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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Sep. 10, 2017

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WE THOUGHT this guy looked familiar. He is presently accused of child molestation


BACK IN 1991, David Richard was revealed as one of two Ukiah cops arrested for rolling drunk Mexicans. It was then-Ukiah police officer Mariano Guzman, now an investigator with the Mendo DA, who led the undercover investigation of Richard and ensured his subsequent prosecution.

LOIS O'ROURKE'S March 8, 1992 UDJ article is a full account of Richard's behavior as a police officer:

“Former police officer sentenced, by Lois O’Rourke, Journal staff writer. A former Ukiah police officer was sentenced Friday to spend 270 days in jail for stealing more than $200 in cash from an undercover agent during a department sting operation last August. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Jim King followed the recommendation of the county probation department and also sentenced David Richard, 26, a police with the Ukiah police department for two years, to three years probation, 200 hours of community service work and ordered him to pay $300 in restitution to the Ukiah Police Department. Dressed in a sport coat and tie, Richard, making his first court appearance since Jan. 27 when he pleaded guilty to the felony charge, showed no emotion when King read him the sentence. “I’ll spare Mr. Richard a lengthy lecture,” King said after rendering judgment. “All of us expect a police officer to protect the downtrodden. That is what Mr. Richard failed to do.” King also said it is extremely difficult to be a police officer today, and that it makes it all the more difficult for officers when trust is broken. Richard had no prior record and it appeared he had “owned up” to his conduct, King said. Richard was arrested Aug. 17 after he removed $220 from the wallet of an undercover Department of Justice employee. The Ukiah police set up the sting operation after two Hispanic, non-English-speaking men who had been arrested by Richard complained to police they were missing money. According to the probation report, Richard admitted taking the money from the men who originally complained to the police. The undercover agent posed as an intoxicated, non-English-speaking man outside a North State Street bar while other officers watched from across the street. According to preliminary hearing testimony, Richard arrested the man, then took marked bills from the man’s wallet while enroute to the county jail. Later, a police officer followed Richard from the jail and observed him placing the marked bills, wrapped in a booking sheet, under a planter box near the courthouse. Richard pleaded guilty to grand theft from a person Jan. 27 despite his attorney’s objections. His attorney, Santa Rosa lawyer John Shields, had argued during the preliminary hearing the charge should be petty theft, a misdemeanor and less serious than the felony grand theft charge. Richard pleaded guilty to the charge without any sentencing bargains or promises of probation, district attorney officials said then. Both Shields and Assistant District Attorney Robert Hickok agreed with the probation report’s recommendation that Richard be placed on probation. But Shields objected to the jail sentence and instead asked for more community service time, saying a jail sentence would affect Richard’s family. Richard is married and has a 2-year-old daughter. Hickock told the judge it also appeared Richard has “owned up” to his conduct. “As far as coming clean and leveling – he has certainly done that.” King ordered Richard to turn himself in to either the Mendocino or Sonoma County jail April 6.”

RICHARD served his jail sentence in the Marin County Jail. He eventually returned to Ukiah as a restaurant manager at Patrona and also at the former Ritual restaurant on the corner. We're informed that Richard was most recently employed at Ken Fowler's Ukiah car agency.

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Lucas is a 2 year old, neutered, male black and white cat. He lives in our colony room with other adult cats and kittens. Lucas will make a good indoor/outdoor cat for someone who lives in a cat friendly neighborhood. Come on down and meet this mellow guy and see if he is the cat for you!

Ms. Kitty is a playful and very sweet dog. She is a 2 year old, spayed, female who weighs in at a svelte 47 pounds. We think Ms. K. will be a great family dog. Ms. Kitty joined a multi-dog play group, and our play group leader reports that she is a social dog who is vocal and energetic. The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday till 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's guests, please visit online at : or visit the shelter. Please join us the second Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" PACK WALK, and help us get every dog out for some exercise! For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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by Rex Gressett

When the temp lawyer Robert The Epstein of Marin County, dived headlong into Fort Bragg city politics to defend Hostility House against a community uprising that included the homeless, almost every merchant in the city and the reformed city council, he hit the bottom of a swimming pool that had already been drained. Ouch. The Marin County hot shot temp attorney was hired by Linda Ruffing through city attorney Samantha Zutler to save the skin of the tottering monument to dependency and misery that the community has shamefully allowed to exist on Franklin Street. Locally we call it Hostility House.

Robert The Epstein arrived to represent the Fort Bragg Planning Commission, or the city management or to defend Hostility House or something. He said he was representing the Planning Commission but he covered every base. His real client, though, was Hostility House.

He temporarily got what he wanted. Hostility House faced imminent dissolution and instead got a hand slap.

