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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 29, 2017

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JIMMIE (JIM) LESTER COOLEY (April 11, 1938 - June 16, 2017)

Jim was born to Thomas Edward and Beulah Cooley, sharecroppers in Monroe County Arkansas. Jims family moved to Northern California and settled in Anderson Valley California. Jim attended school in the "Little Red Schoolhouse" and Anderson Valley High School. In Anderson Valley Jim would meet the love of his life Doris Hughes and the two would marry when they were 17 and 15 respectively and were married for nearly 60 years when Doris passed away in November of 2014. Jim worked in the timber industry and held a Class A license for more than 50 years. Jim was a fun and charismatic man with a huge heart he loved life, his family and old westerns. Jim was a loving father and grandfather who had the ability to make you feel like you were the most important thing in his life. He was stubborn and ornery and lived life by his terms and we wouldn't have had it any other way. Jim had a great sense of humor and was known for his "Daddy jokes". Jim is survived by his son Doug (Donna) Cooley of Vacaville Ca., daughter Tammy Kuhn of Ukiah Ca., son Ryan (Nancy) Cooley of Ukiah Ca., Brother Paul Cooley of Napa Ca. and Brother Bill Cooley of Keno Or.. Jim has 4 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Jim is preceded in death by his Wife Doris, daughter Karen Kennedy his parents and 4 siblings. Services will be held to honor Jim's Memory at the Ukiah Elks Lodge on Saturday July 1st at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers the family is asking donations be made in Jims name to either the Elks Purple Pig (benefitting children with disabilities) or to the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Volunteer Fire-fighters Association.

(courtesy Ukiah Daily Journal)

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(Photo by Ben Anderson)

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by Mark Scaramella

Caltrans Spokesperson Phil Frisbie has released an “explanation” from Caltrans District 1 Director Matt Brady about why Caltrans failed to include $159 million in their Willits bypass cost report. Frisbie’s tardy release followed a televised revelation byABC7 news reporter Jennifer Olney on the startling overrun.

According to Olney, “Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said he saw the new total but did not give it to the public because he was not sure it was correct. It was.”

“Six weeks after the Bypass opened, another Caltrans document shows the true cost of the project had grown even higher to a total of $459 million. Caltrans did not issue a ‘correction’.”

So cover story #1 was: Prudent Phil Frisbie wasn’t sure about the number. Meaning perhaps that it could be high or low. Caltrans didn’t know. Phil didn’t know. Phil, we presume, made no effort to find out. Or, because he’s a mere CalTrans spokesman and not a decision maker, he was probably told to leave the lower number alone.

The neat thing about “We didn’t know,” is that in the case of Caltrans that’s a credible explanation.

Frisbie insisted that Caltrans was not hiding the true cost of the Bypass, that it was simply an error of omission. "All I can say is Caltrans is made up of imperfect people just like every other organization,” said Frisbie. “We did our best for transparency."

“Transparency” is hardly synonymous with Big Orange.

Frisbie next told Olney that the reason Caltrans gave out the lowball cost figures was the "discrepancy is due to some cultural changes at Caltrans."

Olney explained that Frisbie was referring to how Caltrans had changed the way Caltrans handles costs for its own employees internally a few years ago. “[Frisbie] is referring to what Caltrans calls support cost, which is the cost of the Caltrans staff who work on each project,” Olney wrote. “For many years the agency did not include its own employees in total project costs, but after years of criticism that changed. According to Frisbie, ‘It's been Caltrans policy since about 2008 when we really started officially saying we need to make sure we include all the support costs because that gives the public really a better idea’."

Olney added, “Frisbie admitted that policy was not followed on the Willits Bypass. He cited changing policies and accounting systems, and told ABC7 News he thought the totals he gave the public included support costs, but they did not.”

If the policy is not followed it’s not much of a policy.

Olney continued, “Caltrans documents show support costs roughly doubled during the construction. They were estimated at $79 million in 2012, and up to $155 million by 2015. None of that was made public.”

So support costs “roughly doubled” during construction? What could that possibly mean? (Construction began in the summer of 2013.) And what makes up “support costs” anyway?

Olney wrote, “ABC7 News wondered why the Willits Bypass project managers did not alert Frisbie he was giving out the wrong figures, especially since they were creating internal spreadsheets that clearly showed the cost increases. We wanted to ask Matt Brady about that. He is director of the Caltrans district that includes the Willits Bypass, the most expensive project ever in that district. Brady said he was busy and preferred Frisbie do the interview.”


Frisbie had no idea. And he kept changing the story line. First he said he knew, but wasn’t sure. Then he said it was “changing policies” that weren’t followed, and then changes in “accounting systems.” Then he issued Mr. Brady’s explanation.

Olney: “After our interview with Caltrans, the agency posted a blog with the true cost of the bypass.”

The “blog” Olney refers to was this statement from Mr. Brady on June 26:

“Although the Willits Bypass is one of the most important interregional projects for the north coast, eliminating delays on U.S. Highway 101 and easing congestion for residents, the project did have its challenges. Bypass construction costs, including the associated right-of-way, mitigation, and relinquishment projects, did rise to $300 million as protests, permitting issues and bird-nesting season delayed the project. This was previously shared at public California Transportation Commission meetings in 2014 and through press coverage. Support costs including staff and consultants added another $159 million, bringing the total cost to $459 million. Those support costs include assessing the environmental impacts of over 30 potential routes, the development of the most extensive and detailed mitigation plan in Caltrans’ history, and then rewriting large sections of that mitigation plan to resolve issues with evolving requirements from permitting agencies. Caltrans did mistakenly report $300 million as the total cost of the project as part of our opening day ceremony, however, as indicated previously, it only included construction costs, mitigation, etc., which was not the ‘total’ cost, and this was an oversight on our part.”

Let’s set aside the fact that Caltrans has no data to support the claim that the bypass “eliminates delays” (a silly claim). But that’s just one in a long line of unsubstantiated claims from Caltrans.

We see that Brady first says that the $300 million number included “mitigation” cost. Then later in his statement Brady says that the additional $159 million included “the development of the most extensive and detailed mitigation plan in Caltrans’ history…”

So they developed an “extensive and detailed mitigation plan” which then had to be “rewritten”?

Is anybody in charge at Caltrans?

This “rewritten” reference is probably because the Army Corps of Engineers staunchly refused to issue the wetlands permit until pressured by Congressman Huffman, after which they reluctantly let it go with more grudging revisions from Caltrans (and with possible veiled threats or deal sweetening from Huffman). At the time Huffman said the Corps had to stop holding things up because the construction contractor was sitting idle, costing extra money.

The hugely expensive rewritten “mitigation plan” still leaves a lot to be desired (i.e., no real wetlands mitigation), but that’s another subject for another day by someone in Willits.

Olney: “The total could still go higher because Caltrans will be working for years to finish the environmental requirements [the mitigations]. That work already accounts for $90 million of the $460 million cost.”

Remember, Brady’s “explanation” — that Caltrans’ previous $300 million Bypass cost didn’t include their “support costs” in the “total” was due to “an oversight on our part” — was only provided after Ms. Olney dug it up from Caltrans own records.

