the vested interest vote refusing to reconcile the differences between our actuary and our investment advisor. In my prior attempts to address this difference I had been promised that this would be the time for review. When review time was upon us they shut it down.

The actuary (Segal) suggested a rate of 7% with a 55% confidence. The investment advisor (Callan) suggested a rate of 6.4%, netting about 6% after expenses, with a 50% confidence. One percent on 6% is a material difference. A higher rate keeps contributions lower for employees.

Even Fitch, the bond and financial rating company, uses 6% as a rate of return assumption for public pensions.

Is the actuary a better forecaster? Well let’s look at their track record. As with the 7%, you can’t justify their rates historically either. From their prior projections we have about $1.20 in county debt (almost all from pension) for every $1.00 of county assets (the highest negative net worth of any county with a pension like ours). Due to past actuarial losses, the county has twice borrowed millions in bonds to put in the plan. We are still paying on the bonds and the plan is deeply underfunded again. The county alone pays about 50 cents in pension costs on every dollar of payroll. Even with these unbelievable county payments a new dollar never makes it to the plan. We have to use all the employee and employer contributions, and still sell plan assets, to pay retiree benefits each month. The actuary says our plan is about 70% funded; Stanford Public Policy Professor Joe Nation says about 40% funded.

Why would a majority of the board be so fervent to rubber stamp this track record? Is it blind faith in sorcerers? No, it is because 6 of the 9 directors are participants in the plan. The actuarial seers are all hired by Moral Hazard majorities and focused on the hand that feeds them. Whenever there is a low-balled number the taxpayers and users of county services must pay for any shortage; the employees pay nothing.

A Moral Hazard is where one group makes risky bets and pockets the winnings, but someone else must absorb the risk of any losses. By the laws of economics and human nature these usually end poorly. With a vested interest super majority board structure the track record of the plan shouldn’t be a surprise.

Why wouldn’t you play the slots if you could take the jackpot and someone else has to pay your casino tab? It takes unbelievable moral strength to overcome the laws of economics and human nature.

I would have expected the board to at least humor me on a rate reconciliation. They know I understand the markets and have made a major commitment to understand the complexities of these plans. By vocation I am a 30 years plus investment and financial professional with college degrees in related areas (Business, Economics and Master’s Degrees in Finance and Taxation). I have third and fourth generation clients, have managed individual and corporate retirement plans for over 30 years, and have never had a single complaint. I serve and have served on several corporate and not-for-profit boards. I say this not to blow my own horn, but to show my credentials. I imagine many would say I am as qualified as any on the retirement board and as qualified as any of our outside advisors. Why did a board majority refuse to study the rate differential? Because they can!

I also have discovered another very important point. It is pretty clear the top financial minds in our county really don’t understand how this plan works. The Moral Hazard aside, if the plan is too complicated for our county’s highest in financial aptitude to grasp, it is probably too complex for the citizens to guarantee.

It’s almost certain the pension plan will continue to impose more long-term debt at the 7% rate.

I now believe this plan will fail. It is not sustainable. Borrowing for an asset is okay, but it is a fool’s errand to borrow for yesterday’s operational expenses.

I have tried my best at reason. The longer it takes the worse it will be.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My old friend Dalmo is always in his window across the street. Between the two of us, we got our neighborhood covered!”

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NOTE TO CEO ANGELO: We noticed in your CEO Report that County staff is conducting a Pot Track & Trace workshop next Thursday and Friday at four locations in Mendocino County, including one from 3-5pm in Boonville at the Veterans Buildling on Wednesday, June 14. How do you expect people to attend these workshops? We only came across it by accident buried deep on page 9 of your CEO report. It looks like a Press Release but we never got it and we haven’t seen mention of it anywhere else. You do want pot growers to attend, right? What gives?

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(Photo courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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FROM THIS MORNING'S Press Democrat: "The city is collecting data to understand just how much time police officers and firefighters spend responding to calls involving homelessness — and whether there are better ways to solve the problem."

CALL ME OLD SCHOOL, but right here in the USA we once enjoyed a tax funded system of hospitals where all persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were housed and, in many cases, were helped to regain themselves to become productive citizens. But then we lost our way, and demagogues in the service of the very wealthy convinced lots of ordinary Americans that government was bad, that government couldn't do anything right and cost so much that, well, gee, suddenly all these psychological cripples showed up on the streets and now what do we do?

I'D RECOMMEND re-instituting the fair system of taxation we once had in this country, out of which we all once agreed to fund common social amenities that made life in America much happier than it is now. What happened to the assumption that the rich should pay their fair share?

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FIRST FIVE of Mendocino County is the latest organization to pipe up to ask for up to 20% of the County’s pot tax revenue. (First Five is funded out of the cigaret tax, about a million of which is kicked down to Mendocino County to do good things for people who need good things done for them. Little good gets done for anyone except the people nicely paid to do the good things that don't get done.)

THE WAY it has worked out in clubby Mendocino, First Five is basically a jobs program for a half dozen or so Clinton Democrats drawn from the same pool of connected liberals who dominate the county's public bureaucracies and its many non-profits.

BECAUSE FIRST FIVE has a built-in revenue stream from the cig tax, it's odd to see them with their begging bowl before the Supervisors seeking to get in on unrealized and perhaps non-existent pot legalization funds.

ODDER YET, the County has already ramped up costly new staffing to roll-out the pot licensing program while fewer and fewer pot growers are signing up to be licensed.

RETIRED COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Paul Tichinin, a long-time member of First Five's rubber stamp board of directors, made the pitch for pot money for First Five at Tuesday's meeting of the Supervisors. Tichinin said the Board should allocate 10% of the imaginary pot tax revenues to First Five now and increase that amount up to 20% in 2020. Tichinin seemed very pleased with his numerical alliteration.

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ON THE GROWER END of the fanciful pot tax revenue bonanza the Supes are assuming, we found Laytonville pot grower Mr. Michael Bailey’s comment Tuesday morning to be both a good summary of the problems in trying to grow legal pot in Mendocino County, and a badly needed shot of realism about pot's potential as a revenue bonanza for Mendocino County. Besides all the permits and regulations and costs imposed on pot growers, there’s the Sheriff’s apparently unregulated pot raiders (COMMET, or County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team) out there busting people who are trying to get legal.