But it came at a cost. Epstein’s hardball courtroom tactics massively disrespected the Planning Commission and prevented them from considered discussion. The Epstein blindsided them with complex decisions that they had to make instantly. He bullied them, threatened them, scorned our city and stole the show. The stunned Planning Commission, with its tail between its collective legs, reluctantly voted for the deal that Epstein worked out in secret with City Development Director Marie Jones. It saved Hostility House's bacon and left the social worker elite laughing at the city. The Planning Commission saw the 40-page deal for the first time at the public meeting with the rest of us. They had no time to read it, so Marie Jones read it out loud to them. Just like kindergarden. Epstein rushed it all past in a frenzy of presentations, ultimatums and challenges to his own bewildered client, the Planning Commission and us. He did his best to preclude or minimize discussion and mostly he succeeded, although in truth Commissioners Nancy Swithenbank and Curtis Bruchler tried to swim around a little in the mass of data that had been tossed to them at the last possible second, and even Commissioner Stan Miklose made a focused effort.

In the end it was over their heads. I guess they thought that they had to vote for it because it was there.

The Epstein runs city councils like dogsleds. It is a second income for a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts. In tiny Fort Bragg, unaccustomed to the brutal political manipulations of Marin County legal eagles, our local planning commission really did not stand a chance. They are still shaking it off. Some of them are going to the press to try and get their side of it out. Read it in the AVA.

The morning after the morning after the Planning Commission debacle the cavalry showed up to save the city. This occurred in the form of an appeal to the City Council to reconsider Epstein's quickly cobbled get out of jail free proposal. The Planning Commission might have been railroaded but community activists who have fought for community values and stood up for human decency in the long struggle with MCHC (Mendocino Coast Hospitality House) and their grim little homeless shelter were not overawed. They know the score at the homeless shelter in depth and they were not amused by the phony deal put together by The Epstein. They made and sent an appeal to the City Council. If it wishes The City Council can reject the back-room deal and they probably will. Technically the appeal is an excellent document. An appeal to the City Council is not child's play; it must be carefully written and highly structured. It is not easy, and not cheap. Ethically, morally and politically it is dynamite.

As a legal document the appeal was immaculate, meticulously focused and smart. The Fort Bragg activists that gave us Measure U (the zoning restriction that would prevent future Hospitality House like projects in the downtown area), and heavily impacted two city council election cycles and effected by their grass roots insistence the removal of Linda Ruffing, have grown not only strong in numbers but have learned to be admirably organized. Their skills and their sophistication are real and have been honed and polished in combat.

The appeal quietly addresses the arrogance of the presumption that the Planning Commission must abandon their own judgment and abdicate their legal authority in order to swallow a back-room deal they had nothing to do with. The appeal notes that the deal changed absolutely nothing of relevance at Hospitality House, offered no solution and made no meaningful attempt to address to the community’s long list of complaints. In the eighteen point back-room bargain the social workers are required to post a sign prohibiting drinking or drugs. However, a client is still permitted to be drunk. They carefully figured out how many beds they have. Wow.

The appeal to bring the railroaded planning commission “decision” before the city council of course got The Epstein’s full attention. Was all that brilliance for naught? The temp attorney instantly drafted a fat email, citing half a page of case law and making some as yet unknown argument that in addition to railroading the planning commission and overawing the city management he should also be allowed to represent the City Council. This email was sent to the members of the City Council, the Development Director, and the City Manager.

This secret email is an important document. Crucial, if the bewildered citizens of Fort Bragg are to understand the imposition of what is in effect a new and overarching division of Fort Bragg city government — The Epstein.

I spent nine hours waiting for a councilman who had originally promised me a copy of that email. I was lied to by another councilman who I have trusted and like. He swore he had deleted it beyond all possibility of recovery. I had a knockdown with the Development Director, and endured a gruesome and impolite refusal by Councilman Dave Turner. I spent considerable time and political capital trying to get hold of or at least be allowed to read the e-mail so that you and I might ascertain what was Mr Epstein’s argument that he should intervene yet again in the whitewashing he has done such a great job of so far.

The city council, elected in a vivid rebuke of the former and deeply discredited former council, is not immune to the siren song of no transparency and secrecy. Their hearts are in the right place but they do not appreciate that the gas in their tank is the right of the people to know and the press to find out. They think they can do it without us.

My argument was simple: since the email was a mere proposal to the City Council, it only suggested that in The Epstein's view they basically had to hire him (lest all hell itself break loose). Since it was a proposal for employment he could not already be their lawyer. Does attorney-client privilege protect an unsolicited job application? I was told repeatedly that at least attorney-client privilege prevents the press and the people of the city from knowing what The Epstein intends for our City Council and which the City Council knows and the city administration knows and Hospitality House presumably knows.