Another funny thing is Caltrans’ claim that they “assess[ed] the environmental impacts of over 30 potential routes” and that raised the cost.

Did the “assessments” influence the choice? Obviously, the least environmental impact [and cheapest] choice would have been a truck route over the existing railroad right-of-way, but Caltrans didn’t pick that one. (We don’t know if it’s one of the 30.) But we do know that Caltrans picked one that needed tens of millions of dollars worth of “mitigation.”

Besides being asked to accept that Caltrans earlier $300 million number is correct — a number Caltrans has yet to break down in full — taxpayers are supposed to believe that the $159 million is correct and justified — and that Caltrans didn’t use the Bypass as a decades-long open charge account for whatever they wanted to charge to it for however long they wanted to charge to it and for however many people they wanted to assign to it.

Let’s convert the $159 million into man-hours. Assume that Phil Frisbie’s Caltrans salary and benefits of around $90k per year is average for the engineers and other well-paid staffers on the bypass project. But since it’s been going on for years (“roughly doubling during construction”), let’s adjust that average to $70k to reflect the fact that salaries have gone up in recent years and were not always at $90k.

So in very rough terms that gives us $159,000,000 divided by $70,000 which is about 2,270 man-years of work.

Or, somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 man-years worth of “support” for the Willits Bypass.

That’s the equivalent of somewhere between 150 and 300 people working full time on the Willits bypass project for ten years over and above the $300 million.

If support costs “roughly doubled” during construction (two years) that translates to 125 people for eight years and 250 during the last two on the low end; and 250 for eight years and up to 500 during construction on the high end.

Of “support”?

However, you slice and dice these numbers, they’re a joke.

Clearly, Caltrans District 1 was using the Bypass as a blank check for whatever they wanted to charge to it with whatever “accounting systems” were or were not in place.

Some of us remember those nice pics in the Willits News in the 90s and 2000s of ten or twelve young Caltrans engineers periodically traipsing into Willits in their hard hats to sell the project to the gullible locals. Caltrans was supposed to be taking local input — input they studiously ignored.

Then there’s the dubious nature of just about everything Caltrans says about its costs.

In one recent example, we had Caltrans saying that Bypass protester Will Parrish owed Caltrans almost half-a-million dollars because Parrish climbed up a stitcher machine during the early days of construction and stayed there for almost 12 days, disrupting the project — according to Caltrans.

As the Parrish interlude played out in court over several months, the amount the stalwart lad’s equipment sit had cost CalTrans in alleged delays kept coming down. First Caltrans said Parrish’s protest cost over $490 mil. Then they said, no, sorry, it’s $482k ($481,155 to be exact). A few weeks after that as court was approaching and Caltrans began to realize they might have to defend the number in court, it was reduced to $155k ($154,733 to be exact). When the first hearing day arrived it was down to a nice even $108k. Ultimately, Judge John Behnke dismissed most of Caltrans cost claims and fined Parrish just under $10k.

The Parrish case was another example of CalTrans simply picking numbers that they think are plausible, but proving only that they’re either lying or grossly incompetent.

At one point during this series of downward revisions Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke commented that he knew that “someone’s been padding the bills,” referring to Caltrans cost estimates.

Behnke may have been referring to the Parrish case, but he could just as well have meant the entire project.

At another point Caltrans said they’d spent $12 million (!) “guarding” the bypass by assigning dozens of CHP officers to stand around getting overtime on the off-chance a hippy or a Willits News photographer might wander on to the construction site and have to be carried off in handcuffs. This was a typical over-reaction from Caltrans showing again that they thought they had a blank check without concern for the actual cost to the taxpayers.

But the big question is: Who’s paying for the extra $159 million? Where did it come from? Did Caltrans just “eat it”? Did they borrow some money that has yet to be paid back? Did some other project(s) under-run by $159 million? Was some other funded project canceled?

In the run-up to the final go-ahead for the Bypass, Caltrans and Mendo had to do some heavy political lifting to get the money they got as the cost estimates kept going up. Statewide priorities were juggled and the Highway 20 interchange was eliminated because Big Orange said it was too expensive (although nobody said how much was saved by eliminating that interchange). Now we find out that Caltrans had $159 million or more sitting around to be magically tapped? Why couldn’t they include the Highway 20 interchange then?

The point here is that Caltrans may end up presenting a bill to Mendocino County via the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) for some portion of their $159 million (or more) of “support costs.” Over the years MCOG has allocated tens of millions of local road dollars back to Caltrans for the local share of bypass costs instead of spending it on local roads and bridges.

If MCOG/Mendo gets a multi-million dollar demand from Caltrans to cover some significant percentage of their $159 million “oversight,” Mendo should refuse and tell Caltrans to itemize the bill, then threaten to haul them into Judge Behnke’s court and defend their numbers.

Nobody seems to mind that Caltrans can waste tens if not hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on unaccountable “support” for a boondoggle of a Bypass project, the benefit of which pales in comparison to its ever increasing cost. But Caltrans should not be allowed to do it at the cost of Mendo’s delapidated roads and bridges.

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by Rex Gressett

There were rumors that the City Council’s Planning and Safety Committee’s all-day informational meeting Wednesday morning was going to be important. The esteemed mayor and our comparatively firebrand formerly newbie councilman Bernie Norvel comprise the Public Safety Committee. The meeting was billed as a discussion of a solution to the homeless problem. A problem indeed. Linda Ruffing, the City Manager, was of course in attendance to take direction from the committee and make happen whatever it was that they might decide to do. But where oh where was the familiar Linda Ruffing of our long experience? The bubbly puppetmaster of local political theater was uncharacteristically somber and strangely detached from the process. Perhaps she was worried that the meeting had been imprudently advertised as an effort to provoke initiative and raise issues. Objectives which would be in contrast to Ms. Ruffing’s established sleek administration of spin. This was not her meeting; it was the Mayor’s and Bernie’s meeting, and whatever was going to happen was not going forward under her masterful orchestration.

Before the 10am meeting I dropped into the formal gardens in the midst of which is our supremely elegant local homeless center to hip a few of the grim refugees sitting around smoking on the Italianate benches amidst the ferns and flowering Irises that things were cooking at Town Hall which might be of practical interest.

Word spread a little bit as citizens at the Enabling Center had morning coffee and hand-rolled cigarettes. Eventually about a half dozen stolid and unthankful clients trickled down and stood self-consciously around the back of Town Hall. Their presence seemed discomfiting to the crowd of social workers and agency functionaries who had been summoned by the Mayor. One was able to observe that the social services suits in attendance do not usually have to deal with The Problem in the flesh, being too far up the food chain I guess. There was no social or conversational interaction between these two symbiotic species. The homeless were hugely outnumbered and entirely improbable in the distinguished collection of administrators of helpfulness.

The hall was full. The all-day meeting was divided into two distinct parts. A very long, quite painful, probably unprecedented inventory of every single agency, bureau, department, or institution that had any bearing or relationship, however tangential to The Problem. That was one part and took all day. The second part consisted of a few succinct and highly perceptive comments that came from the public which only took a few minutes and shattered their pious pretensions like a brick through a plate glass window. You just had to wait all day for it.