MICHAEL BAILEY: “I have done everything I could since I came to Mendocino County to comply with all laws. I know the Board is not the Sheriff and doesn't control him. But as I stand here today I have paid thousands of dollars in fees to grow cannabis on my property. I want to comply with the law. I want to be a good citizen. It's really important to me to be on that side of the line. As I stand here today, however, for all I know the Sheriff is out there on my property. I don't know. A few years ago, just after I bought my property, the Sheriff told me that two of his men came into my property and cut my crop down and then ran a friend of mine off the road on his quad. They could have killed him. If he wasn't young and strong he probably would have been killed. This is the kind of thing we need to avoid. I really don't want the fees that I pay going to lawyers to defend the county. I would prefer that if somehow there was a rule that the board could make that made it so I had a plaque on my property that showed that I am in compliance. Something that draws a clear line between me and looking over my shoulder at the Sheriff all the time. I just want to comply with the law. That's all. And I believe that you all have the power to create something like this. And I would greatly appreciate some consideration.”

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LATER TUESDAY MORNING, during a brief discussion of the County’s plans to combine Mendocino County's varied but equivalently ineffectual “economic development” organizations, Fourth District Supervisors Dan Gjerde quipped: “Here in Mendocino County there’s a sort of a joke: Why have one organization when you can have three or four doing the same thing or sort of the same thing?”

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ASHLEY TRESSEL writes in Tuesday's Ukiah Daily Journal: "…The county’s cannabis tax is expected to contribute 'significant additions' to discretionary revenue, according to the report. The Board of Supervisors had directed those funds go toward cannabis enforcement and fixing roads. The proposed budget recommends allotting more than $1 million for new corrective maintenance projects, nearly all from the cannabis tax."

THE SIGNIFICANT REVENUES “expected” are looking more and more like a fantasy. As we pointed out a few days ago, the recently approved County Budget is based on about 600 permit applications at about $3,000 each for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 for an assumed total of around $1.8 million. We had heard that there were something like 350 applications filed. But according to Jim Shields of the Mendocino County Observer that number is based on previous participants in the earlier 9.31 medical marijuana cultivation program and the actual number of paid applications (“non-refundable” as they say) is closer to 150 so far.

THE RECENT POT RAIDS in the Laytonville area will probably discourage additional applications as the County’s good faith in giving legal pot growers a law enforcement pass is now in doubt.

OF THE $1.8 million expected, about $800k is already spoken for in the staffing budgets of the several county departments involved in the pot permit program, most of whom are already hired and at desks doing… Well, not much if there are only 150 applications. The $1 million for “new corrective maintenance projects,” i.e., road repairs, is where pot permit program revenue shortfalls will be felt.

WE EXPECTED some bumps in the road in the pot permit program roll-out, but if it gets to the point that the County has to start dipping into the General Fund or from other departments to cover the staffing versus revenue shortfall after cutting back on the “corrective maintenance projects,” the bumps will begin to look more like the potholes they were supposed to be fixing.

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Dear Editor:

Many thanks for the heads-up information about the hemlock growing around Mendo. I'd not seen it in Ukiah, but the article was timely, as I am staying over near Manchester, on the bluffs over the ocean. The private path to the beach is somewhat jungly. This morning, the hubby and I found several hemlock plants that just the previous day I thought were either Queen Anne's lace or a wild parsnip. I am now especially vigilant with the dogs, as they love to munch on the salad they find on the lane to the ocean.

Gudrun Shearn, Ukiah

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Regarding your recent critique of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

#1. Wine industry is responsible for a lot less crime than the marijuana industry that the AVA writes about constantly.

#4. Readers in the Santa Rosa area like the front page just the way it is. When you add it all up the PD is not a bad paper and you’re lucky to have it.

#16. Pretty good coverage of local, state, nation and world given their circulation of 54,000. Scale of 10 — give them an 8.

#17. PD knows that Sonoma is one of five most liberal counties and this is reflected in what they reprint from other publications. Give them an 8.

#18. Reorganization was a plus — got the crap off page 2. Jump to page 2 from page 1 stories is a good idea.

The worst crime a newspaper can commit is withholding information they don't want the reader to have. They all do it. California Newspaper Publishers Association — giving awards to themselves.

And how much does it cost to have your picture in "life tribute"?

Ralph Bostrom


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To the editor:

I appreciate the sober comments defending socialism in response to my Ukiah Daily Journal review of a pair of recent Jonestown books, but let’s be clear: the biggest and most deadly beast of the 20th century has been socialism.

Of course I know that once we find the right people to operate the spread-the-wealth scheme “true socialism" will run like a dream. But the system itself draws all the wrong people: leaders who goad peasants and workers into blaming bosses, capitalists and the running dogs of corporatism for all their economic and social ills. Gulled by promises of being on the side of “the people” we eventually get nothing but criminals in North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua and other shining examples of one of our least beneficial “isms."

And for illustrative purposes, nothing serves as well as the current ongoing and inextinguishable catastrophes in Venezuela, which a few years ago was understood to be the wealthiest country in Latin America.

Then Hugo Chavez elbowed his way to power amid the usual promises to be on the side of the little guy. It was enough for credulous sorts (Jesse Jackson, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone and Congressional rep Chaka Fattah come to mind) to voice their loud and widely applauded allegiance. It was the George W. Bush years, after all, and what else could Hollywood celebrities do?

Once in power Hugo Chavez did everything a modern day socialist would do: took over important economic industries so he could enact large scale redistributions of wealth, pumped up welfare spending to levels that couldn’t be sustained unless he found a lot more other peoples’ money to spend, plundered the private sector and, naturally, unleashed his soldiers to crush unhappy mobs in the streets. Facts: People in Venezuela are starving and the average citizen has lost nearly 20 lbs over the past 12 months.