You don’t know, and neither do I but I have not given up.

The Planning Commissioners, who almost never go to the press, are going to the press now. They have every right . At least some of them are openly declaring they were dissatisfied with the process. That means snookered. I do not think that The Epstein will be appointed to represent the council and I do not think he would be asked back to represent the Commission.

I wonder if he knows it. The Epstein despised a city naïve enough to think that it could govern itself.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “With so many disasters in the news, I asked these people if they have a disaster plan. This guy says, ‘Yeah, we have one, Little Dog. You're responsible for Skrag, and here's your cat carrier’!"

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MCDH — Meet the Parents

Dear Readers,

A little while ago, Dr. Richard Sacks-Wilner participated — if that’s what you want to call it — in a poll about how local people felt about keeping the Fort Bragg Hospital open. I citied a peer reviewed study from Harvard Medical School saying that it’s better for patient outcomes to close marginal rural hospitals. I guess Dr. Sacks-Wilner either doesn’t like Harvard Medical School or peer reviewed studies, so he started yelling at me.

I first met Dr. Sacks-Wilner in the Fort Bragg Hospital. My dad had a bellyache the day after 9/11, and asked me to take him to the hospital. I knew it was serious, because Dad had never done that before. Dr. Linda James — Dr. Sacks-Wilner’s wife — diagnosed him with appendicitis and removed his appendix. According to a nurse — I don’t remember her name — Dr. James was about to sew him back up when the nurse pointed out an abnormally discolored and swollen gall bladder. So Dr. James removed that too. I met her husband after the surgery.

Judi was with me at the time. We both have a fuzzy recollection of Dr. Sacks-Wilner introducing himself as a cardiologist. I definitely remember him saying, ‘Better living through chemistry.’ — right after changing Dad’s blood medication. Not long afterward, Dad threw a clot and had a stroke. He was in and out of the hospital after that and passed away a couple of months later. I haven’t seen Dr. Sacks-Wilner or Dr. James since then. Nor have I spoken or written to either one. I’ve never harbored anything because I never had the inclination.

I didn’t get involved in hospital issues until I saw what a ripoff Winesong! was in a Foundation Form 990 a few years back. So I started digging. First at the Hospital Foundation and then at the Hospital. Everywhere I looked, people were defensive. Mostly, I got the silent treatment. Rarely would anyone cooperate. I did everything I could to help — including bringing in an experienced fundraising professional, but nobody at the Hospital wanted to play ball. That’s when I found the Harvard study. So I decided to bring it up here for a public discussion. To see how ordinary people felt about closing the Fort Bragg Hospital as a matter of public safety.

In three days, only one person spoke out in favor of keeping it open — Dr. Sacks-Wilner. He railed against me in all caps as someone with an axe to grind — a stupid person who hates Fort Bragg. Well, where I come from — which is here — stupid is as stupid does.

Just in case Dr. Sacks-Wilner doesn’t remember Dad, I’ve included a photo of him here. The lady to his left was Mom. She passed away at Stanford University Hospital in 1999 after an adverse reaction to a chemo treatment at MCDH. Yup. Both of my folks walked into MCDH and came out on a gurney.

Dr. Sacks-Wilner — if you’re still listening — I’m still not holding any grudge against you. But in terms of whether or not the Fort Bragg Hospital should be closed, I think you made the best case yet for closing it.


Scott M. Peterson


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(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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Pepper Spray/Woodlands Wildlife

Don't waste your money on pepper spray if you're using it against bears. It's only effective for about 3 feet, and you don't want to wait until a bear is 3 feet away to protect yourself. I don't know about bear spray, but check the distance factor before (and after) buying. Wasp spray has a range of 10 to 15 feet or more--much more effective. Also a boat horn, the kind in an airesol canister (that you hear at football games), will scare a bear away. If you hear a bear in your trash--shouting and/or banging a metal spoon against a metal pot or pan works too. They tend to be easily frightened off by sound. Do not ever approach a bear in your effort to scare it off. They will hear your shout or banging at great distances and run.

(Ronnie James)

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NEVER TELL your problems to anyone — 20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.

— Lou Holtz

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A READER WRITES: Hey Little Dog: You need to get those jokers at the AVA bunker to take you to the coast. Look! someone built me my own driftwood throne!

Definitely not a place Skrag would enjoy. Leave him in Boonville.

Xoxoxoxox Cousin Enzo

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A MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS viewer sent this photo along saying Philo-Greenwood Road will be shut down starting Monday, September 18 until Tuesday, October 10.

The signs were placed at mile markers .3 to 1.0.