Mayor Lindy Peters started it off by informing us that no action would be taken or specifically proposed on this day, the meeting was informational only. This would be a gathering of resources.

He was right about that. The marathon meeting was not a discussion and did not generate any but the most superficial information. Instead the meeting amounted to a doomsday survey of agencies, and institutions targeting homelessness. It became an almost feudal declaration of vassalage and formal membership in the constellation of county agencies and faith groups tasked with doing something or anything in the county with the highest per capita percentage of homeless citizens in the nation.

All came from their appointed agencies to answer four questions posed by Mayor Lindy. Question one: Would your agency participate in a six month study of The Problem? Everyone shouted in the affirmative. Question two: What is it exactly that your agency department, bureau or institution is actually supposed to be doing? That was tougher and they tended to ramble a little. But in general they had canned answers and were only surprised to be asked. Question three: What can the great collective We do other than to give you money to assist you in whatever it might be that is your official mission? No ideas. Last question. What would you think might be done generally to make The Problem less of a problem? More money seemed to be the universal answer, thank you for asking.

The homeless people at the back of the hall were the first to perceive the practical. Ineffectuality of a general abstract accounting and started to trickle out. “Is that Anna Shaw?” someone asked me. It was. “I’m outta here; she holds my life in her hands.” An early defection.

All in all there were 15 declarations of good intention and fervent commitment to cooperation from every agency under the social services sun. It took hours. Gradually the nose counting nature of the meeting became increasingly painful. The City Manager meanwhile gradually sank more and more into herself knowing, as a master of the art, that this was no damn way to hold a meeting. Meetings when they are conducted by the City Manager, which is almost always, are bouncy affairs where any unavoidable imposition of public comment is minimized and affirmative answers to decisions that have been made in advance are eased past the provisional authority of the council or a committee gracefully. As Linda knows, meetings should be fun and easy. There are way too many of them to permit any other approach. To do a meeting right in the manner in which we have become accustomed one must present a selection of information neatly arranged for easy assimilation and immune to untoward analysis or clumsy discussion. This out of the box committee bonanza meeting was a crudely ham-handed rounding up of everybody. It was way too big. It was not graceful. It seemed to imply some expectation of action or change. Quite unfairly, it seemed to imply that somebody might somehow be held accountable for something. The whole format bore at least a whiff of potentially hostile intent. If people started expecting solutions to The Problem rather than problem management things could get uncomfortable.

Since the meeting was encyclopedic and had been opened with an a priori declaration that it involved no particular purpose other than to survey large terrain, the social service leaders stepped one by one bravely up to the microphone. As the routine of questioning got rolling they relaxed a little and I think actually got into it. Everybody likes to talk about themselves particularly when one is rarely asked.

The great meeting ground along at a snail’s pace. The various answers from the diverse agencies became increasingly indistinguishable. Personal commitment and deep concern for those less fortunate was mandatory of course. The many expressions of this concern had little tweeks and variations but they were slight. As the day rolled on, the predictability of sentiment and utter absence of content tended to unwrap their generalities as the platitudes that they were. It was harder and harder not to feel contempt.

After a few hours, I looked around the room, noticing that the greater number of folks from the Enabling Center had wandered off, presumably in disgust. But two young men clearly distinguished by their creative and rugged attire were holding on, still at the extreme rear of the hall, looking displeased and fiercely persistent.

As the meeting wound on and on, the magnitude of resources devoted to the best interests of our least enfranchised citizens got to be slightly shocking. Dog-paddling through the ocean of tedium and piety, the persistent attendees not lulled into insensibility could observe as the structure of agency relationships gradually uncoiled. As everyone already knew, Redwood Children’s Services were revealed as the grand master of financial allocation. The mayor threw a postmortem rock at the hugely discredited antecedent of Redwood, the Ortner Management Group, and provided an opportunity for our new money administrator to roundly declare that the bad old guys are emphatically not the good new guys. Redwood, their chief announced, takes only a paltry 9% out of the big pie for their austere administration.

Nobody had anything practical to say, and that of course was a problem. It was hard to avoid the impression that none of them were doing much. Many references were made to the Continuum of Care, a federal enterprise to herd the cats and thereby streamline exactly the kind of hodgepodge of agencies to whom we were being introduced as they told us one after the other to reduce redundancy. Many of the agency spokesfolks took refuge from palpable ineffectuality in the new Crisis Center which opened recently in Fort Bragg. It seemed a modest achievement for so many agencies to be claiming credit for.

As the meeting wound up and the last of the attendees were adjusting their backpacks and checking their phones in preparation to stagger out into the world, a few determined survivors of the ordeal lined up at the microphone for public comment. Doug Chouteau with whom I disagree on many points, made a succinct summary of what most people had to be thinking. In short, he pointed out that anything at all you do, brings more people to get whatever is being provided, and that if a solution was what was wanted, harnessing all that money to do nothing was not it.

Finally the bitter end arrived. And the two homeless guys at the end of the line and the bottom of all priorities were permitted to speak. They both spoke very well. Rusty Easter, a local rascal and suspected genius (no one can tell for sure), was on his dignity and in their face. He declared himself to be a human being not a number and took a second to blast the lame excuse for action which a number of agency spokesman had just invoked by pointing out that the new Crisis Center had a 72 hour waiting period: If it is still a crisis after three days, I would call someone else. Scott Chapman was the last to speak. Not many people remained in the hall to hear him. He was gravely honest, respectful and concise. They don’t do anything was the substance of his remarks. They keep us like cattle, and despise us as human beings. But Scott, they are trying so hard.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The true boss of this half-assed operation visited last weekend. She's the boss's boss. She puts the fear into him and everyone else at this place. You should have seen these clowns hustling around hiding all their bottles and beer cans. It was comical, I tell you! Me? I was the only one to pass inspection. She said I was doing a good job!”

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by Marilyn Davin

As the teenager of liberal, civic-minded parents in the mid-1960s I spent every other Saturday afternoon volunteering at Napa State Hospital. Those mornings I piled into my Dad’s Mercury with two friends and drove the 45 minutes or so to the hospital gate. Those were the days before patients had to be some version of Hannibal Lecter to be admitted so security was light. A name and destination were all we needed to pass through the gate and wind around a neatly landscaped road to a unit at the back, where we parked. Walking on to the lightly guarded ward, we left purses and jackets at the nurses’ station and entered a large, sunny day room for an afternoon filled with mostly the same women as two weeks ago. I don’t remember their names all these years later but one was always at the piano and another wanted to show off her artwork. Several had books for us to read to them, a few others sang songs or talked to either themselves or to the air in front of them. It strikes me now that the patients we saw were all women, probably because we were young teenaged women ourselves. Pre-lithium, most of the patients were ambulatory and able to do these things, except for the catatonics, of course, who sat scary and motionless in their wheelchairs, staring straight ahead, around the edges of the room.

The Napa State Hospital patients seemed really alien to us back then. In those halcyon-seeming pre-Reagan, pre-homeless days you didn’t have to kill somebody to become a patient. The schizophrenics, the paranoids, those off their rockers for other reasons or unable to care for themselves, were routinely housed there and at other state hospitals around the state. They weren’t out on the street where they live today, without the benefit of shelter, regular food, and basic hygiene. Today, in our modern, enlightened times, they live among us, present while invisible to many passersby who avert their eyes as they step around or over them on the sidewalk.