So now Venezuela has massive debt and big inflation, both of which are rising by the week. The socialist answer? Always the same: impose currency controls and keep the soldiers busy beating back those peasants whose side Chavez promised to be on. It’s pure political oppression and Hugo learned it from los Castros and all the other gaudy left wing thugs that never fail to draw admirers.

The country has shut down media outlets that fail to conform and advance revolutionary goals. There are shortages of toilet paper in a country that 10 years ago had so much oil it tried to embarrass George Bush by shipping free heating fuel to the USA as triumphant proof of the miracle of socialism.

I don’t doubt Bernie Sanders would be mellow, thoughtful and restrained in his first tentative steps as a socialist president. But what about years later when his muscled-up successor(s) think elections need to be suspended to prevent enemies of the people from instituting counter-socialist reforms?

There’d be tanks in the streets and toilet paper shortages!

Cheerfully and in Solidarity,

Tom Hine (aka Tommy Wayne Kramer)


ED REPLY: And don't forget the socialist hells of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Canada, the UK, and all the other millions of people yearning to be free of single payer and the other tortures imposed on them by their oppressive governments. Incidentally, the current president of Venezuela was elected. He isn't doing well for a fact, but Venezuela was a very poor country to begin with, briefly benefitted under Chavez and inflated oil prices, is now headed for civil war as its owning classes unravel social protections brought to them by socialists, not communists. There's a difference. Me, myself and I think we're headed for social collapse regardless of how economies are organized, because industrial civ has reached its limits via the false and globally destructive capitalist assumption that unrestrained free enterprise can keep or catch the human population up with the Kardashians, that no matter how many people there are they can all get more stuff forever. That's the thinking that's got us where we are — the brink of catastrophe.

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There must be a reason. Whatever it is, I have only one further complaint. 166,000-plus women now living in the United States have been through FGM. "Not living in the US," as it was published, that would be a very low number. They're in the millions, mostly from countries in a band across North Africa and the Middle East, including Iraq.

Scott Croghan


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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 6, 2017

Collins, Dykstra, Espinoza-Martinez, Zamora

MARSHALL COLLINS III, Albion. Failure to appear.

RICHARD DYKSTRA, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

KAREN ESPINOZA-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

FAVIOLA ZAMORA, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

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by Clancy Sigal

Rachel Maddow (annual salary $7m) is nuts or I am, pick one.

With a ferocity and zeal like Dickens’s tricoteuse Madame Dafarge who gloated while royalist heads tumbled off the revolutionary guillotine, Rachel blindly pursues the great non story of our time, the “Russia connection”.

What’s so evil about a sneaky line to the homicidal Putin? To save the planet Jack Kennedy did it with an off-his-rocker Khruschev in the Cuba missiles crisis, and in Paris newly president Macron is front and back channeling Putin over Syria and “matters arising”.

Republican Devin Nunez, a Trump stooge and House Intelligence committee member, says Democrats are using the Russia investigation to justify Clinton’s loss.

100% correct, Devin.

The Russia probe is just another excuse for divided, disarrayed Democrats – passionate young Bernies vs. the Same Old Bunch – to switch the spotlight away from the tough BIG UGLY STORIES to a lazier TV scandal that eats up all the available time and our eyesight.

OK, what are the ugly stories worth raising hell, headlines and prime time about? No, not the Paris pollution accord.

Foremost, budget director Mick Mulvaney’s fierce hatred and contempt for any of us not a billionaire. Trump’s Mulvaney, a southern Tea Party hawk, means us great harm.

With a bloody machete Mulvaney (life pension, generous congressional health plan) is in a war mode to cut, cut, cut everything from food stamps, to Meals on Wheels, access to contraception, disability benefits, lengthen already long waiting times for help, Medicaid, senior and child and pregnant woman assistance – any and all programs that we’ve built up for ourselves and others in trouble.

The great thing about this money monster is his honesty. “We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off those programs.”

Sweet Jesus, this guy is Catholic condemned by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, as if he cares.

Swish, lop, head drops into the basket.

(Personal note: yes, mum and I were on govt programs called “relief” where you stood in line all day for handouts of farm-surplus lard, beans and anything else indigstible but welcome.)

Damn Mulvaney to hell.

Ugly Story #2. Easy to cover if you really want to. Trump-and-it-should-be-said-Obama inspired ICE immigration ‘rafles’ (roundups) of our own “Jews”, mainly Latino immigrants.

ICE is bossed by Homeland Secy, Marine general John Kelly who lost a son to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and, in revenge, sees our border crossers as just another Taliban.

Newspapers occasionally pick up the ICE story, TV, which sponges off newsprint, hardly ever unless something photogenic erupts. But there’s nothing camera-worthy about ICEmen hanging around a courthouse, school or home itching to add to their bonus.

From January through March in “Operation Cross Check” Trump’s out of control ICEmen arrested for deportation 21,000 immigrants, many of them with no record or with traffic violations. In New York they took a four-year-old kid from school.

Here in Southern California we have daily mass raids on homes and sweatshops. God help you daring to go to a hospital or police station to report an assault or robbery.

What’s the problem, Rachel? Wake up Anderson!

Most TV anchors (CNN Anderson Cooper, $4m) and producers make a lot more money than the poor, vulnerable and poverty-stressed who are Mulvaney and Trump’s pigeons. Media folks hardly ever walk in our shoes, and it shows.

Ugly Story #3. The lousy state of the Democratic party with the Pelosi-Schumer-Hillary ancien regime’s death grip, and the “sans culottes”, the young progressive rebels straining to break free.

Stop futzing about, you prosperous TV glrls and boys.

(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset.)

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Between birth and graduation from High School I cannot actually recall reading a book (i.e. a novel) but surely I MUST have. I DO remember reading a short story titled “Leinnigen Versus the Ants” which I found so exciting that I read it a couple of more times over the years. I don’t think I have read any other title more than once.

But, around May 1958, after I had been accepted to St. Joseph’s College (which later became a University), I received in the mail a letter from the college which said, effectively, ‘by the first day of classes you will have read the following six novels:”

I swallowed hard and began to read David Copperfield, if memory serves me……. and it was 737 pages. It took me the entire summer. So I read just one of the required six. As it turned out I was the only student in my English class who had read even one. The prof was forced to extend the time period for reading these six books to the end of the first semester.