Looks like Cameron Road would be the only way around the construction —- the ENTIRE road needs work.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 9, 2017

Armas, Banuelos, Calvo

JULIAN ARMAS SR., Ukiah. DUI, no license.

PABLO BANUELOS, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Clanton, Gallagher, Hanover

JOSEPH CLANTON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

JAMES GALLAGHER, Santa Rosa. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Kidnapping, domestic battery, probation revocation.

Jeffers, Mitchell, Morrow

JEREMY JEFFERS, Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

BRANDON MITCHELL, Laytonville. Domestic abuse.

COLIN MORROW, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Perez, Rodriguez-Juarez, Young

NOE PEREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.


RYAN YOUNG, Willits. Probation revocation.

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Friends of mine in Long Island have no kids and are both retired school teachers. One is a doll collector and the other is a Civil War enthusiast.

Every year they take $10,000 and go to Orlando to Disney World for a week. She always takes a few dolls along to “share the experience” with. And of course the pictures! The pictures!!!

That place caters to suckers.

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by Scott M. Peterson

AL CAPONE’S the very model of modern gangsters. He’s believed to have either carried out — or ordered — the deaths of countless men, women and children in the 1920s. Among them was a longtime rival named ‘Bugs’ Moran who tried to kill Capone — but failed. So Al got even by hiring ‘Machine Gun’ Jack McGurn to pose as one of two policeman and murder seven of Moran’s men on February 14, 1929. Forever memorializing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

PROHIBITION is what fueled Capone’s rise to power. Corruption is what protected it. McGurn’s disguises weren’t mere copies. They were the real deal offered by Chicago policemen — for a price. Others had actual cops inside. Bootleggers couldn’t tell which was which. That helped Capone build a racketeering empire valued at $1.3 billion. All the while keeping his place as a good Catholic.

THE TITLE comes straight from the top. The Book of Matthew 22:21 says, ‘They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ And one of those things was judicial torture. Something the Vatican couldn’t let go of until thirteen other nations had around 1810. Giving the term ‘render’ a very special meaning to Capone in the very century he was born — pay up or die.

ONE GOOD PAPIST in these parts is Lynelle Johnson, president of the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center. A homeless shelter called ‘Hostility House’ by many homeless people. She’s been on the board of directors for nine long years at that operation. Now she’s president. Lynelle offers prayers before every board meeting — then ushers the public out. Even though that’s where all her money comes from. Just like the Pope does — only without a fancy hat.

JOHNSON FIXED THAT by lying under oath. Not directly — but through a stooge named Paul Davis. Who swears that Johnson’s little scam gets zero government assistance. When in fact it’s totally reliant on it. Yeah. Just look at the filing. Then compare it to Johnson’s latest Form 990. Lynelle Johnson is either a complete liar — or she’s off her rocker. Another feature that Form 990 reveals is MCHC’s secrecy. Lynelle doesn’t allow her fellow board members to review them before filing. Because if they did, they’d spot certain irregularities. Like the amount of payroll taxes MCHC shells out.

LAST YEAR that expense ran eighteen percent of payroll. That’s what Lynelle says anyway. The year before that it was only thirteen percent. And the year before that it was only nine. During Ms. Johnson’s first year on the board there in 2008 it was zero percent. Uh-huh. Prompting me to wonder if she’d ever pulled that off before. And sure enough, she had.

NEW YORK CITY has a nonprofit botanical garden just like the one we’ve got south of Fort Bragg. The New York Botanical Garden is larger, as you might expect. Posting $89,052,892 in revenue on their 2014 Form 990. They did that with 872 employees and 1,000 volunteers. That’s about a one-to-one ratio of employees to volunteers. Each pair delivering a hundred grand in revenue — give or take. The payroll taxes there are pretty steady. Averaging six percent of total payroll. Check. Now let’s compare that to our botanical garden. Where Ms. Johnson cut her nonprofit teeth.

MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS was founded as a nonprofit in 1981. It hosted a lackluster slate of board members until hotshot Lynelle Johnson came to town. When she became president there in 2003, the payroll taxes matched those of our Big Apple peer at seven percent. But not for long. By 2011 they’d dropped to nothing. That’s right — zero. MCBG reported $684,070 in payroll for that year. But no payroll taxes. In the five years since then, MCBG has paid them only one year. That was in 2016 where they ran seven percent on payroll of $761,212. Huh.

BOARD MEMBERS there would’ve been oblivious to that. Why? Because just like Lynelle’s current venue, they weren’t allowed to review the Form 990 before it was filed. That bizarre practice went on for five long years. Only stopping two years after she’d left. So that’s a good year to measure Lynelle Johnson by — 2011 — her last year on MCBG’s board. When she was once again president.