If given actual competent resources, some can be saved. My brother is living proof of it. After living at the Salvation Army on Harrison Street for two years he became homeless, the beginning of a long two-year journey of waiting in line every evening for a shelter bed, sleeping on his backpack so nobody could rip it off, and being rousted at dawn to somehow fill the hours on the street before the overnight shelters opened again. It all changed one day when he was assigned an actual, competent case worker and got on a list for subsidized housing. He went in faithfully to check his progress on the waiting list, watching his name creep up from somewhere in the hundreds where he started out. Two years later, as his next of kin, I got an urgent call from his case worker that she had housing for him but couldn’t find him. She said she needed to reach him right away. He didn’t have a phone, of course, but I was finally able to reach him through an agency on Market Street that worked with him and knew him.

Today he lives on the second floor of a 3-bedroom flat in the Outer Sunset, which he shares with three others. He shares a bedroom with a roommate. He’s also, finally, working nearly full time as a paid peer counselor. He’s never been happier or more productive. He’s one fewer person living on the street. And he could only do all this because he lives in San Francisco where real resources are available. If he were living in the East Bay, even in Berkeley where he used to live, it would have been a different story and he would probably have had to live on the streets forever. It’s sort of like health care. We have to take the long view (which will require money) and prepare to take our lumps in the short term. Crying poor in the face of this need, which is everywhere, will never solve anything. Cities and counties need to step up and look squarely at the reality of the homeless in their own communities and actually do something about it.

Seeing my brother pretty regularly over the past few years I can understand why some San Franciscans are sick and tired of seeing the homeless camped out on the sidewalks where they have to walk every day. In the dozens of times I walked with my brother from the Salvation Army on Harrison up 8th to our favorite vegetarian restaurant on the corner of 9th and Market, there’s nothing I haven’t seen, smelled, or stepped over: people shooting themselves up, people being shot up by others, syringes on the sidewalks, crack pipes, defecation, urination, total nudity, open acts of auto eroticism, you name it. I get that these activities, ranging from the mildly annoying to the repulsively gross, upset everyone, including most of those doing them.

I’m no Pollyanna; I know that not everyone wants to change or is capable of changing. But one thing is for sure. There’s absolutely no doubt that cycling the homeless from the streets through a judicial system to back on the streets never works. Never. It has an even lower success rate than governments chasing greater prosperity through budget and tax cuts.

So isn’t it at least worth trying to provide honest, meaningful resources to get at least some of the homeless off the streets and doing something meaningful? Even if only 10 percent turn their lives around, isn’t that better than nothing?

I recently went to a presentation by one of San Francisco’s housing deputies. She said everybody’s on board with the easy stuff. Food is donated, clothing is donated. Going with my brother to one of the city’s donated clothing pick-up sites was a real eye opener. Over the years he has collected all kinds of designer clothing; unworn shoes, high-end silk shirts and all the rest of the stuff rich people in San Francisco toss out (and write off on their taxes). There are lots of places to eat, especially for seniors like my brother. The hard, intractable piece is the housing. It’s the housing, Stupid.

The sad truth is that there’s no instant fix, for any community. Bureaucratic libs afraid to change anything for fear they’ll be criticized (or ostracized when it comes time to dole out the next political job) only make matters worse. Solving this will take, in this order: real case managers capable of separating those with the desire to change from those who can’t or won’t; public commitment to identify unused buildings and/or real estate that can house those in the first category; real employment people who understand the local job market; and, most importantly, regular contact with case managers, preferably every week, to help navigate the inevitable paperwork involved in moving from the street to subsidized housing, which communities must commit to and pay for. There should also be public, dorm-like housing for those at least marginally interested in helping themselves. Residents should be required to contribute to their communities in exchange for that housing. This could include everything from building or outside maintenance and landscaping to food procurement and preparation, and everything in between. The alternative is to keep doing what we’re doing and keep seeing what we’re seeing, with the same sorry results.

And those who are truly beyond help? The state hospitals should be expanded to accommodate them, just like they used to. Turning the walking wounded out on the streets to fend for themselves should never be an option for a country as rich as this one.

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AUSLANDERS, scroll on by. The following is Eyes Only, Boonville...

MARILYN PRONSOLINO still isn't back from Italy, where she and her family traveled last month for a visit to the motherland. Every American who's ever been there is tempted to stay, but we need Marilyn back at Lemons Market. She's been gone too long.

Lemons' Market

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NICE NEW FENCE at the Philo Methodist Church, complete with a simple but gracious flatline arch.

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ALSO IN PHILO, the Lemons, pere and three fils, continue to redo the former Libby's Restaurant.

Former home of Libby's restaurant

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Carlos José

STOPPED in at the graduation celebration at the Apple Hall for Carlos José on Saturday night thrown by Carlos' mom, Veronica. As a high school kid, Carlos did odd jobs for us, and we knew then from his smarts and ambition he was going to do just fine. At Chico State, the personable young man played on the university rugby team while preparing for a career in, well, for now Carlos is working with "at risk youth" in Lake County.

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BROOKS SCHMITT'S HI-END FOOD TRUCK, got off to a roaring start Wednesday afternoon, with a line of hungry patrons waiting patiently for eats.

Brooks will be serving a constantly changing menu featuring, according to Steve Sparks, "Vietnamese to Israeli street food cuisines — weekly menu via social media. The food truck will move between the AV Brewery Visitor Center (Friday and Sunday, noon to 7pm), the Boonville Hotel (Wednesday, noon to 8pm), and perhaps a spot in Philo, possibly Thursday."

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PICK UP the pace, Anderson Valley! We all know bee populations are way off, and here comes a guy looking for places to put hives. You can do your bit to bring the bees back. All Patrick needs is a spot. He and his crew do the rest. Small farms should be a natch, but so far haven't much volunteered. (Sam Prather has taken several hives, which you can see in Sam's pasture off Anderson Valley Way. Mr. K is the most gentlemanly beekeeper you will meet. You can't go wrong. Step up, Mendo! Save the bees!

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AUSLANDERS can resume reading matters of general interest.

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BBQ Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance at the Harvest Market or online (up until 5pm the Friday before the BBQ). Kids 12 and under: $10. Or you can purchase your tickets online by clicking the button below. Admission is free. Come and listen to the music and enjoy the afternoon in Noyo Harbor. Proceeds go to salmon restoration.

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(Photo by Little Dog)

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by Tom Gogola

When I worked in New Orleans as an online reporter, most of my work was in the criminal justice arena—police, the courts, the notorious Orleans Parish Prison. It was intense and difficult work at times, but never intimidating.

That was not the case when I did freelance work down in New Orleans and got assigned to cover the annual Satchmo Festival, the celebration of Louis Armstrong.

I never felt anything approaching the angst I did when I sat down to write the fateful words "Louis Armstrong" for publication for the first time, in a town where every other person is an armchair Armstrong scholar ready to pounce on any misreported fact about the jazz great.

I confess I feel the same way any time I sit down to write a story in the Bohemian about cannabis (despite the related fact that Satchmo was a total pothead): I feel totally intimidated. I am going to screw this up.