Unfortunately I am a very slow reader but David Copperfield and the other five novels started me on a reading mission of sorts….. not an obsessive reader but infinitely more so than Donald Trump.

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by Jeff Costello

Getting my first computer was inspired by a visit to AVA regular Jim Gibbons, in the hills outside of Willits. He was on solar power and had a Mac Plus hooked up to an inverter supplying AC current. I wrote my first letter to the AVA on that machine, which Gibbons called a "magical typewriter." And indeed it was. You could correct and edit text without the cumbersome use of carbon paper. Wow. And now look. The computer and related devices control our lives more or less. I admit to being addicted to facebook, which has replaced my previous addiction, email.

On facebook I see photos of friends, and their children, and now grandchildren. Time goes by. And many other photographs of many other things. If my facebook feed was any indication one might believe that having cats (or dogs) is the answer to everything. Photography has changed but human nature remains - fortunately and unfortunately - the same.

Here in the flyover zone, one symptom of male existential nausea is big pickup trucks. They keep getting bigger. There are jokes about the bigger the truck, the dumber the owner. But I don't think it's necessarily about intelligence, it's about being noticed in the land of the self-absorbed. It seems to me the need to take up more space in an increasingly overpopulated world is poor timing.

All my life I've seen uncountable pictures of men with big things they'be built, destroyed and killed. Today's special was a rerun of Donald Jr. and Eric Trump with dead animals they killed "on safari" in Africa — a leopard, an elephant, and so on. Also today, a photo of men with trunks of giant redwoods they'd felled. In Kona, Hawaii, there is a thriving charter fishing industry. Men come from all over the US to pay lots of money to get on a boat and try to catch a big marlin. Many do. The fish are hung up and pictures are taken with the man standing next to his catch. The man goes back to the hotel feeling like a big shot and the fish goes to be processed as food. The boat captain gets paid twice. At least the fish gets eaten, and marlin is pretty good. But what happens to Trump Jr.'s leopard and elephant? Look at this big thing I killed. Men with something to prove. WTF.

These sorts of people call themselves "avid outdoorsmen." I'm reminded of "The Most Dangerous Game," which was written not by G.K. Chesterton, but Richard Connell. The story concerns a man hunting another man as game. If only… imagine the Trump brothers stuffed and mounted on someone's wall.

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Clarification Mt. Lions and Cats


Fish & Game (now called Fish & Wildlife) can, by law, only kill nuisance or dangerous (to humans) mt. lions. It is illegal in California to release any animal anywhere except where it was found, therefore their only option is to kill it. That is the job of the County Trapper — who is paid by the number of animals he 'dispatches'. They will not come out on a mt. lion sighting call unless the animal has shown itself to be dangerous to people or is raiding a rancher's livestock on a very regular basis. Re the article referred to that stated that "A new report by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the stomach contents of 83 mountain lions were largely composed of cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals." This is a slanted piece of information since the only lions they are allowed to kill are those in highly populated areas that have been shown to be a serious nuisance or dangerous. Of course they're going to be preying on pets — there are no deer or other food sources walking around in our highly populated areas i.e. suburbs, and they are not allowed to autopsy lions living normal lives in the wild. They do kill cats primarily as a territorial thing, but if they are hungry — they'll eat it, and if it's the only food item around they will eat it. They do see dogs as a prey item and will walk into your yard, deck, etc. to take such easy prey. Our woods are full of raccoons, mt. lions, weasels, opossums, bears, foxes, bobcats, deer, rats, mice and myriad other species. We live here because we like the naturalness around us — these animals and many more are here because it has been their home for thousands of years. We, as humans, can adjust and learn how to avoid them and keep them out of our personal spaces — they cannot. We cannot control the environment, but we can adjust.

— Ronnie James (MCNlistserve)

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JUNE 17: VISIT THREE MENDOCINO COUNTY PRIVATE GARDENS through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program

The Garden Conservancy is pleased to announce our upcoming Open Days program private garden tour in Mendocino County on Saturday, June 17th.

Complete details on this event can be seen at this link:

The Cottage Garden at the Madrones, Philo.

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Art quilters' meeting educates, invites further exploration

by Roberta Werdinger

On Saturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) will hold a regional meeting at the Grace Hudson Museum. From 10 to 11, attendees are invited to view the Museum's two current art quilt-related exhibits ("Wild Fabrications," in the main gallery, and the SAQA Trunk Show, a short-term traveling mini-art quilt display) at their own pace. The SAQA meeting will start at 11, with presentations by quilt artist Giny Dixon, whose piece "Carp Windsocks" is in the "Wild Fabrications" exhibit, and by fiber artists Deb Cashatt and Kris Sasaki of Pixeladies, who use digital technology to craft text-based collages and other stories in cloth. A brief show-and-tell period will follow that allows participants to share one favorite quilt. Attendees are then invited to bring a bag lunch and take a lunch break on the Museum's grounds, which are being transformed into outdoor art and education spaces, before proceeding at 1:00 to nearby art quilt displays or spending more time at the Museum. (More information follows.) The event is open to all SAQA members and the public.

The art quilt helps break down the distinction between art that hangs on the wall and art that is part of our everyday life — part of a revolution in how art is made and viewed that has been happening since the mid-20th century. In fact, asserts textile artist and retired art history instructor Holly Brackmann, "There isn't a big difference between painting on canvas and painting on other fabrics. It's just that people call it something different." Brackmann's quilts, which use dots, lines, squares, and trapezoids in bright colors to form landscapes both personal and universal, are a case in point. Other quilt artists incorporate buttons, feathers, beads, and other material that rise off the quilt's surface, lending the work a sculptural quality. It is clear that quilts, traditionally associated with qualities of homespun warmth, honesty, and authenticity, have become conducive to creative expression, lending themselves to forays into unknown, often fanciful — and even controversial — realms.