THE RATIO of volunteers was about one-to-one then. Yet each pair only delivered $44,589 in revenue. Less than half that of our East Coast counterpart. And that’s only if Lynelle was being truthful on that Form 990. So let’s see what’s happened since then.

THINGS WENT TO HELL after Lynelle left the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. That’s putting it mildly. Revenue hasn’t changed much — but the staffing sure has. According to the 2016 Form 990, MCBG has forty-four employees and — get this — 350 volunteers. So now it takes nine people to bring in the same amount that only two generated only five years ago. And nearly twenty to match the performance of the nonprofit botanical garden in New York City. But that’s only if Lynelle’s records there are any good — and who they’ve been good to.

DURING MCBG’S FIVE-YEAR BLACKOUT, something miraculous happened. Under Lynelle’s staunch Republican leadership, wages were sky high. That’s right. The average annual compensation during that time period was $25,458. In 2016 that amount dropped to $17,300.

AVERAGE WAGES are climbing at Lynelle’s latest gig too. At least according to Lynelle. Back in 2010, the average worker at MCHC earned only $2,647. And there were only fifteen of them. By 2016 that’d shot up to $20,265 with thirty-six employees. Wow. In 2011, MCHC served 27,184 meals to the disadvantaged. In 2016 that amount dropped to 23,167. Which — at two meals a day — translates to thirty-two homeless people that Lynelle’s been feeding there. Which on her meager $1,086,554 budget is a whopping $33,955 per hungry mouth. According to Lynelle. But what part of that money did they actually receive?

ACCORDING TO LYNELLE’S treasurer — Jerry Thomas — that amount averaged $28.66. And Lynelle didn’t give it away. Fifty-eight homeless people had to work for it. Lynelle’s books are kept by a fellow named Paul Davis. Who — according to the California State Board of Accountancy — isn’t a CPA. And according to just about everybody, Lynelle’s financial statements have never been audited. Imagine that.

PAYROLL FRAUD happens all the time. That’s what the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners says anyway. According to themselves, 27 percent of all businesses get ripped off that way. Twice as much in companies with fewer than 100 employees. Even more so in nonprofits. The average instance is about three years. And the simplest way to do it is with something called ghost employees.

GHOST EMPLOYEES can only be created by an insider with access to the business’s accounting system. Where identities can be faked and timecards fabricated. Once that’s done, paychecks are deposited directly into the thief’s bank account. Spotting that scheme isn’t exactly rocket science. All you have to do is look for variations in the amount of payroll taxes that get declared. They’re either too high — like the ones at Lynelle’s little homeless shelter. Or too low — like the ones at her little botanical garden. Another dead giveaway is the practice of hiding Form 990s from the board of directors — like Lynelle’s done in both places. So what happens if something like that shows up? You call in a specialist.

WHEN FRAUD is suspected, it’s time to call in the heavy artillery. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has plenty of ‘em. They’ve even got an acronym for their specialists — CFE — so they’ve gotta be cool. One of the top picks on Google for that category is a woman named Jacque James out in St. Louis, Missouri. So I gave her a holler. Ms. James’ outfit is called ‘ARA Fraud & Forensic Services’ and her website looks like the real deal. Posting tips titled ’10 red flags to detect payroll fraud’. But the only red flag I detected was Jacque.

I POST MY articles to Google Drive so they can be fixed on the fly. More often than not, I’ll put words in the mouths of my interview subjects. After which I’ll give them a link to a draft piece so they can correct anything that’s wrong. Well, that didn’t go over so well with Ms. James. After sending her an email titled, ‘Media Inquiry — Follow Up’ Ms. James said she had no clue that I was a reporter. Then she demanded that I remove her name from my article. Which I did. But that wasn’t good enough.

HER NEXT EMAIL called my interview with her ‘unethical’ and she said she wanted nothing to do with my article. Fine. But I still had one last question for her. By then I’d found a sixteen-page white paper on the same subject written by a CPA. Something that Ms. James isn’t. The author of that paper is rockstar Gary Rubin in Chicago. He listed forty-eight red flags there. One of them is evasiveness. So that’s what I asked Jacque — ‘Wouldn’t that apply to Certified Fraud Examiners too?’ Gee. I must’ve hit a nerve, because she sent me to her lawyer. That’s Sara Stock. She’s got a website too.

SARA STOCK appears to specialize in mergers & acquisitions. Something I’ve got no interest in. Ms. James was threatening me with ‘legal action’ for putting her name in my article. Which sounds more like personal injury to me. Nonetheless, I thought they both deserved a chance to bone up on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and get back to me once they figured out what kind of action that’d be. Until then, I wanted to know what Mr. Rubin had to say.