There are people in the state, many in the North Bay, with lots of deep history and knowledge in this area—given the complicated and intersecting medical and recreational use laws now on the books, it's hard to keep up!

Not anymore! Enter Omar Figueroa, Sebastopol cannabis lawyer and the author of the new hardcover instant classic, Cannabis Codes of California.

With this handy, exhaustive and essential guide to cannabis-related law in the state, I'm no longer intimidated at the thought of reporting on the latest update on cannabis taxation, or distribution, or the black market, or the medical-community's concerns, the mom-and-pop growers, the Big Cannabis operators, etc. I've got Figueroa's comprehensive Codes to see me through.

Cannabis Codes isn't a novel, but it does have a built-in plot-line that lays out the law at various junctures in California's social and political history. Figueroa gives a brief upfront history of cannabis in the state and the various moments where legislators weighed in on some aspect or another of the industry. For example, the 1996 landmark medical-use act is reprinted in its entirety, along with relevant penal codes, fish and wildlife code, health and safety, taxation—et al; and when Gov. Schwarzenegger decriminalized possession of small quantities in 2010, while adding some tough-on-crime language to the state penal code on the back-end.

Who'll find this book of use? Anyone who wants to get into the cannabis business, or anyone who's gotten into the business and gotten in trouble for it—and anyone in between whose profession intersects with this rolling and fascinating experiment in cannabis freedom, California style. Cannabis Codes of California is available on

(Tom Gogola is the news editor for the 'Bohemian.' Courtesy, the North Bay Bohemian.)

* * *



As I drove a friend of mine who once lived here years ago with her parents, past Old Courthouse Square, she said all she sees is a desert with a small patch of green. There is no creativity to this park. There are no curves, no places to plant flowers to beautify it and no restrooms. Just a freaking square of cement with trees and some green lawn. All my friend could say was how ugly the park is and wondered who pocketed the money to build this eyesore. It makes one think. Luther Burbank is probably turning in his garve.

Mike Shea

Santa Rosa

* * *

HEZEKIAH ALLEN: Thursday's Cannabis Hour on KZYX, 9 a.m.

The State of California will be merging its medical and adult-use (recreational) cannabis regulations in 2018. On Thursday, June 29, at 9 a.m. my guest on the Cannabis Hour on KZYX will be Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of the California Growers Association. We'll talk about the SB-94, the budget trailer bill that contains the merged cannabis regs. Hezekiah will also compare the local regs of Humboldt, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. That's June 29 at 9 a.m. on The Cannabis Hour. We'll take your questions or comments at 9:40 a.m. at 707 895-2448. If you miss the show, you can hear an archived version at

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 28, 2017

Ballard, Bennett, Bush

JOSEPH BALLARD, Upper Lake/Fort Bragg. Meth possession for sale, meth sale, felon with body armor, possess/purchase narcotic/controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia.

JADE BENNETT, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.

DEON BUSH, Los Angeles/Ukiah. Battery with serious injury.

Cory, Flinton, Joaquin

DANIEL CORY, Willits. Controlled substance, controlled substance without prescription.

SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

DAVID JOAQUIN SR., Covelo. Community supervision violation.

McCartney, Mertle, Rojas, Rulo

KYLE MCCARTNEY, Willits. Getting credit with another’s ID, under influence, DUI, possession of hashish, probation revocation.

MICHAEL MERTLE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence, probation revocation.

RICARDO ROJAS, Willits. Failure to appear.

VICTORIA RULO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

* * *


by Louis Bedrock

What does a placebo have in common with a euphemism? How is extrapolation like triangulation? What does Juliet Binoche share with Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Harrison Ford, and Paul Klee?

They are all words and names I have been unable to remember in recent conversations. There are also “finch”, “nuthatch”, Solaris, The Clouds of Sils Maria, Bladerunner, and a dozen words in Spanish.

When I write or talk about a topic, I like to begin by naming and defining it. However, in this case I’m not sure precisely what I’m talking about. I was going to title this piece, “Aphasia”; however, when I looked up aphasia, I found this:

“a disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain that control language. It can make it hard for you to read, write, and say what you mean to say. It is most common in adults who have had a stroke. Brain tumors, infections, injuries, and dementia can also cause it. The type of problem you have and how bad it is depends on which part of your brain is damaged and how much damage there is.”

That’s not what I meant. However, reading further I found,

There are four main types:

  • Expressive aphasia - you know what you want to say, but you have trouble saying or writing what you mean
  • Receptive aphasia - you hear the voice or see the print, but you can't make sense of the words
  • Anomic aphasia - you have trouble using the correct word for objects, places, or events
  • Global aphasia - you can't speak, understand speech, read, or write

“Anomic aphasia”. That’s the term I wanted.

Or maybe “dysnomia” which is,

“an aphasia in which the patient forgets words or has difficulty finding words for written or oral expression.”

When I was working on my Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistic, I remember reading a book by Roman Jakobson on aphasia. I remember reading that aphasia is a mirror image of language acquisition in that it occurs in the reverse order. It’s like the cost accounting principal of LIFO: last in, first out. The most recently learned words are the first to go.

Does that mean the long, lovely words I learned later in life like “phantasmagoric”, “obscurantist”, “vertiginous”, “sanctimonious”, “onomatopoeia” and “aurora borealis” will evaporate and I’ll be armed only with words of two syllables or fewer? And my favorite word in Spanish is “irremediablemente”. I can’t say two sentences without using that word!

As I mentioned earlier, I like being precise in arguments and discussions. It undermines my credibility if I’m talking about my favorite science fiction movies and cannot remember the name of author Philip K. Dick whose short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” was the inspiration for Blade Runner. It helps if I can remember that the movie starred Harrison Ford.

If one is explaining how scientists estimate the distances of stars or how the Vietcong blew up radio operators, the word “triangulation” is essential.

And if one is checking out Miró at MOMA, it will not do to say that some of What’s His Name’s painting were similar to those of Miró.

Mira—excuse me, I think that’s Spanish, Look, we all have those moments in which we can’t come up with the name of a person, place, book, movie, or song. It doesn’t mean that we’re suffering from incipient dementia.

I’m concerned because these episodes are occurring with greater frequency.

Here are two more words: “lethologica” and “Loganamnosis”.

Lethologica is the inability to remember a particular word or name.

Loganamnosis is a mania, or obsession, for trying to recall forgotten words or a specific word.

I know damn well that I suffer loganamosis. What is unsettling is the issue of whether I’m merely experiencing lethologica or the beginning of dysnomia.

It’s like I said to What’s Her Name the other day,

—You know, I just can’t remember the name of the book by that Polish writer—and the movie with the same name, about the intelligent ocean.

Maybe I was just tired. Or not.

* * *


General Manager Job opening, Mendocino Solid Waste Mgmt Authority (revised/corrected to reflect only one due date)

General Manager job announcement June_2017

* * *


by Katy Tahja

Surrounded by depressing news on health care and a non-functional president and congress I decided to escape the real world and treat myself to a weekend away from the media and go listen to great music. About 4,000 other people had the same idea. We went to the Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch north of Laytonville.