There is no better time and place to explore the art quilt than this month in Ukiah, where three venues within walking distance of each other offer five unique art quilt displays. (Quilters Circle Walking Tour, a map and listing of the exhibits, is available at the Museum and other venues.) The Ukiah Library is hosting an exhibit through September 11 named "Quilts with a Message," which includes a giant quilt made by several artists expressing hope for peace after the September 11th attacks, and other quilts whose makers take a stand on current issues. A dual exhibit is underway at The Corner Gallery and Arts Center Ukiah, which share a venue in downtown Ukiah at State and Church. At the back of the gallery, 16 members of the Rag Tag Quilters, in a show called "Self Portraits," use the medium of fabric to fashion versions of themselves. "Surroundings," a show by the 12-member Mendocino Quilt Artists in the gallery's front, features work capturing the warm community and natural splendor of the environment in which these artists live. Both "Self Portraits" and "Surroundings" are on display through the month of June.

The Museum itself is currently hosting two art quilt exhibits: the SAQA Trunk Show, on display through June 10, featuring a variety of 7 by 10-inch art quilts, one of eight separate exhibits (known as trunk shows) which SAQA is distributing throughout the U.S.; and "Wild Fabrications," on display through June 25, an international show juried by SAQA and featuring animals both real and imagined. Audiences will be impressed both by the range and imagination of the mini-quilt artists, who created their work on a space smaller than a piece of notebook paper, and the intimacy and wit of those who contributed their larger work to "Wild Fabrications." But then, as Holly Brackmann reminds us, "You can do anything with an art quilt."

The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah and is open Wed. through Sat. from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. For more information please go to or call 467-2836.

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TRUMP does not have the intellect and discipline to head up a “fascist” regime. He has no coherent ideology other than the deep conviction that the universe revolves around his ego and the world longs to hear his wise tweets. He does not have a united party behind him. He does not openly advocate military conquests, as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese military leaders did in the 1930s. He has a military dominated but divided cabinet. He is strangely dependent on his daughter Ivanka (35) and her husband Jared (36), whom he keeps by as comfort blankets during his meetings with foreign leaders. But these are Kim Jung-Uns: young, dumb and dangerous.

(— Paul Street)

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Colbert, Griffin and now Maher are under attack for breaking "civility rules." There are no civility rules. These are rightwing (and fuddy-duddy) attacks aimed at muting comedians and satirists — who are the leading edge of popular resistance to the fascism-rising state. They are the prime exponents of Free Speech, and satirists and comedians are not expected to be polite or civil. Bill Cosby was unfailingly polite and civil. Maher and Griffin have apologized. I'm sorry to see that. Maher's feigned indignation about house nigger vs field nigger is a reference to a very real distinction from the days of abject existence for African-Americans (slavery and post-slavery). If you worked in the boss's house, you lived better and longer, ate better, faced less physical threat and, in most cases, considered yourself superior to the field hands. That Maher used the taboo word should not cause a flap. Himself half-Jew, half-Catholic (and doubtless, like all of us) with some tincture of Native American and African, he already embodies many of America's wretched schisms. His type of comedy is called, among other things, Black Comedy and "Insult" Comedy. SCREW the "nigger" taboo. The word's a distortion of "negro," now considered belittling, in favor of "black," which was once considered blunt and hateful. Same word, different languages. These distinctions are themselves petty and absurd. Niggerniggerniggerniggernigger! Lenny Bruce, R.I.P., was way out in front of all this. DEFEND OUR DEFENDERS! Spread it around!

Mitch Clogg, Mendocino

* * *


The Ongoing Saga of the San Juan

by Rex Gressett

Saturday morning early I pulled into the Fort Bragg McDonalds to get a shot of joe. It had been a hard strange week. The boys were sitting around on the concrete sidewalk outside smoking and laughing quietly and amusing themselves with tales of weirdness and outrage completely invisible to the suits and the citizens who were padding in and out of the golden arches. The gang of grizzled streeties greeted me with friendly interest. All of them wanted to know what was “happening” with the boat.

Their tolerant and welcome inclusion made me recall that I am as much of street person as anything else. A bohemian if you want to be nice. I spent my last available dollar and a borrowed dime for a large black and plopped down on the sidewalk with my buddies to catch up. I don’t see these guys every day or even every week, but they all know that I love them in a detached and slightly wary sort of way. Truly love.

They knew all about the great old ship now half sunk in the river and are avidly following her adventure. The San Juan is a landmark, a monument and an inspiration for all kinds of folks.

Her nobility of line strikes hard at some broadly human historic memory of what ships once were. When you looked at her from across the harbor she had the startling strangeness of a clearly serious large ship with a functional double mast. Built in 1929 San Juan owns the unexpected excellence of a real schooner. Tourists all snap a shot.

In the local netherworld of the street folk she is also universally known. In that other society of the disenfranchised, the homeless, the drunks, and the mentally different, we all know each other and the San Juan is also well known. In that more private culture she is certainly recognized as a thing of beauty but also as a sort of bastion of resilient weirdness and gesture of defiance to a world that in their concrete personal experience relentlessly destroys every perishable molecule of beauty. They know also who owns her and that the ship was never a rich man’s toy.

I told them I have been arraigned at the Ten Mile Court in the matter of the sinking of the San Juan for littering. And that I was demanding a jury trial.

The information was received with gratifying joy and scorn. The entire group has at least a passing experience of the county jail and therefore court system at Ten Mile. We agreed with nods and scowls and illustrating antidotes that justice in Fort Bragg had indeed fallen on dark times with the advent of the honorable Judge Clay Brennen. The consensus was solid that the new judge would in his snooty way give you a break but his classism and bigotry were painfully in evidence. The public defender don’t defend, was the summary judgment and the judge knows it. Wistful and respectful mention was made of the honest late Tom Croak our city’s beloved and long time public defender who died on Highway 20. There was respectful headshaking but the solemnity dissolved in the sheer amusement that I was demanding a jury trial on the only offense they could hang on me: littering.

My problems go deeper than your average litterbug. The charges against me are as far as I can learn, unique in the sinking of any ship and carefully calculated by men intent on the ship’s destruction. The public defender gave it to me with no sugar coating.