RIGHT OFF THE BAT, Rubin challenged one of the figures from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. ‘27% sounds way high to me,’ Rubin said. He’s been at it since 1981, so he should know. I also asked him about the absence of CFEs on his checklist. ‘There’s nothing a CFE can do that a CPA can’t do,’ Rubin told me. ‘Why get an extra person involved?’ Rubin sees multi-year line item look backs as essential to running a business. Ditto for bar charts and graphics — if they help. ‘People tend to distance themselves from finance,’ Rubin told me. But is that true in well run companies?

RUBIN SAYS ‘No. Well run companies have no problem looking at risk factors for fraud,’ He said. ‘Good managers don’t mind rolling their sleeves up for that.’ But what about encounters with mall cops like Jacque James? Did that come as a shock to him? ‘No,’ Rubin told me. ‘It doesn’t.’ Rubin put his checklist together to simplify risk management. Not to complicate it. ‘Most companies already have a CPA,’ Rubin said. ‘Why not use what you’ve got?’

MY FINAL QUESTION involved a couple of ten-year look backs shown in bar charts for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens — but with the name removed. Would they indicate risk factors?

INTEREST EXPENSE is one of ‘em. I though I’d spotted a whopper on the Form 990s for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. Where — over a ten-year period — they’d run three grand a year without a mortgage. And then suddenly forty grand a year on a ninety-thousand dollar mortgage. So I ran a no-name bar chart of that little gem by Mr. Rubin. He didn’t see a problem with that. Depending on when the loan was taken out — and what the interest rate was. Oh well.

THEN WE GOT to the secrecy part. And Lynelle Johnson’s policy of not sharing Form 990s. ‘I can’t imagine why anybody would want to do that,’ Rubin told me. ‘That’s definitely a risk factor.’ I told Rubin about five local nonprofits — that I know of — with that policy. Had he ever seen that before? ‘Hell,’ Rubin told me. ‘I’ve never even heard of that before.’

THE KICKER WAS MCBG’s bar chart for a three-quarter million dollar payroll with payroll taxes some years — and no payroll taxes for others. What’d Rubin think of that? ‘Something seems ‘wrong’ about payroll taxes on the first chart,’ he said. ‘They should be a relatively constant percent of payroll expense.’ I’d promised to send Gary a draft of my article — as I’d done with Ms. James. Just as I did with her, I told Mr. Rubin I’d be putting words in his mouth that he was welcome to correct. His response to that was like day and night. ‘I look forward to reading the first draft of your article,’ he told me. When I sent him a link, he shot me a two-word response, ‘Fire away.’

COOPERATION SEEMS like a no-brainer working with finance people. The last thing I’d want is a pencil-pusher with an attitude. Much less somebody who can’t answer a simple yes-or-no question without calling in their friggin’ lawyer. Ditto for any finance professional. Being from the Emerald Triangle where over half the populace break the law every day prompted another out-the-door question. People get locked up for marijuana-related offenses here all the time. But do they ever go to jail for tax evasion? Gary laughed at that one. ‘I live in Chicago. Have you ever heard of Al Capone?’

TAX EVASION is precisely what sent Al Capone to prison. Murder prosecutions need witnesses and there was a shortage of those. Ditto for organized crime. Where gunmen like Jack McGurn kept coming down with cases of high velocity lead poisoning. But Capone — like Lynelle Johnson — didn’t pay his taxes. It took only one witness to put him away on that charge — Uncle Sam. Capone fought it hammer and tong, but got convicted nonetheless.

CAPONE began his eleven-year prison sentence in Atlanta’s Federal Penitentiary in May of 1932 at age 33 and a weight of 250 pounds. He also had a couple of uninvited companions — syphilis and gonorrhea. Not to mention a slight nose candy problem that’d perforated his septum. The following year, he was transferred to a lovely tropical paradise called Alcatraz to finish out his time. Something that proved to be no picnic for Capone. After repeated beatings and at least one stabbing, he was finally paroled on November 16, 1939. But his punishment was far from over.

AFTER HIS RELEASE from prison, Capone was referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for late stage syphilis — but they wouldn’t take him. A second rate hospital down the road did — Union Memorial Hospital — but discharged him on March 20, 1940. Six years later, his own doctor concluded that Capone’s mental state had deteriorated to that of a twelve-year-old child. Then on January 25, 1947, Al Capone was finally rendered unto his Caesar — Et tu, Brute?

PS: The illustrated version of this article with snarky photo captions and hyperlinks is here:

Story Index

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Beacon Rock Golf Course, North Bonneville, Oregon. (Eagle Creek Fire in background.)