Enjoyment and relaxation to me is laying on my back in the shade looking at the wind blowing the leaves on the oak trees over my head and listening to someone like Bruce Cockburn singing. Later I’ll wander over to the food court featuring local and north state food vendors and go through a decision crisis on what to have for dinner. (The Humboldt Hippie pizza with prosciutto, onions. jalapenos and pineapple was yummy.) Vendors are offering beautiful hand made arts and crafts all around the music meadow. What can I say, it’s a rough job being a festival attendee but heck, and someone has to do it.

This was the 16th consecutive year I have gone to Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville to hear music both new and long familiar to me. There is always someone performing Kate Wolf’s songs somewhere on the festival grounds. A folksinger that died way to young she lives on in her music and the musicians she inspired.

The hands down absolutely best performer this year was Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real. Talk about talented…someone said he sings like his daddy Willie Nelson but he’s channeling Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead while he does it. The program said his music style was Cowboy Hippie Surf Rock but his use of jazz also was amazing. He played a set, and then went to the late night gathering spot, called to Hobo Jungle, and play until 3:30 a.m. to a packed crowd.

Every year I find a new favorite that so impresses me I rush right over to the music booth as soon as the set is over and buy their CD. This year it was Keith Greninger, Dayan Kai & friends. Their music had a message and it was a message I wanted to hear…one that told us to keep working and keep hoping for change…their musicianship was amazing and harmonies lovely.

There were 80 performances over four days on four stages. Musical man of many talents Joe Craven played with a half dozen performers. Wavy Gravy, hippie icon and old fart, entertained us with stories of his colorful life between sets. The band Playing for Change gave us music from all over the world. Ferron and her All Star Band and Brandi Carlile had music with a message. Carrie Rodriguez can play a fiddle like no one else and Rising Appalachia was two women with beautiful harmonies.

The management of the festival always manages to find a golden oldie performer for the aged festival crowd. Over the years we’ve had Donovan, Marianne Faithful, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Richie Havens, and this Charles Thomas and the Drifters. The Drifters gave us dancing music and when they played “Let’s Do The Twist” the younger folks stood back and cheered as old folks contorted their bodies in moves I hadn’t seen since the mid 60’s.

The festival had Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi every morning in the music meadow with 100 folks stretching, gospel sing-alongs Sunday morning, Ukulele Jam Circles, open mic times on the smaller stages, kids activities and a creek flowing rapidly, if not deeply, to go cool off in. It also had 100-degree heat for three days but you can’t control Mother Nature. There was lots of shade and breezes to help and Sunday was absolutely perfect…about 80 degrees.

Wavy Gravy told us we’re too old to be flower children anymore but we can embrace being flower geezers. We elders enjoyed the little kids who came with their young parents. A tiny tot would trip and fall and 3,000 grandparents were there to pick the kid up and dust him off and return him to mom. Artisans would take the time to crouch down and speak seriously to curious children about their art. There were those walking hand in hand enjoying a new love and silver haired couples waltzing who had been in love for 40 years.

I guess we know how old we’re getting when we listened to Sarah Lee Guthrie singing her grandfather Woody Guthrie’s songs. I remember musician Greg Brown’s daughter singing a few years ago. Many old songsters are using their kids in their band.

As the campgrounds emptied out Monday morning and everyone recognized work, family, and wretched politics awaited them people left smiling. We might have been sunburnt, dehydrated, and dusty but damn, it had been a great weekend. Consider going to the Kate Wolf festival next year. It’s close to home and the music is great even if you aren’t a flower geezer.

* * *


It’s interesting that when photography was invented, “Westerners” used to ridicule savages and primitive peoples who were afraid of being photographed over fears their soul was being stolen…

Fast forward to today and these same “Westerners” are worried (with cause) about their image being stolen.

For once the savages may have been right?

* * *

CNN JOURNALISTS RESIGN: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat

by Glenn Greenwald

* * *


* * *

NOVEMBER 12, 1960

The only people that ride the cross-country trains now are old women & babies & defunct men and servicemen—and ugly girls—carloads of them… . And Gad those vast empty expanses of northern Wyoming, and toward the Great Divide—and the sad monstrosities they erected and still call “towns”— To be condemned to live here forever would be murder—the Siberia of America… .

Nebraska, Iowa—the woods are more poetic here—more intimate, closer in, smaller and nearer than in Wyoming, where they stood away on horizons at enormous distances, tenantless. Here the farms are smaller, people can be seen in the houses—more “poetic” because more human. The Pathetic Fallacy again… .

But these fall woods—bare trees—swamps full of leaves—long brown grasses—fields of yellow-brown cornstubble—are Eastern—it’s the nostalgia of what I once knew—Chicago finally, at noon, I stroll out into it, with raincoat, small satchel, books, carrying my pencils with me. Later, at night, street lamps lit with leftover sun they drank too much of during the day… . Walked across town from Union Station, north on Dearborn from the Loop, past Gate of Horn where I’ll read poetry tomorrow afternoon, on toward Paul Carroll’s where I’ll stay the night, probably. Came to beautiful park in front of a stone church & Newberry Library in middle afternoon, sat down, wrote this… . Pigeons, of course, fall leaves on the ground, of course. Pigeons make soft crowing, mooning sound. The trees bare, of course, black branches against black-gray stone of library, old men in felt hats sitting about on wood benches, of course. Blue-white sky, other birds in it, they wheel, make squeaky songs, circular small stone center fountain, dry, of course, has pigeons perched on it all facing inward, a stone merrygoround that will never turn, of course. A squirrel comes down from a big tree that still has leaves, disappears while I look down to write this.

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

* * *


SEASON SPONSOR: North Coast Brewing Co.

Contact Information: Alex Pierangeli, Executive Director, 707.964.0898,

All performances at Cotton Auditorium - 500 N. Harold St, Fort Bragg, CA

Tickets are $20, guests age 18 and under free

Available at Harvest Market and the Redwood Coast Senior Center in Fort Bragg, Out of This World in Mendocino, at the door, and online at

Fall Concert Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, 7:30pm, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, 2pm

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

Prokofiev: Lt. Kije Suite

Gershwin: Piano Concerto, featuring Vivian Choi, piano

Winter Concert Saturday, February 3, 2018, 7:30pm, Sunday, February 4, 2018, 2pm

Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C minor

Brahms: Double Concerto, featuring Jay Zhong, violin; Stephen Harrison, cello

Schumann: Symphony No. 2

Spring Concert Saturday, April 28, 2018, 7:30 pm, Sunday, April 29, 2018, 2pm

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

Featuring Annelle K. Gregory, violin


  1. Eric Sunswheat June 29, 2017

    Hmmm… Anyone who doesn’t cares about the Willits Bypass cost over runs, will start paying for it in November 2017 with gasoline fuel tax 20 cents per gallon increase, and a higher amount for diesel also. On road vehicle registration fees will be up to pay for it, including targeted electric vehicles. A year later, another 7 cents per gallon tax increase for road fuel gasoline. Nobody cares about the increased food delivery and goods, and other related costs of doing business. No one cares in Mendocino with long twisting country roads. Thank you Mendocino elected officials for being handmaidens for CalTrans and not doing due deligence review. Keep Mendocino roads rural, and depave them to gravel, to save on annual County road maintenance costs. Gas guzzlers bring it on, unite! Yeah. Burn coal.