To my angry dismay, and against all expectation I was plainly informed that there are powerful interests in the Harbor and the county that want the ship gone destroyed and forgotten. What I could discern for my self was that they want it so badly that they are slaughtering fair legal process to do it. The Public Defender at Ten Mile, the Harbor Commission attorney, a rogue element at Fish and Wildlife and very possibly Judge Brennan have contrived a strategy to pervert the law in plain view, arrogantly, with not the slightest concern about possible exposure or accountability. The abuse of power the distortion of law and the corruption of justice are nothing novel to the dirty power operators in Mendocino county. Catch them at it and they will laugh in your face. You know it.

Don’t let them kill the San Juan, the boys hollered at me as I drove out of the Mcdonalds parking lot. I am more scared than I let them know but indeed I do not intend to.

When the ship went down at her dock in the winter storms, it was in many ways just deserts. I had been marching to the beat of a different drummer so long that I found to my surprise I had marched right off a cliff. When the great ship that I had kept floating for 15 years went down more ended for me than just losing a home. I truly did not know until the ship sank how eccentric I had become. Neither had I any idea how angry my oddness had made a few local officials and functionaries. Living in splendid isolation I had come to a place in time and space where I thought I could hear in something other than words what the river was somehow saying. To get that crazy you have to listen for years. You have to be patient.

I had wrapped up the slow watery whispering of what I thought then was inviolate permanence around my life and removed myself from the obstructions and troubles with which every reasonable and honest person must always grapple. Now they had me.

I did not know they hated me the night that she sank but I should have. On that first dark sad night night a few hours after she went down a cop or a Petty something from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, one Don Powers, arrived quite alone in a red rage of bellowing incoherency.

Before I knew better I thought that a fellow might have expected at least courtesy if not sympathy from officialdom in the immediate aftermath of disaster. I would have preferred that they would at least not shout abuse at me, perhaps comprehending that I had lost basically everything I owned and loved. The expectation was deeply naive.

Warden Powers knew as the whole harbor knew that the ship had gone down not out of some negligence but after a vividly public, passionate and exhausting struggle extending over the better part of two days with the Coast Guard involved and supervising and me pulling the labor with their pumps.

Call the cops if you don’t want me, Don Powers announced in a triumphant wrath: I am the cops. There followed some hours of continuing tirade laced liberally with threat. He strongly implied I was going to be arrested. At one point he wanted me to go down the pilings and get in the water and start pulling out the flotsam. His abuse exceeds credulity, or I would describe it more fully. He was a monster in a uniform with a gun.

I did not grasp at the time how psychotic his behavior was. I think I was just too tired, he seemed the physical expression of what was already a bummer. He scared me of course, but at the same time I never took him entirely seriously. To do so one would have had to make a lightning readjust of every expectation of what we feel as Americans we can expect from any public official. I could not make that adjustment, not that fast.

Over the next two months I stumbled and blundered and thrashed at a solution. I made progress. More than they think. The poor ship is only a third submerged and does not represent an impossible challenge to raise physically but it weighs two hundred tons. It is not an easy thing either.

Two months to the day after that first bad night. I got an email citation from Don Powers. I was to be arraigned in Ten Mile court. They had cited me for the sin of my ship sinking, other than that I did not know the details. In the two months I had been blundering and begging, learning and figuring, officer Don Powers had spent his time somewhat more effectively.

A couple of days after I got Don Powers’ email I went before the judge for arraignment. Right away it was weird. It seemed to me from the judge’s rather snide remarks that the honorable Judge Brennan was already familiar with specific details the case. At the time I thought nothing of it. It was a little embarrassing not to be able to respond to obvious crap but it was only later that I learned that at an arraignment the judge was supposed to have no knowledge of a specific case prior to an arraignment. Brennan played around with factual detail and the Don Powers' assertions like a kid stealing candy. It sure seemed like there had been discussion. I had no idea at that moment that if there had been talk involving the judge it would have been quite illegal but it was damn certain that at the least Brennan had an attitude. I discovered that the charge against me was littering. That was the first mild surprise.

Immediately after the arraignment I met the public defender Francis McGowen. With no subtlety at all, and no playing around, our public defender let the cat out of the bag. We did not discuss my defense on any charge. We have never discussed it.

The ship will never be raised. It is not possible, he thundered. The San Juan is not worth raising, it can never be done. I tried to tell him ships are raised all the time. I was beginning to wonder what any of this had to with littering?

You don’t own the ship he put it to me with blank curiosity apparently testing the water.

Who the hell told you that?

He pulled out a fat file. What the hell? He had compiled quite a stack of documents. Jackson the attorney for the harbor commission, Don Powers from Fish and Game were mentioned. The public defender had evidently been in laborious conference with attorney Jackson of the Harbor Commission and Don Powers of Fish and Wildlife, generating in the course of their disscusions a big fat file. They clearly had worked out their objectives and a strategy during the two month silence before Don Powers sent me a citation by email. Why?

Mr. McGowen, the public defender at Ten Mile court, and I never did discuss the charges against me, my defense on those charges or anything relating to them. Our only discussion consisted of his inflexible demand that I relinquish ownership of the ship, and my flat refusal. It would take care of all your problems, “You can walk,” he said sitting back and staring. I thought he seemed a little afraid himself. Walk on the littering charge and let them destroy the ship? I thought not.

I told him, not really knowing what else to do, that I would never relinquish the ship and that I thought in my layman’s way that his behavior as an attorney was utterly off the wall. To hell with it, I sputtered if I don’t have an attorney give me a jury.

When the time came to appear in court again, I was not allowed to enter a plea or say anything. McGowen caught the plea like an outfielder snagging a high ball. He told the court that I was not competent to declare my own innocence. His comfort level when committing extortion was higher behind his closed door. He did not want a trial and specifically he did not want a jury. My next appointment was with a physiologist. Jury trial deferred.

I met the shrink at the Ten Mile court. The urbane Dr Kelly works on contract for the county of Mendocino to protect the mentally disadvantaged from themselves when they come before a court of law. He was there at the request of my appointed attorney Francis McGowen the public defender at the Ten Mile courthouse to determine my competency to enter a plea. I wanted to plead not guilty, he was determined to prevent it.