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THE WORD “trump” formerly was a verb used in polite bridge and whist circles. Trump, the man, is now up there with Hercules and Sisyphus with his own branded adjective. I’m not completely sure what it stands for. But when it finally settles into the lexicon, I’m certain that it will be a disconcerting combination of petulant, preening, ignorant, shameless, vulgar, paranoid, vainglorious, reckless, imperious, impulsive, unhinged, callous, corrosive, narcissistic, intemperate, juvenile, disloyal, venal, chaotic, squalid—what have I forgotten? Oh, yes!—and just mind-numbingly, epically incompetent.

— Graydon Carter

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Putin Responds to US thuggery.

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AS THE CLICHE GOES, every cloud has a silver lining—and maybe every category 5 hurricane does, too. Consider this from Michael Daly:

The most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic is headed straight for the beach houses of [climate change] deniers Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Koch brothers.

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I WAS INTERESTED to hear President Trump saying people had no idea how bad it was, the Paris climate accord. I have a feeling that’s a phrase that a lot of Houstonians have been using in the last week, and a lot of people in the Caribbean today, and what people will be saying up and down the southeast coast of the United States and over in Washington and Oregon. People who aren’t in the middle of these disasters have no idea how bad they are. In fact, really, Americans can’t have any idea how bad they are, because we’ve never had anything quite like them. I mean, Harvey, in Houston, which we’re on the edge of forgetting about as Irma pulls into the Southeast, Harvey was the largest rainstorm event in U.S. history—51 inches of rain in some places. That’s the kind of storm that’s only possible now that we’ve remarkably affected the climate. Look, the way that water moves around the planet is now dramatically different. And the places that are going to feel it most often and worst and hardest are the poorest and most vulnerable places on the planet, a list that begins with Bangladesh and with the low-lying island states.

If you want one physical fact to understand the century we’re now in, it’s that warm air holds more water vapor than cold water. And so we have the possibility for storms that are of a different magnitude and scale than we have seen before. The extra warmth in the atmosphere does all kinds of other things, too.

So, right now, in the High Plains of the U.S., in North Dakota and Montana, in the biggest wheat-growing belt of the country, we’ve got what scientists are describing as a flash drought. It’s been so hot and so arid that in the course of a month or two without rain and with that heavy evaporation, farm fields have just dried up. Many farmers have nothing to harvest. That’s what’s helping trigger this ridiculous spate of wildfires across the Western United States, a fire so big yesterday that it managed to jump the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington. People in Oregon and Washington are reporting ash fall from the forest fires on a scale comparable to that what happened when Mount St. Helens erupted. You know, California had the largest—last week, the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history, which really isn’t a big surprise, because it’s been the hottest year in California history.

— Bill McKibben

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Dear Editor:

As I commented last week, this week I will discuss what is happening to the West Antarctic ice sheet. My comments are based on research by the Department of Earth Sciences, School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue Indianapolis (IUPUI) and an article, "The Crisis On The Ice", in the July issue of the National Geographic Magazine. The IUPUI in a new study validated that the central core of the East Antarctic ice sheet should remain stable even if the West Antarctic melts. The East Antarctic is 10 times larger than the Western Antarctic and if it completely melted it would cause sea levels worldwide to rise almost 200 feet. The East Antarctic ice sheet was long considered to be stable because it was thought to rest mainly on bedrock above sea level making it less susceptible to climate change. However, recent studies showed widespread water beneath it and higher melt potential. The research team confirmed the ice sheet at an altitude of 6,200 feet, about 400 miles from the South Pole, at the edge of the polar plateau, a flat high surface of the ice sheet covering much of East Antarctic central core. The situation is different in West Antarctic. Average temperatures on its west side have risen nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950 and winters have warmed up 9 degrees. Research indicates that the collapse of major glaciers that flow into the Amundsen Sea is unstoppable. Climate change is driving warmer water from offshore into the continental shelf and under the floating ice, Scientists are very concerned that by 2100 global seas could go up by four feet. This factor coupled with other factors such as the Greenland ice sheet sea levels could raise global sea levels as high as 7 feet. Geologists studying ancient shorelines have concluded that 125,000 years ago, when the earth was only slightly warmer than today, sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher. As a sidebar, I would say, given the way we burn fossil fuel and the deniers keep their heads buried in the sand sea levels in 2100 could exceed 7 feet by a wide margin.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


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SHE HAD AN IMMENSE STORE of trivial memories and when she wasn't living in the future she was living in the past. As for the present – she got through that as quickly as she could, running away from things, running towards things, so that her voice was always a little breathless, her heart pounding at an escape or an expectation.

— Graham Greene, Brighton Rock

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"Now you can make hay while the sun shines and at midnight too, with Mutant Blue!" —Peter Bergman

The recording of last night's (2017-09-08) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and enjoy via

Also there you'll find directions to many not necessarily radio-useful though worthwhile goods that I set aside for you while putting the show together, such as, for example:

L.A. The fire this time.