  2. Alice Chouteau June 29, 2017

    Thanks Rex, for your report on this baffling meeting. The public was lead to believe it would be a discussion on formuatling a homeless action plan. Instead, we got all the usual suspects, social service agencies, each promoting their particular services, and urging more more more services. Problem is, the public has had time to realize these programs are ineffectual and attract more transients to this small town. The residents of Fort Bragg should be the authors of any new homeless plan, as these agencies have failed us.
    One agency glowingly promoted a program to legalize sleeping/camping in vehicles in town. Funny thing is, Santa Rosa just de-funded the catholic charity running such a program there, as a total failure that caused way too many problems.
    In Eureka, the charitable Betty Chinn is disillusioned today after bums broke into her warehouse, where she stores goods to give the needy. They defecated and peed all over the place, gave the goods to pals outside, and were both arrested today. Betty dedicated her time and money for years to helping the same people who ripped her off.

  3. james marmon June 29, 2017


    “real case managers capable of separating those with the desire to change from those who can’t or won’t”

    When I first started working for Mental Health in the 90’s, that was my job. I never gave a provisional mental health diagnosis prior to ruling out malingering and/or Antisocial Personality Disorders.

    Things have changed is the last 20 years, now even our sheriff is giving his inmates mental health DSM diagnosis’ in hopes of receiving millions of dollars in grants and/or billing.

    President Trump wants to step in and change things, no Medi-Cal for the able-bodied unless they find jobs.

    Trump budget to cut Medicaid, food stamps — put ‘taxpayer first,’ officials say

    “We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of people on those programs. We’re going to measure compassion by how many people we can get off those programs,” said Mulvaney, who added that there would be a work requirement for some Americans to continue receiving food stamps.

    “If you’re on food stamps and you’re able-bodied, then we need you to go to work,” Mulvaney said.”

    • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

      Well, bless your heart. Where are they gonna find jobs that pay a living wage? The definition of compassion that your heroes have seems foreign to me. I believe they have redefined it to the meaning of its antonym to suit the preferences of the wealthy, libertairian morons who convince themselves that everything they have they got on “their own”, a delusion to the extreme.

      Sounds to me like you will be perfectly happy under the nearly perfected fascist police state. Your prez is an idiot, as has been obvious since the 1970s, and congress is a gathering of wealth-serving liars. Well, you know what? I’m sure there are enough lampposts in D.C. to accommodate the likes of you, in addition to the scum of congress and the executive, Mr. MSW. As you dangle, perhaps you will have found happiness at last.

      • james marmon June 29, 2017

        Open up the logging and lumber industries, send all the illegal immigrants home, plenty of work around here to be had.

        jobs, jobs, jobs

        • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

          “…send all the illegal immigrants home, …”

          Yeah, and send the niggers swimming back to Africa with a Jew under each arm.

          Cut down the forests. Drain the rivers and lakes to grow pot and grapes. Frack everything!

          God bless America. God bless Manifest Destiny. God bless God.

        • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

          Yeah, let’s deforest completely the north coast; complete the destruction. Who’ll provide the low-wage slave labor needed to harvest the Central Valley crops for the corporate “farms”? Jobs, jobs, jobs, my ass! Guys who think like you are a menace to society. You do nothing but enable the wealthy through your useful idiocy. Grow up.

          • james marmon June 29, 2017

            “Guys who think like you are a menace to society”

            That’s what District Attorney Susan Massini said.

            • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

              Whoever she is, I agree with her on that one, totally.

              • Bruce McEwen June 29, 2017

                Ms. Massini?

                Think of one of those man-hating spinster characters from a Chas. Dickens novels, or maybe Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Polly. Now, granted, at the close of the 19th Century, authors — even Jane Austin — could make a portrait of this kind of sour, domineering and universally recognizable female types, who generally took out their spite on male children — but no more; not in the age of PC.

                Now, it’s called sexist bullpucky.

                A couple in Saucy’s today very reminiscent of the type. She in her Hillary cap, him in a gray ponytail and beard. The whole time she ridiculed and provoked the poor fellow, in such humiliating terms, that it became obvious the only reason they were out in public was for her to indulge and gratify this shrewish trait.

                –Oooops! Sorry, can’t say that, then, can we!

                Shakespeare could say it, but we’re too enlightened, aren’t we?

                Susan Massini* loved subservient male ass-kissers like Jms. Marmon, and when confronted with our current DA — who had the balls to stand up to her — she had him escorted from the office at gunpoint.

                *In fact, I’d be impressed if you could point out one single woman in all of Mendoland who wouldn’t fit the mold of Mrs. (Ooops! I mean, Ms.) Jellyby in Bleak House… Show me an exception!

                • Bruce McEwen June 29, 2017

                  Black man came down the sidewalk singing a rap song, “suck my dick, you muthafuckin’ bitch,” and she (in the Hillary cap) swoons — then turns on her white honky husband and reviles him as a worthless, fat slob, softened to the point of sexual irrelevance by “White Male Privilege.”


      • james marmon June 29, 2017

        Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump · 22m22 minutes ago

        “Good news, House just passed #KatesLaw. Hopefully Senate will follow.”

        • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

          Good nooze for racist xenophobes. Just keep pushing, fascist scum. The majority in the country has just about had a bellyful, and you will lose.

    • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

      Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps—all will be mute if our idiot president continues to push his confrontational policies in Syria and drags the planet into World War III.

      As Tom Lehrer put it,

      “Oh we will all burn together when we burn.
      There’ll be no need to stand and wait your turn.
      When it’s time for the fallout
      And saint peter calls us all out,
      We’ll just drop our agendas and adjourn.”

      • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

        Damned aphasia.

  4. Bill Pilgrim June 29, 2017

    RE: “Aphasia…etc.”

    Let’s face it Mr. B., we’re all suffering terminal entropy to one degree or another.

    I, too, frequently fall prey to lethal… legal…letho…


  5. Harvey Reading June 29, 2017


    Living with the knowledge that the maternal side of ones family is prone to early (60s) senility makes a person somewhat sensitive about forgetting things, like the names of movie actors, or having difficulty finding the right words when forming sentences, especially spoken sentences. I have learned that the sensitivity increases as a person ages. I calm myself by reminding myself that I no longer watch TV (since 2011) or movies (excepting occasional movies in DVD format that I buy–never blockbusters), and that I have always had problems forming coherent, to-the-point sentences, especially orally in formal situations.

    I suspect as well that the “maladies” depicted will be with the species as long as it exists, which very well may be for only a very limited time. There is no evolutionary pressure for weeding us out, since people so afflicted can breed as well as anyone else after all.

    • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

      PS, Being old is the shits. Never thought I’d have to experience it. So many good opportunities to have avoided it. All wasted…c’est la vie!

      • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

        “An aged man is but a paltry thing,
        A tattered coat upon a stick, …”

        “Sailing to Byzantium”
        W. B. Yeats

        • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

          That’s great. I needed a laugh.