I had been dragged before the court two months after the San Juan, my ship and my home, sank in a winter storm in Noyo Harbor. Until they cited me I had no idea of the bone deep determination there was among powerful interests in the county to wreck and remove the ship.

I think the shrink and I both enjoyed the visit, I know I did. Doc Kelly asked and I answered the formal questions. We touched a bit upon the philosophy of law and the rights of men in judicial process. He seemed a bit amused to be talking to me. Apparently I did not seem to be obviously disarranged. I told him how astonishing it was to me that legal rights achieved so long ago in medieval England would be my only defense in a brazen enterprise of extortion aimed at my home and only asset.

From the time of William the conqueror it was the right of the accused to be physically present when his plea is made. It was all that had prevented them from taking my ship.

I was defending my competence to the psychologist because the public defender Francis McGowen, my appointed public defender, was determined to prevent a jury trial. I was going to demand one. Attorney McGowen had never had any reason to doubt my competency but he wanted to draw a cloak of privacy around his rather flatfooted scheme of intimidation and extortion. He had a reputation, as I was to learn subsequently, of being a truly terrible attorney but in my instance, before we ever met he had said good by and good luck to legal ethics. Somebody was telling him what he was to do, he was doing it. Ethical conduct had no part in it. Dr Kelly and I talked for half an hour and the good doctor told me (his words) I was immaculately competent.

After passing muster with the shrink. I suggested to the so called public defender that we might discuss something other than the surrender of title. Perhaps my defense. No such luck. Give up the ownership of the boat he declared getting louder now and more insistent. There is no other option.

What about the charge of littering?

Relinquish the ship or regret it, he told me in profound almost inchoate exasperation. Do it!

Could you put that in writing?

I could see his gasket blowing. You get no special favors from this office!

Just a note?

He jumped up from his desk waving his arms like a windmill and expelled me physically from his office. We had not yet discussed the littering charge that they were hitting me with.

I started sending emails. I sent to the California Bar and the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, I contacted the office of the Pubic Defender in Ukiah, a Ms. Powers (no relation I hope to hell), finally I got the following email from McGowen in which he told me what I already knew about the Coast Guard. Local extortion was not their thing.

There follows the email from Francis McGowen public defender Ten Mile court.

I have contacted the Noyo Harbor District, the District Attorney's Office, and the Coast Guard regarding the San Juan.

I have been provided with the following information:

The Coast Guard will not get involved unless the San Juan becomes a danger to navigable waters (i.e., breaks up and debris enters the shipping channel. The District Attorney's Office will dismiss all charges against you which relate to the sinking of the San Juan if you waive your interest in the vessel. Harbor District personnel informed me that the District Attorney (Jim Jackson) has prepared a waiver for you to sign.

Thus, this criminal matter can be resolved if you give up possession and ownership of the San Juan.

I will be going to trial for littering and leaking oil into the Noyo river. I will officially but not actually be represented by my appointed attorney Francis McGowen. I have asked for and been refused a change of venue. When I go to court the cards will be stacked. I will know that the honorable Judge Brennan knows and has known all about it from before it as legal for him to know. In a small town we can see the administration of justice more clearly than the give us credit for.

The daily operations of a local court in a small town effect us very intimately. In most of the cases that come before our court most locals all know the background and the people involved. The smug well heeled legal beagles assume small town hicks are incapable of comprehending their subtlety. I think we understand more than they give us credit for. The District Attorney, the judge, and the Public Defender work together every day. Judge Brenan could not work with Francis McGowen without accepting the man's absence of integrity and abundance of brutish disregard for his clients. The Public Defender has from what I hear been trashing the law and bungling public defense without even the pretense of ethical probity for his whole term in Fort Bragg. There is zero chance that the honorable Judge Brennan did not know and has not known and condoned a pervasive and continuing perversion of justice in the Public Defender’s office.

I know that when I am dragged before the judge that there is not the remotest possibility of fairness. I know that no ship owner ever has been charged as I am being charged.

I know that they are going to nail me for whatever they can. I have read the law and I know that I could offer a reasonable defense. I have asked for a change of venue and will continue to fight for it. I won’t get it. They will probably send me to jail for six months, the maximum term reserved for chronic remorseless repeat offender litterbugs. When my home was lost and my most precious personal effects were cast into the river it may have been a violation of the law, but I know that I fought to prevent it with every ounce of energy I possessed. It won’t matter. Not at Ten Mile.


  1. BB Grace June 7, 2017

    re: “the biggest and most deadly beast of the 20th century has been socialism.”

    Nah, the biggest threat is globalism, because globalists corrupt socialists by misleading them with words like “solidarity”. Globalists are not in solidarity with anyone, but promote solidarity to manipulate the socialist who wants to be part of the solution. I think socialism works best within institutions like the military, but not for government because human nature is organic and socialism requires strict structure (rank and file)to sustain.

    Imperialism internationalism is a good definition of what is globalism. Jerry Brown is selling us out to imperialist China as fast as he can.

  2. james marmon June 7, 2017


    “Colbert, Griffin and now Maher are under attack for breaking “civility rules.” There are no civility rules. These are rightwing (and fuddy-duddy) attacks aimed at muting comedians and satirists — who are the leading edge of popular resistance to the fascism-rising state.”

    What about the easily offended AVA snowflakes who are exhibiting Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT) that have taken aim at muting Marmon?

    “An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship – it is a crime against our nature as human beings.”

    -Salman Rushdie-

  3. Jeff Costello June 7, 2017

    One thing I learned living on boats in Sausalito in the 70s is that one must keep the boat afloat. Whatever it takes. They don’t take care of themselves.

  4. Judy Valadao June 7, 2017

    How much work did Rex actually do to the boat during the 15 years he lived on it? Even houses fall down if upkeep and repairs aren’t done, then it is up to the owner to clean it up. Rex is in a tough spot there is no doubt about that.

  5. George Hollister June 7, 2017

    “I also have discovered another very important point. It is pretty clear the top financial minds in our county really don’t understand how this plan works. The Moral Hazard aside, if the plan is too complicated for our county’s highest in financial aptitude to grasp, it is probably too complex for the citizens to guarantee.”