So he said, "How big do you want 'em?” And I said, I really did: "Vulgar! Big! Playboy mansion trophy wife giant, the bigger the better."

The Paganini Orchestrion with paper roll auto-loader, triple bellows, and deluxe pressure regulator.

If pro football were honest.

And 10 Burning Man photos. Then 20 more pages of photos just as amazing.

10+ Epic Photos From Burning Man 2017 That Prove It’s The Craziest Festival In The World

Marco McClean

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YOU JUST DO IT. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about the business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way.

— Elizabeth Taylor

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Computer Classes for Adults: Internet Safety 101 – Sept 19th

Begins at 11 am

Join us at the Ukiah Library for hands-on interactive computer classes for adults. Learn how to keep in touch with friends and family, use email to correspond & communicate business matters, and protect your identity & stay safe online!

Registration is required; please call 463-4490 to sign up!

All classes and events are free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. For more information, please contact: Melissa Eleftherion Carr at 707-467-4634 or

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Banned Books Week (Sept. 24th – Sept. 30th) with the following events:

Library Booth at Youth Action Party (YAP) – September 23rd 3-8pm

Banned Books Read-Out & Live Art–Friday, Sept. 29th 5-7pm

Banned Books T-Shirt Art – Saturday, Sept. 30th 1-3 pm

All Ages

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

On Saturday, Sept. 23rd , the Ukiah Library will be kicking off Banned Books Week with a DUNK TANK at Youth Action Party! Come Dunk a Librarian or make a button/ bookmark! Join us for a Banned Books Read Out & Live Art Drawing on Friday, Sept. 29th at 5 pm where participants will read aloud from banned books and make a live art collage from banned book cover designs. And don’t miss the grand finale on Saturday, Sept. 30th at 1 pm where you can design your own Banned Book T-Shirt Art!

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Read an old favorite or a new banned book this week.

This year's observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society -”the freedom to read freely”, and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. Find out which challenged books made the 2015 list, which was released as part of the 2016 State of America’s Library Report.

For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434

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LOBA: a Poetry Reading Series

featuring Armand Brint!

(Open Mic follows)

Saturday, September 16th 3 pm

Join us for a reading with Armand Brint, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Ukiah! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.

Armand Brint received his Master's in Creative Writing and English from San Francisco State University and has taught creative writing at Bay Area colleges and Mendocino College. He's been published in many literary journals and is the author of three volumes of poetry: Schools of Light, The League of Slow Cities, and In the Name of Wonder. He has a new manuscript ready to publish titled, The Book of Second Chances.

Armand was the City of Ukiah's first Poet Laureate and served on the Poet Laureate Committee for seven years. He is the recipient of several poetry awards including a Jane Reichhold International Haiku Prize. A popular reader in Mendocino County, Armand also teaches poetry at the annual Emandal Farm ArtStay Program. Armand's latest book (2017) addresses the art of writing poetry: Bringing Poems to Life: 16 Keys to Make Your Poems Sing.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish, explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.



  1. Bill Pilgrim September 10, 2017

    re: Golfing While Oregon Burns

    Can there be a more poignant and symbolic image of the state of the US today?

    • Bill Pilgrim September 10, 2017

      Yeah…I saw that. The two together would make a telling combination.

      “I had to get it cut.” and “There was a bet. I had to make that putt.”

      Conditioning is a cruel master.

    • Russ Rasmussen September 10, 2017

      That golf course and the golfers are in Washington, not Oregon

      • Bill Pilgrim September 10, 2017

        I’m the one who sent it to AVA.
        The photo credit clearly stated it was as labeled, taken by a witness who claimed to be on the scene.
        It’s allegedly part of the fires now ravaging the Columbia River basin in Oregon.
        It’s possible someone else was mistaken, or imported it as part of a false claim.
        Nevertheless…can you prove it was in Washington?

        • Harvey Reading September 10, 2017

          Ms. Susie, do be kind enough to let us know when you have a definite answer. I’m simply on needles and pins… Wherever the damned golf course is, I am in full agreement with Bill Pilgrim–in his original post–regarding the statement made by the photo on current times here in the land o’ exceptionals.

        • Bill Pilgrim September 10, 2017

          OK. According to Reuters the golf course is in North Bonneville, Washington.

  2. Harvey Reading September 10, 2017


    More like their heads buried in a darker, much smellier spot, one located in the nether recesses of their own bodies.

    • Harvey Reading September 10, 2017

      But, lest we forget, the sun yet rises in Comptche… actually it’s more of a rotational thingy on the part of the planet earth.

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