        • Bill Pilgrim June 29, 2017

          “I grow old. I grow old.
          I must now wear my trousers rolled.”

          T.S. Eliot
          “The Wasteland”

          • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

            I must correct you, Bill.
            It’s from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”–no relation to Bedrock.

            “I grow old … I grow old …
            I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

            Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
            I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
            I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

            I do not think that they will sing to me.

            I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
            Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
            When the wind blows the water white and black.
            We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
            By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
            Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

  6. LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

    “During the last ten years of her life, my mother gradually lost her memory. When I went to see her in Saragossa, where she lived with my brothers, I watched the way she read magazines, turning the pages carefully, one by one, from the first to the last. When she finished, I’d take the magazine from her, then give it back, only to see her leaf through it again, slowly, page by page.

    She was in perfect physical health and remarkably agile for her age, but in the end she no longer recognized her children. She didn’t know who we were, or who she was. I’d walk into her room, kiss her, sit with her awhile. Sometimes, I’d leave, then turn around and walk back in again. She greeted me with the same smile and invited me to sit down—as if she were seeing me for the first time. She didn’t remember my name. …

    …As time goes by, we don’t give a second thought to all the memories we so unconsciously accumulate, until suddenly, one day, we can’t think of the name of a good friend or relative. It’s simply gone; we’ve forgotten…I search and search, but it’s futile, and I can only wait for the final amnesia, the one that can erase an entire life, as it did my mother’s.

    So far I’ve managed to keep this final darkness at bay. From my distant past, I can still conjure up countless names and faces; and when I forget one, I remain calm. I know it’s sure to surface suddenly, via one of those accidents of the unconscious. On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by anxiety when I can’t remember a recent event, or the name of someone I’ve meet during the last few months. Or the name of a familiar object. I feel as if my whole personality has suddenly disintegrated; I become obsessed; I can’t think about anything else; and yet all my efforts and my rage get my nowhere.

    Am I going to disappear all together? The obligation to find a metaphor to describe “table” is a monstrous feeling, but I console myself with the fact that there is something even worse—to be alive and yet not recognize yourself, not know anymore who you are.

    You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all…our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.”

    By Luis Bunuel

    • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

      Reminds me of my mom, and her sisters, and her youngest brother. To see someone you’ve known, literally all your life, unable to recognize a nephew, takes a lot of getting used to.

      I remember getting a call one evening, in ’82, when I lived in Lewiston, Trinity County, CA, from a neighbor of my mom’s in Modesto. The neighbor was concerned because Mom had been out wandering through the streets, and my sister, also living in Modesto, wasn’t home. The only thing I could suggest was calling the police, since it would take 2-3 hours for me to reach Modesto, by which time the situation would be resolved, one way or another. It was shortly after that incident that my sister moved Mom to a very nice “rest home”, where she resided quite “happily” until her death, about 4 years later. She always managed to recognize me when I visited (unlike her youngest brother, my favorite uncle), but her mind definitely “wandered”, especially in terms of knowing just where she was. Seeing her that way was one of many experiences that cemented my nonbelief in magic beings, which nonbelief grows stronger with each passing year, not weaker, as death becomes a greater part of my future.

      Oh, shit. Enough of this dismal business!

      I shudder to think of that happening to me, though, of course, it’s unlikely that I would be aware of it at all..and so far I don’t wander too aimlessly, apparently, or so I believe.

      • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

        Whoops, the sentence beginning with “Oh” should have been at the end. I’m farther gone than I thought… Maybe not auch a bad way to be after all, given that this is the age of Trump, not to mention Hillary democwaps.

      • Bruce Andersonee June 29, 2017

        Speaking of moms, just before mine died she looked at me and said, “You know, Bruce. You’re like a bad penny. You just keep showing up.” That’s an old one, Ma, but she was past arguing with. Way, way back, she said on high school day,, “A very nice colored boy came by looking for you. I didn’t know you had any NICE friends.” How does that Larkin poem go…..?

        • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

          Jesus, Bruce, you’re as bad off as Harvey, Bill, and I!

          As far as the Larkin poem goes, two thugs visited me at my house the other night and told me that if I ever used the “f” word in the AVA again, I’m f—-ed.

        • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

          Both my parents told me I’d wind up a good-for-nothing-bum when I told them at age 16 what I wanted to do for a living. They wanted me to be an engineer or a scientist, not that they really knew what engineers or scientists did, just that it paid big money.

          I finally got the job I wanted, a scientist of sorts, and was pretty well satisfied for a good many years. I’m sure that if there was an afterlife and I joined them, my parents’d be sure to remind me that I was a good-for-nothing-bum. And they might be right. But they’d probably be a little jealous, too, ’cause I did what I wanted and I’m satisfied enough with the life I led, and lead. And, on the bright side, there’s no afterlife anyway.

  7. Alice Chouteau June 29, 2017

    Regarding jobs–read this year was the first time the construction industry in Cal was having trouble finding workers ….ditto the dairy farms in Humboldt and elsewhere.
    Also a statistic saying the majority of unemployed middle-age men were not looking for jobs.
    There is a big difference between homeless transents now and the vast numbers during the Great Depression. Not much in the way of handouts then, just people desperate for work, who travelled all over the country, anywhere where employment was possible, even hopping freight trains to earn a wage…not having caseworkers seeking them out, with services, checks, and 3 free meals daily.

    • james marmon June 29, 2017

      My mom told me that in the 50’s there was a labor camp on Low Gap where the jail sits now. Labor camps provided a hand up, we should revisit labor camps.

      • LouisBedrock June 29, 2017

        Arbeit macht frei.

        • Bruce McEwen June 29, 2017

          “People who remember their dreams are one of the horrors of the breakfast table.”

          — Max Beerbohm (my personal role model).

          Nevertheless, I had the most vivid dream that Bedrock and Reading were excusing some of the most egregious excesses at the Kremlin during the 11th Commitariat in Soviet Russia and later at the re-education camps in Red China.

          Pablo Neruda played Bedrock, and Jean Paul Satre played Reading… strange dream, very strange.

          No Exit.

          • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

            Reads like a real nightmare.

            • Bruce McEwen June 29, 2017

              Nightmares are not real.

              Is there any more coffee?

              Can I have another scone?

              Where’s the butter dish?

              Awfully close w/ the cream, aren’t we?


              *Don’t make me resort to a third exclamation point….

        • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017


    • Harvey Reading June 29, 2017

      How much is the construction “industry” paying for its jobs? Back in the 60s, an unskilled construction laborer could get $5/hour. That’s equivalent to about $30/hour in current dollars. A union carpenter got $5-$10+/hour, plus health and dental and a pesion($30-$60/hour now). Bet the jerks aren’t paying anywhere near that today. Sounds to me like you’re just blowing right-wing hot air. It would probably cost the unemployed more to drive to a low-paying job than the job paid. Grow up.

      Back in the 60s, when wages were high and workers were unionized, contractors had no problems filling jobs. And there was a hell of lot more construction going on then, too. And ag jobs? Gimme a break. They always pay bottom dollar, always have.

      And, for your information, there isn’t much in the way of handouts now, for all the right-wing bellowing to the contrary, nor is there much in the way of jobs that pay a living wage for those who are unemployed.

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