    Wise words from Ted Stevens regarding the county pension system moving forward. Keep it simple. Because of complexity, the people in charge, sometimes elected, have not known what they were doing. At times this ignorance has been striking. These people wear the nice suits, are well groomed, present themselves convincingly, and control the agenda.

    Ted’s observation supports the need for a county 401-K retirement system. Is it perfect? No. But how it works is relatively simple. And the county is not left on the hook, and bankrupted.

  6. Harvey Reading June 7, 2017

    Re: ED REPLY:

    Very good. I cannot help wondering just how much unmentioned (by mainstream media) influence was exerted by covert and military agencies of the U.S. Government in fomenting dissent (primarily by the middle and upper classes opposed to the poor, who had benefited from the policies of Chavez) and economic difficulties that beset the Venezuelan government following the death of Chavez.

    It’s a shame that Chavez decided to rely on petroleum to support the Venezuelan economy. Had he taken steps to make the country more self-sufficient (i.e. using that petroleum for internal purposes), the situation in that country might now be more stable.

    The mainstream media and many politicians still peddle the lie that Chavez was a tyrannical dictator. That reminds me of the current situation in which that same crowd, including the propagandists of PBS/NPR, spews as a proven conclusion the supposed, imaginary, involvement of the Russians in the DNC email leak and other shenanigans during the last “election”; just as they continue to portray as proven fact (when they mention the incident at all now) that Syria was responsible for the gassing. Whadda country …

    • George Hollister June 7, 2017

      Harvey, healthy skepticism with regard to anything our central government says is a necessity. But what we all do, is pick and choose the government narratives that fit our world view. We reject the rest as being part of a conspiracy. The conspirators are either greedy capitalists, or a version of deep staters. It is always best to use some personal judgement, and hopefully that is good.

      • Harvey Reading June 7, 2017

        Why, thank you George.

  7. Lazarus June 7, 2017

    “Rachel Maddow (annual salary $7m) is nuts or I am, pick one.”

    This person would still be in meaningless radio if it were not for Keith Olbermann. She is a one dimensional, delusional, impersonator of commentary. Her antics are ridiculous as are the majority of her breathless assumptions. Her constant and repetitive apparel is the tip off, anyone who always wears black or dark colors is just weird, and likely a limited thinker…
    Like John McCain’s Sarah Palin, Olbermann’s discovery unleashed a Frankenstillian Monster on America, I’m amazed she has survived on lefty based MSNBC..then again it speaks to MSNBC’s legitimacy.
    On the rare occasion she catches my gaze, her constant fidgeting, facial and hand antics negate any semblance of a reputable analyst…
    As always,

  8. Jim Updegraff June 7, 2017

    MLB Brewers 5 Giants 2 Cain was pitching – need I say any more – 5 ER in 3 innings.
    A’s 4 Toronto 1 A’s win again Hahn was the pitcher and 1 run was unearned.

    Pensions: Mendo County is in great shape compared to the City of Sacramento will soon be over a billion dollars in unfunded liability.

    Socialism: The Editor speaks my mind.

    Comment of the Day: When I was in the 6th and 7th grade (46 students) our teacher gave us a list of classic writers (Hawthorne, etc) and said we had to read two of the books every month and write a book report. Mrs. Rice did not accept excuses.

    Sacramento Bee today: “Brown signs climate accord to work together with China”.

  9. Jim Updegraff June 7, 2017

    Certainly hard talk on an East Bay girl.

  10. Zeke Krahlin June 7, 2017

    For Rex Gressett:

    Looks to me you have become legendary up there in Mendo County…and I wish you only success in your struggle to keep your ship–and residency therein–afloat. I have my own San Juan: a dumpy SRO (single room occupancy) in a rambling, old apartment building here in the Castro (San Francisco). I have occupied that single room (no kitchen, restroom down the hallway) since *gulp* 1983!

    FYI: this is a real apartment building, not just some welfare hotel, which happens to feature three single rooms on each of three floors…with the majority of units studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom residencies. I will not go into the particular /whys/ of how I wound up embedded in this stationary vessel for almost 35 years (there are stories covering just that, on my web site), but just want to reflect on some parallels between /your/ universe and mine:

    I, too, have become more eccentric over the years, as a consequence of this marginalized lifestyle…and have found your average, homeowning and high-rent-paying SF denizen to be more and more alien in my eyes, with each passing year. I hardly even know what to talk about any more, since what grabs my interest does not seem to intrigue them one whit. It’s as if I just landed on this planet! Though once upon a time (in the 1970s)I was quite in demand as a conversationalist and overall social gadfly.

    And, like you, I have homeless friends with whom I associate on that same, cautious level as yourself. Truth be known: without them in my life, I’d have no one to talk to at all…outside of ordering my daily coffee or tea and pastry, or saying “‘scuse me” whenever I sometimes step on a toe when boarding on, or disembarking from, the underground Metro. Or when having that rare emergency which forces me to associate with this or that medical representative…or the equally rare times when I must ask about or negotiate some life detail with a Medi-Cal or Social Security worker.

    Somehow, I have carved a comfortable life in financially limited circumstances…albeit lonely most of the time. But it’s always in the back of my mind that someday, somehow and in some way, my ship, too, shall sink. And I will likely and likewise be coerced into fighting for my right to survive with a roof over my head–no matter how crummy and small it may be–praying nonetheless that some miracle will salvage me from the very legitimate fear of becoming homeless in my “golden years, and unto death.” For I am soon to turn 67.

    My room has gone through various transitions…from dumpy but comfortable, to a total, cluttered mess, to a neat and cozy little retreat…then back to an ungodly hovel, and another resurrection into a restful sanctuary from the mean streets. Allow me now, to show off its three main phases, by providing four links to pics/videos of my SRO, in chronological order:

    Zeke’s Hobbit Hole (year 2000)

    My Room’s a Dump (year 2013)

    SRO in Transition, daytime, video (now)

    SRO in Transition at night, video (now)

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